I was outspoken, often saying words and never thinking about them before (or after) they escaped my mouth. As Proverbs says, “I was like a [madwoman] with flaming arrows or darts” releasing hurt and shame onto others with my wit, and thoughtless jokes or judgmental criticism.
The flaming arrows of my childhood, when matched with my vast imagination, developed into outlandish storytelling and eventually full blown lying. Exaggerations here, minor twisting there, and before I knew it, I could convince anyone of anything–so I thought.
I wish I could say ‘my childhood syndrome’ lasted only through elementary years or at latest, the horrible preteens, but I cannot. Little did I know that learning to control ‘my bit’ or ‘rudder’ as James says (James 3) would be a war into my early 20s, rearing battle wounds even still…
It is in light of this past that weeks like this last one, bring me to my knees in thankfulness for the work of God in my life.
I spent this last week at Mink Lake Bible Camp near Grand Marais, MN where I was the main speaker for a group of roughly 15 inner city girls. I had one hour long talks and 30 minute morning devotions each day for 4 days. I spoke to the girls about Jesus being the full expression of God (John 1:1) and that he fully expresses God’s love toward us (John 3:16). I spoke to the girls about sin, and how even the slightest hint of it separates us from this all loving God (Romans 3:23; 6:23; John 1:5). I spoke to the girls about the Holy Spirit and how he helps us to become the expression of Jesus’ love to those around us (Galatians 2:20). I intermixed poetry that I had written into my sharing times, as well as illustrations and stories.
During the camp, the girls decorated paper bags with their names on them. Campers and staff could leave encouraging notes in the bags. I opened mine last night after I put Moriah to bed (someone had decorated it with purple and red ninjas [smile]).
Note after note was thanking me for my ‘powerful words’ of hope, love and truth. Note after note encouraged me to speak more. The staff asked me if they could book me in advance for their winter and summer retreats next year.
I couldn’t help but realize how different I am. How the Holy Spirit truly has taken the one area of my life that I have struggled so devastatingly in- words- and make it the area of my life where he receives so much glory. I can think of nothing more comforting then the proof of the Holy Spirit at work in me (Romans 8:9).
It was a comforting week. Praise be to the most high God who revealed himself in Jesus the Christ who loves me and gave himself for me.