I was a sad girl with a bad frame of mind; I released my sorrows through self-harm and thought suicide was the only way out. I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to, then, one particularly terrible night I was talking to a friend: “You know what helps me when I’m going through a bad time?” she said “What?” “You might think it’s weird… But, God helps me through” What was she talking about? Religious stuff? Weird. Sure, I knew about all this through RE in primary school, but my family isn’t religious at all so it wasn’t something I real-ly knew about. Howev-er, at that time, I was lonely, I was desperate and I was open to any-thing. I was open to this ‘weird God stuff’. Look-ing back now I know that God sent her into my life to share His word and introduce me to our amazing creator and His inspiring Son. So what happened next?
Well, she called me and we spent two hours on the phone talking about all this God stuff; listening to her talk and hearing her passion, her love, I wanted that. I wanted that feeling she was describing, the love and forgiveness and most of all, I wanted a friend. As we hung up I felt something growing inside me, something I hadn’t felt in a very long time. Hope. So I prayed, I got down on my knees and tried something new ”
Hello? Are you there? I know I haven’t been the best person around…” I stayed there for an hour just praying, talking to God and asking for help, for forgiveness. My heart felt full, I was crying good tears and for the first time in a while I knew everything would be okay.
Three years, a change of schools and some interesting new friends later I was still bumbling along with this God stuff and gosh I felt like I had hit a brick wall. Do you know how hard it is to believe in something with a family who don’t understand what on earth you’re talking about? My best friends? Well, the first is all about reincarnation and the second is Wiccan. I love them! But I can’t talk about God or the Bible with them and they certainly couldn’t answer my questions. I was stuck. So I prayed and before I knew it I was making a new friend, a Christian friend! We talked about all things Godly and more, it was glorious! Thanks God!
However, that wasn’t all; God had a surprise in store for me that was just what I needed and my new friend Kim was going to show me: ” Hey, are you coming to CLW?” “CLW? What’s that?” “Christian Life Week! Only the most amazing camp ever!” “You have my at-tention…” And she did have my attention! Some serious talking and Google searching later I found myself ask-ing my wonderful parents if I could go on this bucket load of fun camp, and guess what? They said yes! Of course, it wasn’t going to be easy for us; it was a tad expensive for a small family of dairy farmers…
However we made it and I soon found myself in the car with Kim, I had a Men in Black suit in my suitcase right beside my Bible and excitement growing inside me, I was ready for an adventure! First impression: Everyone is smiling! I can’t stop smiling either! We are all so happy! Second impression: Goodness gracious I want that man’s bowtie!
For the next week I was surrounded by a fun, funny, loving community of amazing people, by the end of that first day I had shed many secret tears just at the love and kindness surrounding me. I didn’t know such a wonderful place exist-ed and I was so thankful to have a whole week there, thanks God. I was laughing, crying, sing-ing, dancing and amongst it all getting in touch with our awesome God, learning new lessons and taking that important time alone with God. My questions were answered as were my pray-ers and God had given me something I had no idea I needed
CLW was an experience that changed me and, like a much needed alarm in morning, woke me up. For a whole week my heart was full and my smile a permanent addition, sure I was the shy girl and spent more time quietly sitting than joining in, but I eventually opened up and guess who made some groovy new friends? This girl! I talked and listened, sung some wonderful songs (that are now on my iPod…) and made some beautiful new friends. The worst part? Saying goodbye to it all and going home. I left on a high, happy and empowered, I had new memories, friends and an envelope full of beautiful fuzzies sure to make me laugh, smile and cry all at once! Of course, after I got home I felt a tad lonely again,
What now? I ask. Well, I check my emails and respond to an LYQ representative who asked about churches. I had only ever gone to church through school and was looking to find my own church, okay, let’s see what you’ve got for me this time God. I soon had a reply, they told me about a lovely man who is the Pastor at my local church and who occasionally goes to CLW, well, I was sold!
The very next Sunday I’m off to church (I had no idea my local Lu-theran church was 5mins down the road… silly little me!), I felt happy and excited, and I loved it! The un-comfortable chairs, the music, the people and amazing messages that are delivered week after week, I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to go to such a lovely church. And those finance troubles we had over CLW? Well, the Ladies Fellowship kindly helped us out with that.
Here I am, a new girl with a permanent smile thanks to our awesome God, I’ve strong beliefs, a full heart, amazing friends and family, and I am, overall, feeling incredibly blessed! Thanks God
Kaylene at Christian Life Week.
The LWQ supports a number of youth to attend CLW each year. With your help we could send more. For more information head to the Projects section of our website.