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A Letter to 16 year-old Me

If I could write a letter to me at 16, this is what I would tell myself.

Dear 16-year old me,

Life is hard, yes? High school may not be your favorite thing, but just wait, you'll want to go back to those easy days when you're older. At 17, you'll try to make plans to go to school to be a massage therapist; your dad will discourage you. You'll begrudgingly listen and be glad you did...later. This year you're already in the middle of a slew of bad choices...breathe...there will be pain. Lots of it. But, you'll find out you have mentors and friends who will walk beside you and love the deepest aches that you hold inside. People will tell you not to wish this time away...listen to them; adult-life is fun. But. It holds its own set of issues. And, those pains and frustrations you're walking through right now? In 10 years, you'll look back and laugh at what had you worried or frustrated. But for now, those fears and worries and pains? They are real, and they are real to you. Those places you look for love and acceptance? They can't actually bring you what your heart longs for deep inside. Right now you're rolling your eyes because you know I'm going to tell you that it's God alone that can give your heart rest and fulfillment. You're right, I am. Yet, I know you'll get to that place. Just not today, and that's ok; because, believe me, you'll make it to at least 25.

You know all those hard moments with your dad? Give him some grace, he had no clue what you were going through (and if he had, he would have been unsure of how to deal with it. If both of you would have known what you'll know at 20, you could have both talked about that pain, cried it out, and walked together. You won't do this yet, but you will in your 20's. You need to know your dad loves you and is trying to do the best he knows how to guide you into adulthood.You won't agree on a male in your life until you're 23, so just relax, go live life, and don't worry about boys. They take some time to mature anyway.

And, what if I told you that once you let go of dreaming of a man, that you pursued some other dreams you had. Like, living in Chicago, pursuing college? Well, you are going to do that. And during that time, God will show up for you in ways that are larger than you could have hoped. You'll have to lay your Isaac down more than once, but your mind will be blown by how He provides for you right on time. After you live in Chicago, you'll realize it's not for you; and you'll go home to continue online. Only, to have God ask you to let that part go, because...wait for it. Before you ever moved to Chicago, you met your husband. (But you didn't know that yet).

So, the husband. Even though you lived in Ohio by this point, you had to go to Colorado to meet this man who made you upset with God when you met him. Oh don't think you won't be mad, trust me, you will be. See? You will finally get to the place where your heart cries out for something more, and you allow God to just take hold and put you wherever He sees fit. And then of course, He'll have you sit across from the most intriguing person at a wedding in Colorado of all places.

After you move back from Colorado, you and this man you're then dating, will decide it's time to pursue a new chapter. Marriage. Four months after he proposes, you'll be a Mrs. Don't believe me? In 8 years you'll find out it's the truth.

During all this time, you will have many mountains, valleys, deserts, questions, hopes, and fears. Keep breathing. You won't stay in the valleys and deserts forever. And those fears and questions? Your boyfriend/fiance/husband will be a safe place for you in the middle of that. You will also have that small but mighty core group of friends who will talk you down and lift you up whenever you need it. And your fears. They're real and valid, but don't live in them. Take them to the place where ultimately they are not allowed to stay. That burden doesn't need to be yours.

And honey, after you're married only six months, you're going to find out that you're bringing a tiny human into the world. It's ok to freak out even though there will be people who look at you funny. Guess what? It WILL be ok. You'll bring a delightful, squalling bundle of joy into your world. And don't think that the first two weeks are what your life will be like forever. They won't be, praise God. But, just keep remembering that you have time to love your little one, your husband, and other people. Don't worry about Instagram or Facebook or anything else. You be honoring to God. You don't need to worry if you don't have all the latest clothes, decor, or other such thing. You be who you were created to be.

But, who knows. Maybe I'm wrong. Me-at-16, all I know is that you keep breathing, find those core friends, love deeply, and don't let go of the Hand that will carry through many a hot fire. You are loved. Remember that.



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