Savannah is in the middle of a two week stint of work crew.  Last week she had dining hall duty which means she was serving food in the buffet line the kids go through at each meal, was cleaning tables and floors in the dining hall afterwards (including on "man night" when the boy campers use no plates nor utensils - gag) and was helping with any extra chores in the main Lodge area that needed tending.  Its hard work, tiring work, but fun work because you are working alongside your peers as a team.  Music blasts before and after meals, spontaneous dancing takes place constantly and there is an overall celebratory atmosphere.  But is is tiring work.

As always, I stay far away from her when we are at Camp.  I feel like she needs to have that time in the same way every other kid/teen there does, without mom.  So since I am always there doing my own things, I am very conscientious to give her space.  But yesterday she came to me and asked if she could spend the day with me since she had 24 hours off.  You can imagine the delight my heart felt.

So I drove her through that front stone gate and to Austin, listening all the way to her stories, cheers and fears of the week.  I heard about talks at Devos (nightly devotions with her work crew cabin), heard about how almost every girl in her cabin hates their mothers and feel their mothers hate them, heard about drinking problems and mistakes made with boyfriends.  And I took deep breaths, nodded and even cried at times.  Oh how I have a heart for that age group.

You see, Camp is an outreach and the campers/work crew kids there are for the most part not followers of Christ.  Some are, certainly, but I would say only about 1/3.  The rest play church.  Or dont.  It has always been that way, may always be.  Camp was started by two Young Life leaders as an outreach ministry and still operates exactly that way.  So for my girls, it is a week of intense fun but it is also one of the only times of the year that they are surrounded by so many different life choices.  

So I wrapped Savannah in one of her favorite cities, fed her the BBQ she loves more than any other (besides her daddy's of course) and took her to all the outdoor shops she loves to meander.  I reminded her of who she is, where her identity is, that she is a Light Bearer.  We talked for hours.

Its hard to feel you are walking alone.  It takes years to understand that each day must be filled with intentionality and there are few days "off" in that walk.    These are the years she is realizing that she really may be that phrase that she sees year after year upon the wall in the church office - "you may be the only bible that people ever read."  She is learning and struggling into who she is.  She is realizing that her life really is ministry now, not just in that far off future she dreams of.  

She is so beautiful to me.

Exhausted, she slept the whole way back to Camp.  I glanced over at her many times as I drove.   I am so thankful for so much.  The Lord has led us to the relationship I always hoped to have with her.  He has granted us so much muchness.  I am just so thankful.

When we arrived back at Camp she hung her hammock outside my cabin and lay there watching stars for awhile alone.  I read inside, knowing she needed time to process, become.  She only had an hour or so before she was expected at the Hoe-down dance with her crew.  

She poked her head inside my cabin and let me know she was headed out, was going to leave the hammock there this week in case she needed some quiet space.  I got up and kissed her right cheek, top of her forehead and left cheek then looked her in the eyes and blessed her.  She teared up, smiled, and was gone back to another week in the world.  

I am just so thankful.

Now this morning Ive driven to meet my sweet baby Peyton in Waco.  She is riding there with my sister and then switching over to my car for the last two hour drive into Camp.  She said she really wanted me there for that last bit of the drive.  I, of course, was delighted by that!  

I cant wait to see her and hear more of her stories from her week with my mom.  I cant wait to twirl her curls and hear all her excitement about her upcoming Camp week.  I cant wait to drive her through those stone gates knowing exactly how her stomach feels, since mine did the same for so many years.  I cant wait!  And then I will leave her alone to become as well.

And then I will be in the kitchen with my sister.  And I cant wait for that either.  She is NO help in that kitchen, but she makes the entire work experience one of complete fullness, life, laughter.  Without her it would NOT be the same.

Truly I am overflowing.