Recently, I got to spend an amazing week at Kids Camp along with some amazing fellow counselors. It’s so inspiring to watch each person bring something different to the table that these kids need. Though watching our Harvest kids experience camp was a blessing of its own. From coming in second place in the camp competitions to watching them walk up to the altar to accept salvation, camp was full of grace and joy.
Now, as much as I’d like to sit and tell you about all the amazing things God’s done with these kids at camp, I have one story in particular I need to share.
The first night of kids camp, God completely wrecked me. See, the first night of kids camp is always salvation night. Kids are presented with the gospel message and are encouraged to respond to the call. Kids from all over the room flooded the altar. As counselors were prompted to pray for our kids, I slowly gravitated toward one of our girls. As she was crying in her friends arms, I pulled her away to be with me and Tori (one of the amazing counselors I mentioned). It’s so easy for kids to get afraid or ashamed to talk in front of their friends and I didn’t want to lose this opportunity.
In that moment, the Holy Spirit gave me an idea of what this girl was dealing with. As I asked this girl if what I was told was correct, she confirmed it. This lead me to break down right there with her. It was like talking to myself ten years ago. Sure, the details vary, but it still dealt with the same issues.
If I wasn’t willing to open up about my past, I would’ve never been able to empathize with her. If I hadn’t been willing to listen to God in that moment, she may not have had the opportunity to hear exactly what she needed in that moment. The thing that put me the most in awe, however, is that God chose me—He knew that I knew exactly how she felt. I knew she was scared to talk about it with anyone. I knew she was ashamed and did not want anyone to treat her differently because of it. I knew she couldn’t even tell her best friend because she was scared she would get in trouble. I knew exactly what to say to her because it was the same talk I wish I had gotten when I was in her shoes.
There’s power in our testimony and moments like these are why we shouldn’t be scared to tell our story, even if we are telling it to people half our age. I don’t wish my past on anyone, but in a way I’m grateful that I went through it because now I’m able to be a confidant to kids who are going through similar issues. As the book of Revelation says, “…they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11a). And in that moment, I got to see God use my bad circumstances to help someone else through the words of my testimony.
Struggle does not begin when it’s convenient. For me and this girl, our struggle started at a very young age. I think a lot of times we forget that kids can struggle too. Sadly just because they’re kids doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling.
It’s so important to talk to the kids around us, especially if we were a kid that had a hard childhood, because they might be willing to open up to us. For all I know, this girl might not have opened up to me if I hadn’t told her how I was once in the same boat. If you don’t think sharing your testimony with kids will make an impact, trust me it does.
It’s so easy for us to let our circumstances define us. Its easy, especially as kids, to listen to the voice of the enemy telling them that everything is their fault. So, we sat down and wrote some promises for her to speak over herself every day. When you speak the word of God over yourself it is powerful. I wanted her to do this because as we speak God’s Word over ourselves, the more we rewire our brain to believe it. The following is the list of God’s promises this girl and I made together that night:
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Truths to Remember: God always hears your prayers. God will take care of my family and friends. God cares about me and my family. God gives us food. God provides. God LOVES ME! God loves my family. I am God’s daughter. God will protect me. God works everything out for His glory. God helps me. I can always talk to God. God is always with me even when I can’t feel him. God watches out for me. God is bigger than any issue. God solves the problem according to His will. God will keep me safe.
Remember, when God wants to use you, don’t feel like you need to hold it all together. I think that first night I cried way more than that little girl did. After our talk, I even excused myself just to go have a crying session with God for ten minutes. It’s okay to break down. It’s okay to have those honest talks with God about how you’re feeling. I went through a spectrum of emotions: anger, sadness, heartbreak, and so on. But in that moment of crying out to God, I knew that we can each make a difference. We have to soften our hearts and be willing to speak about the things we went through. I don’t like talking about hard times in my life, but if that means I can help just one child strengthen their relationship with the Lord, then it’s worth it.
Even though this has been my most emotional camp yet, I’m so grateful God used me to speak life into this girl in the exact way she needed. So, I encourage you to pray for the kids around you today. You never know what they’re going through.
Pray for the kids in the foster system. Pray for the kids dealing with abuse in their household. Pray for the kids who don’t have enough to eat. Pray for the kids who never feel safe. Pray for the kids who are losing hope in God because of their circumstances. Let’s go to war for these kids. Let’s acknowledge that kids are going through way more than we know. Let us not be afraid and be Spirit led into these hard conversations. Most of all, let’s believe the promises of God for these kids and trust that He will work all things for their good.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. —Romans 8:28
A special thanks to our wonderful counselors: Pastor Lisa, Tori, Pastor Johnny, and Marcos for spending the week pouring into these amazing children.
Love Jesus. Love each other. Love your city.
Harvest, go be the Church!
If you have any ideas for a good blog post consisting of stories within our church family, we would love to hear from you. Send your idea, along with your contact info to: [email protected]