Our last evening of camp we were invited to share with the rest of staff. A memory. An encouragement. A verse. A lesson learned. I sat there, taking in what people were saying, trying to decide if I had anything to say. Themes of love, hope and great community kept coming up. I agreed with what was being said, and was encouraged by people’s love and good verses that were shared.
After some thought, this is what I would have liked to share.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” – 1 John 4:10-12
At the beginning of the summer, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting to learn. Surely God would be teaching me in preparation for my year with Cross Fire, but I wasn’t sure what those lessons would be. As we got into the first few weeks, my quiet times and some of the songs really started speaking to me…
-June 26 – “…this has brought me back to a topic that came up earlier this summer, at least in my thoughts if not in my journaling. God’s love and my fear of love in general. So many of the songs this summer point to or blatantly talk about this amazing love. The one in my head today is “Two things you’ve told me is that you are stong and you love me, yeah you love me. Your love is strong.” Especially on days like today when i am painfully aware of my past and utter brokenness, th love of God is too much for me to understand, and maybe even accept. It really doesn’t make sense for God to love somebody as broken as me….yet God’s word and so many songs and our faith is built on acceptance of this love. (Matt 22:37-39)….”
-July 11 – “…love seems like an elusive concept to me rather than something I could experience. Which just reminds me of how stand-offish I am about love in general – from god, my family, even staff. I just don’t get love.”
-July 17- “… I read an article this weekend… that referenced 1 John 4:10-12, which I think I want to memorize. The focus of the passage is on others. The sacrificial love of our Father drives our lives to love Him and love the people around us….”
Several other conversations were had after that weekend. Lindsey Bokach and I talked about pretty much the whole chapt of 1 John 4 and how awesome it is in talking about love. Logan and I later talked about the summer, how things were going for each of us, and challenged me to engage with the people and world around me every moment.
So, first I want to apologize for being stand offish to your love this summer. Even though I recognized it, there were probably times when I didn’t accept it, which is unfair to you, the community and our growth. Secondly, I have to say thank you to every staff member. In one way or another you have helped me grow. Whether it was showing me what love looked like amongst the cabin leaders, inviting/including me to play murder in the dark, taking time to walk and talk around the lake, forcing me to go on some random outing, or worshiping and serving with your whole heart… you guys have been an awesome community, and I will miss you.
Be strong this next season, wherever it takes you.
“if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”