Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cultivated Rejoicing

I have officially returned home. Home meaning my home rather than my parents’ home. The fans are on, the swamp cooler on high, windows open. Reopening an empty house alone after eight weeks is more emotionally taxing than I would have assumed. The bleach I poured down the drains hoping to dissuade the cockroaches from entering and the grass in front that needs to be mowed are both small reminders that Narnia is over and reality has hit once again.

Encountering reality was not as horrendous a concept at the end of my eight weeks with Worldview this year as it was last. I had been preparing myself for it before the summer started as I remembered the end of camp last year; upon my return home, I quarantined myself because of the emotional despair I was feeling. This simply was not an option this summer. Such a reaction did not serve my family, friends, church or staff from the summer with excellence. My resolve this year was to rejoice in that which the Lord did through me and the team, in me and the team, and despite me and the team. Sitting here facing reality once again, I have found I must be reminded to rejoice. A deep rejoicing must be cultivated in such circumstances.

Rejoicing is not flowing freely because it is masked by my desire to share life once again with the staff. It is masked by the longing once again to have one task set before me—serving my students to the glory of our great God. It is masked by the craving to “feel” God’s grace so tangibly in the work during the camp week and to see it so tangibly in the life of the students once again.

These are beautiful opportunities a summer at Worldview affords—something that is only in Narnia. I rejoice in them and look back fondly upon those moments when they were such clear realities that I could have pulled them from the air, touching, smelling and tasting them. I rejoice in God’s providence displayed in setting Narnia apart.

And yet, our great God works outside of Narnia. His work at camp is meant to fuel us on to pursue His glory and grace in reality. I am able to wake up rejoicing in His grace because He enables me to do so whether I’m at home or whether I’m at camp. I rejoice in the memories of His grace: when I had an impromptu theological conversation with almost every one of my fourteen year olds in Oklahoma, when I saw how the Lord had preserved and grew my repeat students from Texas, when one of my students in Mississippi came to me Friday morning saying, “Lauren, I get it!!”, when I had deep, refreshing and challenging one on ones in Florida, when my girls in Georgia understood and applied the concept of servant leadership two days into camp, when I had a student in North Carolina who spewed out joy like a shaken soda can every moment of the entire week, and when my girls in Virginia understood and grasped the importance of leading with an attitude that responds like Christ would.

It was a beautiful summer. It was a beautiful summer because God worked and His work is clearly seen. All glory be to Him. A simple reflection on His work, which reflects who He is, brings about rejoicing—deep, lasting rejoicing. Praise Him for His visible grace.

1 comment:

Hannah said...

It was a good summer, wasn't it? I fully echo your thoughts and rejoice with you- because even though I was not physically alongside you I take joy knowing we were striving towards the same purpose and so were side-by-side.