From Suffering to Hope
“5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5
I’ve heard this verse a lot lately. At the beginning of the summer, Charlie Gurley, one of the 2014 Summer Leadership Team members shared this during staff training. He spoke about the process of this verse and how you have to endure the suffering to gain perseverance, which builds your character, which allows a person to have hope. This so perfectly describes my three years as the Camp Director at Shepherd’s Fold Ranch.
SUFFERING. My first summer as Camp Director (2012) was CrAzYY! I moved to SFR in August of 2011. I had just turned 22 and was fresh out of college. When I assumed the position of Camp Director, there was NO blueprint on how to do my job. No job description, no notes from the last person, nothing. I literally had to figure out what I was doing based on what I had seen done in the past. Thank God for grace. In the months walking up to camp, I prepared for the “stuff”, but I didn’t prepare spiritually. Camp happened, but man was it tiring! I was up with the sun and stayed up after the sun went down. I probably only slept 6 hours a night (which isn’t much when you’re moving nonstop for every other hour of that day). I went from living with my dog for nine months to sharing my home, including my bedroom, with seven other women for three solid months. My grandpa passed away that summer. I’m sure quite a few other things happened that summer as well, but I’ve slept since then. Mostly what I do remember is that when August rolled around, I was ready to skip town for a couple of weeks to rest and not be on call. So my sister and I went to Florida. 🙂
PERSEVERANCE & CHARACTER. Summer number two (2013) went better than the first, but was still very stretching. Also, there was an added distraction of the man I was dating (Who is now my husband). Again, I was up at 5:30 and not in bed until 10:30. Thankfully I learned from the previous summer and focused more on preparing spiritually than the “stuff”, so the summer definitely felt better. Those early mornings and late nights were a lot. Plus we had 200+ additional campers than in the summer before, so basically there were more people to be responsible for. It was difficult balancing running summer camp and being in a courtship with the man I knew I wanted to marry. Needless to say, I was distracted because he wasn’t at camp, but when he would come to visit I was still on the clock, and on the weekend, I would work until 3:00 or 4:00 and need to be asleep by 9:00 or 10:00 because I had to be back in the office by 9:00 Sunday morning. 5 hours doesn’t seem like much time. Especially when you’re exhausted. Regardless, the Lord brought me through another summer and though it was difficult, I persevered and character was built.
HOPE. This summer (2014) was the smoothest of my summers here at SFR. The Lord was so so faithful. All the blood, sweat, and tears that were shed in 2012 & 2013, and through the year leading up to 2014, yielded fruit through the summer. We became accredited with the American Camp Association. We had 36 staff members. We had 3 cooks who created delicious meals. We had a full leadership team. The Lord moved in ways we never expected. Hope means “confident expectation”. Because of the two summers walking up to this one, I was confident in expecting that the Lord would show up. But He did so much more than that. The Lord brought HOPE throughout the summer.