Help Strengthen Your Teen's Faith-Start a Shared Faith Journal
What if there was a way to let go of some of the worries you have about your teen? What could you gain from that?
More energy to spend on something more fruitful than worry?
More comfort knowing God is guiding your teen in all matters of their life?
I'm guessing you, like me, could benefit from all those things. A shared faith journal might just give you the ease and hope you're longing for.
What is Shared Faith Journaling
It’s an opportunity to share your beliefs and thoughts on Jesus when your teen is more willing to “hear” it. It’s also a beautiful way to see how God shows up in your teen’s life.
The idea for a shared faith journal came about because I wondered if my teenage daughter ever turned to Jesus when she struggled with something. I’ve told her how I’d talk with Him in the past, but I never knew if she had taken that to heart.
That got me thinking about a book I bought when she was around 12 - Just Between Us. It was a journal with many different journal prompts about random things. One of us would answer a question and leave it for the other to read. Some questions were about family traditions, favorite foods, teachers, friends, etc.
I thought it would be interesting to have a shared journal more geared to our faith.
Don’t Force Starting a Shared Faith Journal with Your Teen
My best advice for starting a shared faith journal is not to force it. If you bring it up to your teen and they're not interested, that’s okay.
Full disclosure when I originally presented this idea to my daughter, she was not interested. It's okay if your teen isn’t interested.
I still think it's beneficial for you to start the shared faith journal. It’s a place where you can put down the holiday and religious traditions you enjoyed growing up. You can also include the moments when God has shown up in your life and when you’ve turned to Him.
So start the journal and have her see you writing in it. That doesn’t mean she has to do anything with it, but she sees you recording these moments, and she knows that book is there, and you never know what planting that seed will do.
They might not ever take you up on it. But it gives you one more avenue to try to reach them and teach them how important faith is.
Supplies Needed for Your Shared Faith Journal
All you really need is:
Two Approaches to Starting a Shared Faith Journal:
- You pick out a beautiful journal and some fun pens and present them to your teen with the idea.
- You present her with the idea, and she goes out and picks out a fun journal and pens.
Whatever approach you choose, make it feel special. Because you'll end up with a beautiful collection of your shared faith, and what could be more special than that?
Ideas of What to Put in Your Shared Faith Journal
- A spot to record a time you saw God in your week.
- A place for favorite scripture passages and what that passage has meant to you.
- You could also have a space to record times you struggle with your faith. When you reflect on those difficult periods in your life, you might discover how Jesus was working in the background. Something that is harder to recognize when you're in the middle of your pain. I think sharing your struggles in faith helps your teen see that it's not always easy, but Jesus is always there.
- Another thought to add to your shared faith journal is to list the attributes of God. Then when you or your teen is facing a problem, they can look for it through the lens of God's attributes. And hopefully, then, you and your teen can hold firmly to the fact that God never changes.
What is Scripture Mapping
There are many different ways to Scripture map. You can take Scripture verses and create a visual to match what the verse means to you. Below is how I approach it.
- Gather your favorite crafty things-markers, stickers, colored pencils, etc. But if all you have is a pencil and paper, that will work just fine. And don't worry if you aren't artistic. I'm definitely not an artist! His Word is beautiful enough, so don't worry about your artistic abilities.
- Pick a Scripture to map out.
- Read over the Scripture verse a couple of times.
- Then, close your eyes and think of the picture the Scripture paints in your mind.
- Then write out the Scripture in your shared faith journal.
- After you write out the Scripture, read over the verses, and see what words jump out at you, I think the beautiful quality of Scripture is that it is living and active, so the same passage may take on a different meaning for you, depending on your current circumstances.
- Take a few minutes and look up those Word's definitions.
- Besides determining their English origin, try to see what the words mean in Hebrew and/or Greek.
- Add those definitions to the page you wrote the lines of your Scripture.
- I like to draw arrows in different directions to give the page some visual interest.
- It is now time for the fun part! Use your crafty things to tell the story of the Scripture. Below are some examples of what I mapped for Psalm 23.
I think Scripture mapping helps you connect more deeply with what that Scripture is talking about.
What are WOW Moments
Lastly, the most powerful thing I think you can record in your shared faith journal is your WOW moments.
Have you ever had something happen in your life that stopped you in your tracks? Maybe you thought it was a remarkable coincidence. Or maybe you recognized it for what it was-God showing up for you in the here and now.
I’ve heard these moments referred to as God winks, and others call them affirmations-God’s way of letting you know you are on the right track.
I like to call these times my WOW moments. WOW stands for witness of wonder. These are the times when something is so clearly happening from God that there is no other explanation for how it happened.
I’ve been blessed to see many WOW moments in my life. Even more so these last couple of years. The more I seek God throughout my day, the more I am aware of the moments He's working beside me.
So record those wow moments and share them with your teen because those moments are what help build your faith and your teen’s faith even stronger.
Faith Journal Prompts
If you decide to start a shared faith journal with your teen, you can download the free pdf with 52 journal prompts to get you started. You can access that at the top or bottom of this post.
I hope you find joy and peace from sharing your faith with your teen!
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