Last summer, I spent lots of my free time at Chop Point with a camper who was struggling with self-worth and with hurting herself. (Click here to read last summer's post about her.) We met daily and tried to sift through the ugly thoughts in her mind. It was a slow and painful process. The culmination was a 7-page letter that I wrote her, offering God's truth to counter the lies of self-destruction and worthlessness that she kept hearing in her head. I started the letter with this: "None of this will make sense if you don't believe in God and if you don't believe in the Bible. My truth and my joy are based entirely from God's Truth and that is where I want you to find your truth and your joy."
When my camper left in August, we both cried our good-byes. I hated to see her go, knowing that she didn't have God-loving influences at home, worried that she would slide deeper into the pit. So I did the only things I could to keep helping her - I wrote emails and I prayed.
For months, the messages I received back from my young friend were haunting. Nightmares, loneliness, "a hole that grows bigger as if someone was stabbing you over and over". She wrote about being addicted to the pain, even though she knew that hurting herself was wrong. I urged her to tell someone at home, but she refused and stopped answering my messages for a while. I kept praying.
In early spring, out of the blue, my camper wrote to me. "I've been doing pretty well lately!" she announced. "I smile, I laugh, and I really mean it. I just woke up one day and something was different. Now when I go to bed, I can't sleep because I want to wake up and learn about everything. But what I really feel, Kez, is that I want to learn about God. It's an amazing feeling."
I rejoiced. I rejoiced a lot.
Two months later, she sent another message. It ended with "...I know that God loves me. Yep, He loves me and nothing can change that. Nothing I do can change that love. When I'm having a bad day, He smiles at me...and it's great because God is great. PS Don't get jealous, God loves you too."
I read her message and then I danced around the house like a madwoman.
A few weeks ago, my camper and I were reunited at Chop Point. Since then, she's brought me two things. The first was a handful of razors and lighters, her tools of self-mutilation. She said that she didn't need them anymore, that she hadn't used them in months, and that she wanted them as far away from her as possible. The second thing was a poem titled "No Longer a Sinking Sailor". I'd like to share with you the first and last paragraphs.
First you have darkness
Nothing more, nothing less.
Simple, destructive darkness.
It swallows everything it touches,
It takes away your dreams,
It's the wolf inside my nightmares,
and the voice inside my head.
Little by little you start sinking
sinking in frustrated despair.
But praise God,
for He is with you.
He has opened up your eyes.
He has healed you from this darkness
and filled it with fulfilling light.
My God answers prayers. He took a hurting confused little girl who wasn't even sure about His existence and has radically healed her. I am humbled and I am grateful. The Truth won!