Surrender

Middle School Camp 1

Middle School 1 was our biggest camp of the summer. With 65 campers, 16 counselors, our interns (yes, one of them had to counsel) and four support staff.

It was a delight to see the camp packed full of loud and rowdy kids. But this amazing week began with difficult news. A wonderful local school teacher, outdoors-woman, and worker for the Lord died in a tragic accident while on vacation.

She was a friend of ours, the mother of our oldest son’s good school buddy, and a light of God’s love in our community. Our staff and several campers knew her closely but we did not want to shadow their week of camp with such sorrowful news. So I watched as our intern staff broke down weeping, prayed, then wiped away tears and went back to leading the group. They threw themselves into laughing, shouting, raucous fun, all while deep inside their hearts were broken. I saw them sacrifice their right to grieve, so that these dear children could postpone their sorrow for one, glorious week.

It was a glorious week, indeed. Have you ever been in a room as 65 children sing at the tops of their beautiful voices?

Have you ever felt thunder rattle the room as 65 kids jump in unison to do the hand motions during fast songs?

Then when The Thing got up to speak, it brought us from laughter to tears again in an instant. What wrecked me, was his opening illustration about surrendering to God. He’d prepared the illustration weeks ago, but it truly rattled the staff in our moment of grief. He spoke about a seven day kayaking trip that he and his dad had taken, a trip which was led by the same man who had just lost his wife the day before.

Sorrow and joy, all mingled together. Isn’t that just like life? We follow a broken Savior into a broken world and yet, beauty breaks through all around us.

Yes, the second time she leaped, Meowth jumped even higher!

In keeping with The Thing’s theme, there were many stories of surrender throughout the week.

I was so proud watching the staff come together to keep track of one particularly active camper. The two guy interns and Scruffy jumped in to help. Boromir pulled a pillow and blanket outside to do F.O.B. with him on the camp lawn since laying still in the cabin was pretty hard for this young man. Then Bomber manned the life-guarding kayak even though this boy was the only one still out of the water. Her favorite moment of the week was watching him scream at the top of his lungs, full of pure joy, every time a wave hit his tiny watercraft.

When one of the girl campers hurt her ankle, the whole cabin rallied around her. They rushed to collect various items she might need and prayed for her together.

Yes, the boys had a blast playing golf with Stormbreaker, Zoboomafoo’s walking stick that occasionally wore a bow and showed up in a whole lot of skits on Thursday. But they also demonstrated their compassion and desire to serve, even amidst a great deal of wrestling.

MiniVan wasn’t feeling well, he had 12 campers who generated no small amount of energy between them. He was assisted by Flash and then Boromir just showed up at camp on Monday to counsel when we didn’t expect him. This was such a huge blessing as he was put to good use in this large cabin of boys. Well, an exhausted MiniVan was attempting to get the campers all calmed down, but one of the boys hurtled from the room. Where had he gone? Should MiniVan give chase? After a long moment, the camper rushed back with the rest of the cabin in tow. He had gathered them all so that they could pray for their counselor together.

Sis (our intern and Program Director for the week) told of when a camper pulled her aside and gave her a dollar. This sweet girl had realized that the canteen workers accidentally gave her an extra dollar in change. She had sought out Sis to make sure that the money was paid back.

One of the greatest joys of the week was getting the chance to serve with new Support Staff member, Zamperini. He is the son of the man who led Scruffy to Christ way way back in their college days.

But this fun personal connection was not what made the week so memorable. Although, Zamperini had already battled brain cancer and leaving home to volunteer at a location that is a good 30-45 minutes from the hospital was a risk for him and his family, this young man poured himself into work like no one we’d met before. He always had a smile and a high five for everyone around him and was constantly looking for more work to do! When asked what his favorite moment from the week was, Spectre (Camp Intern and Support Lead) laughed and said: “Every time Zamperini said, ‘I’m bored, they don’t have any more dishes for me.”

