This month always brings to mind cherished memories. Every July, I am reminded of a special time I haven’t shared much about. For three years, my daughter Karina and her two best friends would hold a summer day camp for girls at our home in Gig Harbor.

The home we raised our children in for twenty years was the perfect location for a camp. The first day we moved in, Karina had commented, “Mom, we could have a summer camp here!” I definitely agreed. We learned that the property our home was built on had actually been a YMCA camp back in the 1930s. Our home was located on the beach and was the ultimate venue and we wanted to share it with everyone — it had a pool, sport court, and a guesthouse which was perfect for a club room.

A photo of the 1930s YMCA Camp hosted on our Gig Harbor property — almost 100 years ago!

The day camp was named Summer Splash and was a week of action and adventure — a highlight of our summer! I was the camp manager and Karina (a 6th grader at the time) and her two best friends ran the camp as its program directors. For weeks they would plan and organize. Thirty-five girls ages 5-10 would arrive each afternoon ready to jump into the array of activities with anticipation. At the end of the day’s events, we would lead the girls in song and Karina would gather them in the clubroom to give a short talk about Jesus. All day long as I walked around our property, I heard squeals of delight and over and over heard the girl’s exclaim, “This is the best week of my life!”

The Summer Splash campers

My favorite time was helping lead the girls in song on our back deck. Our deck overlooked the Puget Sound with its sandy beach. There was a grassy, flat patch facing the deck that made the perfect stage. Karina and her friends led the girls in song while I accompanied them on my guitar. This was camp life at its best! One particular song was a favorite of all: “Big House” by Audio Adrenaline. I share the lyrics of the chorus because they were catchy and stayed in your head all day long:

“Come and go with me to my Father’s house,
Come and go with me to my Father’s house.
It’s a big big house with lots and lots of room,
A big big table with lots and lots of food,
A big big yard where we can play football,
A big big house It’s my fathers house.”

We sang this song over and over again. I found myself humming the tune and thinking of the words after everyone was gone for the day.

Karina and the other program directors singing on the “stage” at Summer Splash

One evening after everyone had left something unexpected happened. As the lyrics of the song lingered in my mind and I was silently singing the words, “It’s a big big house with lots and lots of rooms,” I began to get annoyed with the repetitiveness. Suddenly the phone rang and I answered to hear my older brother’s voice. My brother NEVER calls.

He wanted to share something with me about our mother that he had never talked about with anyone before. I listened intently. He revealed the last coherent words she had said before she died. This was a very sacred phone call. My mom passed away nineteen years ago on July 12th. This memory always comes to mind this time of year.

He told me that she said, “I see many rooms and I want to go there.” He wondered what those words meant.

He thought maybe she was talking about the hospital. He wanted my perspective. I was stunned by these words and the timing because I had just literally been singing the song about the big house with lots and lots of rooms all day. I said to my brother, “John, Mom isn’t talking about the hospital. She is talking about heaven!” I rushed to my bedroom to get my Bible. Looking in the concordance I found the verse about many rooms and read it to him.

Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you.”

John 14:2

The lyrics of the song confirmed this verse! I continued in my amazement and said, “John, this is such a significant verse. Mom was having a glimpse of heaven.” I went on to boldly ask my brother if he believed in Jesus. He assured me he did. His response was more than I could have asked for or imagined since I had prayed for my brother to know Jesus EVERY day since I was twelve years old (30 years to be exact!!) Now here I was years later having this most sacred conversation that brought me comfort, peace and joy.

This is a cherished memory I hold in my heart and I’m so thankful for God’s perfect timing. Karina’s summer camp led me to the most memorable moment with my brother and the answer to my prayers. My mom and Karina are in heaven now and this is the hope and assurance we have in Jesus that we too will be together in God’s big house forever!

Karina and my mother, now is heaven together

With hope and light,

Catch up on last week’s journal entry!

Purpose and Pain
a guest entry by Lauren Harrison