“Words” of affirmation and encouragement

WORDS

Words of affirmation is the topic for this week.  From the suggestions of how to affirm our teens at the end of chapter 3, I had an awesome revelation…. photos can be “words”… I knew photos were a love language!

So I started to contemplate the definition of a Word. And I was taken back about 13 years. I was new to bible study. I was a believer and thirsty to understand the bible. The women’s ministry director and bible teacher at the church where I was attending a bible study, took me under her wing. well… really…she invited me into her office. In fact, she invited me to come to her office once a week in the evening while my young kids were attending a children’s program. She personally was going to discuss the book of John, chapter by chapter with me. I sensed that this was unusual treat. God connected Jere and I and she made a huge impact on my life. In terms of love languages…it was an amazing amount of quality time she invested in me. 

The very first meeting, we began at the beginning!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

And the first thing Jere asked me was “What is a word?” I immediately felt like a student and I came up with “a way to communicate.?” And the teacher said “good answer”. Oh I felt relief, maybe I could study the bible! Below is a  photo of my first study bible and you can see my notes. Jere explained that Jesus was God’s way to communicate to man in our own language!

Jesus was the Word! Can’t get much better than that in a definition.

 

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In “The five love languages of teenagers”, chapter 3: words of affirmation, author Gary Chapman suggests 3 categories of affirmation:

  1. Words of Praise

  2. Words of Affection

  3. Words in the Presence of Others


We discussed some of these questions from the author:

  1. Discuss the “love tank” metaphor. Have you ever had an empty love tank? What happens when parents and their teen’s love tanks are full? What is the fallout when they are empty?
  2. How have your words of affirmation provided support for your teen? Why is this love language so effective with your teen?
  3. Can you remember a time when you neglected to affirm your teenager after a noteworthy accomplishment? If you had it to do over, how differently would you handle that opportunity?
  4. What kinds of affirming words best fill your teen’s love tank? What kinds of responses do you receive from your affirmations?
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As I took a second look at this post, I was overwhelmed when seeing myself on the stool as the “teacher”. With God I will always be a student but I am amazed that He has used this woman full of questions and doubts and has molded and pruned me in so many ways. Called me out of my comfort zone when I didn’t feel worthy… when I look at this collage I see the fruit of His work in me. Thank you, Lord.

I began to think about my love tank and I realized that I cannot always expect my family to keep my love tank full.  In so many ways God keeps my tank full.

These are words of affirmation that I felt were like love notes to me from our heavenly Father.  

You are loved. (Romans 5:8)

You are known. (Psalm 139:1)

You are not alone. (Zephaniah 3:17)

You are chosen. (1 Peter 2:9)

You are wonderfully designed. (Psalm 139:13-14)

You are free. (Galatians 5:13-14)

Your efforts are not wasted. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

You are made for good works. (Ephesians 2:10)

You are valuable. (Luke 12:23-25)

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(super side note: this is the first time a tried streaming photos in a post 🙂 )

“Words of Affirmation” is my primary love language. It is not the primary one of either of my teens so not all of these ideas worked for them but I shared them in class. Another great idea that was shared was to put notes in student’s lunches.

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This is my daughter’s bathroom counter. (Yes, I allow her to leave all her stuff out and uncapped, because she likes it that way and it isn’t an issue I need to have control of or enforce my way…I bite my tongue…ouch) I love that she has a verse on her white board…it just now struck me… perhaps she put it there to help me hold my tongue when I see her mess! The other funny thing is that I framed the other verse years ago based on a suggestion by Shannon Milholland. On Wed. morning I asked Katie to carry down the frame with the encouragement so I could bring it to Moms of Teens as an example. Her reply “There is not a frame with words in it in my bathroom! I don’t know what you are talking about!”

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My daughter’s LL is acts of service, so she often makes baked goods. I took a pic of her Valentine cookies and turned it into a Valentine card the next year.

