Monday, June 4, 2012

Lament


This last month has been a roller coster for me. I have had the subject of affirmation on my heart and mind for a long time but this past month more than ever. 
Over the past three years I have been working through this idea of affirmation from God instead of people. Now, just so it’s not confusing, affirmation from people is good, it’s healthy. The thing with me was, I was getting too comfortable with the affirmation from people part of it. I was getting burnt out, tired, and discouraged. 

My mentors and spiritual leaders were the ones I was trying to get approval from the most. I would do anything to get a “good job, Cami” or an “I’m so proud of you.” Of course they could see right through me and they started calling me out on it. That was hard for me but at the same time really good. 
Last month, my youth pastor asked me to help him cut stencils for a huge art piece he wanted to do for a worship night we were going to have as a youth group. I said yes, and headed over to work Monday afternoon. We worked for two hours and realized we weren’t even close to getting done. We agreed my sister and I would come early the next day and work on it more. Next day came, Sofi and I got up, and started to get ready to leave. I figured we were only going to be there for a couple hours, then come back home. So, I threw on junky clothes, a hat, and left. 
Sofi and I worked until our mom came to pick us up. We felt bad leaving because there was still so much work to be done so we offered to stay all day and work and then stay for youth group that night. 
At youth group we had been talking about lament. Lament means to mourn over, to feel, show, express grief, sorrow or regret. A couple of the students had an idea to make a movie once we were done with the series. This movie would feature us writing down the things we wanted to lament/let go of on rocks, then the next week we would go out to the bridge and throw our rocks off of it. 
This particular night was the week we were supposed to write on our rocks. I had been having a hard time figuring out what to write on my rock. So the whole day, while cutting stencils, I was thinking of what I wanted to put on this rock.
6pm rolls around, kids start showing up, worship starts, and everybody is happy. Except me. I was so tired from working all afternoon, I was having a hard time keeping a smile on my face and my attitude in check. My youth pastor was keeping me super busy too, every other minute he was calling my name for me to do something new. So, basically, I missed the whole night, I didn’t get to join worship, paint, or even do a rock. 
By the end of the night I was a wreak. I was beyond tired, dirty, and sore from being hunched over the giant stencils all day. 
Throughout the day I hadn't really been thinking about how I would feel if no one affirmed me for all the work I did, but once I got in the car and started to head home, all the feelings started coming back. Fact was, no one had really said hi to me, or even looked me in the eyes the whole night. 
I was so fed up with those feelings, I started crying out in my heart. “God, I can’t do this anymore! I feel so discouraged so over looked. I’m so tired of feeling like this!” Although I didn’t know it at the time, I had started to lament something. The Lord started speaking to me, just affirming me about the things I had done that day. I started to tear up, but that was only the beginning. 
When we pulled up into the driveway, I got out of the car as fast as I could, went inside, and dragged myself up the stairs to my room. Once I stepped foot in my room, I don't know what came over me, but I collapsed on the floor and started to sob. I have never cried that hard in my life, I just cried and cried for a good 20min. The more I cried, the more I could feel years and years of being disappointed and let down by people start coming off me. The Lord just kept taking me deeper, and speaking into the past situations where I didn’t get the affirmation I wanted. All I could do was cry.
I went down stairs when I thought I was done. I walked into the kitchen and  my dad takes one look at my face and said, “What happened?!?” I opened my mouth to explain my red, and teary face but instead of words, out came more tears. I started sobbing again, this time, all over the counter top. 
Around 9:30pm I started to cool down. I felt like I had just gotten rid of a thorn in my life. So...free! By then I didn’t care that my youth pastor hadn’t affirmed me, I didn't’ care no one said thank you. This was a feeling I had never had before. It was just me and The Lord. The moment I said that in my heart, I heard my phone go off. I picked it up and it was a text from my youth pastor. It was just a simple thank you, love ya, good job and goodnight sort of text. Usually this would be the text that made my week. As I looked at it, I felt this overwhelming sense of blessing. The Lord started to speak again. He said once I am secure in His approval and love, He is going to bring blessings and encouragement from the people in my life who also love me.
To sum up the rest of the story. The next day, I told my parents what God had said and I explained what had happened to me the night before. I also told I was bummed because I didn’t get to do a rock. My mom and dad shared with us that they had rocks in their life they wanted to get rid of too. So, as a family we got some rocks, went out to the bridge, prayed, declared freedom, and threw them.
To this day I am still processing what happened that night. This is a big deal to me! My life changed that night. I am still learning a lot. I can feel this freedom that wasn’t there and peace I hadn’t felt before. I am so excited for what the Lord has in store and for this next chapter of my life! 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Courage Story

