Once upon a time, the stars lit up the night sky like a blanket of sparks flickering amongst the moon. Caressed amongst the trees, swinging slowly back and forth, a small group of friends joined together. In love and laughter they celebrated the beginning of a blessed summer making memories that would last an eternity. Fireflies danced about their heads as they laid in hammocks wishing they could stop time, if only for a moment. As the night grew darker the woods grew colder. One of the friends decided to keep the fire burning all night occasionally getting up to stir the flames. Not a worry in the world could ruin the happiness shared amongst them that night.
There's something about sleeping outside that makes God so real, though I never noticed until this past year. As a little girl, I hated camping because I hated the feeling of being surrounded by darkness in an environment that I could not control. After school I'd come home to play with my brother on our swing set for hours until Momma called us to come in for dinner. Yet every time my parents tried to plan a camping trip, it put me in an ill mood. What is it about the setting of the sun that makes everything in the dark come to life? I remember laying there in a sleeping bag, in my parents tent, hearing sounds outside that scared me instead of comforted me. It's as if my mind went into alert mode where I was ready to flee at the drop of pine straw hitting the ground. Wussy was my middle name. If I felt harmed in any way, I'd make it known. Yes, I was that child who climbed into her parents bed in the middle of the night up until I entered my teens. I'm the girl who still sleeps with a blanket. Laugh... my favorite thing to do anyways! I mean, how ridiculous to be in college and still sleep with a blanket... one side pink and the other covered in unicorns... You think that's weird? How about when I'm not able to sleep I turn the T.V on to Little Bear... Ok, might as well give me crayons and a coloring book! But friends, you'd be so proud! This girl can camp now! I learned to stop being such a wussy when I began volunteering as a leader on high school retreats. Where most kids go on retreats to grow in the Lord, I went partly to overcome my fear of the dark.
Swinging back and forth in that hammock reminded me of God's magnificent power! Over these past two years, I've witnessed the Lord's protection of me on multiple occasions that have built my trust in Him. As my group of friends gathered together to camp the other night, the Lord reminded me of His faithfulness. He is the good Shepherd who watches over His flock. Though at times we feel out of control or lost, He is there to comfort us. Staring into the bright flames of fire burning in the pit... I was reminded of the light that never burns out in those who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. College years are some of the best years in your life meant to be spent with friends you love growing together in the Lord. That night, I wanted to hit the Pause button. For the first time, I didn't want the sun to rise... I wanted the darkness to stay. Though I heard sounds throughout the night that startled me, God was there to protect us. What greater protector is there than our Mighty Warrior, Prince of Peace? Friends, let your light shine before men. Enjoy every moment of the life you've been given. Go outside and dance with the fireflies!
Words from the good Shepherd:
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light
shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory
of God in the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am
helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song."