Monday, September 30, 2013

Dear Young Life girls,

Dear Young Life girls,
I love you guys. Every single one of you has become a part of my heart. Getting to live life with all of you has changed my life. When I was first introduced to Young Life almost ten years ago (when some of you were in diapers and Kindergarten) I never imagined that it would become something this awesome or such a big part of what I do.  

Being a young life leader is one of the most rewarding, challenging, life-giving, awkward, incredible and meaningful things I've ever been a part of. Middle school and HS are crazy years for everyone and it seems even crazier that I would choose to go back and enter into that world with all of you again. But I love it. I love getting to walk with you in the craziness.

Stepping into your world is often uncomfortable, but it's always worth it. Thank you for welcoming me in, saying hi in the bleachers, and texting me after your games. I love getting to see you do the things you love so much. Whether it's defending the goal, cheering on the sideline, making an awesome pass to the setter, singing on stage or running for a new PR you are amazing. You spend so much time in practices and rehearsals and for a second I get to see you doing something you love.

Getting to spend so much time with all of you has been one of the most life-giving things I've ever done. It's this reverse economy that doesn't really make sense. My schedule is so often wrapped around yours but instead of feeling worn out at the end of the day I feel so content. Waking up early for the Love Does girls or staying up too late talking when you've had a rough day is exactly how I want to spend my time. You are never an inconvenience. You are always worth my time.

I've loved books my whole life. When I was little my family would go to the library and my sister and I would each fill up a whole tote bag full of new chapter books. So heavy that we almost couldn't carry them, we'd hug the bag to our chest, excited to read about these characters. We'd spend hours turning the pages, learning about the adventures of the Baby-Sitter's Club girls or the world of Harry Potter. Stories have always been one of my favorite things.

Living life with all of you reminds me of those bags full of books from the library. I get to hear your stories. Across dinner tables, in the car on the way home from Campaigners, in rocking chairs at camp and over text messages I get to hear your stories. They've become my favorite ones.

They're stories of looking for love and meaning. Tragedy and overcoming the difficult things. Your lives are stories about love, about fitting in, about your families, about brokenness and finding healing. Sometimes these stories are hilarious and you make me laugh to the point of tears. Sometimes they're the saddest stories I've ever read and wish I could turn the pages to the chapter when everything gets better. All of your stories are different and I love hearing each one. I think the very  best part is that these stories are not over yet.

My hope and my prayer is that every single one of you know in the depths of your soul that you are loved. You are loved by a God that knows you and created you. He made you with a purpose and you are not a mistake. He loves you unconditionally-- no matter how much you screw up or how impressive or popular you are-- he won't love you any more or less. I hope you find freedom in that truth. You are more than enough. No matter what anyone else says, you, just being you, is more than enough.

I hope you find that the more you show up to Young Life and the more that you look for Christ that you will see your life and your priorities shift. Just like it says in Matthew 16, "Whoever tries to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it." We were talking in Campaigners tonight about how following Christ means our lives look different than most people. Instead of perfecting our lives, we're giving it all over to His control.
Your identity and joy is found in Christ rather than how much you can achieve or do or impress. We get the courage to stop chasing things that only bring temporary happiness. As we take steps to become more like Him-- to love the things He loves and the people He loves-- we'll point others to him too.

I love that we're on this journey together. I certainly don't have it all figured out yet but I'm learning more because I get to live life with you. We get to have hard conversations about things that matter. Thank you for those times when you've been so honest with me about things that are hard or the things you just don't understand. Often it's the hardest conversations that bring us the closest.

Spending time with you is one of the ways I find joy. I get to ask you to hang out a lot, but never for a second think I don't love getting a text from you that says, "Can we get dinner this week?" or "Sar, I just really need to talk." I love you girls and I'm so proud of you. Keep being awesome. Keep shining your joy. Keep working to make the world better for the people around you. You're already making my world better.

Love you all,

1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful. I actually teared up a little bit. I hope my sons have a male-mentor-version of you when they're teenagers!