Tuesday, August 9, 2011

4 weeks of pure bliss

Sorry I've been MIA for the last couple of months. Summer is a busy time in the Raymer household.

On Saturday I got back from working at K-Kauai in Branson. I was there from July 7-August 6 working with the Riptides (7-11 year olds) in the morning and working at the pool, office, snack shop, and occasionally picking weeds in the afternoon.

I LOVED my time at K-Kauai. It is seriously a slice of heaven on earth for me. This summer was better than the last in so many ways. While I loved my time in the kitchen last summer I felt I came to kamp broken and not growing at all in my walk with Christ. This summer was a complete 180 for me. God has been challenging me and pushing me out of my comfort zone all year so I felt I was ready to be pushed to my limits this summer.

I've been memorizing the first chapter of James, which was the book that the staff was studying this summer. Let me tell you James will kick you in the bumper, but it is a book filled with truth and practical ways that Jesus commands us to live. I loved getting to study it every week with an awesome group of girls.

I definitely had my bad days this summer. I was tired, weary, frustrated, low on energy, and just not myself some days. Luckily, my strength comes from the Lord and He is the reason I kept going. I got to work with some of the most amazing people on the planet. My fellow staffers kept encouraging me and loving on me even when I didn't think I needed it. I am so blessed that I got to spend a month with those people.

Working with the 7-11 year olds challenged me in a number of ways. I had to make sure I wasn't just wasting the week I had with each group of girls. Intentionality is something I'm working on and I know I missed some moments that could have been great conversations. I was also challenged to lead a bible study one morning with the kids on the importance of sharing your faith. It's tough talking about something so serious with a bunch of elementary-aged kids. They were surprisingly great listeners and were eager to ask questions.

All in all I'm sad the summer as come to a close and my second summer at K-Kauai has played itself out. I definitely learned some huge lessons this summer though. I learned that nothing I do amounts to anything, it's all for God's glory and His honor. I also learned that my strength fully comes from God. There is no way I could have gotten through the past four weeks without God filling me up every day with His strength and love. It will never stop amazing me that God loved me so much that He died for me. How crazy is that?! Mind boggling? Yes.

That's my quick update on my amazing summer at Kanakuk. Love that place with every fiber of my being.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Staff training, round two

I'm home from K-Kauai staff training in Branson, Missouri! For those of you who don't know this will be my second summer to work at Kanakuk's family kamp (everything is spelled with a k). I was a kamper at Kanakuk for six years, but I had never experienced the family kamp until I was hired to work there last summer.

Last summer I was in the kitchen for 3 weeks and a counselor for 2 weeks. In the kitchen I was basically a waitress, bus boy, janitor, etc. If it involved serving a family in the kitchen then I did it. It was a very humbling experience that I wouldn't trade for the world. I got to work with 11 other girls who challenged and encouraged me on a daily basis. Love them!

However, this summer I'll be working the last half of the summer and I'll be a counselor for all 4 weeks. I'm getting to work with the Riptides aka the 7-11 year olds. This is definitely the age group for me since it's the age I want to teach someday! Some of you may be wondering how being a counselor at a family camp works. Well, in the morning the parents go and listen to a guest speaker that we have for the week and during that time we have kid activities! So my mornings will be fully devoted to spending time and loving on some amazing kids. In the afternoons I'll get to lifeguard, work in our snack shop, etc. Basically I get to serve all around the "island" as we like to call it.

I love my job. I love the people I work with, I love the camp, I love our vision, and most of all I love that everything we do is Christ centered.

This summer the staff will be studying the book of James. I already started to dive into it during staff training week and it's already rocking my world. Seriously, I love how challenging it is.

As much as I love meeting all of the new staff at training week, I'm happy to be home. Training week consists of getting the kamp ready for families to come....WHICH IS TODAY! So, I feel like I've done nothing but plant flowers, organize, mulch, mulch, mulch, oh and did I mention mulch? Haha, it really is fun, but it's hard work.

