Oak Hill Christian Service Camp

It’s Monday morning, July 22 at 10:54 AM.
I should be at Gethsemane practicing with the Music & Drama Crew… but I’m not.
Interestingly enough – here is a post sitting in my drafts from two years ago, July 24, 2017…

Titled: Missing Music & Drama
It’s Saturday morning, July 24 at 10:16 AM.
I should be frantically running through my house, checking a list, and loading up my car to head to the week of camp that I am Dean of at Oak Hill Camp.  I’m not.
I cannot tell you how this makes me feel.  There are too many feelings in my body to properly categorize them all, but I can tell you that I know I’m going to miss this week of camp this year.
I became a camper at this week at the age of 12 (summer of 1990).
I missed the year I was 13 for some reason I can’t remember, but from 1992 until 2016 I’ve been at Oak Hill Camp for Music & Drama every summer.
In 1996, at the age of eighteen, I became a staff member.
*Note – this was NOT a wise decision as my best friend and ex-boyfriend were both campers and spent the week making out in front of me.  So not fun.
In 1999 I became a Dean alongside my mother and my closest camp friend from my life, Christie.
In 2004 my mom handed over the directing reins to me and Christie.
Since that time, I’ve sat in front of the choir and directed.  THIRTEEN years of directing the group.  That’s a huge chunk (1/3) of my 39 years of life.
I won’t be directing this year and this is causing all sorts of “feelings”.
Why I’m not attending this year and why I’m not directing were in a post I shared yesterday. I’m making the right decision as we have no clue what Monday holds with my daddy’s surgery.

First – daddy’s surgery to remove the cancerous tumor from inside his heart was 100% successful. However, the melanoma moved to his brain in 2018 and he returned to God on November 5, 2018.

Now let’s update that list above.
I became a camper at Music & Drama at the age of 12 (summer of 1990).
I missed the year I was 13 for some reason I can’t remember, but from 1992 until 2016 I’ve been at Oak Hill Camp for Music & Drama every summer.
I missed the year I was 39 (2017) for my daddy’s heart surgery.
In 1996, at the age of eighteen, I became a staff member.
In 1999 I became a Dean alongside my mother and my closest camp friend from my life, Christie.
In 2004 my mom handed over the directing reins to me and Christie.
Since that time, I sat in front of the choir and directed.
14 years directing; 19 years as a dean – that’s a long commitment.

I’ve been asked a lot this Summer why I resigned from that week. A lot of reasons were behind my decision – some I don’t speak of because they are incredibly personal for me. I can just tell you that when I missed camp in 2017 it wasn’t just for my daddy’s surgery. It was God’s way of showing me that *I* was not essential to Music & Drama. As the saying goes, “The show went on…” without me. In some ways that hurt, but in many ways it allowed God to work in my life in other ways.

What isn’t included in that list above is that in 1979, at the age of 4-6 months old, I was at Oak Hill Camp with my mama who was either cooking or helping the cook. I slept in the bunk area above the kitchen.
Every summer since then, I’ve been at Oak Hill – as a staff kid first and then as a camper.
In 1992, at the age of 14, I became a Junior Counselor (JC) at Oak Hill. It was something I had spent years dreaming of and planning for. Sure – it was going to be a lot of work, but I knew it was also going to be a lot of fun.
That Summer – 1992 – I spent every single week at camp. I was a JC at both First Chance weeks (each three days at the time; one Sunday – Wednesday the second Wednesday – Saturday), both Junior weeks (3rd – 5th grade), and both Junior High weeks (6th – 8th grade). I was a camper at both senior high weeks and Music & Drama.
Every Sunday, my parents drove me out to Oak Hill and helped me set up my bunk. Every Saturday, my parents picked me up, took me home, and (daddy) did my laundry while I slept. Eight weeks full of camp and that was BLISS.
I was a JC for several Summers, though that was the only Summer I “lived” at camp.

