"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." 1 Corinthians 12:27
It all started this past weekend as our High School Ministry prepared to set out on our journey to the enchanted land of Hume Lake Christian Camps. Hume Lake had just received a record high snowfall and the forecast for our weekend was sunny and clear. Snow on the ground, and sun in the sky. Nothing was going to rain on our parade, nothing would damper our weekend, nothing was going to fall… except me.
I have always loved winter camp, but I was more excited about this weekend of camp than I had ever been before.
See, there were certain students I had been specifically praying for, and they were coming to camp. Some for the first time and others for the millionth, but I was expecting to see how God worked in their lives at camp. I was excited for the coffee dates I would have with each of these girls to encourage and support them in their walks with Christ.
Unfortunately, this is not what God intended; but fortunately, his plan was far more beautiful than a few coffee dates.
Friday consisted of the following:
Check in. Load up the four busses with 180 students and 25 leaders. Cry watching Up on the tiny bus screens. Stop for lunch. Head up the mountain. Ooh and Ahh over the white flocked redwood trees. Put chains on four busses. Slowly maneuver the windy road to camp that looks over the most beautiful snow covered valley. Arrive at camp. Unload the luggage. Energetically tell the slipping Adidas-sneakered students what an adventure it will be to pull their ginormous suitcase up the ice-covered 70 degree slant of a hill to their cabin. Settle into cabins. Eat dinner. Explore camp. Begin Chapel. Worship Jesus. Preach sermon. Commence Free Time. Purchase Pizookie and Coffee. Ring the Bell. Head to cabins.
Brian and I were staying in a lodge, so that he could visit and be a resource to ALL the boy cabins and its leaders, and I with ALL the girl cabins and leaders. For the first night of camp we had packed bags of candy and junk food to distribute to all of our cabins. I was standing on the porch of the big lodge that housed our church’s cabins.
As I was organizing the candy bags, a girl, who wasn’t part of our church, was lost and could not find Pinyon Cabin and asked for my help. Well of course, I can help you.
From the porch there are two stone steps that lead to the walkway where this girl was standing. In the light of day or even under the porch light these steps should have been harmless. I take steps every day, and in my Santa Claus gifts of Timberland hiking boots I am invincible.
No, no I am not.
There must have been a slick patch of ice on that first step, because immediately my feet were level with my nose as if I magically became a cheerleader performing an inverted “pike.” I didn’t stick the landing though. My lower back did. I landed right on the cusp of the rounded (that was a God thing) stone step. One wrong step.
Now, look I have fallen before. The office chair slipping out from under me, tripping UP the stairs, not quite making it over the hurdle in gym class. All of which are way more painfully embarrassing than physically painful. So I did what I have always done.
I hopped up really fast, said “No, no, I am totally fine” and tried to laugh it off because when you fall it’s way better if people laugh with you than if they don’t. Plus, this poor girl was lost and needed to find Pinyon. So I took a step. Ow! Pain shot down my leg. I think to myself I just need to walk it off. With each step toward Pinyon I realize that I am not able to laugh off this one.
The girl made it to her cabin and my back is now on fire. So I waddle back to the cabin carefully stepping over those darn, cranky stone steps and try to grab the first bag of candy.
So this is going to be fun.
I can do this. I can do this 12 times and make it back to my lodge bed.I'm sure I just need to lie down.
I walk into the first cabin trying to muster as much enthusiasm through the pain, “Hey Girls… How was the first night of camp?” I try to listen as I am blinking back tears I didn’t realize were there. I drop off the candy in the middle of the bunk beds and tell them, “I love you all! Have an amazing cabin time!”
Back on the porch, I bend down to grab the second bag. wOWWza
I repeat what I did in the first cabin and quickly try to make my way back to the porch. The next cabin is upstairs.
Each step gets increasingly worse, but I make it to the landing and head into the 3rd cabin. The door opens and God shows up.
It’s my girls. The girls I have been praying for. My high school girls that have been in my weekly bible study for the past three or four years. They look at me and know instantly. They rush to me as the tears involuntarily fall. They are up in arms. They rush down to the porch where the bags of goodies are and immediately begin delivering them to the 9 remaining cabins.They help me down the stairs. They find a camp staff member to escort me back to my lodge room, who on the way there prayed over me for healing. Talk about the hands and feet of the church helping someone who fell short.
The camp staff was wonderful. EMTs, the doctor on call, the nurses were beyond helpful and understanding. They did everything they could to soothe my excruciating pain. My husband stayed the night with me in the infirmary and arranged for my incredible parents to drive up and bring me home, so I could see a doctor and rest in my own bed. It’s about a 5 hour drive to camp, 4 with my parents driving, so I knew I had some time to just rest while the morning camp activities occurred.
About 15 minutes after Brian left to prepare for the church breakout session that morning, the door to my room in the infirmary burst open and one of the girls from my group, one I had specifically been praying for, walked in. She has this fierce loyalty that I so admire about her. I would not be shocked if the nurse didn’t even know she walked in. This girl, there are no bounds or fears to her love for her friends. She exudes leadership and courage even when she feels like she has none. She came in to check on me and make sure I was ok. I made her promise to have the best weekend of her life, and allow God to show up. She promised and she ran off to chapel.
The nurse gave me something for the pain, and it made me pretty drowsy, so I slept from the time she left until 3 hours later when my husband walked in, “I have some people here who want to see you.”
My girls. My candy delivering girls. They flooded this little bunk room I was staying in, and gave me gentle hugs and so much laughter and joy that it was worth all the coffee dates I had imagined with them combined. Brian asked if one of them would pray for me, and it was quiet for a second and then my burst-through-the-door-earlier girl prayed. As we said, “Amen” I made all the girls promise to have the best weekend ever and in my loopiness I said, “Do it for me...and Jesus!’
God showed up in so many ways within the first 24 hours of my fall, and He has kept showing up all week. People dropping off meals for us every night. We will never go hungry for the next year. My boss and co-workers covering for me while I am on bed rest. Friends connecting me with doctors and physical therapists that have been beyond helpful. My Dad calling insurance companies and doctor’s offices and going above and beyond to take care of those important details. My Mom binge watching Netflix with me and cleaning our entire house top to bottom. My Brian, who not only took care of me but also took care of 180 students and 25 leaders at Winter Camp. He is the most wonderful, loving, sacrificing husband in the whole world. I am so grateful to everyone who has reached out through prayers and well wishes. You all have truly been the hands and feet of Christ this week.
I don’t wish this on anyone, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. God has demonstrated His faithfulness, His joy that comes in trials of many kinds, and His majestic and undeserving grace.
What a beautiful reminder:
He catches us when we fall.