Anyways, please keep K-Kauai and the first term staff in your prayers today since this is the day 1 of the summer for them! So excited to see how God is going to work this summer! :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sophomore year has come and gone

I'm a junior in college now......seriously?! My sophomore year went by incredibly quickly, I still can't believe it's over.

This past year was incredible. A huge blessing to my life and a definite bump up from my freshman year.

This year many friendships started and became the kinds of friendships that I know will last for a lifetime. God has placed some amazing people in my life and I'm so excited to see how those relationships are going to continue to grow in the coming years. I'm beyond blessed.

As I've mentioned before this year I was able to get involved in Cru aka Campus Crusade for Christ on my campus. This ministry has been one of the biggest encouragements to me and my walk with the Lord this year. I love how challenged I've been through Cru and all of the opportunities that have been made available for me. God is definitely moving in big ways at the U of A and I can't wait to be a small part of that. I cannot wait to lead a freshmen girls community group in the fall with my friend Katie :) it will be so great. I'm just continually praying for the girls we will encounter and get to do life along side of.

As my involvement of Cru has grown my involvement with Phi Lamb has lessened. I'm not going to be doing Phi Lamb next year and this was a decision I really struggled with. I love Phi Lamb and all the girls are are apart of it. But, I know God has called me to step back and as hard as it was to obey Him I know he's going to bless me because of it. I continue to daily pray for Phi Lamb and the direction that it's going, I know the officers next year are going to do a fabulous job and I can't wait to hear about it.

The Lord has pushed and pulled me every which way this year. Some days and weeks have definitely been a struggle to get through. I believe this year the Lord has really been looking to build me up and make sure that I know that He is the only thing that will ultimately fulfill me. So often I look to other things for my joy and happiness, but they all fail me eventually. The Lord is my constant and He is the only person that will never disappoint me and never let me down. I love getting to serve such a loving and steadfast God. It never ceases to amaze me.

In 6 short days I will be heading back to Geriatric Vegas aka Branson, MO for staff training at Kanakuk! I'm getting to work my second summer at K-Kauai, Kanakuk's family kamp. That's a lot of K's, huh? I'm pumped that I get to go back this summer and be a vet (aka returner staffer)! It's a title I've wanted for a while, haha. But I'll be at training for about a week then I'll head home for another month or so then I'll head back on July 7, which just so happens to be my cousin's birthday and the DAY BEFORE my 21st birthday! I'm getting old. But, there is no better place than K-Kauai to celebrate a birthday. I'll be at Kauai for a month and I get to work with kids for my full 4 weeks! I cannot wait! I'll miss the kitchen for sure, but I know that God is ready to use me elsewhere and to show me that with Him I'm capable of just about anything.

Anyways, I'm sure I'll update his periodically through the summer.....hopefully! If not, Happy Summer everyone! :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Exciting things on the horizon

I'm still dumbfounded by the fact that I will be finished with my sophomore year of college in a little under a month. Time definitely flies.

I love to plan and know exactly what is going on. My planner definitely keeps me sane and I like to have an idea of what my weeks will look like. However, I've lately been learning to delight in the unknown. So often I try to plan ahead for my future and I often get carried away with it. I like to know what my life will look like, because deep down I'm a control freak.

The Lord has been teaching me lately that not knowing every detail of my life is okay. He keeps reminding me that He's got it covered, and that I don't need to worry about it. I know to some not fully trusting God with my future might seem a little silly and insignificant. It's really something that I struggle with though. Even little things such as random surprises sometimes throw me off, because it's something that I don't expect or haven't had time to prepare myself for. I think in some little ways God has been using my boyfriend to loosen me up a little bit. Steven loves surprising me and planning dates without telling me what we'll be doing. At first I would kind of stress out and get annoyed that I didn't know what was going on. Over the past month or so though it's something that I actually look forward to. I think it's a small way that God reminds me that it's okay to not know everything at all times.