That said, it’s been a couple decades since I worked at a Junior Week of camp… Yes – I’ve *taught* at Junior 2 (Beast Mode) for two Summers before this one, but I’ve driven out, taught, and left. I’ve spoken at Vespers and Campfire. I’ve presented Missions and I’m visited, but I haven’t worked a full week of camp (outside of Music & Drama) in 23 years. I’d almost forgotten all that goes into running a “normal” week of camp – especially recreation!

In September of 2018, when I told the Camp Board that I was resigning from Music & Drama, Heather Ferguson – who I had been at camp besties with since Middle School – approached me about working her Junior week full time in 2019. Full time means a bunk in a cabin, a daily job (teaching the same class I taught in 2017 and 2018), and being part of a team. There were some things to work out – mainly Joe.
Ella’s love of Oak Hill is going to rival mine. She started out as a staff kid at 8 months old and joined me for the camp portion of Music & Drama for four Summers before her brother was born. Two camp kids is harder to do, so in 2013 my mama retired from M&D and began grandma’s beach camp during my week at camp. Ella attended Beast Mode as a camper in 2018 and absolutely loved it so I knew she was on board for this year. Joe, though, was only going into 2nd grade and still 6. He’d be younger than every other camper, but the camp board was okay since I was going to be there on staff. So, with Joe squared away, I signed on to work Beast Mode full time.

I’m gonna be honest – I was SUPER NERVOUS last Sunday (July 14). Beast Mode is not remotely my speed. There is an obstacle course that includes “beasts” and a mud pit, there are color wars, there is a staff hunt (super fun at 15, but super scary at 41), and Ultimate Kickball where the bases were a pool of ice, a pool of Elf Spaghetti, a pool of mud and a slip n slide. Thankfully, Heather appreciated my love for all things photos so I got out of a lot of the things I was scared of because I was photographing other people doing them.
There was also the element of it being a JUNIOR week… even with swing years, these kids were rising 2nd – 6th graders and I’ve spent nearly all my camp Summers with kids who are 13-18 years old. No one at Music & Drama leaves their Bible at the kick ball field. (Who am I kidding… I can’t remember the last time Music & Drama used the kick ball field for anything other than activities tied to the looking at the moon.)
Was I cut out to deal with such young campers????? (The jury is still out on that question.)

Y’all – I had THE. BEST. TIME. I mean, I’d do it again right this minute if I could and I’d actually play Ultimate Kickball, handing my phone off to someone else to gather evidence. (Hold me to that statement, Beast Mode crew!) While I am still mulling over becoming a dean of a different week of camp, I’m also thinking that I may do that in 2021 instead of 2020. I may need another year of Beast Mode under my belt to prepare me for other work. We’ll see what God has planned, but he definitely cultivated a love for this week of camp in my heart. And, yes, I am missing Music & Drama – it has been a huge part of nearly 3/4 of my life, but God made last week have a huge impact on who I am and where I am heading.
Teaching these kids was fun in 2017 and 2018, but teaching kids that I was actually getting to know was life changing. Knowing their names (well most of them) made the class more enjoyable for me.
Reminding JCs to sit among the campers was something to check off in 2017 and 2018, but reminding JCs of their importance in 2019 was personal because I want them to succeed and go on to become deans running weeks of camp they’ve loved like I did.

Oak Hill Christian Service Camp has been a part of my life for my entire life and I’m so glad I didn’t let this year go by without being out there in a full-time capacity. I was BLESSED getting to know staff members and JCs that I have had little to no contact with in the years I’ve been insulated at Music & Drama. They are wonderful kids and adults and I feel like I’ve missed out on something by not knowing them.

I’m so grateful for parents who loved Oak Hill and instilled that love within me.

I know that God will keep me tied to the camp in the coming years and decades and I cannot wait to see how HE is going to use ME there.

If you are looking for a SAFE place to send your kids to sleep away camp… a place where they will learn about Jesus and have incredible Christian examples who will care about them… look no further than Oak Hill Christian Service Camp.

