Sometimes God is so close you can feel His presence tangibly.
Last weekend I headed up to the mountains with my high school girls for a weekend at Forest Home Camp. I hadn’t been to a camp like this in a while so I was super excited. Games. Songs. Bunk beds. Playing in the snow. I was made for camp. In fact, I loved going to camps so much that in college and after I took job after job that landed me back at camps for the summer, so I was so excited to be heading to my happy place, even if this particular camp was new to me.
Like most leaders, I was eager for a weekend away from all the distractions of home to bond with my girls. We haven’t been a group for very long so we were still building trust, and my girls had yet to see the crazy, silly side of me. It was only a matter of time for that to come out. I also was looking forward to some good time of sharing our hearts and watching God reveal Himself to them. They are always growing and I feel like a proud momma watching it all unfold.
As I expected, camp was awesome. I danced on chairs, laughed at all the silly games, went tubing in the snow on a sunny afternoon, sang high school karaoke with such enthusiasm you’d think I was 17 again and chowed down on each kid-approved meal like it was my last. Like I said — I was made for camp.
But of course, I went prepared to watch God work in their lives. I didn’t really expect Him to work so mightily in my own. Isn’t that how it always goes?
I went to camp hungry for God and thirsty for worship. It’s a hunger that’s been growing in me for a while, but I just couldn’t seem to feel fed. In some ways, I couldn’t really figure out how to quench this thirst for worship, the hunger to be close to God. Distractions and fears and a mind busy and schedule just kept weighing me down. Then on Saturday night after the talk you could choose to spend the next 40 minutes in one of 4 rooms to work through the thoughts that were probably swirling in your head at this point. Some went to a place to pray, other went to rooms where you could write letters to reconcile with family or peers, while others stayed in the main meeting hall to reconcile with God through extended worship. That’s where you could find me. That’s where God met me.
My heart, My heart is deeper than the ocean
My grace, My grace is wider than the sky
My voice, My voice is louder than the darkness
My love, My love will bring you back to life
Though mountains may fall and crumble
My love will never change
I am the sound in the silence
Surely I am with you always
Just fix your eyes on Me
Waters rise, but do not be afraid
Surely I am with you now
Come cast your cares on Me
Surely I am with you always
For the next 40 minutes or so with my arms raised and eyes moist with tears I worshiped through song and prayer. I was reminded of God’s never-changing love and faithfulness, that He is a God who LOVES to REDEEM and RESCUE His people. His heart is deeper than the ocean; His grace wider than the sky. And for that short time, I felt like it was just me singing with the angels songs of praise to the one who my heart loves. And I was filled to the brim, no longer thirty but quenched.
I’m back down the mountain now, back to the busyness and crazy and fun and everyday errands that seem to rule my life. Only now, my heart is filled and my soul is renewed. This weekend I was reminded that more than once a year “I need to make room for the white space in the margins of my life, for the light to break through.”
My girls and I had a weekend we’ll never forget — not just because we made a giant tubing chain that flew down a mountainside or because we karaoked to “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” like we were auditioning for Broadway, but because God was SO real and present this weekend. Because we can each say, “I know that God loves me and is with me” and truly believe it.
Side note: A big high five and plug for the worship band Urban Rescue for leading our singing last weekend. I’d never heard of them before this trip, but I’m a big fan now. Poor Jordan had a cold last weekend and was fighting to keep his voice the whole time, but they still were awesome. Their new album Listen Empty is one of the best worship albums I’ve heard in a looooong time. So I leave you with a this video of them: