Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Summer Recap: GREATER GOD

This summer I got to be a part of a phenomenal staff of 50 people and work with hundreds of students during my nine weeks at Ponderosa Lodge at Mount Hermon. I could easily say, without hesitation, that this summer was the best summer of my life and I would not have changed a single thing about it! Not only did I get to work with amazing people and students, but I also got to live in the mountains, 15 minutes from the beach. Does it get much better than that?! I am so thankful for the incredible people I met, loved working with “big kids”, learned new things about myself and grew in my relationship with God in ways I never have before. Our summer theme for camp was UPSIDE DOWN, live like you belong to another world. After living in a colorful world that looked like a mix between an Alice in Wonderland scene and a Dr. Seuss book for two months, the transition home was more difficult than I anticipated. I went into minor culture shock as I returned to school about four hours after I got off a plane from camp. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my fellow Upside Downians and miss doing life and worshipping everyday with the remarkable brothers and sisters the Lord blessed me with this summer. As a staff, we focused on the theme “Great call, GREATER GOD.” This summer, God opened my eyes to what a GREAT God he truly is. This is not a lesson that ended August 18th when I left Ponderosa Lodge with tears in my eyes. God has continued to reveal this to me as I’ve been back at school this year. Our God is greater than stress at work, feeling exhausted from lack of sleep, loads of homework, and details of planning a huge event. Each day I am blown away at the ways our God is working in our lives.
In continuing to learn about our GREATER God, he keeps reminding me to trust him. Because he is GREATER than anything we face, how can we not trust him?! So often I let little things get to me but this summer I began to learn how to let those things go and trust in the sovereignty of our GREATER God. This is definitely something I’m still working on!
Now that I’ve been home from camp for about month, I’ve had some time to process the amazing summer I had. A year ago this time, I had NO idea I would get to spend my summer the way I did. I had just started to think about maybe working at Mount Hermon and a friend encouraged me to do so. While he tried to tell me what a life changing experience it would be, nothing could prepare me for what the Lord had in store this summer. The last two summers I worked with elementary students doing day camps in Southern California and I thought is God really sending me to Northern California to work with junior high and high school students?! Are you sure God? Lots of people asked why I didn’t want to work with younger students and I told them I really felt called to work with older students this summer..even though the thought scared the living day lights out of me! I am still in awe of the ways God revealed himself to so many students and our staff this summer. Each day I heard incredible stories and saw lives being transformed. I am praying and hoping I can return for one more summer before “real life” begins after student teaching next fall but trusting that our GREATER God already knows what he has in store!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pushing Forward

When I got home from camp, I knew I had less than eight weeks to train for my next half marathon. When I signed up for it in May, I thought it would be fine. But after not running for three months, I felt so stupid for signing up to run 13.1 miles in October. I told myself that I had to get up and train, even if I was tired and even if it was hard. The first three weeks back were awful. Two miles felt like 20 and I thought there was no way I'm going to survive this race. What was I thinking?! With the heat I was worried about when I would train..besides 5am..and tried to get myself to spend as much time on the treadmill as I could, but that was miserable. Surviving running for 30 minutes was a huge victory in my book. Being able to run three miles without stopping felt like a little goal but one that was difficult to reach. As the days passed I prayed and prayed asking God to give me strength and endurance to run for his glory. The last three weeks seemed more difficult than actually running my last half marathon but I told myself to keep pushing forward. You can do this. You will build up to more miles. Baby steps. Small victories. This last Saturday, I ran 6 miles. And it felt SO great!!! While it's not quite half the distance of what I will be running on October 13, I felt so much better after getting over the huge mental block that was standing in the way of me being able to increase my milage. I have learned what I mental game running is!
The last few days I've been thinking about running and how it has changed my life and how God has used it to teach me so much. Sometimes our faith and relationship with God is like the first few weeks of training for a race and you feel like there is no way I'm going to get through this or survive what I'm facing. But when we rely on God for our strength and trust him with all our hearts (even to help us survive those little runs), he will not fail us. He is constant and unchanging when we are a mess. Praise Christ!
Over the summer at camp, our staff theme was "Great call, GREATER GOD." This is something the Lord is continuing to teach me, even after the summer. Our. God. Is. GREATER. Than everything!!! God has placed a great call on my life to run for his glory. While this is a great call, I know I have a GREATER GOD who is by my side every step, every mile, every run, giving me the strength to finish. I have a God who is greater than losing sleep, squeezing everything into my schedule, and a God who is greater than the hills (physically and metaphorically!) that I face. As I continue to train for my race, I am relying on the strength of my GREATER GOD.