This past week we took our students to Student Life at the beach (Daytona). I am not sure where I would like to begin. It will probably be split up in different blogs throughout this week. In the years past we have chosen to go to mission camps. M-FUGE has always been our favorite and we love it because everything is amazing! The students serve the community as well as grow in their personal lives as well. This past year we began praying for God to lead us where we needed to go. M-Fuge was our comfort zone and my husband knew that it needed to be something different. I am a total mountain girl. I hate the beach! Mostly because of the self image issue but the heat and me are not friends! So of course God sent us to Daytona in the middle of July. As we started having sign ups our numbers were low and I wasn’t sure if we were making the right decision. We have always taken a ton of students and we were in the 30’s for students. Richard was sure and I of course trust him. So off we go…we have one girl puking, our van’s air condition was almost HOT, we had only enough food to last to us through Tuesday, we had no idea what we were going to do for recreation time, we had no idea if we would have a meeting space for small groups. I mean it was the blind leading the blind….But what we didn’t realize was that God had already gone ahead of us and had prepared everything and the things I am about to share is only a small glimpse of what our group experienced. We split the girls and guys for small groups throughout the week and it truly brought the girls closer. Out of the entire room of girls only three didn’t raise their hands when I asked the question “How many of you have built up resentment or some type of anger towards your earthly father”…I was dumb founded! I can relate and the thought of all these girls dealing with this alone hurts my heart. So throughout the week we broke up and prayed for one another and I believe healing has begun! The food worked out perfectly because Carla had a kitchen (SMALL one) but a place to put our food. Our church was gracious enough to provide all the students meals throughout the week. Recreation also turned out very easy (OCEANFRONT BEACH) so the free time was the students swimming!
Now for the ROCK MY WORLD PART!
I went into each session with the anticipation of seeing our students changed. I wanted to worship and see God but I honestly didn’t realize the changes that would occur in my own life. EVERY session L.Giglio had us pray for something different. Our parents, our pastors our youth pastors, so on….each time we would pray, or worship or hear him speak I would leave looking like I was beat up! I experienced God as if I was standing alone in front of His throne. I was so overwhelmed with His presence one night that I had to literally sit down. We watched redemption occur, we saw the veil torn from faces of students and adults who had always loved God but never experienced Him. The last night I went in DETERMINED not to cry and I stood in worship with the demon of self image whispering in my ear. I begin to cry and as we sang “my chains are gone” I thought to myself. HOLLY YOU ARE THE FOUNDER OF BEAUTY WITHIN! I kept telling myself this over and over and over and the more I thought it the harder I cried because I knew deep down that the chains that I wanted to be free from were loosening and the pressure was being lifted. L. Giglio then proceeds to speak about FREEDOM! God blew me away because I am free to be who I am, I am free to love unconditionally, I am free to worship! I am called to speak to girls and yet I felt like the freedom I needed more than anything was from MYSELF! It was my thoughts that were keeping me in bondage. I sat down and turned my hands up towards heaven and said I AM FINISHED…I choose to eat bad foods, I may choose to not exercise, or lose weight but seeing myself was more than the weight it was seeing a heart that had let years and years of guilt and shame and not feeling good enough rise up in me and it truly affected who I had become. I KNOW that I am His, I KNOW that I am beautiful but its more than that…I have for the first time in my life understood that God’s mercy is so much greater and His presence surrounds me…thank you Student Life for your obedience to the calling to speak out to teens and yes adults! The theme was FLIP..it was about how Jesus’ life was flipped upside down! I flipped my heart over like a pancake this week and the outcome was amazing! I didn’t experience an emotional high it was a GLORY moment that I will go after again and again! As I move forward with the calling that has been placed on my own life to speak to girls of all ages about just how beautiful they are I am praying for God to open doors and create in me a NEW heart! L. Giglio/Chris Tomlin was a combination that I can’t even describe! But as the week progressed I no longer saw them I saw GOD in the midst of 7000 students worshiping and offering all they had! I am speechless but I promise more blogs to follow!
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