I’m joining Emily today in celebrating the release of her new book, Graceful. The assignment is to write a letter to your 16-year-old self. Here’s mine.
A letter to my 16 year old self:
(Sidenote: I almost never wear hats, so it’s hilarious to me that I’m wearing one in this picture!)
You’re not as bad as you think you are. Years of being bullied because you’re poor have taught you that you’re worthless, but you’re not. If you could only grasp that now, you could save yourself so.much.heartache.
He’s worth it. I know you’re scared because he’s so much older than you. So much older that it’s completely “uncool” to date him and something only a “bad girl” would do. You’re scared because you think he’s so far out of your reach that you could never be good enough for him and that once he figures that out, it would be over anyway…(hint: seven years of marriage and counting and he still hasn’t figured it out…think he’s a keeper.) But, you could save yourself some trouble by figuring all this out sooner rather than later.
Because he, however, is NOT worth it. Which is why it would be so important for you to realize the above fact. Then he wouldn’t have been in the picture. I know you chose him because he was “safe” (or so you thought). There is no danger of him being better than you, so it feels like he’s what you deserve. He’s liked you for forever, so you don’t have to worry about “losing him.” Don’t go down that road. Don’t play tennis. Don’t even take physics class right now. It really is that important for you to avoid this boy who will wound your spirit in so many ways. I wish I were just warning you away from a broken heart, but he didn’t break your heart. He nearly destroyed your spirit with his constant abuse.
You matter. You are worth something. Yes, we’re back to that, because at 16, you knew you were insecure, but he took that to a whole new level through his abuse. And it will become something that 10 years down the road you’re still trying to grab onto and make it a truth in your heart. It would be so much easier if you could learn it now.
It will catch up to you. Everyone always tells you that all the junk food you eat will catch up to you. Yes, I know that you’ve been sitting pretty at exactly 115 pounds for the past couple of years. And, it will last a couple more years. But a few years after that, it will catch up to you. And it won’t be pretty at all.
Spend more time with mamaw. For the love of God, please soak up every minute that you can get with her. Listen to her stories. Visit her more. Call her more. Savor every single time that you walk through her kitchen door and are greeted with a warm hug.
You do not need your masters degree. When the time comes to get it, please don’t. Seriously. Stay-at-home-moms don’t need graduate degrees. Or at least, you don’t. Focus on God’s plan for your life, big or small, because it’s all that matters. And I could really use that extra $300/month on something besides a student loan payment…just sayin’.
People say everything in life happens for a reason. And that’s true. But sometimes, that reason is nothing more than our sin and bad decisions. God has a perfect plan for your life. You can mess that up with your detours. Yes, His word does tell us that all things work together for good. That means that the things you mess up? He can fix it, or at least make something good come out of it. But, that does not mean it was His perfect plan. Don’t be so desperate for someone to love you that you’ll settle for less.
Yes, the plan happened. You got your prince, and 2 beautiful boys. But it could have been so much easier and with less pain if you’d stuck to God’s plan to begin with and avoided the detours. And I could enjoy it more fully if it weren’t for living with the baggage of your mistakes.
Sincerely, your almost-30 year old self.
What would you like to say to your 16-year-old self?