Hey you, the younger and less droopey, more perky, less experienced, more impulsive version of me. I see you. I know your story. I want you to know a few things.
Of all the things I want to tell you the most important one is this: you make it. I know the ground beneath you feels so unsteady right now and your legs feel like they will give out at any point in this journey but hear me on this, you not only make it past this painful chapter of your life but a little bit later, just around the corner, girl, you are going to blossom.
You are going to become a powerhouse of strength and perspective. And your feet will be grounded on the firmest foundation around. Your eyes will see far beyond here, the daily drudgery of your life today and they will take in the most immeasurable sights of beauty. There will come a day when you will have trouble opening your eyes and believing the reality of your life because it is just so much more than you ever dreamed could be possible.
But until that day comes, let me share a few things.
First of all forget about pleasing people. And by people, I mean everyone. Sweet girl, if you base your life around pleasing every person that walks on this earth, you will soon find yourself trampled underneath a stampede of your own inability. You can't do it. You won't survive it. Give it up now.
Instead try this: honor the people in your life. Use that stubbornness and grit and stand up for those that can't do it for themselves. Use your voice and speak blessings over the people you love. And the people that no one else seems to love. The people still standing by your side a decade from now, are just a handful of your current favorites. The rest will slowly exit your life. And this is both a beautiful and sad reality. But a good chunk of your people, the ones that honor and love you with their lives have yet to even grace you with their presence. Wait for them. Don't force the round peg to fit into the square hole. It doesn't fit. Wait, They are worth your time.
Lose the self righteousness. Yes- you have been through the wringer. And yes- you have miraculously survived, even if just barely but none of this is really by your own strength. You don't believe it now but you will soon see His fingerprints all over your life. Your righteousness comes from who you belong to. And my darling that whom is actually not you.
Yes, you are intelligent and capable and at times a little too much so for your benefit but humility brings peace to your soul. Unfortunately I can't say the same for standardized test scores and college acceptance letters. I know it seems like you have a lot of things figured out. Like what a marriage should and shouldn't be. What child rearing should and shouldn't look like. Which people are worth giving of yourself and your time and all those precious pieces of your soul. But I'll let you in on a secret- You know almost nothing. Prepare to be humbled. Prepare to see how much effort and work and blood, sweat, and tears a marriage requires. Prepare to be humbled every 10.5 seconds by your children. Prepare to regret letting those people in that never deserved it. But MOST of all, prepare for the most amazing grace to rock your world and for that hardened heart of yours to beat softly again.
Whatever you believe about your worth- forget it. And learn this instead- You are worthy because your lungs are full of the breath of life. You are a precious daughter. And what happened to you is not the result of God looking away. He never looked away for even the smallest fraction of a second. But He carried that grief and pain and confusion and heart ripping injustice with him to the cross. He will keep you alive and grant you a spirit of forgiveness that is truly heaven sent, He will sit with you on the bathroom floor at 3am night after night when you feel alone and scared and unsure of what to do, He will be there through all 8 years of your silence as you try to make sense of your world post abuse, He will direct all your paths and He will show up- even in your sin and disbelief. And then one day, He will use all that pain and hurt and He will equip you and send you out into the world. You will barely be able to recognize the woman He transforms you into.
Remember this- just because someone desires you does not mean that they value you. Repeat this to yourself over and over again. You will enivatbly search for your value through the desire others have for you and it will leave you empty handed every time. This will leave scars. But eventually these scars will make you wise.
Forgive your parents. Pay more attention in class. Try more new foods. Cherish that beautiful childhood home with the abundant confederate jasmine right outside your window. Dont take that vegetarianism too seriously- it doesn't last. The boy you think is the one for all those years- he isn't. All those summers at camp, they eventually end- so live them up to the fullest. Your best friend is still going to be your best friend and she is a true gem. Say yes without complaint when she asks you to jump out of plane- it will change your life. Soak in every second of college with your roommates- this too ends and you will miss it forever. Save up more money. Try not to rack up that credit card too high. Butter is good for you so put down that smart balance. Also put down the baby oil, wrinkles are real. Enjoy sleeping in until noon but realize that one day the early morning will become a sanctuary for you. Stop saying homeschool kids are weird. You don't even know any. But you will one day and they will call you mom. Drive slower. Listen more. Talk quieter. Take fewer shots of vodka (you don't even like it 🙄). Ask your Grandparents more questions. Right down their recipes. Write about more in your journal than your current crush- it will embarrass the pants off you one day. Say no when you want to. MySpace is a fad. The Muppets Christmas Carol will still be one of your favorites well into your adulthood -save the VHS so your kids can revel in your ancientness and refer to your choice of entertainment as an "old fashioned movie brick". Try to remember that you won't be young forever and it will all come back to you full circle. The answer to your major life questions - his name is Jesse and yes, he is the most handsome man you have ever laid eyes on. God is real. You will love going to church on Sundays. Your kids will be the delight of your life. And you will seriously, seriously like the woman you become.