I’m back from a week of living in the woods, with 100 teenage girls, in a constant state of sweating, and I’m already kind of missing it (but then again, I’m sitting in an air conditioned apartment and about to go use a bug free bathroom, so only kind of).
Every morning we stood, all one hundred and something of us, and after we pledged allegiance to the flag, we linked arms and recited our theme. There is such a power in a group of young girls who know who they are, what they stand for, and what they want out of life. On Thursday evening we had a testimony meeting where any girl had the chance to share her beliefs. The struggles of these girls moved me to tears, but their strength, their convictions and their triumphs, gave me faith. After the testimony, in the stillness of the camp and under the light of the stars, each group of girls sang a hymn. The lyrics of one have stuck with me the past 24 hours:
Walk tall, you’re a daughter, a child of God.
Be strong—please remember who you are.
Try to understand, You’re part of His great plan.
He’s closer than you know—reach up, He’ll take your hand.
This week was such a powerful reminder for me. For so long, while at camp, I wanted to make sure they understood how important they are, and how important the choices they make right now are. I wanted them to know how big of an impact the next few years have on the rest of their life. I wanted to teach them what I thought I knew, and I thought I’d be glad I went because of who I was able to touch. But, in the end, it was me who learned something, who was reminded of something.
I was reminded that it is not enough to know something, or to think that you know it. It is not enough to be passive and content. We must be striving, stretching, and working. Life is for growing, changing, and becoming. God is here. He is real and He loves us. He loves me. He knows me. He listens to me. And He’ll listen to you too, just like He listens, strengthens and supports all those girls who brought me to tears last night.
I hope they let me come back next year.