how comforting it is to know that when i am overwhelmed, God is not. when i am confused, he is clear and calm. when all my prayers are, “hey. i don’t even know what to pray so i’m just going to sit here with you for a while,” he is near.
I think out of all the posts about Woodleaf, writing about this moment has been my favorite. Like having no intentions with coming to Woodleaf, I also had no intentions at all on getting baptized. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I didn’t want to, it just never crossed my mind at all.
So throughout the first 2 weeks of summer staff, getting baptized did not come across my mind at all. Then at the end of week 3, while everyone was at club, I was a having good talk with my dear summer staff friend Liana. I am seriously so blessed by Liana. She is a true walking light of Jesus and she always has advice and words of encouragement to pour into you. Anyways, we were just talking and for some reason baptisms came up. She asked me if I have ever been baptized and then I just told her my entire situation with the whole baptism thing. I told her about how I have always wanted to, but the timing and the place never felt right. And of course Liana always had something helpful and gracious to say:
I should just do it here, at Woodleaf, it is just between me and the Lord and no one else.
I knew this was so true. I knew if I tried to keep wanting to have all of these certain people at my baptism and trying to find the perfect place it would take another 1-2 years. But I wasn’t all the way in with this idea so I was going to let it sit over the next couple days to see if I wanted to go through with it. But once again God’s plan took place that same night. We had another summer staff meeting late at night. This time it was at a bon fire by the lake. Tonight for bonding time we had the opportunity to share with the ENTIRE summer staff what lies we have believed recently/all our lives. But also once we said these lies we had to reclaim these lies with a truth by using our I AM verses that we’ve been learning about (I am blessed, I am loved, I am chosen, etc…) Hearing this for the first time I knew I didn’t want to do this at all. But I still could easily point out the two biggest lies I have believed all my life. I am worthless and I am not beautiful. All my life I have believed these two lies, especially seeing myself as worthless, and these lies almost brought me to taking my own life. Although it was hard, I shared these lies in front of my summer staff family and reclaimed it with the I AM verse that stood out to me the most, I AM CHOSEN. Even with my story, through my darkest, He chose me. He chose me as His daughter and because of that He has freed me. Once I said this, I knew what I had to do. I no longer wanted to let my past control me, I wanted to be free. After my 3 years of walking with Christ I knew it was time for me to full heartedly accept Christ into my life. I am still in awe how God just pours into your heart without even noticing.
So a week later, on the last night of our session it was time! Although it was tough not to have my closest friends with me, I was completely blessed to be surrounded by my summer staff family that I have grown and loved with for this entire month. And also I was completely blessed to be baptized by my amazing intern Taylor! So blessed by this amazing Southern woman and so happy I got to embrace in this moment with her! Love you Taylor! Anyways, there was a group of us summer staff getting baptized. My heart was filled with complete joy to watch some of the people I have gotten so close with fully accept Christ into their lives. I didn’t even get baptized yet and I was already crying my eyes out hearing the things each person had to say before they got baptized. I was overfilled with joy when SHOOT WHAT AM I GOING TO SAY?! Now I was freaking out because I didn’t want to sound too cheesy but I still wanted to say something. So I just lifted it up to God and just said what I truly wanted to say. I really don’t remember what I exactly said but everybody kept telling me it made them cry. So that’s good right?! Haha no but seriously I never felt so present with my savior until that point. Although I was proclaiming my love for Jesus in front of everybody, it felt like I was just talking with Jesus Himself. As a camper two years ago I got to watch one of my dear friends, Erin, get baptized at Woodleaf and I clearly remember thinking at that moment that I am probably never going to come back here. But no. Here I am 2 years later, overcoming my fear of ropes by doing the job I love, growing with the most amazing Woodleaf family, embracing my passion for this amazing ministry, and now finishing off this amazing session by full heartedly accepting Christ into my life. I am freed from my past. Through His eyes, I am clean, worthy, beautiful and ALIVE. Getting baptized at Woodleaf, a Young Life camp I will always love, will always be one of the greatest moments. As always God you are so good in so many ways!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! - 2 Corinthians 5:17
I love my summer staff family.