By: Maggie Ronayne
Pine Hills 2018 was a whirlwind experience, but the best experience at the same time. Not only did I have a new role at camp, but I had to miss the first half of it due to health issues. I've talked about this in previous blog posts, but I have a chronic disease called Cystic Fibrosis. It's a tricky disease that can make my life difficult at times, but the Lord's light really was shining brightly even while I was fighting that darkness.
While sitting in the hospital, I had two choices: I could be mad at God for not allowing me to participate in the most important week of my whole year or I could choose to walk with Him in the light, instead of wallowing in the darkness. It took some work but I eventually took the plunge and choose the latter. I then felt called to spread this light of Christ to everyone I encountered during my time outside of camp. Although I wanted to be doing this at camp, God's plan, even during moments like those, is perfect and He knew exactly where I needed to be. My dear friend Teresa Pauze (if you're reading this, shout out to you, you're such an inspiration!), said something during her testimony on Thursday at camp that really stood out to me. She said "I am bruised and battered, but I am better for it". This is now my current mantra, because last week was definitely a battle, but my faith and trust in Him has become much stronger. Once I was reminded of where my true identity lies, the darkness was replaced with His glowing light.
If we follow God and truly accept that He is the light of the world, fighting the darkness and blindness becomes so much more worth it. Then His light will shine through you for others to see. Sometimes it's not easy to choose to follow the light. We must have courage, strength, and perseverance to live it out. The Devil will try to diminish this light in every way possible. At camp it's so easy to feel his presence and light working through us, but when it's time to step back into our everyday routine, it automatically becomes ten times more difficult. However, Jesus is stronger and his light is brighter than Satan and his wicked ways.
Here are a couple of things that are helpful to remember as we enter back in to normal life: One is the verse from camp (John 8:12). Whenever you feel the lies creeping in, turn to this. Scripture is God’s love letter to us, and He wants us to use it in times like these. The second thing to remember is that our faith is not defined by our feelings. While emotions can sometimes be great, they don’t always represent His truth. The third recommendation is to find a community that helps you to keep your light shining. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you’re struggling. We are not meant to do this alone.
Finally, I just want to end with a quote from the book that I am currently reading called The Other Side of Beauty by Leah Darrow:
I pray that you all experience this shift in your lives and that His light never diminishes!