Csehy Re-cap

Words can’t begin to explain Csehy, and even pictures with words can’t. There’s so much I wish I could get into words – feelings, memories, and people – but can’t. And so to spare you thousands of words that are trying to say the same thing – I’ll write just a few things, mostly the biggest lessons I learned.
Csehy as a counselor was very different from Csehy as a camper. More tiring, yes, but more worth it and more deep and close. It was exhausting and strengthening at the same time.

Flying out to Csehy I realized that I needed to re-adjust my mindset towards Csehy. I was excited to give so much to Csehy as a counselor, but realized that there was still a lot of me that was going to Csehy for me, because I love Csehy so much and was looking forward to the people and music and fellowship. But I realized that I needed to be there for the campers. As the weeks went on, this mindset took on a practical form as I applied it. Being a counselor meant being in places I hadn’t gone in the past at Csehy – like the pool, or at the student center when it was nice out. It meant giving up my free time, sleep, hymn requests, and seating ideals for the campers. It meant sitting in the student center when I wanted to be on the Frisbee field, and waiting to sing 413 until the fourth week, and not being quiet but leading conversations… I wish I had been more aware as a camper of all that counselors did – because now I feel bad for times I was thinking of myself and not of their crazy schedules. This is the hardest one to put into words, since it boiled down to so many little things every day, so many small times of giving myself up for others. I never had it down. Even on the last day I was reminding myself to let my desires go to serve campers. Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone – but if it dies, it bears much fruit. I’ve been amazed at the fruit God has brought forth from my weeks at Csehy. It was slow to grow at first, which was discouraging, but now looking back I have seen it in myself and have heard of it in my campers. Praise Him!

A second lesson was that of being still and worshipful – to go to Him for thanks or prayer in everything, and also to let go of troubles for a time and focus on Him alone – not Him in the troubles, but Him only. It’s easy for me to be quiet, but I was learning to be quiet for longer and quiet in my heart – still before Him. Some of us had a shared cloud and star obsession (distraction), and while we loved the clouds, we loved them so much because of who had made them, and what they showed us about Him. And so I was learning to take in all that was around me, thinking, praying, thanking Him for all of it. I learned to do it on the easy days where all I had to think about were the clouds and waterfalls, and also on the hard days when so many more thoughts were swarming in my mind. I learned to do it inside, outside, singing, practicing, falling asleep… And now back home I’m striving to keep that up, thinking of Him always. The most beautiful way this was shown was in some of our counselor prayer times. Every night we prayed together, and we often did it different ways – small groups, one person praying, anyone who wanted to, specific people – but my favorite was when we took prayer requests and then pushed them aside for a time of thanksgiving. These were often one-sentence prayers thanking God for things He had done or who He was. It was so calm and peaceful, no matter what had happened that day or what prayer requests had just been brought to our attention – because we were reminded of who our God is and the mighty things He can do. When there’s turmoil and when there’s stillness – go to Him and not just to think a lot, but to listen and wait for Him.

Related to prayer, and prayer times in particular, there was a lot I learned about spiritual warfare. Before Csehy, I was often skeptical when people talked about “feeling” spiritual warfare, and cautious in talking about Satan working, etc. Early on, one counselor shared a dream he had with us, reminding us to be praying for the spiritual warfare going on, but also that Jesus was stronger – he hadn’t been afraid in the dream, but had called out to God. That night I was afraid as I went to bed and felt a heaviness on my hall. I went to bed praying, and the next night shared a verse of a hymn that I had thought of with all the counselors:
“Satan, I defy thee
Death, I now decry thee
Fear, I bid thee cease
World, thou shalt not harm me
Nor thy threats alarm me
While I sing of peace
God’s great pow’r guards every hour
Earth and all its depths adore Him
Silent bow before Him.”
Later I was made aware of some very real spiritual warfare going on right on my hall. I realized the heaviness I felt from time to time was a spiritual presence and often spent longer than usual praying before bed. It was amazing to see the victories God had at Csehy, as we labored as His hands and feet and He moved hearts and was our shield and defender. It was frightening at times, but He is so much more powerful than the devil.

It was so clear to us that it was God who was working, especially as the weeks wore on and our strength waned. We were sick, and injured (three knee injuries in the counselors the first week, but He provided physical strength as well as spiritual). Week three I was going through some things personally and was feeling especially tired and helpless, but it was one of those nights that devos went the best – a sure sign of His power made perfect in our weakness. We do our duty and He moves hearts – this was great comfort to me as I heard of conversations the other counselors were having with campers or in devotions that I wasn’t having anything near that depth, and so I was discouraged. But His word does not return void, and if we are faithful, there will be fruit – fruit I have now seen at least a little bit of. My success and my job weren’t based on the openness of my campers or in what I saw, but in being there and working to be used by God. And He did use me.

