Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Any Road, Any Cost

Leaving the safe and familiar
With their hearts set on a heavenly prize
There were some who laid down their nets
And some who laid down their lives

A good long time ago, I worked as a counselor at a Christian camp. A lot of my ties to New England go back to that now-defunct camp. I spent three summers there.

This past week (when I started this post, it was "last week;" now it's more like "3 months ago"), I worked VBS at my church. I was with a section of the second grade and I haven't thought about my time at Mountain View Bible Camp (MVBC) as much over the last 12 years as I have this past week at Merrimack Valley Baptist Church (also MVBC).

I started working at camp the summer of 1996. My cousin's husband's brother was the director and for some reason I thought I could have her life if I could just snag him . . . despite my energetic efforts to "kiss dating goodbye" and practice "the rules," he stubbornly refused to declare undying love and marry me. But that is a story, not so much for another day, but best forgotten.

And not the story I sat down to write.

Not sure where they were going
But they did not have to know
'Cause they knew Who had called them
And they said, "We will go."

I'm not sure why I went to Mountain View. I'm still working out what those summers meant. I don't like the person I was then. I was legalistic, self-righteous, proud, and clueless. I didn't like being outdoors, or bad smells, or big ball volleyball.

Down any road at any cost
Wherever You lead we will follow
Because we know
That You've called us to take up our cross
Down any road at any cost

Right around the time I went to Mountain View, I was introduced to Point of Grace. They weren't new or anything; I was just so afraid of listening to "rock" music that I scorned anything that wasn't BJ-approved. Laugh. Please. I am. Then I heard Life, Love, and other Mysteries and loved it and felt wild & rebellious listening to it.

This past week at VBS reminded me of Mountain View (not the negative things I feel about how I was then, but fond memories): taking limited supplies and trying to decorate for a theme; smiling enthusiastically as 8-year-olds stumbled through memory verses; cheering as they played a group game with not much point but lots of running.

I almost felt myself breaking into that uninhibited camp-counselor persona: running with abandon to not be tagged by the big inflated exercise ball or enthusiastically singing a song with excessive hand motions.
But I also felt my age. I for sure did not have the energy level or carefree mindset I had a decade and a half ago.
It may be fear that we're feeling
When we see what we must sacrifice
But You promised You'll go with us
So we'll trust with our lives

After my third summer at Mountain View, I moved to Derry, NH, to work at a school (which is now also closed); I moved sort of for a boy, but again, a story best forgotten and not the one I sat down to write. Looking back, I can see that what I thought was my motive for moving was really God leading me to where I am. I was always in a panic (back then) about finding God's will and being "absolutely holy all through" (Oswald Chambers). I thought the road was going another direction (Guam?) and going to be really, really difficult, but I was sincere when I told God "any road, any cost."

It's Your love that compels us
To do what You've called us to do
And be completely abandoned
To You

I thought I wasn't finding my way because I wasn't doing enough or committed enough. Every guy I picked out to marry wasn't following through. I was giving up any/everything I could think of to pay the cost and get God's perfect will for my life.
What I didn't factor in was that God loved me and wanted to give me my heart's desire. That His yoke is easy and His burden is light. When I stopped agonizing and worrying, He showed his love and faithfulness. Again. It wasn't some awful, unbearable situation that I'd have to grit my teeth for the rest of my life and mutter "His yoke is easy," but it actually was . . . easy. A wonderful gift from the God of Love.
I hadn't thought of any road, any cost in terms of my current life until I got to the end of this post. I've realized that it's not a one time decision that doesn't have to be revisited. It's a choice I make every day . . . sometimes the cost is putting down my scrap magazine to read a Bible story during breakfast. Sometimes it's pausing my TV show (I know, how spoiled am I that I pause a show and not miss any of it?) to comfort one of my babies as they go to sleep. Sometimes the road goes to the park and not the mall.
And sometimes, when they're both in school . . . it does go to the mall.

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