Trusting God

Everyone has stories of times when they trusted someone and were let down.

A few spring to mind for me, from someone literally just letting me fall during a trust exercise, or twice in my life when boys have pulled the chairs out from underneath me as I was about to sit down. 

However, one really takes centre stage. I was doing the high wires at a fitness camp- where you’ve got a harness, and your objective is to shimmy along these wires two or more metres off the ground- for the really brave, there are places where you have to just take leaps of faith to get to the next place of safety. However, you’re wearing these harnesses so that if you fall or want to stop, the person spotting you can let you down. I watched my partner with the vigilance of an eagle. When I looked down at her, she was chatting with someone else, and typically, the shock of betrayal caused me to fall. So, in the most awkward way possible, I dangled there like a flailing fish until I managed to catch her attention. 

No wonder people have trust issues. 

Two weeks ago today, I quit my job. I wish I could say I’d thought about it, and had the dignity of a speech and strutting out with my head held high. However, unfortunately that was not the case. There was yelling, and crying, and my brain sort of melted so that I went outside to finish the shredding before grabbing my cactus and waddling home in my high heels. [I had to sneak in the next day to get my tea and leave the key on the desk.] To be fair, I had always dreamed of quitting. I just always thought I’d have something to move on to, and I’d have my speech ready before I went in, not at 3 am the next morning. 

Then, the next day, my Dad was attending a meeting for the church’s kids holiday club and, running with my adrenaline, I decided that day that I would do kids club with absolutely no physical or mental preparation or planning. 

So that’s how I ended up doing kids club two days after quitting my job [and after telling everyone for six months there was absolutely no possible way I could help out because I’d be working.] [I got an award at the end for “Best Life Choices”.]

And, the day after kids club ended, I packed my bags and headed off to a week of leading on a high school camp. 

I can’t explain to you what I was thinking, because the easiest summary is that I wasn’t. I was trying to think of how to write a post-camp blog post yesterday, and my head was just spinning from two weeks of not sticking to my usual strict regimen. My hair is frizzy because I didn’t have time to wash it properly, and my face is breaking out because of what, stress? Lack of sleep? An unusual amount of physical exercise for someone who used to sit at a desk for nine hours a day? 

And I realised the only thing that is still true after two weeks, and maybe six months of falling down a rabbit hole of insanity, is that God is good. 

In the past six months, I have had my first major break up, transitioned into a new church, started uni, finished up with my old Sunday School, started a new one, and quit my job. But while my head has been spinning, “on Christ my solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

With no planning, I expected last week to be hard and disorganised. But I was surrounded by a team of people who trusted and loved God and worked to include but not overwhelm me. This week, I expected to be awful because the last high school camp I went on I was completely out of my depth. But once again, I was surrounded by a team of people who worked endlessly to pull their weight and make sure I was okay, plus I was blessed with an amazing group of girls and co leader. 

And for those two weeks, every time I thought about getting a job, a sense of panic began to well up inside of me, but I have been reminded time and time again- even when we are skeptical, God will never let us down. It’s just not in his nature. 

So, when none of my girls seemed to respond to the talks, I decided God has a plan for them, and I’m just not watching it play out yet. When I got half a dozen rejections for jobs I’d applied for, I figured I would just keep praying. And when I woke up each day at six thirty in the morning and it was dark, and freezing, and my eyes kept gluing shut during prayer in the leaders meetings, I reminded myself that this was a chance to prepare to make camp the quality God had in mind for it to be. 

On the last night of camp, we had a time for people to tell their testimonies. The amount of kids who are struggling with situations at home, at school and even struggling with demons in their own heads was heart breaking. And yet, in amongst it all, there was this incredible sense of hope. Because, as Christians, we know that even when we have no idea what is going on, and everything seems like it is just falling apart, God has got us and he knows what he has in store. It is for our good, and not to hurt us. 

I was reminded during one of the talks of a verse where Jesus says God is going to prune us- to non gardeners, it seems odd to cut off what seemed to be fruitful and beautiful branches, to leave the tree smaller and bleeding sap. But to those who know what they are doing, they know those trees are only going to produce more fruit, even if it takes a while. 

I have decided, in the end, that I’m not going to look for a job for the next two weeks of my uni holidays. When I go back to uni, I only have a little while before I’m on practical placement, so it makes sense logically, but also I started to think that maybe the reason I haven’t found a job is because instead of rushing to find one, and panicking about the future, maybe I just need to stop and rest for a while. I have worked full time during every holiday I’ve had since the beginning of last year. My longest actual “do-nothing, have-fun” holiday has been three days. 

