Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I'm Not Crazy

Ok, so maybe I am a little bit.
Or a lot.
Alright, stop yelling at me!
I admit it, I am crazy!
I mean I must be.
I like my kids.
I enjoy being around my kids.
I have fun with my kids.
I go to kids camp with my kids......
And here is where the crazy comes in....
plus 40 more kids.

I suppose that on some level I am still a kid at heart. What other reason could there be for going to stay in a large cabin with 12 other adults and 41 kids?
And here's the kicker...the really crazy part...
Actually enjoying it and going back year after year!

Church Kids Camp 2011-Kickin' it Old School, was a great success and a lot of fun.
My kids only go for 4 days/3 nights, but I tell you we pack a lot into that time.
We take kids from our church and combine with another church to have about 40 kids.
I absolutely love the format we do camp in. We stay at a YMCA camp, and we all stay in one big "cabin". Girls upstairs, boys downstairs, with a large common area downstairs as well.
I love the camaraderie that is built doing it this way and all staying together.
Is it loud? Yes.
Is it crazy? Yes.
Do adults sometimes want to give some kids a round house kick? Yes.
But wow, the fun!
We have our own chapel time, pool time, lake time, canoe time, game time, eating time, movie time, craft time, small group time, devotion time, and for a few precious hours we even have sleep time.

So why do I go? Why do I do this camp thing?
Because I love investing that time into the lives of my kids and the 39 other kids that are there.
One of the things I have always tried to do as a parent is to be an intentional parent.
I want my kids to grow up knowing that they can trust me, count on me, have fun with me, be sad with me, be mad at me, forgive me, learn with me, grow with me, serve with me, and genuinely navigate this life with me.

To me, part of doing all of those things involves me really knowing my kids.
I love watching my kids grow and learn and seeing them develop in all areas of their lives.
I love watching them grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.
I firmly believe, and as the kids get older I believe this even more, that parents are God's sanctification tool for our kids. And really vica versa. Nothing sanctifies me more than my marriage and kids.
I believe that God gives us many unique opportunities in our parenting to point our kids hearts towards Christ, towards their need for the gospel.
These are beautiful moments. Sometimes they don't feel very profound or obvious, but then other times, they seem huge and the weight of them takes your breath away.
Both are beautiful in their own right.

And because of this, I go to kids camp.
I don't go to check up on my kids or make sure they are safe.
As a matter of fact, I make a very concerted effort to not "parent" them when we are there.
I don't remind them to pick up their clothes, or brush their teeth, or put on sunblock.
I treat all the kids at camp the same and lump my kids right in their with them.
I DO go though because I love to see my kids in action.
This is one of the ways that I really get to know my kids.
I see their strengths and their weaknesses.
I see what makes them tick.
I see where they are spiritually.
I see where the rubber is meeting the road.
And in seeing these things, I better know how to relate, deal, train, do life, with these kids God has given me.

Every year that I have gone to camp with one or both of the kids, God has given me great opportunities.
One, there is always the opportunity to laugh! We laugh a lot at kids camp!
I love that thus far the kids love me to be there and aren't embarrassed by me.
They think I am crazy and they love to laugh with me.
I loved this year having Lana and her friends wanting me to sit with them at every meal and calling us the cool table.
I loved being summoned up to a room of 12 girls to tell stories to them and have them make up and tell me silly stories in return.
I loved being swarmed in the pool by kids wanting to play and have fun.
I loved comforting kids by making them laugh when they thought they were hurt.
I loved playing games with the kids and ok-yes- I enjoyed beating them ;)

I loved doing all those things not only with my kids but the other kids.
In just a few short years these kids may all grow into teenagers and think I am the biggest dork out there. But I hope and pray that the investment I have tried to make in their lives will keep the doors open with them.
I don't claim to nor think that I have all the answers. I don't think I am particularly good at giving advice. But I do pray that spending these years with all these kids just doing something as simple as loving them through laughter, will keep the lines of communication open and that through all of it they will see that I love them and want to see them grow in their relationships with the Lord.

Number 2-which really I should list as number 1- in my list of awesome camp opportunities, is the talks we get to have about God and growing in Him.
I don't want my kids to grow up thinking that our Christian walk is this easy walk in the park/go to camp, deal. I want to see them struggle. I don't like to see them struggle, but we would all be missing out if their were no struggle. They need to wrestle with their sin. They need me to help wrestle it with them. Believe me, being a sleep deprived & competitive kid at camp will bring that wrestling match up quick fast and in a hurry. And this is where God gives me another one of His divinely appointed parenting sanctification moments.
Talking through hurt, disappointment, confusion of feelings, misplaced anger, and helping my child see through the lens of the Gospel in all of those emotions...well, its better than all the laughter and the silliness of camp.
This is why I go. To allow God to sanctify me and my children.
I am fully aware when I am pointing my child towards Christ that it is Him working in me and my heart.
I will be full on honest. Sometimes these talks make we lose my mind. I just want to yell, "Do you realize how stupid you are being?!" "Why can't you just listen to me?!" "Do we have to talk about this now?!" Sometimes I just want to lay on the ground and play possum.
When I am trying to help my child deal with their own flesh, I am still dealing with mine.
BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, demonstrates His love for me, and my child, loving us, making us alive because of Christ, bestowing grace upon us that we do not deserve, and preparing us for His purpose, allowing us in those moments to both be transformed and brought more to His image.

I love what God does for my kids at camp. I love that God allows me to walk that path with my kids. I sincerely hope and pray that I am able to do that for many more years.
I am not naive enough to think that I will go on every sort of camp or missions trip type journey with my kids. I know that as they get older, some they will go on their own and God will use other people in their lives. I am thankful for the people He has put into their lives now to help them grow and learn more about Him.
I am so thankful for this time in their lives that God is allowing me to be a part of.
In so many ways I feel ill equipped to be their mother and know that it is the Spirits work in my life that is carrying me through and getting through to them in the first place.

So there you have it.
I'm not crazy.
I'm just a Mom.

1 comment:

Jeri Tanner said...

I enjoyed reading a few of your posts this morning. I must subscribe so I'll know *WHEN* you've written something. This one really touched my heart. Good going, Missy. Us older ones can certainly learn from you younger ones. :)