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RFKC 2011: Looking Back

 ”Being with kids for 7 days is just long enough to have your heart broken…and to open up your heart to faith in a God who heals and restores.”

by Brandi Galuzzi, RFKC Counselor.

Camp already feels like a distant memory and the week is but a blur in my mind. This was my second year as a camp counselor and I prayed for God to help me approach my responsibilities a bit differently this year. I wanted to let go of my desire to control situations and just have fun with the girls in my room. A few days before leaving for camp, I found myself trying to prepare for the week that lay ahead. I was praying over an excerpt from “The Jesus I Never Knew” by Phillip Yancey. He writes: “Love has its own power, the only power ultimately capable of conquering the human heart.” He is talking about how God’s power isn’t external and coercive, but instead, gently transforms us from the inside out. His love gives us a choice. I kept asking God to help me love these girls in the same way. As their counselor, I did have a certain power over them, which could force obedience, but I wanted connection and friendship and love. I wanted God’s love to flow through me, knowing my own love is weak and conditional.

The first several days of camp were hilarious and fun. I was able to be goofy and interact with my campers in a way that I hadn’t seemed able to previously. I found relationships forming with all 4 of my girls and enjoyed every moment of our days together.

By the time Thursday rolled around, I’m pretty sure everyone’s exhaustion and the fact that Friday was quickly approaching painted a very different day. Emotions were tense and frustrations were high between our girls. Trying to keep them engaged and interacting kindly was a struggle. Melt-downs were happening, left and right. During a short break between activities, I remember telling our girls they all needed to be on their own bed and no one was allowed to say a word. This wasn’t an attempt to boss them around, but really an attempt to achieve some level of peace if even for only 10 minutes. I remember laying in bed, silently crying because I knew I’d reached my own limit. I was physically drained by lack of sleep (it’s impossible to sleep soundly with four little bodies rolling around on plastic mattresses, occasionally yelling in their sleep or loudly snoring) and that also meant i was emotionally drained as well.

My desire to control was flaring, but I knew full-well I had no power to force my girls into better moods or force them to talk about why they were upset. I had to simply pray for God to give me His peace and His love. Days like Thursday are perfect reminders that Royal Family doesn’t happen without God. I’d love to say Thursday got easier, but it really didn’t. We did, however, have some minor reprieves while the kids watched a magic show and again when they performed in the talent show. I’m pretty sure we should have paid the magician double for her ability to put smiles on my girls faces for even an hour that day. Then, during the talent show, our girls struggled to perform their own puppet show they’d written about “Super Goats”, but not because of bad attitudes. The struggle came from their inability to stop giggling long enough to say their lines clearly, and I laughed right along with them.

Despite Thursday’s difficulties, we made it through the week, which brought us to a day of tears and goodbyes. Watching 24 kids leave with various foster parents or relatives reminds us that the week is short and we can now only pray for God to bring redemption in these little lives.

It’s hard to summarize a week of Royal Family, but I think Jared may have said it best last night at TNL: “Being with kids for 7 days is just long enough to have your heart broken…and to open up your heart to faith in a God who heals and restores.”

You can read more about Royal Family kids Camp at the RFKC PAGE

Permalink: http://tnl.org/rfkc-looking-back

Categories: From The TNL Community, Royal Family Kids, Stories

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