10 Verses to Pray Over Your Teen:

  • Pray for their relationship with the Lord.

The teen years can be confusing and emotional. The one thing that will never fail them is the Lord. Pray John 1:12 “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” over your teen.

  • Pray for their relationship with their friends.

Friendships can make or break your teen’s experience at school or church. Pray for close, God-filled relationships. Job 6:14 He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.

  • Pray for their purity.

Being pure isn’t just about physical relationships. 1 Timothy 4:12  “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” Pray for purity in all of these areas.

  • Pray against anxiety and depression.

Anxiety and depression are epidemics in schools these days. Pray for their protection regarding these two things. Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”

  • Pray for their choices with social media.

Social media is a huge part of a teen’s life and it’s important we pray for teens as they navigate what goes on behind the screens. Proverbs 19:1 “Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.”

  • Pray for their safety.

As a parent, I’m sure you have prayed this before. Pray specifically for safety in their vehicles, at school, as the rest and as they work. Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

  • Pray that they will be a light to those around them.

Ephesians 4:32 is a perfect verse to pray for your teen to be a light to those around them. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

  • Pray for their relationship with authority figures.

Ephesians 6:2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise)…”  Not only is it important for them to honor parents, but teachers and coaches as well! Pray for each of these authority figures in their lives.

  • Pray for their marriage.

Your teen may not get married for a while, but it’s never too early to pray for their spouse. Isaiah 40:31 “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;  they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

  • Pray for their future.

While your teen is deciding what college to attend and major to choose, pray for the important decisions they are facing. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

How to Trust God’s Timing

Trusting God’s timing and provision can be tough! On one hand, I trust that He has a plan for you and I, but on the other hand, I find myself doubting. The thing that is so hard about being a Christ follower is that there is absolutely no promise of an “easy” life. The closer I get to the Lord, the heavier my heart gets for injustice, racism, the faith journeys of those around me, and more. I have to do something about it! I can’t sit back and not take action on some of these things.

When something goes wrong, feels heavy or is just a very confusing season in life, how do we trust God’s provision? Let’s hop into the lion’s den, shall we? Brush up on Daniel 6 for some context, but here is the part that stops me in my tracks:

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.

19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

Remember, God is in the business of providing for His children in incredible, unbelievable ways. We have proof when we look at history. Biblical history and personal history can point to the Lord’s provision in our lives and remind us that He is miraculous!  Do you remember a time where you felt hopeless and He carried you through? Lean into that memory and dig the hope out. Renew that strength and press on. He can handle your doubt. He can handle your heartache and you will be lifted from the den because you trust in Him.

Picking your passion

My heart was beating so hard I thought the people around me could actually see and hear it. “They will laugh at me,” I thought. “They will think I’m stupid.” Anxious and trying to grasp every ounce of self control I could find to stay in my seat, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. It was 2 seconds of bravery that led my feet down the bleachers and into the arms of a girl named Sarah who prayed over me at the altar call of my high school chapel. I already had accepted Christ, but I wasn’t living a passionate life with Him in the driver’s seat, so I decided I would that day.

At that point in my life, I had been in church most of the days of my life. As in, every Wednesday, Sunday and depending on the youth group event, possibly all weekend. So, what was different about the response I had to this specific message? The medium.

Acting, singing and anything on screen were my language. I could listen to a lecture, but I could LIVE through a performance or video. That’s when I realized what my passion was. Even though I knew then that I wanted to relay God’s love in an entertainment medium, I didn’t realize that it was actually possible. Sometimes when things come easy to us, we don’t recognize them as gifts from the Lord. Often, we think our passion should fit in a box and we limit ourselves. I did exactly that as I tried to figure out what my calling looked like in action. I didn’t pursue this passion until I was 22 years old!

Here are the steps I took at 22 to get right back to the passion I found at 15.

  1. Brain Spill – When I was trying to discover my passion, I got a poster board and some markers. I started writing down things I loved or just enjoyed doing in my free time. A few things on my list were: Making videos and Powerpoints, acting, producing PSA messages, teaching teens about their self worth, writing, etc. My list went on and on for three giant poster boards covering my door.
  2. Categorize – Do things you’ve written down have common link or theme? Could the skills you have and passions you’ve written fall into a job description that already exists? Could you make a job out of your brain spills?
  3. Action Items – Make a list of things you need for STEP ONE of your passion, NOT step twelve. You’ll get there, but thinking too far ahead is overwhelming and discouraging. Just Step One for now.
  4. Fight Fear – As I went through this process it dawned on me that I hadn’t pursued these passions because I was scared. “They will laugh at me,” I thought. “They will think I’m stupid.” The lies of my 15 year old self were resurfacing, so I went into battle. My Bible and I were BFFS and I’ve never prayed harder than when I was starting to pick my passion.