I want to enjoy life instead of worry about the future. 

I want to spend time with the people I love instead of listening to the fear and the panic that has been fuelling me for a while now. 

I want to trust God. 
  

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Trusting God

Everyone has stories of times when they trusted someone and were let down.

A few spring to mind for me, from someone literally just letting me fall during a trust exercise, or twice in my life when boys have pulled the chairs out from underneath me as I was about to sit down. 

However, one really takes centre stage. I was doing the high wires at a fitness camp- where you’ve got a harness, and your objective is to shimmy along these wires two or more metres off the ground- for the really brave, there are places where you have to just take leaps of faith to get to the next place of safety. However, you’re wearing these harnesses so that if you fall or want to stop, the person spotting you can let you down. I watched my partner with the vigilance of an eagle. When I looked down at her, she was chatting with someone else, and typically, the shock of betrayal caused me to fall. So, in the most awkward way possible, I dangled there like a flailing fish until I managed to catch her attention. 

No wonder people have trust issues. 

Two weeks ago today, I quit my job. I wish I could say I’d thought about it, and had the dignity of a speech and strutting out with my head held high. However, unfortunately that was not the case. There was yelling, and crying, and my brain sort of melted so that I went outside to finish the shredding before grabbing my cactus and waddling home in my high heels. [I had to sneak in the next day to get my tea and leave the key on the desk.] To be fair, I had always dreamed of quitting. I just always thought I’d have something to move on to, and I’d have my speech ready before I went in, not at 3 am the next morning. 

Then, the next day, my Dad was attending a meeting for the church’s kids holiday club and, running with my adrenaline, I decided that day that I would do kids club with absolutely no physical or mental preparation or planning. 

So that’s how I ended up doing kids club two days after quitting my job [and after telling everyone for six months there was absolutely no possible way I could help out because I’d be working.] [I got an award at the end for “Best Life Choices”.]

And, the day after kids club ended, I packed my bags and headed off to a week of leading on a high school camp. 

I can’t explain to you what I was thinking, because the easiest summary is that I wasn’t. I was trying to think of how to write a post-camp blog post yesterday, and my head was just spinning from two weeks of not sticking to my usual strict regimen. My hair is frizzy because I didn’t have time to wash it properly, and my face is breaking out because of what, stress? Lack of sleep? An unusual amount of physical exercise for someone who used to sit at a desk for nine hours a day? 

And I realised the only thing that is still true after two weeks, and maybe six months of falling down a rabbit hole of insanity, is that God is good. 

In the past six months, I have had my first major break up, transitioned into a new church, started uni, finished up with my old Sunday School, started a new one, and quit my job. But while my head has been spinning, “on Christ my solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

With no planning, I expected last week to be hard and disorganised. But I was surrounded by a team of people who trusted and loved God and worked to include but not overwhelm me. This week, I expected to be awful because the last high school camp I went on I was completely out of my depth. But once again, I was surrounded by a team of people who worked endlessly to pull their weight and make sure I was okay, plus I was blessed with an amazing group of girls and co leader. 

And for those two weeks, every time I thought about getting a job, a sense of panic began to well up inside of me, but I have been reminded time and time again- even when we are skeptical, God will never let us down. It’s just not in his nature. 

So, when none of my girls seemed to respond to the talks, I decided God has a plan for them, and I’m just not watching it play out yet. When I got half a dozen rejections for jobs I’d applied for, I figured I would just keep praying. And when I woke up each day at six thirty in the morning and it was dark, and freezing, and my eyes kept gluing shut during prayer in the leaders meetings, I reminded myself that this was a chance to prepare to make camp the quality God had in mind for it to be. 

On the last night of camp, we had a time for people to tell their testimonies. The amount of kids who are struggling with situations at home, at school and even struggling with demons in their own heads was heart breaking. And yet, in amongst it all, there was this incredible sense of hope. Because, as Christians, we know that even when we have no idea what is going on, and everything seems like it is just falling apart, God has got us and he knows what he has in store. It is for our good, and not to hurt us. 

I was reminded during one of the talks of a verse where Jesus says God is going to prune us- to non gardeners, it seems odd to cut off what seemed to be fruitful and beautiful branches, to leave the tree smaller and bleeding sap. But to those who know what they are doing, they know those trees are only going to produce more fruit, even if it takes a while. 

I have decided, in the end, that I’m not going to look for a job for the next two weeks of my uni holidays. When I go back to uni, I only have a little while before I’m on practical placement, so it makes sense logically, but also I started to think that maybe the reason I haven’t found a job is because instead of rushing to find one, and panicking about the future, maybe I just need to stop and rest for a while. I have worked full time during every holiday I’ve had since the beginning of last year. My longest actual “do-nothing, have-fun” holiday has been three days. 

