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 😊💚