I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

A number of years ago I volunteered to go with four Aldersgate youth to FredCamp, a week-long mission/workcamp for youth in Fredericksburg. While I had been on work/mission trips, I had never served as a chaperone/responsible adult. On our arrival in Fredericksburg, the five of us were split up and each placed on different work teams. I was assigned as the lone adult on a team with the five youngest kids at camp, all fifteen years old. None had ever been to a camp such as this. Holy smokes! What was I to do? Here I was, a rookie chaperone with no knowledge about how to complete the assigned tasks. How was I going to keep these five kids engaged all week? How was I supposed to provide the site leadership and the expected spiritual guidance? God and the camp organizers must have been planning this just for me as the theme scripture for the week was Philippians 4:13. We even got t-shirts with this passage emblazoned on them. So, I thought, “OK God, if you think I can do this, give me the strength.” And God did. We had a fantastic week! Our team bleached the mold from the siding of an elderly woman’s home, tore down a half-fallen metal shed, cleaned up brush on her property, repaired her front steps, and even painted her small home.

Since then, this has been my “go to” scripture when the going gets rough. When work gets stressful, when I’m facing a difficult personal decision, and even when I’m tackling what seems like an overwhelming church project, I turn to this verse. Recently, on a hiking tour in Tuscany, Italy I repeated this verse over and over as I ascended steep inclines and trudged through fields so muddy that my shoes were sucked off my feet. These words have been particularly reassuring to me over the past seven months as I learned to cope with my mother’s death and adjust to life without her. There have been many challenges, but I have been able to handle them: I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And, praise God, He DOES strengthen me.

Susan Painter

Prayer: Father God, Thank you for always being there and giving me strength and courage to face the hurdles that pop up before me, both the little ones and even those seemingly-insurmountable mountains. I know you are with me every step. Amen.