Saying goodbye to places that shaped you into who you are is hard.
But, ultimately, a place is just a place. And you can always go back and visit. No, things won’t be the same. The faces will be different. People may no longer know your name. But that’s okay. In years to come, retrace the old routes and watch the ghosts of the best summers of your life play out. People get thrown in the lake, cups are popped in the dining hall, and kids continue to draw closer to Jesus.
The past three years, being on staff at Camp Shamineau has completely altered who I am. I went in year one as a counselor, scared to death, no idea what I was doing, and didn’t know a soul. Summer after summer, God taught me lessons of His imesurable love, strength, and faithfulness. I entered a shy, quiet girl who had her identity in a narrow little box. And now I leave a confident leader, ready to go out into the world and serve God with my life.
Shamineau, you will always have a place in my heart. The memories I have at camp are ones I will carry dearly for the rest of my life. The friendships I’ve forged on staff are some of the most meaningful I have ever known. My fellow staff members have always accepted me as I am, flaws and oddities in all, and I’m forever grateful. What a joy it is to serve the Lord alongside such passionate, loving people! What an honor to call them my brothers and sisters! What a blessing to know that, even though our paths may not cross again, we will be united again with Christ in just a short time.
Shaminknights, if you’re reading this… Thank you. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your passion. Thank you for continually inspiring me to seek Christ first. I love you all so dearly. You are incredible, and I cannot wait to see where God takes you!
Every summer, God does something significant in my life. This year was no exception. He surprised me constantly–closing doors I thought were wide open–and giving me incredible peace throughout the process. I learned that, no matter what, He is more than enough to sustain all my needs. In addition, I grew into a leader. I learned how to manage people, how to make things happen when need be, and how to do so while leaning on God. I learned not to drive suburbans, that craft rooms stress me out, and that it is possible to become Queen of bouncy castles. I learned that leaders are often isolated, and that people often don’t notice all that they accomplish. And God showed me that the only recognition I needed was from Him.
I’ll conclude with the theme verse of the summer, which is one I have been meditating on these past three months.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
As much as I’d like to return, God has made it pretty clear to me that my time at Shamineau has come to an end. There will be no next summer. And, although it breaks my heart to say goodbye, I’m ready for what is next. God used these summers to prepare me for greater things. As I return to my final year of college, I eagerly await the plans He has in store for me. So, with my eyes fixed on Him, it’s time to run that race.