July 26, 2013

Return to the Son

This past week I unexpectedly found myself at a Girls Camp for my church - and when I say unexpectedly I literally mean it. I called my leader Sunday night and was like, "Sooooo can I come to Girls Camp tomorrow?" to which to said yes. So I packed in about an hour and left for camp the next morning. And it was one of the best decisions of my life.
The theme this year was "Return to the Son", so the camp was decorated with tons of sunflowers, suns, gardens, etc. And the weather at camp was beautiful. Each year for camp we go up to Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, so it was amazing. The beach and forest in such close proximity it was awesome. 
I really felt that the theme this year was inspired. They all are of course, Girls Camp is always a special spiritual place. Literally separate from the world, a place where the girls can come and feel peace and the stresses of the material world just melt away. It is one of the most precious weeks of my year, and I can't believe I almost didn't go this year!
Because I've graduated high school and will be leaving for college in August, this was my last year of Girls Camp, which means that I'm considered a "granny". There were about 10 of us granny's; girls heading off to college in the fall. We are basically leaders for the girls, we organize activities, plan devotionals, give lessons, etc. And it was SO MUCH FUN! Being an older girl at camp, we each really had the chance to see these girls as Christ sees them. My heart was just opened with a new found love for them all. I could see their struggles with different eyes, being someone who has gone through a lot of the same experiences, it put all of us granny's in a unique position to really give advice to the younger girls. Advice to help them learn to rely on Christ and his love through their individual challenges. I didn't really get the chance to say everything I wanted to say to them, so the rest of this post is dedicated to my girls. 

Dear Ladies,

How I love you! You have NO idea. There are so many things I want to share with you in this mass letter. So many things I want to tell you about high school, and boys, and family, and the life you will be living for the next few years. Hopefully I can speak with the spirit as I write this letter to you all and whoever reads this. Girls Camp is an amazing experience, nothing could ever be like it. At the hardest times in our lives, we have the opportunity to escape the world and come to camp. To be with each other and our Savior Jesus Christ for one whole week! How unique is that? We can feel the spirit so strongly at camp, that we feel invincible. The problem is, that eventually we have to go home. We have to come back to the world and it's struggles. But hopefully by now you know you are not alone. You are never alone. Christ is always with you, and always will be. Your leaders are always with you, your parents, friends, fellow young women, and granny's! We are always here with you, we will be your rock.
But it's hard coming back from such an indescribable experience, because we often find the world is not like camp. Even though we oddly expect it to be. I want to be absolutely sure that you know this, we can take camp with us wherever we go. We can take that spirit of peace, and love, and charity with us. It is up to you to take it into your homes and schools and make a difference with it. 
At camp I talked a little bit about how important it is to have a testimony of the gospel. It is so important. Do not wait until sore trials come upon you, do not wait until the mists of darkness threaten to destroy. Be your best self right here, right now. Read your scriptures every morning or night. Say your prayers to our Father in Heaven with a sincere heart each day. These little things do so much to strengthen your testimony, so that when you do feel alone, when you are in despair, you can react naturally by turning to our Heavenly Father, and brother Jesus Christ in prayer and fast so that they can comfort you. Please please please remember girls, Christ is always reaching out towards us. And now that we've been to camp and talked about what we must do to reach towards him, he would be devastated if we dismissed that counsel and didn't let him into our lives. Remember to turn to the Son! He is the one!
I want to touch quickly on a topic that was mentioned at camp. Technology. I love what our leaders taught us; we are not represented by how many likes, repins, retweets, or comments that we get through our social media. The world makes it seem that we are only worth something if it recognizes us through those technologies. But we are so much more than that. We are daughters of God, we stand for truth and righteousness. We know our divine nature comes from our Father in Heaven, because he is the King and he has made us, his daughters. And so we are his princesses. There are more than a billion people in this world, and not everyone can like your instagram photo! And I promise, that no matter how many likes you get, or retweets you get, your worth will not change in the eyes of those who matter. 
Now comes the time for some advice. Don't get sucked in to temptation. What a broad statement! But it applies to lots of things. Take modesty for example. Even I struggle with modesty. Often I don't think it's that big of a deal, or even care too much when I wear something immodest. But it does matter. I've felt the difference in the way people treat me when I'm immodest versus modest. I know it's hard. And it's made more difficult by the fashion of today! With sheer shirts and high-low blouses and skirts. Many of us struggle to find clothing that fits us well and looks cute! But the struggle is worth it. I promise. Especially in high school when you may feel left out because you're not wearing what everyone else is wearing. But honestly, you don't want to be like everyone else. You want to be YOU! Because you are what Heavenly Father created and he loves you just as you are, so who else matters?
I love you all so much. Please stay strong, be your best selves, and feel free to talk to me if you need someone to talk to! I would love to hear from you. But don't forget, that so would He. 
Lots of Love,

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