Teary eyed, exhausted and broken, an ominous, shapeless feeling of loneliness consumed my soul as I wearily started praying one night my junior year of college. As the world closed in around me, the Lord came and met me. He sat with me as I cried and He didn’t offer advice, He didn’t get me the answers, He didn’t even try to tell me everything was going to be okay. He was just there. In the midst of my pain, I tried to remember the last time I felt God active and moving in my life in a real way. I remembered Eagle Lake. The Holy Spirit sensed that I was drowning in myself and He offered me a lifeline. Whatever caused me to think of Eagle Lake, it had unknowingly set me on a path to pursue a personal relationship with my Savior.
I applied that night to work as a counselor at Eagle Lake, hoping to relive my childhood memories as a 21-year-old college student. For the next two summers of 2014 and 2015, God continued to carry my burden with me. I felt like a kid learning to walk, as, strangely enough, I was entrusted with teaching kids about what it meant to walk with Christ as I was experiencing it. The Lord built me up little by little through Eagle Lake, just as he did when I was a camper there.
My first summer I had a camper named Brian who came in on Sunday night with little to no interest in, how he put it, “that Bible stuff.” I was never offended or hurt when one of my campers showed disinterest in the Word. After all, I was just figuring out how to put my identity in Christ at age 21. Towards the end of the week, Brian and I went canoeing and he asked me for a Bible. I asked if he had lost his, knowing he had had one the day before. He told me it wasn’t for him, but for his parents, so he could tell them about God. Whether he knew it or not, his sincerity to share about Christ at age 9, put a deep, unquenchable yearning in my soul to share the redeeming power of the resurrection with anyone who would listen.
I took a break from Eagle Lake to graduate school in 2016 and my summer felt eerily different. I knew the Lord needed me to finish school but part of me longed for the fresh mountain air, the sounds of canoe paddles hitting the water, and the breathtaking view from the top of the zip line that unknowingly stole my heart at age 10.
After that summer, the Lord called me to Eagle Lake once again to their Emerging Leaders Program. A program that gives me the chance to work year round for the camp that changed my life and continue to spread Christ’s never ending, infinite love to kids one week at a time, in an environment unlike any other.
The Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) is God’s answer to my prayers. I prayed for a calling, a purpose, and a direction. Eagle Lake gave this to me in droves. I begged God to take away the weight of the world on my shoulders and he led me to a verse.
“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” -1 Peter 5:10
God sat with me that night junior year, in the midst of my suffering and provided a way out. He gave me a new hope and He is in the process of confirming, strengthening and establishing me. He’s using the people and the experiences of ELP to do it. I am so excited to spend this coming summer sitting with counselors. I don’t have all the answers, I don’t have the perfect advice and I’m not going to pretend everything is okay. Sometimes people just need someone to sit with them and love them, the same way Christ loved me.