Dear Me in 1987,


Dear Me in 1987,

First of all, Honey, we need to talk about the eye make-up.  If God intended you to have electric blue eyelashes, He would’ve made you a Smurf. 

Second of all, you’re not fat.  Look in the mirror and memorize what (have mercy!) 105 pounds looks like, because you will never, NEVER see it again.  The little babies you will someday house in that flat belly of yours will stretch it out to inhuman porportions.  And you know what?  You will think it’s beautiful.

You seem to be awfully preoccupied with the wrong kind of boy.  Right now, the ability to throw a 40-yard touchdown pass seems like a very important trait in the opposite gender.  It’s not.  But I also know that, deep in your heart, you’re wondering if there’s more out there than jocks in letter jackets.  You’re wondering if you’ll ever find someone to understand that deep part of your soul you haven’t shown to anyone in your little hometown.  You’ll find him.  He’ll knock your socks off.  He’ll challenge you until your head spins, all while loving you just the way you are–and you will never be the same. 

(By the way, despite your best efforts, including that picture taped inside your locker, this magical "he" that you will find isn’t going to be John F. Kennedy, Jr.  Trust me when I tell you you’re getting a much better deal.)   

You don’t understand yet what a treasure your family is.  You love them, and you depend on them, but you haven’t yet learned how much of the world lives without the kind of support and love that surrounds you.  Thank them for the sacrifices they make for you, and spend a little more time listening to them.  And you know that little brother who exasperates you endlessly?  Someday he’ll be one of your greatest sources of encouragement and wisdom.  Go easy on him.   

You’re spending a lot of time wondering if this faith of your parents is worth claiming as your own.  That’s okay.  Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions.  If God is who He says He is, He can withstand the doubts of a teenage girl.  Know that the day will come when He’ll be more real to you than anything you’ve ever known.  Until that day comes, stop agonizing over your inability to truly believe.  He’s working in your heart, and He’ll accomplish His work–in His timing.

One last thing.  Your life isn’t going to work out quite the way you think it will, as you sit there scribbling away in your 10th-grade journalism notebook, dreaming of the New York Times.  You have very grand hopes of Changing The World, and the good news is that you will accomplish this–though not in the way you’re dreaming right now.  You’ll change the sheets of a little boy who has gotten sick in the night, and you’ll make him feel safe and warm in a way no one else can.  You’ll stroke the face of your baby daughter in a NICU ward and cover her with prayer.  You’ll share your faith with a second-grade boy and watch the light of understanding flip on in his eyes.  You’ll sit at the kitchen table with a boy whose confidence has been shattered, and you’ll build him back up.  You’ll love a man more completely than you can imagine, and with him you’ll build a home where it’s easy to laugh and safe to speak your mind.  Yes, a tiny corner of the world will be forever changed by what you do more surely than anything you could do in a big city newsroom. 

And it will take your breath away.


You in 2007

If you’d like to participate in the Dear Me Project, go here.  Hat tip to Mary for the link.

38 thoughts on “Dear Me in 1987,

  1. momrn2 says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve teared up and cried reading a blog… thanks a lot for breaking that trend! 🙂
    What an absolutely beautiful piece of writing… perhaps because my heart can so relate!
    Also, what a GREAT reminder of the things that really matter in life. Hhhmmm… I wonder what our “Dear Me” letters might look like in 2027 looking back to 2007…???

  2. Karen says:

    I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to see your letter. I loved it. Thank you so much for showing just why I started it in the first place – because everyone has this kind of glory, and 20/20 hindsight inside them.

  3. Jane says:

    Oh Goodness! These Dear Me letters get me every time! If only we could offer that reassurance to ourselves at the time! Or maybe we should save these letters for our own daughters! Lovely.

  4. Susanne says:

    What a great idea! I also wish I could go back and tell my 1987 self that I wasn’t fat! You just don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone. 🙂 And I cried when I got to the part about the kids. What a beautiful reminder that our work as moms is not in vain.

  5. hogphan says:

    Kinda consistent with the tattered, stained typed saying I’ve kept on my desk since you were a little girl: What a parent says to his child isn’t heard by the world, but it IS heard by posterity! love, dad

  6. motomom says:

    Beautiful post. I must admit to a giggle about the mascara. I had that AND the matching liquid liner. What were we thinking?

  7. Beth F. says:

    What an incredible post. Makes me want to send it to my confused 18 year old niece.
    Thanks for the great post, Shannon!

  8. Barbara says:

    Shannon, you are an inspiration to me every day. I swear I cry at least once a week at something you’ve written!!! Thanks for sharing and what a great idea. I just spent the weekend with my 14 year old Goddaughter who will be trying out for cheerleader at the junior high where I was a cheerleader 17 years ago….*SIGH*…reading this post totally hit home.

  9. Mommy, the Human Napkin says:

    I did mine!
    I didn’t mention it in my post, but I wore the electric blue mascara, too. And bright purple, and green, and nail polish to match. It’s sad, really, but I sincerely thought I was the only person ever to pull off the sparkly green with sparkly black eye shadow combo.

  10. Brandy says:

    Yup. I still remember pictures of me in ninth grade with short poodle curly hair and blazing blue lashes.
    Thank you for putting life into proper perspective today. The most important moments of life are almost always the ones least publicized. Thanks for renewing my appreciation of my family joy in my role.
    Brandy of The Building Brows

  11. Julie says:

    I love it. We could have been colleagues at the NYT…if either one of us had made it there. Oh I had big dreams of big city life 🙂

  12. mimi2six says:

    The woman you have become far exceeds even my greatest dreams. I’m so proud of you. Mom

  13. TaunaLen says:

    I love this project, and your letter is really touching. Reading it, I thought of things I wish I could tell my teenage girls, if they’d listen to mom. God’s mercy is incredible, and I am so glad he brought me from where I was to where I am. His mercy endureth forever! Hallelujah!

  14. Jess @ Making Home says:

    Great post- I think I’m going to have to write one and reference back to yours. I’m really enjoying the blog party- glad to have found you!
    Jess @ Making Home

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