While trying to cope with life, I’ve often found myself saying, “Lord, I would never be able to make it without You. I would go crazy!” This makes me wonder how the unsaved manage, especially our youth. I pray that adult born-again Believers will start training the next generation of kingdom warriors, beginning with someone in their own family. Rather than focussing all our energy on enriching ourselves, let us ensure that the youths are well-equipped for the end-time battle that is rapidly intensifying.
Toni-Ann, my 18-year-old niece is the youth God has given me to prepare.
Toni-Ann has an undeniable passion for the presence of Jesus and the fulfilment of His purpose in her life. As she entered her teen years, our conversation about God started to grow much deeper than simply telling her Bible stories. In a time when modern-day Babylon is beckoning to our young people from all different directions, it is a blessing to have one asking: “Aunty, are you busy? I want to talk to you about something God showed me.” It is an even greater blessing now to be able to give her my time and to have God give me the right language to make His truth crisp and relevant to her understanding.
This article shares a recent talk with Toni-Ann, as God instructed me to speak with her on issues of grave importance to Him.
I suppose we all know what it is like to get to that crossroad in life where there are several options ahead of us, but a wise decision must be made in order to choose the correct path. It is not difficult for me to understand the challenges Toni-Ann faces as she nears the end of her teen years (I remember having the same): wanting to prove her independence, but not fully convinced she’ll make the best decisions.
Many other youths are at a similar junction in their lives. How do we help them reduce total parental dependence, yet keep holding on to Christ as they make decisions? Hopefully, my conversation with Toni-Ann will provide some useful advice.
Toni: You know what, Auntie, I feel like a person who is not really a child, but not quite an adult. Things were much simpler when I didn’t have to make so many decisions for myself.
Welcome to the real world, Toni! Life takes us through different stages, but thankfully, God has thoughtfully and carefully prepared us to manage every single one. For nine months, you were comfortable in a bubble by yourself, inside of your mother; however, that time came to an end and you were released to a new world where you had to adjust to a different way of living. You’ve made many transitions since, and now, here you are, on the cusp of facing what you may find your most challenging crossroad to date, but guess what?
Toni: Please don’t say “Pray about it” Auntie, ’cause that’s what I have been doing and I don’t feel any better!
Well, I wasn’t going to say that, but you know, prayer is always the best place to start in any situation. What I really wanted to tell you is that at least you are now more prepared for the next stage of life than you were for the previous ones.
Toni: Really? You mean I’m better prepared because I have the examples of all you wonderful adults in my life to help me navigate through this grown-up thing that’s charging at me?
Well, that, too, but even more importantly, your brain is far more developed now (although it won’t be completely so until around age 25); therefore, your understanding is sharper, and you are better able to use the tools God has provided you with up to this point. Grab your Bible and turn to Proverbs 22:6. Please read aloud what it says.
Toni: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Auntie, I know that scripture by heart!
There is a really good explanation for that, Toni, and it’s wrapped up in the verse itself. You remembered it because you’ve heard it repeatedly over the years. It is registered in your memory, and as soon as it’s time to use it, it comes swiftly to your mind. Similarly, all the spiritual principles, moral and ethical teachings you’ve been given will remain with you throughout your life. The more you reflect on them and recall instances when you or others used them, the more they will cement their way into how you choose to live your life. Your job is to choose to activate the lesson whenever you get to a crossroad that challenges you to make the right decision. You already have the tools you need; it’s now time to use them!
Toni: Hmmm…as I think deeper about the proverb, Auntie, this is what I’m hearing: “Toni-Ann, all that your parents, teachers, and pastors taught you were tools that they knew you would need as you developed. You have a tool kit! Continue using it – there’s something in it for every situation!”
Excellent. There is not much more for me to say because it sounds like God has spoken to you, my niece, which He will always do when you go to His Word and start conversing with Him. He has charged us as parents, guardians, teachers, pastors, etc., to assist our children by laying the foundation that will sustain them. However, He is your biggest and most present help at all times, so even though you will use what you have been taught, remember that you still must consult with Him on what you are doing. You can expect Him to answer and lead you in the best possible direction.
Toni: Auntie, thank you! How will I ever repay you for all these valuable lessons?
Just share what you’ve learned with someone else, Toni. That would please Jesus, and His joy is more than enough for me! What say you?
Toni: Amen, Auntie! I say, Amen!
Orlease King is author of the book, ‘Making Your Way to God’. She can be contacted at email@example.com