The sun was shining through our windshield and I could hear the giggles coming from our backseat. I looked in the rearview mirror and caught a glimpse of his big smile and bright green T-Shirt that read “niceSERVE.” I couldn’t help but smile in that moment and release all nervousness I was carrying about not knowing what to expect.
This past summer, I attended my first niceSERVE and thought it would be a great opportunity to bring my then-five-year-old along in hopes of teaching him about serving and the importance of community. I have been a regular attendee here at Summit Church for two years, but being a wedding planner means free Saturdays are slim, and I was never able to attend a niceSERVE. The second the stars aligned and a Saturday freed up, I grabbed a couple green tees and planned a mother/son date!
Upon arrival, I couldn’t help but stare at my son and see how grown he really was in the moment. He was greeting others, eager to help, and before I knew it he was surrounded by laughter and a new group of friends.
We made our way into the building to serve Sole Hope, which provides handmade shoes and medical treatment to Uganda and gives protection and healing from jiggers. After watching a video, we grabbed our supplies and spread out across the floor with complete strangers. We began to serve.
The day was spent making new friends and bonding with my son. Our family lives a busy life; my husband and I both work full time, our kids are in sports and dance, and life just gets busy. When I signed up for niceSERVE, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to give back. Little did I know that niceSERVE would actually be giving me a gift in return. The opportunity to serve alongside my son not only gifted us knowledge of what others around the world are facing and an opportunity to build relationships with strangers that share the same church home as us, but niceSERVE also gifted me a full morning to bond with my son and see the world through his eyes. He taught me something that day. He taught me how to step out and be brave. I thought I was going to be the one to teach him the importance of community, but little did I know the tables would be turned. This little guy had no fear and had so much fun sharing, playing, and getting to know all the other attendees. He beamed with joy as I relinquished the control over the Sharpie (a no-no in our household) and allowed him full access to trace and cut the shoes without my help. He truly enjoyed serving.
As I watched and connected with my son over cut jeans, God revealed a new truth to me that day. The act of serving will not only touch those being served but the one providing service as well. There’s a true gift in stepping out in faith and giving yourself for a few hours, or more, to serve others. That is a glimpse of what God’s kingdom is all about—relationships, community, and love. There’s a true joy gifted in the act of service and I found it that day, through the eyes of my five-year-old and the fullness in my heart as we drove away.
niceSERVE is coming up soon and we want you to join us for it!
Jenna has been attending Summit for the past two years and, in addition to serving at niceSERVE, has been involved in Summit Connect and reGROUP. She is the founder of The Color Blue and Hope, which works to spread God's hope, love, and joy through sentimental gift boxes to mothers on bed rest and who have lost an infant.