Sitting patiently at my table across the room, listening to a complete stranger talk my ear off about nothing. In moments like these I have the choice to act in any way I want. I could be myself, I could be completely rude and tell her to shut up, or I could even just get up and leave the room. Luckily for her, I choose to be myself, no matter what she was going to say about me with her big mouth.
   
There I was sitting in one of the offices at the Salvation Army while my dad was in a board meeting. I myself, had planned to sit in a corner and get some school done, but that was not how the afternoon was going to go down. No, I was in a room with this other woman sitting about 20 feet from me at her desk. I introduced myself and asked if I could use the wifi and write a report for history. She was really sweet and I didn't expect to hear much from her except the jumble of numbers and letters which they called their wifi password (which didn’t work, but that’s not the point). I got my computer out and I was about to put my head phones in and zone out, when the most asked question in the world passed her lips. “So, what school do you go to?” From there on she went on to ask me, what kind of phone I had, if I liked it, if I have a job, can I drive, what church do you go too, what do I do in my spare time, internship? sports? How many siblings do I have?..and the list goes on. 


 My patience was running out and I hadn't yet typed 10 sentences to my report. I quietly whispered “God help my love this women well.” Shutting my computer I decided to give up trying to write a report and listen to this women who obviously wants to talk and get to know me. Once I made that change in my heart, the conversation shifted. She started opening up about how she has a niece, who is living with her, and who has had a really hard life, since she is the aunt, she is trying to take care of the girl but it’s really taking a toll on her and now she is just plain discouraged.

This woman must have been a good 30 years older then me but in that moment I don't think it mattered. I got to encourage her. Speak peace and life into her, and into the different things she shared. 


God had something else planned for my afternoon that day, and I thank him for the experience. I am learning that courage is being able to live a life for Jesus on an everyday basis and it’s amazing what the Lord will bring your way when you say yes to that challenge. Now I am not perfect and I struggle with this idea of courage, but God has seriously been blowing my mind lately and it’s really amazing.

The thing that still makes me laugh to this day is what this women said to me as I was getting ready to leave. I was almost out the door, when she called after me, “Hey kid.....(silence)...you have your head screwed on right, keep up the good work.” 
Wow.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Identity

Read this over yourself.  It's simple, yet it meant a lot to me.


I am amazing. I am God’s greatest creation. He loves me to death. I rock. I was born to do greater works then Jesus. I was born for glory. Nations are attracted to me (cause i’m so good looking hahaha). I have the mind of Christ, therefore, I think like God. He’s my inheritance. I’m His inheritance. And He actually likes me, and I like me. If you got to know me, you would like me too. Creation knows who I am. The devil knows who I am. God knows who I am. The angels, they know who I am. And today, I know who I am.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Patience

I have a hard time being patient. I know that most of us do. We want things to come faster, grow up quicker, just know what we are doing with our lives, but I have noticed that as I grow older the things I dreamed about two years ago have changed, and I find myself getting inpatient with the big things I want to see happen, that I know take time. Many times I have woken up in the morning thinking about what I want to see happen, and for some reason I cram all of those desires into a two week time span, when in the back of my mind I know it will probably take years. For example, I say. “I want to see them healed from that relationship problem.” or “ I want to see them experience God and find identity in him.” but God’s timing is very different then mine.

God has really been speaking to me about a lot of things, but all of those things fit under the big topic of his timing. Only he knows when I am ready for all the stuff I am asking for, and all I have to do is ask, but instead I find myself trying to make all the stuff I want to happen, happen the fast way and in doing that I miss out on the process of it happening.