Lastly, Start. Then fail. Then, start again. Failure is inevitable. It’s going to happen. Ah, feel better? No? Oh. Well, the sooner you fail, the sooner you succeed. You know when you go to the grocery store and there’s a million speed bumps before you can actually park and walk in to get 50 items that you don’t need when you just went in for toilet paper? Sorry, the wound is still fresh. The sooner you get over the speed bumps, the sooner you’ll reach your goal AND THEN SOME because of the lessons you learned along the way!

Try the four steps and see where it leads. Picking your passion can be an exciting adventure with the Lord!

How to talk to teens 101

Sometimes it seems your teen is from another planet and there’s no way you will ever understand each other, right? When a conversation gets escalated quickly or they use emojis that do not make sense, communication can feel fuzzy and confusing.

Take a trip with me back to the days of braces and acne for a moment. Remember that rumor that was spread about you? What about the boy who broke your heart for the first time? That was tough, right? Your world was only as big as the walls of your high school and you truly did not know how to cope. Your teen is experiencing that same rollercoaster of drama, stress and hormones right now and they do not have the coping skills to deal with it in a graceful manner. They spend a lot of time in their heads and your advice and life lessons can get lose in translation when so much is going on.

If you feel like you’re hitting a road block when it comes to talking with your teen, there is hope! The quickest way to earn a teen’s ear is by listening. When they present you with a situation that feels big and heavy to them, it’s so tempting to give them the solution like it’s as easy as 1,2,3. Sometimes you’re able to do that, but it’s likely that they are coming to you to help validate or make sense of their emotion behind the situation. I encourage you to take a breath and just listen. Hear the emotion behind the situation and sympathize with the gravity of where they are finding themselves. This will give you an opportunity to speak life into them either in the moment if they are open to it or circling back to it at a later time when you feel like they are more open to receiving information. It’s likely that they are already very confused when they bring something to you, so it can be even more confusing to mix in possible action steps even if those steps are the path to the solution.

Often, the things they are experiencing are so confusing because it’s the first time they are faced with such monumental hurdles. Their first friendship betrayal or their first breakup is really tough! Oh, and those crazy things called hormones. Friend, the good news is that you don’t have to have all of the answers. Some times all it takes is a listening ear and a good hug to build the bridge of communication.

God, What’s Next?

Y’all, my early 20’s were so scary.

Life changes and the paralysis of fear is so real. Often, I felt frozen in decision making and wondering if the path I was taking was the right one. Would I get a cool job when I graduated college? Was I going to marry the guy I was dating? Was God ever going to answer my prayer? Was sin really so bad?

I want to tell you I soared on the wings of eagles as I made life transitions, moving states, making and breaking friendships, dating, etc. Actually, I often sat in the tension of the unknown and struggled a lot. The tension of the unknown is daunting. It feels like practicality has one of your arms and your dreams have the other and they are pulling in total opposite directions.

So, if you may be wrestling with God in the tension of your unknown, I want us to look at Genesis 32:24. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

There is a lot to unpack here, so I’ll try to do this efficiently and clearly. First, we have no clue where this man came from, like many situations or changes in life, you’re like, “HELLO WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?  HOW IS THIS HAPPENING? WHERE DID THIS COME FROM? NO ONE WARNED ME!” Second, Jacob wrestled and did not give up. It says “for it is daybreak” indicating that this had gone on for quite some time. It says that the man could not overpower him and I immediately thought of free will here. Jacob chose to wrestle, as we do when we resist God. God gave us our free will and while He can certainly do whatever He wants at the blink of an eye, He allows us to choose our journey. “What if I make the wrong choice? Let me go, for it is daybreak. I don’t want this tension, I want to be free and have a clear path set out.”

As we keep reading, Jacob demands a blessing before he leaves. So, you’re telling me that he just used all of his strength to fight against God, then, when he surrenders WITH AN INJURY, He’s like, ” I’m not going anywhere until you bless me.” What a crazy story. When I feel like God and I are wrestling, I usually run away like a dog with it’s tail tucked between it’s legs, but I aim to be like Jacob. He uses all of his strength to get into the hard places with God, getting so close that sweat meets as foreheads touch and from that moment, forever changed. If Jacob can do it, why can’t I? You can’t wrestle with someone from across the room right? You have to be near to that person, you have to be so close that you are touching. Usually, when I have a tough conversation with the Lord, I come out of it changed, impacted, marked. I may not walk with a limp, but my walk certainly changes physically and spiritually.

Jacob seems resilient and stubborn, much like I was in my early 20’s. There is a lot of history and context surrounding this story that would lead to so many other lessons and parallels, but I just wanted to take this short segment because it feels so much like my early 20’s. I was always wrestling with God, tired of the tension and tired of the unknown. Knowing that God is right there in your struggle and in your heart is the biggest blessing of them all.

So, if you’re in the tension of the unknown, you need to know that you can wrestle with God if you feel lost. Get close, tune into His voice and know that you can’t make a wrong choice if you’re in His midst and keeping Him close. The early 20’s can be scary, but you’ll get through them leaning on the Lord.

