The weekend between week 1 and week 2 was a whirlwind of busyness and more lack of sleep. Last year everyone who worked week 2 was from week 1. This year they wanted to give some more people opportunities to work so some more people were coming down on Saturday. This meant Friday was open for us. After a debrief meeting and saying our goodbyes, we were free! This meant that I got to spend a day with Cosbie and his family. My favorite boy in my favorite place (besides Kirkland and Charlie, of course), what more could a girl ask for? I had a wonderfully relaxing day of the beach, doing laundry for week 2, dinner with his family, the pier, and ice cream.
Saturday was a full day of training, which, let's be honest, isn't always very fun but necessary. Kemper (friend from last year camp)'s family was down there at their condo so they invited us all over for dinner that night. It was good to spend some time with everyone and get to talk to my sweet friend Lauren. Last year when I met these people, I don't think I realized what wonderful friends I really had made. We all agreed that we didn't take full advantage of the friends that God had put into our lives and didn't realize it until this year. When we got back that night we all shared our testimonies again. This was one of the most amazing testimony times I have ever been a part of. So many girls were sharing things they had never shared before and it was so cool to find that openness with each other. We all have things that we don't really like to tell people, and I am no different. As each girl before me was sharing and we were rejoicing with them over this newfound freedom, but I was refusing to join in. I felt like God was really telling me that I needed to talk about some stuff, but I kept telling Him "no way". Then more girls kept opening up. And other girls were breaking out scripture about healing and confession and I was literally praying that they would shut up. (which is a really dumb thing to pray because I was basically praying against what God was telling me.) When Kendall read James 5:16, I knew I was in for it. "Therefore, confess your sins to each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a powerful man is powerful and effective." Awesome. I knew there was no getting out of it now. But the whole night was a night of healing and freedom. We latched onto that word for the whole weekend: freedom. Very appropriate since the next day was the 4th of July. Training continued and then we went to the pier to watch fireworks.
Everything was great, but I felt really distracted- not by anything in particular, but my mind was not focused on camp at all. Once again, I am so thankful for such amazing friends. It's a rare thing to find friends who I can share my struggles with at any given moment and they will drop everything and pray right that second. My prayer partner for the week was Bethany and she was such a blessing every morning. I have taken such precious friends for granted for so long- we all have- but we really got so much closer this year and I am excited about these wonderful godly women being in my life.
Courtney (camp director) explained week 2 the best: "Week 1 we had a bunch of leaders who were on fire for Christ and we were just building them up, equipping them, and pouring into them. Week 2 we had the same kind of leaders, but we had to get them out of a whole lot of sin before they could be leaders worth following." I encountered a lot of new problems I had never experienced before. My girls were awesome of course, but different than before. They didn't become best friends within the first 3 hours or want to talk to me and spend time with me immediately. (of course in the end they wished that they had gotten closer sooner and we all spent much more time together) A lot of the students from week 1 suggested that we do some kind of girls and boys separated question and answer session kinda deal during free time and we loved that idea, so we ran with it for week 2. We had all the students in our huddles anonymously write down questions that they had and compiled them and divided them into categories. We wanted them to feel like they could ask anything without anyone knowing it was them. As we went through the questions and read about some of the things these kids were struggling with, we were in tears and heartbroken. I was reading questions about things I didn't even know existed until college. I know I can be naive sometimes, but still. It broke our hearts and made us realize the urgency of doing something like this and of reaching out to these students.
I listened to stories of broken hearts and my heart broke too. I listened to stories of struggling relationships and felt their struggle. I listened to stories of struggles with self-worth and remembered my own. I had always viewed my tender heart as a curse. I cry at everything. When someone hurts, I feel it. When they cry, I cry. And I hated that about myself most of the time. But my sweet Lindsey friend pointed out that it is a gift that I have been given, but one I must use responsibly. I struggled to not take on their burdens and be drug down by them. I love those girls so much and I hate to see them hurt. I want to save them. I want to take away their pain. But God quickly used that group of girls to show me that He can get through their pain without me. He doesn't need me. He sometimes chooses to use me, but sometimes He chooses not to. And that's ok.
The sleep deprivation and the hurt I felt for these girls and the all out exhaustion gave me the opportunity to learn to completely surrender every day and depend on Him to get me out of bed and help me make my next step. It was one of the hardest but most amazing weeks of my life and I am so thankful that I was able to be there for both weeks.
Sarah, Chrissy, Lexi, Natalie, Erin, Kristen, Logan, Carli, Brittany, and Angel