Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dear Me....

Hey, you!
Yeah, you with the curly permed hair, nose in the latest Francine Rivers book, and 16-year-old angst.

I know you live in a world of romantic dreaming and counting-the-days-til-you-see-your-American-friends again, but I want to give you a little advice to help you along the path you are about to take. I know you will listen with rapt attention. You like to have guidelines and road markers along the way. And since Dad raised you on SciFi, your own voice from your future will intrigue you. I will try not to give TOO much away though. You will need the lessons learned from embracing adventure and unknown to make it through your journey.

So, here goes...

You know when Uncle Mike reminded you to "Bloom where you are planted" when you were thirteen? Hang on to that. It will help you in the cross-continental moves you are going to be making in your life, but wait...let's not get ahead of ourselves.

When Mom and Dad let you decide if you want to stay in Haiti with them for your senior year or to go live in America with Aunt Bonnie, it will be the hardest decision of your life to date. But can I tell you something right now? You WILL make the right decision. That decision will ground in you an understanding of how to hear God's voice for yourself for THE. REST. OF. YOUR. LIFE. You will be scared. You will want Mom and Dad to tell you what to do. They won't. But they will help you make pros and cons and talk through both options. You will not realize how hard this is for them for a long time, but say thank you anyway to them for trusting you with your own life at 16. It REALLY is a big deal!

Pssst....I have a secret to tell you. That guy who you have had a crush on for, like, 3 years now, he is going to ask you to the youth group banquet and soon after become your FIRST REAL BOYFRIEND! Sqeeeee!! I know! Super exciting, right?

Enjoy that relationship. He really is a great guy. No, I mean REALLY. You will not realize how great then, but most 17 year old boys are not that mature and kind and respectful.  Dating him first will help you through the ups and downs of dating in the future.

I am not going to tell you WHO you are going to marry or WHEN it is going to happen because you would NOT believe me anyway. But I will tell you this ::

your forever love story will rival fairytales. 

And that is the truth! Just do not compromise along the way. You will NOT regret it!

You are tender-hearted and deeply sensitive. You often hate this about yourself and will spend a lot of hours agonizing over being this way. Please try not to be so hard on yourself. I know Dad tells you this a lot. He is right. That "weakness" is one of your greatest strengths and will help more people than you can imagine right now.

And that dreamer-girl inside of you? That part of you is NOT childish or immature. She is exactly who God wants you to be. Don't turn her off or shut her out. And if you forget, and do it anyway. Please do not be afraid to invite her back in and give her a room again. She needs a lot of space and you have plenty of room in your life for her and the practical-girl on your shoulder.

I know you are self-conscious about your pale skin, freckles, and lack of curves {and that will change...a little at least}. One day you will be thankful for those things. I know you are making a face now. I am serious though. Freckles will keep your face young and those straight-figured genes will keep you the same size for almost 15 more years, and that is definitely a plus. Most importantly though, day by day, begin to embrace your own skin. It will be a lifelong journey but you will find more beauty than critique when you do.

I know right now, you are being flooded with more emotions that you can possibly handle all at once. Embrace them. Lean into them. Please do not run from them. You have more strength inside of you than you can possibly imagine and your heart will lead you WELL more often than not.

I also know it has been hard being a missionary kid and for years you have dreamed and even demanded of God to live in America as a grown up. He hears you. He truly does, but He has bigger dreams for you than you can even dream for yourself. Enjoy the ride even when it looks "different" from your plans. And one day soon, you are going to dream of traveling the world. I know it is hard to believe right now, but it is going to be a BIG dream for you.

You have loved Jesus since you were 4 years old and really are a very good girl. You see the world in shades of black and white. But very soon, the grays will start to appear. It will scare you BIG TIME and you may even feel insignificant in the process, but hold on, baby girl, it is God's grace shining through to you from those black and white space bursting open your worldview. He will never stop teaching you about grace and one day you will truly bask in the world of kaleidoscope shades of beauty. You do not have to prove anything to anyone. He loves you. And that is enough. Remember that your freshman year in college when you feel like a fish out of water. The insecurities will not last forever. And you are going to make some of your very best lifelong friends there. is going to be so much fun!

Mom often says, "Be true to yourself and to the Lord." That will become a mantra in your life. You will need that reminder in hard decisions when others do not see where you are coming from. I know how hard that is for you. Oh I really do. But live by her words and you will see that grace I was talking about.

In the next couple of years, your teachers and professors as well as Mom and Dad will highlight gifts in you that you do not see in yourself -- teaching, writing, speaking. Listen to them. They all have wisdom and life experience that will mold you into what you need to become.

Make a difference in the life of a child whenever possible. This is going to shape you in ways that will surprise you and endear you to kids wherever you go.

Keep your tender heart for Jesus. Keep treating everyone with respect and equality. Be confident in who you are. You are a natural leader, and your Holy-Spirit-led guidance will serve you and others well.

Granny always calls you JOY. Hold on to that even in your darkest days. The devil will try to steal that from you, but it is your gift, your lifeline, your hope for the future.

I know that you see yourself as "just a missionary kid" but that perspective is going to change the world around you everywhere you go. So be yourself. Always.

"You is kind.
You is smart.
You is important."

Yeah, you...we...still hate bad grammar but this is from a movie coming out in about a decade from now {Go see it!} You will love the heart behind it...and grammar errors and are ALL of these things!

I know you hate BIG change. THAT will never change, but please try to learn to let go a little and just fly. Your wings are large and beautiful. You are an eagle. Do not settle for less.


P.S. You know that pack rat tendency you have. Keep it. It will drive Mom and Future Husband a little batty, but your nostalgic heart will thank you over and over again. Especially on a day like today, writing this letter, reading your 1995 journal.

P.P.S. That secret love of dancing you have had since you were 2 years old. Do something about it. It will be one of the best decisions ever!

~  ~  ~

When I saw the challenge from Emily to write a letter to our teenage selves in honor of the release of her new book, Graceful, I wanted to do it, but then I felt intimidated and really did not know what to say. But I eventually sat down and started writing. Sometimes you think you have nothing to say until you just write... and you realize how full your heart really is. Would you like to share a letter to your teenage self? Please do. And then head over to Emily's space, Chatting at the Sky, on Friday {tomorrow} and link up your letter and read all of the great advice from some amazing women{and men} walking this road of grace just like you{and me!}. Oh and check out the Graceful trailer right HERE!


Ro elliott said... Best Blogger Tips

I love that your parents let you make the such a big decision...what wonderful parenting...and i love the quote from the help...great post...blessings~

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

It's funny how scary that was at the time...and only now as an adult do I realize how scary that must have been for them as well. Thank you for always...I appreciate your encouragement!

Melanie Gillgrist said... Best Blogger Tips

I love reading are a great storyteller! I also wrote something about being tender-hearted and not always liking that!

Alaina said... Best Blogger Tips

I am a missionary girl all grown up too. :-) Enjoyed reading your letter to yourself. I grew up in Costa Rica, Venezuela and Ecuador. And currently work with international TCK's.

Alaina said... Best Blogger Tips

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