During Wednesday night's surprise lectio divina, God showed me how prayer truly can be pursued in so different ways, as we had been talking about earlier in devotions. For the first time in a while, I felt that reading the Bible wasn't just reading words from a book. Instead, it felt like God was speaking directly to me through the verses we were reading. He was speaking to me, and I was finally open to listen. It was like He was right there with me, talking to me one- on- one as the friend I so desperately needed to hold me. In that moment, I finally saw how God has the ability to be anyone we need Him to be- a Healer, a Friend, a Savior, and so much more. He isn't just the all-powerful creator of the universe that I had so often stereotyped Him as being. He is my Father and He is my friend. That was one of the most rewarding realizations I came to this week.
Of course, it didn't stop there. Each morning we had the opportunity to talk to a counselor one-on-one about something that was on our heart. At first I was hesitant to be vulnerable like that, but finally I took my chance Thursday morning. I went up to a counselor and starting talking to her about a struggle that had been breaking my heart for a long time. At first she just listened, but then, she looked me in the eye and told me, "Honey, you are so beautiful. You are such an amazing person, and I know that God is going to use you as a light in this situation. The fact that you are where you are today proves that God has been working miracles in you. You're going to do amazing things with this, just remember that He's in control." No one has ever told me something so straightforward, yet so encouraging, before in my life. As she prayed over me, I discovered that God also uses other people to communicate to you. Everything she said to me was exactly what God knew I needed to hear. What really moved me, though, was that some of the things she said were answers to prayers I hadn't even told her about- prayers only God knew about. God used her to speak to me, and I realized that God speaks through people all the time. My problem before wasn't that God didn't speak to me; it was that I didn't have the heart to hear Him.
Finally, on Thursday night, we had Faith Night. Everyone had told me to expect lots of tears and lots of prayer, but no words can fully describe the impact that night truly had on my life. It was the most powerful display of God's love and mercy I have ever seen. By the time Jimmy started praying for us, I starting crying so hard that I could hardly sing. The power of everyone's voices singing to the Lord was the most moving thing I have ever experienced. People I had never spoken to before came up to me and prayed over me. I probably got a hug from over half of the kids at camp, regardless of whether or not any of us knew each other. The words of prayer and worship spoken around me were so moving. We were experiencing true community in that room. God was there with us in each and every person's heart.
In that moment, as everyone was praising and crying and praying, I finally understood that God isn't just a God who listens and forgives you of your sins. He is so much more. He loves us with every ounce of His being, more than we could ever begin to comprehend. He IS love. That night, I rededicated my life to Christ, and it became the most inspiring and amazing night of my life. The biggest thing I took away from my time at camp is that God will use fellowship, prayer, teaching, and the breaking of bread to guide you and shape your heart if you let Him. But first, you have to be willing to humble yourself to allow him to move in your life. A lyric that we sang each day was, "Give me faith to trust what You say: that You're good and Your love is great. I'm broken inside. I give You my life. All I am, I surrender." That's exactly what I needed to be reminded of- that I need to surrender to Him in order to be renewed. In order to receive, we must be willing to trust. That was the concept that completely changed my life this week. I will be forever thankful for the people I could share this experience with, and to our God for using camp to change my life.