Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Temper Tantrums and Culotte Camp

Sometimes I am a huge brat.  I know it's hard for you to imagine.  But sometimes I want my own way so badly that I sincerely consider throwing myself on the floor, kicking and screaming "I don't want to!".  Then I remember that I am 34, and that I am about 31 years past that being age-appropriate behavior.  Not to mention the fact that my back ain't what it used to be, and frankly, lying on the floor for any length of time often proves to be regrettable.

Several years back, when I was young and single and stupid, I remember my friend Jeremy making plans for us to go hang out with some of his friends in Hendersonville, Tennessee.  Not only was this a 45 minute drive from where we lived, we were also going to hang out with people I didn't know.  I absolutely did not want to go.  And so rather than being a grown up and telling him what I was thinking, I gave him a little dose of the silent treatment.  I was annoyed, and I let him know it.  I was a huge grouch all the way across town to pick up another couple that was joining us, and I sat in complete silence until we stopped at a grocery store just outside of town.  The guys went in to pick up something, and the girls stayed in the truck.  For whatever reason, I felt comfortable expressing my hatred for the night's plans to the other girl as we sat and waited.  She laughed and said that she had been feeling the same thing... she had been dreading the night.  She was tired and just wanted to stay home.  Me, too.  We were able to commiserate and we talk about our jobs and got to know one another.  When the guys got back into the truck, they were astounded at the difference ten minutes had made.  The rest of the night we were comfortable and talkative, and we had a great time.

Thankfully, I have grown up a little bit.  I try to avoid temper tantrums and silent treatments alike.  But sometimes I revert on the inside.  Like several months ago when Jake wanted to go hang out with some old friends.  These friends were friends with Jake's ex-girlfriend, and the thought of hanging out with them made me nervous.  Every weird, insecure part of me seemed to ask "What if they end the night thinking My goodness, Jake should have stuck with the last girl?".  I just wanted to climb into my coat closet and hide and hope that maybe Jake would go without me.  But I didn't.  I texted a girlfriend who encouraged me to go and have a great time, and you know what?  I did.  I met fabulously fun new people.  They didn't kick me out or send me home or encourage Jake to dump me.  The night was a success.

Around the same time frame as the scary dinner, I found out about Culotte Camp*.  If you were not raised in a super conservative Christian home, then let me explain Culotte Camp**.  It is a youth camp where the dress code is super strict.  No sleeveless shirts, skirts and culottes on girls, only long pants on boys.  It is a dress standard that most of us are not used to.  Our church went to Culotte Camp last year, and while the accommodations and the food were great, the spirit of the camp did not fit the spirit of our church.  But for whatever reason, the decision was made, without my input, to attend this camp one more year, until a more suitable camp could be located for next year.  To be honest, when I found out about having to return to this camp, I wanted to sit right down in the floor and cry.  First of all, camp starts on July 4.  I have a new husband.  I did not want to spend our first major holiday apart.  Second, the cell phone service at Culotte Camp is non-existent.  Last year I felt completely cut off from the outside world.  It was terrible.  So when I heard the news about our planned return, I spent several days on the verge of a full-blown kicking and screaming meltdown.  I did a decent amount of whining.  And then I knew I had to make a decision.  Camp seemed like a certainty.  The plans had already been made.  The only choice I had in the matter was how on earth I would deal with it.  I could be a brat and be miserable, hating every second that I was stranded with no husband and no cell phone service, or I could suck it up and be a grownup and make the best of it.  I chose the latter.  And I am so glad I did.  I added camp to my prayer list, and I began to pray for a different experience than we had last year.  I wanted our kids to look past the differences in standards and the mild inconveniences the week would bring, and I wanted them to see Jesus.  I wanted the kids to leave with changed hearts because of a week spent with Him.  My attitude towards camp began to change.  My sweet husband took camp week off so that he could attend with me.  That made the thought of camp far more bearable.

This past week, the pastor and I started looking at our camp numbers.  Because of the timing of camp, being held during July 4th week, participation was kind of scarce.  Our church that should be taking 35 kids to camp only had 7 campers signed up.  It seemed like a long way to go to take such a small group.  And do you want to know what God did?  He performed a miracle, right in front of my very eyes.  He changed the pastor's mind.  (The pastor is my dad so I am allowed to say that)  We began to brainstorm about some camp alternatives, and we came up with an incredibly fun alternative plan that does not include culottes or driving to a state with the bumpiest highways in the U.S.A.  I cannot divulge all the secret information about where we are going, and what we will be doing, but I can tell you that I am excited to get to spend time one on one with these kids.  I am excited about what God will do in their little lives, even though they will not be sitting under preaching three times a day.  This is going to be a great trip, and I am expecting great things.

I can't promise that I am over it.  I will probably be a brat sometime in the future over another situation that I dislike and I can't control.  But for now, I have a fair idea that when I it comes along, God will be looking down at me, and I thrash around on the floor like an idiot and scream my disapproval (in my heart, if not in real life... hopefully not in real life) for what He has allowed to come my way.  He will have one of two things waiting, an alternate plan or grace to handle the plan I hate.  And I will be humbled again as I am this moment, knowing that He is a God who cares about the little things that I care about and truly does work all things for my good.  And for that, I am grateful.

*Culotte Camp has been renamed to protect its location and reputation.  And only my family calls it Culotte Camp... it reminds us of our culotte cousins, family members that I will blog about another time.

** Let me establish here that I am not mocking culottes.  I wore them for years.  I am just not particularly fond of the way they look on me.  If you love them, you have all of my support and love and admiration.


  1. I went to a "culotte camp" as well, and had to wear them until I was 18. Sister, I feel your pain! And as always, great blog!

  2. I seriously laughed out loud when I read the end of this lol You crack me up :) It seems as though we were raised two very different ways..the opposite extremes. Be thankful for your raising. I wish mine had been a little more conservative

  3. Our church had to start our own camp weeks (1 for teens, 1 for kids) for a variety of reasons but one of them was dress code: we have teens (and children) who ride our vans to come to church who have never even heard of culottes (gasp!) and we're not sure the guys own any long pants. Frankly, we're pleased when we don't have to ask them to change their t-shirts (with swear words, beer logos, etc.)

    I'm all for dress codes but not at the expense of actual people.

    I wish you could come to our camp. 'Cause we're awesome (and we never start July 4th. That's insane). Whose idea was it to make Texas and Ohio so far apart, any way?! ;)

  4. I'm all for dress codes but not at the expense of actual people.

    Karen, this is why I love you. You are as real as a person can get. Amen and amen. And I wish we could come to your camp, too.



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