Wow! It's been a long time hasn't it? All summer to be exact. My sisters and I had the most amazing summer ever! Maybe I'll get them to say something about it, but for now I'll just tell ya'll about my summer:) As I said, my sister's and I had the awesome opportunity of working at Camp Joy in Whitewater WI this summer. My mom posted a couple updates throughout the months we were gone, but I'll give some more detail. And throw in a couple random pictures too:)
I (Carissa) worked in the Housekeeping department. Basically, we cleaned everything. By everything I mean bathrooms (at least most of them which was a lot!), the chapel, the Lodge (which included the Fireside Room and Dining Hall), the Heritage Room, the Office, the Gym, the Nurse's Station, etc. We also serviced the Driftwood Cabins and Deluxe Rooms where families stay during family camps and sponsors stay during teen or junior weeks. Every afternoon we stocked the Gym Snack Shop and Snack Shack (try saying that five times fast! "Stocking the Snack Shop."). In the afternoons and evenings we worked in the different shops: the Bookstore, General Store, Gym Snack Shop, and the Snack Shack in the Lodge.
Because I wasn't able to be at Camp Joy during training week, I was definitely baptized by fire! I honestly had no idea what I was doing the first week, but thankfully, the other girls and both my supervisors taught me well:) I may or may not have exploded a blender during Junior Camp 1, dump hot chocolate mix all over me, and cut my thumb open two days before I left, but I survived! During Teen 3, a lot of us Housekeeping girls were able to help out in the kitchen because the Kitchen staff had lost a few people. We didn't really have any idea what we were doing in there, but the Kitchen staff graciously taught us. We waitress-ed, worked in the dish room (we REALLY didn't know what we were doing in there ;)) and helped clean up as much as we could before doing our own jobs.
I made a lot of friends over the summer as well! I had my own little cleaning buddy (the nurse's three-year-old son) who helped me clean every morning. He called me Cleaning Carissa:). And then all the other op-staff people. We had so many inside jokes that no one would ever get and would probably think we're crazy. But we had tons of fun. I was able to go to most of the evening chapel services. There were so many great messages and God was definitely working in every one of the camps. I had an amazing time this summer and hope to be able to do it again next year!!
But, moving on from Camp; now to life lately. Josh and Autumn leave for college in exactly one week, Josh as a sophomore and Autumn as a freshman. Melody and I are both high school seniors. We're taking a couple college classes on-line for dual-credit, plus some other random classes we need to graduate. Timothy (13) is a freshman this year, Stephen (12) is in 6th grade, Serenity (10) is in 5th grade, Mercy (7-soon-to-be-8) is in second grade, and Charity (almost 4) is sort of but not really doing Kindergarten. Amarisa is almost 1 (when did that happen??) and, even though she's still pretty tiny, she's pulling herself up on everything, "talking" all the time, and waving (and saying) "hi" and "bye".
Well, that's all for now! Thanks so much for everyone's prayers for us this summer!
The last one for at least the summer anyway :). We've been super busy for the past couple of days because we got to go to the Teach Them Diligently Home school Convention in Sandusky, Ohio.
Some see it as dreadful.
Some see it as enjoyable. I see it as a life given and directed by God.
Several years ago, God used II Corinthians 11 to show me that it is His plan for me to be single, because my focus can be fully on Him and serving Him without distraction.
I can spend as much time with God without immediate distractions in my home.
I can put my entire focus on Him whenever He wants to talk to me and I want to listen. (Yes, there are times that I don't want to listen.)
I still believe that He wants me to be single and know it's true, but sometimes I do dread it.
Not because I am missing out on something, but because I lack the connection with other people. My closest biological family members live an hour away.
The church I am a member of is mostly made up of children. With that said, there are a lot of married couples. In this church I am the only single, never married, 30-something, lady.
These circumstances could be discouraging because it means that, because I work outside of the home (and they don't), the other ladies are available for connecting with each other throughout the day.
I am available in the evenings. They aren't, because for most of them, that's the only time they get to see their husbands, and they are busy getting their children ready for bed. I can't connect with them during the time I am available.
These circumstances could be discouraging because a lot of what is taught in the church is about families and being a wife. I am neither a mother, nor a wife. Most of my friends there are one or both.
