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"No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs." - Psalm 119:54 (CEV)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Yes


I hope I was never this bad as a child.

It was rough.

I was told that one of the kids in my cabin probably had the worst attitude of them all.

I gave instructions frequently,

Yelled as little as possible, but still more than I usually yell in a year.

I hope I was never this bad as a child.


I made it through most of the week.

Friday, they started screaming at each other.

I had one girl crying because another was being mean to her in the pool,

The other girl was intentionally trying to irritate her.

I was going on my second week of very little sleep at night.

I finally managed to separate them,

Talked to them one at a time,

Starting with the irritator.


She said that she didn't care about anyone but herself,

That, if someone yelled at or hit her, she had the right to hit back,

That she didn't care who that person was or if they got hurt,

That she wasn't going to be nice because she was not a nice person,

That she wouldn't ignore the other person because she had the right to retaliate,

That . . .

And I'm just sitting there,

With no idea how I'm going to survive the next twelve hours,

No way to get through to this girl,

No way to make her understand,

And I'm sure I should've had some profound Biblical wisdom at that point,

But nothing I could think of would've gotten through to her any more than anything else I'd said that week,

And how do I make this girl understand?

I felt like I would go crazy.


I talked to the other girl, too,

The one who was being irritated,

Asked her to try to ignore the irritator,

Try to stay away from her,

Not to talk to her.

"She hates me," she said.

I couldn't dispute that.

The irritator had told me as much herself.


I got them out of the cabin about twenty minutes late.

We went up to hear the storytelling.

I recounted the events to a higher authority,

Someone with more experience.

The best she could tell me?

"It's only twelve more hours."

I wanted to cry.

In fact, I was on the verge of a total meltdown for the next hour or so.

My nose kept running,

My eyes kept filling with tears.

Fortunately, I had stocked my bag with plenty of tissues.

My mind was still in the cabin,

Still trying to sort through everything that had happened,

How I was going to survive with those two living in the same room for one more day.


I didn't hear much of the story of Jonah and the Whale,

Barely registered the story of Jesus calming the waves,

But when he got to the next "story", my ears tuned themselves in.

"The Lord is my shepherd . . ."

The tears filled my eyes again.

"I shall not want."

I know every word of this Psalm,

Had to memorize it a long time ago for Sunday School.

It's never meant quite this to me before, though.

It has to be one of the most beautiful promises in the Bible, this Psalm,

That He is taking care of us, no matter what is going on outside -

Or inside.


I tried to stop myself from crying -

Crying because that promise had never seemed more distant,

Crying because I was as spiritually exhausted as I was physically exhausted,

Crying because I was dying to get away -

To pray,

Preferably somewhere in the middle of the woods,

Maybe sneak away to a piano,

Play "How He Loves"

- And I couldn't.

But the promise remained,

And, as long as he was speaking,

Those tears didn't leave my eyes.


I survived the next twelve hours,

Managed to get through on not enough sleep.

After they'd all left and all was quiet,

We went down to the benches overlooking the cross,

White and hidden there among the trees.

We spoke of all that had happened that week.

Everyone agreed -

Even those that had been counseling back when I was a camper -

That it was the most difficult week of camp they'd ever experienced.

But one person said something I didn't notice -

That, when he told the stories,

Every single child,

Every child who could never sit still for more than ten seconds,

Every child who would never be quiet,

Devoted all of his or her attention to the words of the storyteller,

Hardly moving,

Not speaking at all.

We told a few stories of hints that we might've made a difference,

Might've helped these young and difficult kids to grow, learn to listen,

And we just sat,

There in the presence of the hope that had been there all along,

The promise that made even the most wild kids sit and listen in wonder.

"Let us know next year, when we send out the emails again."

And,

Exhausted and overwhelmed,

Far too close to the craziness of week,

I already know I'll say yes.

Yes, I'll do this again.

Even if next year is as bad as this year.

Even if it doesn't make a difference.

Why?

I don't know.

Maybe it's just that promise,

Just that hope,

Just that symbol in the woods,

Symbol that's been standing there for as long as I can remember -

All it represents.

Yes.

My answer is yes.


