When I think about summer internship, I think about purpose. As a young person, a little bit of purpose goes a long way. But in the case of summer internship -- a lot of purpose can alter the course of your life.
The purpose that I found on summer internship didn’t just come from the program itself, the places we traveled, the exotic food that we ate, the number of lives that we saved, or the advice that I received concerning what I should do with my life. Rather, it came from the Word of God. It didn’t only affect my future, it affected the exact moment I was in, reaching down to my very core and teaching me how to live a life pleasing to God from that moment forward.
I was only 17, the youngest on my team, when I first embarked on a summer internship with G.O.D. There were married couples with me, high schoolers, young adults, and even my high school boyfriend’s mother! But that didn’t matter, what mattered was that we were all receiving the same investment from leaders to help us hear the voice of God more clearly in our lives. For me, it impacted the way that I experienced the rest of adolescence. Because of internship, I had purpose behind my study, and even craved the Word of God in my daily life. I had purpose to study Spanish harder, because it was the only course in my public school education that made me feel more connected to people that lived a very different, and much harder, life than me.
I had purpose to remember the stories of the girls, boys, men, and women whom I had met, and who suffered daily. I had purpose to work harder, to be kinder, and to pray more - all because I experienced a transformative summer in which I heard the Lord’s calling on my life to be a servant of Him. I remained more attuned to the Bible as I walked through high school and college and into adulthood. It made me a person who thought more about others than myself, and who craved for the presence of God in my life every day, every moment, answering both the “big” questions and the seemingly insignificant ones. (I learned to find God in things others would consider ‘small,’ that would change my life in big ways.)
Sometimes, I think about the way that the Lord gives our lives purpose. I believe it starts in the beginning, when we are little kids and our parents pray over us that the Lord would be a lamp to our feet, lighting the path we take and making us really good human beings. It’s the same thing I pray for my son, and my daughter whom I’ll soon meet. I pray that they would always know how valuable they are, having been made in his image, and that the Lord would move in their lives. But it is not until we begin making decisions for ourselves that those prayers have the chance to actualize in our lives. It’s with opportunities like summer internship, or any experience in which the Word of God is being poured into us, that we grow into an understanding of what it means to be the Father’s child, in whom He is well pleased.
On my summer internship, I caught a glimpse of what that meant for me, on my own path. I began to understand the hopes that the Lord had in me, the way that I could be fulfilled by the experience of putting others people’s needs before my own. I learned that picking up the cross wasn’t a punishment; it was an invitation to the most meaningful life imaginable.
It helped me to understand the value of people in God’s eyes, including myself, my family, my friends, my teammates, the people that I was serving, and so many people that I’ve met since that summer. It helped me to find orientation in a world that can sometimes be overwhelming, showing me that I had been set apart for the Lord’s purposes and could confidently live with that calling on my life. I could be a daughter of God, created in his image and purposed to bring into view the image of the invisible God in our world. It changed me. It made me better.
Written by: Leah Sherrod