As I type this, for some strange reason I am mentally singing Pink Floyd's "We Don't Need No Education." That's a great example of grammar, huh? "We Don't Need No..." I am proud to say that one of the very important rules of grammar I did learn in school: a double negative means the opposite...
As I think back to growing up, I can remember asking to sing "Amazing Grace" in music class and kids making fun of me. I believe I was in 4th or 5th grade. My feelings were deeply hurt. I can remember I started crying. My music teacher, Mrs. Sigmon, came up and knelt down beside of me to ask if I was okay. I told her that song was played at my grandma's funeral...I find it odd of my elementary school memories, this one is so prevalent.
I can also recall in middle school, a preacher named Ken Freeman visited our school. He was super cool with the cross shaved in the back of his head. He introduced us to songs such as "Awesome God." He taught me being a Christian was the new "cool." He also had Christian T-Shirts we could purchase. One T-Shirt in particular stands out even today...It had a huge logo on the front that said, "God's Last Name Isn't D-----t!" After his visit, I can remember three of my friends and I meeting at lunch to have a bible study while all the other students laughed and made fun of us. Eventually we stopped...
Wearing the shirt didn't make me a Christian anymore than standing in my garage made me a car. I don't know if carrying a notebook with a bible verse would have helped, but it certainly couldn't have hurt. Having a daily reminder would have embedded into my head that there is a greater purpose in life than surviving elementary, middle, or high school.
Being a witness for Christ at such a young, vulnerable age was hard for me... I was already struggling with self-esteem issues and "fitting in." I didn't rest my assurance in setting myself apart from the world when in doing so caused me more trouble, stress, and ridicule. Kids can be cruel. Some of the kids in my school were cruel, and more than I care to remember I was a cruel kid at times too.
Looking back, I wish I had come into contact with more young Christians during my most influential years. I wish I hadn't cared what others thought of me and that I would have embraced the opportunity to be a witness for the Lord more often. I could sit here and wish my life away of all the things I wish I had done differently. As an adult, I can't help but feel like I wasted so much time...I wasted years and years of developing a relationship with the Lord. I wasted so many chances to make better decisions by surrounding myself with Christian influences. I wasted time on unimportant things, time I will never regain.
This is why I admire children who take a stand for the Lord at an early age. These kids are bright lights for the Lord in a very dark world. One child in particular has a heart of missions. She quotes scripture as a biblical scholar, shows acts of kindness and compassion to fellow peers, and sings beautifully songs of worship. Another child makes people laugh with her wittiness and sarcasm. She doesn't take life seriously and lives in the moment. In my opinion, this is another great form of witnessing for the Lord. She brings something to the table that most people can't--laughter and joy-- to people who need it, when they need it most whether she intentionally means to or not. She is f--unny and makes you happy just to be around her.
There are so many children in my church who inspire you to be a better Christian. They are examples to children (and adults alike) for what it means to live a Christ-like life. I'm inspired to be a better example to the world because of them. I'm inspired to show compassion at its rawest form. I'm inspired to not let the small things weigh me down. I'm inspired to memorized God's word. I'm inspired to pray for today's adolescents. And, I'm inspired to edify them to continue in their pursuit of Jesus' heart. I want to see them set themselves apart from the world and kids their own age, and I want to see them witness for Jesus (like I didn't) and avoid having regrets later in life.
I'm also grateful that Dayspring offers products to encourage adolescents to be proud of their Christian faith. Visit there website for the August Special: All school supplies are buy 2 get 1 free.
I'm so grateful my boys have Christian peers to look up to. When I was a kid, we could actually pray in school. Carrying Christian school supplies is one way we can "speak out loud" about our amazing Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.