Tuesday, July 13, 2010

He's Back

Bantam15 is back from camp.  Those ten days were life-changing, and I am in such a state of wonderment, joy and thanksgiving!

God answered our prayers specifically.  B15 had a great counselor, who understood his personality and challenged him in his leadership gifts.  The boys in his cabin were good kids, really good, and they all are staying in touch through Facebook and phone calls, and planning a reunion already.  (While on the phone with one of them last night, B15 asked me for copies of Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters.  You can imagine how delighted I was to pull them off the shelf for him!)

But the cry of our hearts was that above all else, he would encounter God at camp.  And he did.  He had many opportunities to get alone with God, and he really prayed, for himself, at length, and he recognized God's voice speaking to him in the quiet, and in the words of his counselor and the other boys, especially in their cabin devotion times, but throughout their activities and overnight canoe trips as well.  He came back with specific things in mind that he needed to tell us, and address with his friends, and goals that will help him walk out his new resolutions.

 As a parent, I am just so grateful to God that He chose to work through this camp...that He supplied the money to send him...and that when he was begging not to go, because he would miss out on so much while he was gone, and we almost inquired if we could cancel and get our money back, that we decided to send him anyway!  That was God.  (He told me that next year, if he says he doesn't want to go, he wants us to make him.)

I am just floating in gratefulness to God, and amazement at what He's done in our teens' lives in the past year.  Both Blondechick17 and B15, when we moved here two years ago, were just at that age where, when pulled away from the accountability of their Christian friends, they were tempted to reinvent themselves and try out "the dark side" for awhile.  Without a youth group or many Christian friends, it was easy to find kids to get on the wrong path with, plus they were at that point where rebellion--throwing off the shackles of parental dependence--appealed to them.

So far, all of our teens have reached a point where we parents realize that there is little we can do about their walk with God.  We can encourage, shape, guide, direct, give advice...but ultimately, a young person has to make their faith their own, and it seems like Mom and Dad are the last ones they want to listen to about how to do that.  It's at this point that we need interventions, like camp, like the private Christian school, where peers and other adults have the opportunity to speak and reinforce the same message.  But our teens can hear it from others as they will not from us!

We have had to do a lot of forcing--had to force both kids to go to Honey Rock last year, had to force Blondechick to go to the Christian school, and B15 to go to camp again this year--but in each case, our kids have ended up thanking us for it.  In each case, we were reluctant, because of the expense involved financially and emotionally (and in the driving time commitment, too), but in each case, God had planted the conviction that this was what was needed, and we trusted that the expense would be worth it.

I remember reading She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall, the teen girl who was asked about her faith just before she was killed in the Littleton High School shootings years ago.  In this book, her mother shared their story of Cassie getting in with a bad group of friends, and the lengths the family went to to intervene, even selling their house and moving to the other side of town to get into a different school district, and finally pulling her out of public school and sending her to a Christian school.  They switched churches, they found a good youth group, and Cassie was so transformed that she begged to return to the public school to be a light and witness there.  And that's where she was when the tragedy happened.

The thing that struck me was their commitment to intervention, despite the personal cost and sacrifice--moving!!--and the good results that came of it.  I know that book gave me courage and conviction as a parent of teens myself.  It is pretty neat to look back and see how God was working years in advance of the actual crisis!  I'm also grateful for how he led us away from a couple of "Ishmael" plans that weren't really of Him.

While we were at Honey Rock for Family Day, the last day of camp, B11 was begging to go next year.  We'd love to send him, but the cost is prohibitive, and there is another good, more affordable option that we might look at for him.  "Besides," B15 advised me, "he doesn't need it yet."  I knew exactly what he was saying:  Wait until he needs an intervention, or the spiritual boost to make his faith his own.

It was one of the several ways that he has said "thank you."  As I say, "Thank You!!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Isn't it wonderful how God looks after our kids. Thanks for sharing and as always, inspired when I visit your blog. I have an award I'd like to share with you which you can feel free to claim it or just enjoy it.