These circumstances could be discouraging for many other reasons that I will not list because, by now, you can probably come up with your own.
These circumstances could be seen as a blessing. While many wives and mothers have to search their busy days for five minutes to sit with God, I have seemingly unlimited time to spend with Him.
These circumstances could be seen as a blessing, because I don't have other people determining my schedule.
These circumstances could be seen as dreadful or a blessing, because I can drop what I am doing and help them out with babysitting or running Mom and one child to the ER or sitting with the children while Dad and Mom get out for a little while.
Am I saying that I am not happy where God has me? Am I saying that I wish it were different? Am I saying that this life is discouraging? Not at all!
This must be said before I move on...To become His child, you must be born of the Spirit (saved). We are all born physically and are His creation. That doesn't make us His children.
God promises in His Word that He will provide for His children. That means that what I HAVE or LACK today it EXACTLY where He wants me! I CAN be content in either situation!
Philippians 4 discusses this and includes two verses that are so often taken out of context. Paul is writing these words as he is moved by the Holy Spirit. He says he can do all things through Christ Who strengthens him and be content in any situation. He also tells the Philippines that God will supply their need as they have allowed Him to use them to supply for Paul's need.
Psalm 68:6 says that God sets the solitary (single) in families. Even though my biological family members are numerous and live far away, God has placed me in MANY families! I have more children than mother could ever give birth to!
I serve God Almighty! In my singleness! Because it is His plan for me today! It is His plan for me because it is where I am! If it wasn't His plan, it would not be taking place!
I am and can continue to be content only through Christ's help and strength!
Jump back to the Old Testament and look at the life of Joseph for a moment. He has some pretty rough circumstances to live with. He was Daddy's favorite, but his brothers hated him. They planned to kill him, but chose to sell him instead. They chose where he would live.
He did not choose his circumstances:
Just like me and you, Joseph could be content because of God he served! He did not choose his circumstances, but he did choose to respond rightly and with God's help, to his circumstances! If even one response was different, most if not all of the people in that region would have died!
We ALL have different circumstances in life. Yours and mine are EXACTLY what we need to get us to God!
If you are single, if you are a wife, if you are a mother of a few or a lot , if you did not choose the circumstances of your life, if you did choose your circumstances, if you are reaping what you have sown, if you are reaping what others have sown, YOU CAN BE CONTENT IN CHRIST!
Sure, you can make yourself believe that you are content for a little while, but in Christ, you can be content with ANY circumstance that comes!
I will admit that there are times when I dread the path God has me on and dread being single, but I AM content with it because I have Christ! I could be missing out on the connection and relationships with other people, but I have the greatest relationship of all with God through Jesus Christ! Through that relationship, everything I need (good or bad) is supplied!
Do you know that kind of contentment? Do you have a restored relationship with God through Jesus Christ? Do you know God as He describes Himself in His Word (the Bible)? I urge you NOT to go to a person to find these things out. I URGE you to pick up a Bible and find out about God from Himself!
Guest posted by Lisa Langley.
A women who is : Single. Loves God. Love children. Loves Serving others.
Back in October of 2014, a friend heard a message and told me that it was written for me. It was on Psalm 107. All she said was that I should read it sometime. Well, a few weeks later, I started reading it. I had NO CLUE what she was talking about, but because she is a very respected mentor of mine, I kept reading it at various times over the next couple months, still having no idea what she was referring to.
I also found the message she was referring to and listened to it MANY times! It was not sinking in.
By the end of January, I cried it to God in desperation, "I KNOW You have something You want me to learn in this Psalm or You would not have laid it on her heart to guide me to it and I would not be spending so much time trying to figure this out! You know I am slow at understanding and that I want to know You so much more! Please help me!"
That was my cry a few times during that week.
On January 28th, 2015, I learned what He was trying to show me! I only remember the date because I wrote it in my Bible.
On this particular day, I arrived at church early on Wednesday. I typically do because of the office work ministry God has given. But on this day, I had all that work caught up and had "extra time". Providence of God right there!! Earlier that day, I was desiring to know about Psalm 107 so much that I decided to write out the Psalm word for word before church. I spent an hour copying the text out. My eyes were opened as I reached the end of the Psalm...verse 43.
