I got to spend a week at Girls Camp this year. I have never been as an adult (the last time I went was in 1998) and I was a little nervous. I always had such amazing experiences at camp and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to be the kind of leader/friend/spiritual advisor that these girls needed me to be.
The fear and anxiety that I felt was really just a fear of failure. I wasn't really looking forward to sleeping in a tent, but I wasn't afraid of it. No showers for 5 days? Not comfortable, but not scary. I am not even in the YW program at church! I'm a primary teacher and I haven't been in YW for years. I was afraid that everyone would regret asking me to come to camp and that the girls I was with would have been better off with someone else.
As an "Adult Helper" I really wasn't in charge of anything. I was mostly there for supervision, support, and transportation. The girls really did everything else. I was asked to do one thing and because it was really the only thing I was actually responsible for, I really wanted to do well. I was asked to give a 5 minute talk about how the values Knowledge and Individual Worth help me to know that I am a daughter of God.
The girls would be coming by in groups to hear my message and then we would all have a short testimony meeting together where the Presidency shared their testimonies with us and then we would go back to our own individual camp sites for another testimony meeting. I knew that my words would help to set the tone for the following meetings and I wanted my message to come from the Spirit.
I sat down a few times to write, but everything that I wrote down seemed wrong. Not wrong wrong, just wrong for this. I knew I had a few more days, so I gave up and decided to try again the next day. Before I got in bed, I prayed that I would have some kind of inspiration the next day so that I would be able to write the things that would be of most importance. I said Amen, climbed in my bed and tried to fall asleep.
Ben and the kids were in Idaho at the Pitcher Family Reunion so I was all alone in bed. As I tried to fall asleep, ideas for my talk popped into my head. I was happy that I finally knew what to write and actually looked forward to writing my talk the next day. I snuggled deeper into my pillow (it's quite late by now) and tried to fall asleep. The Spirit had to practically knock me upside the head and told me that I knew myself better than that. I would forget everything if I didn't get up right then and write it down. So, a little sluggishly, I turned on my light, found my paper and pen and started to write. I wrote and wrote until my hand cramped and my pen ran out of ink. Eventually, the ideas stopped flowing, my brain turned off and I felt like I finally had permission to go to sleep.
I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.
The next morning, I read over what I had written the night before. I didn't remember most of it. It was a completely different talk than the one I thought I would write. I was worried that the Presidency would not be happy with the direction that I was taking it, but I knew in my heart that if the Holy Ghost wanted me to say these words, no one would be upset about it.
Girls Camp finally came and as the days went on, I read and re-read my talk so that I could give my presentation well. I loved the message I had been chosen to share and my testimony of prayer and personal revelation was strengthened by the experience of writing it. It was finally time for me to give my message to the first group of girls and I was ready.
Nothing. I tried to give my talk, but the words stopped on my tongue. I had the distinct thought come into my mind, "These words were for you. Not for them. They need something else."
How could this be happening? I didn't have anything else prepared to give to these girls. I started to panic, but almost as soon as the panic started, a feeling of peace came over me. I knew that the Holy Ghost would direct me and help me to know what to say to these beautiful Young Women that I had just spent 4 days with.
I don't remember most of what I said. I know that some of it was related to what I wrote down. Some of it came from stories of my own experiences. But each time I delivered my message (5 times total) it was different. I had a few girls come up to me the next day or later that night and thank me for what I said, but I feel like I was the one who really had my testimony strengthened that night. It had been many years since I had felt the awesome power of the Spirit like that.
I know that sometimes we are given answers to our prayers in ways that don't always coincide with what we want or expect. I know that our time table is not the same as the Lord's. But I know that I am a Daughter of God and that He loves me and I love Him. I know that with His help, I can do anything He wants me to do and I have nothing to fear.