Wednesday’s with Jillene: my view

For the last 30 days my view has been changing. Gone are the days of 5:15 a.m. alarms and midnight bedtime. Absent are the hundreds of campers running around camp. Long departed are the staff I’d grown to love so dearly.

Time moves on… and my view changes.

It has taken a month to fully move through the transition and today I realized I had settled into the new season. Camp runs full force from the end of May through the first week of August. As a staff we’d lived through the beginning of three months together, more than 2,000 campers and counselors, the Great Water Crisis of 2019 & the Great Trash Bag Crisis of 2019 (neither were a true crisis), camps with nonstop rain and weeks with relentless heat, all the snake/spider/bear encounters, messy clean ups, thank you notes, and numerous times of praying for the Lord to be at work in the campers, times when we struggled, studied and worshipped together … we lived through a summer of ministry. But one month ago that season faded as summer slipped away when the cars drove off site from the last camp… and now camp is a lot quieter.

For everything that seemed to leave as my view began to change last month, I gained things as well: more sleep, new teams of people to work with as other programs kick into high gear, the chance to catch up with friends with a call or text conversation, more time with my family, and time to write.

I didn’t intend on a hiatus from writing. It’s been exactly 3 months since I last wrote a new blog post. It wasn’t truly writers block as much as it was that the writer was exhausted. But not exhausted in the sense like I was at the end of my rope, or in a “oh, woe is me,” kind of way. It was an exhausted as each day was filled to the max and each moment consuming as I endeavored to live with intentionality, being as fully present as possible in each moment… that doesn’t leave much extra time to spare. And writing? It fell by the wayside, just like posting on social media!

I did spend the summer writing, journaling as I took notes on my daily Bible Studies and lessons God was teaching me because it was a good summer! Busy and tiring, for sure as it took just about all I had to keep up!

And, let me tell you, it was worth it because were we sure blessed beyond measure!

Here we get to the heart of a view God was changing in me and giving me a deeper perspective on during the summer season: what does it mean to be blessed? It’s all too easy really to use the word blessing when life is good. Such as:  We were blessed with good weather… blessed with no one getting sick… blessed with a problem free day… blessed with so many good things.

But for all the “good experiences” we can have, sometimes we need to see blessings as so much more. Because God is good and we are blessed when life is tough, even when everything goes wrong, and especially in times we aren’t sure how we’ll make it through. And this summer? This summer God’s been at work as I’ve learned to more deeply understand “blessing.”

That’s what this season opened my eyes to: truly seeing the view in front of me as blessing. As my view of blessing shifted so also did my heart for each day change. I didn’t wish away as many days. You know what that’s like? When there is a day you’d rather not face, so you hope it will pass quickly. Or when there is something in the future you can’t wait to experience so you spend your time counting down the minutes instead of living those minutes to the fullest.

Now make sure you don’t mishear me, I didn’t like every moment. But I saw purpose in the moments. And for the times purpose couldn’t be discerned I prayed that God’s will be done and that I’d trust Him for what I couldn’t see. Romans 8:28 is a verse I come to again and again to allow God to speak truth to me when I’m weary.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

This verse doesn’t make me pretend that each and every thing is good… because, truth is,  I make a lot of bad choices and the ravages of the sinful and broken world we live in are all too real. But this verse does give us perspective on the view that is in front of us. This summer God reminded me that ministry life is full of ups and downs, good moments and bad because real people and real life are full of those things. It isn’t the absence of problems that makes life and God good. The privilege that God gives me to walk with people even in difficulty, the chance I get to give honor and glory to Him even in the monotonous moments, the opportunity God offers to let us see his goodness redeem our brokenness.

So this summer God grew me. Some days I walked hand-in-hand on the journey… other days I fell down, kicking and screaming. (Hopefully not literally…) Slowly but surely, God changed my view.

The result? I was blessed in the hardship. Blessed when I couldn’t solve problems. Blessed when things went wrong that we’re behind my control. Blessed when I barely had time to think. Blessed when things were difficult just as I was blessed when things were good.

Some days the blessing wasn’t visible. No matter which way I tried to view the situation, I couldn’t see good. So, in those moments of desperation I’d hastily pray that God would show me the way through and if not that He would be glorified in the moment. And He was glorified as God showed himself faithful and sovereign in what I deemed the good and the bad.

The last month has given me time to rest, enjoy the outdoors, spend time with my family, given me the chance to think and the opportunity to start writing again.

My view has changed. The view we all see is changing as summer is quickly fading into autumn… but some things from this summer don’t need to disappear and I’m so glad that writing will give me a chance to share with you what God is teaching me! Thanks for joining me in the journey!


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