The second week of Day Camp was quite a rude awakening.
I usually consider myself a strong, enduring person, but I felt I had come to the edge. The previous week I was filled with energy and excitement, excelled at all my responsibilities, and was having a blast.
That week, I had to temporarily move out of my house, go without several good nights of rest, manage less than ideal interactions with some co-workers, I was stolen from, had to deal with a nasty case of bullying between some students, and had a growing to-do list—so I was feeling, as my co-intern, Cam, puts it “tooooo done.”
It was not until the middle of the struggle of processing that week that I was reminded of what I had prayed just a few days earlier.
The Tuesday of Burger Week in Richmond, my prayer partner, Maggie, and I decided to check out a new restaurant, get a $5 burger, and share about life. I started off saying I was feeling pretty comfortable, unchallenged actually, at that point in the internship—which was pretty naïve since we’d only had one week of Day Camp.
My prayer request: that God would stretch me in the weeks to come.
I knew that this was a dangerous prayer; when you ask for challenge, God almost always gives it to you—and more. I even expressed this understanding to Maggie, saying, “I am almost certain I am going to regret this, but know I should still pray for it.”
When I had realized how very powerfully God answered my prayer I let out a quick laugh. But I still could not deny the importance in that prayer. Not only did that rough
week teach me the necessity of relying on God and abiding in his presence but it also, in a surprising way,
was an answer to another prayer request I had: to be able to understand my Day Camp huddle group girls and their lives more.
When I met with my discipler, Cheyenne, and shared my hard week with her, she pointed out an important reality:
I had gotten a taste of some common struggles that Church Hill youth experience.
Many have to deal with the instability of having to move from one place to another, some suffer from a lack of sleep due to things going on at home, live closely with people they have had less than ideal relationships with, and experience having things taken from them—sometimes by people they trust.
That week, the week I prayed for, yet didn’t really hope for, I learned lessons that will make all the difference in the few weeks left. I learned how much I really needed the Lord and had to rely on his strength. And I acquired a deeper understanding, patience, and care for my girls by spending a week in what might be some of their shoes.
So, yes, be careful what you pray for, but that’s not the end.
If you are a little scared to pray for something – you should probably just do it.
It’s usually in midst of those hard, scary times that God reveals something to you that you probably need to see. And after all, His power is made perfect in our weakness.