I have to daily tell myself that I don't need to worry or stress out over my future, because God has in under control. When I take a step back and really think about that I feel so much lighter. Trying to know every small detail of my life weighs me down more than I realize. Sure, I think it's okay to think about my future but the second I think I have it all figured out on my own that's where the problem is. I'm learning how to relax with the Lord and the stage of life I'm currently in. The rest will all work itself out, as long as I'm fully trusting in God's plan I know it'll be okay.

On a lighter note, I'm so ecstatic about the fall! This semester I started to get pretty involved with an on-campus ministry called Campus Crusade for Christ, or Cru for short. It definitely has been such a blessing to my life. In the fall I'm going to get the chance to co-lead a freshmen community group (bible study)! I'm going to be leading in one of the smaller all girls dorms, it has a total of 94 girls in it. I'm leading with the fabulous Katie, which is such a God thing. She definitely has a huge heart for the Lord and it's so evident in every part of her life. The incoming freshmen class is going to be HUGE! Seriously. This year Cru had a total of 45 community group leaders and next year there will be 95! How insane is that? God is up to some pretty big things at the University of Arkansas. I'm looking forward to pouring into a group of freshman girls every week. Please be praying for Katie and I, I know it won't be easy but God will definitely use us in big ways.

Now, a few pictures for formal! My sorority had our annual formal two weekends ago, and here are some pictures from it! Enjoy :)

I'm a huge fan of this guy. He's a pretty great boyfriend :)

My beautiful future roommates for next year! Mollie and Amanda. They're such a blessing to me.

The group! Feel free to laugh at the awkwardness of this picture. I know I do.

We were tired of taking normal pictures. Katy and Mollie! Love them.

We moved to dance party outside, because it was way too hot inside the building. Pretty legit.

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

God is love

Happy spring! I know it's officially still a few days away, but oh well. To me March means the start of spring. Spring is definitely one of my favorite seasons. It means it's time to wear Chaco's, hammock, spend ridiculous amounts of time outside, and I just love it all.

When I was in England I was over the moon when spring came because it meant that lambs starting popping up in meadows. I love lambs, seriously. Ironically my sorority's mascot is a lamb, but it's not the same since we don't own an actual lamb. Random comment. This is in no way related to my blog, but oh well. My Ritalin is currently wearing off, and I started to think about spring, then England, then lambs, and I got excited. Welcome to the mind of a kid with ADHD.

Anyways, back on track!

Over the past few days God has been teaching me all about His love. I recently finished reading the book of 1 John, and this is filled with talking about God's love.

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." -1 John 4:8

How crazy is that? God IS love.

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." -Ephesians 3:17b-19

Two amazing verses that have been on my heart this week. God is love, it's as simple as that. Without God then there would be no love, and how sad would that be? I don't think I ever stop and think about how non-believers really don't know the love that Christians do. The love of Christ is so vast that we'll never be able to comprehend it. I think of how much my parents love me and that in itself is a mystery to me. I can't even grasp how big their love for me is. But, to think that the Lord loves me so much more than my parents ever could. Christ loves us even though we are so undeserving of it. How amazing is it that we get to serve a God who wants to give us His love. All we have to do in return is believe in Him and know that we can't do it on our own.

Jesus has so many amazing characteristics, but above all He is love. I feel so comforted that more than anything the God I serve is loving. He meets us where we are, he picks us up when we are broken, he cherishes spending time with us. How incredible is that? I don't know anyone in the world who could ever love me like Christ does, because nobody can.

I also think it's amazing how there are some people who are so great at displaying the love of Christ. My mom and dad are two perfect examples of this love. They show me grace and mercy time and time again when I don't deserve it at all. If anyone has shown me a glimpse of what the Lord's love looks like it's definitely those two.

I just want that to resonate with whoever is reading this. The Lord loves you. He truly and deeply does. If that's not the coolest thing ever then what else is? It's definitely something that has been an encouragement to me this week, it never gets old. I love hearing about God's love for us.

Happy Thursday :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Season of change

The past week or so has been pretty amazing.

