My thoughts here are for my edification. I have definite opinions that are, for lack of better terms, of a conservative bent and will most likely offend on some level readers of this blog. My intent is not to offend. Nor is it to open up to debate my personal beliefs. If my beliefs cannot be respected, please do not continue reading this post and come back on another day.
I thought we teachers were supposed to be there to teach. Camp was for the campers. After what I experienced today, while I do so fervently hope I was a seed planter, I believe camp was for me.
We had a standard VBS curriculum to teach from, each teacher assigned one lesson and the campers rotate each day between us. God is with us. God cares. God gives us what we need. Jesus saves. God answers. I thought these last two were a little out of order, but then as the teacher of “Jesus saves” I was a bit overwhelmed by it all to begin with.
A while back God had to throw a brick at me to get me to understand that I never really allowed him to completely heal the wounds festering under the band-aids. I had to realize I needed total healing. I needed closure and while I did not know exactly what that meant I almost lost that chance. God has been sending canoes, boats, helicopters–just to get me ready to listen up.
Before I could even define what closure would mean to me, or even what consequences I would be willing to accept, I had to think about what I would even say to this person. My homework assignment was to write it down. I had a month to think about it and I was successfully avoiding it but I knew I had an appointment coming up. One thing I had to acknowledge was that I am good at not doing what I know I need to do in order to get better.
After two weeks of teaching and I could relax, I really couldn’t. I knew I had to get out my journal and write that closure letter.
God is with me.
The lesson was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the Fiery Furnace with the Spirit of God.
I’ve never been alone in the PTSD, the PPD, this illness, and recent struggles. My favorite non-scriptural poem is Footprints. I have seen and felt the times in my life where I was carried.
The lesson was Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. The first week the teacher had a hard time connecting the lesson with the principle. I said I would focus on the fact Jesus wept–He cared enough that He was emotionally invested even though He knew letting Lazarus die and raise him from the dead was to be an opportunity to show God’s glory and His own authority.
I think Jesus wept right along with me. I think He did not like the situation but it was the consequence of the actions of others. He cared enough to actually remove me from the situation and the physical distances helped shelter me. He cared enough to let me grieve the loss. And He wept with me.
God gives us what we need.
There were actually two lessons. For the class they focused on the paralytic lowered through the roof by his friends and Jesus forgave the man of his sins rather than heal him as one might have expected him to do. He did ultimately make him walk again so that He could show he had the power and authority to heal both the body and the spirit. For the skit they focused on the Israelites complaining about starving and God giving them manna and quail rather than returning them to the Egyptians (what they thought they wanted).
I took my journal and I wrote and I wrote. I was so into it that I grabbed one of the other teachers and I said I would cover arts & crafts after dinner if she’d go solo without me before dinner. I walked over to the chapel in the woods. The purpose wasn’t an “I blame you for everything” exercise–I’ve said before (I hope on here but if not I will do that soon) that I blame no one. But I certainly wanted to give this person a “What-For: This is what I have been suffering with and your choices did nothing to help me.” It was angry and brutal. It was cathartic. I needed that.
Then I prayed out loud, looking at all of God’s nature surrounding me. “You showed me that I needed to ask you for this, for complete healing. Here I am. I want complete healing. Cut this wound out of me and cauterise it. Give me closure. I am willing to accept whatever results. I fully understand that may mean never speaking again. I will accept that. I am so tired. My brain can handle no more and now my body is turning against me. I want this finished. Please. Heal me.” Through my tears, I asked him for what I wanted and I was willing to risk the results of confrontation.
Before I get to the final lessons, let me say that God was working to answer me with what I needed, not wanted, without me realizing it. With the letter written I could think a little more clearly and I could think about what form closure could take. I began to wonder if the other person was not as much in the dark about my condition as I thought–I vaguely remember being told someone had told them. So perhaps such an “in your face” confrontation wasn’t even necessary.
As I posted, I chose not to go to my joke of a reunion. This changed my plans for Sunday morning. I could go home Saturday night. There would be no reason for me to go back if my BIL could take my daughter back to camp for me. Several events happened that were trying to keep me from being in the right place at the right time. I thank God that I was listening to that still quiet voice and I chose to go ahead and take T1 back to camp myself.
I had passages from John 19 & 20. From his betrayal through Doubting Thomas and yes, I had only an hour to talk about salvation. Jesus kept his part of the promise that was laid out for us in Genesis 2. God is so faithful. We have to take part in that promise to be saved. It is deep stuff and at camp the children are coming from all kinds of backgrounds.
I already know I am partaking in that promise of hope of eternal life but John 20:29 “Blessed are those who have believed and yet have not seen” was about to apply to me in a very real way.
The lesson came from Paul and Silas in prison and the earthquake releasing their bonds. The jailor was so moved by the fact they did not try to escape that he sought to be saved. Christians act peculiarly, not in the ways the world would expect us to–who wouldn’t try to run? Our actions and choices that go against the norm leave an impression on those around us.
I was in the right place at the right time to hear this person that I needed closure with admit their fault and ask forgiveness (it is very complicated but it was not me they needed to ask forgiveness of … I just got caught in the crossfire). God answered. “Here is the closure you asked for … not what you wanted but what you needed.”
I could have totally responded with a bit of righteous indignation–what? That’s it? They get off without feeling my hurt? I just remember grabbing T1 and as I buried my face in her hair I just said over and over again “Thank you, God!” She couldn’t hear me so she later asked me why I was crying. “You don’t understand! This is what I prayed for! This! Just 48 hours ago!”
I may not have seen Him, but I know he was there. And He is blessing me with healing. He took the chains off me just like Paul and Silas… but I could have put them back on if I had not allowed Jesus’ healing to wash over me. I was so overwhelmed with emotion I barely heard what else was being said (the apology was accepted and forgiveness was freely given).
I don’t know why my prayer was answered. I don’t know why he turned his eyes toward me when surely others were hurting far worse than me. All I know is that only something far greater can come from this–He has a greater purpose than I do. I have been blessed by sharing my story to help someone else. If being healed completely allows me to do that again and then some, I hope and pray I stop trying to resist Him in my life.
I get goose bumps thinking about all that happened this morning. I wanted to go back to camp with T1 and go to the chapel and sing and shout praises to God with one of the staff. She wasn’t feeling well so I grabbed one of the teachers and told her–she got goose bumps too. I will try again when I go back to pick up T1.
I know that this process will continue. In one aspect I know it was instantaneous as only God can do but I know He needs me to learn and grow and “stop doubting.”
I cannot wait for the Chief to read this and to talk with him about it. I know some misunderstood my reaction to the situation and tried to say I was hurt by one thing when really I was hurt by how long it dragged on–I am very capable of saying “Go with God” because I believe He does move us on for His purposes. That seemed to baffle people (peculiar Christian behavior!). I did not shed tears of bitterness today. I have no need to have anything else said by or to this person about any of this–I was given the answers I so desperately needed. They were tears of happiness, praise and thanksgiving.
God is so awesome!