Meet Ciara Jarrett, our newest and youngest blogger:
I went to church camp for the first time this year. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I did not expect the amazing work God did in my life while I was there. Words cannot describe the change my heart has gone through. There are so many things I learned that I feel I could write almost a whole book on the subject.
Today I want to focus on what was probably the most radical change.
And it involves the zip line.
I knew before we ever headed out for the camp that there was a zip line. I was excited to try it, not having ever been on one before. I was also very nervous. I am not a daredevil in the slightest and the idea of willingly stepping off of a high ledge made my stomach turn around every time I thought about it. Still, I determined that I would try it the very first chance I got.
This zip line was a simple, relatively short stretch down a decent sized hill. After suiting up with a harness, trolley, hairnet, and helmet, I walked up the hill to the beginning of the zip line. The walk took a little while and I arrived with burning legs and lungs. After climbing the stairs up to the platform I would be jumping off of, I had a volunteer hook my trolley to the line and, after receiving an “all-clear”, she told me I could go when ready.
I was not ready at all, but I had gotten all the way up there and I wasn’t about to back down. So I gritted my teeth, held my breath, and squeezed my eyes shut in anticipation of the stomach-flipping drop that I was sure would put my heart in my throat and I stepped off.
To my surprise my stomach didn’t budge an inch and my heart stayed firmly lodged in my chest. Instead of a steep, seemingly uncontrolled ride, it was a smooth, gradual descent that sent my spirit soaring and put a smile on my face.
I did it twice more the next day.
And it was worth it both times.
Now you may be thinking, Great story, Ciara, but how was this an amazing heart change from God? Well, it wasn’t. It was, however, a great parallel for the heart change that did happen.
Through a series of events I don’t have space to go into here, I felt God calling me to let go of control. To let him control my life, my actions, my thoughts, my passions… my everything. Now, this is something God will ask of every single person on this earth if they will listen to him. I was listening, he asked, and I responded.
It was a struggle for me to understand what God was asking of me and it took me a while to figure it out. In the same way, it was a struggle for me to reach the top of that zip line and the climb took some time.
When I finally figured out what needed to happen, that I needed to let go of control, I felt a moment of fear. It felt almost exactly like the fear that I felt as I stood on that platform and was told to jump off. My stomach did a whole gymnastics routine, but, like I said, I was listening to God. I had come this far and I was not about to back down. No way on earth would I pretend I hadn’t heard him.
So I let go.
I released my grip, I stepped off of the ledge.
I wasn’t ready and I wasn’t ever going to be.
My heart is still soaring because this ride on God’s spiritual zip line is so amazing. Things I never even dreamed of God doing in my life are happening on a daily basis. Doors are opening everywhere I turn. I have passion and joy like never before and I can see it affecting other people around me.
As I look back at the experience, I think about what would have happened if I had just stayed at the top of that zip line and never taken the ride. No one else would have been able to go either. I would have held up the line. Similarly, if I had not given God control of my life no one would ever be able to be inspired by my story and want to follow in my footsteps. No one would have been able to follow me on the ride. Instead, because I did take the ride, I am confident that God will use my story and my life to be an inspiration to those who hear it and that awes and humbles me beyond words.
Because I had such an amazing experience at camp, I decided to go with the junior-high group as a sponsor. I want to be a part of God’s work in the hearts of the next group of kids. At the time of writing this I am scheduled to leave for that trip in three days. And you know what? I think I’ll ride that zip-line again.