I spent the past week away from home, serving at Word of Life (WOL) up in Hudson FL as a camp nurse on evening shift. And it was a game changer for me. I know that camp may not be that big of a deal to some of you….maybe you grew up around “camp culture”, loved it, and feel like it’s just a normal and expected part of each summer. That’s super, but it’s not my experience. As I remember, I only had one or two outings to camp growing up, and it was never “my thing”. In fact, in my mind, I had categorized camp as a clique-y, sweaty, outdoorsy experience where you were forced into sports you didn’t like, had every minute of your day mapped out for you, and ended up in a cabin full of girls each night that you didn’t really get along with. UGH.
All that changed for me last week, though. Earlier this year, my sweet sister-in-love and her hubby (who have both been to WOLBI) emailed me that WOL was looking for camp nurses for the summer. And I cringed inside at first (please see above reasons why camp is terrible). BUT, a tiny part of me is learning that if there is any area in life that I’m especially resistant to, it might be that I need to push past that and lean into the discomfort to grow and be stretched. So I hesitantly wrote out a brief note to the camp nursing staff and emailed it off, half hoping I wouldn’t be needed. But of course, there WAS still a great need, and I was put in touch with the nurse in charge at the Hudson campus.
In no time, Fran and I had exchanged several emails, filled out the appropriate paperwork, and scheduled me for the 3-11p shift for week #4 of camp, July 2-8. Last Sunday, I found myself squirming nervously in the passenger seat of our little Lancer as Luke drove up the freeway and the exits ticked past, each number bringing me closer to a week of unknowns and hesitations. Would I fit in? Would they like me? Do I remember anything about being a nurse (lol)? What if all the campers hated me and I didn’t get along with any of the staff I was assigned to? It’s so embarrassing to write out all those silly, teenage insecurities and confess them to you, but they felt very real to me last weekend. I really was nervous…to the point of being nauseous…which reminded me that this was probably the exact right thing for me to be doing. After all, no one has ever said that being brave and facing your fears is easy.
Over the next six days, Jesus completely changed my heart and my misconceptions about camp (just like Luke said would happen lol). I found that I DID still know a lot about nursing. When I bonded almost immediately with the three other evening staff, I realized that I was put on that shift providentially, not randomly on the whim of a scheduler. I was so humbled by how quickly the campers and other staff welcomed me, accepted me, and made me feel like I belonged there. While I once imagined that the girls would be catty and exclusive, I was surprised and incredibly blessed to find sweet friendships that I can’t wait to dive deeper into. And where I foolishly thought that I wouldn’t be that impacted by the messages and culture, I found my heart softened toward His grace in new ways and refreshed at being around hundreds of other believers with lives and motives abandoned to Him.
When Friday night finally rolled around and Luke drove up to bring me home, I realized how sad I was to be leaving such a special place and such incredible people, and that’s when I remembered again that being brave and facing your fears is often followed by precious blessings and growth. And now, instead of being nervous and afraid and dreading a whole week there, I’m scheming about ways I can get back this summer, even just for a day. He sure works in mysterious ways, doesn’t He?? ❤️
Here are a few other favorite things from my life this week:
-being back home with my favorite guy 👫
-Skype dates with dear friends 👯
-less time on social media…more time for being present 🙌 (this is an ongoing “under construction” area for me)
-late-night picnics in our bedroom (because air conditioning lol), enjoying our favorite treats and watching movies together 📹
-fancy popcorn at the theater on Saturday afternoon 🍿
-yoga this morning 🙆
-getting our Hello Fresh delivery today 😃