I had the honor of watching a brave, first-time Sr. Counselor and equally bold first-time C.I.T. take on their own cabin. We have watched both of these girls from the time they themselves were nine-year-old Jr. Campers. In fact, I was the one who answered the phone and walked one of them through the process of camper registration. Yes, as a fourth grader, she registered herself for camp and she has been blazing through the obstacles standing in her way ever since! The Lord is so good. These young ladies were a bit nervous about leading their first cabin, but a group of more respectful little girls would have been difficult to find. They asked to be excused from the table, checked in with their counselors constantly, and thanked them for leading their cabin! We had no way of knowing that these were the most gracious little girls of all time, but the Lord did and provided this special blessing of a first cabin!

Howitzer had to solo counsel his cabin when his Jr. Counselor went home sick. Though he was surely exhausted, we watched him wrangle a group of rowdy boys with grace and constant patience. Their skit with the bagels and the song that one camper composed and preformed solo, was amazing!

There were so many fun moments during the week, like when Epona explained to her camper about Joshua taking up the job of leading the Israelites from Moses and the camper shouting out: “Like Batman and Robin!” Or when Zoboomafoo sang “Hole in the Bottom of the Sea,” for most of the 80 minute drive home from Lake Chelan until he actually reached twenty-some items which he had to spit out at super-fast speed several times per verse. “A quark on a tater-tot on the cell on the hair on the mushroom on the porcupine on the whole in the bottom of the sea!!!”

As is often the case, his cabin full of 13-year-old boys were themselves full of great peskiness and energy. Nonetheless, with this incredibly active and fun-loving bunch, Zoboomafoo did the impossible. Not only did they rush into night-games with full enthusiasm, they also cleaned their cabin (gasp!), memorized 99 Bible verses (wow!), and won the cabin competition and the much-coveted wheelbarrow of candy!

On the last night during campfire, we asked the campers to carefully consider what they would like to say and only share once. With 65 kids, the process would take quite a long time if everyone thanked their counselors, then thought of something they learned, then popped up again to thank the camp dog. One camper thought long and hard about what to say. When she stood up to share, she thanked the camp staff, including the Support Staff who do the behind the scenes work to keep camp running properly. The campers never notice the support crew and all their hard work! We were so impressed with this observant and thoughtful young lady.

Half of the campers said that their favorite thing about the week was The Thing’s chapel sessions. What? Yes, that is exactly what they said. The Thing has a gift for bringing God’s word down out of the clouds and smack into the hearts of kiddos and they relish the attention and care that he gives them as he teaches.

After one boy stood up to tell his story and then share about what camp meant to him and how it had changed him, a girl camper who had been listening whispered to her counselor, “That was really brave.”

Isn’t that what we are supposed to be as Christ’s church? The people who encourage one another.

The people who notice the hard work of those toiling behind the scenes.

The people who set aside their fun to weep with the hurting. The people who set aside their grief to rejoice with a child.

A people so deeply surrendered to the plan of their Master that they realize it is only He who can win the day. A people who truly belong to Jesus.

This week I got a glimpse of what it means to surrender to Jesus. It was such a beautiful thing to see. May we surrender to Him just as completely, all the rest of the year.

James 4:7-8a–“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

Unchecked Copy Box

Boo Boo

*In order to protect their anonymity, I do not place photos of campers above their personal stories. Although, I may do so with staff upon occasion.

Dinosaur Stomp

Jr. A Camp 2019

After a brutal, but powerful week with teens, the camp was flooded with a bouncing, smiling, laughing horde of 9 to 12-year-olds.

They raced around the meadow, zipped down the slip-n-slide, and thundered back and forth between their cabins and the dinning hall. As the whole group tromped up to Inspiration Point at night to enjoy the stars, one of them mused to a camp intern about spiritual matters.

“I wonder what it would be like to be stepped on by a dinosaur? That is the fourth thing I’m going to do in heaven, be stepped on by a dinosaur”

And that my friend, is the difference between Jr. Camp and Sr. High Camp. But please do not think that we are longing for the spiritually complex discussions and heart-wrenching honesty that teens are capable of. The simplicity and joy that envelope a week with young kids is a beautiful thing to behold. Let me wax eloquent for a moment upon the vital ministry and innate loveliness of Jr. Camp.

At Jr. Camp, everything is a huge adventure! For many of the campers, this is their first time away from home for a week. Some of them have never spent the night without their family even once and so just arriving at camp and staying is the craziest thing they have ever done.

