Words of Encouragement for a 16 Year Old

When I saw the link up topic for today, with Lisa and Rabia, my heart immediately tightened, with a twinge of angst. It amazes me that over thirty years have gone by, since I was 16 years old, and yet? There is this vulnerable and vast gaping hole that still swells open and stirs my soul with memories and emotions that seem to wake from their dormant place in time. Although I have since transformed and grown into someone I always longed to be, I must confess that this age? Is still a part of me…

History sews together the fabric of who we are, and those teen years produced wounds that still reveal scars from circumstances and broken pieces of my life and my heart. And as I often look back with that dreaded weight of it all, there is an incredible hope that rises with what has become of me now. That tumultuous path I paved… through all the trials and tests and turns… has intersected and woven together to create who I am.

There may be many broken pieces of my past… but God somehow managed to use each part to inspire depth, compassion and love that continues to triumph in His Plan. The magnitude of His Grace continues to nourish that vulnerable and vast gaping hole, as He fills it with a purpose.

And yet? I wish I believed in these truths when I was 16.  Maybe these would be words of encouragement for a 16 year old that you know too.

Words of Encouragement for a 16 year old 1. You ARE worthy. Worthy of good. Worthy of love. Worthy of light.

2. You WILL heal. God will take every broken part and make it whole again.

3. Trust that this season will end. And you will rise to new heights and stand on solid ground. This is not how life will be. This is not who you will be.

4. You will find love. True love. And you will learn what that is.

5. You are a miracle in the making. God will use all of this for His Good.

6. God will never ever abandon you. Even when you don’t feel His Presence, He IS there.

7. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. All of you. Every bit. You are a beautiful child of God. Believe that. Oh please believe that..

8. You are forgiven. Walk in His Grace. Don’t let your shame define you or defeat you.

9. God’s plan will reveal a beautiful purpose in you. Those dreams you have? His are better.

10. Joy and peace will come. Hold on. I promise…




The Golden Spoons

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  1. says

    This is beautiful, Chris! I think all teenagers have some level of angst and insecurity, but some are certainly struggling more than others. I love the analogy that “History sews together the fabric of who we are.” The bad is just as much a part of that as the good. Love this and so glad you linked up today!

    • says

      Thanks so much Lisa!!! I totally agree, the bad is just as much a part of us as the good! And I thank GOD that there was some good woven into those years too. 🙂

  2. says

    Aww, wonderful words of wisdom for your younger self and must admit if I knew then want I do know now, things would probably have turned out differently, but then again I wouldn’t have learned all I did to become the person I am now. Hugs and love you always, Chris.

    • says

      That really is the beauty beneath the broken-ness, isn’t it? (Gosh, I like that- may be a good topic…or title!) We are wiser, more insightful and certainly stronger because of our history aren’t we? My depth wouldn’t be this profound, had I not experienced what I had. We can use it all for good!!

  3. says

    Your words (some of them) are difficult to hear, but knowing you, and knowing that you have become the person you are, and that you have grown into the person you longed to be…that gives me hope.

    You give me hope.

    Thank you, more than you know.

    • says

      OH love!!! *Tears even the SECOND time I read this*

      Hope is the most beautiful word EVER. Don’t you agree? Hold on to it. Even if it’s simply dangling by a thread. Clench your fist around that tiny piece and don’t ever let go…

  4. says

    Dammit Christine, you can’t use phrases like filling vast, gaping holes that make me chuckle and say giggity in such nice posts. It’s confusing. I tell teens on the beat all the time that these years are probably the hardest, and that they can get through it. You’re a good woman.

    • says

      What AM I gonna do with YOU Don? 😉

      You’re a wise and compassionate cop. And a pretty decent man. You don’t fool me, sir. Nope. Ya don’t. 😉

  5. says

    Don’t you think those teen years would be so much easier if we could live them after we have experienced life?! Although I’m happy I don’t have to go back to high school!!!

    • says

      Oh Kim, I am SO glad those days are forever behind me! I can’t even face reunions and most high school friends because it just stirs me too much to deal with that part of my life! I’m in such a better place now, and I never ever want to go back!

  6. says

    If only our 16 year old selves could believe all this. I wish I could go back and tell my 16 y/o self that that thing that seems so big and important and heartbreaking right now, you won’t even remember it by the time you’re in college. You’ll remember that you were sad and upset and hurt, but the actual thing that caused that, you couldn’t remember it even if someone offered to pay your tuition for the memory.

    • says

      That’s so funny Shell! You are SO right about that… everything at that age is either DEVASTATING or completely CAPTIVATING. And so much of it, is just nothing.

  7. says

    I love all of this, and I too wish I had this wisdom back when I was 16. I think I knew God loved me, but I was so far from understanding how vast and deep that love truly is. I’m still learning every day.

  8. says

    This is so beautiful. I really related to the line “History sews together the fabric of who we are” – so so true. Even the painful awful moments make us who we become, and the moments today continue to make who we will be. LOVE this, my beautiful friend.

  9. says

    I love this list. It reminds me of Abilene’s mantra from The Help. “you is kind, you is smart, you is important” All teens/tweens need to be told that…everyday.

  10. says

    Chris, this is just beautiful. Once I finished I thought – I need to print that and read it everyday. And read it to my children everyday. Those years felt like forever during them, and now – so brief. Yet the feelings associated are still just beneath the surface of my adult understanding. In case it isn’t clear – I really loved this.

    • says

      Oh Stephanie! You are such a love!!! Thank you so much my friend. And yes, print it and read it over and over again. And then read it to your children too. It’s amazing how the feelings still lie beneath the surface, isn’t it? Sigh. I know. I have grown to believe these things more every day, though. And that is good. XOXO

  11. says

    I absolutely love this, Chris. Oh, the teen years are so difficult. There are just so many things that seem so hopeless and final that aren’t. This is a lovely list all teens should read. They are a miracle in the making! –Lisa

    • says

      And to think that our teens are now in such a world that cultivates so much tainted and twisted ideas… that is scary to me. I am stunned STUNNED by what I am learning of middle schoolers.

      I will surely see to it, that my youth ministry receives these truths within our programming and my own children too!

  12. says

    You know what’s amazing about you? You aren’t 16 anymore, but you cut straight to the heart of the issue and tell a 16 yr. girl exactly what she would need to hear–as a mom, but also as a friend. Smart, smart, loving lady, Chris…!

    • says

      I was spending the day with a dear teen yesterday, and I told her and continue to share with her these truths. I pray that my teens in our church ministry are inundated with these often…

      It’s a tough world out there. And it’s only getting harder.

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