by Jenny Lay Posted May 19, 2020
On the evening of February 3, 2013, Kimberlie Brashear watched the Baltimore Ravens face off against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. She was snuggled up on the couch, taking in the game with her two kids, Meredith and Christopher, and their father, Bob. They had been divorced for five years, but they co-parented well and always aimed to do what was best for the kids. Not really caring about the game, Kimberlie hopped on Facebook on her iPad and stumbled across Pine Cove’s “Camp for Life” promotional giveaway. One lucky winner was going to win a week of youth camp for one of their children every summer until they graduated. To enter the contest, she simply had to comment with an answer to the question: “Why do you want to come to camp?” Kimberlie typed in a quick response about wanting to give her kids a connection to Christ. That evening the Ravens were declared the Super Bowl champs, and the next day Kimberlie was declared the winner of “Camp for Life!”
“I cried for three days,” Kimberlie relayed when asked to describe her response. The Brashears participated in parent/child weekends at Pine Cove, and Kimberlie had always wanted to send both kids to summer camp. Winning the contest enabled Kimberlie to bless her kids in a way she wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.
What seemed like a random coincidence was the first of many events that God wove together to create a beautiful tapestry of growth and restoration.
That summer, Kimberlie used the Camp for Life promotion to send her daughter Meredith to the Towers. Meredith hadn’t ever spent more than a night away from home and was excited, but nervous—as was Kimberlie. Meredith was tightly squeezing her mom’s hand as they got out of the car at drop-off. A summer staffer came over to take Meredith’s trunk, and they recognized him—an older brother of Christopher’s friend! Kimberlie knew he would be at camp, but what are the odds that he would be one of the first to greet them and welcome them to the Towers? In Kimberlie’s words: “God knew the odds.”
Just minutes later, another God-ordained conversation took place. Through the customary chit-chat that happens as parents are getting their kids settled into the cabin, Kimberlie discovered that one of Meredith’s cabin mates had, years before, lived in the same home that Kimberlie lived in as a teenager. They bonded over the fact that they had, at different times, resided in the exact same bedroom. Kimberlie described the conversation as one “that only God can put together to soothe the souls of mothers dropping their little girls off to be cared for by strangers for a week.”
She continued, “[It] shifted me off of being nervous for Meredith and understanding that we are all daughters in Christ and are coming to Him in parallel and connected paths.”
A week later, when Kimberlie picked Meredith up, she discovered her week had been so great that they pre-registered both Meredith and her brother Christopher for the same week of camp the following summer.
Meredith has gone to camp each summer since, and she will be going back for her seventh and final summer, her senior year, at the Shores in 2020. Christopher attended each year until his last summer at the Shores in 2017.
What has camp meant to Kimberlie’s kids?
Her son, Christopher, who is naturally quiet and reserved, had the opportunity to come out of his shell for a few days each summer when he was at Pine Cove. “We always saw a different side of him, one that shared how he felt, who bonded with cabin mates and counselors, and who looked forward to the next year,” Kimberlie shared.
She continued, “Meredith has become secure and outspoken about her faith and prays easily and often.” She has never submitted a cabin mate request and just trusts the Lord to put her where she needs to be. This has allowed her to see that she is worthy of acceptance. “The last couple of years it is so clear that the cabin and Pine Cove feels like a safe space for her,” expressed Kimberlie.
Kimberlie asked Meredith what Pine Cove means to her. “What it means to me?” Meredith repeated, almost incredulously, “Pine Cove has made me who I am today.”
And the stories of God’s provision through what seems like coincidence continue. This past summer, as Kimberlie was getting out of the car to drop Meredith off at the Shores, she heard a familiar voice behind her.
“I popped my head up and looked over to see my cousin’s daughter,” Kimberlie recounted. “I hadn’t seen her in over five years, but she sounded so much like her mother that I recognized her voice immediately. She was dropping of her daughter, whose cabin was right next to Meredith’s. Second cousins, once removed… were in cabins next to each other.” Through their time together at camp, the cousins have exchanged information and have been keeping in touch.
“I had lost touch with my mother’s family a bit since she had passed away in 2014 and had been feeling disconnected,” Kimberlie reflected. “It shouldn’t surprise me that God used a safe place for my daughter to reconnect with a family she might have otherwise lost all contact with.”
What could have been seen as a fluke on that Super Bowl night years ago, Kimberlie sees as God’s provision. “In retrospect, I was on a path to reconnection with my spouse and to co-parenting with a focus of raising godly youth who understand that they are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Who would have guessed what was happening in the background all those years? Behind the scenes, God had been working in the hearts of Kimberlie and her husband, Bob, who are scheduled to be remarried! As she told the happy story of the restoration of the Brashear family, Kimberlie also explained that they are now in a position to give back. How did she give back? This past summer when she pre-registered Meredith for her senior year at the Shores, she attached a check for the cost of a full week of camp. Attached was a note stating: “Replaces scholarship camp for life. Blessed beyond measure, bless the next.”
And God continues to weave together stories of growth, restoration, and beauty.