Soul City Kids Camp is currently rockin’ and rollin’ towards its fifth and final week for the summer of 2017. This marks the fourth year that I have written (along with my husband and a few friends) the sketches that open and close each week of camp.

Kids Camp 2017

Kids Camp 2017

I love writing these sketches. I love so many things about them. I can’t tell you how fun it is create dragons that remind us how to be brave, crazy mountain men who reiterate that God is always with us, bakers who tell us so deeply of Jesus’ love, and whole worlds inside a person’s brain that lead us to discover what it means to be made alive in Christ. There’s something really special about marrying the magical whimsy of made-up childhood stories with the sheer wonder that is God and his love and whom he’s chosen us to be.

One of my favorite things about working and writing and serving and teaching in Soul City Kids has always been the “bottom line,” or “big idea,” as we call them at camp. The bottom line is the main take away from the lesson each Sunday. They’re short and simple, easy to remember, and they always pack a punch.

I love how breaking God’s word down into simplistic phrases allows the truths to slide easily into my heart. If you want to grow in your walk with Christ, I can tell you that one of the best ways to do that is to serve in kids ministry. Kids will teach more about joy and freedom and bringing your true self to God than any sermon you’ve ever heard. They’ll teach you about patience and prayer, wisdom and discernment. They’ll challenge you to actually live what you are teaching and ask you questions that will drive you to new levels of knowledge and trusting God to lead. And on top of all of that, you’ll be reading and studying the Bible each week that you serve, allowing a passage of scripture and a bottom line to sink their way into your hearts the same way it has done in mine.

Photo by Soul City Church – Kids Camp 2015

Photo by Soul City Church – Kids Camp 2015

As I’m reflecting on the things I’ve learned this summer at Soul City Kids Camp, two things came to mind.

First, God is always with me, even when things are hard – the big idea from the fourth week of camp.

Things have been hard lately – in life, in work, and in some ways relationships. Some of it has to do with my attitude and some of it is just actually hard. I once wrote a post for a devotional blog based on the first few verses in Isaiah 43. I talked about how adulthood means learning to walk with God through the hard things. He didn’t create us hide behind him in fear, wallowing in self pity and hoping he will fix everything. He created us to stand beside him in courage and to walk! To walk with him and learn and stumble and fall and grow stronger along the way.

The second thing that came to mind was this – during the hard times, during the challenges, it’s important to remember the things that bring you life.

These things have not always been apparent to me. I’ve struggled with identity and purpose better than the best of them, but slowly, as I’ve looked back over my life and considered all the good and bad and easy and hard of right now, those life giving embers of the things that bring me joy have started flickering inside my mind’s eye.

I think one reason things have been so hard lately is that I lost a bit of myself in the midst of the marriage transition and then the new job transition and the new job transition again and again.

A therapist once told me that when you go through a big transition, it’s not unusual for it to take up to six months for you to feel like yourself again. So what happens when major transitions happen every three months for over a year and they still feel not quite settled yet? Well, you forget who you are for a little bit longer and then take a deep breath when the waves finally break, that’s what.

I’m gonna land this plane right here.

Just because my vision got cloudy for a while doesn’t mean that God wasn’t with me. He’s been here the whole time, right beside the woman he rescued and brought to life so many years ago.

Pay attention to those things that give you life and know that God is with you. That is my challenge for you today.

Photo By: Soul City Church - Kids Camp 2016

Photo By: Soul City Church - Kids Camp 2016