If you have a middle school student – we have one more week left in this Season!!
A week I, myself, think is going to be one of the coolest weeks of the Summer.
Check out the teaser here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B0CniKgFjr-ULl1ImbHhDmgpHPX0iPP1MjSUgo0/

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Thy Will Be Done (thank you Hillary Scott)

This was written and published on Facebook on Monday, July 17, 2017.
I feel like it needs to be here, too.John 11-40

This morning, I became a part of BEAST MODE week at Oak Hill Christian Service Camp. The lesson I taught was about Lazarus’ death. I read through the lesson quite a few times gearing up to teach today, but as I was actually teaching it – and looking at the questions Heather had laid out for me to ask, Jesus spoke directly to me.
See, one of Heather’s questions following the passage was “Why was Martha crying?” The simple answer is that she was sad that her brother died.
But really, don’t you think she was upset that Jesus waited TWO DAYS to come? By the time he arrived, Lazarus had been in the tomb for FOUR DAYS.
Sure, Jesus could raise Lazarus from the dead, but he also could’ve healed him before he died.
But that wasn’t the point – the point was that Mary and Martha BELIEVED that Jesus could do anything and so they saw the Glory of God.

Over the past 20 days since daddy first went to OBX Hospital, I’ve had moments where I question why it’s taking so long to get an answer… I’ve had moments of frustration when tests that were designed to tell us what was going on in his heart weren’t telling us anything. I’ve cried in that frustration of a lack on concrete answers and direction.
I admitted this much to two different groups of 3rd-5th graders and their counselors.

But then I read the scripture in the image posted above…
John 11:40, “Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (NIV)
Let’s hold hands with Romans 8:28
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Ella did not sit in my classes, opting to play with Joe on the playground even though it is her age group at this week of camp. She didn’t hear me talk about her Pop’s surgery and the possible outcomes. So in the car on the way home, she started asking some questions about Pop and his surgery. I couldn’t hold back my tears when she asked, with all the innocence in the world, if Pop could die.
I answered her honestly through my tears and then reiterated that we’re focusing on the facts of Pop’s case and our FAITH in God.
She said the sweetest prayer for Pop’s healing and for his doctors. I couldn’t help but hold back sobs as I drove listening to her. Then, the kids asked for the radio and what song was on? “Thy Will Be Done” by Hillary Scott. This song has come to me in many moments since I first heard it – all moments I needed it’s message deeply. I’m listening to it now. Sobbing as I type.

There are moments when those who have been around me wonder how on Earth I’m not more of a wreck knowing what’s possible next week. To that I say, “God hold my daddy’s heart in His hands. Should my daddy die, he’ll wake up in Heaven seeing Jesus’ face.”

Anyway, I typed up the update on daddy posted just a bit ago and called mom to read it to her. After she approved it, I shared with her about this morning and how the lesson ministered to me just as much as I hope it ministered to those sitting in my class and she read to me the devotional she’d read today.
It’s dated July 16, 2017 – but she’s a day behind and read two – reading yesterdays today. Guess what it was about!
Lazarus dying and Martha & Mary BELIEVING in Jesus and seeing the Glory of God.

Oh, my God in Heaven.
Thy Will be Done.
I may not like it. It may hurt. It may break me in a way I’ve never known.
But I know YOU. I know you’re good. I know you work anything for YOUR good.
I know you catch my tears in your hands. I know you hold me there too.
I know you hear my prayers – those out loud and those whispered in the depths of my heart.
Thank you, God. Thank you for my daddy.
Thank you for the lessons he’s taught me.
Thank you for using heartbreaking circumstances to draw us closer than we’d ever been.
Thank you for the sermons I’ve dozed through and the sermons I might be able to repeat word for word if I tried.
Thank you for loving me. Even when I’m mad and questioning your goodness or timeline.
Be with my daddy. Be with my mama. Be with my brother. Be with me as we face the scary unknown of next Monday.
In your Son’s most Holy and Sacrificial name,
Amen.

