I'm talking like whoa.
This past week God plucked me out of the Target/BagelCafe/1kid-5 yr old/wife/craft/reading bubble that I like to live in. He took me out of my safe zone and dropped my bermuda-short wearing, 2-pairs of glasses sporting self right in the middle of a weeklong event for junior high students that looked like a sea of neon in South Padre, TX known as Beach Retreat put on by my family's home church Second Baptist.
The Bus Ride.
The bus ride would not have been so bad if I wasn't trying to maintain a strong, puke-free mental state the whole time. I'm sure people thought I was totally awesome by the way I just slept to keep from throwing up and when I was awake, stared off into the distance with some fixated intensity. Everyone else was undoubtedly more fun than me, which was hard to accept at first, until the idea of "don't barf on them!" just rooted it's way so far into my mind that I could think of nothing else. Motion sickness and nerves turns out, don't mix well. The bus ride back was waaaaay better. And I got to see Soul Surfer. Finally. I'm late, but that movie was great!
I'm NOT Like the Others.
Spoiler alert! I would recommend taking a buddy with you to BR to serve. I met friends and was ever so thankful for them, but I got to tell you I spent a lot of time on my own. Junior High students don't dig people in their 30's turns out!? Who knew? I DIDN'T. I was completely shocked at the way I would talk to kids and get no response. That took some getting used to, and by getting used to I mean solo-crying in the bathroom and calling home to hear loved one's voices that actually cared if I was alive.
Once I got over that shock, I realized that God was clearly telling me that the week would not be about me and to, in a very caring, kind way, get over myself! So I did and the pity party stopped. I just kept on being my silly self and even got to get in some dance daring, which is always fun.
FOOD aka Pizza Rolls.
Before I left for BR, I was obsessive over the thoughts of my next meals. Y'all know I suffer from ABFS- "Always be fancy syndrome." The symptoms of this disease are that I can't just hang with some plain, lame ol' sandwich, oh no! I must have something fancy.
Praise, God healed that part of me so much that John asked me what I wanted for my coming home meal and get this, I DIDN'T HAVE AN ANSWER!
Being away from my precious family made me just want to be with them and eat whatever.
Our main sustenance was pizza rolls, ramen noodles, tubes of bread objects, and other various junk food. We ate whenever we were in the condo. I'm not complaining. This is the facts folks. My sweet co-leader (Co's as they are called), and I had similar tastes so we tried to make runs to HQ to get the good stuff: coffee and sodas (cokes as we Texans say no matter what soda it is). We bonded I think over sandy coffee, right Lauren? And Pizza Rolls were the "it" food of the trip. I don't know if I love them or hate them now. Still deciding. They did have queso in jar form, which I was thankful for.
My arch enemy along with Wind.
I abhor sand.
I abhor wind.
And I'm sorry, I can't even fathom how our military deals with sand on a continual basis being stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are true heroes for so many reasons. I feel like such a choad for complaining about it. I guess I bring up my distaste of sand to prove that God really had me out of my element.
Y'all. Every night we had Worship and Service time.
The band for Beach Retreat and the entertainment is insane. Everything about that part of the event is amazing in the truest since. They rock for the Lord. The magician, Propaganda (the gifted and humble rapper), the dance teams, the skits and games, music just all of it was so cool.
I'm so spoiled now and miss that every night. When God gives you talent and you use it for His purposes- dang.
I was leading with my "Co" a group of 7 8th graders to be.
I am not quite sure if they liked or like me and like I said, I had a come to Jesus about that. I pray that I was used for His glory and am fine with not knowing how I was used. But I have to be dead honest, I cried for an entire day of BR because my heart was so very grieved for the attack that the enemy is wreaking on our children, specifically girls.
Speaking of Beach Retreat as a whole:
The amount of boy-craziness was appalling. I crushed on guys totally when I was that age. I thought guys were cute. But this was different.
The need for attention was so vast and so far reaching amongst all the girls. It was heartbreaking.
Did you know there is such a thing as something called a "Hate Page" on Facebook? It's a page that someone makes for someone else that is specifically for people to write horrible, diminishing thoughts and words about a person. They get all sorts of people to "like" that hate page and just rant and spew hatred on it about a particular person- this is school-wide separate from Beach Retreat. After my rules and whatnot, I probably have a hate page myself on FB!
And basically middle school is when all the innocence shattering really begins from what I heard.
The shorts were so short.
Almost every girl I talked to was over-involved in activities. None of them had time for quiet time.
The "attractive" or "hot" guys of the minute were placed on pedestals. You might as well started bringing them burnt offerings for the amount of worship they received. It was sad.
Words like "please" and "thank you" don't happen. They are replaced by "jk" or demands.
Hear me, I'm not a Complain-Jane here! I'm super sanguine! It's just thought I was given a dose of reality and it tasted gross.
The GOOD News:
There were several bright stars that shined for God. They gave me hope for my daughter's future There were many that came to Christ, that got rededicated and that got Baptized. I don't want to take anything away from those miraculous moments.
Those Giant Hours, as Dr. Young called them.
Like I mentioned, we had awesome Worship and services, and Silent Sounds- morning and evening devotional time on the beach. Our condo even had some moments where we sat down and wrote out our favorite verses- that was my favorite time- and we encouraged each other through His Word.
I loved my girls.
Even if they thought I was lame.
It wasn't about me and what I could do.
It was about God showing me personally to not give up on His mission for Lovely Girls Club. And then need for a place where girls can be told they are lovely and they matter not because of:
how well they play a sport
or how great they can cheer or tumble
or because of how beautiful they look
because they are "fearfully and wonderfully made!" by our God!
Other peoples' opinions don't count!
This is a long post, because I am so passionate about our girls knowing the Truth.