Tag Archives: Totara
26. Oct, 2012

Two years on

Two years on

Sometimes I forget what a mess I was two years ago. I mean some days it feels so close that I have a momentary panic that I’m one slip from going back into that muck. There are days that I get my thoughts wrapped in the wrong direction and I can feel myself heading down a dangerous road. Thankfully in two years I have learned that the past does not own me; I am not who I once was. It’s in those moments that I can almost forget where I was at just two years ago.  To get to the point I am at now, God sure had His work cut out for Him. I arrived in New Zealand exhausted from my battle, weary of going to a place where I didn’t know anyone and scared that I would not survive. Two years later I sit on my veranda, soaking in the sun and contemplate the fact that my life had drastically changed.

I arrived at Totara Springs Christian Centre a week after I landed in New Zealand. I was petrified. I guess that fear showed in my very countenance.  Lately I have asked people what they remember about me when I first showed up here at camp and the response is a bit surprising. Many people didn’t think I spoke I was so quiet. While others didn’t believe I would last or survive camp life. Hardly ever did I start a conversation and when loud people were around I seemed to shrink and shy away. Slowly as God worked on my heart I started to come out of my shell of self-protection. I entered into camp life and started interacting with people more. As God did an overhaul in me, I was starting to realize that I was made for more than I had believed I was. So I started to come to work and made it a goal to speak to someone and remain in the conversation. I know it sounds like such a small thing but to me it was massive. I was allowing people into my life which meant the very real possibility that they would reject me. This of course would have given me an excuse to walk back into my pit and wallow there but rejection was not what I found.

As my time here at the Springs has gone on I have found that people are odd. Meaning we all have our quirks about us, but I guess what I have also learned is that in the quirkiness beauty can be found. I have heard a lot of stories of people’s lives and it never ceases to amaze me that somehow against all odds, we are here, and we have all ended up at the Springs at this moment in time. I think our stories are meant to collide with each other and that we are meant to live in the beauty of community. To awaken our hearts to the love God has for His people.

The other day I stood watching the waves at the beach and was overwhelmed by the grace God has shown me. Two years ago I was trapped in a cage of addiction, wrapped in chains of shame and loathing.  Today I can throw my head back and laugh in the simple beauty of the day. I can speak to those around me, joke around and make mistakes and still be okay. I no longer fall completely apart when I am criticized or someone makes a suggestion to me. I have seen the darkness that this world can offer and I have come out the other side a free woman.  God has been so good to me.

“Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace” ~ Amazing Grace, Chris Tomlin

115. Celebrating being in New Zealand for two years
116. Spontaneous car trips to random places by the flip of a coin
117. Laughter of friends
118. Standing on a beach and feeling so small
119. Listening to the waves and remembering all God has done for me
120. That I am not defined by my past
121. Casual seagull wars with another car
122. Music and how it breathes to your soul
123. Freedom
124. Seeing childlike faith in those who came to Elevate
125. Friendships
126. The prayers of my family
127. Instead of a broken rib, just having very deep bone bruises on hip and rib
128. Temperatures that are starting to warm up

06. Oct, 2012

A heart for children

A heart for children

For those of you who have questioned and wondered if I had disappeared or given up on my list, I assure you I have not. This last week was kid’s camp here at Totara and thus all my time and energy was poured into the happenings here.  Now that our first holiday camp has ended I am able to take a breath and get back on track with this dare.

Some times as I travel through the days at camp I am overwhelmed, not by the chaos that kids bring but rather by the grace of God that I am involved in this life. I am often humbled that I have the amazing privilege of showing kids the love that God has for them. My heart bursts because for some this might be the first glimpse of love they have ever experienced. Knowing where I came from and the life that I have lived I can’t help but wonder why. Why would God use someone like me? I have made so many mistakes in my life and have often gone down the wrong roads. I am stunned that God would allow me the opportunity to serve Him in such a way. The funny thing is that I used to not like kids or rather I was terrified of ruining a kid’s life. So the fact that I have ended up at a camp filled with kids day after day is insane.

You see I was afraid of kids for the very simple reason that I was afraid I would somehow mess them up. I was terrified that I would be the one who could not love them enough and thus be the person who irreversible screwed them up. I was afraid of making a mistake and to be quite honest I was worried about the responsibility that comes with kids. They watch you and mimic your life as they try to sort out what is right and wrong and I knew how messed up I was, I didn’t want some kid to end up like me.  Yet somehow kids were drawn to me and slowly God softened my heart to what He was doing. I know that I don’t always get things right, and sometimes I get annoyed with the young campers that come through our gates. At the same time God has given me a heart for these kids and He is constantly working on my heart to show me how to love and serve them better. To be honest I love that I have the chance to see their lives changed. Not many people can say that they have the opportunity to touch so many kids’ lives. If all I do is help one child see the love of God than my life will have been worth it. This is why I get so wrapped up in kids camps and why I disappear from the world for a short time.

Here is my list for this post:
61. The opportunity to be a part of this amazing work here at camp
62. Seeing kids want and get Bibles
63. Watching as campers sing worship songs and memory verses
64. Having my brother here as a leader
65. Top town and all the crazy fun it was
66. The LIT team and just the servant hearts the crew had
67. Being able to stand beneath the beautiful stars at night
68. Smiles on kid’s faces throughout the week
69. Being exhausted at the end of the week, knowing I gave all I had
70. Getting a camper to go down the flying fox who was petrified
71. Connecting with the LIT’s
72. Coffee with Angus, Natasha, Anna and Courtney in the early mornings?
73. A comfy couch to sit on to relax in
74. A slow Saturday to rejuvenate
75. The lives of campers who were changed
76. The beautiful cherry blossom trees that are littering the road with pink
77. The cool breeze on my face
78. Quiet wisdom spoken to my heart
79. Cats to snuggle with
80. Blue sky for a beautiful spring day!