Hello everyone, my name is Pele. You may know me as something different, but for ten years of my life (and even still) there are a handful of precious people that will probably always call me Pele. You see, I had the unique privilege to work at a Christian camp back in the day that truly impacted my life in ways I’m sure I’m not even aware of. When you became a counselor at this camp, you were asked to come up with a “camp name” to be called, instead of your real name. So, since I was
a super stud pretty good at soccer, I chose the name Pele, after one of the greatest soccer players ever. My precious camp, Camp El Har (meaning “God’s hill” in Hebrew), was and still is such a dear place to me. It wasn’t a huge camp or a trendy camp. It didn’t pack all the coolest kids into its gates each year because of its popularity. It was, instead, a smaller, more homegrown type of camp. It was nestled among the acres of land near the popular Boy Scout camp, Camp Wisdom, just 15 minutes south of downtown Dallas. The ministry was genuine and so were the people. I was seventeen my very first summer there, and I stuck with it through college, engagement (that actually happened in a skit at camp!), marriage, school teaching, pregnancy, and having a baby. It truly touched my life in countless ways.
One of my favorite things about camp was PAW time. What in the world is that?, You may be wondering. PAW was the shorthand way of saying “Praise and Worship” time. Now, as a counselor, I loved being able to dance around to silly songs like “Arky, Arky” and “Sandy Land”, with a little bit of the good ol’ DC Talk classic “Lean on Me” thrown in
to keep our sanity We had a flat out blast! As a director, I got more used to planning out the schedules for the day camp and overnight camp and making sure we got plenty of PAW time in each day. Oh the late night Sonic runs to keep us all sugared up while we tried to ensure there weren’t too many kids in canoeing for third activity. (Canoeing is such a funny word! O-then-E then I, what is that about? That was for you my dear Flash!) :)
I’m not sure about you, but PAW time has always been pretty special to me. I love music. I was a solid alto singer in my high school choir
as long I stood by my best friend who darn near had perfect pitch. But, you weren’t gonna see me signing up for any solos, that’s for sure. Trust me, you should be thankful for that one. But, I did love to sing. And I still do. I rock out in my minivan at the top of my lungs, and I contemplate American Idol auditions in my shower where the acoustics make my voice sound pretty amazing. Trust me, it’s just the shower working its magic there. Regardless, whether it is on stage in the camp’s tabernacle or driving down the road - I just love to sing.
During the past few years of my constant FOB time, I have had a whole lot of time to do a whole lot of nothing. I spent
waaaay too much some time watching HGTV. I talk on the phone. I email and check facebook. I do a lot of independent Bible study, which helps keep my heart and mind in the right place with all of this medical drama. But, most of all, throughout the day, I just praise. I don’t do well with quiet, really. And I definitely don’t do well with “down time” either. So this God-orchestrated and at times, myself-resisted, FOB time has been quite an adjustment for a once busy chick. But, I’ll tell you what, friend…God has blessed this time a hundred times over. I have a channel on my TV that just plays “Contemporary” Christian music all day. Sometimes, the “contemporary”-ness of it is likely to be debated between myself and an 85-year-old, but generally, most of the music is very current. It is awesome! I literally cannot count the number of times that I have been sad, or depressed, or angry, or confused and God has brought the perfect song on at the perfect time! I mean it. I have literally looked up at my popcorn ceilings and said “Wow, thank you God for this song right now! You knew I needed this!” Then I turn up the volume and just rock out praising to my God. It relieves sadness. It displaces fear. It strengthens faith. It helps me to be able to lie here hour after hour and day after day.
So sweet friend, throughout this week, I want to share with you the many ways God has blessed me through this PAW time. I encourage you to find time all throughout your day to turn the volume up, READ the lyrics, and simply rock out! May you and I be richly blessed, and more importantly, may our God be extravagantly glorified!
Friend, this very well may be my anthem. Our God by Chris Tomlin
Romans 8:31-21 “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
Joshua 4:24 "He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God."
Oooh, I don’t know about you, but when I am currently traveling through some wilderness times, I need to rest on this truth shown in the song Stronger by Mandisa.
Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
And lastly for now, let us focus on all He is to us! I cry about every time I sing this one! Your Great Name by Natalie Grant
Psalm 99:3 “Let them praise your great and awesome name--he is holy.”
Jeremiah 10:6 “No one is like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.”
Psalm 148:13 “Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.”
Romans 14:11 "It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'"
That’s all for now…but this post is to be continued…