There is no place I'd rather be.
Sitting in this cabin tonight, I am overtaken by the presence and love of God. There is nothing more comforting and safe than truly encountering and knowing the Fathers heart.
I am in cabin 12, with the most precious 9-year-old-foster-girls. Each night when the lights go off, I pull out my guitar, worship with them and share bits of my story, and their hearts open more and more to the Love of Father God. The father's in their lives have either been completely absent or very unsafe. The word "dad" or "father" leaves them either close to tears or instantly upset.
Tonight I sat on the concrete floor in this little cabin and sang of the Father's love. I shared of the Father's love in my life, and their hearts opened up like flowers in the sunshine. Questions started sprouting up, wondering about the kindness and love I was sharing .. they seemed captivated by the thought of a good Father, that will never change His mind about them. They were amazed to hear of my faith and God's hand in every season of my life, through every home and in every moment, good or difficult. Last night precious Faith wept uncontrollably in my arms saying, "I want to know God so bad helen. So so much. I want to know Him, not just know His name, but know HIM." She asked me so many questions - the simple ones and the really tough ones, and I just sat patiently with her, sharing of the kindness of Father God. The gates of her heart swung wide open, inviting this Jesus in without fear or hesitation. Her child-like, pure-hearted hunger for God left me completely undone.
Tonight as I sit on my sleeping bag, I am equally as undone and in awe. I did the same tonight, pulling out my guitar and singing over these sweet girls. Answering their questions and sharing as I felt led -- tonight led into my story again - my brother, my mom, my foster families.. their hearts were so thirsty for a story of hope that paralleled theirs. God so sweetly walked into the room, the presence of Love Himself was so tangible, and as I closed in prayer, I heard little sniffles starting to form from sweet Brianna's bed. I stood on a chair, scooped her up in a hug, and heard the Lord direct me, "she just needs you to love her, beloved. Her heart needs my love." I held her as she wept. I played the "After All These Years" album by Brian and Jenn Johnson, filling the room with the kindness of the Father. Brianna's heart opened up and so sweetly began to trust God. I held her and held her, until the Lord released me to begin speaking life over her. Hope to her future. She so sweetly smiled and called upon the name above every name, with her hand on her heart, whispering "thank you jesus" feeling more safe and secure than she has ever in her life.
I sit here, completely undone by these little stories, and the privilege I have in translating the Father's love to them. I'm listening to "For the One" by Brian and Jenn, with tears of joy welling up. Can you believe the kindness of the Father? To save me, heal me, build me up and TRUST me with these little hearts?
There is no place in the world I'd rather be. My heart is so full.
This camp. These people. These children.
This marks my 5th year of serving with this beautiful body of believers and lovers at Royal Family Kids Camp. Every year seems to pass so quickly, either with passion and purpose, or sometmes failures and come-backs, but each summer at this sweet little Ranch near San Diego, I gather with the most beautiful and faithful group of people, eager and willing to partner with God in leaving a lasting and life-changing mark on these foster children's lives.
Foster care. Gosh, each story is so different, but with each you are guaranteed to hear of events, traumas, tragedies and unthinkable pain for lives that are far too young to experience it let alone comprehend it. These children have forever changed my life. Looking into their hope-filled little eyes every year at camp sometimes feels like looking in a mirror. My story so painfully, yet sweetly parallels so many of theirs, and just reminds me of the absolute kindness and love of the Father.
This year I was invited and assigned to lead worship as well as run the painting area, and my heart couldn't be more full. The conversations these little hearts invite me into are constantly challenging me to be more vulnerable, hopeful and open -- I can't even begin to express in words the beauty of the mission at camp.
Royal Family Kids Camp.
These sweet little ones have been, in one way or another, hurt by and separated from their families. Family is the very source of pain and longing for in their lives -- The healing and breakthrough at this camp is so incredible because it's all about the Father's love.
God, our good, good father, has adopted us at the Cross -- and we all gather as His Royal Family, affirming these children of their worth and irreplaceable value. When I share the gospel with them, their eyes light up and they can hardly contain their joy as they think about being adopted into God's Royal Family. Camp hasn't just challenged me to pour my life into the lives of kids who are growing up like I did, but it has affirmed my own value -- every year I leave camp so undone by the Father's love for ME. My moments here, holding and encouraging, singing with and painting with these children -- these moments are so drenched in the Father's love I can't help but stop and say, "do you feel that joy? do you feel that love?" The kids always laugh and say yes -- "that is the presence of God. The very presence of Love Himself that we have access to any moment we call upon Him" -- their faith and hunger for His love calls me into such a child-like place of gratitude for Him.
And it's only Monday!
The stories are starting to come out and open up, the walls are crashing down and God's love and joy is invading every hurting cavern of each little heart -- rebuilding their confidence and giving them permission to dream. To laugh. To have fun and be care-free. It's the most beautiful thing to watch.
and the fishing, tea parties, beauty salon appointments, painted masterpieces and archery competitions have just begun.
The Father's love is invading all the dark and broken places in all of us -- here is a quick glimpse into the beauty of my view this week.
Such sweet updates and testimonies to come 😊💚