Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


Last weekend in our high school ministry, we again offered a chance for students to write down their secrets or pains. We started a series called “My Life Unfiltered” and last Sunday was “My Junk and Jesus.” In each program we had a card that simply read, “I have junk in my life too. No one knows but…” and then let students fill them in anonymously and turn them in during a 3 song music set.

An adult leader typed them up and I read them today. In the end, 1/3 of the students in our service took the time to fill one out and turn it in. What they ended up writting down was some of the hurt, pain, regret, fears, and doubts that our high school students deal with. If we’re honest, it’s a microcosm of humanity in general, not just teens today.

I would type them up directly as they were written, because they are raw and real… but even though most are anonymous, I said I was not going to do that publicaly. So here they are categorically.

  • Several indicated they were molested or even did the molesting sexually as children.
  • Some are struggling with sexual desires- both hetero and homosexually.
  • Some feel like a dating relationship has ruined them.
  • At least one student is specifically mad at me.
  • Some can’t make their parents happy.
  • Some feel like they are in a comparison game trap.
  • Lots feel very very alone.
  • Several struggle with depression, suicide, and the pointlessness of life.
  • Some are angry with someone or themselves.
  • Some can’t forgive- the pain is too deep.
  • Some are hurting from divorce- both old and pending.
  • Most are tired of faking it, but don’t know who they can trust.

This list messed me up for most of my morning. But the one that instantly sent me to tears was a sentence about sexual regret and hurt that ended with the sentence. “I plan on taking this to the grave.”

I can think of no worse thing, than at 16 to believe that your sin or pain is so great, that you’ll have to carry it as a secret for maybe the next 70 years. Oh God I pray this student decides that’s a bad idea and empties this HUGE brick of a lie out of their emotional and spiritual backpack.

Today I was reminded again of 3 truths:

  1. My students hurt. People hurt. I hurt.
  2. One of the universal struggles in the church is to be real. In the midst of God’s people or people seeking God, the brokenness is always deep and the facades of perfection often are so think. This is NOT right.
  3. Confession heals me. Public confession defeats the lie that “I’m the only one who struggles with this or feels this way” and that lie is still very very present in the church today.


  1. i remember feeling a lot of those things as a teenager. I think as we get older we must forget. Parents seem to not “get” their kids going through this. I pray I never forget. Seeing it written out like this helps me to remember. So thanks. Aaaaand I’m feeling really compelled to go find a hurting teen to (dare I say) mentor. If they would have me.

  2. Do it amy. And if the organization says they don’t need you… come to san diego… I’ve got 100 girls that do.

    love your passion. thanks for leading in your home and for being so attentive to the voice of God in your life. you inspire me.

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