Ran across the "Dear Me" project a few days ago, and decided I would participate. The concept is, you write a letter from yourself today, to yourself at some time in the past. Several letters I read were written from the person to themselves 20 years ago. I would have been eight. I remember some things, but not that much, so I opted for 15 years instead. I seriously bawled my eyeballs out writing this. There are so many people and events that I wanted to write about, but I thought the highlights were important. Just thought I'd share it:
Dear Me in 1992,
Sweet child, you are thirteen years old today, and as confused as ever. Life is ever the turmoil of best friends, eighth grade, Chad Tidd, dance, church, and band practice. You’ve just had your last perm, and although you don’t know it, you should be shouting to Jehovah that the torture is over. However, it will take your hair many years to repair, and by that time, you’ll discover hair color. You have no idea what you will do to your poor head.
You are not fat. You are short. You won’t be short for long though. Before you know it, you will outgrow every pair of pants you own. And tight-rolling them won’t help anything. You’ve only worn contacts a few months, and you’ll experiment with different colors. But your eyes are special. They are windows to your soul. You will never have the luxury of hiding how you feel, because people will be able to see it in your eyes. You will struggle for a long time with your weight, but remember that God doesn’t look at the appearance, but that He looks at the heart. Take care of yourself, stop drinking so many cokes, and try to cut out the junk food once in a while.
Your Mom is an incredible woman of strength. She possesses courage, determination, and a holy reverence for God’s own heart that you will only see once or twice in your life. She made great sacrifices for you, beyond what you will ever know. She is more than your mother, she will be your greatest confidante. She will teach you how to pray. She will let you see her mistakes, in the hopes that you don’t repeat them. But when you do, she will pick you up, and push you to be a better woman. She will teach you to be a godly wife and loving mother. She will teach you to see joy in the simplest thing. She will show you that you should laugh with your head back, and your eyes closed, and do so loudly, even when you don’t know what everyone else is laughing at. She will teach you the importance of pressing on. She will show you what it means to intercede late in the night. She has sacrificed sleep for you. Many, many, many hours of sleep, just to know that you are safe. When you move away, you will discover just how important she is. Stop lying to her. Be truthful with her. She knows you are scared, but she knows that what lies ahead is a greater adventure that what you have been through. She will show you that you have to make an investment in other people’s lives, even and especially when you appear to get nothing in return. She’ll remind you in those moments that your reward is in heaven, because God is watching. She will laugh at your spontaneity, and revel in your zeal. She will be both your greatest inspiration, and well as the one you want to keep inspiring. She will listen to you as you tell of the endless list of crushes you’ll have, but all the while, knows that she has been praying for your husband since the first moment she saw you. You will learn soon enough that God made her a redhead for a reason. God Almighty knew how special she was, and that you two would be perfect.
Your father loves you in ways that he doesn’t know how to express. Cut him slack for being human. Love him through the hurt. Stop blaming him for things that are passed now. Stop punishing him for what you think he didn’t do. He has the best of intentions. More than anything, just make him proud. When you feel like you have failed him, talk to him. Don’t shut him out of your life. Look at his life. He’s trying to teach you. His methods may seem unorthodox, but that’s how he does things. He dreamed for you before you were born. Become aware of what those dreams are. You may never be president of the United States, but be the president of your own home, or better yet, your own company. He will hound you incessantly about college only because he wants you to be something when you grow up. He wants you to have a life, and to be somebody. He is proud of the woman you will become, but stop trying to see that through your eyes, and start trying to focus through his. He needs you too. You are his first-born… you are his only daughter. You carry his name, as well as his stubbornness, and zest for knowledge. He read to you as a little girl, and years from now, you will discover that books are not a means of escape, they are a source of growth. Look into his eyes, and see that he is a man who loves you very much, and that he is very proud of you. Your father wants you to find a spouse so that you won't be alone, but also one that will treat you well, and will love you very much. He does pray that you are blessed with a godly spouse, preferable not a preacher. And he probably won't ever understand all your many hair colors.
Your brother will make decisions based on your mistakes in your life, and instead of being upset with him, choose to stop making foolish mistakes. He will become a good man one day. You need his friendship. You may fight a lot now, but one day, he won’t be so close for you to fight with, and frankly, all the fighting will seem foolish. He will need you. He will confide in you. He will say very not nice things to you on occasion, but remember that he is still searching to find who he is. He doesn’t know yet. Stop being such a prude and lighten up.
