Our wonderful church needed another chaperone for the girls to go camping. I prayed they’d find someone. I heard the Lord volunteer me.
“If you’re going to be in, I need you to be all in.”, were my pastor’s words of sobering encouragement.
“Ok. I’m all in.”
I knew the Lord was asking me to do this. To step out, waaaaaaay out and trust Him to lead me through this. My hands trembled, my nervous heart clung to the conviction that God wanted me to do this, I must obey.
Thus began the whirlwind of planning and forms and meetings and many, many prayers. Prayers for me, prayers for the kids, prayers for the unknown, prayers for budgets and cars and…everything.
I tried not to think about it. To act casual, matter-of-factly. How do the other adults do this? I searched my memories for inspiration. But even more, I lifted my gaze to my heavenly Father Who knows exactly what He wants to use this situation for: His glory…and my good.
The moment of truth arrived. Car packed to overflowing, kids all gathered with parents in the parking lot, prayers for a safe and fruitful trip. Engines humming, air conditioning blowing, we set off.
I really didn’t know what to expect. I know what I had hoped for. No confrontations. Perfect kids, taking care of things perfectly, having a perfectly great time in the perfectly wonderful weather. If everything went perfect, it would reflect that I was ok, that I could handle things, that I could be trusted and even tempered. That my emotions and monsters from my past were not ruling me anymore. That even though the mean and hard things that happened to me in my life didn’t have to come out and spoil things for anyone else.
I kept wondering what would happen. And if something happened, how would I respond. I’ve failed in the past and still remember it. I don’t want to be the reason someone needs therapy. I don’t want to be the cause of someone’s pain. I know it’s impossible to never hurt someone out of my hurt, (painfully aware of that) but I know I can do my best to be aware and try to not let it happen. And so I did.
The funny thing is, I thought it would take more effort. Not that it didn’t take any at all, but I really thought I’d have to work harder at being a good chaperone/mentor/leader person. I didn’t.
There was such peace. There was patience and understanding. There was laughing and hair braiding and hiking and singing at the top of our voices and praying for each other and impromptu pb & j’s while a storm soaked the tent we were all huddled in. We became more of a family than a church group. And I was there! And I became a part of it! And it was totally draining and exhausting and a lot of work but I became a part of something. Something GOOD. With other people!
Something very good.
And I appreciate them all. And I would even do it all over again. Oh yes I would!
When all around the campfire ring we shared our hearts, overflowing with blessings from one another, and it came to be my turn, and as I spoke my heart soared, and as I looked around smiles abounded on faces I now know clearer, I paused to realize my stomach was void of knots and fear. I had a belly full of peace and gratitude.
And as I sit here typing my heart out onto this screen, I brush back my hair to feel the braids that I received, my ‘one of the girls’ hair-do. I’m reminded of these Words in the book of Isaiah…
“You shall no longer be termed Forsaken,
Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate;
But you shall be called Hephzibah*,and your land Beulah;
For the Lord delights in you…” ~Isaiah 62:4
(*Literally: My delight is in her)