Friday, June 28, 2013

{Ten Things I Learned at VBC}

This week I hauled my children to the church for our annual Vacation Bible Camp. It's always such a highlight and, as exhausting as it is, it's rewarding and exciting, too. I've worked at VBC for a number of years, but this year I learned some very interesting things about myself.

I Spy Aidan in the red shorts!

1. I am capable of getting up before 7:00 a.m. Folks, I am NOT a morning person. Many years of prayer have enabled me to simply be civil in the morning, but I was still convinced that it would be impossible for me to ever embrace anything that happened before 7:00 with enthusiasm. So it was very exciting to think that I could actually be productive in that strangely quiet six AM hour.

Sometimes being early means that Little Miss is wearing brother's old Converse shoes. 
But she didn't forget her favorite sweatshirt!

2. I am capable of getting somewhere on time. With four children. Before 8:00 a.m. Our dear team leader made it very clear that we were to be on time for VBC this week. This benefits the team and ourselves and allows us to spend quality time in prayer. I hate rushing through the morning and I hate rushing through prayer even more. So we did it, folks. And on a few days . . . we were even early.

So proud to see Drew serve with the second grade team! (Third from right.)

3. I am not capable of making wise choices in the morning. Especially when it comes to clothing. Thankfully, this didn't apply to me. Leaders wear team T-shirts, so it was a no-brainer to just grab the lime green shirt with the decal and wear it again. And again. And again. But with the kids I had to be somewhat on the ball. I was so on that ball on Monday morning. Their clothes were ironed the night before and I knew they had clean socks. By today they were wearing dirty clothes (pretend like we're camping!). But the crowning moment was when I realized that my Little Miss looked half naked when I actually paid attention to what she was wearing. Unfortunately, this didn't take place until I saw her walk into the sanctuary with her class this morning.

(This day she was wearing clothes, including the aforementioned tie-dyed sweatshirt. It appeared daily.)

You see, she had this certain tank top she really wanted to wear. The straps were way too long, and I had  planned to detach them and refit them to a more modest length. With a needle and thread. At 7:00 this morning. This didn't happen. So I came up with the brilliant plan of just cutting the straps and tying them behind her neck. Yep. Like a halter top. She was still fumbling with it in the car, and Bethie dutifully tied it into a cute bow. Alas, her back was against the seat so I had no idea what was going on. Suffice it to say, there just wasn't much fabric back there. At all.

4. I am also not capable of keeping my house clean during VBC week. The end.

5. Or making dinner. (Hello, Costco pizza.)

6. Sometimes I break the rules. On purpose. One of our VBC rules is: No Texting during camp. I agree with this decision. Most of the time. But when my friend sends me the message that she's just given birth, well, it's like this: Reverend Mother, I have sinned. And I really hope it's okay to scream out a hooray text even if it's right in front of the director. Which it was.

7. I have a difficult time walking when children are hanging from my limbs. Those campers sure get cuddly by day five.

8. I am getting older. During game time? I was not running. I was not jumping. I was not holding a balloon between my knees. I was the lady with the clipboard.  

9. I am an introvert. (You will see why #7 was an issue.) I already knew this about myself, but it's always interesting to see how this plays out in various ministry settings. I found that my most meaningful moments this week were not necessarily those in which I was interacting with children, but when I was with other women, sharing, praying and learning from God's Word. It was extremely exciting for me to see that, as I spent time in God's Word outside of VBC, He gave me opportunities to share those very words with others at camp. Isn't He good?

My daughter is not an introvert. She's a chicken. And super fun to serve with. Her first year as Miss Lawson!

10. Speaking of His goodness . . . I still doubt. This week, our camp missions goal was to raise $2,000 for some missionary friends and their work in Uganda. By Thursday we had raised about $800, and I thought, "We're never gonna make it." I turned into Eeyore right there in that sanctuary. Our fun, enthusiastic missions-emphasis leader came out this afternoon to announce the results, and I found myself becoming more Eeyore by the minute. She built it up wonderfully (without knowing the results herself), getting the kids excited, ready to reveal the total with a countdown and everything. Friends? We raised over three-thousand dollars. My eyes filled with tears. I had doubted. But God was good. God is good.

"Nothing is too difficult for Thee!"

I have such a short memory! Just this morning I had read this precious reminder from Psalm 27:

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

I wasn't very confident at 12:15 this afternoon. But I'm so very grateful that my God shows His goodness regardless of my limits. I think of the hundreds of kids who sat in that room today, screaming at the tops of their lungs because the impossible had been achieved. Why even yesterday, my own son had said, "It's impossible. This might be the first time in VBC history that we failed."

It's true. We might fail. But our God is greater than our failures and weaknesses. He's greater than our inability to get up in the morning, He's greater than our tendency to be late, He's greater than our introverted characteristics which make us think there's something wrong or less "useful" about our personalities, and He's greater than our doubts -- even our doubts about His own glorious goodness.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9

(All photos: Lamont Robbins.)                 
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  1. Oh Julianna, your post made me smile, laugh out loud, reflective and teary eyed. My heart swelled and I praised our awesome God and His faithfulness. Thank you for sharing your God given gift of writing...

    1. Thank you so much, Ann! It was a pretty special week. Seeing God's hand is a truly AWE-some thing!



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