From July 10-23rd, I spent my last two weeks as a camper at my camp, Camp Cho-Yeh. It was very bittersweet, to say the least. But, for a week in between, I took part in a program called Christian Leadership Training (CLT). I chose to go on the river trip and I spent four days with thirteen girls on the Pecos River, kayaking our arms off for 40 miles.
This extremely challenging 40 mile trip (that we completed in three days and two hours on the fourth day, might I add) taught me a lot. I remember the first day on the river was so nerve-wracking and definitely tested my faith. I was overwhelmed, tired, and anxious, but in those moments, I learned to keep turning to God. In times of pure desperation, I would pray and pray and pray, and God always delivered. It took me a while to figure out why in the world God put me on that trip. I was wondering what made me think I could do it and why God let me sign up. I figured out shortly that the Lord showed me real situations in which I needed to lean on Him so I could remember those times and carry on as my world continues to change.
We faced serious physical, mental, and spiritual challenges. But, it was so amazing to see the positivity we could draw from each other and strength that God gave us. I remember the last day on the river and praying for courage and strength to finish out that final stretch. Our group pulled off to the side and got out of our kayaks when our guide told us we were finished! We had only been going for about two hours but I could not have been more relieved. I was able to reflect on the trip in whole and I remember thinking, if God can get me through this, He can get me through anything.
There is absolutely, 100%, no doubt in my mind that I could have ever done that trip without God’s strength and His presence. With God by my side, we can do anything. I can face anything, do anything, be anywhere, but only if I have God’s strength within me. I feel so comforted knowing that I can recount on this trip and remember the times God was there. God was always there for me and I know that He always will be. I can get excited about my future and know that I don’t need to worry about the details. I can do anything, be brave, and be strong with God by my side.
We asked tough questions and faced tough questions as well. We were able to re-evaluate our faith and why we believe what we believe. We fell down and God pulled us back up. We got to truly live in the moment and not take any luxury for granted. We learned, we taught, and we served. We prayed, we cried, we faced uncertainty, and we did all of this with God. It was not the easiest two weeks of my life, but definitely some of the most memorable.
I was challenged to the extreme and pushed to the limit within those two weeks, on that one river, with those thirteen girls. But, through all the pain, through all the time I spent not having showered, through all of the anxiousness and loneliness, through those restless nights spent sleeping on rocks, through the sunburn and bug bites and chapped lips, through it all: I had the experience of a lifetime and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.