Love is like that.

Dear friends,

I never considered myself to be great with kids. I doubted that I could become a leader through the ministry Young Life, because I worried too much about not being able to love those high schoolers the right way. But God has changed my heart during the past two months tremendously. “What a joy it is!” He says to my heart, “to love those younger than you and share with them what I’ve taught you.”

It overwhelms me with happiness now to think that I have been given such a privilege to love another group of God’s children on such an Christ-like mission. Kids at that age need to be shown through loving actions the way their Lord cares about them, and this can only be experienced through people in their lives who recognize their significance and potential as much as their Lord. These real encounters of love in their lives make known His presence. Young people were such a blessing to Jesus. Therefore, we must look at each of them as the gifts they truly are in the eyes of their father.

I am not much older than these high schoolers I will be pouring my heart into and at times I wonder, “Have I experienced enough for this? Gosh, I’m just a freshman in college!” But the Lord reminds me that the things He is teaching me are meant to be shared.

    “The very ability to give away our life in Christ is proof of its possession. Nor can we withhold that which we possess in the Spirit of Christ, and still keep it,” says Dr. Robert Coleman in his book, The Master Plan of Evangelism. I was just reading a post from She Reads Truth the other day, and I don’t think they could have summarized our mission as Christians any better. It was simply this, “Love, Serve, Invite, Forgive.” When we practice these things, our eyes are opened to the opportunities God lays in front of us. We can give freely without feeling like we are owed for our time, money, or need reciprocation for the love we give out. We do so humbly, meeting the physical needs of our friends and praying that God would heal their spiritual needs. See, this was the way Jesus was with us. “Nothing was withheld, not even his own life…Love is like that” (Coleman).

This spring has been busier for me, and classes have gotten tougher. But being able to lean into God throughout it has grown my faith in Him in new ways I didn’t know were possible. One of the verses we’ve repeated, practiced, and memorized in leadership training is 1 Thessalonians 2:8. Let it be a reminder for you that fully loving others requires sacrifice, but it will in turn bring so much joy.

“Because we loved you so much, we delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well.” 

Love & Encouragement,

Mairead

Snow day.

Dear Friends,

Today was a snowy one in the city, you may have heard. I didn’t think snow days could exist post college, but turns out in New York City anything really is possible! It’s so easy for our minds to wander to a place other than right here and now. I so often find myself worrying about the future or reminiscing about the past. But today when there was nothing set on the agenda, I frolicked around in the winter wonderland of Central Park with my friend and laughed the whole time. We also drank some cheap milkshakes and ate a slice of pizza and didn’t worry for a second. Some days are like this. But some days, they are hard. I have been missing home a lot lately and mainly due to craving the feeling of familiarity, comfort and long time friendships. I got to write about this very topic and how there is a longing for all of this in each of us. You can find it, here. The journalism industry is a hard one. It can be a very dark one and often times I find myself thinking in regards to what I’m given to write about, “Does this even matter?” But light overcomes darkness. I wrote about home for a publication called Little City Mag. I stumbled upon it a couple months ago and just so much wanted to be part of it. It’s another site that is seeking to speak truth. It may be new and it may be small, but the words on there are not wasted. Check it out if you find some time. I hope you all have a day like I did today soon. It’s a reminder of the joy that is yet to come.

xoxo,

Megs

Forget Striving for Perfection

Hey friends! However you felt about 2016 is now in the past as we are looking forward to a new year, with hope to better ourselves and our communities. Well, here are some very true things that I heard in the past month that I think apply to each of us as we are preparing ourselves to take on different and new challenges that face us. I hope some of these encourage you in the same way they stuck with me. Also, I would recommend any book written by the following authors. Their writing is personal, real and packed full of wisdom. Happy reading, my friends!

If you’re like me have you ever wondered….

  • If possibilities can emerge from a seemingly impossible situation? 

 “Only as we trust in Him and expect Him to work, do human obstacles fade.” -John Miller, Back To The Basics Of Young Life

Have enough faith to ask of your Lord. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) God doesn’t get tired of helping us. 

  • How we are called to live differently?

Grace gives us the desire to renounce ungodliness. (Titus 2:11)

  • Why God calls for our help on more difficult missions? Are we important enough? 

God will continue to use sinners to redeem the world. No, we’re not perfect, but He doesn’t care. He didn’t ask us to change before He died for us.  “As the father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (John 20:21, John 17:10) 

  • Why sometimes we can’t just take the easy road?

There are times we will have to stand alone.

  • How to manage your time this year?

“Love is never found in the hustle.” -Shauna Niequist

Invest your time in what matters.

  • When is the best time to step out of your comfort zone?

“We should expect God’s plan to lead us places that we wouldn’t naturally go.” -Francis Chan, Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples 

Forget striving for perfection, you are enough.

