I have had the craziest week ever.
(I could end this blog post there – that’d certainly be the easiest way of doing it…. But I’ll attempt to tell you guys everything that’s gone on this week, starting with Arwen’s birthday last Sunday. [Well, it wasn’t last Sunday, it was, like, two Sundays ago.] Anywhoz.)
(I should also mention that I’m listening to a Doctor Who soundtrack playlist on YouTube, so if I randomly start quoting David Tennant… my deepest apologies. But not that deep. I’ve only seen two episodes, so I don’t have much to work with, but…. *evil laugh*)
We had Arwen’s birthday party after everyone left after church. A few of the kids from three families were there, totaling thirteen kids. (I love big families….) We played this awesome Bible game called Truth and Triumph – full of Bible questions that were insanely hard – and then ate a delicious lunch, cooked in the kitchen at the community center where we meet for church. Afterwards, instead of cake and ice cream, we had caramel apples!!! (Try this at home – use an apple slicer to cut an apple up, then dip it in caramel, mini chocolate chips, and pecans. It’s amazing and way easier to eat than a whole apple!) After that, we went to see Finding Nemo in 3D. : )
Monday morning, we left for the Passion for Jesus Retreat. It. Was. Amazing. I won’t even attempt to write everything God taught me this week because it’d take you years to read it all. No joke! God used APJ in a very powerful way this past week, and I count myself very blessed to have been a part of it!
APJ is different from other retreats or conferences because they have a lot of dramatic skits in between sessions. This one was an analogy of what happens after you’ve become a Christian, but still have guilt over things you did before you were a Christian.
They also incorporate a lot of singing in the schedule, too. Nearly every time our entire group got together, we sang amazing songs, such as ‘Still, My Soul Be Still,’ ‘Wonderful, Merciful Savior,’ ‘Above All,’ ‘All I Have is Christ,’ ‘The Power of the Cross,’ ‘Revelation Song,’ ‘How Deep the Father’s Love,’ ‘Before the Throne of God Above,’ and I could probably list every song in the songbook they sent us home with because they’re all amazing. (If you haven’t heard any of the songs I listed, go look them up. Like, now.)
In between sessions and small groups and hours upon hours of alone-time with God (what my small group leader liked to call dates with Him), we had plenty of time to goof off with the other campers. We did a lot of volleyball games and swimming in the lake and all that jazz. (We also played an awesome game where we ran around and hid and acted like idiots. It was awesome.)
One of my small group leaders – who was from Australia! Her accent was amazing. (I also discovered how hard an Australian accent is to pull off! It’s a cross between British and Irish and completely awesome.)
Part of my small group trying to write a song about Starbursts. (I told you we had time to goof off!) It was a competition, too! We didn’t win, but had an absolute blast. : )
The train track at the camp where we stayed. The conductor stopped the train here so that he could give a salvation message.
A team while they were doing their Starburst song. (The girl in the front is really nice and I think she acts exactly like Arwen!)
Me and one of my small group leaders. Loved her to death!
Me and the girl from Australia – she was amazing!
Me and a speaker, who was so much fun to listen to! I could sit there for hours and hours and listen to her speak.
I’ll give you guys the highlights of what I learned. Just the highlights, mind you, so this isn’t going to look like much, but if you want more, just email me. : )
On humbleness and pride – I learned that I had so much pride in more than one area of my life. It was insane! The night Laurie spoke on pride, it was like this huge wave of conviction came over me and I was like, “Oh, nuts.” We all got down on the floor in a big circle and prayed and cried for a few hours. (Then watched Billy: The Early Years, which was the perfect movie to end all that crying because it was so funny!) In our workbook, they put a list of prideful people and what they do and don’t do versus broken people and what they do and don’t do. I found a few of them here, if you’d like to check them out.
On forgiveness and bitterness – Bitterness is a nasty word. Some people don’t like to admit they’re bitter at others and instead say, “I’m just hurt.” But it’s the same thing.
On guy friends – I need to be more than just a friend to my brothers in Christ. I need to be a sister to them, helping and encouraging them along their walk with the Lord. One thing I really liked about the retreat this year was that they had a guy speaker. I know what you’re thinking – a guy at an all-girls camp?! Scandalous!! No, not really. I heard David to have been a little bit of a distraction, but, to me, what he said far outweighed any distraction he was, because to me, personally, subjects like this mean so much more coming from a guy. Really. (That, and he was funny, too! Check out this awesome video I found yesterday!!)
On crushes – This was another thing David talked about. He first defined a crush (“A crush is affection looking for somewhere to rest. A crush is like a head cold. It comes and it goes and the best thing you can do about it not to pass it on.”), then talked about different things having to do with crushes. The thing that I liked the most, though, was what he said about having a crush on God. People say they love God, but if there’s no relationship – they never read their Bible or pray or anything – they really only have a crush on God. : )
And I’d better stop before this gets much longer. Again, though, if you’d like any more of my notes or anything, just ask. I’d be more than willing to email them to anyone because one of the things I heard at the retreat was that I have to many masks. I have different masks – one for church, one for home, one for certain siblings, one for my friend, the list goes on and on. Laurie talked about taking off the masks and being real. “To be real is to be vulnerable” are her exact words. So I’ll be real with y’all. No more masks. : )
Friday, Arwen and I got up early-ish to go to work, then came home really tired. Then, on Saturday, we went to another ball! Yes, another ball!! : ) I didn’t take many pictures, so for the sake of this post not being any longer than it already is, I won’t post any. (Unless, that is, you riot and throw tomatoes. But please stop because I am talking!!! *gasps* I didn’t think I’d actually quote Doctor Who, and there it was. And not even David Tennant!)
On Sunday, we had the most amazing worship time! I think it was partially because Arwen and I had been at the APJ retreat all week, so our music was more focused on Christ. Also, at our church, we have a time of sharing what the Lord has been teaching in your life, then we do prayer requests and praise reports, then we pray. This week, everything seemed to connect together, like everyone was sharing in the same theme – trusting God, which, insanely, was something He had convicted me about at the retreat. A friend shared the exact same verse God had brought to my mind as I was walking down the train track one day. After everyone shared, I had to go outside and have a minute by myself. I completely lost it. It was great. : )Afterwards, we had a fellowship meal and played football (which is my one weakness). Monday was the standard school and et cetera, then orchestra practice. As Arwen and I were driving home, we hit a huge deer. Now the front of our car is all smashed up and we’ll probably have to drive my mom’s car to work tomorrow. (Sigh.)
Thus is my life. “One big stinking hunk of nothing!” No, that’s not it. What’s the quote…? “My life is an open book, I see!” Nope. Oh, whatever. What I’m trying to say is that my life is amazing right now. (With no guy in it – imagine that!) Anybody got a quote for that? : )