Monday, June 18, 2012

RRefreshment for the soul

So, as of recently, I'm fairly certain that it would be appropriate to say that I've been rather busy. In the past month, I have watched Michael graduate, made it through high school exams for the first time ever, attended my first ever high school graduation, finished with my teacher work days, and then torn through a week of Raspberry Ridge, my favorite EVER string summer camp, the week and two days that are a refreshment to my soul in so many many ways.

In the last little season of life here, I have felt extremely dry, my faith almost taking a backseat to the busy and crazy in my life. It's hurt and it's been hard because I've been finding that in a relationship when one person is dry, most likely the other person is dry as well. I've known for ages now that God was taking the backseat when he needed to be front an central, but it was hard to do more than nod at Him as I read my morning devotions or went to church every week. I listened to the sermons, I took notes, I discussed them with Michael and my small group, but still, I was dry and feeling it.

And then God in His massive grace gave me Raspberry Ridge. Emily, a friend who stays with me all week during RR mentioned the fact that I seem to blog every year right around RR. :) I mentioned back that it was a thing that had been happening long before I had a blog. When I started going in 2000, I was 12, and had a journal. I would take it and write journal entries in it during my free times. As I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate, more and more, the place that is RR.

This year the Bible study was on how Jesus needs to be part of every single aspect of our lives. Sounds familiar, right? This is the very thing I have been struggling with and have been asking God to help me through. It didn't surprise me very much that RR was addressing the very topic I was struggling with. Instead, I agreed to lead a Bible study, eager to dig deeper into God's word as I attempted to fight my own struggles with dryness. In preaching the greatness of God and His worth to others, I have often been reminded myself in my time of need.

About two or so days in to Raspberry Ridge, I had a moment of free time where I found myself sitting and listening to two of the gentlemen who teach various things at camp. They were debating the theory and history of a piece that we were doing in orchestra, and because they too are Christians, they were also talking about their faiths. They weren't being blatant about it, but in their discussion of this piece they were doing so in a manner that glorified God because they were using their talents to point to him. I was simply blessed to be sitting in their presence and listening to deep conversation, occasionally imputing my own small ideas.

I remember sitting there and internally sighing with deep pleasure. I thought to myself, At last, some really deep conversation that I can understand and enjoy. It took a moment more to realize that I had been starving for deep, musically relevant conversations, maybe for the very reason that as an orchestra director (yes! I'm teaching high school orchestra now!) I've been spending time either with high schoolers who don't know how to listen well (and when you don't know how to listen you don't know how to speak), or with their teachers who are so focused on their work that that's all we end up talking about. We would talk about the pieces we were working on and how the students were doing, but never the theory or the history or the composers behind the piece.

Now, I'm sure that if I sought that out, I could find it, but at Raspberry Ridge, there is something in the air, something in the water, something in the people that promotes deep conversation. There were several years in a row where we would have deep, sometimes intensely annoying, conversations about predestination which would turn into talk about the Bible study, or should music in church be allowed? And they were all linked through God.

And sure enough, within 48 hours of going to Raspberry Ridge, I had a blog post bouncing around in this thing I call a head. So I guess what I'm TRYING to say is this:

Raspberry Ridge, the highlight of my summer, is a place where truly Jesus is part of everything we do. It's friendly, inviting, invigorating, stimulating, compulsive, amazing, musical, and fully packed with the gospel. And just like the conversation I had the privilege of sitting in on (which lasted all week really), the camp is not blatantly Christian, making sure that every word we speak has to do with God, Jesus, and the gospel, but it is infused with the awareness that everything we do in the camp is set up to glorify God in whatever way pleases Him best. It's amazing how many deep conversations I have had this past week, both about music, and about the greatness and the glory of God. There have been several times when I've been moved to almost-tears.

My soul has been refreshed and washed clean several times this week. Refreshed by deep conversations, washed clean by the gospel as I reminded others and myself of God's deep glory.

Someone thanked me for all I was putting into camp this year (scheduler, viola/violin, bible study leader, ensemble helper, conductor for jr. orchestra, etc.) and I told them that it was totally worth it because the more I put into Raspberry Ridge, the more I get out of it. Thank God for this camp. I could continue saying so much more about camp, but really, it's something that is better left unspoken, unless you want to come to camp yourself. This is a camp I hope my children are able to go to.

Now to the wedding! 26 days left. And then, I will be Mrs. Jenkins. :)


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