Then there are all the new activities. Dunk Tank, Slip-N-Slide, Night Games, Lake Day, Cabin Skits … . New adventures await every day and these little guys charge through each day, soaking up every one.

There is worship, but unlike worship in any setting they’ve seen before.

Worship where you stretch out before hand to avoid a muscle injury. Worship where you leap and run and dance and shout and do so so many hand motions. But then there is the switch. After they are exhausted and happy and breathless with fun, Choco slows things down and they pray. Then he introduces quiet songs of God and His power and strength and love.

Then there is the unique opportunity to talk about God, not with their Sunday School teacher, Children’s Pastor, or Parents … but with that fun teenager who let them dunk him in the dunk tank, helped them prank the boys’ cabin, or raced across the meadow to unfreeze them during meadow games.

And the great thing about discussing the Bible lesson with a fun camp counselor and a cabin full of kids their age, is that even if they are too nervous to talk the first day, or the second, they still have days and days together to work up the nerve to share from the heart.

We had one first time camper who didn’t talk during the discussion until Wednesday. What happened Wednesday? She made a new friend in one of her cabinmates after a sun-soaked day at Lake Chelan.

Never be fooled into thinking that rowdy splashing, jumping off the dock together, and way way too much sunscreen cannot be used of God.

That is the beauty of Jr. Camp.

It is all about relishing the innocence of childhood. About being a kid on an adventure. About stretching your wings and seeing if you can have some fun, Bible lessons, triumphs, and even a few serious discussions on your own, away from home. Even if the whole cabin has to take a crazed lap around the volley ball court between every question because all those little girls are too bouncy to sit still for long.

Sure, one of the boys’ cabin might have spent a fair amount of time discussing whether or not one would smooosh into the earth if stepped on by a dinosaur or if it would simply crush you. But they also talked about heaven and getting the chance to ask Noah questions. They spent their curiosity on what they would want to discover about God’s creation once they died and had the ability to ask whatever they liked of their Lord.

One Junior Counselor talked about when the Sr. Counselor gave him the opportunity to lead the cabin discussion. He said the boys were pretty wiggly and that they did spend a fair amount of time throwing jelly beans at each other, but that they answered the questions honestly.

How many of us can say the same? Being honest with ourselves, God, and the believers around us is huge. These precious little ones are learning to do that. Taking a bold step out on their own and realizing that other people love Jesus besides Mom and Dad.

And as my own Jr. Camper somehow convinced his counselor to tote him down to the campfire while still snuggled up on his sleeping bag, hopped up to the fire to share, and then hopped back … I remembered again the pure delight of providing a week of camp for young people. Jr. Camp is truly a joyful adventure!

Boo Boo

*To protect their anonymity, I do not place photos of campers above their personal stories. Although, sometimes I will with Camp Staff.

Staff Training 2019

Here at camp, we just completed six days of intense training for this year’s summer staff. Much prayer and consideration goes into choosing our staff and when school finally lets out, we have the honor of training them for a summer of service.

So here are our staff on the first day of training!

“Wait a minute, Boo Boo?” You might ask. “That looks suspiciously like fun!”

Hmmm … yes indeed. It does look like they are having fun. That is not, in fact, accidental.

The staff actually spend a great deal of time sitting in the lodge listening to teaching sessions. They have sessions with Pastor John about counselling issues.

They have sessions with our four interns about the daily camp schedule, cabin management, different camper personalities, and camp procedures. They have sessions with other guest speakers whom I failed to photograph.

Then they have many, many, many sessions listening to Scruffy. Here he is talking about how to share the gospel with kids.

But lectures are incredibly boring to take photos of and we don’t actually want our counselors lecturing campers. So, not only do they need a break to get up and move around after sitting so long, they also need to hone their skills at vital camp activities like Chuck-the-Chicken, Archery Tag, Paintball, and Capture the Flag.

Princess Leia Freyja had to share her squeaky chicken with the counselors so they could practice this game. She does indeed love all campers, so she was willing to sacrifice, but was pleased to get it back.

While she waited, The Princess enjoyed one of her favorite pastimes. Taking goofy pictures with staff!

