Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
I look at these loved yellow walls, the love notes marking where we've been, and where we are going. Lists of backpacking adventures below two old, rusted railroad ties my husband wound together and hung on the wall, in the shape of a cross. The work of my friend's hands above our couch, the painting of the huge, white barn. Perfect blue sky and white cloud fluffs and four six-paned windows that each invite, "come closer, peer inside!"
Yes, I'm going to enter that barn someday, and sleep underneath the rafters tall and smooth and wide. I will stretch myself out long underneath the skylight that will open up the whole rooftop. I will watch the stars dance at night and awake to the birds singing of the coming sunrise.
Oh, yes, I will sing.
Yes, I will fling wide those white-washed planks of heavy door. I will not be held back. Dare I imagine what He prepares for me? Might it look like this painting. . . my someday room, in heaven?
On the right side of the wall is a frame encasing vintage postcards, adjacent to another cross, this one made from recycled barn wood from Hurricane Katrina. It is the canvas above this frame that holds my heart now.
The black canvases on each side of the barn hold sacred the places where my family has been. The barn painting holds my love for community and possibility--the future dance of me, someday, with my Savior. And this canvas . . . this one . . . with the water and the mountain peak, daring, just to be climbed . ..This canvas holds the wooing of a girl who desires more and craves a hand to grab hers while she heads into something new:
Oh darling, let's be adventurers.
Yes, darling, let's.
My husband created this canvas, a photo of the first mountain we climbed together. It continues to invite me, his partner, his love, to keep holding his hand, to keep climbing--to keep desiring, more than anything, to walk in the place where the Father stands.
I listen to a podcast of a sermon today that shows me Jonathan scrambling up a cliff, using his arms and his legs, hoping that God would be with him as he dared to fight, with no physical resources except supernatural ones. God would have to provide. He would have to stand here, be Jonathan's Help, for Jonathan to defeat the Philistine army.
Jonathan and his armor bearer, those two, climb up a cliff, a single sword between them both, to fight their enemy.
Oh, warriors, even though you are scared, even though you don't know all that awaits you . . Know that it is to your God, where He stands, that you climb.
Oh, warriors, climb up high.
Jonathan moved in faith--his belief in God turned action. . . stepping out, climbing up, because he wanted to give it all for the chance to experience the work of God.
Oh, Father, let us walk into where You stand. Let us behold the might and glory and beauty of You.
We don't know the full plan for what we are stepping into, my husband and I. We don't know all that lies ahead, as he steps away from his job, bit by bit, and pours his heart into writing and leading and listening. Together, we let go of "safe." Together, we let go of "necessary." Together we move to climb, using ours hands and legs, dependent upon God to provide as we desire to hold onto something new: The dream of the two of us working alongside one another, gathering His sons and His daughters while He gathers us to Him.
It is just that word, gather, that gets us to step and step again into a greater faith, a greater surrender . . . a not half-way but full-on desire to climb, with Him, to the top of the mountain, even though we don't know what's on the other side.
He stands there. So He does. Our Father knows what is on the other side.
Oh, sisters, His girls, it is He who calls each of us up, to that other side.
He has the eyes that will give us vision. He has the words that whisper wisdom. He has the resources that give us strength. He has the dream that makes us see in us what He sees.
His daughters. His sons. Stepping out. Climbing up. With shaking arms and wobbly legs.
So strong now.
Oh darling, let's be adventurers.
Yes, yes, let's.