Barn loft chapel. Hot day. Wiggly girl next to me, messing with her empty gatorade bottle during the session.
I look down at her. I had put her hair in pigtails that morning. I remembered day one of meeting this little gal, at age 7, when she launched herself into my arms, strangled my neck, and pinched me enough to bruise, crazy for attention and affection. I began to figure out I was in for a long 2 days. But somehow I hung in there. And so did her other counselors, every year when she came back to camp. Bless their hearts, you could recognize them by that special, frazzled look in their eyes.
But we loved her and tried to be patient with her and told her, “No, it’s not ok to punch the boys,” etc. etc. In Bible quizzing, she would never study but she would always listen and jump fast, erroring out, getting desperately mad and sad. It was heartbreaking and frustrating. You wanted to see her succeed! Her past was so dark, and doubts came up, will light ever break through?
Fast forward to 2012, and she is going into 5th grade, and she returned to camp, like always. But not like always? The rest, so evident inside her heart. She’s found rest. She still craved affection but didn’t demand it. She made friends. She could kinda focus on things. She spoke sincerely about how Jesus loves her and how last year after camp she responded to His love. She trusts Him now. She came to me during free time and asked, “Where is my verse sheet? I want to memorize!”
Ahem. She came to me during free time and asked, “Where is my verse sheet? I want to memorize!“ Nobody ever does that!! And she would be the last one I’d expect! Good thing I was sitting down. It made me so proud to watch her get points in the quizzes, and have actual conversations with her, and pray with her & say a verse to her at night (at her request).
Back to the hot barn loft, that day. She peeled off the plastic gatorade label and wrapped it around my arm. “This means you’re on my team!” she whispered.
I smile and nod. Yeah, sweet girl, I’m on your team.