My Mess…

Don’t worry… I’m not going to spill the details of the messiness of my life right here right now; though it’s tempting to do so and just get it all out of my head and my heart.

I’ve shared my heartache of the weekend with my mom and my best friend and for now, that’s all who need to know.

BUT, I will share that I just posted this on Facebook:

Sitting here in tears over this post…
Jesus knows what parts of my life I consider to be a “mess”, but without HIM those messy parts would never be redeemed.

I’m struggling today, friends. Focused on my mess and wishing the Messiah would just take it away or make it perfectly whole in Him.
But I know that he IS the Great Redeemer and every messy part of my life will one day be redeemed through his love, his grace, his perfection.
I just have to put my trust in him…
“I believe; help my unbelief.” Mark 9:24

Here is the post to which I’m referring…

4/15/17

Today’s quote:

Without the Messiah, life’s just a mess!

TRUTH

These words immediately came to mind.

Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
Emmanuel
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from heaven
Jesus
Messiah
Lord of all

What an absolutely beautiful praise chorus.
I remember it well.

Messiah occurs only twice in the NIV.

John 1:41,42a:
The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).
And he brought him to Jesus.

I love Andrew.
He was always bringing people to Jesus.
His brother Peter.
The little boy with the loaves and fishes.
The Greeks who were seeking Jesus.

What is the point of Christmas and Easter, if we are not bringing people to Jesus, the Messiah?
What is the point of every day, if we are not helping people find the Messiah?

Maybe that is why we have the quote.

Without the Messiah, life is a mess.

Maybe that is why the world is in such a mess.
Maybe the world is in such a mess because we have not told the world about the Messiah.

John 4:1-26
Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman
Verse 25,26:
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”

Shiver me timbers!

John 4: 39-42
Many Samaritans Believe
Verse 39:
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”

If you have read the story then you know what Jesus told her about everything she had done.
What a powerful testimony she had, for the Messiah, in that village.
Her life was a mess.
They knew it was a mess.
Jesus knew it was a mess.

Just like he knows about my mess.
Just like he knows about your mess.

Without the Messiah, life’s just a mess.

I could not possibly say it any better than that.

That’s my dad’s Facebook devotion on his church’s Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/133021133399648/

For years I’ve given my dad a church sign daily calendar.  2017’s came from my mom, but for the same purpose.  Daddy shares what the church sign for the day is, then types a devotion off of that.

This weekend, another layer of a major mess in my life was laid bare and I’m struggling to move past it.  But this post reminded me that my mess will be redeemed through my Messiah.

I hope you made time for Jesus this weekend and didn’t just focus on Egg Hunts and Bunnies that deliver baskets.  Because there would be no Easter had Jesus not died for our sins and rose again to conquer death and Satan.
If you do not have a church “home”, let me tell you about mine some time.  If you’re local to Richmond or just passing through I’d love to have you come sit and worship by me.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Image Vs. Substance

In Mark Batterson’s book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, he says, “Saul was all about image, but David was all about substance.”  He’s referring to the fact that David danced when the Ark of the Covenant entered Jerusalem while Michal, Saul’s daughter, felt contempt for him (Bible: 2 Samuel 6).  Batterson goes on to explain that Michal was the daughter of a man who was “kingly” where David didn’t worry about looking regal as he celebrated his excitement about God.

This comparison between Saul and David struck a chord deep within me.

I have someone extremely close to me who accuses me of projecting a certain image even when it isn’t the truth.  To tell the truth, I strive very hard NOT to do this, though some Sundays my smile might be strained as I fight against Satan’s desire to make me crumble under my past bad decisions.