Your family … this will take all day if I call them one by one. For a while, you will not appreciate them in your life. But you will never understand how much they love you. And how much they need you in their lives. They will impart into you many things, but most importantly, they will impart to you the importance of family. You can pick your friends, but your family, they are a gift. Your Granny passed away before you really got to know her, but you are a lot like her. Your MeMaw won't be around forever; cherish her words and her spunk. Your Papa is full of stories that you need to hear; hang on his every word and celebrate his life. He loves you so much, and will show you what integrity is. You will understand what respect really is through him. Your grandfather is the single wisest man you will ever know. He embodies the proverb of being quick to listen and slow to speak. (And not just because of the hearing aids. He hears quite well, he just loves to rile up your grandmama.) Your Grandmother ... you are a lot like your grandmother. Bobbie Sue will mean more to you than she will ever fully understand. She has the touch that stops the pain, calms the nerves, and can do so without breaking a sweat. (She'll tell you that's because she doesn't sweat.) She will never acknowledge you as being the favorite grandchild (some junk about she loves everyone, blah, blah, blah), but you and God know that the day you burst into her life was like none other. Since then, even she has never been the same. God gave you four aunts, and two uncles. You have your favorites. Your Aunt Sandi chased you around the house with a fly swatter when you were little. You will get your revenge one day. She will have the opportunity to live a part of her life through you. She will encourage you. You are so precious to her. Because of her, you will secretly always love wrestlers and face paint. And be nice to her cat. And your Aunt Rita... you may have taken those car rides to the church, eating cheetos, drinking cokes, and listening to Reba McIntyre for granted, but they will flood your memories often. Through AR, you will learn grace. You already watch her like a hawk. Making fun of her "dead clothes" will be your downfall though. You really should not do that anymore. She will escape the pains of childbirth, but enjoy the beauty of motherhood through you. Remind her as often as you can how much you love her. She will pour into your life deeply and beautifully. And she will need you to pour back into hers too. There are other members of your family, and I can guarantee that at some point, you are going to think that they are the branch of the family tree that needs to be pruned because of dead leaves. I can't say I disagree, but don't be so critical of them. Love them unconditionally, and encourage them. Celebrate in their victories, and mourn with them in their losses, and carry their burdens even when they're too proud to acknowledge them. More than anything pray for your family. Cover them in the blood, and pray for their protection. Remember, You need them.
Your friend Laura, she will be with you life-long. From the beginning of time, God orchestrated that you two would find one another, and would impart something in your hearts that will bind you beyond what you can understand. It’s more than Barbies, and the Monkees, and dancing on the porch. It is the bond that so few find. She will teach you how to love unconditionally. She will need you too, and it’s imperative that you don’t shut down or bail out when the road gets tough. Stand up, and be the friend that you know you are inside. Celebrate with her in every victory of her life. You will see how God heals wounds through her children’s eyes. When life throws lemons, sit with her, and make really good margaritas for Laura. And get yourself a Coke, honey. May you see that her presence in your life was one of the greatest gifts God has ever given you. Never, EVER, take Laura for granted.
You’ve just been to your first Winterfest, and you were blown away. Do you remember the tears that you poured out? Oh Honey, that is just the beginning. You have many tears left to cry. But what you didn’t know then was that Tears are a language that God alone understands. He knows every tear, and every emotion behind every tear. He sees the pain and hurt that you have endured in just these short years. But He will never, ever leave you. You have a LOT of unforgiveness pent up in your little heart. Try to forgive those people as best you can. Keep taking your brokenness to the altar. Do it every chance you get. You will see how good God is. He is sparing you from a lot, because he is saving you for something wonderful. Just a few months, ago, a woman told you to begin praying for your husband. This will be the beginning of the long journey of praying for that man. He won’t come when you expect him to. He won’t be who you want him to be. God has something even better for you. He has a man that will love you more than you can understand right now. You haven’t had your first kiss, or first “real” boyfriend. But you will never forget that first kiss. I can promise you that you will float on air like you see in the movies. It will be the first of many kisses. Boys will come and go. You will pray hard for God to send a variety of guys to fill that special role. He will not. And God is not going to let you get married the day after you graduate from high school. Yes, Even God thinks that is foolish.
Precious child, your life may appear to you to be a hodge-podge of mistakes, but it is more a mish-mash of God’s amazing grace, his never-ending-brand-new-each-day mercy, and forgiveness for every sin. He has carried you when you couldn’t go on. He will continue to do. Stay in the shadow of the Almighty when you need to, but girl, get ready to walk on water. God wants you to join Him in the greatest adventure, in love, in life. He will hold your hand, carry your when necessary, and take glory in everything that you do. You are His child, created in His image, designed with His purpose in mind.
Don’t wait for life to decide to include you… get in there. Don’t live in the fantasy, enjoy and relish the reality. It’s not always good, but the end is…. Just wait and see.
Love Me in 2007,