Friday, July 25, 2014


In May I stood in awe as Emma spent her first day of summer break at Mountain TOP putting together binders for the incoming staff.  As the phone rang that afternoon asking if she stay a bit longer to complete a few more task I was thankful for the ways that the full-time staff members were loving on Emma.

 Little did I know just a few short months ago what a difference that afternoon would make and where it would truly lead in her life.

As she has made her way over to Mountain TOP on Tuesdays and Thursdays something about her has changed.  She walks a bit taller than she did at the beginning of the summer (yes, she's hit a growth spirt but this is deeper than just her physical height), she's been laughing more than ever (and she laughs a lot to begin with).  There has been a sense of ownership and pride in what she is doing.

She's walking taller because these young adults have become her older brothers and sisters.  They have trusted her....they have picked on her....they have called her a 'fool' out of great admiration for all that she adds to life.....they entrusted her with task...and they have deeply loved on her.

She was gone for a week to attend her beloved Camp Hopetown and the staffs genuinely missed her presence.    

After being away from Mountain TOP for a week,  Emma needed to return.  I didn't understand it at the time but today I totally get it.  It simply wasn't a matter of wanting to go and be with the staff, he truly needed to touch base with her peeps.  You see not only have they loved her beyond belief while she was at Camp Hopetown something began to sit in.

The focus for the week at Camp Hopetwon was based on Ephesians 4, they spent time focusing on their voyage with Jesus.  On the last day as we gather with the kids and worship with them, each child is given a gift of having the team members speak to and about their uniqueness.  Alexi told E how much she had experienced her tenderheartedness, how much she had poured a deep love onto others.  She told Emma that she was truly amazing in the way she shined the light of Christ.

As she returned to Mountain TOP on that Monday night, the staff did something amazing.....they joined around Emma and enveloped her in a group hug.  That night as we drove away from camp, tears began flowing from Emma.  She said "Mom, do you know what it feels like for everyone to stop what they are doing and give you a big group hug? Do you,know how that feels!"  Her tears were tears of joy.

The next day,while out and about I ran into two staff members and they said "last night as we gathered as a staff, Emma was our joy for the day. Her coming by to see us lifted all of our spirits."

Yesterday we spent the day with the Tennessee Conference Council Youth Leaders....during our afternoon we painted flower pots.  I asked the kids to choose one word that describes what God is cultivating within their lives.

I noticed that Emma painted the word Amazing on her flower pot.

Upon asking her about the word, Emma said "Mom, I've been listening this summer, maybe the things that Camp Hopetown and Mountain TOP is what I need to work on this year"

I am so grateful that God is cultivating a spirit of amazing deep within Emma.

I am so thankful that she has had young adults who have told her that God created her with an amazing spirit.

I am beyond thankful that between the goodness found within volunteering that it turned into a summer of receiving.

I am thankful that God is planting a seed of awesomeness and uniqueness within Emma so that as the waves of life come crashing upon her that she will know without a doubt that she is wonderfully and beautifully made.

I am thankful for young persons who said yes to following where God was leading them for the summer.  If any of them walk away from their summer wondering if they made a difference, the answer is YES!!  Yes made a difference in my E.

What is God cultivating within you?  What is God planting within your spirit?  Where do you need to share the gift of love in this world?