Not only did Princess Leia Freyja’s sacrifice allow the counselors to practice running in circles,

running in straightish lines down the meadow,

and throwing a rubber chicken in a remote, outdoor setting,

her sacrificial sharing allowed the staff to form the kind of bond that will last over a summer of intense service to kids.

This is another reason that Staff Training does not focus entirely on passing pure information on to the next generation of counselors.

We want our staff to be a true team and adding the goofy, the strange, the hilarious, and rambunctious to our training sessions may look pretty silly, but goes a long way toward fusing these young people into the amazing team that will be caring for your children all summer.

So meet our 2019 Camas Meadows Counselor Staff!

From the fresh new faces of our first-time C.I.T.s (Counselors In Training) to senior counselors with several years of experience, they were a delight to teach. Add our four interns, the support staff, and of course Choco and Scruffy and we are all set and ready for the campers to arrive. We truly would appreciate your prayers this summer! Camp ministry is the best job on earth, but it is not always as easy as a game of Chuck-the-Chicken in the meadow. Please keep us in your prayers and I will keep you all updated concerning our amazing summer adventures! Until next week … .

Boo Boo

Memorial Day Work Retreat

On Memorial Day every year, campers young and old and in-between grab up their chainsaws, work gloves, paintbrushes, and shovels.

They follow their fearless leaders into the fray, cleaning what must be cleaned, clearing what must be cleared, and doing every job needed for Camas Meadows to be prepared for a summer of ministry to children.

There may be some debate about which job to do first, where all the shovels have gone off to, and exactly where Scruffy wanted that pile of rocks moved. But eventually everyone gets a job, instruction, and bolts into the forest ready to conquer downed trees, potholes, and piles of pine needles!

With stern (and necessary) fire-hazard rules in place that prohibit chainsaw use in August, much of our firewood gathering must now occur in the Spring.

Experienced chainsaw operators work to bring down and cut up any trees killed by those pesky pine beetles.

Younger firewood enthusiasts roll rounds to the camp truck, help stack wood, or pick up all the scattered branches that such a task produces.

Our gravel roads come out of the Winter months looking shabby and full of potholes.

But with the hard work of many hands put to the task, both the parking lot and camp road are fresh and smooth.

Work was also completed on the paintball course by this father-son team.

And this Nana-grandson team charmed one and all while bringing delicious snacks to the other workers.

Yum!

Not all jobs are out of doors. Painting, scrubbing the camp chairs, washing windows and bunks, organizing the kitchen shelves and many other tasks were completed as well.

Yes, when they are not attending to their mother’s “bunny ears” needs, these helpful campers scrub all of the chairs until they are fresh and lovely!

Cleaning out the camp stove, not a problem for this hard worker.

Grubby doors … no problem!

No, she is not sticking a screwdriver in that plug in! Why do you ask? Instead, we paint the walls and ceiling in Robin’s Roost, which requires taking off the bits and pieces that we do not want to end up pale blue. Even then, we both have a few blue strands of hair and more than our fair share of blue skin by the end of the weekend.

Good food and a moment here and there to rest and play finish off an amazing and productive weekend. Thank you one and all!

Boo Boo

Camas Ladies Retreat 2019

When the snow melts as May sunshine awakens the mountains. When wildflowers bloom across the forest floor and within the swaying meadow grasses. As birdsong greats the dawn each day, I know that Spring is in full bloom and that means it is time for the Camas Meadows Ladies Retreat.

Whether working on a craft with a friend

or family

attempting to outbid competitors in the silent auction

or shoo away that pesky photographer before she takes a picture of you laughing with a retreat buddy,

the ladies kept busy during the weekend with times of fun and fellowship in between sessions.

The chapel sessions were brought to us by Robin Chukitus and yes, there was much crying, but it was worth it! Robin braved incredible honesty as she walked us through a difficult time in her life and the amazing things that God did in spite of all the awful stuff. Just because we are swamped, it doesn’t mean that He is!

She took us on a journey to discover God as the Good Father, reaching down to help His children stand strong in Him.

The weekend left us with so much to think on, mull over, and reach out to God about as we seek Him in our own stumbling walk.

