I am no stranger to Girls Camp.
As near as I can remember, I have been to camp for the last 7 years straight.
Last fall when I was released from the Stake Young Women's presidency, I was almost giddy with the thought that I would not be going to Girls Camp the next year.
No guilt about those feelings, I had definitely done my time.
And so, no one was more surprised than me
when I was called as the ward Camp Director again this year.
The bigger surprise was that I felt happy about it.
Not sure why- maybe it was because I have been to camp with Hannah every single year since she was old enough to go.
It probably was partly that- but now I know it went deeper.
It's been a rough year. And I suspect it's just going to get rougher.
Without going into details, my soul has felt shredded.
So much so that I was having a hard time feeling anything but the hurt.
I was a little frustrated by my inability to feel much from God.
I knew He was there but I couldn't feel Him.
When I knelt to pray- I would do nothing but cry and so praying became hard for me.
I was sooo tired of crying.
One day as I was working in the temple I told Him how sad I was that I couldn't feel Him.
In essence His answer was this: I can't communicate with you when you are in so much distress. It is blocking the spirit's ability to comfort you. Let me take it from you.
I wanted so badly to let that happen-but I couldn't figure out how.
And then came Girls Camp.
On the first day of camp, they gave us a paper that helped us set some goals to grow spiritually at camp.
The only thing I wanted was to feel Heavenly Father wrap His arms around me
and let me give away the pain.
I just wanted to feel His love.
And it happened.
Every. Single. Day.
By the time Girls Camp ended I felt like I could breathe again.
Five days of nothing but learning and talking about the gospel and God's love
brought amazing healing to me.
Each day I felt God's love in a sweet and powerful way.
And every day since camp, as I pray, study the scriptures, and let the temple permeate my soul, I feel the power of the atonement healing, comforting, and strengthening me.
I love Jesus. I LOVE Him.
And most importantly, I can feel right down inside my broken but healing heart, that He loves me more.
And that is why I love Girls Camp :)
It's been awhile since we have had a Sunday dinner with the the two Washingtonian sisters but yesterday it happened. :) All 5 of us girls together and we did not take ONE picture together. Ugh. However, it was a great evening despite that misfortune.
Janis brought her famous dry ice Root Beer.
No matter how old they get, the fascination is the same.
We met the newest member of the Woolf family--Jones Parker.
Cuteness to die for!
And speaking of cuteness, big sis Drue has just as much
and then some :)
And some more cuteness....
...and then not so much.
Food and family are my two favorite things...
Cuz it doesn't get much better than a brownie ice cream sandwich surrounded by the people I love most in the world.
After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is
ever again to be as it was before. The Crucifixion, Atonement, and
Resurrection of Jesus Christ mark the beginning of a Christian life, not
the end of it. It was this truth, this reality, that allowed a handful
of Galilean fishermen-turned-again-Apostles without “a single synagogue
or sword” to leave those nets a second time and go on to shape the history of the world in which we now live. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland The First Great Commandment
Perhaps one of my favorite testimonies of the Atonement and the Sacrament is from the recently returned and newly engaged Elder Backus (my nephew).
I have made it part of my sacrament preparation each week.
On this Good Friday, it seems appropriate to share.
many of us, he had been struggling to find spiritual renewal in
sacrament meeting amidst all of the distractions that can come in
ward meetings. As a missionary, he had lots of concerns about how to
overcome those distractions that were out of his control, and truly
feel the peace that should come from taking the sacrament. In his
personal studies he came to a powerful conclusion:
the 27th chapter of Matthew, we read of two Jewish
prisoners. The first, Barabbas, was guilty of sedition and murder,
clear and severe offenses to the Jewish law. Under that same law,
Barrabas' fate was set; he was to be put to death. The second
prisoner, Jesus, had been accused of high treason, but after
examination by both Herod Antipas and Pontius Pilate, had been found
innocent of such a charge.
the Feast of the Passover, it was customary for the governor, Pilate, to release one
prisoner according to his wish. After comparing the two candidates,
the answer was simple; Jesus Christ was undoubtedly innocent and
therefore should be released. Beginning in verse 20, however, it
says, “But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude
that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. Pilate, they all
said unto him, let him be crucified. And the governor said
“why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more saying,
let him be crucified. Then released he Barrabas unto them and when he
had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Against all
justice and logic, the guilty prisoner was set free and the innocent
son of God was sent to die.
the noise of squirmy toddlers, cell phone distractions and perhaps
even wandering thoughts, this account is replayed every week of our
lives in our sacrament meetings. Each one of us, through the week,
fall short of keeping all of the commandments. Each Sunday we are
presented at the sacrament altar as the guilty prisoner in need of
punishment. But each week, the Savior offers himself, in the form of
bread and water and takes our place. We humbly promise to try to do
better this next week and then we, like Barrabas, are set free.
concludes by saying:
we truly understand and look forward to the sacredness and importance
of the sacrament, no matter what the circumstances are around us, we
can guarantee ourselves a spiritually renewing experience at church.
May your Easter weekend be renewing and filled with the hope that comes from the Resurrection.