A gym full of parents registering their kids for camp. High school and middle school kids running from one table to the next trying to decide who they want to room with, which bus to be on, excitement, drama. Words are being said, but nothing is heard.
Smiles, laughter, and brief conversations about Sunday School, exams, school, and the outrageous cold temperature. But wait…I just realized, it’s Laguna Beach Resort. Still smiles and laughter.
“Do I need to have any information about Collin’s medicine?”
“No, I’m going as I counselor, so I guess not!” Again, laughter.
What? I’m going as a counselor? Back to Laguna Beach Resort. The place where Trey made a video trying out his Lifeproof phone case underwater in the pool. Where I looked at Ryan Mullins and said, “He won’t be coming back, you know.” And Ryan responded, “Yes, I know,” as tears rolled down my face. And the last place he worshipped, hands in the air, sitting with pillows to prop his feeble body in metal chairs a week and one-half before he died.
I’m writing this at 2 a.m. and asking myself if I’m crazy or has God put such deep desire to serve that I just cannot stand NOT going. I have bonded with so many of my sophomore girls and the excitement of watching them grow in the Lord has me over the moon. When I was able to spend small group time with them at Encounter and listen about their lives and their struggles, the desire to love them and help the grow in the Lord was unquestionable. And that was just a weekend.
Have I answered my own question? At first, I understood that we would be staying on the resort that is located on the beach, which is different from where we stayed with Germantown Baptist in 2012. It was only until last night did I find out that those accommodations were not available and we would be at a different part of the resort, possibly the same location as 2012. I had no hesitation in signing up in the beginning and was looking forward to bonding with the kids and also the youth leaders.
Last night I opened the mail to receive a necklace that someone made for me in East Tennessee. Among the purple beads hangs a small glass tube with three small white/pearl beads to represent tears. Attached to the tub is a charm with the inscription Psalms 56:8. This verse states, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
I do not think it is a coincidence that I came home from an evening of looking around a room for someone to understand me or somehow pick up on my loneliness only to have God say, “Lisa, I’m here for your sadness.” Hear me say, I didn’t expect anyone to realize about Laguna. I fully believe you have to walk in someone’s shoes in order to feel their pain.
How can he turn such a week that was turmoil for Trey into joy of serving for me? Honestly, that is a good question and something God will need to work out. I’m going to call on my prayer warriors to bind me up, cover me, and know that I am going for a purpose. Before I agreed to go, I did ask Collin if it was okay with him. He is fine with me going. He won’t have to worry about money! Ha!
I will say that I respect Jay’s decision not to go. Maybe he’s smarter than all of us guarding his heart. Jay spent the majority of that week in 2012 taking care of Trey. Trey could not eat and Jay would go to the store and get soup for him to try. Trey stayed in his room reading his bible or on the beach when it was cool doing his devotion.
He might have been in pain, but he was happy (and goofy). And maybe it was at that time that God was preparing him for the end since he was able to spend so much time in the Word. That gives me peace. It was there that he wrote his last devotion, which I have shared before, but will share again.
Mark 9:23 says, “If we believe in him, all things are possible.” But that does not mean God will answer all our prayers whenever we want or need.
Other passages say we must:
*Pray in line with God’s will – 1 John 5:14-15 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
*Pray with the right motives – James 4:3 “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
*Pray with persistence – Luke 11:8-10 “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
*Pray with a spirit of humility – Luke 18:14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Sometimes, we do not need to be reminded of these guidelines. Sometimes, it just takes an increase of faith, Mark 9:24 “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
By Trey Erwin
What a blessing for me to have this written by my son to help increase my own faith and give me a guideline for my own prayer life. Yes, I think my question has been answered. I am humbled that God would ALLOW me to serve and I should never take being one of his servants lightly or for granted. Having the ability to go on a trip and minister to young minds is a blessing. I ask that you will pray as I go the week of June 27 with Central Church and that God will guard my mind and my heart. Pray for Collin, all the kids, and the staff!
Satan tells me that I am alone, that I don’t fit in at Central in the youth department, and that I shouldn’t be teaching. He is wrong. I know this because I taught at Germantown Baptist and gained some of the most precious friendships with adults and youth that I will cherish the rest of my life. Society has succeeded in helping beat ourselves down with our thoughts.
This is not about God doing a work through grieving, which He can do. It’s about God doing a work through faith. My reliance on Him that no matter what the circumstances, no matter where we will be, I MUST “Count it all joy…” James 1:2-3
Thanks buddy. I miss you. And way to go God, even at 2 a.m., for holding me tight!
P.S. After this picture was taken, Trey sent me a text and said he wanted to have his hair cut like Ryan’s and told me exactly how Rebecca could do it. He was always making plans for the future and never giving up. We should always have hope for the future and never give up.