Monday, July 28, 2008

What a Week!

I spent the last week in Denton at Eagle U and it was awesome! This is my second program to coordinate and it was even better than the first! It helps when you know a little more of what is going on and aren't running around clueless the whole time. There's something about being away at a program...I can't really describe it, but it's an amazing feeling. The students were so great, the Team Leaders even better, and I couldn't have been happier with how the week turned out. Even the craziness and stress was all worth it when I got to hear the testimonies of so many students and how their week at Eagle U had changed their life.

From the outside looking in, you might think that a life changing experience can't really happen in one week at one camp. But witnessing it for myself, I can tell you that it happens. It's amazing to see the transformation that occurs from the time the students step off the plane to the end of the week closing ceremonies. To witness students gain more confidence and come to the realization that they are worth so much is such an incredible high. I had more of an opportunity to spend time with students, which was something that I missed from the last program. Having some time to sit down and talk with some of them, to have a glimpse into their life and maybe offer a few words of encouragement, or lend a listening makes my heart smile. And then I remember why I am here...

One thing that kind of hit me this week was the reality of being young in my profession. Just dealing with other people in my profession, I was hit with how inexperienced I really am. It's hard to "compete" with older people, people who have been doing this longer than I have. It was interesting, as I had to stand up for what little I do know in my limited experience. Those nasty feelings of inadequacy threatened to creep in, and were even able to at one point in the week. I never want to come across as a know-it-all, but I am smart and have common sense. So when someone older than me in my profession talks down on my because of my limited experience, I really struggle with that. First, I hate being patronized more than anything in the world. You really want to make my blood boil, then patronize me. Second, I hate being wrong. Haha. That sounds bad, but I work really hard to do a good job, so being wrong is like sudden death to me. And third, because I do try so hard, criticism can sometimes cripple me. Not all criticism is bad, though. I need it to grow and to learn, because I have SO much to learn. It's just hard to receive when the person delivering the criticism is hardly interested in my professional growth. I know I need to grow a thick skin and learn to deal, but I think there will always be a part of me that will be bothered by it. Oh well. Live and learn. My experiences this week were definitely an opportunity to let Christ's love shine through me.

What other news....oh yes. My mom had surgery this morning to have her gallbladder removed. She has had problems with it for several years, but has put off actually addressing it. She went to the doctor this past week and he told her that she could either voluntarily have the surgery or end up having an emergency surgery- it was her choice. Thankfully, she chose to volunteer. The surgery went well and she is recovering now, so if you could just pray that her recovery is quick with limited pain, that would be great!

I also would like to ask for prayers for my cousin K. She has been struggling with an eating disorder for several months and things are not getting any better. She was placed in a treatment facility and has fought the doctors every step of the way. She has finally reached a healthy weight so they are releasing her, but she has so much still going on emotionally, that I am really scared for her. I am pretty sure she just gained the weight so she could get out, but has no intentions of keeping the weight once she gets home. I have no idea what is going on with her, but she is a very scared little girl who is hurting more than anyone can really understand right now. Toward the end of her stay at the treatment facility, she had begun cutting herself and had apparently carved "too fat" in her stomach. The thought of her doing that just makes me sick to my stomach with worry for her. There are so many deeper issues going on than just self-image.

I can't even imagine what she is experiencing internally. Self-image is not something I (thankfully) ever struggled with. I grew up with my mom and dad telling me I was beautiful and special. So to have someone who places so little value on herself is really hard for me to understand. She is beautiful and she can't see it. She is worthy of amazing things and is more special than she can ever know and all she sees is a fat, ugly, worthless person. It makes me cry just to type this. My heart is so burdened for her. Of course, I can tell her how beautiful she is, how important and special she is, but she can't hear it right now. Please pray for her. She is only 12 years old, and is dealing with adult issues that she will more than likely carry with her for the rest of her life. Satan has a firm grip on her, and only God can heal her of her pain. She doesn't know Christ, and she desperately needs Him now more than ever. Please pray that her heart is receptive to receiving God's love for her. Please pray that she can see through the lies and deception and see herself as the precious daughter of the King she is.

On a little happier note, I got to spend the day with the sweet Nelson family! Nancy was my soccer coach in high school and she and her husband Jason have remained sweet friends over the years. I had the opportunity to pray for their first daughter Ellie, and now their precious son Topher. I got to meet Topher today, and it was definitely a day to praise God! To see the faith walk that this family has been through is such an amazing testimony to God's grace, love, generosity, and abundant provision. I praise God for the sweet blessings He has given me in each one of the Nelsons. They are the picture of the family I want some day.

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