But as each of the ladies said goodbye and headed home, I remain confident that the word of the Lord did not fall upon hardened soil but eager, capable hearts. For like the wildflowers that heralded the coming spring. Each of us has the power in Him to bust out of our heartache, bloom, and shine!

Boo Boo

Jr. High Winter Blast-2019

Jr. High Winter Blast is our only Camas-run winter camp for youth. With about four feet of snow on the ground and gorgeous weather this year, the second weekend in March was the perfect time for winter wonderland fun.

Whether preparing to dive into a fluffy snowbank,

recovering from the brisk mountain cold,

or trying to learn forty-four different names through a crazy circle game,

there were many adventures to be had during this action-packed weekend.

A high-octane street hockey tournament on Saturday morning definitely used up a lot of the campers and counselors energy.

Did the boys win? Did the girls win? Or was the victor none other than Princess Leia Freyja, the camp dog?

Princess Leia Freyja certainly gained the title of “most enthusiastic un-sanctioned hockey player” even though the boys in Eagle’s Loft took home the victory.

We enjoyed the thrilling terror of the great Camas Meadows Tubing Hill!

Where a few reasonable individuals went down one tuber at a time.

Trains of tubers are outlawed, due to the realization years ago that this leads to broken collarbones, but campers are welcome to see just how many kids can be smooshed onto a single tube.

This experiment is highly entertaining for both participants and spectators.

And actually appears safer than plain old normal tubing since they never get very far.

Not far enough to build up too much speed, but certainly far enough to get a nice face-full of snow for pictures!

They jump out of the snow chilly, but smiling.

A little snow in the face and hair and maybe up one’s nose didn’t slow them down. But despite the discomfort and adventure, or maybe because of it, the tube hill brought people together and solidified friendships.

But the excitement wasn’t exclusive to outdoor adventures.

We also enjoyed some rousing games of “Share Ball” and of course Grog.

Yeah, there isn’t a whole lot of sharing in “Share Ball!”

We also enjoyed an epic game of amoeba!

All those rowdy and wonderful moments were threaded between times of quiet worship and tapping the depths of our relationship with Jesus Christ, the one who lends us direction, purpose, identity, and the love and care we so desperately need.

Faramir, our camp speaker, showed his incredible ability to cut straight to the heart of what Jr. High kids are truly concerned about. He spoke to the quiet, desperate needs of young hearts and the One who came to make those young souls truly soar!

Yes, each cabin got a bunch of candy to nibble during our cabin discussion times. But the real prize was seeing several young people choose to belong to Jesus during the weekend.

It was an amazing weekend! One that I was delighted to be a part of as a camp counselor for the first time in about eight years! Thank you for your prayers and support during this special, Camas run camp. After looking through all the photos from this year, I’m getting excited for the next one! You should consider attending staff training and then joining us. This winter camp was truly a delight! Especially for Princess Leia Freyja who got to join our cabin as the official Bear’s mascot!

Boo Boo

Summer Staff Winter Retreat–2018

A fresh snow just in time for the Summer Staff Winter Retreat

The Summer Staff Winter Retreat is one of our most unique and needed camps of the year.

All summer, our staff are required to be mature and focused on the needs of the campers.

They cannot simply hang out with each other when there are kids to chase, slip-n-slides to zip down, the dunk tank and devotional times to run, and night games to supervise.

All during this intense time of summer ministry, whenever Scruffy catches a tired counselor chatting with a fellow staff member instead of supervising the low ropes course or doing crafts with a camper, he tells them the same thing.

“Wait until the Summer Staff Winter Retreat. Then you can hang out together as much as you like.”

And they do! This is their time to simply be together. Summer Staff Winter Retreat is vital to the health and vitality of our amazing volunteers who give their time, sleep, and whole hearts to serving kids all summer.

This is their chance to be the campers and to be served by us instead of pouring themselves out in service.

From teens who hope to become C.I.T.s next summer to counselors with many years of experience, this is their chance to fill up on both fun times together and to be replenished by delving into God’s word as students rather than leaders.