When I was 13 I really wanted an ipod touch because it was the closest I could get to an iphone (I know, pathetic huh?). Anyway, I decided to start saving up. Now when I was 13 the only way I got money was babysitting (for very, very cheep) or extra chores. So I knew from the start that scrubbing floors for 5bucks wasn’t going to get me there very fast but it would eventually get me there. So every chance I got I worked and worked, for at least a year I saved up for this ipod I wanted. Finally, one morning I got up counted my money, bam! $154 dollars. So I snuck out of my room, because every one was still sleeping, got on eBay and won an auction for an ipod touch, all by myself. That was probably the best day of my life.

Now that I look back on that I think, wow, God you gave me the patience to buy that little thing. What would I have learned about timing if mom or dad said “Here Cami, here is a brand new ipod touch for you.” I would have missed on the process of waiting and watching my little box fill up with my savings. The ipod I got wasn’t even new, it was this old used thing that meant nothing to the previous owner, but you know what? It meant everything to me because it was worth so much and it cost me everything, my labor, my time, my money, and my patience!

God is still teaching me about patience, and I still have a lot to learn. I mean, the things I want now are a lot bigger then an ipod, but they both have the lesson built into them. Be Patient. I am looking forward to what God has in store for my life, but I am not looking to far forward, that way I can still take delight in the little things God has put in front of me that are getting me my future goals.




Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Under the Basketball hoop

Sometimes it’s more than shooting basketballs that make a kids know you care. It’s just the fact that you are someone they can count on to even play basketball with them. We have many kids that live just doors down from us. When they first meet us they are shy and the last thing they want to do is come and play with you and the rest of the crowd. But somehow they always end up knocking on the door days later asking to play, they end up eating with us, going out with us, and all of a sudden it‘s a relationship that feels like it‘s always been there. It’s living life with you, that’s what they are interested in.

My brother Benji is the most popular kid on our street, I’m not even kidding everyday we get at least a couple calls asking for Benji to play, I get texts just telling me that they are going to be outside and wondering if we are going to come out. It’s cute how they are so open to tell you the effect you have on them. Today, Benji told us what one of the boys said to him. “Hey Benji, I really like hanging out with you, the more I’m with you the more I am learning to control myself. Like this morning I was about to jack my mom’s phone and take it to school, like I do every morning, but when I was about to I just started thinking about you and what you would say and I decided not to do it.” Benji was really excited, he had no idea that, that boy felt and looked at him that way.

Another time I was with one of the girls shooting hoops in 40 degree weather, I think we were talking about school and all of a sudden she said “I don’t think I’m a christian, I don’t like going to church I think  it’s boring, and you know you have to go to church to be a christian.” I was taken back a little bit, I said. “No you don’t, you can still be a christian even if you don’t go to church, sometimes I don’t go to church for a couple weeks. Guess what, we are having church right now.” She looked at me as if I were some sort of crazy woman. “What do you think church is? A building?” Right away she said yes. “The people are the church, we are the ones that make up the church, without us the “church” is just an empty building; the building doesn’t even really matter, it’s really just a place people meet every week. We are having church right now, right here under the basketball hoop.” I knew this was a hard thing for a little girl to understand, I didn’t even know what I was talking about when I said that to her, all I know God was there. He was really there under the BASKETBALL HOOP.

Monday, March 28, 2011

MLK

Every week, on mondays, our family is apart of MLK (Martin Luther King Center). We help with girls club and boys club. Every week the girls never cease to amaze me and show me the way they look at other girls, their age and older. I think I handle myself pretty well, but the girls always find a way to ask me why I do my hair this way or why I said that. They look on the outward appearance. Is it because they can't see the inward appearance? I hear them say "Oh she is so pretty." "Ya look at her, she's scared of the dark." "She needs to do something with her hair." It makes me think of what my first reaction is when a new girl comes in. Do I get to know them and make a connection? Or think right away they need be a little more mature so I can even talk to them? Honestly I really don't know. But I do know what I want my answer to be. This is something I noticed today, and for a while now. I think I will be a lot more aware of it from now on. I love my girls, and I am there to be there for them.