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However, this only led to overthinking, speculation, and replaying and analyzing every detail of our relationship. Here, I began to find answers, and it is these answers that will lead me to deepen my relationship with God, to grow, and to heal. God wants you to heal and to grow, too. Some days, I am tempted to vow to never fall in love again, because I never want to risk feeling the heartbreaking pain of a breakup again, because I am afraid to open up my heart again and risk it being broken. But it is on those days that I am reminded of C. And so, I dare to be vulnerable, to put on love.
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Here are some practical steps to embrace this perspective: For better or worse, the people we are closest with teach us something about ourselves. Of course, not all campers were the same — some were homeschooled; some went to public schools that rivaled mine in sports. Some read Harry Potter ; some thought those books promoted witchcraft.
What the girls seemed to have in common was that they were either disinterested in or scandalized by the secular culture that informed my personality. Many of them listened exclusively to religious music and discussed Veggie Tales , a cartoon that tells Bible stories with anthropomorphic vegetables.
Meanwhile, I sang along to alternative radio and longed for someone with whom I could discuss The Simpsons.
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I felt like I was supposed to be listening to Christian rock and reading the Left Behind novels, a series about the heathens excluded from the Rapture, then watching the Kirk Cameron film adaptation. Every single thing I did should have been, foremost, in service and praise to Him. As I got older, I became less excited to go to camp, which meant missing a week of precious summer vacation with my friends at home.
In that magical, teenage way, you never knew which day was going to be the most fun, the craziest, the one with the best stories and inside jokes. One week while I was gone, my friends took a particularly great trip to the zoo and talked about it for the rest of the summer, but were completely disinterested in the anecdotes and woodworking projects I brought back from camp.
But it was tradition to go to camp, a routine like mass, so I went back to those Blue Ridge hills every year. Hummer had encouraged me to apply but to me there was no question — my years at camp had been leading to this. In addition to required homework and meetings throughout the year, we now spent an additional week at camp and were tasked with teaching activities and leading nightly devotionals at cabins, all while taking our own CILT-specific classes on education, leadership, and childhood development, and completing projects in order to graduate to the next level.
Most important was creating your resource file, a collection of crafts, songs, games, campfire recipes, ice breakers, activity lesson plans, and scripture to use in your life as a counselor. For my CILT Initiation, three other first-years and I were dressed as flowers, with cardboard pots and poster-board petals around our faces. I wonder if there are women now — younger than me, but not by much — with goofy 5x7s of me, the way I have of the CILTs from my childhood. We sang and prayed and cried and worked together. They saw me at my best, laughing and devout, and my worst, stressed, homesick, dirty.
We shaved our legs in the open area of the communal bathroom modesty briefly forgotten in our sisterhood and giggled in our sleeping bags as we fell asleep. When CILTs used my bird name, Sunny, a misspelled tribute to the cartoon on the Cocoa Puffs box, it had the familiar ring of a nickname. I was part of something, and I felt more confident in my CILT shirt than anything else I had worn that year, buoyed by the other girls standing with me. There is no faster way to form a friendship than through stress, isolation, and conversations about your personal relationship with God.
It was a difficult two weeks to be a teenager, hormones raging. I just fantasized about having a boyfriend. We looked away as she spoke, drawing patterns into the dirt with twigs. Puffin jumped in. We stared at our counselor, a no-nonsense woman in her 30s, mouths agape. They can be very good for people who are married. Someone chimed in that the 69 tattoo was actually for his zodiac symbol, Cancer. Puffin then explained that astrology was a sin, and I remained confused and chastened.
Once, Puffin and Whipper for Whippoorwill , pulled me away from a retreat for a serious talking-to about my commitment, which I somehow assured them was solid.
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I recognize my experience is far from the hate many people experience within religion. But it was demoralizing to feel consistently off-balance in a place that was supposed to feel like home. I tried to prove that I was just like these people, a good Christian and a good person, all while figuring out who I was in the first place.
Teenager Having A Chirstian Devotional.
I tried to share pieces of my life with my camp friends, and vice versa. I brought my high school yearbook to a weekend CILT camping trip to show them pictures from plays and pep rallies, and the long inscription from a Scottish exchange student on whom I had a major crush. I kept bringing the book out but, as with trying to describe a dream to someone else, my friends never appreciated it the way I wanted them to.
When the day turned to rain, I went into my tent to find that one side of my duffel bag — the pocket that contained the yearbook — was touching the side of the tent and had gotten soaked. Nothing else was in that pocket and nothing else in my bag was damaged. I pulled the paper apart, praying that my favorite page was intact, but the one he signed was the most sodden, his words vanished into a watercolor smear of blue ink.
A few weeks later, the day after my crush went back to Scotland, I drove myself to camp for the last time. I had forgotten to bring the directions the staff had sent and scrutinized my Mapquest printout, which got me close to the campground but not inside it. I loved God and I loved these girls.
God Goes Where You Go | gonuhufate.tk
I wanted to be a good Christian, and I wanted to be part of this group. I heard the chorus of my friends around me and felt again like I was part of something. Next to me, Fairy Tern and other CILTs closed their eyes and raised their arms as they sang, I assume, with the same powerful emotions. I tried it, lifting my palms to the ceiling, but it felt awkward to stand like that, so out in the open, and broke my meditative state.
follow Were they so overcome with feeling that they did it naturally? Would this this pose bring me closer to God, or signal that I already was? How could I be an example of a godly life if I was really an example of awkwardness, of uncertainty, of trying and failing? I imagined myself in just a few hours, when the room would be transformed by spiraled streamers and dimmed lights, standing on the dais and accepting a flame onto my candle that had been passed from CILT to CILT.
She pushed a piece of paper toward me. It was my Testimony, the story of how I became a Christian, a term I was unfamiliar with until I was assigned to write it. I wrote that I was born into a religious family and God was always part of my life. That day, the differences that I had let slide over the past 10 years felt inescapable. Still, I thought I had assimilated, that I had proved myself a passable, if not perfect, Christian.
I had become more fervent than most Catholics, memorizing scripture and forgoing Hail Marys for personal prayers, but I realized then that I would never be Christian enough for my Christian camp. I spent the next week assisting her as a junior counselor. In that moment I was one of those kids, searching for comfort, for answers, for connection. As we huddled on the grass, the light from the fire behind us, my murmured, improvised prayer seemed good enough.
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