The longest Sprint…

The longest sprint

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” {Hebrews 12:1-3} 

This summer was looooongggg, and difficult. Not that it was bad, actually it ended up being a very healing experience. The healing process isn’t easy, though, but looking back I can honestly say that I am thankful for all that I have experienced this summer.

I titled this ‘the longest sprint’, because that’s what I felt like this summer was for me. As a lot of you know, I worked at a camp for the month of July (and the beginning of August). I just got back this past Saturday night. And it was the longest sprint of my life! It was a test of perseverance and endurance. There were many, many days when I thought there was no way that I would make it through the week, let alone 5 weeks! 5 weeks might not seem like a long time, but let me tell you…at camp, it seems like an eternity!

I worked in the kitchen. Um…what, God?! Yeah, that’s what I was thinking…

I had to be at the kitchen at 6:30am every single day, except for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Friday mornings I had to be there at 7am, Sunday mornings I had to be there at 7:30am, and Saturdays were different because we were off in the morning. I am literally the farthest thing from a morning person—EVER. So, that was interesting. The first two weeks I did so great! I woke up at 5:20am everyday (except for maybe one rest day) to run a mile, and then I would come back to the house (where everyone else was still asleep…), get ready, then I would go sit by the beach/the lake to have Jesus time before going into the kitchen by 6:30. Yeah, that didn’t last the whole time. By the last week I was getting up at 6:15am, and was at the kitchen at 6:30 lol.

I worked about 15 hours every day. On my feet. All. day.

I don’t write these things to complain, I write them so that you can understand at least in part that it was a ton of work!

We had VERY little time to ourselves to process, to think, to do anything, because even when we did have a little time in the evenings or during our break, we were either too tired to stay awake, or we had several things that we wanted to do in that time and we didn’t have time to get it all done. So, this is why I say it was a sprint. You often think of sprints as short distances, well it didn’t feel like this during camp!

Here is some of my story of what happened this summer…

I went to orientation at Gull Lake Ministries, a camp that I had never been to before this week and a half of orientation. It’s in Michigan, about 4 hours away from where I live. This was in late May. My boyfriend was with me, because he also worked at Gull Lake this summer. A nervous fluttering of butterflies in my stomach appeared as we turned in the parking lot. There were several people around, although we had gotten there a tad earlier than a lot of other people had. I didn’t know anyone else besides my boyfriend.

****NOTE ABOUT ME**** I am an extrovert, but before people know me, I am very quiet…I don’t say much, I’m a little introverted. Once you get to know me, though, I’m not that way at all…okay, cont…

During our first talk that day when all of the staff had come in, one of the leaders said that these people around us, the people that we had talked to for the first time ever today, would grow to be some of our best friends. Some of these people we will want in our weddings some day. I wasn’t sure about that, but I tried to keep an open mind.

During orientation, I started getting close to a couple people, although most of them were working first half, while I was working second half. One of the girls, though, was a kitchen girl for second half, like me, so I was excited to come back and get to know her better. During orientation, we learned a little bit of what we would actually be doing (I worked in the kitchen a few days…), and it’s funny to look back on that time now, because it felt like soooo much work at the time…and really, I knew nothing. We did a lot of random work projects as well. I think it was during EnGedi at orientation (a worship night) that I was asking God why he had me here. Why here at this camp, God? Why this summer? Why am I not earning much money this summer? Why in the kitchen, of all places?! I heard him say “I love you too much for you to stay this way…”

Well, I left orientation. By myself. I left King at the camp because he worked there all summer. I went home, and during my month by myself at home, it was a time of incredible growth. I had a lot of think through and process and work through. Not too many of my friends were around, so I had a lot of time to myself to think and process and grow.

Then I got back to camp… it was good to be back, but I was nervous about working in the kitchen. Typical me kept asking myself “But what if I can’t do it?” “What if I mess up?” ‘What ifs’ swirled in my head, still not sure of my purpose here. Throughout working at camp, I kept trying to ‘figure out’ what my purpose was for being here. Every weekend when I was allowed to have my phone, I posted on Instagram what God had taught me that week. That was a good thing to do, and it helped me focus on the good that God was doing in my life, but I still didn’t think that was why I was at camp this summer, working in the kitchen.

Week 9 came before I knew it (the last week). One day, I was on my hour break as usual in the afternoon an hour or so after lunch. I always take my break on a bench that is right by the lake under a tree…it is the most beautiful place ever! I decided to journal, and suddenly all of the seemingly random pieces of this summer, began to connect.

I remembered what I had thought about at orientation… “I love you too much for you to stay this way…”

I thought about working in the kitchen, and how…maybe God was so much teaching me things that was related to my work. You know, typical things to learn at camp is service, love, etc. I learned those things for sure, but I think God thought that Gull Lake, in the kitchen, was a good place to work on mental, emotional, spiritual, and whatever else, healing.

Free began to be my word for the summer. That day on my my break, I wrote down all of the reasons that I could think of that ‘free’ applied to my life at the moment. I never would have been able to say those things a few months ago. God has brought great healing and freedom to my heart this summer and, even though it has been a long and hard sprint to the finish, God has seen me through each and every day and I am so thankful to Him for bringing me to this amazing place! ❤