I want to enjoy life instead of worry about the future. 

I want to spend time with the people I love instead of listening to the fear and the panic that has been fuelling me for a while now. 

I want to trust God. 

Trusting God

Everyone has stories of times when they trusted someone and were let down.

A few spring to mind for me, from someone literally just letting me fall during a trust exercise, or twice in my life when boys have pulled the chairs out from underneath me as I was about to sit down. However, one really takes centre stage. I was doing the high wires at a fitness camp- where you’ve got a harness, and your objective is to shimmy along these wires two or more metres off the ground- for the really brave, there are places where you have to just take leaps of faith to get to the next place of safety. However, you’re wearing these harnesses so that if you fall or want to stop, the person spotting you can let you down. I watched my partner with the vigilance of an eagle. When I looked down at her, she was chatting with someone else, and typically, the shock of betrayal caused me to fall. So, in the most awkward way possible, I dangled there like a flailing fish until I managed to catch her attention. 
No wonder people have trust issues. 
Two weeks ago today, I quit my job. I wish I could say I’d thought about it, and had the dignity of a speech and strutting out with my head held high. However, unfortunately that was not the case. There was yelling, and crying, and my brain sort of melted so that I went outside to finish the shredding before grabbing my cactus and waddling home in my high heels. [I had to sneak in the next day to get my tea and leave the key on the desk.] To be fair, I had always dreamed of quitting. I just always thought I’d have something to move on to, and I’d have my speech ready before I went in, not at 3 am the next morning. Then, the next day, my Dad was attending a meeting for the church’s kids holiday club and, running with my adrenaline, I decided that day that I would do kids club with absolutely no physical or mental preparation or planning. 
So that’s how I ended up doing kids club two days after quitting my job [and after telling everyone for six months there was absolutely no possible way I could help out because I’d be working.] [I got an award at the end for “Best Life Choices”.]
And, the day after kids club ended, I packed my bags and headed off to a week of leading on a high school camp. 
I can’t explain to you what I was thinking, because the easiest summary is that I wasn’t. I was trying to think of how to write a post-camp blog post yesterday, and my head was just spinning from two weeks of not sticking to my usual strict regimen. My hair is frizzy because I didn’t have time to wash it properly, and my face is breaking out because of what, stress? Lack of sleep? An unusual amount of physical exercise for someone who used to sit at a desk for nine hours a day? 

And I realised the only thing that is still true after two weeks, and maybe six months of falling down a rabbit hole of insanity, is that God is good. 
In the past six months, I have had my first major break up, transitioned into a new church, started uni, finished up with my old Sunday School, started a new one, and quit my job. But while my head has been spinning, “on Christ my solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
With no planning, I expected last week to be hard and disorganised. But I was surrounded by a team of people who trusted and loved God and worked to include but not overwhelm me. This week, I expected to be awful because the last high school camp I went on I was completely out of my depth. But once again, I was surrounded by a team of people who worked endlessly to pull their weight and make sure I was okay, plus I was blessed with an amazing group of girls and co leader. 

And for those two weeks, every time I thought about getting a job, a sense of panic began to well up inside of me, but I have been reminded time and time again- even when we are skeptical, God will never let us down. It’s just not in his nature. 
So, when none of my girls seemed to respond to the talks, I decided God has a plan for them, and I’m just not watching it play out yet. When I got half a dozen rejections for jobs I’d applied for, I figured I would just keep praying. And when I woke up each day at six thirty in the morning and it was dark, and freezing, and my eyes kept gluing shut during prayer in the leaders meetings, I reminded myself that this was a chance to prepare to make camp the quality God had in mind for it to be. 
On the last night of camp, we had a time for people to tell their testimonies. The amount of kids who are struggling with situations at home, at school and even struggling with demons in their own heads was heart breaking. And yet, in amongst it all, there was this incredible sense of hope. Because, as Christians, we know that even when we have no idea what is going on, and everything seems like it is just falling apart, God has got us and he knows what he has in store. It is for our good, and not to hurt us. 

I was reminded during one of the talks of a verse where Jesus says God is going to prune us- to non gardeners, it seems odd to cut off what seemed to be fruitful and beautiful branches, to leave the tree smaller and bleeding sap. But to those who know what they are doing, they know those trees are only going to produce more fruit, even if it takes a while. 
I have decided, in the end, that I’m not going to look for a job for the next two weeks of my uni holidays. When I go back to uni, I only have a little while before I’m on practical placement, so it makes sense logically, but also I started to think that maybe the reason I haven’t found a job is because instead of rushing to find one, and panicking about the future, maybe I just need to stop and rest for a while. I have worked full time during every holiday I’ve had since the beginning of last year. My longest actual “do-nothing, have-fun” holiday has been three days. 

