Wednesday, July 4, 2012


"Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing." Psalm 34:9-10

I feel lost this week. Gone is the "normalcy" of Camp life-- three meals a day in a dining room filled with screaming and laughter and banging of cups and clattering of dishes; life lived in close proximity to other moms who know me and share the same purpose; the quietness of the forest to play in; long mornings lived at the beach; two tired, dust-covered boys to sleep in a tiny room beside us. Fourteen and a half summers lived in this place. This beautiful place, Eagle Lake Camp.

Things are different, but not wrong. Not bad. I remind myself of this often right now. I am thankful for all in which we have been blessed. Our sweet, safe home in Colorado Springs, good friends who keep reaching out to me so I don't cave into my loneliness, love poured out through emails, letters, and conversations from those far away, and the precious words my Father whispers in my time with Him. "Trust me. I've got you. This isn't new to Me. I see you. I love you.I am for you." 

Many of our staff had the opportunity to return to camp a few days ago. They were able to grab personal belongings of our summer and full-time staff. Much of  Pike National Forest looks devastated in many areas. Much around Camp looks that way, but the heart of camp is still green. GREEN. I must write that again....the heart of Camp is still if cupped in the hand of God.  A few things were lost: a cabin, a couple of sheds, a couple of tent platforms. The big structures still stand.

The Cross at Eagle Lake--still standing!
 (Picture taken by fire fighter at EL via Jack McQueeney)

This week begins the first stage of rebuilding. Mark and the faithful Eagle Lake team are putting together plans for how to move forward. Day Camp resumes at Glen Eyrie next week. We are preparing for our first Mobile Day Camp week. We are organizing staff Bible studies with the staff left in the Springs. We are moving forward. We are trusting that all of this is for our good. Most of all, we are trusting in He who IS good. For those who seek Him will lack nothing good. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sometimes there are few words...

Last night the hills above our beautiful city blew up into flames. No words can express the terrifying eeriness of that orange glow illuminating the sky. I was driving around the neighborhood with the boys to enjoy some air conditioning for a bit. Everyone had on their 5 p.m. Bits of ash hit my windshield. At dinner, Mark announced that Eagle Lake would be closed for the rest of the summer. No more campers to welcome on Sunday afternoons, no more Crazy night, no more days filled with happy laughter and screaming, no more watching counselors bowed in prayer with campers during a one-on-one. Oh, can our hearts take any more, Lord? And then 26,000 people were evacuated in one evening, including four of our full-time staff families. We weren't one of those families. My heart aches even more for them. On Saturday when all of this began, the Lord gave me Psalm 34 to read and meditate on. I've held on to it these last tremulous days. "I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me let us exalt his name together!" Sometimes it is hard to put emotions and feelings into words. Today, I raise my arms and whisper, "not my will, but Yours Lord."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hoping and Praying....

As many of you know, the Waldo Canyon Fire has been threatening Eagle Lake Camp for the last day and a half. We arent sure what God is doing, but we do know that God is God alone. Above Him there is no other. His love abounds, His mercy endures, and He is not deaf to the cries of His people. I haven't wanted to write this post. It just makes it all the more real. Didn't I just write about all the memories this place holds in my heart? Just last Wednesday, Mark and I sat atop Ravens Crag on our date night. We were praying about Camp, how long God would keep us in this beautiful place, if we could ever really say goodbye. Things are different now. We are unsure of so many elements. We ARE hoping and praying. Pray with us. Pray for safety, trust, and wisdom as we make many decisions. Today, the simple is such a blessing. A home, two silly boys who fill this place with laughter, safety of our staff, and gracious outpourings of love from so many. We are blessed and we are trusting Him. Lord, we are willing. Bring Your rain. Jen

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Then and Now

Fifteen summers ago I found myself in the midst of unknown beauty. Beauty discovered in myself, in learning to love and serve others, and in the gorgeous creation of Pike National Forest. Little did I know that God was working deep themes within my heart--a desire to know Him and to love and serve His people. That summer "He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord." Psalm 40:2

Today, fifteen summers later, I sit quietly writing in the middle of this same place.

Eagle Lake 
Home in so many ways. Those two little words stir up much emotion within me.

It was here that I met God in real ways, that I learned to serve outside of myself until both body and soul were desperate for rest. (And I loved it!)

It was here that I first shared the grace of Jesus with a hurting girl. She looked at me and looked to Him and she surrendered. Oh, how I prayed for her and ached for what she was returning to.

It was here that I met my husband and have lived and loved and breathed Jesus in and out to one another for 11 years.

It was here where I begged God to remember me and bless me with children. He told me to pray for two feet of rain. He brought 26 inches two weeks later. Then, He brought two boys. One brown, one blond--both faithful reminders of answered prayer.

It IS here that I feel closest to Him. It is here that I see Him work-- many young lives forever changed on one great night last week. It is here that I experience Him in the conversations and prayer with young women who desire to love Him for a lifetime.

Today, I celebrate this season of love and growth. Would you pray with us for this summer? Pray that our staff would lead and serve with humility, gentleness, and grace. Pray that the lives of many would see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.

May our hearts sing with joy as we praise Him!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

You Can Lead Them to Water....

.....but you can't make them drink."

These words ring painfully true after just hosting Josiah's fourth birthday party. I was so excited....table prepared.....friends planned.....favors packaged.....and a little boy who for days couldn't hold in his excitement.

All morning he questions, "When are my friends coming?" A new Superman shirt adorns his body. His heart is full of hope and all the "bigness" that age 4 will surely bring.