Love always,

Mairead

16 Things 2016 Taught Me

Dear friends,

Not sure if this is a well thought out list, or just some words scribbled on a screen. Either way, here’s a quick one of what comes to mind of lessons learned when I look back over 2016. Happy New Year to you and may it be one full of adventures and opened eyes

  1. The Lord’s timing is way better than your own… and hurry is not in His nature.
  2. What once broke you WILL NOT fix you.
  3. It’s about the people, not the place.
  4. Make sure you’re running to something, not away from something.
  5. You don’t need to have an explanation ready for people all the time. Also, you don’t need to please people any of the time.
  6. Relying on God is a DAILY choice. Choose wisely.
  7. It is incredibly easy to fall back into old habits. One step and then it’s a downward spiral.
  8. Don’t just write down the prayer requests, but the answered prayers too. For He is faithful, and our memories are so very short.
  9. Worrying and overthinking once again prove to be exhausting… and a waste of time.
  10. Writing letters to people you love is worth the time.
  11. Work as if you are working for the Lord, not for men. (Colossians 3:23-24).
  12. Sometimes it’s like walking through a meadow, sometimes it’s like climbing a mountain. But the important thing is, you know who’s leading you.
  13. Don’t fear the silence… the words silent and listen have the same letters… and in that silent moment they are still listening for god’s voice… don’t put your’s there.
  14. God cares more about who you are becoming in Him than what you are doing for Him.
  15. God does not need you, He invites you along to change you.
  16. Good roommates are a gift and NYC apartments are very overheated.

Cardboard

Dear Friends,

This past year was my fifth year as a volunteer leader for the ministry of Young Life. One may think that what we get to give through leading these high school students far outweighs what we receive, but I think that’s often untrue. My eyes have been opened and faith increased from experiencing it all year after year. I got back from the best week of my life at Young Life’s Windy Gap (summer camp) just this past June. I didn’t think it was possible to experience the best week of my life during my 5th year of doing this. I didn’t believe it could possibly get better, but it did. There’s always a reason God keeps us in something for the length which He does. Well one of the highlights from my week at Windy Gap was that I got to share my testimony with a high school girl from Alabama… while I was a leader from Northeast Ohio. At one of the leader meetings earlier that week we were asked to write a few lines explaining our “story” so that they could choose a few for the cardboard testimonies later that week. My immediate thought when given these instructions were “this does not matter because mine will not be chosen to share.” Well, my few lines were chosen to be put on a piece of cardboard to share in front of the whole camp later that week. The lies I believed that my story was “not powerful enough” or “not good enough” to affect anyone were quickly challenged. For so long, before I started following Jesus and also in the midst of it, I believed my story was not a good enough one to share. I was also ashamed to tell it to people, often took the short cut around it and had a fear of reliving the past while telling it. After sharing my cardboard testimony that week, this high school girl from Alabama came up to me and asked me for the whole story because she thought we may have similar ones. And as a matter of fact, we did. The last day of camp her leader came up to me and asked if the high school student could take my piece of cardboard home with her. The back of the cardboard says, “at rest because Jesus is enough,” and the fact that this new friend of mine gets to look at those words everyday brings tears of joy to my eyes. I encourage every person to share their story with as many people as you possibly can, share how Jesus has changed you. Someone out there is going to connect so much. And it will be so beautiful. I use to be ashamed and scared to share my story, even five years into being a “leader.” But what lies I believed. Your story is your story and it is perfect because He has written it. Crazy how we get to keep learning year after year. What a gift. Someone in this mission alongside of me told me a few years back, “You’ll never regret living this way.” I wrote it down in a notebook, but that line actually echoes in my head just about every day. There may be things in my past I regret, but being part of all of this, this mission and being in these friends’ lives, is not one of them. What we receive far outweighs what we give. Wow.

xoxo,

meg

Home for the Holidays

Dear Friends,

Nothing like returning home for Christmas break, nothing at all. Home is the place of comfort and familiarity with family and friends. As we’re back together again sitting at the coffee shop downtown, the one we used to lounge around at for hours, we share stories and lessons the Lord has been teaching us in our new places. What’s so beautiful is that we can pick right back up where we left off and that is because of the Lord at work within our friendship even from miles away. Also in the midst of our conversation, our eyes has been opened to the dream to share our writing and experiences with all of you. We’re going from “Dear Megan/Dear Mairead” to “Dear Friends” because we want our experiences to be shared. An impactful saying from Jesus Calling is the following,  “As you learn these lessons, you are to teach them to others. I will open up the way before you, one step at a time.” And that’s what we would like to do. So dear friends, we hope you can enjoy these adventures alongside of us! Merry, Merry Christmas to you and a Happy Birthday to Our Dear King!

