Has God ever just knocked your socks off? Has He ever come through in a way so personal and unexpected, you just had to laugh? We know we have a faithful Father, but sometimes He is just immeasurably more.
I am a praying momma. I boldly approach the throne of God daily on behalf of the 4 children we have been entrusted with (Hebrews 4:16), not because I am spiritually strong, but because I am full of weakness. Prayer is my biggest parenting tool, without a doubt, because I find myself lacking wisdom (James 1:5) with each new stage and season. Anyone else?
So, a couple of years ago I found myself pleading with God for specific requests for my 2 "big kids" over and over during their school year. My 10 year old daughter was going through a "less than kind" stage here at home. Everyday, with every interaction, every time she left the house I would ask the Lord, "Please, please make her kind." Her 9 year old brother seemed to be having a few issues with self-control, as 9 year old boys tend to have. Every night we would pray together for the Lord to help him have self-control with his siblings, with his reactions, and in his classroom. By the time summer rolled around, and the schedules and demands of life melted in the Texas heat, I relented a bit in pounding on the throne room room. The stakes don't seem as high in the lazy days of June for some reason. And then we dropped those big kids off at Sports Camp Session 7...
I am a praying momma... not because I am spiritually strong, but because I am full of weakness.
As the absence of half my offspring sunk in during those strange days of miscounting egos for breakfast and popsicles for treats, this mother's heart was reignited to prayer. Each night I stalked every pictures that came across my computer screen (Moms, you know it's true), and begged again for those little Omegas! "Please Lord, don't let them be scared or homesick. Protect their bodies as they swim, run, and play in this heat. Let them make friends. Please speak to their hearts. Be so very real to them this week."
At last the day came to make our way back to T Bar M to pick those little campers up! (How can a week be so long and so short at the same time? What is this phenomenon?). My husband and I split up with the "little kids" to wait beneath the flags bearing our camper's cabins on them. Every camp parent knows the anticipation as the theme song begins to blast over those speakers and you search for those familiar faces in the sea of sweaty, dirty, tired, blissful children! The reunion was so sweet! God had been so faithful... they were safe, they had fun, they had learned, they loved every moment of camp.
And then, He did immeasurably more.
We arranged with their coaches to give our son's award first, and my daughter's last so we could all make the short trek from Silverstein to Buckhorn in time. I got my phone out, ready to snap a picture as the precious college guy handed over my son's award. He began talking about my blue-eyed boy, how fun he had been, what a great kid he was, and, we the parents, beamed with pride and gratefulness. And then he said, "The quality that most stood out in him this week was SELF-CONTROL." I stopped short, phone in mid-photo. As the other parents and fellow campers clapped and congratulated my son, tears began rolling down my sweaty cheeks. I was reminded of all of those September and January and April nights that I prayed over him and with him to have better self-control. Of every character trait in the world that his coach could have spoken over him, the Lord laid self-control on his heart. And I knew it was for me. Sort of stunned, I tearfully followed my family over to my daughter's cabin just in time to watch her receive her own award. The coach found us in the semi-circle of parents and said, "The one thing I loved most about her this week was her KINDNESS," and she handed her a piece of paper with very fruit of the Spirit I had beseeched God for on her behalf so many mornings months before. I'm pretty sure I laughed out loud as I choked back a sob. And I knew it was for me.
So, parents, you don't have to be a camper for God to do life changing work in your life through T Bar M Camps.
The Lord had heard every prayer this mother had prayed for her children. He had remembered even when I may have forgotten for a season. He sent two unknowing college kids to be the answers to all those prayers that day, to bless me me with the incomprehensible knowledge that He sees me, He knows my kids, He loves them even more than I do. I was thankful that my children had displayed the very characteristics I had prayed so fervently for, but the personal and powerful ways he spoke that day, it was for me. And it was immeasurably more than I could have asked or imagined.
So parents, you don't have to be a camper for God to do a life-changing work in your life through T Bar M Camps. I challenge you to press into prayer for your children, and then keep seeking and knocking and knowing that He hears you. He doesn't just love your kids, He loves you too. As the summer approaches, what are you praying for your campers this year? Where are you expecting God to do immeasurably more for yourself as well as for them? He is able.
(And to Skyler and Canyon's coaches that year, God used you to answer so many prayers. I pray you are blessed and He is immeasurably more to you today. Thank you!)