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Hello dear friend.

I was asked to write a letter to my younger self.  That’s kind of a hard thing to do.  I really loved my teenage years and feel like I filled them with people who were good role models.  As a junior and senior in high school I surrounded myself with friends who were examples of Christianity.  Not that we never did things wrong, but we tried to do what was right.  However, we all struggled at some point to consider our own self-worth.  This is usually the time of our lives when that is the most prevalent, so that is what I have chosen to focus on.  That is when we feel that we are of little significance to the congregation we have been placed in and it would be so much easier just to float away from our church family and melt into the background—no one will notice.  Do not be fooled into thinking this; you have a most important role to play!  I want to take a minute to point out your importance to his family and in doing so also go back to the feelings I also felt as a teenager.

God has called us to treat others with love and respect, and we know we must do that.  But so often we forget to treat ourselves with those two things.  We need to look in the mirror and see the daughter of the King that we are meant to be.  HIS daughter! A friend is someone who will build you up and confirm that you are a beautiful person.   As God’s we must see ourselves as beautiful, created in His image.  It’s hard to do that when we’re teenagers.  Sometimes we see ourselves as too tall, too short, too heavy or just plain not attractive.  What a shame and yet so normal.  Remember to love and respect yourself and pick friends who are Godly examples of being his children so they can build you up at the times you are discouraged.  Remember that the true beauty you display for others to see is the love of Christ living in you.

Be compassionate. Help those who you know are hurting, whether it’s spiritual, physical or emotional hurt.  Sometimes that means going outside of your comfort zone.  The ones you show compassion to might not be your best friends.  In fact, usually it will be someone who is not all that popular or accepted.  Get outside of that box and show not only your friends and family but the outside world around you that you truly are concerned with their spiritual and physical lives.  Don’t be self-absorbed.  In fact, go out of your way to share with and serve others.  You will be blessed to see the impact you have on someone’s life when showing compassion to them.

Be a servant!   Use the talents you’ve been given to share with others the joy that you have in serving.  Go out of your way to serve the needs of others.  Sometimes this means in a hands-on way, but usually it’s as simple as a smile and a hug.  Share that gorgeous smile!  Go visit your grandparents!  Sit and listen to them and ask questions of them.  They love you and time spent with you is a most precious time for them.  Visit the elderly in your congregation.  Can you imagine sitting in your chair all alone all day and then seeing the sweet face of a young person come through your door!  You know how lonely and depressed you get when you don’t have friends texting and calling you.  You will be the highlight of their week!

After you’ve finished high school and moved on to college or the workforce, don’t forget whose you are.  Remember to continue to have devotions, morning times in prayer and time spent in his word.  That’s how you will continue to grow in grace and wisdom.  These are years of temptations!  Satan is watching your every move and would love to take that assurance of being a daughter of the King away from you.  You might fall prey to these temptations, but you must not despair.  Even the things that we do to make our lives a constant reminder of being pulled into the grip of sin can be turned to our good.  God has not turned his back on you!  Philippians 1:6 is one of my favorite verses.  “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  Sometimes God places us in some very desperate situations.  Remember that if that happens “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).   Don’t despair at these times, but know that your family but also your church family has been praying for you and rejoice in your repentance.  You are loved!

Above all, keep yourself connected to your church family.  It is vitally important that you worship with them regularly and involve yourself in things pertaining to the building of his kingdom.  Sometimes that means that the beautiful doctrines of salvation that you have been taught since a little child can be used to teach those outside of God’s church.  Be a witness to those in your neighborhood and be actively pursuing ways that you can be a beacon in this world.  Your church family needs you!  What a blessing to see our young people helping with causes that promote his kingdom.  You are loved as a part of the church and your presence and smile does not go unnoticed!

Love to you my sweet friend!

Donna Wassink

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One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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