I was paired up with the “trouble” girl, but last minute she backed out. So I had to fill the evening devotions by myself. Is was at camp training to be a cabin leader and my first devotion made the 10-12 year olds cry.
Two days before that evening we were told that we were being split up and assigned to cabins to give the evening devotion for some real life practice. We were told our partners and when i found out I was paired with Esther* I was actually excited! I had been trying to reach out to her for the last two weeks we had been there. Every day at camp we got “tuck” (a afternoon snack of your choice from pop to chocolate bars to gummy worms) I always tried to get stuff I could save to eat when I was actually hungry so I would typically put it on my headboard in my room. One day I noticed my stache was missing but I just thought I misplaced it. That afternoon girls found clothes were missing from their bags and that their bags had been gone through. Almost everyone had been hit somehow. After awhile we figured out it was Esther and we told the leaders but didn’t really talk to her about it. Actually I think the girls acted pretty maturely. My tuck was forever gone and eaten but the other girls got their clothes back and we were all told to label everything we brought. So I had compassion for this girl who stole because she couldn’t seem to help it… she didn’t need anything but she had to steal for some reason not even she could explain.
Since I was paired with her and since we were encouraged to tell our testimonies for that devotion time I thought I would get to hear about the side of Esther that I wouldn’t normally hear about. As the evening drew near I went and talked with Esther and made a sort of plan for how the evening would go. We decided that she would go first and I would end off the evening. But when t came time to go to the assigned cabin she was nowhere to be found. I looked around a bit and after going to a leader asking where she was and they didn’t know was told to go to the cabin and do it myself. If Esther showed up halfway then great but if not then I had to do the whole time by myself. I got a little upset in my heart of hearts. I had compassion on this girl. I was nice to this girl. I included this girl. And on this night of all nights she ditched me and left me pretty high and dry. I walked the short distance from my cabin to the other cabin very nervous and lonely. Knocking on the door I sighed deeply and prayed asking God that he would move in the cabin that night, and boy did He answer that prayer… maybe a bit more than I anticipated.
Entering the cabin I scanned the room noting first who the cabin leaders were and second that all the girls were in their bed and ready to go to sleep but talking amongst themselves. One of the leaders ask me if I was the LDP (leadership development program) person coming to give the devotion for the evening to which I responded in the affirmative. She told the girls to quiet down and listen up and then prayed for me. Looking up she gave me the signal to begin. I shakily went through my testimony going off of the points I had written down for myself in my little notebook I had brought to camp with me. Halfway through I realized looking up that the girls didn’t care about the little details so I started winging it. It was so tough! I was trying not to be boring yet trying to add all the scripture I had put in. My heart was racing. My closing statement went something like this “so girls never take your parents for granted… or anything for that matter… you never know when it may be taken away.”. At that moment a girl started crying saying she wanted her mommy. And a few of the other girls started saying they were homesick and began sniffling. My heart literally sank. I had failed. I made them all cry. I walked out of the cabin defeated. Once I stepped outside I saw a few cabin leaders in a huddle around one that was crying. Then I entered my cabin and there were three girls in one corner all crying too. I slowly sat down on my bed and put my head in my hands. My heart was just ripped. It seemed like the whole camp was in shreds. I went to bed feeling like failure and fairly upset with everything.
It turns out that everyone was basically over tired or being convicted or had other issues that were quickly mended but God taught me something very valuable that night that even though I my feel like I am weak, unworthy and failed he still has a greater plan and works in mysterious ways. A year later I found out from the cabin leader that that night had impacted her girls hearts so much that even she still remembered it a year later, they had talked late into the night with the girls about some serious things because of my testimony. So I hold on to that; I may not see the results but when you feel weak HE is always strong.
Sometimes I wonder who reads these and why they read them…. kinda like that thought that hits you once in awhile about the fact that people are watching you and may be looking up to as an example… I've put myself out there to be that obviously but when I think of the impact that the smallest thing can have on someone's life it is actually very humbling!
Have you ever stopped and reevaluated life?! I'm doing that right now. I have a four big exams coming up (at an undisclosed date) for flying and I'm reevaluating my purpose for flying. Same with my life in general! My life could change course in an instant (for undisclosed reasons ;D)and I want to be ready and willing to take the new challenges as they come with grace and humility!