As I read those words of verse 43, I paused for several minutes. Not because I had finished reading, but because God opened my eyes. In the words of that one verse, I knew that I did not understand God's love towards me. I knew that I had to study out the Psalm to understand since it was referring to the things written in the previous 42 verses. I was speechless, even though I was by myself. I decided to let God work and help me to understand His loving kindness!
I continued listening to that message and reading through the Psalm many times per week. I wrote it out again in different sections and asked questions of the text as we had been learning to do through our afternoon Growth Point service. This opened my eyes more.
The definition of loving-kindness given in that message I was listening to was eye opening in itself - Loving-kindness is committed, unchanging, loving determination of the Lord, Who will NEVER give up on those who He has chosen for Himself. A quality that moves one to act for the benefit of another without respect to the advantage it might bring to the one who expresses it.
This Psalm describes four instances of trouble, crying, deliverance, and thanks. The immediate context is with the children of Israel, but I started seeing myself before salvation and even times since salvation when I was out of fellowship with God.
While doing this, God opened my eyes to seeing His mercy in this Psalm as well. I didn't see it before because I was focused on seeing and understanding His loving-kindness.
Though I knew God loved me, I never understood how much. This friend used an illustration of kicking at a brick wall rather than turning to God in some things in her life. This is what I have been doing as well, but didn't know it.
I didn't understand God's love for me which affected every area of my life. All of the bondage spoken of in Psalm 107 describes a place that I put myself because of lack of understanding of God's love and mercy. It also describes God's deliverance from that place!
I based my understanding on what others said and on how others showed or didn't show love towards me. God loves me even though I have done wicked things against Him. He loves me because of NOTHING of me. I had to (and did) choose to believe that! That's all! Just a small decision and my eyes were opened!! A weight was lifted!
In the moments as I realized this, God brought to mind an incident as a small illustration -- I had done some wicked thing. I went to "the office" for it. I don't remember what it was, honestly. I remember that I deserved everything I got in there and more! I remember not speaking because I couldn't make my thoughts into words. I remember not explaining because there was no need to. I remember partly what it involved, but not why I got in trouble. I do remember every part of the one in authority in that room, however.
She was stern.
She was honest.
When we left that room, she never spoke of it again. Only until years later when we would joke about it, was it ever mentioned, and that was after I brought it back up. I never understood that. I never understood why or how that was possible for someone to NEVER bring my sin back up. It was ever present in MY mind. She knew about it, too. Yet she never brought it up.
She was loving.
Now, after reading Psalm 107, I can see loving-kindness and mercy in her actions.
As I write this, tears are pouring down my cheeks because I can also see the lovingkindness and mercy of God in not only that situation, but in my life! I can't put that into words at the moment because of my crying, but I KNOW now that because of God's loving-kindness and mercy, though I may have consequences when I blow it, He will ALWAYS love me and ALWAYS relieve me from my miserable condition (that's what mercy always is)!
God’s love for me has been the same since He created everything! It hasn't changed because of my sin, failure, performance, or anything else! I had always seen God as heavy handed, though I knew He loved me because Jesus died for me and had accepted His free gift of salvation. I never knew what that love looked like or understood it because I was basing that understanding on my experiences. Experiences in which performance determined the amount and kind of love I received. True or not, this was how I saw it.
This brings up another eye opening moment that during all of this involving Proverbs 3:5-6. I WAS leaning on my own understanding in this and many areas of my life. I had never seen or understood thoses verses in this way before! I decided that I do not want to live or make decisions based on my experiences and definitely not based on my perspective! I want to live based on God’s Word! I want my thinking, my perspective, everything about me to me based on Him.
Something else I realized is, yes God wanted to save me from my sin, and He did! But He also wants to continue to save me from myself NOW! Me is what gets in the way! I can't see Him at times because of myself! My choices. My thoughts. My lack of understanding. My continue struggle with sin. Me! He created me and knows everything about me! Even the sins I have yet to commit against Him! Yet He CHOSE and continues to choose to LOVE ME!
Through Psalm 107, God allowed me to not understand the words of this Psalm so that I could see the brick wall in front of me. I never saw before, but I found it! I wasn't kicking at it to tear it down, but I was kicking because I knew there was something I didn't understand. That wall is gone now!