Xoxo,

Mairead & Megan

Snail Mail

Dear Megan,

Wow, God is good. I love to hear that He is right there with you in NY and using the people around you to let you know that. As for me here at USC, finals are finally over!!! On top of the relief I am now feeling, I went to check my mailbox today (not expecting there to be anything) and low and behold there was an envelope! Inside was a personalized “lacelet” from the Cinci based company Game Day Feels inscribed with Phillipians 4:13 and a sweet letter from my dear cousin. I hadn’t heard from her in a while and it made my day to read her encouraging words. The verse was also a good reminder of where our strength comes from, and what is really worth stressing over in this busy season. What a perfect way to end the school week. I am so blessed to have wonderful cousins like Chloe and friends like you, who send me little surprises in the mail! I’ll be back in Ohio in only TWO DAYS and awaiting your arrival 🙂

Xoxo,

Mairead

He is Taking Care of You.

Dear Mairead,

New York City is wonderful. But it is hard. It can so easily consume you. I sat down the other morning to this verse, “…cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). A simple one I know, but it is one so easily overlooked. The participle “cast” modifies the main verbal phrase “humble yourselves” from the verse prior to it (“Humble yourselves, therefore under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.”). Sorry to go all English major on you all, by the way. Worry is a form of pride because it involves taking concerns upon oneself instead of entrusting them to God. Believers can trust God because as their Father, He cares for them. He is taking care of you. Personally this has been something I’ve been whispering on the daily. He is taking care of me. You’re taking care of me, Jesus. There is so much I’m scared of, worried about, things that are making me anxious, etc. But I must constantly be reminded of this truth… or else it will all just be a downward spiral.

“God is faithful… and our memories are very short.”

I heard this at a time of fellowship on Thursday night and just can’t get it out of my head. Praying for opened eyes and attempting to write down all the answered prayers and what He is doing, because He is ALWAYS working. Yesterday I felt the urger to just pray for something that would help me to learn more and be poured into. I wasn’t even exactly sure what I was asking for, but the feeling to pray this prayer was so strong. Last night I went up to my local Whole Foods to use their wifi because the internet in my apartment was down and long story short, this girl approached me and asked if I would ever be interested in studying the Bible with her and some people from her church. They meet at Whole Foods to do so because that’s where people are. And Jesus went to people, ya know? Anyways, I told her how I’m a Christian and searching for a church as I am rather new to the city and we ended up talking for hours in the middle of Whole Foods. We kind of just instantly connected (the Holy Spirit) and she told me how the Lord had placed on her heart to be more bold in going out into the public and inviting people to the church she is a part of and attending the bible study. Wow. I don’t believe in coincidences… It was all part of His plan. He is good. Here’s to the week ahead and all that He has in store! Happy (almost) weekend, Mairead! I hope it is a very special one filled with so much Christmas cheer 🙂 See you SOON.

xoxo,

megs ❤

Part of a Purpose (Part Two)

Part Two: Living out the Mission

Life isn’t meant to be comfortable; we are called out to live life on a mission.

Throughout the gospel, God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things for His kingdom. Two things that these people have in common are faith to trust Jesus and a willingness to drop what they’re doing and join him.

We wonder, how were they equipped for the kind of work he was asking of them? Some had nothing, not even a shirt on their back, but they obediently followed his steps. God calls anyone to His side who is willing to continue His work despite the possibility of obstacles, but does not let us go unprepared. Jesus did not leave Earth so that we would be left without guidance or discernment against the wicked things of this world. In Christ’s resurrection, God gave us the gift of His Holy Spirit to be with us always, so that we are never without Him!

In Ephesians we are told that we are equipped with the full armor of God, including the sword of the Spirit and the readiness given by the gospel of peace (Verses 6:10-18). The power of God will open the doors to spiritual conversations and lead us to opportunities to share the good news. It may be more difficult at times, but He asks from us to have the trust and willingness to set aside our hesitations and rely on His power and wisdom. 

God’s command for those redeemed is to live a life that radiates contagious joy and love, so that others may come to question and to find the true source of lasting, incorruptible love.

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'” (Matthew 28:18-20) 

Our Lord created us each in a unique way that we would all have a different way of connecting to others and connecting to Him. He calls each of us to take advantage of our unique skills within the church so that it may function well as a whole and it may prosper.

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:4).

So we may be blessed many talents, but we are also reminded that if we do not love our actions are in vain. (1 Cor. 13:2) The true center of Christ’s mission is love. Knowledge does not spread as far as the universal language of love. Therefore, do not keep it to yourself, let your friends and family experience the change in your life and the reason for your unbound happiness!

“Our own sanctification happens as we minister to others.” -Francis Chan, Multiply

Dear Megan, 

The most important thing we can do in life is love one another. We each have the ability to spread this love far and wide, so don’t hold back!  I’m praying for you, friend, that whoever you run into will be able to see this love radiating from your very wonderful presence. I can not wait to be back in Ohio in a month to get coffee with you when there’s Christmas lights on every corner or watch Elf in your basement while drinking hot cocoa. I hope you’re heading back to the city full of turkey and a happy heart. Send me a picture of the next Winter activity you do!!! 

Xoxo,

Mairead