Monday, March 7, 2011


Did any of you guys ever go to Snow Camp?

Our church would go every year – just a weekend up in the mountains – just to play and learn about God.

See, if you live in Southern California, the prospect of being in snow is pretty exciting! We’d pray for cold weather and rain "down the hill" – because we knew that meant some serious inner-tubing at camp…

So, this one year, when I was in junior high, we all jumped eagerly onto the bus – and headed out.

I was pretty nervous.

You see, I hadn’t been going to Snow Camp every year – in fact, this might have been my first year. And I was scared…

I had always suffered from separation anxiety. My parents rarely left town, but when they did, I was a wreck. I even crawled through the entire 4th grade with stomachaches every day – because I was really nervous about leaving home, and being away from my mom.

And camp was a BIG DEAL.

Especially because I wasn’t in the popular crowd. I was a social Klingon – a lingering-around-the-border person. Quiet, kinda dorky, smart, shy – you get the picture.

Before we left for camp, we had to fill out registration forms. And on that form, we got to put in the names of two people who we wanted to room with.

OK - I picked two of the popular girls.

The ride up on the bus was everything you could imagine a bus full of junior high kids would be like. And of course, someone got sick – and that ALWAYS threw me for a loop.

Finally, we arrived at camp. And got our room assignments.

I was in a cabin with NO ONE I knew – not one single other person. And of course, all the popular kids were together. They had put each others’ names down – and once again, I felt left out.

Later that night, all unpacked and settled in our cabins, I felt terribly alone.

Until one of the popular girls, who was always nice to me, popped her head into the room.

"Psst. Sharon, we’ve got an extra bed. Why don’t you get your stuff and come on over?"


I was packed and in their cabin in a flash. They were all really nice to me. I felt so much better. I calmed down, and thought to myself, "This might actually be a fun weekend."

Until, a little while later, probably around 10 P.M. – another counselor came to our cabin. The two counselors whispered to each other, and looked worried.

Our counselor came to us and said, "Um. I need to go to a special meeting with the other counselors. Stay here until I get back."


She came back about 45 minutes later. She was ashen.

We asked her what was wrong.

"Well, I’m not supposed to say anything. But, I want you guys to pray really hard. There’s a girl missing, and we’re trying to find her."

And with that, she grabbed her flashlight, and disappeared again.

I cannot tell you how nervous this made me. I had visions of this girl lost in the woods with who knows what – wild animals, scary human predators, evil demonic beings. And all I could think about was how much she must be missing her mom. And how much I was now missing mine –

It must have been after midnight when our counselor finally returned.

She looked around at all our frightened and eager faces. And then she said something I had never expected to hear.

"Is one of you named Sharon?"

Uh oh…

"Yes, I’m Sharon."

"Well, young lady – do you know that we’ve spent the last two hours scouring the woods looking for you? We thought you were lost!! Who told you you could change cabins?"

Oh boy. All eyes went to me. I started crying – and barely sputtered out my story. About all the reasons I had switched cabins…

"Why didn’t you tell someone?" she said.

I didn’t have a good reason for that one…

To her credit, she let me stay that night. The next day they made me go back to my originally assigned cabin (awkward) – and I got a royal "chewing out" from the youth pastor. It was horrible…

But here’s what I learned.

All that time I’d been praying for the "lost girl" – I had never realized that it was really me.

Have you ever ended up where you weren’t supposed to be? Have you ever prayed for all the other misguided people out there, only to learn that you should have been praying for yourself?

Have you ever failed to realize that YOU were the one who was lost?

It’s OK –

God loves to find things…

Especially little sheep that have gone astray.

"And when he has found it [the lost sheep], he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders…In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!" (Luke 15:5, 7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Hi Sharon,

    This is brilliant and speaks to me in so many ways. Yes I certainly can relate to being that lost girl (even at my ripe old age) I do hate the unfamiliar and separation and know God has much to teach me. It is strange because last night my ever so insecure grandson agreed to go on church camp in July with the pastor and his wife, who will be leading it, but no other person, no one in his age group, that he knows. I am fearful for him and I was praying about it this morning, along with a lot of other things. Thank you Sharon for sharing all the things you do, relating to yourself, it is always helpful. God Bless - Nita

  2. Hi Sharon -

    Wow! I just read that Luke scripture yesterday.
    It is where I am in the Professor Horner's Bible Reading System. Praise the Lord that you posted that scripture here today.

    Thank you for your camp story. I was eager to know about the "lost" girl. Yes, we all wander sometimes. Thank GOD that He is our Shepherd.

    I heard a pastor say recently that JESUS was an outsider so much so that they hanged Him on a cross. But Oh Hallelujah! - He was not OUTSIDE of GOD. He was INSIDE the tomb and He rose again to be our eternal Savior. Bless His holy name!

    I am glad to be an outsider to the world, and for that matter, even to some "Christians." But Oh how glad I am to be INSIDE with GOD and to have HIM INSIDE of me. Thank YOU, LORD!!!

  3. what a story Sharon, I bet you remember all the details so clearly; but you know this struck a nerve with me. Lately I've been thinking as I look at my prayer list, maybe I just need to spend some more time praying for me......I think God used your words to confirm that; thanks Lord!!

    raining here :)


  4. I know Jesus looks for everyone - wants to leave no one out. And I feel for you on your camping trip. I had one period of separation anxiety in the 5th grade - can you believe that? I understand.

