JOY Stories



Pursued by God

As a kid, I had a lot of energy which caused a bit of chaos. I liked almost everything— sports, dolls, dress-ups, forts, books… I grew up thinking that anything was possible, and nothing was out of reach if you tried hard and could make people laugh.

As a classic middle child, I craved attention. I learned early on that humor was a currency and I could use it to my advantage. As I got older, this didn’t always pan out as I planned. Middle school is known for being rough and I had first-hand experience with what happens when the jokes run out. I was trying to find my way in the sea of a new school and for the first time, I felt really shaky about who I was. Suddenly, I was aware! Too aware— of my body, of my nerves, of my fear. I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to be somebody. My mom often consoled me and reminded me that “good news! No one thinks of you more than you do.” Harsh, but true.

All this time, I spent my summers at a Christian camp in the mountains. It was my refuge and my favorite place— where who I was at school didn’t matter. No boys, no phones, no parents. Just sun, fun, and independence. My parents picked this camp randomly— we weren’t a Christian family, but we WERE Camp People. My mom ordered a bunch of tapes of camps and I, being of short attention, only watched one video before declaring “that’s the one!” Providence.

Camp was my favorite thing. I was about 15 when I realized that it was a Christian camp, and I thought it a little strange once I noticed a lot of the songs we were singing ‘round the campfire were about God. I had no interest in God– I remember telling one of my counselors that I wasn’t interested in joining her cult. I would sing the songs, but nothing more.

You can be a camper through age 16 and at 17 you can be a Counselor in Training. My whole posse signed up for the unpaid CIT year, and we were ready for our unsupervised Bonus Year— unsupervised fun.

I got something else instead.

Part of our training included a Study on Ephesians. I had never read the Bible before and I wasn’t immediately taken with it. There was a lot I couldn’t understand— was God real? Are my sins really forgiven? Does God really take my dead bones and make them live? It was a little too much for me, honestly. What would it mean for my life if He saved me?

One night, while walking back to the cabin I paused on the hill to catch my breath. “You were dead in your trespasses and sins…” my thoughts were interrupted by the sound of singing. The chapel was around the corner from me and some voices were singing out “Thou on my head in early youth didst smile, and though rebellious and perverse meanwhile— Thou has not left me, though I oft left thee. On to the close, Lord, abide with me.”

It was right then and there that I knew that God was real. He was singing those words to me. All of my silliness and foolish ways, wanting to be known for being witty and wanting everyone to notice me… it all faded. Yes, Mom, no one thinks about me as much as I do. Except for God.

Photos for Morgan


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