I want to enjoy life instead of worry about the future. 

I want to spend time with the people I love instead of listening to the fear and the panic that has been fuelling me for a while now. 

I want to trust God. 

Being Schooled by some Primary Kids

This week I led a Primary School camp for the first time, and gee. Just wow. [I could probably start a Camp Kedron fan page with all that they’ve done for me, and all that I write about them. Anyway.]

I think that the main things I learned from this week can be summarised in three points.

Firstly, I learned that God has a plan.
This may sound a little weird, and I’ve got to point out that I was aware of it before, but this week it was truly lain before my eyes in a way that was crystal clear. Ironically, the talks for the kids were about God having a plan, but I’ve got to say, I didn’t get it from the talks. Lead by an amazing director, I came to realise, watching the nine little girls in my cabin and doing a bit of maths that God has been working a plan in my life and has a plan for everyone’s lives. Let me explain.
I’ve wanted to lead camp for years. Literally since the first time I went to a camp, at the age of say, six, I realised that I wanted to be exactly like my leaders. Then, in year 10, I went to leadership camps, talked to whoever I could get my hands on, trying to get into leading somehow, and yet, as all of my friends began to lead, it never happened to me. So, when I got the call from the director asking what I was doing these holidays, approximately 28 days before the beginning of my HSC, I wondered what God was doing. I don’t miss opportunities, but on the other hand, I’ve got enough on my plate. I decided just to go with it, as I find is the best to do with God’s plans, and found myself on camp, clutching my revision booklets and highlighters, wondering what was going to happen. It turns out my co-leader was a woman of God who I had in January as my leader and was now here to encourage me in a completely new way, and who I could now support and work with- she had spontaneously decided to accept the invitation to lead, and they’d immediately put us together as a team. The rest of the team were amazing young people, and I realised that, being in year 12, I’ve effectively finished high school camps and leading now means that I can straight away transition so I never have to pause going to camp [which is, in itself, something to thank God for]. I had an amazing time, got some studying done, encouraged some people, and weirdly, got more strengthened than weakened for the weeks of studying ahead. God has a plan. [There’s the maths bit.]
Speaking of plans, it was also pointed out to me that God’s word never goes back to him empty handed.
“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” [Isaiah 55:11]. Now, I’ve read that verse before, but this week began to ponder it. There seems to be this mentality amongst Christians that every time we bring a friend to church, that’s it. We’ve got one chance to convert them in case they never come again, and it was like that for me at the beginning of camp. I thought, I’ve got these girls now, and I’ve got to do all I can to make sure they want to follow Jesus- this is important. But the director said something at the very beginning that stuck with me for the entire week and will continue to stick with me. We, as leaders, friends, mentors, aren’t there to fully convert. Just to plant seeds, or water whatever is already there. One day, when God is ready- when it’s in his plan- those seeds will flourish, due to our hard work now, even if we can’t see the fruit of our labour yet. God has a plan. Light bulb moment.

I learned a lot about myself.
I figured that I would learn from camps directed at me and sort of teach, I suppose, to my campers, but in so many ways, they taught me. There was one moment in particular, when I was being awkward [as I am], dancing around, and one of the girls just grabbed me and showed me how to “whip” [if you don’t know what that is, be prepared for a song that will get stuck in your head.] [However, apparently everyone knows what that is, and how to do it, apart from me. I have received adequate education.] I then went outside for a breather, and got into a really spontaneous conversation with a boy I didn’t know about God, and his greatness. I was continually surprised this week by children this week, as, despite my hatred of categorising and stereotyping, I’d really forgotten just how amazing, deep and beautiful kids can be, mixed with a confidence, fun and energy I’d somewhat also forgotten. I was reminded of my ability to and love of making kids laugh, my confidence was stretched and my faith was tested as I tried to answer everyone’s questions in a loving way, recognising so many of the struggles I went through. It was strange, in a way, to be a leader, when leaders were always people that I’d looked up to as role models. I guess at the beginning of the week, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to achieve it, but to be honest, once the week gets into the swing of it, your head is too full to be worried about such things. I got to day one, decided to give Jesus the wheel, and by the end, I realised God had pushed me to be the best I could have been.

