Roller Coasters and Church Camp

What in the world do roller coasters and church camp have in common?  Absolutely nothing, unless your church camp has a roller coaster!! It was the first week of summer break and my boys were chompin’ at the bit to explore Oklahoma City and all the places they had season passes to.  Emily, our sweet and incredible sitter for this summer, was about to venture into the territory of “boys” for hours a day all summer long. They set off one morning on a grand adventure to our local theme park, Frontier City.  I had given her all the tips and cautions...really a crash course in surviving a day with three energetic boys at Frontier City. She came back victorious and my boys came back with sparkles in their eyes thrilled to tell Brian and I all about the details of the day.  As they were sharing (all at one time I might add) I listened, I laughed and I asked questions until one of the older boys said passionately, “We rode The Silver Bullet, Mom!” and then no longer could I find air coming into my lungs. You see, the only thing that came into my mind were the frequent and recent news stories and live coverages that I had caught glimpses of through social media (because I don’t watch or follow the news) of people being stuck for hours and hours in the middle of the tracks due to The Silver Bullet malfunctioning.  I mean this is a roller coaster that my friend keeps offering to pay me to ride because he knows the thought of it terrifies me and he wants me to conquer my fears (while he laughs at my reactions). My mind then immediately followed those thoughts with my emotional eight year old up there crying and being all dramatic while my 10 year old was screaming at him to shut up as he became more anxious, which triggers his asthma. Then reality hit and I looked upon their faces while sitting in our playroom knowing those fears were false. That they had done what God created them to be adventurous, to conquer; even to conquer The Silver Bullet.  In this moment it hit me...they are growing up, all the while taking more risks. A few minutes later I spent some time asking Holy Spirit what I should write in a card to my 10 year old. The card would go into his suitcase the following day, and when arriving at church, we would load into a trailer for his first ever church camp!! How can this be that not long ago I watched a 5 lb 8 oz baby boy under an oxygen tent in the hospital nursery take quick little breaths and now I am sitting down to write him a card about how I met Jesus at church camp when I was his age. How did this happen so fast? Who will tuck him in and pray for him to have sweet dreams of Jesus?  Then reality hit and I remembered all the faces of our Cubs little league baseball family that he is going to camp with. The children’s pastor (Coach Dustin), the assigned chaperone to his group (Coach Donnie), the baseball dad (Chris) and the faces of 9 teammates that he will not be just experiencing the love of the greatest game, baseball, with but most importantly the love of Jesus. The Hero inside each and every one of them. That made this momma’s heart relax knowing even though roller coasters and church camp all came for the first time in the same 18 hour time period, the Hero inside of me can, and will, consume all that my son is experiencing with and in Jesus.

Written by Gretchen Cannon