Archive for July, 2011

Dear God

Posted: July 28, 2011 in Christian Living
Tags: ,

Dear God,

Thank You for all of the good things You’ve done for me. Thank You for all of my blessings. Please forgive me for the wrongs that I have done, to You and to others. Please help my sick family members and help my buddy’s dad find a job. Please help me to be more awesome. Thank You for being more awesome than I could ever be. Amen


If You invited me to be a friend, why am I praying you a pen pal letter? Should I be asking you about how your summer is going, and what you plan to do when school starts back up? Should I ask you about camp, You probably have some really cool camp stories. Anyway, just thought I’d touch base. Life has been crazy but I don’t really have time to talk about it right now. Summer’s almost over. Tell everyone I said hi.

Dear God, I hope you like this. I made it for you in art class

I hope God really isn’t offended by that. Not because it’s sarcastic or something like that. I hope He isn’t offended because that’s how a lot of my prayers go. If I look back at most of my prayers, it seems to me that I am just too vague and lame. I am not “real” with God.  I acknowledge God as who He is, but talk to Him like He is only generally interested in me. I pray my little prayer and then I go about my business. Am I really praying if I do that? Is there some sort of disconnect if I don’t treat my relationship with God with any real reverence? Am I alone in thinking that my prayers are feeble and childish? I need to re-evaluate my prayer life, and tap into the true relationship I’m supposed to have with God. Maybe you do, too, but I know I do.


It doesn’t take a keen eye or some sixth sense to know that today’s kids are struggling with life. There are so many options and so many paths they have laid out before them. Most don’t seem to know where they’re going or even that they should be going anywhere. Their parents tell them what to do after school(usually college), their teachers tell them what to do, and their friends tell them what to do. They are constantly bombarded with options and choices, some with dire consequences. I see students all of the time. I work for a public school district and I am a youth leader at my church. What I see around me are students who are trying to figure out where they fit into the grand scheme of life. They have lots of decisions to make, and lots of factors to weigh. The big question is; who is actually helping them?

You won't get through to him if you can't get him to pay attention

Teenagers need direction; but who can they turn to for real help? Parents would be the easy answer, as would teachers, friends, older relatives, clergy… and many others who may or may not be the ones you want investing time into today’s youth. Sometimes even those who seem like obvious answers to us adults are not necessarily the first places teens will turn for advice. In fact, those people might be the last people teens turn to. Some teenagers are afraid of looking stupid, or failing to meet expectations. Some just don’t want to deal with the stress. The fact is, some teenagers just don’t have good role models to emulate.

See, still not paying attention

What can be done to help? Is there any way to offer help and support? I think there is. I spend a lot of time working with teenagers, and I consider that one of the best decisions I have ever made. Working with the youth group at my church has been amazing. I get to spend time with some of the greatest people I have ever met. These students are fun, funny, smart, caring, energetic and lovable. Like anything, there are good times and bad times. Joy is mixed with frustration and heartache. There is also a lot of work and it can be very stressful at times. The rewards are worth the effort, though.

I get to watch teenagers grow and mature. I get to see them stumble and fall, and then pick themselves back up again. I get to help them make decisions (well, those who choose to listen) and many have bent my ear from time to time. The relationships built as teenagers can grow into real adult friendships, too. I still spend time with a lot of my former students, and one of my old students was even the best man at my wedding.

What is the secret to being a good mentor? There really isn’t one. There are some ingredients that are needed, but they aren’t really secrets. Time and effort are key, though. Make time to be with those you mentor. It’s like any other relationship. If you neglect to spend time with someone, the relationship you form will start to die. If you don’t invest any time at all, there will eventually be no relationship. Effort is also important. Some teenagers have been let down before and it may take some legitimate effort on your part to build a solid relationship with them. They need to know you aren’t going to throw them to the wolves or berate them when they make mistakes. They need to know they can confide in you and that you are trustworthy enough to listen without judgement. There might be some baggage to sort through and some pains that need healing, but when you can see hope in the eyes of a teen, especially one who never had hope before, you will see why people devote their lives to investing in others.