A couple weeks ago, I attended TeenPact's very first Endeavor West. It was truly amazing. God taught me so much just in that one week. Today, I really want to touch on what I learned from Wednesday's theme: Adventurous Beauty.
The morning started out as usual. Well, sort of. I woke up at 6:10 in the morning. That was weird. Especially considering how late all of us had been up the night before. But, instead of wandering back to the sleeping porch to catch a few more winks, I decided to grab my clothes and get ready for the day.
After getting dressed, putting my contacts in, and brushing my hair, I grabbed my Bible, prayer journal, and devotional book. The past couple of days I had been late getting back from "Bonjour" because I was trying to squeeze their devotional they gave us, and my own. I decided to get my routine devotions done so that I could place my full attention on what that day's theme was later in the morning.
After devotions, I hung out in my room and chatted with some of the other girls in my Rendezvous. That was the usual. Breakfast, normal. Then, morning session started. After we sang a few worship songs, Tara gave her talk on that day's theme: Adventurous Beauty. Wow. I'd read what she talked about on Facebook a few months back, but hearing her actually say it was a whole different thing. (Go here to read the note she wrote and read at Endeavor)
When we were dismissed to Bonjour, it was all I could do to keep myself together until I reached my corner. As soon as I settled in, I burst into tears and started praying. I'll say it right now: I did not have a very high opinion of my appearance. I felt I was average or even less than such, and wasn't very pretty. But I realized something that morning. God created my in His image. He created me the way I look for His purpose. I wasn't letting Him use be to my fullest potential because of the way I saw myself. I realize now that no matter what, God thinks I'm beautiful. True beauty is not measured by how thin you are or aren't, what your face looks like, or what color your hair is. It's measured by who you are on the inside. What your heart looks like.
Thank you, Tara, for sharing your heart in that matter. I know I wasn't the only girl there you blessed.
After Bonjour, we had our breakout sessions. It was letter-writing, and as most of you know, that's "write" up my alley! Our session was finished quickly, though, as Lydia ran in and said that we needed to get ready for the ropes course. I'll just pause here and say that our afternoon adventure was always a surprise, and generally we weren't told what it was until we were almost or actually there. So her saying "You need to get ready for the ropes course!" was a slip-up. But now that I look back, it was a slip-up that turned into a blessing. If things had been said differently, I really don't know how the rest of the afternoon would have played out. All I know, is that it would've been very, very different.
I freaked. Majorly. Instantly, thoughts of "I can't do this", "There's no way I'm going to be able to do a ropes course", "I could sit out and take pictures. Yes, that's what I'll do. I'd rather not make a fool of myself" started running through my head.
I approached Lydia and asked her if I could sit out and just take pictures. She firmly looked me in the eye and said, "Not an option."
She said it again, "Not an option." This time, a little softer. She took me aside and asked me what was wrong. So I told her.
I can't do it.
People will be watching me....and I don't want them to.
At this point, I had tears running down my face. I thought in my heart that there was no physically possible way I could even attempt a ropes course. No. Stinking. Way. Lydia looked me in the eye again.
"Remember what I said at the beginning of the week?"
"We're going to stretch you. We're not going to break you."
"No one's going to be looking at you. Not every girl here is teeny tiny."
"You can do it."
I nodded. She hugged me. Then I went to my assigned car.
As I was walking, the tears still ran down my face. Lydia's words kept running through my mind. We're not going to break you. You can do it.
Stauros saw me crying and asked me what was wrong. I shrugged my shoulders, waved my hand around a little bit, unsure of what to say. Then, without another word, she put her arm around me and began to pray. When she was done praying she handed me a tissue for my eyes.
And I got into the car.
And I went to the YWAM (Youth With a Mission) campground.
on a ropes course.
And I liked it.
I had fun. I did it.
Not without a battle, though.
I'll admit, my attitude was still not exactly in the right place when my group got to the low ropes course. I got on it with an "I'm going to fail" attitude. And guess what? My first time going over the elements, I fell off. And had to go to the back of the line. But the second time, I was determined to do it.
My attitude said I can do this.
And I did.
I was stretched, but I was not broken.
God taught me so much that week.
But I think this (and one more thing) was the biggest.
I'm climbing out of my little box.
I'm going to try new things.
And with God's strength, I will succeed.
Thank you, Lydia and Thank you, Stauros, for everything.
I really am sorry it took me this long to start posting again. Life has been well, crazy! Before I end this post, I have a thing or two to say about some stuff in my life that has been super exciting lately.
1) I only have a couple chapters left to write in my novella, Esperanza's Journey. (If you would like to preview the novella, please contact me with your e-mail address and I will send you the first four chapters)
2) A good friend of mine, Kiefer Partridge, and I are co-writing a novel! We're still trying to figure out the story line, but the meat will be in the works hopefully soon. Oh, and did I mention we will be attempting to write it completely via text message? Yup.
3) Every day draws me closer to my senior year of highschool!!! Ya, I just had to say it :)
Hope y'all are having an amazing summer! I'll be writing another post about something I learned from Endeavor (actually, God was already working in my heart about this matter, but everything really came together at Endeavor) very very soon. God bless and have an awesome rest of your day!!