And then prayer. I touched on this some already, but there’s even more to that. I was challenged to be bold and faithful in prayer – He says He can do far more than we ask or imagine – but my prayers are often so shallow and for small things, when He can do so much more. And He does answer prayer. There were many ways we saw this, but personally this was made clear to me in the gift of an older brother. I used to pray for an older brother – knowing it couldn’t technically happen but still wanting it. And then for years I didn’t pray for it and forgot I had done so – until this summer, when Jonathan said out of the blue how odd it seemed for his little sister to be getting married, but how excited he was for that. And then we realized he had always wanted a little sister and I had always wanted an older brother – and God had answered those prayers in the past years, and the next few weeks were made so much sweeter by that friendship (in stargazing, cloud chasing, fellowship, and even the teasing).

{with Jonathan and Mark – his real brother and my other ‘little’ brother}

{and a “sibling picture” at Moss Lake – the place Jonathan, Sarah, and I loved most to be quiet}

Csehy is a family in so many ways (and there are those who aren’t just like family, but are family), and the love found there is amazing – so amazing it makes me wonder – if earthly love can be so deep and strong, then how much greater is His love for us? I saw this love displayed in so many ways this summer – the way others poured their lives into me in countless ways, even in little things like giving me a reed or giving up a small shirt – or going to get that small shirt for some child of mine someday, or teachers giving me care beyond music – like Mrs. Harding checking up on how it was being a counselor and helping me with other things. I learned again how much people love me when Mrs. Rawleigh and Mrs. Harding were gone but I had something I needed to talk to someone about, and found that care once again in others at Csehy when I finally opened up. The love was overwhelming at times. And God’s love was also displayed in so many ways – I particularly think of all the things that could have happened but didn’t, all because of His goodness, and His gifts of clouds and stars that were so beautiful but blessings that were totally undeserved. I often thought of the verse “Because of His great love for us, we are not consumed.”

Musically, I learned that even though I don’t want to be a stereotypical oboist blaming everything on reeds… sometimes it is the reed – and if I had been willing to say that sooner, a lot of trouble would have been spared me. We also worked more and more on phrasing and expression, and I basically sight-read band music for the first time – something I always wanted to try and finally got to as a counselor. I also checked playing prelude and playing in a recital at Csehy – and the comp recital, no less – off my bucket list. The first week I was discouraged because I was finding time to practice an hour a day, but was having to make that time and wondering if it was the best use of my time and where I was going with my music. But as has always happened, God provided opportunities for me to play at Csehy – mostly through prelude and the composition recital, but also as we had fewer oboe campers and I had ensemble music to practice as well. I often worry about not having outlets for music, but God has always provided – something I’m bad at remembering when there don’t seem to be any opportunities.
Another thing I realized is that even the best musicians make mistakes. I was really down about my performance in the composition recital, and even though Mrs. Rawleigh and the composers were happy, I wasn’t. But then in the next hours as I watched others, even professionals, perform and make mistakes, though small, they were still there, a reminder to me that no one is perfect – and that’s half the reason I love music – always places to go and grow.
And one final lesson, from Mr. Stith – “Music without expression is like math.”

{my hall, week 3}
This post would not be complete without a shout-out to all fourteen of my girls. I got to know some better than others, but all of them were a blessing to me and taught me things. They were so hilarious and fun, but also had so much insight into the Word of God and had strengths that really challenged some of my weaknesses. Tribe of Hinneh – you rock. I love you all!

{these two were my 4-week campers – and this pictures sums them up pretty well}

And now as I’m at home, looking at a time between Csehy and getting married – feeling the sorrow of leaving both my family and Csehy – though Lord willing neither will be a final parting – and keep thinking of the song “Far From the Home I Love” from Fiddler on the Roof.

Post-Csehy is always lonely, coming away from weeks of intense fellowship and music-making. But there’s still much to learn from that. My friend Catie wrote:” Life is like a flute. It may have holes and emptiness, but if we work on it, the same holes and emptiness produce beautiful melodies.” (and then claimed that was why the flute was so wonderful – but the oboe has the same thing…).

Life circumstances may change, but God never does. He’s the same at Csehy and out of Csehy, with and without my older brother, in good times and bad, whether or not we ever see each other or return to Csehy again. Heaven will be such a sweet reunion – but when we’re there, I wonder if we’ll even care about seeing each other again, since we’ll be beholding God face to face.


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