Adventures of a camp counselor…

So, two weeks ago, I was at camp…

It was my fourth(and most likely final) year as a camp counselor. And that week was amazing. I was truly in awe of the work that the Lord is doing in the lives of these young men and women! The fact that I was able to assist in them pushing forward in their relationships with Christ? There are no words to describe how I feel.

If you’ve never been a camp counselor, or a youth leader, I highly recommend it. Every year, without fail, the enemy tries to prohibit me from going. This past year, I was dealing with a situation with another person in the church, and was not wanting to go. I actually prayed that I’d start a job in Washington before camp, just so I wouldn’t have to deal with this person. But the Lord has His own plans, despite my objections, and I had to lean on Him for understanding…and oh my word, do I understand now!!!

We say camp is a week, in reality, it’s three days. We leave Monday, return home Friday. On Monday we arrived, and right away I could feel the tension with this other person. But I decided that since it’s probably my last year, I’m going to make it the best year!! We weren’t able to get into our cabin right away, so some of my girls went to practice worship, while others went to hang with their friends. I finally got into the cabin and began writing my goodbye letters to my girls…it was a lot harder than I had anticipated, because even writing to the girls that I didn’t know as well was breaking me down!!! Monday night, I pulled all the girls aside separately and said my simple goodbye. I figured I’d get it out of the way and we’d make the week awesome!

The theme for the week was crossroads, and it was wonderful to hear the various speakers tell us about the crossroad that took them to where they’re at now. But it got me thinking, don’t we all have more than one crossroad in our lives? Don’t we continually come across a moment when we need to come up with a decision that will either make or break us?

That’s a topic for another day though. I still want to tell you about camp. There was the usual drama that always happens. But I can honestly say that the presence of the Lord was felt throughout that camp. The friendships that were rocky or barely in existence were bonded, the sibling rivalries were squashed, the old heartache…that’s still a work in progress. But God is so good.

On Wednesday night, it was unbelievable. So many young people felt the call on their hearts to surrender everything to Christ. They made choices to die to their old lives, to give up the ways of the world in a commitment to the one true King. To even have played a small role in those kids lives was something that I will truly never forget.

But then the enemy realized what was happening. The enemy realized that he was losing all these kids to the power of Christ. And he came in full force. Anything and everything that could go wrong for these kids, went wrong. My heart hurt with seeing some of the struggles they went through, some of the hurt, anger, jealousy, and heartbreak from the past. Any of the insecurities that the enemy wanted them to feel came through as well. It was freaking ridiculous. Honestly, so much good happening and the stupid devil had to try and pull everyone down?!?! Heck no!! I made sure to speak with my girls and encourage them to focus on the good things that the Lord was doing in their lives, to fight against the drama the enemy was going to attack them with. Praise goes to God for giving the girls the strength to power through!!
   The rest of the week was great, It still had moments of drama. I still had to deal with this person harassing me about everything under the sun. It was tough, but I made sure that my kids saw that I was dealing with it in a graceful, and God honoring manner, despite how I actually felt haha.
The Sunday after camp (last Sunday), a handful of my kids (after prayer, and consideration) were baptized!!!!!! I was so freaking proud! These kids not only gave their lives to Christ, but they wanted to publicly declare that they were dying to their old lives, giving up the junk that the enemy was holding over them, and moving forward with Christ as their number 1!!!! Ahhhh!!!! It was incredible!

This year, despite the drama, despite the anger, despite the enemy trying to bring us down, we conquered!  I know I’m going to miss these kids like crazy! And it’s going to be hard becoming a youth leader at a new church. But I know the Lord is not only leading me, but these young adults to a bright and amazing future that’s filled with unimaginable blessings! I’m praying that these kids won’t just let this camp experience have just been a mountain top/one week thing. I’m praying that they live this life to the fullest!!!

You guys are all the best!!!
Love y’all,
Kelsey H. 💕💕

The curious case of the Circle K Girl

Anyone that knows me, knows how much I value sleep. If I’m still awake after working a full 10 hour day, then whatever I’m awake for is important. If you call me at 3 in the morning, and I answer, you’re important to me.