I asked on Facebook recently if I was a complainer.  The answer ran the gamut as I expected since different people know me from different times or for different lengths of time.
But one answer made me feel good – that I was real.  I strive to be real.  It helps that I’m a preacher’s kid whose life has been told from the pulpit for the last 35 years.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been used as an illustration in a sermon because I lost count years ago.
Honestly, it’s only bothered me a few times.  It made me live a transparent life and I believe that is something that God has called me to.

I’m not a natural parent – I’ve covered this before.  I don’t need anyone jumping to convince me otherwise.  Just this morning, I came home from the bus stop to Jeff and Joe playing Sequence for Kids.  Jeff needed to go to work, so he tagged me in.  This was SO HARD for me and he laughed many times as he finished getting ready and listened to me trying to teach Joe the rules of the game.  I do not “play” with kids easily.  I love kids and can teach them with no problem – I’ve gotten some wonderful words of encouragement and love from my preschool students from last year and this year.  I can read books and teach Bible lessons and push swings, but I don’t PLAY well with kids.  I don’t imagine easily or enjoy being outside all that much.  I do love reading to my kids and watching movies with them.  I do my best, but I’m not the most natural at this game.
I’m not a fantastic wife… Catch Jeff in a moment he’s willing to be honest about me.
I am not cuddly.  I am barely affectionate. I am snippy. I am tired. I am consistently overwhelmed, yet can’t show a good reason why.  I’m not a very good housekeeper, so it isn’t chores that are wearing me out.
I love to sit and read side by side or watch movies (though I rarely want to watch something he’s picked and tend to whine about it).  I love to go places and travel and really love to experience things with him.
But I don’t fill the role of wife the way I thought I would OR how I promised to him I would.

I’m a Christian, but I’m not great at recruiting others…
Just this afternoon I came home to find rescue vehicles outside my house for the neighbor across the street.  Based on the number of vehicles and actual police cars, I deduced that this was not going to end with them reviving him from a diabetic episode.  His wife arrived and her sister-in-law rushed to meet her as they dissolved into tears.
He’s gone and all I can think is that I’m not sure I ever shared Jesus with him.  And will I be able to share Jesus with his wife as I tell her I’m sorry for her loss and take food and try to meet needs that might be there.
We’ve lived across the street from each other for ages.  They used to see the church van parked here.  There is no doubt that they know my family was a Christian family.  They might even know so much as the fact that my daddy is a preacher.  But never once have I asked them to come to church with me.  Why not?

I’ll be asking her how I can meet her needs.  I think our church as a grief group – I’m going to check and give her information if so.  I need to not just tell her I’m praying for her, but to actively talk about my faith with my neighbors – the people that I meet when I’m walking down the street.  I see these people every day and while I’m sure they’ve seen the PRAY stickers on my car, I need to be sure I witness.

As a young high schooler, we watched a movie at camp about teens who died in a car accident.  They were standing outside of Heaven’s gate and one of the teens who was going to Hell asked a teen who was (potentially) going to Heaven why she had never told him what he was missing out on.  It scared me out of my mind, but not enough to carry that fear for others…
My friends know I’m a Christian.  Heck, this political season has brought that out more than any other time in my life.  I’ve spoken my beliefs in many ways on social media – not wanting to judge anyone, but not wanting anyone to perish… but I don’t think I’ve mentioned Jesus to my own neighbors.

I don’t want to project an IMAGE.
I want to project the SUBSTANCE of God in Me.

What about you?  Do you follow Christ?  What about when it means you don’t agree with your friends or connections on social media?  What about when it makes you unpopular or brings about ridicule?
Don’t get me wrong – I believe that we should love all people – whether we agree with them or not – but are you sharing with those you love what the Bible says?  You can do that in love.  They don’t have to agree or even walk away from what the Bible says is sin.
We all know that every person who shares Biblical views is a hypocrite because we ALL SIN…
But are you projecting the SUBSTANCE of God in YOU???
Am I???

I want to conform to Christ instead of this World.  Pray for me, will ya?
Pray that I will be more worried about the substance of my life – to my husband, to my children, to my family, to my friends and to total strangers – than the image.

