It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to a close. And as we make the beautiful transition from summer to fall, I am incredibly excited about where I’m at, and about this transition in my life.
I’m entering a new season of my life, and for the first time in a very long time, I’m genuinely excited about where I’m going.
I just celebrated 200 days of recovery, have incredible friends and church family, and endless possibilities ahead of me. But none of these things would be possible if it weren’t for the amazing memories made this summer.
Summer 2013 was one for the record books. Every friendship, every victory, and every setback, made this summer what it was. And if you’re reading this and you find yourself a part of these stories, thank you for making this a great season of learning and growing, and just having fun; here’s to many more seasons together.
If you’re reading this and you don’t find yourself in these stories, I sincerely hope that we can change that.
Sparks: Talk about an absolutely incredible week! This was the first time that I had been to church camp since summer 2007, and the first time as a leader. To say that I was nervous would be an understatement, but I was lucky enough to have a room full of absolutely incredible girls. The friendships that were made that week are some of the best friendships I’ve made and I can’t even begin to put into words how much love I have for each girl that was in my room.
You don’t mess with the girls of 11B! They played their hearts out in every competition they were in and made this coach incredibly proud. No matter if they were winning or losing, they played with the same enthusiasm and had fun no matter the outcome (which was a win most of the time :D).
But aside from the incredible amount of fun that was had, I was so blessed to be able to celebrate two wonderful events with our entire group that week. Wednesday night during another amazing and powerful altar call, I was filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time. Growing up in a denomination that never taught anything about Holy Spirit baptism, you can imagine how nervous I was my first few months of being an intern. But what an absolutely wonderful thing to have experience, and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.
I also got to celebrate 120 days of recovery the following night. And when I say that every victory I’ve had in my recovery wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for this incredible group of believers that I am surrounded by, I mean it. I’m so glad that I was able to celebrate that with them.
I look forward to many more wonderful camp experiences with this group. But nothing will compare to 2013.
Intern Road Trip: A trip to define trips lol. Ten interns pilled in a van – their fearless leader (Murr) = one incredibly fun and crazy trip. I honestly, don’t think I have ever laughed that much in my life. There’s nothing that quite compares to being awake the entire drive from M1A to Denver and smelling the stench that is the state of Kansas. Except maybe the flatness that is Kansas aaaand the community showers at the local YMCA. Yikes.
It would honestly take up multiple pages to hit everything that stuck out to me on this trip, so I’ll try and stick with the big ones.
Rocky Mountain National Park: Absolutely breathtaking. Pictures don’t do it justice.
Glenwood Cavern Adventure Park: I conquered my intense fear of heights here on two separate occasions as well as managing to not let my claustrophobia get the better of me. To get in to this park, you have to take an enclosed ski lift type contraption to the top of a mountain, some 7,000 or so feet in the air. What they don’t tell you is that it stops halfway up. If the seat I was in could talk, I would have politely asked me to loosen my grip. I also, somehow, was convinced to ride a zip line that was more feet in the air than I’m willing to find out. Deona made for a wonderful ride partner, and I’m sure she enjoyed it enough for the both of us. As far as my claustrophobia went, somehow, I miraculously managed to not send myself in to a full on panic attack 500+ft below ground. Enough said.
Celebrating Chandler’s 20th birthday: Talk about the highlight of the trip. It was so much fun watching him open each gift every hour. It’s fun to do fun things for friends. And I’m glad that I was able to be a part of that.
Downtown Denver: What an absolutely beautiful city. From Bubba Gump’s to the outdoor mall, Denver did not disappoint.
Texarkana: This was an absolute treat to be asked to go on this trip. Incredible group of people and a great leadership camp to be a part of. I learned a lot about myself on that trip and had a lot of fun. From Murr driving down the back roads of Texas in the middle of the night and then the GPS conveniently taking us directly behind the hotel and then Ryan walking to the hotel only to find out that we were on the wrong side of the stateline, Murr jumping up in down in the elevator upon learning that I absolutely hate elevators, and human net volleyball, this was an absolutely incredible trip to go on.
Freedom Celebration: Friends, food, and fireworks. What more could you ask for?! While the first part of the day was difficult, to say the least, it ended absolutely great. I put together more glow sticks in one night than I have my entire life. But spending the evening watching fireworks with great friends and then swimming until the wee hours of the morning, made for a great Independence Day.
Pool parties: Swimming is enjoyable. Swimming with your closest friends- even better. We didn’t have a ton, but the ones we had, you should be sorry that you missed out. And while one of them left me with a lovely black eye (thanks for that Brandon && Zach, and inadvertently Stephanie), lots of laughs were had at them. Most of them at my expense after that incident. It’s nice to have close friendships with the people you go to church with. It’s even better when those friendships extend outside the confines of the church building.
20 Camp: To quote the founding father of the 20 Camp, “Oh my dad!” What an incredible week! And despite the fact that I spent most of it in a wheelchair, it was one of the most life changing weeks of my life. If you’d like to read what I learned that week, click here: http://jerrodmurr.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/what-i-learned-by-brandi-the-intern/
July’s free fall: To say that July was difficult, would be an understatement. July proved to be one of the most difficult months that I’d had in a very long time. And if it weren’t for a handful of wonderful friends, I don’t think I would have made it through. Especially the first half of the month. I spent more time in tears and flirting with that line between recovery and relapse than I ever wanted to. I quickly realized though that my friends weren’t stupid. They knew exactly what was going on without me ever having to say a word. And honestly, they saved me that Sunday night. They loved me at my lowest. They loved me despite the long sleeves I was wearing. Not because they had to. But because they wanted to. And I am forever grateful for them and love them more than words could ever fully express.
August’s renewal: After a month like July, I wondered if August would prove to be as difficult as it’s predecessor. The beginning of the month held true to that. But when I say I have the best friends in the world, I mean it. When found in a overwhelming situation that I didn’t leave me with many options on what to do, instead of just listening or telling me things will be okay, one friend stopped what he was doing, and drove across town to pick me up and get me out of the situation and to another friends house for the night. I think I cried myself to sleep that night, but with good tears. And since that night, August has begun to smile on me. End of the summer camping trip with the youth, the start of the new intern semester, and celebrating 200 days of recovery are just the beginning.
If you’ve read all this, I applaud you. Chances are, you are probably a part of these stories. And for that, I thank you.
Here’s to a great fall.