The camp my daughter is attending has a rich history with my town. Founded by the grandmother of a close friend, it is currently run by a different family from my church. As a result, we have existing relationships with a dozen counselors/staff/campers. While I am hopeful K stretches her wings and meets many new friends this week, there is a certain measure of comfort in knowing there are familiar faces on her adventure.
One such face belongs to the daughter of a friend. The trio and I have literally been writing letters to HJ at camp for several Summers. What a sweet surprise to find that as a Leader Trainee this year she was randomly assigned to my girl's cabin to help with activities! In the first photo I saw of my girl on the camp website Sunday night she was curled up in HJ's lap during cabin time. It warmed my heart and brought peace.
Investing in others often pays precious dividends. Certainly my letter writing to HJ years ago was never done from a sense of how it would benefit me later. It never occurred to me that the 3rd grader I wrote back then would one day be the tender young lady holding my 3rd grader's hand in my absence. Such is the beautiful nature of community. Pouring into people often results in an overflow from their hearts and lives benefitting others-- a cycle of blessing. What a bonus to see the impact on people you love dearly!
And then there was the afternoon conversation several weeks ago, when K came home telling me how she'd learned about some of the camp traditions from a friend whose older sister has attended Skyline.
"There are three clubs and they each have a color. I know girls in all three, but I really want to be a Ranger because blue's my favorite color."
She went on to excitedly tell me how she and her friend had devised a plan to make sure she got to be blue.
"I am just going to peek a little when I reach in to draw a bead, so I can make sure I get blue," she reported without hesitation.
It became clear that until she saw the look on my face, she had not made the connection that this was cheating and morally wrong. We had a chat and decided instead of trying to manipulate circumstances to get what we want (an age old struggle most of us can identify with), we would start praying about it--thanking God in advance for whatever club she was going to wind up drawing. Yet, even on the drive to camp she mentioned how much she hoped she got blue.
Monday night around 11pm I got a text from a dear friend (and mama of the friend with whom K had originally hatched the bead plot). It included a screenshot from that evening's camp pictures:
Surely the photographer had no idea what a treasured lesson he had just captured on film. I have grinned about the sweetness of God for two days. Not because she got what she wanted, but because she got this lesson. She didn't cheat. She prayed for a month, trusting Him. And, yes, this time she got the desire of her heart.
I have asked myself if the God of the Universe really cares about plastic camp beads...and I still don't know the answer. What I do believe with every fiber of my being is that He absolutely cares for the heart of the one wearing them. God is pursuing my girl. He wants her to know and love Him--and I think He met her where she was, focused on cheap plastic beads. I believe this because He has mercifully met me in some equally frivolous places before.
K & I have this story to file away in our hearts the next time we are tempted to snatch away the reigns and take matters into our hands. When instead of beads it is an ill loved one, a broken relationship, a big decision, we can remember His care even when it came to plastic blue beads. He is the God of it all and worthy of our trust.
He will not always give her what she wants. He loves her too much for that! But this time, He did...and we will give Him all the glory...not even because of the outcome, as much as for the story planted deep in her heart.
Updated Thursday to add: Just got my first letter from camp. Grinned my face off at her second sentence. "I didn't peek."