STOP. It is about time to post this–it has been too long…and already I need to post on my first few weeks in college! So, here it goes…
Soon, only too soon, it all begins. A new season. The turn of leaves. The rushing of the wind. The urge to pull one’s’ sweather closer. Fall. And with it, my season. My time to take on this great giant called college. The four-year race and journey, the beauty and the time to fight.
I turn to my keyboard yet again, to document, to write, to remember. This new season has already begun, and yet, I cannot wait another moment to let this last season go unnoticed and unrecognized. I cannot let the thoughts, the tears, the laughter and joy all go undocumented.
This 19th of August was the end to my nine weeks away. Where? At this camp called River Valley Ranch, where I was a counselor for girls ages 9 to 12. What an age to teach and pour into! I had 18 different girls every week of the eight where the camp lasted. What a joy to be one to participate in this. What an honor. How unworthy I am to have had this time.
Unworthy. Strange wording? Perhaps. But that was all my co-counselor and I could properly describe the time with on that last night where we worshipped side-by side, where we rejoiced for the beautiful and treacherous of everything this summer had held.
Why unworthy? Well, what was it that my God had done through us this summer? We’d had the opportunity to personally meet and minister to about 140 young girls this summer alone. We met each, learned their name, got to see a bit into their lives, and reach them as God led us.
Last summer, I remember telling God that I was broken. So broken, I’d thought, that I wasn’t quite ready or able to be used best to minister to others. This summer, however, I embraced the brokenness, and I determined that this broken vessel was still able to be used because in my most broken and cracked areas, God’s overflow was able to pour through most quickly and amply. Did He not say that His power is perfected in weakness?
What of stories? What of testimony that this broken vessel was used? What impact did this heart, available and so ready to give have on others? I met many a tender heart, but also ones with such layers of stone surrounding their hearts. Through the weeks, some stories come to mind, but not all the ones I’d wish. God did it again and I only wish I could tell of all of it again.
Seeds. (Matthew 13.) At first, when starting this summer, I’d expected to see drastic changing of hearts, revival in each, salvation in all, for all to see. But no, for the most part, God only had me plant seeds and water the ones already growing.
There were always girls willing to hear–but sometimes the ones who care most come in strange forms. There was one girl who I remember being the most energetic, hyper and at times overbearing of girls. Many a time she would double over in laughter over something during our serious moments and disturb everyone else. However, this same girl became the most inquisitive and responsive by the end of the week. I believe she got saved, or so least confirmed her salvation on one of our last days, and then remained with me a while after others were done speaking on the subject to ask about how to hear and know the voice of God speaking to us.
I was so blessed to see someone so young ask about my God; it was both exhilarating and humbling. I found myself many a time this summer in awe of God; I was so enraptured with his power. I loved to see the hunger for God; I hadn’t felt so on fire for God like this in a while. I felt so unworthy of being able to tell young girls about who God is. There were times of worship this summer where I wanted to both laugh and cry for the joy I felt in God.
Many a time I found myself speaking to the girls about spiritual warfare. Was this too tough and heavy subject? Was it too early for them to talk about spiritual warfare? Perhaps. But for others, though they may not know God, they’ve already seen spiritual warfare, unbeknownst to them.
There was a bible time within my small group of girls where spiritual warfare was lightly mentioned–and then became one of the main focuses through the time where we were speaking. I found myself speaking about the weekend prior where God had allowed me to be in a pretty scary spiritual situation.
We were driving back from doing laundry one Friday night when, all too suddenly, my friend, who was driving, came to an incredible halt. She hollered that there was a man in the road, and lo and behold there was. He was stumbling in what seemed to be a drugged reverie, vulnerable to anything at the late hour in which he walked across. Having slammed on our brakes, my friend positioned the car in such a way as to protect him from approaching cars, because she had her lights on.
We sat there in torrid breathlessness, afraid for the man, but, at the same time, still not knowing the nature of his own quest across the road. We questioned if he was going to approach our car, and then remembered that we were only four girls alone in this car. We were not about to get out of the car and try to redirect him on our own. Soon, we rasped prayers of protection, direction and peace. We prayed against anyone bringing harm to any of us. Watching him double over a few times to nearly fall over, and observing his backpack and the weight thereof, we soon came to the conclusion that he couldn’t be drugged, but instead that it could be he had a heavy demonic war against him.
We soon started to say Jesus’ name louder and louder. The weight upon the man’s shoulders was more than a backpack. We prayed in God’s angels to protect at that moment. And after composing ourselves a bit more, the friend who was driving called 911 to any police officer nearby. We expected results quickly, seeing that we were on a well-known road, but found it hard to convince the operator that help was needed. Straining our eyes to look back at him, he kept stumbling.
A car stopped by him and a man went to him and led him away from the middle of the road. We breathed a breath of relief, thinking this could be the answer. However, the man in the car handed the stumbling man a cigarette and left. What was he thinking? And, why leave him like that? We sat in stunned silence a little longer.
The prayers we come up with in times like these are precious, pure and real. As I think back to that time, I realize that there were no great flourishes in our words, no competition in who could “pray the best”. We held nothing back and we knew only God could do it at this point of time. There was something so beautiful in our desire to be used by God at this point. There was a vulnerability that came, yes, with fear, but also because we only wanted God to show through in that moment.
A police officer finally came, after much convincing to our operator that it was needed for this man who kept going on and off the busy highway. He pulled up and seemingly had a conversation with the man, looking very casual about it, as if he didn’t take it entirely very seriously. It was disconcerting. As soon as they were talking, the man who we’d been watching straightened, stopped trembling and looked well again. It was rather creepy.The police officer soon got back into his car and drove off–without the man.
Confused, we sat there in rapt silence. What had just happened? To me, it seemed as though some sort of burden had lifted from the man…All we could conclude is that this was spiritual warfare…and that perhaps we had just cast out demons from this man…He simply kept walking, looking well and healthy. Seeing this, and still shaken up about the whole thing but knowing God’s angels were around each of us, we drove home and continued to pray and fill the atmosphere with words and music that glorified God.
I may not know why we were supposed to have seen something like that…Except that we had a testimony of how God works in us and gives us strength when we are weary and scared, and that he can use even our humble prayers to do incredible things like–perhaps even remove demons from a man…and save a life.
Could it be that God had just that not only on that scary night but also through all of us counselors this summer? By laying our lives down, being available to him, that we were able to be used in a beautiful way? Yes. it is.
Stories to be continued!