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.
Signed, You in 2007
This post was originally published on March 5, 2007