The road to Heaven in narrow and I want the line to get in to be long and full of people who have seen God’s evidence alive in me.

Sorry for the ramble today… pretty sure this was all over the place, but it was too much in my head and I needed to get it out.

Please pray for Joan Bailey.  She’s the wife of the man across the street who passed away this morning. Pray that I’ll be able to meet needs for her and that I’ll find a way to share the love of God in her grief.

Thanks, friends.

And for those of you who love me enough to read my thoughts even when you don’t agree with them – if you’re local to Richmond and want to come check out the church I attend, TELL ME!  I’ll give you directions and details.
If you’re not local to Richmond – I’ll help you find a church where you are.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

There is a Post Coming

I have so much to share – so much to say… but I can’t right now.

Which kills me!!!!

I’m an OPEN BOOK and right now, I’m keeping some things very close to my heart.

It will all come out within this month, but until I get some answers to my prayers, I can’t post what is making my head spin here.

Here is what I will share today – God is working in my something mighty.

I don’t know exactly what it is yet… but He’s at work and I could use your prayers about it.

Have you ever been here?  The place where you can feel God tugging at you, but you’re not exactly sure what direction he’s pulling you?  It’s scary and exciting and can only mean that I’m tuned into him.  I just wish he’d light the path he wants me to take with neon.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'” – Jeremiah 29:11-13

God, I am seeking your will with ALL my heart.  I am calling to you and praying to you for answers and guidance… and a neon pathway.

I don’t want to be a people pleaser – I want to be a God pleaser.  Starting right now.

That post that I’m writing, but can’t publish yet?  Pray that answers will be neon clear to me post haste.

Thanks.

I Am Not Afraid…

“The reason why we look so crazy as Christians, is because we see a world that the rest don’t see. We see a God-bathed world in which we are perfectly safe. So safe, so set free from fear that we can even love our enemies without thought of the consequences.”
– Skye Jethani

My friend, Chris, just posted this quote on Facebook and it floored me.

I’ve been told more than once, that my optimistic view of life is annoying.  Though I don’t actually see myself as an optimist.  I’m definitely a pessimist (though those who called me annoying are).  I’m actually very much a realist.  I see a problem and try to work to resolve it.  I don’t leave it be figuring that it will just work itself out or even that God will work that problem out for me.

I’m a realist, but I’m a realist who sees everything through God’s eyes – or at least I attempt to.  That doesn’t absolve me of responsibility.  I’m definitely at the root of many of my problems.  If my kids veg in front of the TV all day – that my fault.  I can’t blame their insane behavior on anyone buy my own self for allowing them to veg instead of going to do something active – like play in a park (which we will be doing shortly).

When everything is crashing around me, I have a very steady God to hold on to through my storm.  Our sermon at Fairmount this past week focused on God being our ROCK!  It is that concept that has allowed me to face divorce at 22 when I didn’t believe it was God’s will.  It is that concept that keeps my head above water when I look in the mirror and see the parts of me I don’t like – the mom who yells even though she doesn’t want to; the wife who isn’t affectionate; the daughter who doesn’t call as often as she should; the friend who doesn’t “show up” when another friend is in real need.

There are so many things that we face that are dead scary – the loss of a child, the loss of a parent, a marriage crumbling…  And some things that are exciting scary – like the fact that I’m going to meet with the math supervisor for Henrico County Schools this Friday to see what’s next for me in getting into the classroom in the next couple years.

BUT GOD… If you are are follower of Christ – a Christian not just in name, but in action – then every scary thing isn’t a desolate place where you are alone.  GOD is with you.

God was with me in high school when I watched a friend die from a vicious cancer that ate him to pieces and took his life.

God was with me when I laid on a floor, brokenhearted, at 19 years old wishing that the boy I loved more than my own salvation (totally dangerous territory) would just love me in return.

