Monday, June 28, 2010

Take My Yoke

Morning showers of necessary bug spray.
Intense games of Octagon ball and Nuke 'em.
Stimulating chalk talk drawings of the life of Joseph.
And perpetual, continuous giggling (This was my week....)

This week I thoroughly enjoyed my cabin of four junior age girls. Each one of them blessed my heart in her own unique way as she grew in God and deepened her knowledge of Him just throughout the week. None of them made an concrete decision, but I know God was at work in them. It was evident just through the good conversations we had, and the good questions they asked. I love to see the "lightbulb moment." The once confused look on their face is suddenly replaced with an "Oh, I get it!" realization in their eyes. It's like nothing else in the world. :-) 

I barely know where to begin in sharing every little minute detail of how God grew me in my walk of faith this week, but since the night is waxing old already and I have a bit of drive back to camp in the morning, I'll just share something from my time in the Word that really got me thinking ever since I read it... 

Matthew 11:28-30 says, 
"Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, 
and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me,
for I am meek and lowly in heart: 
And ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." 

I don't exactly know why, but I've always thought of the yoke Christ refers to, as similar to a cross - like "taking up my cross" to follow him. 
      But a yoke is totally different. Jesus wasn't being vague or thoughtless when He used this particular word here. He really did mean a yoke. And what does a yoke do? 
      It puts two beings side by side to work as one. Jesus calls me to a "side by side" sort of relationship with Him. (I can always get closer, and I can never be too close.) Like the verse says, when I take the yoke I will learn from Him. When I am constantly walking with Christ He will teach me as we go along life's road - if I am constantly communing with Christ how could I NOT learn from Him!? 
      Also, He promises that He is meek and lowly. Gentle in heart. What a thing for the God of the universe to say about Himself! While He is also God, He wants to be approachable to me. Wow. 

     I have just stood in grateful awe of these verses ever since I read them. And I've prayed that I too would be an approachable person, just as my Master displayed in His own character. 

     Earnestly Desiring your Prayers that I would know best how to Serve During Next Week's Family Camp, 
Jel :-)

Monday, June 21, 2010

For His Glory and My Good

Dear Friends,  

     This week I was privelidged to hear the history of the camp I am working at for the summer, as well as the history of the church we attend in town. All this new info has just amazed me how sovereign are the thoughts and ways of God!  He has a guiding hand on this wonderful church in Wyoming, ever since the very first day of its development. He is also controlling the camp ministry of Red Cliff high up in the mountains, and He is keeping a watchful eye on the kids attending VBS at my church back home... 

     And He does it all without ever sleeping or ever sacrificing one set of plans for the good of the other. He knows who to bring together at exactly what point in both of their lives. He can use one person from the church in Wyoming to affect a person in Alaska to come down to work at the camp. He can use connections with a good old friend to lead me to come all the way out here to counsel at camp. 

It reminds me of when I am standing on top of the highest red cliff, overlooking everything below. From up there I can see every winding river and road, and how they intertwine and connect. God has that sort of view all the time in my life. He always knows what's around the next bend. 

Bottom line: Everything God does is to bring glory to Himself (because He is completely worthy of it.)
And somehow, everything He does also is in my very best interest (because He loves me so much. Romans 8:28) Think about that. Only a Being so great and so sovereign as God could weave all these plans together so perfectly.... 
And for that I praise Him this morning. 

Looking forward to meeting my first God-ordained cabin of Red Cliff girls, 
Jel :-) 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Eyes on the Stars

I'm off to camp tonight so I won't have my computer for most of the rest of the summer. But before I am mac-deprived I'd like to plant this important thought in your mind.... One thing I will be keeping at the forefront of my prayers is wisdom for Jeremy. He recently graduated high school and now he's trying to decide the next step in his life. I am so incredibly proud of this brother I have! Please keep him in your prayers as he seeks what direction God wants him to take.... I know wherever he goes, he is gonna be used greatly. So many possibilities! 

Monday, June 7, 2010


I took a walk today
Down an old dirt road. 
The snowcapped mountains rose regally in the distance,
While all around me, the hills shifted and dipped 
As if they were castles in a little boy's sandbox. 
The only thing larger than the flat land stretching out before me, 
Was the blue sky with the clouds billowing above me. 
A black spotted dog 
Abandoned his duty 
Overseeing the work of a tractor
To come say hi to me. 
I was flattered, 
But told him he should go back to where he came from. 

