Hey God, I just love it when You give me the chance to experience and immediately apply what I am reading in your word and what I am living in the moment; God I think that is one of your coolest characteristics. You are active, Your word is applicable, and You are patient. For me, another read it/live it moment came on the Tuesday evening of NWIL Teen Camp 2012. I have really been enjoying our time together in James. I am not in a rush and neither are You. There is just so much you want me to learn from this.
James 3: 1-2 Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
Two verses…I know…it doesn’t seem like much. But God you and I have been talking a lot lately about what it means to be “a teacher in the church”. There is so much more on the line when I intentionally step into another believer’s life in this capacity. It’s not just about my walk anymore, now it’s also about how my walk and my words are influencing and impacting someone else’s journey. Am I pointing to You? To Your character? To Your truth? When they are spending time with me, are they getting to know You better?
It had been a great second day at teen camp and I was ready to leave the dining hall after another wonderful meal. I even managed to save a little bit of room for my favorite new tradition, a soft serve chocolate ice cream cone to take with me for the walk back to our dorms and meeting area. It was a beautiful evening – and I started my leisurely walk thru the clustered groups of chatting teenagers as I looked across the hill at some young men from our home church skipping rocks across the pond. I clearly remember at this point that I smiled, pleased with all that I saw, and then as I went to take my first lick of chocolate bliss it all came crashing down. Literally. You see, as I was looking across the pond I WAS NOT looking at my feet and I stepped off of the smooth hill and into a giant uncovered drainage hole L I fell face first onto the grass, the cone fell ice cream side down next to me, and a group of about a half dozen nearby Jr. High girls (one of which was the daughter of one of my dear friends) watched the whole thing and immediately started screaming “Oh No Ms Trish, Oh No Ms Trish!” At that moment, you God clearly spoke these words to me “Don’t cry, don’t cuss, what happens next really matters a lot”.
I have never broken anything. Not an arm, or a leg, not even a finger or a toe. At that moment I truly thought I had broken my ankle. I saw stars, the world went quiet, there was searing pain from my toes to my knee, and I was surrounded by a group of young ladies watching in horror to see what would happen next.
So this is what happened next: First I said “crap” – which is not a cuss word. Next I rolled over and gingerly lifted my foot out of the hole and onto the grassy hillside, and I checked my new capri’s for grass stains. I called the girls over, asked one of them to please throw away my no longer eatable ice cream cone (very sad) and asked the rest of the group to sit with me on the hill for a minute while I caught my breath. So they did – in complete silence…which I didn’t know Jr. High girls could do…and they looked at me with the biggest, most uncertain eyes I have ever seen. If there is one thing that I know about this age group of women it is this - they are sponges and mirrors - they soak up everything around them and then reflect it back. As I tried to process evening that was happening, I kept hearing in my mind, “don’t cry, don’t cuss, what happens next really matters” So what did I do? I began to laugh, and then I said “wow, did you see that? If someone had a video camera we could totally post that graceful landing on You Tube!” And then they laughed too. One girl even said “I was really scared that you were hurt bad, but that is the funniest thing I have ever seen in my life!” I said “you’re welcome” and we laughed some more. Then we talked about the first 2 days of camp, all the stuff we loved and all the stuff we were still excited to do later. After a few minutes those charming young women helped me hobble the rest of the way back to our dorm and the nurses’ station. My foot wasn’t broken, just twisted very nicely…nothing that a good ankle brace, Tylenol, ice and elevation and some common sense couldn’t handle. Did my foot change my camp experience – sure, but it was still a great camp. I did what I could and let go of the other stuff.
The girls looked after me the rest of the week. When we would see eachother they asked how I was feeling and made sure I wasn’t doing too much. On the last day at lunch we were able to meet up one last time to talk about camp. A few of them had the customary scrapes, bruises and bites –and we talked about how they made the choice (just like me) to choose their words, their attitude and the amount of fun they would continue to have in spite of their aches and pains.
Thanks God, for talking loud enough for me to hear. I am so glad that this time anyway, I was able to handle life as it happened in a way that reflects the work you are continuing to do in me.