An Ode To Woodleaf & It's People

There are places all over the world where the Lord has taught me things about himself – Africa, Nicaragua, Mexico, Canada, Alabama and Indiana, Costa Rica. These places have pieces of my heart and are in one way or another a home to me. California is now on this list. It has seen the good, bad, and the ugly sides of me. The most important part is that the people that turn the house into a home were found there. The sixteen interns, property staff, and many others turned California into a place where I felt welcomed, safe, and loved – a home.

This summer I have learned big things about God, my future, and myself. The Lord has transformed me into a confident woman who knows her worth. He has shown me some ugly places in my soul and redeemed them. He revealed to me how much I need him, how he is constantly pursuing my soul, and that he needs to be my foundation. I am so grateful that the Lord chose to teach me these things at Woodleaf and not in a more painful way.  Stasi Eldfedge, the author of Captiving, says "He often takes us aside from every other source of comfort so that he alone can have our hearts attention." That's exactly what happened to me. He revealed himself in a might way and I’m so happy that it was at a Young Life camp tucked away in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Clipper Mills, California

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do this summer. I was scared beyond belief, but I did it. There wasn’t a single day that a video wasn’t made. I shot and edited a grand total of 81 videos this summer. I’m proud of myself for that. I proved to myself once again that I could do things that terrify me and be okay.

This summer was full of vulnerable heart to hearts that have you coming in cowering over in embarrassment and leave you standing tall in confidence. There were many moments of pee a little, falling on the ground, stomach aching, tears in my eyes belly laughter. It was full of soul awakening adventure. There were nights of tears and gulping back sobs. We saw small glimpses of heaven each week when campers would decide to follow Jesus (praising Jesus for over 900 new believers). We learned what it means to be leaders and how to do our job with excellence. We celebrated with each other’s accomplishments and cried with each other’s failures. We learned how to live in community and deal with conflict. This summer has changed us all in one way or another and we are united in that. When I think of your faces, you sixteen Woodleaf interns, I will think of this life changing summer and for that I am forever grateful. Shauna Nieqist says, “I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift, who will use it up and wring it out and drag it around like a favorite sweater.” I think we did that this summer. You guys, I’m pretty sure we made God belly laugh.

I wish there were more words in the dictionary for me to express my gratitude and love towards you all. Here’s what I will say – I adore you. I cherish the memories. The deepest parts of my soul thank you for your presence in my life for these past three months. The bottom line is simply put, I love you and thank you.

Emily WehnerComment