Finally, the thing that I learned this week was the importance of what I was doing.
I guess I sort of went into camp thinking it would be a fun week hanging out with some kids and answering any questions they had on Jesus, but by the end of it, I was hit by how important camp, or children’s ministry- really just ministry is. The girls in my cabin had so many questions and misconceptions about Jesus, and what it was all about- they were so unaware of his love for them, while about half of my cabin had ended up at camp just by the hand of God- from non-Christian backgrounds with no clue what was going on. Talking to them about this unconditional love that we become so comfortable with, so familiar with, and seeing this awe come across their faces was an insane experience, and kindled this immense longing in me to see them truly meet him. Today, the speaker to the kids began with the idea that if each of them became Christians and, later on leaders, how much Christianity could grow, and the camp could too- this outreach, just spreading across the world. That was an amazing image to have. I reckon that it’s too easy to lose sight of why we’re doing this- you just get up in the morning, and, unless you have a specific reason to share the gospel, such as being in church or running some sort of group, you just sort of forget about Christ during the work day. But, looking into the glistening eyes of nine beautiful young girls, I realised how much they needed a loving God who would stick by them through the next few years. I was in a position to help them with that, and that was an incredible honour. This week showed me that, and the importance of being in that position. I truly hope I never forget it.

So, wow. This week. Not even a full seven days, it was just amazing. I had a great time with some awesome girls, a wonderful co-leader [I’m running out of synonyms for all the super people I met this week] and some sweet other leaders and directors.

Now, when can I do it again?

Tailors

This week I went to the camp where I became a Christian, Camp Kedron. I expected big things. Very big things. What I got was a little different.

So, basically a lot of really bad and weird things happened- I’m going to be honest with you here, some of them were completely out of this world. We had a cabin shivering and shaking from stories shared about attacks from demons, we had a person go home who we were all very close to and I found out that one of my other good friends had been bullied at a place where I had always felt safe and at home. As someone once said “hey guys, take a minute. This is what heaven will be like.” Well, this week, I lost all sense of that. In a way, I lost all sense at all.
See, when I came across the ideas of demons and the devil, I have to admit, I brushed it off pretty quickly. The devil. A little dude with pointy horns and a tail, right? One of my leaders [at camp], though, pointed out in a completely irrelevant conversation that the devil can work in third world countries by scaring them by proving he’s real, but in first world countries he works by assuring us he’s not there at all and then sneakily slipping in. This week, having what I always thought of as a home taken away from me, I realise that the devil’s actually quite an interesting little bugger, because he worked through my cynicism. Spencer Reid [Criminal Minds] once said that believing in God means you believe in the devil. I’d like to share that up until this week, it actually wasn’t that way. Even saying “the devil” makes me uncomfortable, still, but this week, I have to say I can’t deny him anymore. He’s real. He’s there.

So, I was sitting in on a worship session, and I felt compelled just to leave and walk out into a field. It was in that field I’d sat as a kid and just pictured how big God was. As I sat there, I just prayed for a sign. I’ve never had any of those “spiritual moments” people often talk about as Christians- my encouragement to others is that I’m still a Christian, and I still have my faith. Anyway, I was just compelled to a Sunday school song about God creating the stars, and so I looked up, as, out in the country, you can always see so many beautiful stars up above you. As I looked up, a huge cloud just came and covered up every star I could see. I burst into tears.

Why doesn’t God give us just a sign that would bring us closer to him? I struggled with this, as I moped over to my cabin and I just sat on the stairs, thinking and crying, praying and getting madder and madder at my supposedly loving God. Then along came my leader and sat down beside me, and without a word she sat down and hugged me. Just held me, tightly, like a mum or an aunt, and we just sat on those steps and stared into the darkness for a while.
I eventually got around to telling her what was wrong, and she just listened to me. It turned out she too hasn’t had any of those extraordinary or spooky moments with God, and this blew me away, as I could feel her faith exuding from her. She just talked to me for a while, and we prayed while I sobbed- not romantically and silently either, but huge, racking, hiccupping sobs.

My point with this end bit is that last night, God also tailored his response to me. He didn’t come in a huge, fantastical way that I thought he might [and perhaps I wanted], but in the gentle nudge of my leader appearing and letting God speak through her. I learnt this week that the devil tailors his attacks to us, but God does the exact same. I’m not vulnerable to the scary spirit stuff, but to the silent attacks, and I didn’t need the blinding light, but the soothing words of my God, my Father, and someone who loves me.

Many thanks to all who impacted me this week. If you’re thinking I may be talking to you, I most probably am.

“My God is so big, so strong and so mighty there’s nothing my God cannot do [that’s true!]
The mountains are his, the valleys are his, the stars are his handiwork too.”