How God used Jungle Camp to prepare my heart for what is ahead:
Jungle Camp. 2 weeks of building. 4 weeks of living. 15 adults. 12 kids. No electricity.
I enjoyed preparing for Jungle Camp as it was fun working on our house plan, trying to figure out what we should eat for our meal plan, and learning how to run our house’s electricity on a car battery.
The first week was tough for me, though, as it was a struggle adjusting to cooking on a wood stove all from scratch, living in a house with plastic walls where kids would come up to the window asking questions about what you were doing, and simply feeling totally incapable to be a missionary overseas! I came to the end of myself a few times, wondering how on earth I was supposed to live overseas and doubted if I would even be able to remain a missionary. To keep it short, God reminded me of His abundant grace and strength and that we can rely on Him in all situations, making it possible to do what He desires us to do!
During our time in Jungle Camp, we had to spend several consecutive days putting in six hours of studying the Bible on top of our normal daily living. Our teachers provided a little devotional book to help us get started, and it was so applicable to what I was going through at the time. Now that I look back at it, I can see how God was preparing my thinking and my attitude to help me trust Him with all that is going on in our pregnancy, as it was only a few days later that we discovered our expectations and plans for baby Leo had changed.
“…Everything in the heavens and on the earth is Yours….Everything we have has come from You…” 1 Chronicles 29:11,14
“The world and all its people belong to Him.” Psalm 24:1
“For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?” 1 Corinthians 4:7
“The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” Job 1:20-22
“Children are a gift from the Lord…” Psalm 127:3
God has blessed Mark and I with the privilege of being parents to Leo. He created Leo, and essentially, Leo belongs to the Lord. We are simply “stewards” of this child the Lord has so graciously blessed us with. At this time, we do not know for how long Leo is going to be with us in our lives. When we first found out Leo had a serious heart problem, we thought it was for the worse, but now the doctors are more positive about his heart defect, and the outcome looks good – though it is still a serious issue.
Through the verses above, the Lord simply reminded me that whatever the Lord allows to occur in Leo’s life – whether that be Leo’s heart functioning normally, Leo needing surgery, or the Lord taking Leo away, I can rest in the truth that no matter what there is a purpose for all that has happened and that I can continue to find reasons to praise the Lord through it all.
“O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted You, O Lord, from childhood. Yes, You have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb You have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising You!” Psalm 71:5,6
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” Psalm 139:13,14
I also know that the Lord is familiar with all my concerns, and that He cares about things that concern me. He has created Leo, has cared for him since he was conceived, and desires for Leo to have a restored relationship with Him so that He can receive glory!
Knowing all of this, there is no reason for me to worry about Leo or fret about what is to come, especially the uncertainty of it all. Even if this means our plans will be changing, the Lord is the One who is sovereign and is directing our steps!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5,6
I think recognizing God’s ownership over everything in our lives, whether it be family, finances, retirement, material possessions, careers, health, etc., is important for us as believers. As well as learning how to respond when the Lord decides to take something away, change something, or bless us with something. I just want to encourage all of you to continue trusting in our Creator and Savior in whatever you are worried about! Once you transfer ownership of your life, and all that is in it, to Him there comes with it a tremendous amount of joy and peace!
“Lord, I am willing
To receive what You give;
To lack what You withhold;
To relinquish what You take;
To suffer what You inflict;
To be what You require;
To do what You send me to do.”
– Jerry Bridges
Very thankful for the undistracted time there was to spend in God’s Word during Jungle Camp.