Well the last few weeks have been a roller coaster. Don't know if you heard anything about the Pella FCA camp, but there was a tragic accident at the swimming pool and two boys drowned. I worked camp all week hanging out mostly around the basketball courts. Met some amazing men and women who love the Lord and was deeply encouraged by the response from coaches and huddle leaders after the accident on Wednesday night. It was one of those things that you never expect to happen, but when it does, at a camp like FCA, people respond in incredible ways and the Lord continued to be present in very real ways the rest of the week.
It's been super hot in Iowa lately and tonight there was an incredible thunderstorm. Storms are one of my favorite things in nature. They remind me of the awesome power of God in the thunder and lightening and pouring rain. This might seem strange, but storms calm me down. I seriously feel completely relaxed and at peace in the midst of a storm.
I wonder if that feeling of calmness and peace is God trying to show me how to respond during the real storms and struggles that occur in life? That I can trust that He is taking care of things even though rain is pouring down so hard that I can't see a thing and lightening is striking all around? Tonight's storm was especially amazing because the clouds were huge and full of lightening. Then I saw the moon popping out from behind one of the biggest, darkest clouds in the sky. It was really an amazing sight...I wish my description gave it justice...
It was an incredibly powerful moment for me to watch this. It reminded me that light exists despite the darkness that seemed to "cover" it during the storm. The moon never stopped shining because of the storm, it was only hidden for a short time - and it was only my finite vision that could not see it. Often I forget during the difficult times in life to look for the light! The light exists always - Psalm 139:12 says, "even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you." I think about how many times in my life I let the darkness of my trials consume me and forget that light overcomes the darkness! I worry about trying to tell people about the Lord for fear that they will reject me and never hear the truth. But the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5)! I pray that the Lord empowers you to speak truth as His light will overcome the darkness. May the Lord speak through you in incredible ways during your camps, your practices, and your travels!
Last week was probably one of the hardest, most emotional times I've experienced in my life. FCA is my second family and my heart broke for the families of these kids, the staff, the lifeguards, and everyone close to the situation. But the stories coming out of this situation and the way that God has worked would make your jaw drop in awe. Your former coach, Micah Parker, was the speaker, and his messages were painfully applicable to the week. The night of the accident, he spoke about how to overcome tragedy. He talked about losing his first wife to a sudden heart attack and how we needed to ask God, not "why did this happen?", but "how are you going to use this?" And that night, the sister of one of the boys took that message home to her grieving parents knowing that there was truth and hope in that message. Amazing stuff, truly amazing.
To end this, I wanted to share something with you from the week that I thought was pretty cool. :) Coach Parker told the story of the Drake Women's team the year that you made it to the NCAA tournament to play Tennessee. He passed out a scouting sheet with information about each of the girls on the team that year and went through all the players that ended up injured or out for the season. As he described you, he said he hoped his girls grew up to be like Kelsey Keizer. I thought that was an incredible testament to the way that you live your life and how much you have impacted the people around you! I hope this can be encouragement to you in your race - that you will continue to impact those around you through your actions and words as you shine the light of Christ into the darkness of our world. May the Lord bless you in the place that he has called you to share the Gospel!
Love and prayers,