My phone rang next to me as I finished the last set of my core routine. I was cross training today, so maybe Mom was calling to tell me the rest of my teammates were coming to join me in the weight room after their run.
“I have a surprise for you!” she sang when I answered. I could barely hear her news with the blaring music, but I was also shocked at what I thought I had heard.
“You got in to Work Crew!” she said again.
Every night around ten o’clock (or eleven, or twelve depending on the workload), 45 of us Work Crew members would gather in the living room with a pen and notebook in hand. Our Work Crew Coordinator would ask us to write down three things we were thankful for, how we saw God move that day, and how we could make tomorrow great. This was our 10 at 10. Along with our devotional in the morning, it was a habit he was instilling in us.
I learned a lot about gratitude from 10 at 10 during my month of service. It gave me time to reflect on my day and not just go through the motions. It allowed me to come back to the Father and brought me joy.
I have continued this habit every single night since leaving camp. It has reminded me to appreciate the small blessings God places in my day, and challenges me to think about where I have seen God work every day. Especially when I’m in school, I find myself falling into the structure and laziness of routine. Knowing I will be documenting what I am thankful for and how I have seen God work, pushes me to open my eyes to the world around me. It reminds me to notice how the sun feels in December or to appreciate the uplifting and hilarious texts from my family. I challenge you to start forming your own habit of gratitude. There are a million things in life to be thankful for, and it’s time we start noticing and appreciating them. God works in our daily life every single day. Praise Him for it!
Whenever I left home for a retreat or summer camp, I always came back energized about the next season of my life. I would plan intentions like reading my bible every morning or helping others more. These goals would always orbit around being a better version of myself. While returning from this month long excursion was no different, something much more than my daily routine changed.
I had been having a rough time with my family before leaving. It nearly cost me my trips, but my parents showed me grace I didn’t deserve at the time. I thank God for giving them such grace, because it changed my relationship with them before I moved away to school. With this shift in learning to love, listen, and accept things more, I was able to mend the ties that had been broken between me and my family members.
I believe this month away also prepared me for college. Living in close quarters with about twenty other girls was not easy. Especially when I learned how much I needed sleep, and my roommates would talk all night! I was being pushed to grow. I learned how to laugh a little more, the importance of speaking up, and the power of forgiveness.
Living with others who do not share the same opinions as you can be a challenge. But resenting them for it and standing your ground will not help foster any sort of connection. I wasn’t best friends with many of these girls I served with, but I was able to laugh and work alongside them in harmony. Even when I felt alone, God put people in my path to cheer me up.
Serving on Work Crew was not the experience I expected, but I’ve come to realize it was a time I needed to grow. Looking back, I can pull multiple memories that bring a smile to my face. These include the connections I made with our leaders and the people I served with, the love I witnessed watching campers accept Christ into their life, and how the power of service can change all of us for the better.
Matthew 20:28 | Romans 12:2