"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Letter to My 15 Year Old Self

I was recently challenged, by another blogger, to write a letter to my younger self. And anyone who knows anything about me, knows that I welcome most any challenge. Goodness, I just drove a race car for the first time this weekend. Not once—but FOUR times. Yessirreee. And I didn’t even know how to drive a stick shift prior to this weekend. So, yes, bring on the challenge, baby!

I decided to write a letter to my fifteen year old self. I contemplated writing to my 18 year old self, but then I thought that my fifteen year old self was a bit needier and would have totally appreciated this letter three years earlier than my eighteen year old self would have. lol
                                                                                                                  To my 15 year old self:

I'm wearing the red bandana

There you are, all beautiful and thin, but thinking that you are ugly and fat. All quiet and reserved, yet loud and squirmy inside. All shy and fearful of your biggest enemy—YOU! There will be other people that don’t accept you for who you are, and you will spend years trying to please everyone and to get everyone to like you. You will fail miserably. Let me tell you right now, life gets better, and you are perfect just the way God made you. The pain you feel right now, in high school, will pass, and God will take you on an incredible life journey that you will ultimately love.

Those haters in high school, that you are constantly taunted by, will not even be remotely in your life in a few years. Even though the scars they inflict will last awhile, ultimately, these high school years will be a distant memory. Believe it or not, you will eventually ‘friend’ a lot of these ‘haters’ on a social networking site (yes, something called, ‘the world wide web,’ is coming soon). They will have turned to Christianity and will actually become decent human beings. Yes, God does have a sense of humor and a purpose for all things. Romans 8:28, will become your life verse and you will live it out daily.

Don’t let academia ruin you for life. Life is not all about school and education. It is all about relationships and family. Academics will help you provide financially, but that is all. You will succeed tremendously in high school, in college and in your career, but your greatest success will be your children, their love for you and their love for God. So, concentrate on your relationship with the Lord, your family and your true friends. God will bless you in ways that you won’t even be able to fathom because of this.

Your love of all things crafty, creative and musical, for sewing and making things, For animals. For the unborn. Playing piano, singing, and singing some more. All that stuff will be cool one day, and that singing thing, that will help you throughout your entire life. Don’t worry about not being athletic or being able to follow the rules of football. You will never, ever need those skills again. Football was invented to merely test your patience with men. You will pass with flying colors, and patience will be one of your strongest virtues later in life.

That small youth group that you had to attend in the basement of a church—where virtually no one else ever attended. That was a trial, and God used it to refine you. Those teen relationships that you have been trying so hard to maintain, will be totally insignificant in just a few years. Your denominational affiliation, don’t take it too hard. You’ll soon be a Pentecostal, with the gifts of the Spirit accompanying and leading you throughout your life. The Holy Spirit will become your Rock and Foundation for the remainder of your years.

Don’t be discouraged for not dating during high school. As crazy as it sounds, you will be happy that you didn’t date during these years. You will truly appreciate the boys you finally do date. You will date someone throughout your entire college years, and no, he will not become your mate. So, please, for the love of God, don’t even start dating him. Yes, he will help you come out of your shell, but you will also be forced to learn some difficult life lessons. One being, having a broken heart will become commonplace in your life. You’ll learn that you must love your future mother in law and your future husband’s family, because this young man’s family doesn’t love you or respect you. Spoiler: your future in-laws will adore you, and you will adore them, too!

Remember, no matter how much you love a boy, never fall for a boy that is not yet a man. Rather, fall for a man that still has a boy inside of him. One who loves the Lord with all of his heart and soul. One whose soul treasures your soul.

The biggest thing you wanna know about.? Yes, you will get married and yes, you will have children. Two daughters and a son. You will be a wonderful wife and mother. Your marriage will not work out, but your children will. At 25 years old, you will meet a young lady, Chastity, that will totally transform your life. She, only 15 years old herself, will teach your things about yourself that you never knew. She will encourage your mothering skills, spark a yearning to homeschool your future children, and become a mentor to your daughters. You will eventually mentor her, and she will lead you on a journey into teaching Missionettes for many, many years. Ah….there’s a clue as to where your newfound Pentecostal roots begin to take place.

