An Empty Swing Revisited

Posted by on Feb 3, 2012 in Christian Living | 3 comments

Today I am thinking and praying for my church group who leaves for their annual Winter Camp. I wrote this post last year after returning from camp and thought I’d repost it today. To all those serving from our church, and to those of you around the world who selflessly give of yourselves for others, thank you!


Last weekend Matt and I loaded up our car and headed to Giddings, Texas, with around 50 youth from our church to our annual winter camp. This is my sixth year to attend, and Lakeside Bible Church’s fifth year to use the facilities at Camp Tejas. I enjoy winter camp. It seems to come at a much needed time each spring when I’m ready to hear from God’s Word and simply spend a weekend away from normal life building relationships with youth.

This year, being both my fifth on staff and at this facility, I had many memories engulf my mind as I walked around the campus. I remember sitting on the swing pictured above as I listened to a young girl pour her heart out to me. I passed a bench where one young woman shed hundreds of tears expressing her desire to be right with God. There was a rickety, old bunk bed, where a girl and I both sat crying as I prayed and pleaded with both her and God for her heart to follow Christ, and she  continued to reject Him. The chapel brought even more memories where I’ve heard dozens of sermons preached, seen the conviction of the Holy Spirit in people’s faces, and laughed with and hugged more girls than I can name.

Where are these individuals now? A few are loving and serving Jesus. Some have rejected Him completely. Still more are trying to love both God and the world.

As names and faces of girls I’ve interacted with over the last five years flooded in and out of my mind this past weekend, I couldn’t help but praying for them. My mind also filled with questions: Why do so many of these girls walk away from God? Church? Their families? Is it really worth my time and effort to love and mentor them? Did I do all I could for these young women?

As the discouragement increased, I walked into my bunkhouse room. All alone, I laid down and continued to think and pray. Shortly, a few bubbly girls bounded into the room. We laughed and chatted. I made breakfast plans with one and listened to another tell me about the new “friend” in her life. Not long after, I had a heart to heart chat with another young woman.

God then reminded me of a story. Two years ago the youth staff stood in the back of the chapel room at winter camp as the speaker invited the students to come pray with us. A young man, with his head held low, shuffled back and grabbed my husband. Matt later told me that this fifteen year old had started praying for his unbelieving family members with huge tears pouring out of his eyes. Matt said they knelt, weeping together, and begging God to transform this young man’s family.

Last Saturday, I sat in my bunk house, chatting with a girl on fire for the Lord. She told me about her desire to be a witness for Christ. Her conversation was saturated with the name and a love for Jesus. This girl is the older sister of the boy in the story above. She’s now a child of God.

God then reminded me that He is in control of these students lives. He will be the one to draw them to Himself in His timing. Each of those individuals are responsible to respond to His calling. They will be held accountable for their actions.

My job, as a youth worker, as a mother, as a friend, and as a Christian is to remain faithful to Christ. He does hold me responsible for my actions and attitudes towards others, but I can not make any of these young ladies seek God. As my daughters grow, I will not be able tomake them become a Christian. My mission must be to glorify and stay faithful to the Lord, knowing that He is in control and will take care of these precious souls.

As I walked back by the empty swing, I thanked God for allowing Him to use me for even a small part of these young woman’s lives. Next year, there will be new girls around, and who knows how many lives will come and go within the next five. No matter what, may my life be used of God as I remain faithful, trusting Him for the results.

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