My handout to the Children's Home teens
Things you should know ( Things I wish someone would have told me)
You will need to purpose not to let your circumstances destroy you! Do not let anyone or anything deter you from reaching your full potential! It is up to YOU to make something of yourself. I purposed not to let my present situation ruin my life or my future. You can too! 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. There will be those who say you can’t meet your goals or call you names but please remember the wise words of Madea. “ it ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer too.” ;-) Learn to flourish wherever you are. Bloom where you are planted.
You are not an accident! Some of you are walking around feeling defeated and feeling like you are an accident, a mistake. This self defeating thinking brings about self destructive behaviors and suicidal thoughts. (by the way, with suicide- I realized one day that if I killed myself, the people who hurt me might feel bad, or they might not, but they would go on with their lives, I wouldn’t! ) Jeremiah 1:5 tell us that “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Before the foundations of the World were created he knew you and knew how long you would live and everything about you. Matthew 10:29 says “the very hairs on your head are numbered!”
God LOVES you! For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4-5). "…the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." Matthew 13:45-4 Sweet sister you are that Pearl of great price. He died so that you might live.
He has a plan for you and your life! Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” It doesn’t mean life will be easy but it does mean that if you let him He can use your life for good. That good things can come from evil the most terrible, painful situations that you have. Your pain and hurts are never wasted with God! He may even use your life to help others going through the same things you have. He holds your tears in a bottle. Psalm 39:12. Give Him your hurt and don’t let it destroy you.
God is the perfect parent! When your father and mother let you down, remember that He is always there for you. I remember feeling so abandoned, unwanted and unloved. Until God showed me Psalm 68:5 “A father to the fatherless,a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” Psalm 27:10 “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.” Jesus said in John 14:18 "I will not leave you orphans." He is El Shaddai “ the All Sufficient One.” He is capable of meeting all of my needs and yours.
Set goals. Aim high! Then revisit these goals weekly or monthly. A quote I love is “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.”Philippians 3:13 “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
You are not your parents- Just because they did drugs, were criminals, did ________(insert whatever is applicable to your situation here) doesn’t mean this is you have to! You have a choice to make. Follow in unhealthy footsteps and generational dysfunction or walk a higher path. I chose the latter! Drug addiction ends here! Violence ends here! My children will have a good heritage!
On Forgiveness- Corrie Ten Boom, a Christian woman who survived a Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust, said, "Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free, and to realize the prisoner was you." You will have to forgive those who hurt you to heal. This doesn't mean you pretend nothing happened, but release the anger and hateful feelings and thoughts, forgive them and move on. For some this means forgiving but never being around that person who hurt you because they will try to take advantage of that forgiveness, but releasing yourself from the hate, hurt and burden!
On Choosing wise friends. I kept falling into sin and making foolish choices, then the Lord showed me that I it was because I was hanging around FOOLS! My friends dropped out, partied did illegal and immoral things and it wasn't long until I dabbled into the same things. I learned 1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled, for "bad company corrupts good character." Proverbs 13:20 “ He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” The secular version of this would be “birds of a feather flock together.” Chose friends that inspire you and encourage you on to great things, also try to become a friend that “ Hebrews 10:24 speaks about. ” And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Read your bible. The Holy Bible- I couldn’t figure out why I kept falling from the commitment I made to the Lord of repenting from sin and I realized I wasn't reading His word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." It doesn't happen by osmosis. Read and learn wisdom and discernment. I recommend most especially PROVERBS! I would have saved myself lots of heartache and gained much had I read Proverbs as a teen! Some like to read the proverb number that coincides with the same day of the month. So Proverbs 1, for the 1st day of the month read Proverbs 2 for the 2nd day of the month and so on.
It may be bad, it could be worse! It is hard to hear I know. You may feel stuck in this place and maybe you don't feel like other kids/teens. It doesn't seem fair. One thing I learned is that God never mentions ANYTHING about being "FAIR", (you won't find that ANYWHERE in Scripture) He does say however, that He is JUST! I thought I had it rough, then I read about orphans in Liberia, all over Africa, China, Mexico and places like Russia, India and many other countries. It helps me to pray for and support or sponsor these children because it reminds me that most of the world is struggling to survive. Most live on less than $2.00 a day in abject poverty. It doesn't mean that my situation doesn't matter, it just shows me that there are others who are deeply hurting too. Look for ways to bless them.
Being a Christian isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Nor does it make you perfect. Just because you come to Christ doesn't mean life will suddenly get easy and everything you ever wanted is going to happen for you. John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” God uses trials to refine and make you stronger and more like Him. Surrender to it and embrace it.
Take advantage of the resources you available to you! Accept help. Many of you have access to transitional housing, free college, counseling, health insurance and an whole host of opportunities. Realize that MOST of the worlds population do not. Now make the most of it and use it to do great things with your lives. Please don't squander this opportunity. it is HARD trying to make it all on your own! Trust me!
Do not take revenge-This is helpful in many situations in life. Just thought I’d mention Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Apply this verse to any situation you may have. You’ll be blessed and see much fruit.
Learn to set boundaries. There is a book called boundaries and boundaries for kids /teens that is amazing. You will need to learn to set boundaries of what is acceptable to you and what you won’t tolerate then enforce them. You’ll need this skill in all areas of life. Get the book if you can. I’ve had to learn to set boundaries with both family, friends, boyfriends, employers, coworkers, teachers, and now in parenting etc. "The purpose of having boundaries is to protect and take care of ourselves. We need to be able to tell other people when they are acting in ways that are not acceptable to us. A first step is starting to know that we have a right to protect and defend ourselves. That we have not only the right, but the duty to take responsibility for how we allow others to treat us."
Family is what you make it- Your birth family might not be the greatest. That doesn't mean you have to subject yourself to people who belittle you, criticize you, squash your dreams, hurt you, discourage you, or want to see you fail. Chose people to be like family to you. I prayed for a godly mentor and got 7! We celebrate holidays and special occasions with people who love us unconditionally and want what's best for us. Recognize that you can chose family that meets your needs and that loves you for who you are! (newly added) This doesn't mean you have to totally discard your biological family either. Often times my biological family is just not capable of interacting in a healthy loving and kind way. Try not to take it personally. ( difficult I know) When this happens I lovingly enforce the boundaries I have set, and take a break from them until our relationship can be healthy and my personal space and peace of mind aren't being violated. I have my extended support systems/family type relationships that I can turn to so I am not waiting around for change or a relationship that may never happen. This frees your heart to still bless and be blessed by loving others and frees your bio family from being able to blame you for their short comings. It also models what healthy give and take relationships are all about.
Do the NEXT (right) Thing- (By Elizabeth Elliott whose husband Jim Elliott was martyred in the Amazon, based on the movie End of the Spear ) We all make mistakes, it’s part of learning and growing. When you make a mistake, learn from it, repent and move on. Don't let it drag you further into sin or cause you to give up! Stop and do the NEXT right thing!
I want to leave you with this wonderful verse
Isaiah 43: 1"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze, For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I want you girls to begin thinking about what changes you can make that will bless or better you and your future! I leave you with these words. One Life to live, twill soon be past, “Only what’s done for Christ will last. “
Poem by C.T Studd Only One Life
“Two little lines I heard one day,Traveling along life's busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart; Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.
Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in 'that day' my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgement seat; Only one life,'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.
Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice. Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God's holy will to cleave; Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.
Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears; Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.
When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score; When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say; Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.
Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep; Faithful and true what e'er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life; Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.
Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn; Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne; Only one life, "twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.
Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say,"Thy will be done";
And when at last I'll hear the call, I know I'll say "twas worth it all";
Only one life,'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.”