Wednesday, September 12, 2012

in which I write a letter to my fifteen year old self...

For those of you who have been reading here for a while, you know that God has placed this burning passion in my heart to reach out to women of all ages, shapes and sizes.  I desperately want women to seek His face and believe His promises.  When I heard about Emily Freeman's new book, Graceful, I knew I needed to go snatch it up.  There is a younger generation following in our footsteps.  Since I know how many missteps I made, I desperately want to forge a new path, so they can walk a new road.  A road paved with Truth. 

So, I wrote my awkward 15-year old self a letter....

Dear me,
Hey there.  It's know, you.  Only I'm the 33-year old version of you. I am you 18 years from now.  I thought I would tell you some things that would have been helpful to know back then. Things that I learned the hard way and things that took a while to understand.

You are clothed in strength and dignity and you will laugh at the days to come.  Believing this now will help you go ahead and laugh at some of the things that will happen.  For instance, you will accidentally poot on your first date.  As horrifying as it sounds, it is not the end of the world.  And you will chuckle about it several times.  In fact, you are chuckling now.  Uncontrollably.  Oh, and you take quite the tumble chasing the CAT bus after class in college.  People around you will laugh hysterically.  But trust me, this is not even the end of the world.  Your ankle will turn black and blue and it will swell to proportions you have never seen.  You will even have to wear a rather attractive air cast for a couple of weeks, but it is not the end of the world.  Go ahead and reconsider those sandals you wear to class.  Opt for something a little better suited for sprinting. 

Don't worry so much about your hairstyle or your clothes or accessories.  This will be helpful to know.  Especially on the day before junior year prom when your hair turns out a little more blonde that you anticipated.  And by a little, I mean a whole lot.  More like bleach blonde and less like subtle highlights.  Let me go ahead and be brutally honest.  We were born blonde, but we don't stay that way.  Our hair will turn a mousy brown in high school. We will spend lots and lots of money over the years to stay blonde.  And that's okay, but it isn't everything.  Trust me when I say, not every day is a bad hair day.  I promise. 

Your freshman year in high school is going to be horrible.  Brace yourself.  It shapes the person you become.  Some for the better.  A whole lot for the worse.  It will take years to undo the hurt from this school year. Mean girls and rumors have a way of breaking hearts.   But you will get through it. You will rise above it.  And through this, you will learn there are two sides to every story.  A person's reputation can be scarred by gossip and untruths.  But you learn {the hard way} that words have the power to breath life into a person or the power to bring death.  Your freshman year sets the stage for you and your encouraging ways.  It is during this year that you start journaling.  And it is during this time that you long to encourage others as a way of building them up and spurring them along.  You won't always choose this path, but the desire will always be there. 

You will get your braces off this year.  You refuse to go to school for two days because you have an unfortunate genetic disorder.  You were born without a permanent tooth.  Thus leaving you with a major gap in the front of your mouth once the braces are removed.  It takes two days after the braces are removed for your permanent bridge to be ready at the dentist.  As horrific as this sounds, it really is not a big deal at all. {Except for the night in college when the bridge falls out while you are at a fraternity party...but that's a story for another day}.  Your genetic disorder and the resulting permanent bridge cause you to be a little shy of smiling at first.  But eventually you don't even think about it.  Just smile.  It increases your face value.

You will keep your driver's permit for almost an entire year.  You have no desire to drive a car.  This has nothing to do with laziness and everything to do with the fact that you are terrified to drive through Five Points.  Diddy will wake you up one morning a week before your sixteenth birthday and announce that you are going to the DMV to get your license.  You will pitch quite the fit and refuse to drive there.  Or back.  And you will still avoid driving through Five Points for almost another year.  But you will eventually realize that you are always under the watchful eye of your Creator.