God was with me when I rebounded (i.e rushed like a roaring freight train) into a marriage to a man who was everything I’d ever prayed for, yet couldn’t let go of his own perfection to see that marriage is HARD and we were both at fault for our issues so he walked away and took every penny.

God was with me when I made decisions out of His will that will affect my life every day for the rest of my life – decisions that I pray daily that he will take control of the results and help walk me through the consequences, good and bad.

God was with me when I found out I was pregnant earlier in my marriage than we’d planned and that pregnancy derailed all my plans for my future.

God was with me as I looked into the face of that beautiful child and promised her that I’d let her down over and over, but that I’d teach her about our forgiving, loving God who would keep me afloat with every parenting failure.

God was with me when my best friend was in another state facing a cancer trial, then died before I’d bought my ticket to go see her.  God was with me as I faced down that guilt from the failure of “showing up”.

God was with me when I was thinking that I needed some sort of job and he opened a door to a classroom at North Run and invited me to walk through it.

And God will be with me no matter what comes next…

I am not afraid because I’m able to look out into the world and see every person as one that God loves.  If I look at my enemy as a creation of God, how can I spit in their face?

If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, let’s talk.  Because being afraid of this world is a hard way to live.  And don’t get me wrong – I know that more bad is in my path and I just can’t see it yet.  I know that Satan will work harder today to get me to fail because I’ve posted about God being my rock and trying to live my life following Jesus.  Again, I see the reality of this world… but my faith in my amazing God allows me to say to Satan, “Bring it on.”  (Whew!  That’s a scary thing to really put out there in a real way!)

I’m not a perfect Christian.  I’ll say that over and over again.  But I have a real hope to attain perfection someday in Heaven and I’d love to share that with you.  Call me a crazy Christian – it’s a label I’ll wear with pride 🙂

Old Bibles…

Being the daughter of a minister and raised in the church, I have quite a few Bibles. 

I have lost the normal, brown, hard-cover NIV that I received when I was baptised at age 7.  But have another copy of the same Bible that I got at 13.  It is autographed in the front cover by the members of 4Him.  I loved them.  The back cover has a list of scriptures we discussed at the Southern Christian Youth Convention…whatever year that was.  Circled in that list is 1 Timothy 4:12.  That used to be my favorite.  I says, “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young.  Instead, set an example for the believers in speech, life, love, faith and purity.”  That was a favorite for a long time because it spoke to me where I was.  I was young, but my parents expected me to be an example to those around me regardless of who they were or what their age.

Somewhere in a box in the garage is a white leather Bible that zips up.  That one is OLD…

