Varied Voices Echoing through the Settings of our Life
There is something about the echo of an indoor pool area with high ceilings filled with people. Kids screaming and splashing in the pool, another cluster of people packed into a hot-tub. The ping pong table in action surrounded by a gathering of boys. Tables surrounded with people engrossed in board games and cheering or jeering at the latest card played. The flashing lights of the video arcade games in the corner with luring sound effects. Mothers attempting to converse as they trail toddlers around addressing the latest item put in their mouth only to be met with the soon tired, over stimulated screams.
We found ourselves in such setting the other day as our CFS staff met for our annual Christmas party at a nearby hotel complete with an afternoon of pool and hang out time. As fun as it was for kids and families; honestly, it is super over stimulating for me. I find it hard to think and interact in such a setting.
It made me think of life sometimes though.
Sometimes there can be so much noise in our lives, so many voices of sorts vying for our attention. Some filled with positive messages, some negative, some neither good nor bad—-all jumbled together echoing though the settings and seasons of life. Before we know it, we can’t think straight and find ourselves eating way more sour cream and onion potato chips than we want. (But that’s besides the point.)
Little man found himself in this ever echoing setting, plopped in the pool with his dear daddy laughing at times and scared at times, but in the crazyness of the setting, he knew his daddy’s voice. That’s what he listened for. Was he distracted by the screams and the splashing and the crowd of people groaning at the latest card played or ping pong point scored? Absolutely. But he knew his daddy was there.
That’s my prayer for him….that as his little life transpires and various voices echo in the settings of his world, that he will ultimately find the voice of GOD—-God’s word and his truth, sweeter than the voices of the world. And that’s my prayer for our family this upcoming holiday season….that we may find His word, and His promises sweeter than the newest gadget or want, the to-do lists, the best pinterest project, the perfect cookies or meal, the most lovely Christmas card, or the should-do’s of the two holidays ahead.
May you also.
Special thanks to James Stokes Photography.
Dear friends, who took some dear pics that we will treasure. I don’t have a ton loaded here, but head on over to his site and check it out if you’d like…..
On the brink of our fifth summer here at camp, I told a friend, “If I don’t look for it, I don’t see it.” That was my goal this past summer and into the fall season: to intentionally LOOK for the ways GOD was working. Because it is true, I can become so consumed with what is “not going right” that I can miss how God may be working. I didn’t want to miss seeing God’s purpose fulfilled in a way that only He can orchestrate.
Honestly, there were aspects of this summer that were rough. Hard conversations, long hours, unexpected curve balls that seemed hurled out of nowhere. I’ll be honest, some days I saw more clearly than others. Some days I saw only the frustrated parent, the disgruntled staff or camper, the list of tasks not accomplished, the hard conversation had, the exhausted husband…
BUT, but, but, in the midst of challenges, I also saw growth. You, know the whole “beauty from ashes” thing that is written in scripture?!? The hope of restoration?!? The whole concept of the gospel—Jesus stepping into a fallen, messy, imperfect humanity and proposing an unexplainable grace and healing of the heart and broken lives made whole?!? Yep, saw that too. Not necessarily in some epifinanl, catastrophic writing in the sky sort of way necessarily, but through moments that only God could ordain. Through individuals trusting in Christ and his promises for the first time. Though the growth in the counselors as they learned dependence on God and were challenged to come face to face with the reality of His word. Through the conversations had about things that truly matter—life decisions, doubts, relationships, God’s word and so much in between.
So, let us be honest, there have been aspects of this past summer and fall that were just plain hard at times. We kinda fell off the communication wagon with you—our friends and supporters, and some of you have asked about us. We sincerely, thank you. While there have been bouts of discouragement and uncertainty, there has also been growth. Countless campers found their way to this place and encountered His word and truth this summer—kids, teens, families steped away from life’s daily demands and found themselves in His creation and challenged at new levels. We saw growth in the summer staff in ways we couldn’t have anticipated as we processed and mourned the unexpected death of a dear summer staff. There is way that hardship brings people closer and thrusts us into more deeply examining what truly matters.
Ah, and on the note of uncertainty: I think sometimes I equate uncertainty with a wave of negativity. (I gotta admit like a good plan….er, control.) Yet, I am learning that uncertainty is not always negative. I can first cling to what is certain—God’s promises to us. That HE IS EMANUEL—God with us. (Not that God will give us what we want, how we want, when we want—-but God. With. Us. Yes, I’m learning to cling to that first!!!) And as much as I want to plan and control, isn’t that what part of life is made up of? The unknown? Perhaps that is part of what the author is proposing in Hebrews 10 and 11…to persevere by faith. Check it out sometime…
Here is a pic of our 2012 Counselors. They worked hard this summer to communicate the heart of God to each of their campers. That is not always the easiest task to do day in and day out. Counselors are on from the time campers get here on Sunday afternoon until the leave on Saturday morning. Each week every counselor does a one-on-one with each of their campers. It is during these deep conversations that counselors have the opportunity to share the gospel and give wise counsel. We had 1,062 youth campers attend camp this summer. 71 of them accepted the Lord for the first time this summer.
Our senior counselors…Amy and Isaac did a great job this summer. Things at camp ran smoothly while I was at home with a new baby. I was gone for a week when Isaac was born and I had no concerns knowing that Amy and Isaac were in charge. No, we did not name our son after our Senior Counselor as much as he would like to think so…..
Isaac’s First Hike
At just 8 days old Isaac went on his first hike. We love getting out and going for walks, so now it is great that we can do that as a family. We had some friends in town for a few days visiting…and we went to Hill of Beans coffee shop for lunch. Afterwards we hiked to the top of Timm’s Hill, which is the highest point in Wisconsin. Don’t worry it is not so high that we needed oxygen or anything…it is a mere 1,900 ft. I like to think that Isaac is the youngest person to ever climb to the top…oh yeah!!! Check it out!!!
At the Top of the Observation Tower!!!
First Family Hike!!!
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