So I got a haircut yesterday evening… sigh… I love fresh hair! Anyway as my aunt, the hairdresser, and I were talking something came to me... I do a lot of impulsive things. Embarrassingly enough she found the product of one of my stupid moments… yes I attempted to cut my own hair. She laughed at me and actually I was kinda proud that I had tried it but it looked a little silly, she took it and made it fit in! It wasn't a lot I was just framing my face a little. That was something that only affected me really but most things in life affect more than just you. It's so hard to remember that people other than you will be affected by the decision you are making but it is so true and very real. I found that it was especially hard to think of more than me when I was in my early teens. How could watching this movie affect me later… I'll forget about it! Strangely I still remember those “bad” movies that I sneakily watched as a child…. I didn't forget. The most prominent one being Jurassic Park. It scared the living daylights out my ten year old self but my eyes were glued to the screen! Blood! Big teeth! Dinosaurs! People ripped apart! It may have been blown up in my mind but now I'm to scared to even mention the movie! I still feel a smidgen guilty for watching even when I knew I wasn't supposed to, even after knowing my parents knew about my past sin it still bugs me. I wouldn't have guessed then that even eight years later I'd still remember that night.
I'm sure every person has something that they did when they were younger not knowing it would affect them years down the road. Personally I don't think we can stop that. The consequence could be good or bad. Something that I did that has affected people I don't even know is grow out my hair for Cancer Care. Throughout my life I've only had two hair styles… bob and long. And I've been able to donate my hair to cancer care for wigs about four times since I was 12. I definitely plan on doing that as long as I can. That affect is good and life changing! I got to see some wigs a while ago and even the thought that someone would feel like a new person because of my ability to grow hair was so encouraging! Through the simplist act someone's life can be affect.
One more example and then I'll end. A smile! Ever noticed how nice a genuine smile is?! Smiles are very attractive and can be very effective. When someone smiles at me… in a mall for example… it makes my day! When people walk by in their own world and straight faced it doesn't make me happy I just tend to walk by without another thought to them but if someone takes the time to flash you a smile it could make your day! That's something I've tried to do more regularly is genuinely smile at strangers because maybe they haven't had a good day or maybe they haven't had someone love them for a while and I know that that can change someone's attitude! What you do and how you act can affect people, take note!
I feel as though I should continue the post Example Life due to the fact that someone handed me a piece of paper with 1 Timothy 4:12b on it and 1 Timothy 4:15b.
When you read from 1 Timothy 4:12-15 it talks about not letting people discourage you because of your youth and neglecting the gift that God gave you. You are to practice your gift(s) and even immerse yourself in them “so that all may see your progress.” (vs. 15)
In my bedroom I have a pencil drawing of a bi-plane that I got from an obscure old bookstore in Winnipeg. I love looking at it. Also my little tin plane. There’s a few items in my room that keep me going in flying when I look at them. But I’ll be really honest with you; I don’t feel like flying is my “gift” per-say. That doesn’t mean I’m not a good pilot, my instructors say I know how to fly safely and well. But that isn’t my gift. It’s not what I do that’s my gift its how I do it. I don’t know quite what my gift is because I can’t see that in myself and would need to ask the world outside of myself to tell me. You are supposed to practice your gifts but I need to remind myself that even though something isn’t exactly what I feel called to doesn’t mean it isn’t something you aren’t called to do.
For example say my gift was prophecy and I was using it properly and well, that doesn’t mean I won’t be call to wash others feet in service, and called to do it joyfully. So through flying I will be having to do other things even though I may not be using my particular gift, I know I am called to finish flying. Don’t get me wrong though I love flying! Not only do I get to do something that brings me joy I also am exposed to a whole community of people I otherwise wouldn’t know… yes they are all connected through the passion of flight and little do they know they have a girl in their midst who has a higher calling than the sky!
Back to the piece of paper from the beginning! I don’t exactly know what the Lord s trying to say to me through it... maybe it’s calling me out to lead in worship, maybe it’s calling me out to not live in mediocrity, maybe it’s saying that I need to stand up and focus on my prayer life. As christian brothers and sisters we are called to live an example life, but it says in verse 12 that it’s an example for the believers… it says nothing about the world around us. In humility live a life that builds up other believers and pushes them to strive for a more Jesus Christ filled life.