Last night, I was exhausted, I had a headache (Still do), and my client was in a bad mood all day. All I wanted to do was get home and sleep. I stopped at a Circle K to get a lemonade (89 cent thirstbuster). I didn’t go to the usual store by my house, I went to one closer to where I was working, I just felt a random pull to that location. There was a girl there, around 16 years old, and she had on a long sleeve shirt (it’s 102 outside), she went to hand over the cash for her purchases and the sleeve on one side came up her wrist a bit, and that’s when I saw them, those marks that I have as well, the ones that scar my wrists, my legs, my stomach, my back; this young lady cuts herself.  I knew before I saw them. But the second I did, I knew God had me go to this specific store…I had to talk with this girl. I didn’t want to. I’m happy to text you. I do well with writing things. But if I have to talk to you, and you’re a complete stranger? That freaks me out. But I knew I had to. Honestly, I’m moving to a different state because the Lord called me, but I can’t talk to a stranger? So, I handed the cashier my money and ran out the door hoping the girl wasn’t gone.

She wasn’t. She had started to walk towards her apartments and I called out for her to stop. She didn’t. Which is totally understandable because it’s almost 11 p.m. and I’m a complete stranger. But I knew God was backing me so it had to work out.  Eventually she stopped, we went into a 24 hour donut shop. And I told her I saw her wrists, she immediately got self conscious, as I used to, and tried to pull her sleeves even further. I showed her my wrists and told her my past, I told her that I used to cut myself, that I knew what she felt when she hurt herself, I knew the control that she was trying to gain by doing that. I told her about myself, about my church. I told her that I’m going to be praying for her because I love her, and that I’ve got a whole church family that’s praying for her because they love her. She was crying at this point and asked me how people who’ve never met her can love her. So, I explained that, as believers, we have the love of Jesus in our lives. We need to let that love shine through us. I told her how there were so many people standing in the gap for me, praying and pleading that I would come back to the church, that I wouldn’t cut too deep, or push too much of the wrong drug into my system, people that never even met me until years later were praying and loving me. And because of those people, I’m able to be here to help girls like her.

She finally opened up about why she was cutting. Her parents are going through a nasty divorce and she feels like they both hate her. She told me that they’re using her to get information on each other and she doesn’t want to disappoint either of them. She told me that her mother said it’s her fault they’re divorcing. Which led her to believe that if she ended everything they’d be okay again…
My heart broke for this girl! I assured her it wasn’t her fault. I prayed with her and told her I’m here for her. I gave her my number and let her know that she’s always welcome at our church. We spoke for two hours, and when she walked away I knew she was going be alright. I knew the Lord was going to guide her steps. But I also knew that my part in her life was done. I will probably never see that girl again, but God knew we needed to talk!

It was a tough discussion. Anytime I have a discussion about my past it’s difficult for me. But if it stops just one person from going down the roads I’ve been down? Then I’ll tell my past to everyone. No hesitation.
On the note of self harm, if you suspect someone you love is hurting themselves, talk with them! Do NOT blame them. Do NOT say that they’re a bad person. Do NOT make light of the reasons they’re harming themselves. Everyone deals with situations differently. When I was harming myself, I was suffering from depression, and lacking control over so many aspects of my life. I thought that by slicing into my skin with a blade, I was gaining that control. In the moment, it worked. In the long haul, I’ve got scars that I’m going to have to explain to my children one day. I’ve got a past that I’m going to have to pray my kids never want to experience. It kills me when I see young men and women with scars and track marks on their arms, because I’ve finally realized that those people have parents and will be parents one day. When you become a parent you pray over your child, hoping that no harm comes to them. You don’t expect that one day they’ll shoot up to escape for a minute. You don’t expect that they’ll dig into their arms with any sharp object to control some aspect of their lives. You never thought that they’d cram a bunch of food down their throat, only to throw it up 20 minutes later to get skinnier. It’s tragic that these are actual struggles that we all face. There’s no special pill, no miracle diet, no specialist. There’s only God. It took me longer than necessary to see that. But I know it to be true. Without God, without complete strangers praying for me, I have no doubt that I wouldn’t have made it to my 21st birthday. The road I was on was miserable, but because I got myself there, I was certain I could get myself out. I was wrong. If you see someone in the darkness, be there for them and let them know there’s a light at the end and that you’ll help them get there.

As always, thanks for reading. If you have a topic you’d like to know about, let me know. Love y’all!!