I am oh so excited to introduce you to Miss Clair today. I met Clair when I was working for a non-profit that puts on a little something something every summer called Op Camp [yep, the place that God used to talk to my heart about adoption? same place. it's pretty special part of my story] She now works full time for the ministry as the girls youth leader basically and she's amazing. like no one else I've ever met before. last week [when we went to hear Bob Goff, ya know?] well Clair was there as Op Camp was putting it on. and she said something really profound about her time with her girls at Op Camp, she said...."I helped change their story, but really more than that they changed mine".
I teared up a little bit because that's exactly my experience with Op Camp and I've taken it to every part of my life.
so I asked her to share today! Enjoy ;)
“I had a good loud voice, and I wasn’t afraid to be goofy or zany.” – Carol Burnett
Anybody can change the world: I’m just a clown.
Eight years ago, I lost my mind.
I lost my mind, and I loved it.
It happened when I stepped off a bus of screaming children and into one of the most ridiculous and rewarding weeks of my life. Armed with my Bible, a dirty A&M ball cap, and a suitcase full of outrageous costumes – I only thought I was prepared for what Opportunity Camp had in store for me.
If you’re not familiar with Opportunity Camp, let me break it down for you – Take 200 at-risk elementary kids, 100 high school students on fire for Jesus, throw them in cabins together for a week, teach them about aforementioned Jesus, love them (even if they don’t want you to – especially if they don’t want you to), eat as much food as possible, and act a complete fool and I present you with: Op Camp.
Now, for a 15 year old girl who loved her Jesus, loved people, and was nothing but braces and legs with a sense of humor attached to ‘em, this sounded like Heaven.
For as long as I could remember, I’ve made people laugh. Being the middle child, I’ve heard it’s something I have no control over. We’re destined to be the entertainment. It only seemed fair that I take on this role since my older brother Tom had the certified genius thing covered, and my younger sister Grace had to take one for the team by being gorgeous and head cheerleader. Obviously, we needed someone to cover jokes and being slightly artistic - you’re welcome, family.
But I embraced it, and I loved every minute of it. I loved it because it brought people joy. And if there’s one thing I know my Jesus is all about – it’s joy. So I took that joy and my jokes to camp with me, and very simply said, “Do with me what you will, Lord.”
And oh, how He did.
I could tell you countless stories from my experiences at Op Camp. You may hear a few that sound like, “And I knew in that moment, the Lord had changed something in her heart.” But more than likely you’ll hear ones that sound like, “So, it was the middle of the night, and my entire cabin was standing on the side of the hill, holding a mattress, and we were taking turns surfing down to the bottom – all in complete silence – because we knew if we woke up the adults, we were all dead.”
[just for fun, some of the girls at Op Camp summer 2011 (or was it 2010?) clair on far right, me on far left..right after we did a killer skit for the talent show]
But as I write this, there’s one story that’s sticking to my heart.
It was my second year at camp and fourth session. By this point, I was in a committed relationship with Op Camp, and we couldn’t be happier. Before we loaded the bus to leave Midland, we had a little bit of time to get to know our campers for the week. Things were looking pretty promising, until I met Darrion. Now, you have to understand, I’ve always been tall. Tall and lanky. (Tom often refers to me as Betty Spaghetti – I allow it because she has killer hair) So, standing at 5’ 10” I rarely encountered another girl of my height or taller, especially not one younger than me.
Enter Darrion. This girl walks into the gym, 6 feet tall, 180 pounds, and a look of “Get out of my face, or I’ll strangle you with your nametag lanyard in 20 seconds.” Naturally, I wanted to be her best friend.
I came to two conclusions that day though:
1) Darrion might kill me in my sleep.
2) Darrion did not want to be my best friend.
Despite her rejecting my best friendship advances, I didn’t let this deter me. In classic Clair fashion, I persisted, and when we stepped into our cabin that first day, I again quietly said, “Do with me what you will, Lord.”
And that’s exactly what I did. I hugged her constantly, I danced with and around her, I talked about what our best friends t-shirts would look like, I engaged her, I made her feel uncomfortable, and finally, that Wednesday – I made her laugh. Soon, she was hugging me back, hugging me first. She was dancing with me. She was insisting our shirts be maroon.
She was smiling.
She was happy, and I loved her.
The following night, as we sat on her bunk bed, and she said, “Miss Clair, tell me about Jesus.” I looked her in the eye and smiled. “He loves you. More than anything.”
She gave her life to my Jesus that night, and He became our Jesus. The next morning, before we loaded up the bus to return home, she woke me up and said, “Miss Clair, I heard they’re baptizing people in the pool today. Will you baptize me?”
I tell you now, I have never been more humbled in my life. That day, in the shallow end of a pool filled with freezing water, I baptized all 6 feet and 180 pounds of Darrion… and then I baptized three of her friends. Three friends who had listened as Darrion told them what the Lord had done in her heart. Because of her, they made the decision to follow our Jesus.
Eight years ago, I lost my mind.
I lost my mind to gain His heart.
I love that Wynne asks us to challenge to you. I can’t limit myself to just one, so I offer you –
CLAIR’S MAGICAL LIFE-CHANGING SUPER AWESOME CHALLENGES LIST 2013 (the title needs work)
1. Lose your mind. Jump into something insane and simply say, “Do with me what you will, Lord.”
2. Laugh hard. Do whatever you can to bring joy to those around you. Be goofy. Be terrible at dancing. Do a somersault and pop up in front of someone you just met before shaking their hand. Be a clown.
3. Love hard. Hug until someone hugs you back. Listen. Engage. Care. Gain His heart.
Anybody can change the world: I just like to make people laugh.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
“Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” - C. S. Lewis
Clair can be reached...
PO Box 2411
Midland tx 79702
the full time Op Camp staff + Bob Goff.
they are doing amazing things for the kingdom of God by mentoring at risk youth.
would you pray for them today?