things about the Christian life

TRIBE: Part II

If you read part one about the start to this weekend’s youth retreat, you’ll know how I was feeling going into this thing – tired, uninterested, and a general bad attitude. My boss the day we left leaned over to me and told me that I was probably experiencing spiritual warfare because God was going to use me, as he has experienced the same prohibitive feelings many times before speaking at a conference or retreat where God used him big time. My mom was saying the same thing too. I tried to believe them, but I honestly really doubted that God would use me because what girls would want to talk to me? And I don’t even know anyone going. I would feel out of place. And God hasn’t used me before anyway. {Lies.}

Photo Jan 18, 9 15 54 AM

I walked into the room for the first session and was surrounded by kind leaders who I felt comfortable around. The icebreaker was silly and entertaining to watch, and then I got dragged into it, and enjoyed finding the other Toucans by making squawking toucan noises. I was with 11th and 12th grade girls, and as I looked around and we squawked at each other, I really liked my group. We sat down to hear the main speaker and up on the wall were three big signs with the word “TRIBE” written on them. As Pastor Mike started to speak, and led us to 1 Peter 2:10, all my anxiety about the weekend melted away. I took notes furiously on my Bible under the verse that reads, “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people.”

Photo Jan 17, 9 40 21 AM

He said that we have to let go of control in order to trust God. We need to bring all of our uniqueness to our tribe (the body of Christ) because it’s our differences, not our similarity, that makes us a tribe. I can’t even tell you how much every single thing he said was exactly the truth I needed to hear. Mike also shared his own testimony, about how his wife loved him consistently for six months, trusting scripture for him, and he changed from a man who came home drunk every night at 2am to a man who is on fire and excited to live for Jesus and bring others to Him.Photo Jan 17, 4 37 46 PM

After the meeting we found our cabin, sat in a circle on the floor around each other, and walls started coming down. We shared how encouraged we felt that we are meant to have a tribe, and that Jesus is always there for us even when we don’t feel like our friends or family like us.

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The rest of the weekend went better and better. The next morning went really deep. We had a fun afternoon crafting toucan masks for our tribal show and tubing down a really fast hill with a bunch of people, having snow sprayed all over us. We practiced our skit for the tribal show and got really nervous that the judges were actually being really hard on all the other groups {elephants, monkeys, alligators, lions, etc.} We knew we had the most creative routine, but feared that all of our hard work was for naught. After our little performance singing and swaying to the ukelele, everyone cheered and most of the judges held up a “10” for us. We high-fived, elated and feeling even more like we were a tribe.

Photo Jan 18, 9 59 55 AM

When Mike finished speaking he challenged us to push past our tiredness (everyone got at most six hours of sleep the night before – the schedule was packed) and worship like we’ve never worshiped before. We opened our hearts to the Lord, prayed for chains to be broken, cried, embraced, and prayed over one another. We admitted areas that were holding us back, and prayed for God to take those things away from us. God was moving in so many mighty ways; I could feel it as my heart broke for these young people in prayer over them. I knew that it really had been spiritual warfare trying to keep me away from being part of the tribe and being an influence in these young ladies’ lives this weekend.

Photo Jan 18, 10 33 35 AM

I feel so humbled. PRAISE. GOD!!

One of the girls in our cabin accepted Christ last night. A lot of our girls felt God’s presence this weekend like they’ve never felt it before. This morning Mike gave students the opportunity to take the mic and share stories about what God did in their lives this weekend. Some of the girls in our tribe shared, “I feel like I could go anywhere in my life and do anything God wants me to do.” “I’ve been abused and I struggle with anxiety but I feel like God has used me to pour out into other people; it’s not me but it’s God through me.” “I only went to this church two times before coming this weekend. I don’t know how to be loved by people, or even love myself a lot of the time, but last night God told me I didn’t have to sing if I didn’t want to sing – I could dance, because I love dancing. I felt God’s love for me, which is so crazy.”

God is awesome. This is the most I’ve ever seen God working in one place – I hesitate to say that because I’ve been to a lot of retreats, mission trips, etc, but I think I will stand by that. I felt His presence moving through me and controlling me in a way that I know is of God, and not of me. I mean, I hugged and cried with a lot girls this weekend! That is not who I am naturally, but Jesus pouring His love out through me. Amen, amen, amen.

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