Updated: Feb 12
"As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue." 2 Peter 1:3
Once upon a time there was this special place I hold dear to my heart, it's name is
Camp Joy. This was a property owned by our church that we used for our summer retreats for all ages. It was about an hour drive from our home, set back in the wilderness (in my mind) where only dirt roads could get you there once you turned off the main route.
Big, looming trees surrounded it like towering, majestic soldiers holding down the fort to serve and protect. There was a big structure right in the center of the land for which the camp was set. We called it 'The Mess Hall'. Inside was a huge, open area for eating and games and gatherings of fun days and nights spent with our church friends and family. A big, well equipped kitchen set off to one side with large opening windows to serve all that came to be nourished with great food and hospitality. Individual rooms flanked each corner of this building with beds and baths to accommodate those that lodged there. Outside was wide open landscape where the grounds consisted of soft sand and small pebbles, that with the assistance of the beautiful sunlight would warm my feet and remind me that summer was here. There was an enormous pool that took up at least a good two acres of the camps ground. The floor of the pool was concrete and by the end of the week my toes had welcomed blisters that I would take home with me as souvenirs. Two dirt roads, leading in opposite directions from The Mess Hall held six or so cabins each lined up in a row. One passage way belonging to 'girls' the other 'boys'.
Now deep down in the woods nearby was a trail that led down and around and through to a cleared area set up with rows of benches made of cut trees, with an isle down the center that led you to a lectern built from the same fallen trees. Behind stood a cross, tall and regal which served as a wonderful reminder of why we gathered there (this was my favorite spot, when a large group was congregated there; voices singing in the midst of God's nature would rise up from this rustic theatre to the clouds and leave you with a feeling of what heaven will sound like one day).
I gave you this extended visual description of Camp Joy because it held so much meaning for me and I wanted to take you there via the movie screen of your mind.
I not only got to visit a couple of times a year with our children's group and then later as a youth, but my parents would load us up at the very beginning of summer to head off to this glorious spot. You see, they were in charge of opening the camp after a long winter's nap. And since us three girls were a part of them; well...that meant we got to tag along.
From the moment daddy would walk across the threshold he would begin his journey of checking the security of all the doors and windows; plumbing and electrical; making sure everything was in working order, and repairing anything that did not stand up to the harsh winter season. Mama would begin the cleaning expedition of all the kitchen appliances and tables and dishware, including bathrooms and sweeping and mopping of all floors, making her way down to each and every cabin (scorpions were a thing in that area I might add for they would find their way into our luggage for a ride back home). Us girls would be given jobs according to our age, and what would keep us busy and out of harm's way. But our most important job was...are you ready...cleaning the ginormous, concrete pool! At the first of the week daddy would add chlorine, enough to take the black stripes off a herd of zebras. Everyday we were to go out and check to see if the water had turned from a murky green to a more manageable turquoise color. Once the change had taken place it was time to get serious.
Algae would grow thick and dark along the side walls and all along the bottom of this pond (as Grandma Smith referred to a pool ). It was our delight to jump in with scrub brush in hand and begin the adventure of turning this dark monstrosity into a gleaming, crystal, clear body of water. It took hours that turned into days to accomplish this feat, but oh the satisfaction we had when we were done. What seemed to start out as an overwhelming effort ended in such triumph for all of us.
I have so many grand memories of our beloved summer camp, but the best memories were those made the week my family got to spend there all on our own.
It draws my mind to our Christian walk.
*The beauty of our relationship with God (the camps landscape); (Ps. 27:4).
*His righteousness is cleansing for our soul (preparing the camp); (1 John 1:9).
*What the sounds of heaven may be likened to (singing in the woods); (Eph. 5:19).
*Once Christ moves in, He begins molding us; changing us into His glorious image
(the algae); (Rev. 22:1).
I am so thankful Christ took the 'overwhelming' to the cross for us and now we are able to stand as righteous children of God because of His triumph.
I love you & He loves you more!
Lord, Thank You for sweet memories but most of all thank You for the cross that represents the mighty, towering cost You sacrificed for someone like me. You paid it all and now I am able to walk with You in the glory of Your goodness and grace. I shall not take that for granted. Amen.