By Kate Laux, Findlay Area YFC

It was only the second night of camp.  Jesus Notices Me had been the resounding theme of the day but for some campers, being seen and noticed still remained an uncomfortable concept.

One of my kids, Sadie, was clearly in that boat.  For the first 24 hours of camp she kept to herself, held everyone at an arm’s length, and appeared to have the words Leave Me Alone (or something more colorful) tattooed on her forehead.  Although I hardly knew her going into the week, it was obvious she was deeply wounded.

During club that night, I noticed Sadie get up and make her way through the mass of students to exit the room.  At first I just assumed she had to use the restroom, but when she didn’t make her way back I knew something was up.  I grabbed my flashlight, did a quick sweep of the girls’ bathroom, and headed outside to look for her. 

I was met by a steady rain – the kind that only takes seconds before it covers every inch of you – and I thought there was no way Sadie would be out in this.  I began searching under every awning and shelter area that I knew of but none of them led me to my lost kid.  By this time, I was far from the noise of the club room and the only audible sound was from the heavy rainfall on the trees surrounding me.  It was peaceful and yet something about it made me feel small and desperate for God to fill me.  I started to pray and made my way down to the levels of stairs heading to the beach.  There, off in the distance, I saw my student – drenched from both the rain and the tears streaming down her face.

I went to her and held her and just let her cry.  Neither of us said anything for the first few minutes, but eventually she began to share the part of her story that had wrecked her on that particular night.  Like too many kids, it was one wrought with trauma, rejection, anger, and self-hatred.  I couldn’t tell you how long we stayed in that spot on the beach, talking and sharing and getting soaked by the rain.  But what I do know is that was a divine appointment, orchestrated by the One who knew that perhaps for the first time in her life, Sadie just needed to be seen.

The unique thing about appointments in the summer months of ministry is so many of them naturally occur in the midst of the other RMA’s.  So far this summer I’ve had appointments standing in line for a roller coaster, buying ice cream for a kid because I lost a bet, hanging out on a sailboat stranded in the middle of the water because neither of us knew the first thing about sailing, and just asking to hear the story of the kid riding shotgun next to me on a road trip.  The fact that summertime appointments can happen so spontaneously makes it all the more important that we’re intentionally asking the Father to always go before us and break our hearts for the kids in our life.  Because we never know when we’ll be one-on-one with a broken kid who just has a story to share and a desire to be noticed.

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