Written by Megan Montgomery, Wilderness/Oxley Resident Counselor 2013
This is my third summer to work at Lakeshore. When I think of summer, I think of Chaco tans, freckles, sunscreen, water skiing, but mostly I think of camp. And that is what scares me. Lakeshore has become my summer home. Don’t get me wrong. This place is home to many of my fondest memories, but I am always nervous that I’m returning to camp only because it feels familiar and not because God still has work to do through me.
Ironically, my last post in this blog was after my first week of counseling Oxley last summer. This summer, I am the Wilderness/Oxley Resident Counselor, or WO as we like to call it. I will alternate every week of camp between the girl’s Oxley weeks and Wilderness camp. The week I wrote about seems like forever ago, but I still think about it all the time. That week was hard for me because there was an element of pain that I wanted to fix so much in their hearts but I couldn’t. All I could do was love and support them, but that didn’t feel like enough.
A friend once told me that she loves spiritual highs in her life because she can look forward to the rough patch that is surely to follow. Like most times I leave Lakeshore, I arrived at my sophomore year of college with a full and happy heart. But because He knows its depths better than I do, God broke my heart to bring me closer to him.
As trivial as it sounds, the emotions I felt this past year made me think of the girls at my week of Oxley. Like with their struggles, I wanted so bad to look at my life, find the problem, snap my fingers, and feel whole again. What I learned was that I was looking too hard to find answers and not hard enough for God. The repairs to my relationship with Him only began when I thought about what it really looks like to love someone. I know that this is your typical, cliché, Sunday School answer, and you can roll your eyes all you want, but when I really think about how God loves me, I can’t even properly understand it. And on top of that, he calls us to love like that! God’s love for us is unconditional, and the love we feel is only an imitation of what He feels for us. It just blows my mind, and I can’t even explain it.
When I truly realized and embraced God’s love for me, I found peace. I know that the process of finding that peace helped me to feel God’s presence in my decisions. And that feeling is why I returned to Lakeshore for a third summer. I also know now that loving my campers IS enough. It’s not just all I can do. It is everything I can do.
My feelings for camp this summer alternate between extreme excitement and overwhelming fear, which in my mind is the greatest feeling! I feel excited about Hawaiian burgers, canoeing the Buffalo River, acting like a kid, braiding hair, and knowing that God has ways to use me and speak through me this summer. I feel fear because I’m not always confident that I have what it takes for this position. I feel like God is asking a lot of me after my relationship with him was so fragile this past year. But God is in that uncertainty, too! And to me, that is the most reassuring feeling. I am mostly excited to share joy with my campers and to love so much this summer that maybe I can understand God’s great, overwhelming, consuming love for us just a little bit better.
“..so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-18
“Beloved let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7-8