If ever I doubt my salvation or anything, I will remember that God DOES chasten His children! He doesn't leave us in our miserable state longer than it takes for us to see Him!
Ever wonder why we Paul prays that we would know the depth and breadth of God's love in Ephesians 3? I believe it is because we have no clue! I sure didn't!
Through this Psalm, so far, God has and continues to become my Best Friend. My eyes have been opened in ways that only God can do! I continue to unpack and learn more about Him and this Psalm as I continue reading. I have just begun understanding God's love for me and pray that I never stop learning and understanding that!
Guest posted by Lisa Langley.
A women who is : Single. Loves God. Love children. Loves Serving others.
I do realize that it isn't Saturday, but I promised someone (hi, Rebekah!!!!!!) I would do one last week, but I ran out of time. Soo, here I am on this lovely stormy Monday! I love storms.
Have an amazing Monday!!!!!!
Can anyone believe it's already May?????????? 2015 is going by really fast!! It seems like everything I'm doing now I was doing a year ago. (Probably because I am; school, choir, dissecting random animals, and did I say school?=D)
You know that saying "April showers brings May flowers"? I honestly thought it was going to rain all summer, but there are TONS of flowers blooming now!! (My sis took the last picture:))
Spring is finally here and the grass is green and growing!!! Timothy really wanted to mow yesterday, so Mom finally let him. He probably won't be too excited later this summer 'cause we girls won't be here to help him! We had SAT testing every day this week, plus ACT for me, Autumn, and Melody. My brain is completely fried.
BUT I DON'T EVER HAVE TO TAKE THOSE FILL-IN-THE-CIRCLEY TESTS AGAIN!!!! Unless I fail or something....But that won't happen. Hopefully.
Aaaaaaaaanyyyway. Moving on.
Awesome first today:
Spring is here (almost)!!!!!!!! Technically we have to wait until March 21, but close enough:) Although I like winter, one must only have it in moderation. Spring, Summer, and most of Fall is perfect at all times though
I fully planned on writing this all last week, but our basement sorta flooded. Soo, here goes:
Tis all for this week! Happy happy Spring!!!!
She was on her knees...
Next to my daughter's hospital bed...
It was 3 in the morning and I stood completely overwhelmed by God's Sovereign love. It was as if God had come down and physically put His arms around me in that sterile cold room and hugged me, shining His warmth through the room.
I glanced at her right hand now bandaged. I still hadn't seen the damage. But I'd been told that she had lost some fingers...maybe saved her thumb.
Lost her fingers...
My eyes turned again to the bent head bowed in prayer...
The Christian one now bending her head in humble prayer on our behalf.
The same nurse that 2 years earlier was with us as she had her 3rd surgery. The emotions of that year, the feeling of no control, the fear, the love, the triumph...
How I needed that little comfort from God. His way of giving strength when my spirit was crushed and overwhelmed.
Not 12 hours before I had been driving our 15 passenger van loaded with all 8 children 13 years to 13 months.
Driving down that country road headed toward a friend who would take some children for a few days so I could be with my sister who had just had a baby.
A baby who might not live long. A sister that I wanted desperately to pray with and give comfort.
Now I needed that comfort.
She was sleeping, a medical sleep that eased the suffering for a time.
My thoughts continued.
The music had been playing in the van: "In My Weakness He Is Strong"
"In my weakness He is strong;
In my need He leads me on.
When I come to the end of all I am,
And I place my trust in Him;
That’s when His strength begins In my weakness."
In my weakness...
Off the road, the screaming, the crunch of a pole, the rolling of the van, the silence, the crying, the desperate counting of children, the jaws of life, the whimper of pain...the ride to the hospital, the surgery...
What a wonderful God we serve to bring us a willing vessel... To encourage and pray when my own prayers were just tears.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Raised in a Christian home by two Godly parents, along with four other siblings, Cassandra made a decision for Christ early in life—and full assurance when she was twenty.
Hi!! My name is Carissa DeLeon. Daughter number three, child number four, I am 16 years old and a senior in high school. I love writing, coffee, camp, and the color red (also the red team of pretty much anything). Thanks so much for stopping by to read about my crazy, but very fun, family!!