So while at first glance this camp simply looks like a bunch of teens and twenty-somethings (and a few seasoned veterans) escaping to the mountains to have Nerf wars, do puzzles and crafts, play board games, and go sledding. It is in reality so much more than that!

That crazy teen racing through the lodge with the Nerf gun is the same one who sacrificed his sleep this summer to wash your son’s sleeping bag at 5:00 am after an accident. None of the other campers ever knew and your little guy just jumped right into the rest of camp, knowing that his counselor would take care of things.

That girl making bookmarks or attempting to beat Scruffy at another board game is the same one who held your daughter’s hand when she was scared at night and prayed over her as she fell asleep.

That screaming teen mattress sledding, just might be the same one who listened carefully and then answered just as carefully when your middle school son broke the silence in discussion time with: “I know I want Jesus, but I don’t know what salvation is.” (See Middle School Camp 1 Blog)

Part of the reason they can buckle down and serve with their whole hearts in the summer is that these unassuming young people have become an incredible team.

And one of the ways that they grow into a team, ready and able to accomplish real kingdom work, is by playing and praying, singing and chatting, sliding and sledding, studying and roughhousing together at Summer Staff Winter Retreat.

So what about You? Would you consider investing in the ministry at Camas Meadows Bible Camp by joining the team as a Summer Staff Winter Retreat camper and then if you feel called, a summer camp counselor?

Matthew 9:36-38–“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 3Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

145th Celebration

Camas Meadows Bible Camp has been around for 45 years and our founder Del Griffith for even longer! He just celebrated his 100th birthday on April 22nd. Such illustrious milestones demanded a bit of a party and so that was what we were up to last weekend.

So we gathered at the camp on May 12th. Campers, board members, counselors, cooks, nurses, speakers … those who love Camas Meadows and wished to celebrate with Del traveled up that twisting mountain road for a bite of cake and a time of reminiscing. 

It was a gorgeous spring day with scattered wildflowers blooming and the scent of new forest growth on the wind.

Camp people young and old packed the lodge to hear stories about the camp’s beginning years as well as a few of Del’s own tales.

It was a time to visit with good friends from the past and discover new folks with a connection to the camp or to Del. Looking out across the room was such a reminder of all the people Del and Autumn have blessed through the years.

A camp intern, counselor, and speaker sat on the couch … it sounds like the start of a joke, but they actually behaved pretty well. Yes, I’m talking about you Warhammer!

Once the beautiful cake was eaten and the many tales of camp adventures come and gone had run their course, everyone said goodbye and walked beneath the new sign placed at the entryway in Del and Autumn’s honor.

In 1973, Del and Autumn stepped out in faith and turned a crazy dream into reality. Forty-five years later, God’s work is still going on in this quiet mountain meadow tucked back into the forest. It was a delight to have the chance to thank Del for his lifetime of service and celebrate a monumental birthday together. May what they started continue for many years to come.

 

Boo Boo

 

 

 

Follow Me

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Our dog, Princess Leia Freyja Wilks, is incredibly talented at ensuring that she gets to come along on car rides. In fact, it takes real foresight and a bit of sumo wrestling skill to leave her behind. One time, I made certain that each of the boys had their car doors shut and there was no way for her to gain entrance to our vehicle, no way except through the driver’s side. Quickly, I opened up my door and darted inside. I held my arm up to keep her from making a leap for my lap but Leia sensed another weak spot. She dove for my feet, scrambled across the pedals and under my legs in a scrum of paws, feet, and a thrashing tail and plopped herself triumphantly in the passenger seat. Another time, I had my door well-guarded but one of the children wasn’t fast enough and she wedged her snout into his door hurtled herself onto his lap and, like a giant attacking sand worm, wriggled across all three boys’ laps until she lay stretched across them, victorious.

There is really no room for her in the car and she knows this. When she’s sitting in the front seat, she huffs and sighs and switches position here and there giving me long-suffering glances and the occasional raised brow. Yes, dogs really can raise an eyebrow at you, watch her sometime, it’s amazing. When she is in the back seat, stretched across all three boys’ laps, she pants and wriggles and is clearly too hot. When she is in the back with the groceries she hangs her head over the seat gazing at the boys, giving them the occasional slurp and obviously longing to be closer to the fun.