The friends arrive. The playing and fun begin. Candy cars assembled...mystery box explored....the awaited party has begun. And the whining begins. He doesn't want to play. He doesn't want to participate. He doesn't want to share.  All he wants is CHOCOLATE CAKE and PRESENTS!! I hear these words muttered repeatedly as he stamps his feet and scowls. Doesn't he know the lengths I have gone to make this day special? Frustration and questioning rise up within me. Often they seem my closest companions.

The party ends and we survive the rest of the big birthday events. Later, it hits me. I, too, want the chocolate cake and presents. I don't want to eat peanut butter and jelly first. I want the best, I want what is mine. And so goes this dance I play with Him. Longing and searching for God's best and yet running when He wants to give it to me. He responds with gentleness. A reminder that I am foolish and need to be trained in the best way for me to go. He wants me to have all the cakes and presents, yet it is best for me to long and search for them along the way.

I will never be able to MAKE my children choose what is right. I will never be able to make Josiah act in ways that make me look good. He is his own....created, intricately by our Maker. Known and loved perfectly by the Heavenly One. The only One who can bestow what is best and what is timely. Pointing Josiah to his Father is where I come in. A gentle touch, a kind word, a story read about a great Rescuer. I point and lead, but only God will change the selfishness inside.

As the day closes and I tuck in my four year old little boy, I pray that we will both taste and see the goodness and gentleness of God. That our search for His best will uncover the deep character of our great God. Thank You, Father, that Your mercies are new every morning. Give me grace to extent to those I love. Amen

Friday, December 16, 2011

Summer Camp Directors....what??

The most frequently asked questions of summer camp directors:
1. What do you do?
2. What do you do in the off-season?
3. What do you think you'll do NEXT?

After serving at Eagle for 14 summers, we don't cringe when asked the above questions. We understand. Yes, we do spend our lives investing in this work--this great, deep work--one life at a time. No, we don't sit on the beach sipping fruity drinks all summer (just on occassion.) No, we don't work for 11 weeks and take the rest of the year off (tempting, though.) And, to be honest, we have no idea where or IF God will move us somewhere new.

After asking ourselves these questions, God has brought us to an important conclusion. This IS our now. This is our PRESENT. This is where God wants us and it is GOOD. We will be here, at this beloved place, where our relationship began, where God ravaged our hearts through the beauty of His creation, and where, now, we have the opportunity to invest in the lives of junior high, high school, and college students. Laboring to change one life, one thought, one relationship at a time.

I was perusing the Eagle Lake Summer Staff  '11 Facebook group this morning. Reading their insights and jokes took me back 14 years. I was a college student at Eagle Lake learning and soaking up the truths of God's good Word. Like a sponge, I couldn't stay away from its sustenance. It was one of the deepest and most beautiful times of spiritual growth for me. Oh, to see that the same growth, change, and accountability is still happening in the lives of young men and women makes me deeply thankful.

Here is an excerpt from a post that particularly spoke to me:

To all the summer staffers of EAGLE LAKE summer 2011, I just wanted to say thank you for all that you did in my life. It was truly amazing spending the summer surrounded by all of you, seeking the LORD together, going through trials together, spreading the Good News and sharpening one another as iron sharpens iron. The impact that you all had on my life was life changing and constantly brought me closer to Christ. As many of you know, this summer was filled with hardships with family members passing away and by the grace of God I was able to rejoice in Him through all of them. I wanted to thank each and every one of you for being there for me and for helping me keep my eyes focused on the things that are above where Christ is and not on the things of this earth. I am not sure how the trials in my life this summer would have impacted me if I had not had you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, to support me and encourage me. I thank the LORD every day for bringing me to Eagle Lake this summer and for placing you all in my life. I hope all is well with each of you and that you all are continuing to see the LORD work towards His perfect goal in your lives. My prayers are with you all.
Your brother in Christ,

Thank you, Eric, for reminding me this morning that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." May all of us grow in our knowledge and insight as we seek Him. Thank you, Lord, for giving us this sweet time at Eagle Lake. These beautiful, treasured moments are just glimpses of all that is to come. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Little Boy and a little bird...


Meet Robin, Josiah's fast new friend.

Yes, Jojo's three and a half and will one day hate me for this blog post. But, he LOVES this bird (and I had to share it....).

Our big boy sleeps with Robin.  I've watched him whisper secret, lovely things to this tiny bird. He carries him around our home while chirping Robin's comments to us. He almost took him to show and tell at preschool, but decided against it when weighing the possibility of losing him in a new place.

A few nights ago, Josiah perched this little bird on my shoulder. I read his books, sang his songs, prayed with him, and cuddled him. My heart ached. Jojo so despretly wants to be big. He calls himself "big brother" and reminds me daily that he wants to grow up so he can "drive a car and cook." And so often I want that, too. I want him to be more independent. I want my own time. I want to brush my teeth and wash my face without someone crying or asking for a snack.

Yet, the sweet, tender Robin-loving moments are fading. Soon he will realize that it's not cool for a boy to love a robin (and tote him in a plastic grocery cart around the neighborhood). Soon the excitement for the sweet and simple will be gone. He will truly be BIG and these moments will only be treasured as faint snapshots of this mama's heart.   

Lord, teach me to soak up the present... to love the everyday. Help ME to love the sweet. Help ME to love the simple. Help me to realize that all of these moments are but fading themselves in view of eternity with You. Amen.