With the exception of my becoming a Christian, every significant spiritual moment in my life happened at Camp Carl. In the summer of 2000, I came to Camp Carl for the first time, and God put in me a dream to be a counselor there someday. Summer of 2004 was when I discovered a new way to worship God in singing and physical movement (raising my hands, etc.) and it redefined the way I worshipped. Summer of 2005 was the first time I performed an original song in public, summer 2006 I grew closer to two of my best friends, and in the summer of 2007, as a junior counselor, I discovered the joy in serving others.
Sure enough, in 2009 my dream came true, and I became a day camp counselor, organizing and leading the 1st-3rd graders in song. For two summers, I made wonderful friends, learned a lot about myself, and let God use me to impact the lives of my campers. I was excited! For years I had been waiting for this, and it was finally happening! As far as I could see, I was going to be a counselor until I was 30, or at least until I graduated from college.
At the end of summer 2010, God used Camp Carl in one more way. HeartSong, a touring team of college students from Cedarville University, came to camp for a week to lead the junior high camp. Being a Cedarville student, I was excited that they were coming. Finally, someone at my school other than me would understand how awesome a place Camp Carl is! Since I had the evenings free, I would come to junior high chapel and participate in worship. A couple of my co's came, too, but they would stay in their seats while I went up close during worship time. After chapel one night, Bethany said to me, "Why don't you try out for HeartSong? You would be so good at it!" But I couldn't be in HeartSong! That would mean I wouldn't be at Camp Carl next summer! But as the week went on, I became more and more torn between the two. Yes, I would love to be a part of HeartSong, but I would hate to miss a summer at camp!
Finally, I went for a walk before chapel one evening with my Bible. One of my favorite spots at camp is about a mile away from the cabin circles in the middle of the woods: a little outdoor chapel area with a firepit and a cross. I sat there reading Ephesians when I came to Ephesians 1:11-12, which reads:
In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.
For the praise of His glory. God used those words to tell me that it doesn't matter what I would want. God wants me to be for the praise of His glory; He wants me in the place where He can use me the best. God used Camp Carl, once again, to call me away from Camp, away from the place and toward the God of the place.
I chose to audition for HeartSong that fall. I prepared for a week, than auditioned, than went through a few stressful days of waiting and callbacks, and two weeks after I surrendered camp to God, he took it away for good and set me on a great adventure with HeartSong. Even though I feel sad sometimes that I won't be back at camp, I can't be sad for long because I am so excited about the way God is going to use me in HeartSong for the praise of His glory. And maybe He will change my life again, in a new place.