Volunteering Experience That Changed My Life
In November I was an observer at a retreat called TEC, Teens Encounter Christ. In order to be a volunteer for this retreat you first had to " live " the experience so you had a clearer, deeper understanding of what the teens did and also to know, understand and comprehend what they had been through or were going through.
This experience changed my life and over the last 16 years I've been volunteering twice a year. It's amazing what these young people have taught me, have helped me to see through their eyes what being a teenager in today's world is all about. Let me tell you, it's nothing like it was when I was growing up. Don't get me wrong, there were those who drank, tried drugs and didn't think before they acted but that was a small portion of the teenagers in that time. It seems like the temptations have multiplied by 1000. I don't envy them and hope that I've been able help them by my guidance. I've met truly amazing adults who have nurtured me in my faith, shown me richer form of life, a deeper relationship with God and a healthier relationship for my family and I.
I used to be the person who held little pity parties for myself, was wrapped up in my own misery, made decisions that I later regreted and lived to pay the price. I now have faced some of my demons, head on I pushed and pushed, there a still litte remenents of them within my being, though I don't allow them to control me, I fight them at every turn. I was able to put my big girl pants on and deal with my mental disorders, get myself medication properly and be truthful about those issues. I keep them under wraps for many years, self medicating myself and when I realized that was no longer the answer I stepped up to the plate and hit a home run.
I am now the person who sees the brighter side of life, view everyone's point of view and try to be an advocate for those young teens, young adults and us older adults who are in need of guidance. I introduced my boyfriend and my best friend to this program and they've both made changes to that benefited their life, making them happier than they were. We all have issues or should I say " shoes ", that's my daughters word for it. But, instead of burying them we face them and work on soulutions.
I'm not saying that one day I was struck by lightening and suddenly our lives changed. However over the years, inch by inch, a little at a time my life began to change, my faith allowed me to see life in a different light. This wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't made my initial TEC weekend and hadn't continued to grow as a person, as a mother, as a friend and especially as a believer.
The TEC experience has changed my life and I know that this will be an ongoing process. Since I am human, I will continue to make mistakes, learn from them and continue on the journey I began in the fall of 1996. The difference now is, I have faith, family and friends who have joined me on this journey and God who is always by my side.