Looking at my life and where God has called me brings me such joy. You see, I get to work with teenagers and watch them grow and come into their own, and after they leave the youth program I have the opportunity to watch them start their own lives. I get to watch them as they graduate high school, get jobs, go off to college, get engaged, get married, start families, ALL amazing and wonderful things. Before they get to those points, these students go through confirmation, they attend their first christian adventure camp, they start middle school, they transition to high school. They truly begin to understand what it means to know Christ, what it means to follow Christ and what it means to live out their life for Christ. They face challenges, they go through highs and lows, they experience loss, they experience growth, they lose friends, they get new friends, they try new things, and they learn a lot about themselves.
God has given me the opportunity to walk along with the teens in each of these life experiences, I laugh with them, I cry with them, I encourage them, I motivate them but I also take the time to challenge them. God gives me each of these opportunities, and guides me when to listen, when to speak and when to just be present. There are a lot of words I want them to hear: I want them to know they are love. I want them to know that they are important. I want them to know that they can do amazing things. I want them to know they have a voice. I want them to know they can tell others about Christ.
If anyone of us needed encouraging words to give to a teen, I would say a few words to start. These words come from the song “The Words I Would Say” by Sidewalk Prophets.
“Be strong in the Lord and
never give up hope.
You’re gonna do great things
I already know
God’s got his hand on you so
don’t live life in fear
forgive and forget
but don’t forget why you’re here
Take your time and pray
Thank God for each day
His love will find a way
These are the words I would say.”
Think about the teens in your life. Pray for them. Love on them. Support them. Be present for them. Encourage them to pray, to rely on God, to know that He is present in their lives. Remind them to seek Him, to feel Him, to know Him. Tell them to love those around them. Most importantly, tell them to be fearless; to have hope and know that with God all things are possible. With God, they are never too young to do amazing things. With God, your path is guided. Tell them to be thankful for the blessings that God has already given them, is currently giving them and will continue to give them. Remind them to recognize each of those blessings in their life – the blessings that were God’s doing, not theirs; that He can be seen in ALL things.