The last week or so has been an interesting week spiritually. I am being to (dare I say) trust again. I think I am learning to trust God with the small things and in a weird way it shows me how big He really is. If He has time to hear my small stuff, how much more does he care about the big stuff. Well, big stuff to me anyway.
I came across a verse the other day, looking for a different one. (Apparently I need to re-memorize my Scripture. I’ve forgotten the references to just about everything.) 1 Peter 5:10-11 – It’s only part of 10 that really speaks to me. “ And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” In the grand scheme of things, God has made many more people suffer for much long than I have had to. But the better part of three years seemed like long enough for me. And I am not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot, but its better than it used to be.
So for part of staff training I have to give my testimony tomorrow night…I haven’t done that since the last time I worked at camp…maybe not even then. So I guess I want to write it out so I don’t say something stupid. Just give myself some guides.
My testimony sounds just about like everyone elses here at camp. Born in a Christian home in a small town in Iowa. Dad was a police officer, mom was a teacher. I never felt the need to make trouble. I was baptized when I was in third grade. I went to awanas, youth, triennial, I started coming to camp when I was in third grade, I was on the youth leadership team, I completed evangelism explosion, led see you at the pole for 4 years, if it had anything to do with God, I did it. I started working at camp the summer after my 8th grade year I think, I never went to a high school camp, I just started working here…and that’s been 10 years ago…wow.
5 years ago I moved out to Colorado for massage school. (Massage blurb) I loved, love, love, love, love Colorado. Met my best friends there, just made some major memories there.
But like Ric said in his testimony, there is a difference between knowing God in your head, and knowing God in your heart. I thought I knew God in my heart, because of all that I knew about Him. I am very much my fathers daughter in that I could tell you how something works in theory, but in actuality, I’ve never done it.
About 2.5 years ago, it all started to go wrong. A serious boyfriend broke up with me, lost a well paying job that I hated, had 2 major medical issues with no insurance that created medical bills to rival my yearly income at the time, I lost my house and had to move back home to Iowa…to my home town to my parents house. I have never cried more or been so mad at God as when I was driving out of the Yampa Valley. I had never felt like such a failure in my whole life. At that point, I started comparing. “why doesn’t God bless me like he does that family?” “why is that person bad and they get EVERYTHING?!” Comparison is every bit as toxic as Tom was saying it is the other night. And as I was leaving the valley, I remember telling God I didn’t want anything to do with Him. He’d messed up my life enough. What had I ever done to him?
When I got back to Iowa, I had no friends basically. I was closer to camp, but that was 3.5 hours away and I was broke. I was SO BORED. So I got involved with some negative groups and activities that I had been curious about for awhile. My thought was “well, God isn’t a part of my life anymore, so I don’t have to worry about that judgement and that guilt.” So continued to be apart of that group for …about a year.
When I was in the LaCrosse Barnes and Noble last summer with a bunch of staff, they all gravitated towards the Christian book section and I thought ”…fine…I’ll follow, only because they expect me to.” Low and behold there was a book there called Angry conversations with God. This woman essentially takes God to marriage counseling to figure out whats wrong with their relationship. What sold me on the book, was in the intro (so nicely labeled “just because this is the intro DON’T SKIP IT!) She was talking to her friend Mary saying “I know God is good, Mary, He’s just not good to me.” This woman was speaking my language! I was tired of being angry last summer. I was also tired of being one person around one group, and a different person around another group, trying to remember who I’d told what to, who didn’t know at all, etc. I was tired of being mad. I read that book and re-read it and it made a lot of sense to me, which was what I needed. I needed a jumping off point. So this last year almost, has been rough, I am by no means out of the woods…on anything actually. Im still dealing with things from Colorado, I don’t talk to the group of people was hanging out with anymore…so that’s a step in the right direction. But I will always have those experiences in my head, that baggage for lack of a better word. But as of the last few months, I’ve had closer friendships with people who’ve had a great impact on me. They’ve provided great conversation which is what I crave and definitely being back in the valley here has had a great impact on me. Just a few days ago, I had a God moment, which is what I used to call a coincidence, when I was looking up a Bible verse. I was looking for the one that said ‘His grace is sufficient for me.’ But I picked up another Bible and looked under Grace and it showed me 1 Peter 5:10.So this is my rebuild time. I have suffered, God brought me through a desert, a dark time, I’ve gone thru things no one should have to go thru, let alone at 22-23. I’m hopeful for the first time in a long time. I’m excited to see God work. And now that I’ve been all this crap, it gives bible verses new meaning. 5 years ago that verse meant next to nothing. A hard time was a bad afternoon in the kitchen at camp, or a family fight….I know now, what suffering is. I know what its like to cry out to God for a break, only to see the next wave rolling in. So now, I’m looking for God in the small things…like please God, let the chicken get done in time for lunch. And if God can take care of my small stuff, how much more should I rely on Him for the big stuff? I can’t even make a comparison from how I was 5 years ago to now. This time around its going to be different and I’m really excited about that.