Reflections from KCYF Spring Retreat

Thoughts from your Regional Minister
By: Steve Martin, Regional Minister
April Kansas Messenger

Where is God in the Midst of our Struggles?

That question was the focus of our KCYF Spring Retreat, as Rev. Lara Blackwood Pickrel led 120 youth and sponsors with keynotes and questions.

Her keynotes helped us to examine “the knots:” anxiety and pain, trauma and suicide, and other disruptions which cause us to struggle with life. Surely God doesn’t want us to suffer? Surely God has not left us desolate in these times? Psalm 139:14 provides significant insights into the depths of God’s care for us, for we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Knowing that God has created us and knows us deeply brings an intimacy with our creator.

Lara asked the youth to express their concerns and their understanding of God’s presence through poetry. Throughout the retreat she read their writings; let me promise you, our youth have great faith! She adapted some to fit the tune “My Chains are Gone,” made popular by Chris Tomlin. Her adaptation of this poetry demonstrates God’s love and care in our human struggle.

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
Kansas Youth Poetry Edition, adapted by LBP

We all have struggles, trials and pain.
We’ve hurts Band-Aids can’t cure.
But Jesus helps our wounded hearts –
His bandages are sure.

When life feels like a boulder
teetering on the edge,
if you fall, don’t fear – for God
will help you rise again.

Abuse can scar bodies and minds.
Hold fast and don’t believe.
Instead turn to camp family —
Ask God to help you breathe.

My knots are gone, I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has untied me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace (repeat)

If your sweet heart is tied in knots
Know that you’re not alone.
Your story hasn’t reached its end.
God’s presence you will know.
God’s love and grace you’ll know.


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