In some ways, I can just vaguely recall what our daily life was like before we moved to Salem Acres. It has become home, and the way we live here has brought many blessings into our lives. I have watched my husband mature and grow deeper into his faith, through the work God has called him to here. I have witnessed and been blessed to be a part of lives inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit, and the process begin of outward transformation. Our children have had the blessing of endless amounts of green grass and towering trees to explore, opportunities to serve (even at very young ages) and experience the community (what we like to call our “camp family”) with the friends that regularly come through our doors, sharing in laughter and the carrying of one another’s burdens.
But, there have been great trials here too. Near the beginning, when we were raising our own support, the fear of not enough money coming in became a reality. We’ve had marital challenges from the learning curve of balancing ministry and family. We’ve had to adjust to the seclusion and isolation of living in the middle of nowhere. We’ve experienced loneliness and missing of relationships that were left behind in Calgary, or that were incredibly altered due to the distance. We’ve experienced challenges with communication and all that was required or expected of us. Through the ups and downs of camp life, God has consistently reminded me of his truth in Romans 5:3-4
“…but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
How greatly we have seen this in our own lives, and praise God for it!
Not all aspects of living at Salem Acres have been easy. Not all aspects of being “Anthony’s wife” or “the camp managers wife”, have been easy. Don’t misunderstand me, I love being known as Anthony’s wife. But sometimes it’s nice when people remember your name too.
In the summer I’ve had to accept that, though still part of the body of Christ, I am not a hand. I am not a foot. I am not a leg. I kept wishing I were. Wishing that, despite my first and foremost role of wife and mother, I could somehow and somewhere squeeze myself into a gifting that God had never given to me. That he has not called me to. I struggled between desiring to continue to be a constant presence, teacher, and comfort to our children (especially in the summer when there was less Daddy time than usual) - and wishing I could go be a cabin leader. Wishing I could be as involved as Anthony was. I was surprised to find I often felt “left out”, unable to participate in everything as Anthony could. I scoffed at myself to find jealousy of my husband, wishing I could be doing the things he was, and impacting people the way he was. After the first couple summers of this inward battle with myself and struggle to find where my place was as a Wife and Mom at Salem Acres, I feel like God has given me a peace and a joy and acceptance for the ways I do get to be involved. Through praying for my husband, supporting and releasing him to serve in the ways God has gifted and called him to. Through praying for the staff in my own quiet time, even if I can’t be there every morning for staff meeting (because I have little one’s who need help when they wake). Through continuing as head Lifeguard and enjoying the times I get to go out on the river with the staff and campers. Through, most recently, doing mentoring and encouraging our staff to hold fast to Christ through the challenges that life presents. Freedom and joy came when I surrendered what I felt like I “should be doing” and embraced what I could do. When I stopped living under the condemnation of “it’s not enough” and started living the grace of “He is enough.” With this, I want to equally encourage you to be the part of the body that God has designed you to be. Don’t waste time and energy trying to make yourself into something you’re not. A hand cannot make itself see like an eye, and an eye cannot make itself hear like an ear. God has gifted you in specific ways, and just as the physical body needs each part to be cooperating to be functioning well, so the spiritual body needs each part to be embracing its design. Embrace the way God has made you, the gifting he has given you, and there you will find great peace and joy. Maybe, like me, you feel limited in your service or participation because of a season of life that you’re in. Accept your season, because it too, is a gift from God. Ask yourself “Where am I able to serve?”
Becky Martin is a Christ follower, wife, and mother of five children. Though the majority of her days are spent homeschooling, changing diapers and instructing/teaching little hands and hearts, she is also passionate about health and fitness. She enjoys a myriad of physical activities, and swimming has always been a part of her. Her and her family live on-site year-round at Salem Acres Bible Camp, where she has served as head lifeguard for the past four summers. She loves the opportunity living at camp brings to encourage and disciple other believers, and share the gospel not just with words, but with action.