There is this boy you have a major crush on in high school.  He will call you even though you are dating his best friend.  He will throw rocks at your bedroom window.  But he is just a little too wild for you.   You long to hang out with the same crowd and you actually do at various times throughout high school, but there is always this nagging voice in your head {or is it your heart?} that tells you when enough is enough.  That voice.  You should listen to it a little more often.  It will tell you that it is okay to stay home from the football game and hang out with your parents.  It will tell you that it is okay if you aren't wearing Esprit or Guess or The Limited.  But most of the time, you ignore that voice and chase the world.  You conform and it takes you years to transform.  You chase popularity.  You desperately want people to like you.  You want to fit in. This desire will chase you to college.  You will join a sorority.  You will be surrounded by all sorts of girls from all over the country.  You will even make friends with most of them.  But you will still feel like you don't quite fit.  I wish you could realize now {instead of when you are twenty-five} that popularity is a myth.  Your real friends will never make you feel uncomfortable in your own skin. 

And trust me, this is going to be hard for you to understand, but just trust me.  Your worth is not determined by the number on the scale or the size of your clothes.  Hear me when I say this.  Let it sink deep.  By the time your daughter is born, you will wish you would have learned this a lot sooner.  You were hand-crafted by God.  From the color of your eyes to the shape of your thighs.  And He doesn't make mistakes.  He is entralled with you.  Enthralled, sweet little me. 

It is okay to miss home.  Whether it is three hours away while you are at college.  Or whether you are sitting in the stands on a Friday night at the high school football game.  Or whether you are 33 and just a mile down the road.  It is okay to miss home.  And sometimes all it takes to come home is a phone call to your mama.

And speaking of Mama, she's a gem.  Always remember that.  She is your biggest supporter and encourager.  She kneels beside your bed at night and prays for you.  She cries when you cry and she laughs when you laugh.  She enjoys spending time with you, but sometimes the responsibilities of running a household and working full time consume her.  But she is a Proverbs 31 woman, if ever there was one.  Once you become a mother, you strive to be like her.

And Diddy.  You will compare every guy you meet to him.  He is your rock and a voice of reason when the rest of the world seems a bit shaky.  He will fight for you.  And he always has your best interests at heart.  Always.  He is sick.  You will realize this more once you are a senior in high school.  You will watch his health decline, but you will watch his spirit soar.  His faith builds a strong foundation for you.  Watch him.  Listen carefully to his stories.  He is showing you what it means to live out your faith.

Your older sister, the one you always nagged and borrowed clothes from {sometimes without even asking}.  The one you ratted out for watching MTV.  She is your personal cheerleader.  And the bestest friend you will ever have.  She's a tough cookie, though.  She's a little fiesty and opinionated, but she always has a point.  It will take years for the two of you to meet on common ground and stay there.  But you value her opinion and geniunely love being with her.  People say you could be twins.  This works to your {dis}advantage in college, where you easily pass for a 26-year old your freshman year.  You think this is cool, but you would hang your daughter up by her toes if she did the same thing.  This works much to your disadvantage when you are living in the same town again as adults and people wonder which one is older.  Major disadvantage. 

You are tender-hearted and cry easily.  This is not a weakness.  It is a sign of strength and compassion.  You have a heart that breaks.  And that is okay.  It makes you real and strong and beautiful.  Just remember, water-proof mascara is a must.  When you are twenty-five, you will turn your heart back to Jesus.  You will decide that chasing the things of this world do not compare to the glory that is Jesus.  I wish I could tell you that it didn't take so long.  I wish I could tell you not to make the same mistakes I did...but you will.  But, Jesus is writing a beautiful story in your life.  One that shapes your testimony and forms the woman you become {and are still becoming}.  By the time you are my age, you are running so fast after Jesus that it takes your breath away.  Every day, He takes your breath away. 

Love yourself, sweet girl.  Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to others. 

You really are wonderful.


1 comment:

  1. We have some things in common.
    -hated driving (still don't care for it)
    -had dental woes (wore a headgear and cried everyday my mom made me wear it to school...she gave up after two weeks
    -yucky freshman year
    -love, love God
    loved what you wrote
    -your letter writing neighbor #105