Today’s article, by Sister Christine Martorana, is part of the GMBA Camp In. Be sure to check the calendar below for today’s events.
When I was in my early 20s, I struggled with an eating disorder, low self-esteem, and anxiety. For anyone who has experienced even just one of these things, you understand how debilitating it can be. You understand that deep-rooted feeling of never being good enough, the constant feelings of doubt and worry, the struggle to put on a good show — to look stable and secure when you are really feeling fragile and broken.
At least that’s how it felt for me.
I knew I needed help, and so I talked to my parents, and they helped me find a therapist. I started seeing her on a regular basis, and she introduced me to some really helpful techniques like mindfulness training and journaling. In my meetings with her, I started talking out loud about my issues for the first time, and I made some really good progress during these therapy sessions. Looking back, I am thankful that I was able to have counseling and that my parents were supportive during this process. Still, despite the positive steps I took, I felt unable to fully overcome my problems.
It was in this condition that I went to the 2006 GMBA Camp. I was no stranger to GMBA Campouts; they have been part of my summers for as long as I can remember. Every year, seminars had been one of my very favorite parts. I loved being in a room of my peers, talking and sharing, laughing and crying. That year, I was in a seminar class led by Brother Doug Obradovich and my dad, Brother Chuck Maddox. As anyone who has ever been in a seminar led by these two knows, it’s always amazing. It is full of fun icebreakers, honest sharing, personal reflection, and activities that really make you dig deep into the Camp theme.
And while all of this was happening around me, I remember feeling distant and removed. It literally felt like I had a hard-shell exterior, and everything I was seeing and hearing in the seminar and at Campout in general was bouncing off and away from me.
Remember that struggle I mentioned earlier? The one to put on a good show — to look stable and secure when inside you are really feeling fragile and broken? That was how I was feeling: an immense pressure to maintain the appearance of strength.
On Wednesday morning, I walked into our seminar room, and Brother Doug and my dad passed out papers cut into the shape of footprints. They explained that we don’t always know what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes, and they invited us to write on the footprints what it is like to walk in our shoes. We could share anything about our lives, positive or negative, and it would remain anonymous.
I remember staring at the footprint paper, blinking back tears. My heart was racing, and for the first time in a long time, I felt a crack in my hard-shell exterior. I started filling in the footprint with honest, emotional descriptions of what it was like to be me that past year, and it was if I was writing directly to God. The more I wrote, the more that hard-shell exterior cracked. I started asking God to help me, to rescue me, to pick up my broken pieces and put me back together.
When we were finished writing, we stood in a circle, holding hands. They asked someone to pray. I don’t remember who prayed, but I do remember that during that prayer, something inside of me changed — and the only explanation is God’s power. I raised my hands up in the air and completely surrendered myself — my mind and my body — to God. My eyes were closed, and so I don’t know if anyone else saw me, but it was in that very moment, for the first time in many months, that I felt whole.
As I think back upon this experience now, I can see God’s beautiful power in my healing journey. The therapy sessions I went to were helpful, and I know God used them to help my recovery, but it wasn’t until that moment in my Campout seminar, when I truly felt whole again. The reality is, we serve an amazing, powerful God who is able and willing to rescue us and build us back up when we need it. Sometimes, we need a push to get there — and that seminar at GMBA Camp 2006 was the push I needed.
What’s coming up next?
Today, Tuesday, July 7
- 11 a.m. Eastern – The Power of the Process, presented by Brothers Tom D’Orazio, Chuck Maddox, Sr., and Chuck Maddox, Jr., airing on the GMBA YouthCast channel.
- 3 p.m. Eastern – Kids’ Power Hour live Zoom meeting for ages 5-12, presented by Sisters Alyssa Maddox, Maddy Lambert, and Olivia Siebert. Keep an eye on the Gospel Email, Gospel Net, and GMBA social media for the Zoom links and instructions.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, July 8
- 11 a.m. Eastern – Coffee Talk: What Is the Power of God to You? Presented by special guests and airing on the GMBA YouthCast channel.
- 8 p.m. Eastern – Live Zoom meeting for youth ages 13-30, facilitated by Brothers Cameron Staley and Aaron Palmeri. Keep an eye on the Gospel Email, Gospel Net, and GMBA social media for the Zoom links and instructions.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.