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This chapter recommended framing you child’s artwork. I have done that…it is the integral part of my decorating…really by default and because it is free and doesn’t require decisions 🙂  I didn’t want to bring framed art to class so I got these notepads from the desk. I love that they have artwork AND words! They were made by one of our Moms of Teens, Karen Clark when she was a Mom of elementary kids 🙂

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I borrowed a few things from my daughter’s bulletin board to show in class. She has saved words of affirmation from her youth leaders. And obviously she appreciates photos as well. She often complains about my excessive photography but she later orders her favorites. Teens appreciate most of our affirming “words” even if they act like they don’t like it!


 

Part 2 of class was continuing on with our prayer pattern. This info came from our Women’s Ministry Leadership Retreat and from Moms Leaders Prayer time with Abby Hamilton.

Prayer Pattern:

Father, you are GOOD – “Taste and see that the Lord is good” Psalm 34:8

I need HELP – “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

THEY need help – “Call to me and I will answer you.” Jeremiah 33:3

Thank YOU – “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

They Need Help

Jeremiah 33:3 Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

When God told Jeremiah these words, Jeremiah was in prison. God went on to describe how Jerusalem was going to be devastated. The men would not live against the onslaught of the Babylonians. God was allowing the destruction of wickedness. It would look like the Lord was rejecting the very people He chose (vs. 23). All would appear desolate. But, God was promising to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem. He was promising cleansing, forgiveness, peace and joy. There would be a return of the people praising God and giving Him thanks.

The great and unsearchable thing God told Jeremiah was that things were going to get worse before they got better.

What do we learn about God in this passage?

Things I learned about words of encouragement/affirmation from a recent, hard teen situation:

Many situations don’t resolve quickly but you can find … and give encouragement along the way.

Handwritten Notes have special meaning.

Take opportunities to encourage teens other than your own. Affirmation from other adults can truly show God’s love various situations. Sometimes their own parents are deep in the issue and can’t be encouraging at the time.

Pray! And if the opportunity presents itself, share that prayer (even if it is in the Kroger produce section).

What a joy it is to receive a note back, thanking you for your prayers and encouragement. (I totally wasn’t expecting it and was so pleasantly surprised that the note came on the coloring card I had given in the encouragement goody bag and it included a bible verse Isaiah 40:31)

———–>    Side Story:   When I sat down to look up the verse that she wrote in the card, my memory had the wrong address. I turned to Isaiah 41, probably because I had prayed one of my favorite verses for her and her Mother. verse 10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (the upholding in His hand is the most comforting image when I am fearful or dismayed/anxious)…. anyway….I thought she wrote 41:6 and I read it “They approach and come forward; they help each other and say to their companions, “Be Strong!”   This was not the verse she meant but I was overwhelmed that God was speaking to me. I had questioned whether or not to “come forward” in this situation. Sometimes, I would rather stand back and pray and not act. But God continued to prod my heart to drive to their house unannounced and offer encouragement, no judgement, love, hugs and prayers…and a goody bag 🙂   Now, here was God…speaking to me and saying He had directed me and to Him goes the glory. I am so grateful for the Word that speaks to me. The Word…Jesus IS the Word!

BTW: The verse she referenced was actually 40:31 “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.”  which was perfect for her in her recovery!

 

 

How do you pray for others?

A few suggestions on praying for others:

When burdened to pray for someone in need,

  • ask the Spirit what He is praying. Join the Spirit in His prayers.
  • Envision the loved one surrounded by the Lord’s character that is needed. Worship and thank Him for His work.
  • Pray Scripture for the person. (Prayers of Paul: Ephesians 1:17-23, Ephesians 3:15-20, Philippians 1:9-11, Colossians 1:9-12, 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, I Thessalonians 1:2-9)

Prayer Prompt from Philippians 1:9-11 (from Prayer Portions by Sylvia Gunter)

I Pray

  • That _____’s love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight
  • That _____may be able to discern what is best
  • That _____may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ
  • That _____will be filled with the fruit of righteousness through Jesus Christ

 

A resource that I love is “Praying the Scriptures for your Teenagers” by Jodie Berndt

One of my favorite aspects of this book is the specific prayer categories. This is very helpful in praying for my teens and for other people’s prayer requests. Here is an example:

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Wow, I covered a lot! No wonder it took me a few days! I am a bit WORDY!  XO, Melissa

 

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