I gripped the yoke of the airplane tightly and fixed my gaze on the closest end of runway 14 at Portage North Aerodrome. My eyes darting subconsciously through the pattern I was trained to look through - runway, altitude, RPMs, airspeed… repeat. My left hand seems to have a mind of its own as it anticipates every move the plane will make fighting to keep the plane straight and level. I don’t think, I just do. Jaw clenching as I feel the Cessna rise upward in a updraft my right hand automatically fingers back on the throttle killing some power trying to make gravity do it's job a little bit faster. I glance across the dash of the Cessna once again, making sure my flaps were at 30 degrees and my carburetor heat was on.
I shift slightly in my seat and notice that my shirt is drenched in sweat. I have an itch on my head but I can't free any hands to get rid of it. My focus is on landing this plane successfully. My ever critical instructor sit's in the right hand seat stretching and shifting his weight ready to take control at any moment. He's new at instructing. He's nervous and I can tell, but I've landed this plane a lot and I know I can land it safely. There are many many rules to landing a plane but the most important is: if you ever feel that you can't land the plane safely, go around. Which means if you know you won't make it apply full power, pull up, and try to land again. It's only shameful if you could've prevented a crash but didn't. Play it safe at all times. So in my head I'm calculating distance, glide range, surface conditions, wind direction and the time it may take to stop once we've touched down. I’m not thinking but I am. Every pilot will tell you that you just get a feel for it, and that's so true, it takes a while to feel it but you eventually do… and then it's hard to lose.
As we steadily sink to the ground the fight with the elements becomes more intense. I am handling the yoke with one goal… landing… but the warm weather is making it a bit more of a job. I stop the subconscious ritual of checking the gauges and now focus my full attention on the far end of the runway. My eyes dart to the altimeter and see the countdown till wheels touch ground, quickly look back outside I try to remain strong but loose in my body movements. I had trimmed the plane for the perfect glide slope as soon as I had turned onto final so I don’t need to worry about that, which makes the fight a lot easier.
Closer, closer, closer... my instincts kick in, and my heart starts beating a little faster as I see the ground coming up fast. Just when it looks like we are going to hit the ground nose first I pull back slowly but firmly and we float. I apply a little bit of power so we stay floating just above the ground for as long as possible. My left arm feels like it is going to break off, it is keeping us in the air, holding the yoke so far back it’s almost into my stomach. I always regret not exercising whenever I fly because it's difficult holding so much weight for so long. When I'm satisfied with the time we spent floating in the air I take off all power and the plane slowly sinks I pull back even more on the yoke trying to keep my nose wheel off the ground while we sink to the ground. The tail wheels softly touch the ground and I sigh with relief, my main job is done. We are safe. I lower the nose wheel to the ground. I call the local area traffic and tell them we are cleared of the active runway and then I let my left hand fall to my lap as my feet steer us back to the tie down area. I glance down at my hand, it is shaking from the effort, red from gripping the yoke so tightly and drops of sweat run down my palm. I rub it against my jeans and begin the shutdown process.
I mentioned one time to my instructor about how I didn't like when flying was a fight. He looked at me and stated “Madam, flying is always a fight. You have to fight or you won't fly. It's a constant battle.” That is what was in the back of my head the whole time that landing was playing out…. and everything I fly now, “flying is a fight.”. I walk around the airplane before every flight. A lot of the time I'm talking to God. I have to make sure that my battle isn't alone. Okay, yes that's sort of a stretch but consider this: flying commands that you always are two steps ahead of what the airplane will do, that's the fight, keep your head outside of the cockpit and on the task at hand. Without Jesus I don't have strength and I don't have the common sense… all of that comes from Him. So of course I need him to help me in the physical battles I have, however small they may seem.
When you constantly fight you get tired very easily, like in the story my hand was shaking it was so tired, it reminds me that fighting Christ is useless and not worth it, it is only when you give him control that the ride is smoother and gives you a peace of mind. Who has control of your airplane called life?