On Monday I was given the opportunity to speak at my weekly meeting for Phi Lamb. The Lord laid it on my heart a few weeks ago, and to be honest I was pretty nervous. However, it turned out to be one of the most awesome experiences. I spoke on Hannah who is mentioned in 1 Samuel. I'm not sure why I chose Hannah, but it couldn't have been a better decision. The Lord has really been teaching me about prayer over the past few months. Hannah's story revolves around prayer, giving her desires to the Lord, and trusting Him with it.

Hannah prayed to the Lord and gave all of her worries and burdens to Him. After she was finished praying she left the tabernacle content, because she knew her prayer was in the Lord's hands now. This hit me hard. Sure, I pray on a daily basis but how often do I actually give it all to the Lord? I definitely struggle with holding onto things and not fully giving them to the Lord. It's so dumb though, because in a way that's like me saying that I don't trust God to take them from me and fulfill them. I know the Lord's plan for my life is so much better than anything I could imagine. So, why on earth would I not just lay everything at the Lord's feet?

Psalms 55:22 says "Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you....." That says it all really doesn't it? He Lord wants to take our burdens from us and make them His own. Even when I'm naive enough to think that I have everything under the control the Lord will always remind me that I don't. Why would I even try to do it on my own? I've proven to myself over and over again that I cannot do it on my own. Hannah had this down. She knew that she had to take her plea for a son to the Lord. She knew that He was the only one who could fulfill her desires. She even realized that He may not give her exactly what she wanted, but He would do what was best for her.

How amazing is it that we serve a God that wants to lighten our load and take on our burdens, worries, stresses, and troubles? The fact that He wants to take that from us never ceases to amaze me. I know the times I have laid it at the Lord's feet and not looked back He has always blessed me in some way. Sure, God doesn't always give us what we ask for, but so what? I know that He has it all under control, and that's enough for me. God's goodness will always be a mystery to me, but I'm so thankful and blessed by it.

My encouragement for you is just to lay it all on God. He wants to take it from us, and make it his. If that's not one of the most encouraging things then I'm not sure what is.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I know my last post also revolved around snow, but I had to dedicate this one to it as well. The weather has been insane here in Fayetteville for the past week. I didn't have classes from Tuesday-Thursday last week. It also looks like another snow storm will be rolling into Northwest Arkansas on Tuesday night. This weather is crazy!

Of course during these days off from school I have done relatively zero homework. Probably not the smartest move, but oh well. One cool thing I've been able to do though is spend a lot of much needed quality time with the Lord.

I've struggled for a while with diving into the Word on a daily basis. I know God is pushing me out of my comfort zone this semester and I know if I don't spend time with him daily then I won't be a very effective servant. So, I've really been challenging myself to wake up a little earlier every day and start my morning off with some quality Jesus time. For the past week or so I've been going through 1 John. I love that I started off with this book of the Bible. Most of the stuff I'm reading I already knew, but I don't think I ever truly took it to heart.

In 1 John chapter 1 verses 5-7 it talks about living in the light. So often I've heard that if you claim to be a follower of Christ but you're still living in sin and not repenting then you're not walking in the light at all. In a book that I'm slowly getting through by Francis Chan called "Crazy Love" he talks about lukewarm Christianity. I think the bulk of Christians fall into this category. Sure we know that Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again, but we aren't really soaking it up. I want to be a servant for the Lord who lives out my faith in every area of my life. I don't want to ever live in darkness. Sure I'll still mess up and sin on a daily basis, but recognizing my mistakes and asking for forgiveness makes all the difference. I don't want to be a lukewarm Christian, I desire to be a Christian who is passionately following Christ with everything I have.

We only have one life to live. We were placed on this earth to love the Lord and to share His name with others. I want to fulfill my purpose while I'm here. I know it's not the easiest path to take, but so what? I would never want a life for myself that's easy or that I didn't have to work hard for. I want my life to glorify God in every way possible.

That was probably deep for a Tuesday morning, but I just thought I'd share what has been on my heart for the past few days.