Insecurity and fear. Those will be your biggest downfalls. You will have a ton of success, by the world’s standards, but insecurity and fear will haunt you for years. The mistakes that you will make because of these are exactly the ones that God will use in ways you cannot imagine. You will rarely feel as though your outside matches your inside. You have been, and always will be, ultra conservative. For all that is good, take some risks. You will travel for a living. You will see places and meet people that others only read about. Enjoy this time in your life. Take risks. Dive deep in and take pictures. Your future self wants to have some positive memories.

Those journals that you are always writing in, stop burning them on New Years Eve and save them for your children to read. They are priceless. They will become the prelude to your success as a writer of many books.

Your love of animals will be maintained and strengthened throughout your life. You will always own a variety of animals—mostly dogs, although your children will ensure you also own virtually every domestic animal on the planet. Your love of animals will eventually cause your eldest daughter to want to pursue becoming a veterinarian.

Celebrate your upbringing and the scarcity that it brings to your life. Tough economic times will be on your horizon, but you will never struggle financially. Your resourcefulness, combined with your commitment to tithing, will afford you even greater things in life. You’ll be able to teach your children, by example, that resourcefulness and frugality 'rock' and are ‘cool.’ You’ll be able to show them that in order to enjoy who God created you to be, you may need to quit a 6 figure income to homeschool and shovel driveways for a living. But best of all, you will be thrilled to throw those 6 figures away to be able to spend time with your greatest blessings
I’m excited to tell you that God will not only heal you emotionally, but he will heal you spiritually. He will bless you with the gifts of prophecy and tongues, and you will use them daily as a crutch. He will not only heal you of insecurity and fear, but He will heal you of cancer. Yup. The big “C.” Your faith will be so strong, that you wouldn’t have accepted it any other way. God will do beyond the imaginable in your life—practically on a daily basis, and you will recognize His miracles and they will strengthen your resolve to help others.

Your compassion for the unborn will lead you into the political arena. Yes, you are going to go there where most people wouldn’t ever venture. You will ultimately open a crisis pregnancy center, befriend many young ladies, save many children from abortion, and eventually have a teen-mentoring ministry. Some of the children that you save will become your friends later in life. They will become advocates for life and will carry your mantle in the pro-life arena. God will bless you for your political “un-correctness.”

Dear 15 year old self, think big, dream even bigger. When someone says you can’t, say that you know, that with God, you can and you will. The world will try and break you, and at times, it may feel as though they have, but they won’t. Your best girlfriend(s) and boyfriend(s) will desert you, but you will always have the Lord—right beside you, guiding you into your next adventure. You will enjoy your children’s teenage years because you will simultaneously be experiencing a lot of what they are. That will be fun.

Oh yes, continue to honor your parents. You will not regret it. Your children will honor you because of it. And that my dear, is worth every, “yes, sir,” that you could possibly ever utter.

A few random words: You will always be skinny and tall, always have the joy of the Lord, always sing and dance, and have a type ‘a’personality. Soon, you will begin to break out of your shell, of which you will never return. You will begin to see life in a new light. People will come to you for advice for the rest of your life, and although you will not always feel qualified to answer them, you will be more than qualified. You will land your career job directly out of college and travel extensively. Treasure that time, as it will pass quickly. You will become independent during this time. You will learn true loneliness, and will treasure family more than you ever have.

I love you, 15 year old self. You are totally awesome! You rock! You march to the beat of your own drum, and you will have two daughters and a son JUST LIKE YOU!

Love, your older 49 year old self

1 comment:

  1. Shari, you are amazing! Look at you and all you have accomplished! Your children are jewels in your crown! Kudos to you! Your life is a testament not only to God's love and faithfulness, but to your love and faithfulness to God! God loves you and I do too!