Still I kept walking
Down that old dirt road. 
The pebbles crunched beneath my feet. 
From there I could see the interstate.
A long way off. 
I could see the cars driving
Somewhere they needed to go,
To do something they needed to do. 
There was nothing I needed to do today. 
I wasn't worried for any cars;
I walked in the middle of the dirt road
Because I could.

I followed the curve
Of that old dirt road. 
Faces errupted in my mind
One at a time:
Old faces of family that I love
And left behind to come here.
New faces of friends that I met 
In the last several days. 
Unfamiliar faces that will have a name and a story
By the end of the summer. 
I kept walking. 
I did not give much worry for where I was going. 
But it didn't matter. 
All I knew is I was still on the same road I had started on, 
And that was the same way I would return.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Everything that Should Happen

Before I crawl into my nice, warm, inviting bed, 

let me just take a moment to tell you just how AMAZING it is camping in the great state of Wyoming!!! 

That's where I've been for the last 3 days. I went up into the mountains with Sarah (whom I'm staying with before I begin my summer ministry at camp), and also her dad (who is as cowboy as they come :-), and her little 8 year old nephew Bud, and our friend Jen. 

And her two dogs.
And their four horses. 

For the first two and a half days, the horses wondered why they had even come, because the rain didn't let up for more than a half hour at a time. My heart sank a little bit at this, because the highlight of my trip was going to be getting to ride, and the rain prevented us from that for the majority of the time. 
Actually it seemed everything was working to prevent us from riding, because as soon as the rain let up and we went to prepare the horses for our mountain ride, we experienced one obstacle after another! This was just not a good day for riding horses. 
The usually calm and reserved horses (or so I'm told anyway ;-) were antsy and unmannered today. 
But I don't want to give a bad report on the horses. I know they're good most of the time. I guess they're a bit like people. They have their good days, and their.... not so good days. Either way, they're still beautiful animals! I am filled with wonder every time I grip that lead rope and hear the thumping of hooves in the grass behind me. Within these creatures lies a majestic power far greater than any physical force that I myself would be able to exert. All that power, plodding submissively toward the riverbank. And all the while, I'm thinking, "This big guy NEEDS me. He needs me to help him get a drink!" as I am bursting with pride. I am convinced there is not a feeling like leading a horse. 

I especially love watching Bud and his horse interact. Buddy is eight years old, with his very own horse. It is the most charming thing in the world to see this little blond boy with his plaid green shirt and cowboy boots on, standing not even to the horse's flank, as he lovingly shows her who's boss by firmly steering her in the right direction. Bud's ears perk up and his striking blue eyes sparkle anytime his horse is brought up in conversation. How he treats Dusty leaves no doubt in my mind that he loves her very much. And I think she likes him pretty well too!

Even though the horses turned out to be a smaller part of our trip than we had originally planned, I really loved every bit of it. Cooking was a major operation usually, either carried out over the propane stoves in the cook tent, or just over the blazing campfire in the middle of our campground. I am particularly proud of the french toast that we made this morning after Sarah's dad couldn't be there with us to supervise the cooking process. I don't think we did half bad! 

It was everything that should happen on a camping trip (at least a little bit of everything....) Roasting marshmellows for delicious Smores - decidedly my new favorite dessert!
Singing praise songs with Jen's guitar around the campfire.
A visit to the lake a few miles away.
A deathly cold wade in the lake that had our jeans sopping wet for the rest of the day (!!) Afternoon naps curled up in a warm sleeping bag.
A short-lived attempt of a horse ride that was great fun while it lasted. 
Rock contests that have us combing the ground for the coolest rock long after the official winner is announced. 
Whistling for the dogs as they came tearing back after their romp across the mountainside. Staying warm and dry while we played hours of card games on end as the rain pattered outside the tent. 

And all this for me to come to the conclusion of the cool thing about being the West... It really IS a different mentality. I had always heard that in the West strangers waved to each other, and shared what little they had, and didn't care as much about the stuff they had as the people they were with. And I always thought it was a cool idea, but it couldn't really be true. But it is. Those card games in the tent today proved it. A little time spent in the great outdoors will drive you back to what's really important. The God who created it, and His people you are spending time with. Maybe I was wrong when all that time I was thinking the horse riding in the mountains would be the highlight of my trip... because after spending those few days up there, I came away filled to the brim with thoughts of thanks for the laughs and the good times and the great character of our little camping group.  

 I hope this is the first of many camping experiences here in Wyoming with the friends God has so graciously brought into my life.