I've completed a week at YDI Head Waters, though it seems more like I've been here for three. My days are a whole lot longer and fuller than they were in Florida. This week was spent training and preparing the camp for our first group of kids, who will arrive on Tuesday afternoon. For part of our training, we learned how to use and instruct in the use of high and low ropes courses, which included a rock wall, two ziplines, tightropes, a plunge off of a platform 40 feet off the ground, and several other things. We also went over basic camp policies and roles. Our motto here is "Blessed are the flexible." In preparation for the campers, we cleaned the lodge where they'll be staying, built some bunk beds and picnic tables, mowed and trimmed the grass, and washed all of the linens.
In the middle of this week, I received word that a friend of mine had been murdered by her ex husband. Chores still had to be done, so I was forced to depend on the Lord to help me deal with all the emotions that come with news like that. I discovered Lamentations 3.
"This I call to mind, therefore I have hope; the Lord's love and mercy indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. (Verses 21-23)
The Lord will not reject forever, for if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant love and mercy. For He does not afflict willingly or grieve the sons of men. (Verses 31-33)
Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth? Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins? Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord." (Verses 37-40)
I found great comfort in these verses, knowing that God is faithful, loving, and merciful, while I in comparison am not. Why should I offer complaint to Him who is good? But still I can come to Him and find rest and solace in Him. My heart is still grieved over the incident, and I wish I could hug her siblings. Many people online have suggested punishments for the man who killed my friend. I have realized that I don't need to have an opinion, and that I don't need to speculate about why or how or anything else. I do need to pray that the man will repent and come to know Jesus. My friend is safe with Him now, and her daughter will be raised in the faith by her remaining family. But this man is the one who will face ultimate judgment if he does not come to Christ, and He does not will that ANY should perish. Not even this man.
Another major challenge for me this week has been meeting and working with new people. There were things to do from day one, so we jumped right in as a team to make sure everything got done. This forced us to get to know and trust each other right away. All relationships are hard for me, and I have to work to get along with people. In a group like the staff here, we have to be united. We can't let things like attitudes, impatience, or differing personalities get in the way. Sometimes people do rub me the wrong way, and I have to choose in that moment to take offense or not. Sometimes I do get offended, and I know God is displeased. When I start to get frustrated, I try to stop and consider a few things; is what I'm getting upset about really a significant issue? Am I biased in how I am perceiving this person (have I made judgments about their intent without being sure)? Is my attitude really the one that is wrong?
Even once these questions are answered, whether I am justified or not, I pray and ask that God would remove the negative feelings from my heart, and replace them with love, patience, and understanding. It's hard. But it's what He has called me to do. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." --Romans 12:18
That's my week in a nutshell. Thanks for reading,