2 Corinthians 12:9
New International Version (NIV)
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been feeling very apathetic, not in the sense that I don’t care about anything at all, but in the sense that I do care, but I don’t actually care enough to do anything. If you ask me, that’s the worst kind of apathy, because apathy without a care in the world, leaves no shame or guilt, because it doesn’t bother your conscience. However, the apathy I’ve been feeling does leave shame and guilt, because I do care, I just don’t care enough. So, knowing that I’d be going to camp, my hope, prayer, and expectation was to have an awesome experience with God that would lead to me feeling passionate and in love with Him again! Thankfully, that’s exactly what happened at camp! 🙂
Dallas Baptist University is my favorite University in the world! Not only does one of my closest friends go there, but also everything I’ve ever read or heard about DBU has always impressed me! If I ever go to college, I plan on going to DBU. So, when I found out DBU Rec Team Blue was going to be working at Master’s Camp, I was super excited! Monday and Tuesday, any chance I had to talk to the Rec Team, I did! Monday at the Grad Program, I talked to two of the DBU girls, Jessica and Laney, for a few minutes and I told them my friend, Demi, goes to school with them. Laney quickly asked who my friend was, I told her my friend’s name, and she quickly described her. It was awesome, because out of all the students at DBU, I hadn’t expected any of the seven Rec Team members to know my friend.
After Laney, Jessica, and the five other DBU people left the room where the grads were meeting, I realized I hadn’t asked for their names, which I needed if I was gonna tell my friend that I met someone who knows her. For the next two days, I kept an eye out for one or both of the girls. On Wednesday, I eventually found one of them at the volleyball pits during the volleyball competitions. I asked her name, she said it was Jessica, and then I asked the other girl’s name, Laney, and I asked which of them knew my friend, because I couldn’t remember that either (It was like midnight when I was talking to them, so I wasn’t completely coherent when we were talking). Jessica said Laney was the one who knew my friend.
A lot of people wouldn’t recognize the significance of this encounter, and at the time, I didn’t either, but now I do. Because I know Demi and met Laney, God was able to use Laney to lead me in the direction of other people who would be used to show me His light. He also used her in a skit to bless me. Therefore, Demi and Laney were vessels in God’s all powerful hands and I am very grateful to be friends with Demi and to have met Laney.
The reason the connection between Demi and Laney is so important is that while I was Jessica about Laney, I pointed out that Jessica had really pretty eyes (I have an eye fetish. Working at Chick-fil-a has trained me to make eye contact when talking to people, so I pretty much always notice people’s eyes.) When I said that she smiled and said, “Thank you. You are beautiful.” Normally, I would have just shaken that off, because I had complimented her first, but there was something about the way she said it that stuck with me for the rest of the day. She said it with such genuineness that I couldn’t claim she only said it because I complimented her first. Still though, I didn’t really know why it stuck with me all day. Little did I know I would figure out why it meant so much at the most unexpected time.
A couple of hours later, while I was waiting for the evening Bible study for high school students and grads to start, I was sitting in the tabernacle watching music videos on the overhead TV screens. Two of “my songs” came on, “Gold” by Britt Nicole and “You Are More” by Tenth Avenue North. I consider those “my songs” because God used them, among other songs, to get me through a very dark time in my life when I was struggling with depression, anxiety, self-harm, and many other things. When those songs came on, I felt that same stirring in my heart that I always feel when I hear any of “my songs.” As usual, I also felt an odd, almost tingly feeling on my wrists, fingers, and leg where I had harmed myself (only my leg has marks, but the numb phantom pain is still felt everywhere I touched in the dark time.) Then when the Bible Study started the Rec Team started it off with a skit, but this time, instead of being funny like they had been in the previous skits, they were serious. Four of them shared their testimonies in skit form. They were all very emotional and touching, but for me it was the testimony of Kristen that really hit home, because her story was the one most like mine and the verse quoted with her testimony, I believe by Laney, was 2 Corinthians 12:9—which is the verse at the top of this post. For the second time that night, I was reminded about my past, not in a bad way, but in a way that I needed to be reminded. That’s when I realized why Jessica’s compliment was so important to me. It was because I needed to hear it. I may be healed from the things I did in my past, but that doesn’t mean the thoughts and feelings I had then won’t and don’t ever come back, because they do! And, over the past few weeks, when I’ve been feeling apathetic, I’ve also had some feelings of doubt—doubt about my beauty, worth, and even my God-given identity and calling. God took care of my doubts on beauty and worth by having Jessica tell me I am beautiful. However, He decided to handle my doubts on my identity and calling in a different way.
