When Sam and I decided to help at our church youth group’s Winter Camp, I knew a couple of things.
I knew it would be complicated to take a baby and all of her stuff to camp.
I knew I’d feel stressed about missing a weekend of homework.
I knew we’d all be tired when we got home on Sunday night.
I knew Clara would get sick. (one baby + 85 teenagers + flu season= a sick baby. Preeettty much a guarantee.)
I had a few really good reasons to stay home from camp this year. No one would’ve blamed me for skipping out- in fact, they were probably expecting it. And to be honest, I expected it too. I like staying home with my family. I like it more than anything in the world, actually. So why did I think dragging Smoochie all the way up a mountain for a weekend with a bunch of teens was worth the effort? What on earth did we have to offer?
I doubted the impact of my presence at camp. Breast feeding Clara means I am literally attached to her every three hours, all day long. I am a slave to her feeding schedule. She also doesn’t go all night without eating yet, so I knew she would wake up at least once, want nestled next to me in bed, and whimper for a midnight nursing.
None of this is conducive to working and sleeping in a cabin with junior high or high school students, am I right? So what was I going to do? I couldn’t be a counselor. And even though I’ve directed plenty of camps in my time, that wasn’t my gig this year. How could I help when so much of my time, my energy, and my attention are devoted to my daughter?
What does a new mom have to offer when it comes to serving others?
Here’s the thing: I was raised at church camp. My mom took me to my first summer camp when I was four months old. All of our parents did this- they folded our little jeans and sweatshirts into duffle bags, they stacked sleeping bags and pillows in the back of their station wagons, they tied our bikes to the roof of the car, and they took us to church camp. They directed camp, they cooked for camp, they were camp nurses, camp worship leaders, camp speakers, and camp counselors. It didn’t matter that they had five, six, seven kids to cart along with them (my parents and their friends liked having babies, yeesh). They just DID it, you know? And we were better for it. Filthy faces and fingernails, burnt marshmallow in our hair, scrapes on our knees, games of capture the flag that spanned a forest and an evening; it was paradise. We grew up on that dirt, in those creeks. We met our best friends, our business partners, our husbands and wives at summer camp. We forged our spiritual paths, made decisions about who we are and what we believe. Camp changed us, one pancake breakfast and swim in the lake at a time.
This Horney family isn’t stopping at one baby. We want to keep growing our home, give Smooch some brothers and sisters. And if I stopped being involved in ministry because I have little kids…I’d never go to camp again.
There will always be reasons not to serve.
We are busy. We have obligations. We are tired. Our kids are too young, our jobs too demanding, our spouses uninterested, our friends unimpressed, our time limited.
But what I’m learning; what I’m working through; what I’m committed to remembering, is this-
If God shows me a job to do, He will make a way to get it done. If He gives me a talent, He will open doors to let that talent shine. If He asks me to stay home, it is for a good reason.
And if He asks me to find my sleeping bag, stuff a weekend worth of diapers into a suitcase, and wash dishes at Winter Camp, He’ll use my rolled up sleeves and pruned up fingers in bigger ways than I will ever realize. He will take my new mama moments, my meager offerings of time and limited energy, and like the magic of two fish and five loaves of bread…
He will multiply.
All I have to do is GO.
Well. Pack some cute clothes for Smoochie, and then go.
Priorities, people. Priorities.