After a great and exhausting week of camp with K-2 kids, we moved up a little to 3rd-4th graders. I remember being that age and not having a care in the world. What happened? Oh yeah, I grew up. It was a delight to be the "adult figure" to these girls. Their questions and answers were innocent and the way they should continue throughout life. I prayed for them and for their futures. Being a little girl is so pleasant and fun, and then you grow up. Add hormones and middle school/high school drama to that and it's a perfect recipe for disaster up here in Alaska. Things are different here. In the small towns of Salcha and Delta Junction, it's almost as if there is something in the water, as Pastor Mark would say. Damaged families by drugs, alcohol, violence, and divorce is rampant here. I tried to embrace these girls and feed truth to them, because the storms would soon rise and I don't want them to be lost in a see of confusion in this sin consuming world. They were beauties though. Full of energy and life. Not a care in the world and perfect little princesses of our King.
Week 3 consisted of 7 delightful 5th-6th graders in my cabin. Not too young, and not to old. Many stories came with these girls and the more the week went on with tears and there, I got a glimpse into some of there tender hearts. I tasted a bit of their pain, questions, fears, and dreams. Delta Junction has a reputation of everything but good. Not saying good can't come out of DJ, but it's almost consistent everywhere you turn. These young ladies had a handful of funny stories that kept me on my toes, but I knew that I still hadn't hit the prime age on which I thrive. I was sick that week and had to be quarantined to another room and hated missing out on so much, but I got to spend lots of extra time in prayer and was able to do a lot of soul cleaning. It was a great week!
Now this past week I was blessed with 8 7th-8th graders. Hormones had set in and it's not awkward anymore to interact with boys. But, one of our main goals for these boys and girls is to protect their hearts, minds, and emotions, keeping their focus on bonding with the other girls and most importantly on God. A few of the beauties in my cabin would pull me aside and ask lots of questions about God, how to be a better role model at school, and desired verses to lead a better life. It was encouraging. I found myself becoming good friends with the "youngians". I saw myself in them, I saw what I wanted to be in middle school in them. These ladies made me laugh. Oh boy, did they make me laugh. I wish I could speak truth daily to middle school girls who are struggling with this horrid world. I desire these young ladies to have victory in Christ over temptation, boys that drag them down, things that say they aren't beautiful, drugs and alcohol, and the question as to whether to have sex with their boyfriends. My heart broke daily for these girls and I continued to lift them up to our Heavenly Father. I enjoyed loving on them or as Mark would say "filling their love tanks". I have always loved to show affection and share my love with my friends, kids I babysit, and even my best guy friend Michael. Oh, and now that we're on the subject of him I might as well throw this in. The next paragraph will be for you buddy. I loved speaking to these girls about the trials I had been through when I was their age and how I wish I would have been more connected to God. Week 4 was a success and we had 2 rededications and 1 salvation! Go Jesus!
I had the devotion one night and we got on the topic of friends. I started to describe the kind of friend that the girls should be searching for and trying to be. A friend who seeks God first, looks forward to getting to know you more and more, is real in all situations, desires the truth, isn't afraid of what people may think of them or you two being friends, a person who shows their love for you and the friendship, makes time for you, listens to you when your world is crashing down, makes you feel normal when you think you have the most issues in the world. Right when I quit talking God reminded me of the special gift in my life that I get to call my friend. Michael Steven O'Neal. I know I tell him all the time how much I appreciate him, but I never want it to get old. He has helped me discover myself in ways I never could have down on my own. My husband will have to go through him before he can get a hold of me, mark my word. Haha. He is a true example of a godly brother walking in the ways of his Father. I love you friend.
Today the team and I drove 2 hours to Chena, AK to hike Angel Rock. It was beautiful. Views of the valley were breath taking. I amazed myself at my rock climbing skills. John Mark Leach would be proud. Hahaskys, and the native fire weed flowers here. I'm reading this book by Angela Thomas called "Do You Think I'm Beautiful?". It has soothed my soul and helped me through the question that is attached to ever woman's soul at birth. Do you think I'm beautiful. I'm learning to say yes. "Lindsey you are beautiful. Your funny thumbs and your boyish shape. I made you so of course you are beautiful. Do not question your beauty because you abide in Me. You are a gift. Your paper is not ripped, and your bow is still on top and one day you'll be a wonderful gift to a man that thinks you're the most beautiful woman in the world. Let my words be enough, because they are. You are beautiful." I hear God saying that more and more as I allow and pray for my ears to be opened to the truth and ask God to wash away the lies that for 19 years I have bought into. The lie that I wasn't good enough, needed to lose weight, be prettier, that I had too many issues, that I needed to change myself in order for people to like me, that a boyfriend was the answer, that the pain from a boy in high school was the best I would get, and the list goes on. SHUT UP! All of you, shut up! I have victory in Christ and He overcame death even in a grave. I decided to stop telling God how big by problems were and started telling my problems how big my God is. Our God is greater and our God is stronger. Find strength in that today.
Choo-choo back on track. While I was alone talking to God, I felt a surge of emotions. Tears came. What was this? I calmed myself, climbed down, and asked to go back to the van to have a quiet time. I sat in that van all alone and listened to Gods words soothe me. I don't know what was going on but I needed to be rocked in my Father's arms. When the team returned, we drove a few miles down the road to a natural hot spring and went for a little swim. It was such a great experience. We drove back to Fairbanks and had a great dinner as a team at Chili's. Our waitress was a hoot! She had such a great personality and didn't charge us for drinks. She was a Christian and before we left, as we sat at the table God said to me, "Pray for her." Umm, OK! So I asked her. "Hey Katie, is there anyway we can pray for you?" She instantly agreed that that would be a good idea and she needed it. She then proceeded to tell us about her mom who has been battling and winning against cancer for 10 years. Then she was in a wreck and was paralyzed from the waist down and was soon to go into surgery for her hips. Hopefully she would get to walk after lots of prayer. When she walked away I got quiet. I looked across the table and said to Swiss, "You just never know what people are going through." After we left we went to Coldstone and played Catchphrase. As we were sitting a man came and asked for money. We didn't respond the way we should due to the game and he walked away. I felt horrible. The round was over and PJ got up and ran to find him and hand him some money. His name was Billy. Right then, in front of Coldstone our team of 8 decided to pray out loud for the 2 people we had come into contact with today that needed prayer. We lifted them up to out Father and asked for protection and guidance for Katie and Billy.
It's late and I need sleep, but anyone out there that is reading this I want to say thank you. Thank you for supporting me. I don't even know who reads this blog but this is my heart. I'm living in a transparent way and this is where my truth lands. I pray that my experiences will encourage you to love people because God created them. I'm not perfect just forgiven and I'm on the journey of life and have finally decided to hand over the wheel to my Father. Have you hopped in the passenger seat yet?