Shortly after Bible Study, we participated in worship, and the Rec Team started that up, also. Again, they performed a very serious skit. At the end of the skit, Jessica started to talk directly to the crowd. She said that if anyone wanted to talk, she and the rest of the Rec team would be sitting in the back of the tabernacle, more than willing to talk and listen if we needed any of them during worship. As soon as she said that, I felt this leading to go talk to them, Kristen and Jessica. I tried to reason with myself, or really God, that I could wait to talk until after the service, because I didn’t want everyone to see me leave my seat and walk to the back. The thoughts that I needed to do it then and there wouldn’t leave me alone though, so I got up and went to the back to talk to Jessica first, I wanted to tell her how much her compliment meant to me, but she wasn’t there, so I talked to Kristen. I told her the short, nutshell version of my testimony—that I struggled with depression, self-harm, and anxiety—and told her that the testimony skit really blessed me, especially her testimony and the verse associated with it. She told me that I was the third girl to tell her that, and that it blessed her to hear from us. Then I thanked her for encouraging me, and for showing me that even with a past like hers and mine, we can and will be used by God if only we’re willing to be used. We talked for a few minutes and I asked if I could add her on Facebook, because I don’t really know many older people who have struggled with and overcome the same things I have and can therefore influence me in the most positive of ways. She assured me that I could add her and it wouldn’t be the least bit strange. That made me very happy, because I’ve always been the older girl, the one who did the “mentoring.” So, knowing someone older than me who has gone through some of the same struggles I have makes me feel… like God’s watching over me the way He’s watching over the younger girls in my life. It also made me happy because most of the older people whose testimonies have blessed my life in the past have been celebrities, so I haven’t been to have any kind of friendship with them. With Kristen on the other hand, I can have some kind of friendship with her. After talking, and before going to sit back down, Kristen asked for a hug, and I was more than willing to oblige. I had thought about asking for a hug, but for some reason I don’t really like asking for hugs. It also made me feel good for her to ask for hug, because it made me feel loved and really, it reminded me that God is always here in a very tangible way, through His people, when I really need Him! 🙂
The next day, Thursday, I looked everywhere for Jessica, because I still wanted to tell her how her compliment had affected me. I finally found her in the cafeteria at dinnertime. She was talking with some of the other DBU students, so I (hopefully) politely interrupted to ask to talk to her, and she was very kind about it. I told her my brief testimony and how her telling me that I’m beautiful really meant a lot to me. I also told her that she and the other Rec Team students really blessed me through the previous day’s skits. She thanked me for the encouragement and then assured me that it wasn’t her, but God who was blessing me. That’s partially true, because I wouldn’t be able to be blessed by her if it wasn’t for God working through her, but God also wouldn’t be able to work through her for me, if she didn’t allow Him to do so. God doesn’t often bless His people on His own, especially me, instead He usually uses team work to speak to me.
Later that day, at the Evening Bible Study, Jessica said something during another very serious skit that really blessed me again. She said, “Satan offers us things that seem really great, but only God can give us things that are truly great! God’s truth is always better, but sometimes we follow the wrong path.” That was yet another beautiful reminder for me that, yes, I had followed the wrong path in the past, but now that I know the truth, I’m following the right path. Sometimes I still make mistakes and think things that are unhealthy for me to think, but that’s because it’s Satan’s job to make me question everything, while it’s God’s job to assure me otherwise. Satan is all about pleasing us in the present, but God is all about blessing us in the future. We have to remember that.
Finally, my last experience with the DBU Rec Team was at our last grad get together. While I was sitting with two of my new friends, Jessica walked up and started talking to us about normal things. The reason this meant something to me, is because it showed she’s a normal person. Her job as the girl in the skits who God uses to speak to me and other young people and the fact that she’s from DBU, almost made her, Laney, and Kristen appear as “celebrities” in my eyes, because I didn’t know them as “normal” people. However, when they came into the grad room and started talking to people, like Jessica was talking to me and the other girls, the way people talk to their friends, I completely realized they are just like me, only older! 🙂
After those experiences with the DBU girls and a few experiences with other people, I know that I left camp with a whole new passion and love for God! I’m excited and ready to make a difference in this world for Him! And, though I did write this post because I know some people who’d like to read it, I really wrote it for a different reason. I wrote this post so that I can look back to it on days when I’m feeling down and have that moment when I can say, “Hey, remember that time God used Laney, Jessica, and Kristen to show you that He will never leave you nor forsake you. He showed you that you’re not alone in life. He showed you that you’re not the only one who struggles and it’s okay to struggle, because when you are weak, He is strong.”