I hope when you wrestle with God, you leave with a new walk.

How to inspire HS students to get in the Word

If there was one thing I wish I knew how to do when I was in high school, it is read the Bible more effectively. I was one of those “open to a random spot and hope it speaks to me,” kind of readers and I know I was not the only one! When I asked some students I work with what inspires them to read the Bible, they said:

“When something bad happens I read it,” or “I’ll try to read it after a good sermon, but I don’t get very far.”

So, how do we, adult leaders, inspire them to read God’s Word? There are a few ways we can do this.

  1. Explain the role grace plays in spiritual disciplines. Honestly, some times I did not and still do not read the Word because the shame of sin stands in the way. I feel like I cannot go to God because of X, Y & Z, but that is the best time to enter the throne room and draw closer to Him. Teens put a lot of pressure on themselves and they need to hear that God is not waiting with a lightening bolt to strike them down. While it is important to teach them not to take advantage of grace, it is just as important to teach them that inconsistency does not disqualify you in God’s eyes. If they miss one day or one week of reading, God welcomes them back with open arms. Explain the important role spiritual disciplines play in one’s faith journey. Just like their volleyball or cheer practice, it takes time and dedication. Any relationship takes vulnerability and trust to grow and that is no different than one’s relationship with the Lord. The difference between earthly and holy relationships? Grace.
  2. Give them a roadmap. One of the most common things I hear when it comes to reading the Word is, “I don’t know where to start.” Have you been there? I have! Actually, I was there for most of my twenties, until I picked up the Bible study that would change everything for me. Seamless by Angie Smith was the roadmap I needed and have been sharing ever since. Leaders, it is not easy to read the Bible when you do not understand the context or the history of what’s going on. We have to be able to give these sweet students a path to walk out the spiritual discipline we discussed above. I encourage you to find a way to help them create a plan so it does not feel so confusing and overwhelming.
  3. Make it a community thing. When you are honest and vulnerable, they are more likely to reciprocate that honesty and vulnerability. Consider starting a group chat and let them in on what God is teaching you as well as when you miss your quality time with the Lord because life happens. Teaching by example speaks louder than lectures, so let them in a little on how you feel when you feel far from God and create a community that sets everyone up for success.


Bonus idea: Partner with their parents. Their parents see what is going on in the lives of their teens and you are able to use that as a resource to send encouraging texts or scriptures that relate to the season of life or situation they may be going through.


Last, but not least, pray for your students to experience the Lord in a new way every day. He is in the details and is ready and willing to partner with you in your ministry. It’s such a gift from the Father to walk through life with students and as you pray for them, know that I am praying for you.

Dear 19 year old self…

Dear 19 year old self –

I’m going to be honest with you…

Your coffee skills need some serious work, girlfriend. I know you can’t seem to get the water : grinds ratio right and I’m sorry to tell you that in about 5 years,  you’ll be sitting in your NYC apartment still unsure if you did it right. Currently, you just moved to this new apartment in Nashville where you live alone in a new city and all you know is that you felt God call you here (you were right) and you have no clue why (you’ll get your answer in due time).

Your best/only friend in Nashville won’t be your friend forever and it’s going to hurt really bad. Just typing that feels like a punch in the gut because I remember the pain. I remember that it felt worse than someone dying because that person has chosen to walk away and allow the strongest friendship either of you have ever had to crumble. There’s no saving this one and many strangers are going to have opinions about it. Thankfully, you’ll draw near to the Lord and experience a supernatural healing. Those words “supernatural healing” feel like a warm blanket placed on a shivering body, but I don’t even think you’d believe them if I could go back and tell you. I’ll just tell you to talk to Jesus every chance you get. In church, during worship, in your car as if He’s in the passenger seat. Take Him on your hikes and late night trips to McDonald’s for a Oreo McFlurry. You’ll have to adjust and stick to Jesus. Read the Bible more. Write more. Love others more.

Oh, and you’ll make more friends, better friends, don’t worry. You’re going to meet some incredible people who are actual gold and you’ll feel Jesus more than you’ve ever felt in your life. You’re going to feel His nearness because quiet mornings with Him and your fireplace will remind you of how worthy and loved you are.

I’m here to tell you that life gets harder and more confusing, yet more exciting and God continues to prove His faithfulness. There will be so many times the Lord extends His hand to you. Take it and hold on for dear life, every time. He is doing a magnificent work in your life and this is only the beginning. You had to make a change to get out of your comfort zone and lean into Jesus so heavily. Keep your arms and heart open for His blessings.

He is faithful.

I think the main thing I want you to know is that everything is going to be okay. I won’t say it won’t be hard, but it’ll all be okay and you will love again. The Lord will breathe LIFE into you like you’ve never known and He will never stop loving you. Cling to His promises. Write them down and read them over and over, until they come to mind in every day life. You’re so worthy and loved and valued. Remember this and remind others of the same Truth.