Dan Trathen DMin, PhD Clinical Psychologist & Certified Business & Life Coach

Writing the Next Chapter in Your

By Daniel W. Trathen, D. Min. Ph. D.

The following is a letter I recently wrote to our son as a “personal blessing,” reminder and challenge as he readied himself to make the next transition in his life. Many families will be experiencing transitions in their lives this year due to school graduations, work, and military service. If you are reading this as a parent of a teenager or adult child, I recommend you think about writing such a letter to your son or daughter as a way of communicating your heart and faith to them. Letters like this can and will be read over and over again and help us and our children to be encouraged in and through the storms and stresses of life. It may also act as a beacon for them to begin seeing their life as a book and to continue writing it with the end in mind. If there are sections in this “open letter” that you find express your thoughts or feelings then feel free to incorporate them into your letter. It may be a positive memory that stays with them the rest of their lives. I’m sure it would be your hope that they would keep it as a cherished bookmark as they write the next chapter in their “book of life.”

“Dear Scott,

Thanks for your telephone call last week. I enjoyed talking with you and sharing some of my observations of your strengths and listening to your struggles. You have been ready to complete another chapter in your life for some time now. Now it is time to begin to write the next chapter. What will it say? That will be up to you and the table of contents God has for your “book of life”. It will also be up to you to submit to His will and leading. As Joshua said to the children of Israel, “fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth … choose for yourself today whom you will serve … (Joshua 24:14a, 15b, NASB). It is my hope and prayer that your answer will be the same as Joshua’s proclamation, “as for me and my house we (I) will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15c, NASB). The end of Joshua’s “book of life” read as true as the beginning. He was obedient and faithful to the Lord throughout his life.

What will the last chapter in your “book of life” read like? What will people say when they are asked the question, “Why did God use Scott Trathen?” When the greatly respected preacher and author R.A. Torrey was asked at D. L. Moody’s funeral, “Why did God use D.L. Moody?” he gave the following seven reasons.


  1. Was fully surrendered
  2. Prayed abundantly
  3. Was a deep and practical student of the Bible
  4. Was humble
  5. Was free from the love of money
  6. Had a consuming passion for the lost
  7. Was endured with power from on high

These were but a few character themes from the chapters of D.L. Moody’s life. They represent a partial list of the table of contents of his “book of life.” I hope and pray that the table of contents of your life will contain some, if not all, of these character themes. Moody was not only a passionate preacher, but a great visionary and good businessman.

Knowing your interest for business, there are some additional life principles I would like to suggest you ponder and if you chose–adopt as your own. These have been called, “The Five Basic Principles of Life”. May these also be found as aspects of how you lived you life and conducted your business.

The Five Basic Principles of Life:

  1. Focus on the problem, not the person
  2. Do and say things that help others feel good about themselves
  3. Work on keeping connections with people positive and productive
  4. Take the first step to make things work out
  5. Lead by example

Scott, chose this day and everyday whom you will serve and how you will serve Him through Godly character and wise principles. May this letter be remembered as a bookmark for you to keep your place while you continue to write another chapter in your “book of life.” I’m proud to be your father. May God greatly bless you in the process of growing.

With Much Love,

Philippians 1:6

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