My husband and I have a box in our home called our “anchor box”. It’s filled with small objects, scraps of paper, and a big stack of written notes. We call it our “anchor box” because it’s a physical record of significant things God has done in our lives as well as written notes that document the encouragement and challenge from people God put in our lives. We can go back through that box and see the way God “anchored” our faith as well as the significant words people have spoken to us.
When was the last time you wrote a note to one of the young people you mentor or disciple? These days I communicate with most of the girls that I am discipling through Facebook. Some of the recent changes on Facebook has allowed me the ability to see several years of correspondence with these girls all neatly laid out before me in chronological order.
What fun! Seeing a record of our discipling relationships all organized in front of me has brought me a lot of joy and a chance to reflect on how great it is that God continues to draw them to himself regardless of the counsel and challenge I give them.
There is no doubt about it—the written word has power—at times more power than the spoken word. It can be revisited and reviewed. I once had a young woman that was part of our ministry tell me that I had given her a verse on a small piece of paper four years ago and that she still carried it around in her pocket. I didn’t even remember giving it to her, but it had been significant in her exploration of faith in Jesus and when she felt it in her coat pocket she remembered it.
Recently during some private times of prayer for the young women I work with God revealed some specific things I knew he wanted them to know. Some of the things were quite hard. It was possible the girls didn’t want to hear what God was saying. It was possible that they would reject what I shared, be angry with me and abandon the relationship. But what God had asked me to say was so clear I could not ignore Him. And although I had years of relational history with these girls, moving into a phase in our relationship where I openly challenged them with the core realities of the Gospel was a marked change.
I took my fear to God and he asked me to begin writing to them. First, He began to ask me to share with them the specific ways I was praying for their spiritual life.
Hey lady…I miss you, friend. Hope your break was good. How have you been feeling? Did the break refresh you at all or do you still feel a little bulldozed under? I prayed for you this morning- particularly that God would help you to overcome the enemies that are too powerful for you. (that’s one of my favourite verses and I often pray it for myself as well). Not people enemies, but the enemy of trying to meet everyone’s standards with exams, the enemy of darkness and frustration that is stealing your energy, and the enemy that lies to you that you aren’t good enough- even for God. No need to write back- just wanted you to know that I care and that I’m pulling for you with God… I’ll have faith for you even if you are finding it hard to have it yourself.
Or this one:
Hey Lady…Hope you are well… any exams yet? When the first one is done we are going to declare it “One Down, a few More to Go Day” and go out for some ice cream. I saw your May Ball pictures. You looked lovely. I’m praying for you today. I’ve been reading in a book in the Bible called Romans. God has been reminding me that He is at peace with us because we have faith in Jesus. He doesn’t look at us with anger, disappointment, frustration. His stancetowards us is constant- peace. I wonder why it is that we still relate to him as if he is our enemy when he has already declared peace.
That was the relatively easy part. It’s nice to hear you are being prayed for. But would they respond as well with a direct challenge?
Heya girl, Just thinking about you and praying for you this morning. If you want to pop over and chat I’m around. Or we could watch a movie if it would just be good to hang out. So I feel like God was talking to me about healing- I was reading the story of Peter and John healing a man in the temple after the resurrection. I felt very clearly that God wants to bring you out from this cycle of sadness, frustration, hopelessness and overwhelming stress. What struck me was that Peter says very clearly, that healing, (deliverance from the things that are too powerful for us) comes only from Jesus. I believe salvation- and rescue from the cycle you are in will only come from you crying out to Jesus and letting him heal your emotions and set you free. Only Jesus rescues us from emotions and thoughts that are too strong for us. Only Jesus frees us from sin and behaviours that we can’t shake. Only Jesus heals the brokeness that all of us (including myself) have because we live in a broken world and hurtful, messed up things have happened to us.
As I obeyed God has revealed more pointed challenges and asked me to share them with the girls. He is faithful to provide pictures and illustrations that work in harmony with his Word to help me communicate about specific sin patterns or areas of hurt that God wants to heal.
Hey friend…I pray for you often… And that’s why I’m writing. Today as I was praying for you I was picturing all the temptations and. to be blunt, worldly living that has a hold on you and I began to pray that God would cut off those enemies as they tried to cling onto you. And then very clearly God said “I have cut off the temptations and enemies that have a hold on __________ . But _________ is holding tightly to that way of life.” And then I had a picture of all the temptations and enemies swirling around you and it was true! You were free from them! They had no hold over you- except that YOU were clinging on to them- clinching them tightly in your hands. So then God told me to tell you. I didn’t want to. I told God that was way to random for me to share with you and that I was afraid you might not want to hear it. So when I opened my Bible and began to read in Romans. I picked up in chapter 6 where I had left off. Then God asked me to encourage you to read Romans 6. Romans 6 is this same message written in God’s Word. So, because He gave me the picture and then confirmed it with his Word I decided I had better obey and tell you. You know I love you regardless of if you hold on tightly to the world, or if you let go. I just long for you to know God, to experience his healing and life in him- because I believe it is a thrilling adventure. God loves you deeply. And so do I. —Joy
In the end all three of the young woman responded to each of the challenges I gave. God was doing a fresh thing in each of their lives and the notes I wrote them were only part of the picture he was painting. In hindsight, I’m glad I wrote the challenges down for them to keep. Had I spoken the same things the words would have soon evaporated and possibly been forgotten. I hope the words I wrote can begin to form a collection of “anchor” experience for these young women that they can draw from as they review the faithfulness of God in their lives.
Categories: Youth Ministry Resources
Tags: Youth Ministry