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Beauty. What a simple and yet complicated concept. It lives in the physical and the heart. For women, beauty seems to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks we encounter. The topic creeps up on us right around junior high, and then we never quite grow out of it.

Now, for any men reading this who think that this topic is irrelevant to them, don’t tune me out just yet.  There might be something in here for you, too.

A question was posed to me by a peer when I was a senior in high school.  A girl that I met as a camper here at Lake Ann said to me, “I’ve looked at a waterfall and said that it was beautiful. I looked at a tree and said that it was beautiful. And I’ve looked at the stars and said that they were beautiful. I’ve even looked at a rock and said that it was beautiful. So why is it that as soon as I look in the mirror, all of a sudden God’s creation isn’t beautiful anymore?”

This past summer, I was a camp counselor for the second year in a row and just like the time before, it was absolutely life-changing.

It was such a privilege because once again I got amazing one-on-one time with so many truly beautiful girls. Not only did I get to laugh and cry with my campers, but I had the incredible honor of telling each of those girls that they were loved by a perfect, creative, empathetic and all-knowing God.

One of my favorite opportunities as a counselor is the night hike that we take all of our junior high campers on.  The stars up here at Lake Ann are the best stars that I have ever seen.  Some of our guests have even told us that the stars here are as clear as they are up in the mountains of Colorado!  So, it isn’t hard for our campers to see the enormity of our Creator and be in awe of his creativity.

Once we walk our campers out to the middle of a wide-open field, we circle them up and dazzle them with mind-blowing facts about the number of stars in our galaxy, the number of known galaxies in the universe, etc… – but most shocking of all is to think about how small we are in comparison to all of it.

After our campers are feeling rather small, we tell them that God knows every single star by name, just as he knows all of them by name. And not only does he know their names, but he knows the number of hairs on each of their heads as well.

Now, hearing this information is new to a lot of these campers.  How could a God so big not only know about the things in our lives that seem insignificant but also care about those things?

After we unpack that topic just a little bit more I like to have all of my girls lie on their backs and just look up at the stars for a few minutes without talking. As some time passed, I asked them to describe God in one word.

For a majority of them the answer is always the same:


That’s when I get to talk to those girls about beauty

“Yes. God made the stars and He made them beautiful. But God didn’t send his Son to die for the stars.  He sent his Son to die for you.

How overwhelming that concept was for me when someone spoke that truth into my life!  The God of the universe loves me perfectly.  I am created in His image.  He loves me even more than He loves the stars.  Who am I to say that His creation is not beautiful? Who am I to say that anyone else created in His image is not beautiful?

Now summer is over and winter is fast approaching. I am a LIFT intern at Lake Ann Camp and my duties now are, in many ways, different than they were during the summer.  Rather than screaming cheers and running around like a maniac having fun with campers half my age, the other interns and I are cleaning toilets, writing papers and hosting guest groups.

Ministry isn’t always glamorous

I’m really learning what every part of ministry looks like.  It isn’t always glamorous and inspirational – sometimes it’s dirty and monotonous.

But, several weeks ago Lake Ann had its first ladies retreat, and the interns were put in charge of leading a night hike on Saturday evening.

After we took all of the ladies out and away from all the lights of camp, I shared with them the very same truth that I shared with my junior high girls. I told them that they were beautiful.

The next day I had a couple of those women come up and thank me. The struggle with self-image is not something that goes away after high school. Every woman wrestles with it, no matter their age.

The truth of beauty is a concept that we want all of our campers and guests to take home with them. It was said to me once that camping is not our ministry, camping is how Lake Ann does ministry.  Yes, we want our guests to have a blast while they stay with us, but above all, we want to reveal to them the truth of God’s love and care for each one of them.

God wants to have a relationship with you and He desires You. God sent His only Son to die on a cross for you. You are loved.

God created you in His image. You are beautiful.

Emily Anderson, LIFT intern 2013/2014

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