Of the Bibles sitting next to me at the computer table, the next one chronologically is a Zondervan NIV Study Bible that my dad gave me on 2/9/1994.  His note inside the front cover says, “from mom and dad on your sixteeth birthday.  If you are in the word the word will be in you.”  There is also a picture of Josh Kennedy and I taped in the front cover.  I think it is from one of our birthdays or maybe even a graduation party.  We were really good friends.  I miss him.  I’ve actually written a scripture in the front of this Bible.  2 Timothy 2:15 – “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
This Bible is the most worn of all my Bibles.  I used it faithfully until 2 years ago (when my dad bought me another Bible…we’ll get to that).  There are entire sections of this Bible falling out.  I carry it in a case where it is zipped into its own compartment as not to lose those sections.  This one is full of bulletins from over the years.  I cleaned out the case last week and recycled a lot of the bulletins in it (but kept a few).  Eventually, I may clean out this Bible but for now, it speaks volumes to my life.  One of my favorite underlined verses comes from an SCYC held in Stone Mountain, GA where Rich Mullins led worship.  He had us get out our Bibles and underline Exodus 3:5b – “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”  He went on to explain that God was among us, making that auditorium holy ground.  He then asked us all to take off our shoes and worship on that holy ground.  It had an impact on me.  If you ever see my kick off my shoes during worship in church (happens very rarely due to my self-control) it is because I’ve been led into that “place” of worship where God is really present and I can feel Him.  I have to remove my shoes, because I am standing on holy ground.
There are so many verses underlined in this Bible, I don’t have room to share them all with you.  I can’t help but notice Matthew 6:25-34 entitled “Do Not Worry”.  This section stands out to me because it was preached about on August 19, 2001.  I wrote in the margin: Divorce final, no $$, grandma in the hospital, no job, overcommitted and tired.  I wrote there again on July 20, 2003:  No $$, but have a scholarship to attend school full-time, Grandma dead, Grandpa in TN…  I wrote again on 11/16/03 after which I direct the reader to turn to the back of the Bible.  I wrote again no 12/15/04, 10/9/05, 01/08/06, and 9/3/06.  It is interesting to read my thoughts on those days of my life…
I think the oldest bulletin in this Bible (which has obviously been cleaned out at somepoint) is from Towne South Church of Christ on January 12, 1997.  I sang on a worship team there with my two childhood best friends, Michael Lease & Eric Woolard, as well as Shannon Wagner.  It was fun to sing in four part harmony all the time.  Man do I miss that!  Anyway, the bulletin includes an announcement for the Super Bowl Party held by TSCC that year (Jan 26) in their “new” building.  It didn’t even have interior walls yet.  I have a picture of myself from that party.  No heat in the building, but instead those huge heat fans were set up.  It was a great night.  I still remember it.

The next Bible is The New American Standard Bible “The Student Bible” issued to me as a textbook at Roanoke Bible College (now Mid-Atlantic Christian University).  It has a card in it from Debbie Lockhart telling me she’s thinking about me and referring me to read Psalm 121.  That scripture became a great comfort to me when I flew into Haiti a year or so later.  A bookmark that says “Teach me YOUR ways” is tucked into Ezekiel.  It is from the Women’s Retreat at Parham Hills Christian Church on January 19, 2002.  In Mark, I find that picture from the Towne South superbowl party.  I’m huddled closely with Megan Lease.  There are lots of Towne South bulletins in this one.  On April 27, 1997 our Worship group (called the “Young Quartet” sang “There is Still Power In The Blood”.  I apparently also used this Bible when I worked with Campus Crusades back in Richmond.  In a Crusades meeting on 10/2/98 I underlined Colossians 4:2-6.  Verse 6 says, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.”  Interesting that I turned to that one.  I’m currently in a Bible study of women at First Baptist Church on Mondays.  We are doing a study called Conversation Peace – it talks about our speech and taming our tongue.

I also have a Serendipity Student Bible (NIV) that I bought when I was the Youth Director at Parham Hills Christian Church.  I job I’ve always regretted letting go.  I loved being the Youth Director.  In the front of this Bible are quotes I like by famous and not-so-famous people.  I have a quote by President Ford that says, “Your best friend is the person who helps keep your dream alive.” and a quote by my dad (9/24/00) that says, “If you look at God through your circumstances, He will look small and far away. If you look at your circumstances through God, He will draw near and be close.”
I love this Bible because it has discussing questions all through it (which I used in youth group meetings).  They are deep and my teens really thought about them.  It also includes a picture of the PHCC YOUth t-shirt we were designing with our theme scripture: Acts 4:29 – “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.”  I wanted those kids to speak God’s Word with BOLDNESS!

And finally, my least used Bible of all time (used only for cross reference and when I need a neat wording for Praise Team on Sunday morning) – my copy of Eugene Peterson’s The Message.  There is only one bulletin (01/26/03 – Baby Dedication) and just one thing underlined.  There are a few pictures from a youth trip tucked in, but that is all.  The underlined?  Jeremiah 29:11-12 (my favorite)

I love old Bibles.  Someday, I hope to inherit at least one of my dad’s or my mom’s.  My dad has my grandpa’s and I love that one, too.  It connects me to a great man of God.  What does your Bible say about you?