No matter how smooshed and squashed. No matter what indignity she must endure to gain access to the car or upon the ride itself. Leia always wants to come along.

Always.

Matthew 19:21-23—“Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’

But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.

And Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’”

Princess Leia Freyja Wilks knows with absolute certainty what is most important to her. Leia knows what it means to give up any security or comfort to follow. No trouble or hardship is too much to squelch her desire to come with us.

Jesus gave such a simple command and yet He was so bold. When He called His disciples the words were simple.

“Come, follow me.”

He did not qualify this request with a guarantee that we would not be smooshed into the backseat of life. He did not explain that we would never have to ride with the groceries, curl up in the passenger seat on top of a lumpy purse, or flatten ourselves out like a giant worm across three constantly moving boyish laps.

“Come, follow me.”

There is a part of our hearts that wants to know exactly what to expect, what to steel ourselves against. But this is not God’s way. Are we His or are we our own? Follow me. Will we or will we not. That is the only question because who knows what the journey will have in store. Yes, God does, but we don’t need to know. We have only one thing to consider. God is going somewhere. Do we want to ride along with Him or not?

Some car rides take Leia to the river where she gets to chew sticks and chase dandelion fluff and dig in the sand. Some car rides are for shopping and she must squish between cans of green beans and watch the gray buildings whiz past the window. But she always knows the answer to the most important question of all.

“Come, follow me.”

I pity any individual who dares to stand between our 90 pound dog and a car ride with her family, because Leia may not deign to fetch a stick or leave a pan of warm rolls alone upon the counter, but she knows exactly what it means to follow.

Now, the most important question of all.

Do we?

 

 

Boo Boo

 

Rhyme and Rhythm

 

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I was sitting in church the other day, listening to the worship music, when something occurred to me. That particular song had a sense of dissonance and clash that instantly turned the heart over, reminding me what it feels like to hurt and bleed and be in pain. But a gentle melody threaded its way through, giving a strand of hope within the dark. That song was such a picture of life. A glimpse of God’s story within our world.

The power of music, of art in all its forms. . . I think it is the rhyme and rhythm within the wild ache and clash of sound that draws us. The sense within the senselessness, the plot and story and balance of an artistic piece, the steady beat amidst all the bloodshed of life.

When there is dissonance in a song, I feel the reality of it. The terrible realness of all that surrounds us. But as the music flows together into something that makes sense, hope rises within me. It is the same for story. So much opposition is thrown up against the main character that the reader is sure life will squelch him in an arbitrary wash of senseless trouble and toil. But then there is that glimmer, that “for such a time as this” moment. The reader and the hero both realize that life is not a senseless tangle of horror. That they are where they stand for a reason. When a story finally wraps up, with all the threads untangled and the hero facing down the horror of his situation and becoming more than what he was before, it thrills the heart.

For isn’t that the ache in every heart? The longing to matter. Sometimes this world looks like a terrible mass of writhing destruction. War, enslavement, torture, destruction, tears. There are so many examples in the news and within the angry depths of our very own hearts that I shudder. And yet . . . I look outside and see a thick curtain and snow, drifting down in gentle perfection. Each flake a delicate work of art, unique and yet the same. Trees stretch out their limbs, soaking in the sun’s power and purifying the air around us. My children learn and grow, taller and more complicated every day. People change and forgive and move on to become more than anyone thought they could become. In real life, not just in the stories. 

There is a thread of reason within the terrible weight of darkness. There is God. Creator, Conqueror, Father, Friend. One who molds and makes the sensible order that flows all around us. One who chose to step down into our chaos and carve out a path to freedom. 

Isaiah 9:2–“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”

Isn’t this why the heart lifts when we hear a song, gaze upon a powerful painting, or fall into the pages of a book? The clash and bruising of reality in art pulls you forward, but the thread of hope in that one elegant strand of order frees the heart and makes us hope. We hope that we too are more than we appear, that there is a happy ending somewhere through the darkness that requires us to take that next terrible step forward.

God speaks to us in so many ways. I am so glad that He stirred the human soul to sing and paint and write and dance, to be like Him, to create. His story is all about us, if only we are willing to pause and to see.

 

Boo Boo