Counting reasons 1575-1626 today,

Because the promise depends on who He is,

The hope on what He is capable of,

And my soul on understanding it all to the best of my ability.
  1. He is with those who hold fast to Him (2 Kings 18:6-7)
  2. He is with those who do not stop following Him (2 Kings 18:6-7)
  3. He is with those who keep the commands He has given (2 Kings 18:6-7)
  4. He makes successful those who hold fast to Him (2 Kings 18:6-7)
  5. He makes successful those who do not stop following Him (2 Kings 18:6-7)
  6. He makes successful those who keep the commands He has given (2 Kings 18:6-7)
  7. He allows those who violate His covenant to be captured (2 Kings 18:10-12)
  8. He allows those who violate His covenant to be deported (2 Kings 18:11-12)
  9. He makes enemy kings want to return to their own country (2 Kings 19:7)
  10. He has enemy kings cut down with the sword (2 Kings 19:7)
  11. He is enthroned between the cherubim (2 Kings 19:15)
  12. He alone is God over all the kingdoms of the earth (2 Kings 19:15)
  13. He is the Holy One of Israel (2 Kings 19:22)
  14. He ordained all things long ago (2 Kings 19:25)
  15. He planned all things in days of old (2 Kings 19:25)
  16. He brings to pass that which He has planned (2 Kings 19:25)
  17. He knows where people are (2 Kings 19:27)
  18. He knows when people come and when they go (2 Kings 19:27)
  19. He knows how people rage against Him (2 Kings 19:27)
  20. He puts His hook in the noses of those who rage against Him (2 Kings 19:27)
  21. He puts His bit in the mouths of those who rage against Him (2 Kings 19:27)
  22. He makes those who rage against Him return by the way they came (2 Kings 19:27)
  23. He provides enough food for His people – just from what grows by itself – for two years (2 Kings 19:29)
  24. He defends His city for His sake (2 Kings 19:34)
  25. He defends His city for the sake of David His servant (2 Kings 19:34)
  26. He saves His city for His sake (2 Kings 19:34)
  27. He saves His city for the sake of David His servant (2 Kings 19:34)
  28. At His command, His angel puts to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in one night (2 Kings 19:35)
  29. He sees tears (2 Kings 20:5)
  30. He heals those who were going to die (2 Kings 20:1-5)
  31. He adds fifteen years to the life of one who was going to die (2 Kings 20:1-6)
  32. He makes shadows move back ten steps (2 Kings 20:9-11)
  33. He brings such disaster that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle (2 Kings 20:12)
  34. He stretches out over Jerusalem the measuring line used against Samaria (2 Kings 20:13)
  35. He stretches out over Jerusalem the plumb line used against the house of Ahab (2 Kings 20:13)
  36. He wipes out Jerusalem as one wipes out a dish (2 Kings 20:13)
  37. He wipes out Jerusalem and turns it upside-down (2 Kings 20:13)
  38. He forsakes the remnant of His inheritance that has done evil (2 Kings 21:11-14)
  39. He gives the remnant of His inheritance that has done evil into the hands of His enemies (2 Kings 21:11-14)
  40. He allows the remnant of His inheritance that has done evil to be looted and plundered by all their enemies (2 Kings 21:11-14)
  41. His anger that burns against those who do not obey the words of the Book of the Law is great (2 Kings 22:11-13)
  42. His anger that burns against those who have not acted in accordance with all that is written in the Book of the Law concerning the people is great (2 Kings 22:11-13)
  43. He brings disaster on the place and the people who disobey what is written in His book (2 Kings 22:16)
  44. He brings disaster on the place and the people according to everything that is written in His book (2 Kings 22:16)
  45. He brings disaster on the place and the people because they have forsaken Him and burned incense to other gods (2 Kings 22:16-17)
  46. He brings disaster on the place and the people because they have aroused His anger by all the idols their hands have made (2 Kings 22:16-17)
  47. He hears those whose heart is responsive when they hear what He has spoken against the place and the people (2 Kings 22:19)
  48. He hears those who humble themselves before Him when they hear what He has spoken against the place and the people (2 Kings 22:19)
  49. He hears those who tear their robes and weep in His presence when they hear that the place and the people will become a curse (2 Kings 22:19)
  50. He hears those who tear their robes and weep in His presence when they hear that the place and the people will be laid waste (2 Kings 22:19)
  51. He hears those who are responsive and allows them to be buried in peace (2 Kings 22:19-20)
  52. He hears those who are responsive and keeps them from seeing the disaster He is going to bring on the place and the people (2 Kings 22:19-20)

Counting 10,000 Reasons to worship Him:

(Take the challenge with us!)