    Love, sandie

  5. ohhhh Sharon... what a delightful and luminous path for us sheep!!! What an absolutely beautiful correlation to this passage in Luke!!!

    Being from MN, you'd think I'd have been to lots of snow camps and I only recall two that may have been considered "snow camps" because they were retreats in the winter. I have no experience like you that I could conjure up such creative ways to make us reflect and dig deeper as you do each time you write! I love this in so many different ways. Although I don't have the "lost" experience, I can relate to being lost or being a lost sheep and like you, not knowing it was you (I) who was lost and praying ever so diligently until twang... it hits me in the head but mostly in my heart. That's YOU, God's speaking to... do you hear Him?

    I have spent 40+ years praying for a certain someone to know Christ and have awakened myself to realize that even though I know Him, believe Him and in Him, that I had not surrendered my life to His Lordship in all the areas of my life, holding on to dearly with a clenched fist, until the threads began to unravel. I have no idea how to go back and weave the tapestry once again... so I let the dreams go, admit my wrong and all this started back then when I began to pray and think I was in love... yes, I have awakened to my rebellion and the cost, but the price was paid for me on Calvary. meanwhile I have been the worse witness in the place and to the people that I needed to clearly be a light in the darkness and I ran instead... the problems and the conflicts were just keeping me from an earlier dream and commitment... whoa.

    Totally lost myself here... and have no idea where this came from... or yeah, you stirred it up and the Holy Spirit took it from there...(lol) Once again, your words minister as your answers have in Breaking Free to a wounded but healing heart. Thank you! Thank you for taking a childhood experience and walking us through it so we can catch the greater Truth of Jesus searching to and fro for the lost, even the lost within us...

    "Have you ever failed to realize that YOU were the one who was lost?"

    "It's OK, God loves to FIND things!"

    ...and He instills HOPE and WHOLENESS to the broken pieces and LIGHT to our darkness, EMBRACES us and our fears, SETS our feet upon the ROCK and CALLS us HIS OWN, HIS SHEEP, every one of us...<a href= "'> ALL WE LIKE SHEEP HAVE GONE ASTRAY </a>

    Now I understand... and how God allowed me to go through "panic attacks" back in the early 90s to recall that complete sense of loss and being lost, to remind me there's no sweeter place than in His Presence, in His arms, forgiven after truly repented... Once more you have brought me to a place humbly before I begin a prayer journey...thank you! You have such a gift! You ARE such a sweet gift!

    Love, peace and JOY

  6. This is because I messed up originally and then again above:

  7. Sharon, Do you know how to delete my deleted comment forever? I tried but it did not work...
    you do know that the next one is me...the lost sheep... right and the following correction.
    I really don't like long comments but I totally dislike errors...So please fix if you can.Thanks!

  8. You had a full life...oh, my! A great story and yes a great illustration. As life has gone through some transitions I have felt lost, but I never was, He was always there, even if I wasn't sure where I was.

  9. "Have you ever prayed for all the other misguided people out there, only to learn that you should have been praying for yourself? "...ouch...have I ever!! Great story lesson, Sharon!

  10. Nita - Thank goodness, God is always teaching us new lessons. I will be praying for your grandson - I'm sure he'll be just fine.

    Sandra - Yes!! It's a privilege to be INcluded in the Body of Christ! I am so grateful for the Good Shepherd who keeps a constant watch on me!

    Betty - I need to focus on myself in prayer, too. And I need to do some listening. Seems I've been so busy doing, that I need to stop and let the Lord do some talking!

    Sandie - You, separation anxiety? I'm sorry that you experienced that - but I'm kinda glad that we share that in common! I am so glad that the Lord looks out for all of us, and includes us in His wonderful Kingdom!

    Peggy - What a wonderfully honest comment. Yes, I have spent some time "lost" myself. And yes, I messed up my witness. But the wonderful thing is this - God came and found me and welcomed me home. And, I also have regretted how I may have hurt people and their walk toward the Lord. But, Peggy - I'm convinced that God is bigger than my mistakes, and He can re-weave the tapesty. God bless your prayer time. (And I took care of getting rid of the comment...)

    Janette - That's the key. Even when we feel lost at times, we are never outside of God's care. He has us firmly in sight. And He is the Light to our path, even if it's only one footstep at a time.

    Karen - Thanks, Karen. Sometimes it's just about paying attention to the log in our own eye, instead of looking at other peoples' specks, right?!

    GOD BLESS - and Praise be to the One who never ceases His watchful care!

  11. And once again, you hit the nail squarely on the head. I got an "A" in predicting outcomes for this one because I wondered if that lost girl was going to end up being you. What a wonderful, wonderful illustration, and YES... I have discovered more than once that it was I who stinketh and needed some raising from the dead.

    This is one of my favorite devotionals ever.

  12. Debbie - Yes, I was the little lost girl. I still get a little off the path from time to time - but for the most part, I'm walking on the straight and narrow. You crack me up - I hardly think you ever stinketh - maybe you're just a little smellish...I'm so glad you enjoyed this, and thanks so much for coming back to visit. You just know how much I appreciate it.



"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)