Friday, June 15, 2007

It only takes a spark...

Today my oldest son returns from his first church youth camp. I'm ready for him to be home. I miss him.

I also miss him missing me. Because he doesn't. Miss me, that is. Oh, I think he may be ready to be home, but I don't think he's actually missed us. I have to remind myself of the wisdom of my dear friend who would tell me: we raise 'em to let 'em go. And so we do.

Packing up my boy and sending him off to youth camp has prompted some reminiscing of my own youth camp experiences, many years, not to mention a lifetime, ago.

We attended a large church and correspondingly our youth camp was an event with some 600 campers, maybe more. As I look back, I marvel at the logistics required to pull off such a large scale event!

My memories of "Camp Travis" include careful wardrobe planning. My best friend and I, as well as my sister and I, would choose our cutest outfits: shorts for the morning Bible study, swimming suits for the afternoon at the pool or waterskiing at the lake, pants or skirts (required) for the evening worship service. Each day had its assigned clothing. I'm talking weeks of planning, even some shopping should we find it necessary or our clothing options inadequate.

It seems as I look back that most, if not the whole, of my camp experience was purely an emotional one: the angst, the thrill, the roller coaster ride of teenage relationships. Who liked who; who was breaking up with who; which boy would come by the girls dorm after the evening service to ask which girl to go for a walk.

We were teenagers, pure and simple.

I remember little or nothing of deep, meaningful spiritual lessons learned. Rather, I was more consumed with looking cute and being liked by a certain boy.

Certainly God's Word was proclaimed. I remember rededicating my life as we sang "The Savior is Waiting." I remember rededicating my life again another year as we sang "The Savior is Waiting." I remember another year thinking that since I'd already been rededicated twice, this time God was calling me to "Surrender to Special Service." While singing "The Savior is Waiting."

And today, as the stay at home mom of four sons, I can only say: Special Service? Indeed.

And no, I don't really know if we sang "The Savior is Waiting" every time, every year. It just seemed like it. We would in fact stand in a circle on the last day and join hands to sing "Pass It On" and we over-emotional, sleep-deprived girls would shed a tear or two as we sang.

No doubt God planted more than a few seeds in the heart of the silly, immature teenage girl I was then. I now see His Word does not return void, but will accomplish His desire and achieve His purpose (Is. 55:11).

And I pray the same for my own son. May he enjoy a time of fun and fellowship with his friends, but may he also hear and receive the Word that is being proclaimed. May God take the truths of His Word and ignite a holy passion for His Son Jesus in the heart of my son and the others with him.


  1. Wow. This post resonated with me on so many levels. I've been that giggly teenage girl, I've been a high school youth group leader, I've been a camp counselor. So there are lots of memories there when someone mentions the words "summer camp."

    I think our emotional, "let's all cry now and rededicate our hearts to Jesus" song was also "Pass It On."

    And the angst! Oh the angst!

    Thanks for the memories.

  2. You are taking me back this morning...
    "The Savior is waiting to enter your heart
    Why don't you let him come in"
    Is that the same song or a different one?
    "There's nothing in this world to keep us apart"... sorry I can't help myself.
    Some stuff really does get planted and it might take years to mature but eventually it does...

  3. Forgot to mention I like your new little photo at the top of the blog...
    "and soon all those around can warm up to its glowing"
    did I mention I have a terrible habit of speaking lyrics?

  4. Oh Kum-ba-ya, my friend. The tears (of laughter) are rolling because I was there, right there with you--stressed out over frizzy hair, not having the cutest sandals, and so afraid that HE wouldn't look my way. Preserve us indeed, the Lord must do, because obviously left to our own silly affections, it's just only about the clothes. Fun and worthwhile post!

  5. Hey, Lisa - I am OLD and I was there, too....Pass It On brings a tear now....however, I would not take anything for those times - I remember feeling the Power of the Holy Spirit as we held hands and sang...

    I am so glad that our boys are experiencing that...didn't miss you, huh? traveler stayed another day...he REALLY misses me....

    Love you, Girl

    *I have read the first chapter of the SS book over and over...have not moved to the 2nd chapter... so much to ponder...thank you...


  6. Definitely taking me back to those camp days. So funny!

    FYI Great New picture!

  7. Oh, you just described every youth camp I ever participated in, too. And, yes, God did mature those seeds planted, in spite of my own silliness. Amazing grace!!

    And I also remember feeling called to "special service" of some sort, and the whole church assumed I was making a commitment to "full time Christian service" and one older lady just cried over my wanting to be a missionary - their assumptions and presumptions scared me that night, because when I went forward, I didn't really know what it was I was wanting to express, but I did want to be serious about my commitment Christ. Looking back, what I really was experiencing, I think, was a just a simple desire to serve the Lord and be fully committed to Him, but I had no idea at that time my calling would "just" be to be "wife" and "mom." I never really gave much thought to the fact that those roles also fulfill that "special service," but truly they do.

    I hope your son had a wonderful time and made lots of good memories.

  8. Oh this brings back memories ...
    Praying that God blesses your son and that he pours into him a renewed love for him and for you! May God bring him back a little more like Jesus and may you be blessed greatly by what he shares with you!

    thanks for sharing
    Mama to 6
    one homemade and 5 adopted (by the Grace of God)
    I love new friends...come by and meet us!

  9. I grew up going to a church camp as well. I can SO relate to all the things you described -- all the nonsense! However, I also know that those times were also full of formation for me - being steeped in God's Word and surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (in the counsellors and team leaders).
    Anyways, even if there was some shallowness on our part as youngsters, I think it was still a grace-filled time for our Lord to work in my heart and I am thankful for it!
    I hope my kiddos can go someplace like that as they get older.

  10. 600 campers? Wow, our youth group had a grand total of 2 leaders and 8 kids attend this year. I think our church is a tad smaller than yours was! But the prayer for the kids is the same as yours!