<a href="http://maryschieferstein.blogspot.com/search/label/10000%20Reasons" target="_blank"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8zkGH23srZ8/T2i3Bun0O9I/AAAAAAAABSw/8giPvnJmCPI/s320/10000ReasonsButton.jpg" /></a>
Counting in community:



10 comments:

Melody ________________________________ said...

I'm so glad He held you up and I can see why you mentioned that your week had been crazy in your email.

Sorry I haven't emailed you back yet. We've been neck deep in CLEP planning and looking up colleges (I stayed up till twelve thirty this morning), so I've been a pretty busy girl. We have prayer meeting tonight, but I'll try to sit down and write to you tomorrow.

Mary said...

Oh, yes, Melody, me, too. I was so dead by the weekend, though. Thank God for blessing me with a great church to go to on Sunday evening! I even got to hear my all-time favorite hymn this time!

It's alright! Don't worry about it. I need to apologize, too. I've been super-busy (babysitting) and have neglected to take a more thorough look at that which you sent me. I'm sorry. I meant to do that days ago. Hopefully I'll have time tomorrow.

Good luck with the college search, and I hope your prayer meeting goes well!

Christina said...

Sounds painful, draining, and frustrating. In the face of such frustration, I have to remind myself that Jesus endured the same. And He did it for me. And then I remember that I was that girl, with the same attitude, and He loved me. God used you to plant seeds in those children's hearts. Thanks for sharing this! Blessings!

CynthiaJSwenson said...

I love the way you tell your stories Mary. This one reminds me of my children sometimes when I realize the only One who can reach into their hearts is Jesus & His Word. Also I am reminded that it is a lengthy process & one of the means the Lord uses to develop great patience in us! The hard things are the most refining. So glad you won't give up next time! You will reap a blessing from this experience! I love your thoughtful comments on my blog! Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

Mary said...

Thank you, Christina! Wonderful reminders - especially that He loves us even in our mess. Maybe I'll print those out and take them with me next year :). Thank you for your encouragement! Blessings for you, too, friend!

Mary said...

Thank you, Cynthia! Personally, I think I'm a horrible storyteller, but I'm very glad God blessed you with my words.

Oh, yes, He is the only One, and it is a very lengthy process. And He does use it to develop patience, which I could certainly use more of! Thank you for putting it this way for me! One of the most beautiful things about sharing stories is that other people see truth I've missed, then kindly and graciously tell me about it!

Thank you for your comments, friend. Love and prayers for you, too!

Sylvia R said...

You had me with you through every word of this post. Wow, what a tough nut that one was! Yet I see such promises in your list of Reasons this time. Let's pray through this year for these troubled, and troubling, girls. God can redeem anything, and that fact makes me look forward to see what He might have in store for next year. God bless you mightily for your "Yes"!

Mary said...

Oh, thank you, Sylvia. I thought it might be hard to follow. Praise God that He is able to take my crazy, scattered words and somehow make them comprehensible! Yes, it was difficult, but there is promise, there are promises, and He is faithful, always faithful.

What a wonderful idea! I can't believe I didn't think of that, after the way I was praying for them all week. Yes, let's pray for these girls and boys, that they would truly know Him and He would be at work in them. He can redeem, and I pray that He does. Next year. Yes, next year . . .

God bless you, too, friend! Thank you for always seeing the things I can't, then taking the time to share them with me. Thank you for your reasons - always so encouraging! - and the opportunity to see just a glimpse of all the praise that comes from them.

Kathleen said...

Oh my... God is so faithful, even in the storms... So happy He pulled you through :)

Mary said...

Hello, Kathleen! Thank you so much for stopping by!

Yes, He is so faithful, always pulling me through! No matter how big those storms are, He is bigger still, Sovereign over everything. It's so good to know who He is, how Great He is, how trustworthy - and how wonderful to not have to trust in myself!

Thank you for your words and encouragement!

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