Emily Freeman, who writes beautiful and encouraging things at http://www.chattingatthesky.com, wrote “Grace for the Good Girl” (which you should check out!) and has just published the teenage version of this great book. It’s called “Graceful” and is going to be a blessing to any teenage girl who feels like she needs to be “good” or “have it all together”. Emily, to celebrate the release of this book, has asked her readers to write a letter to their teenage selves. Here goes…
Hey you! …..er…Me?
This is it, what you’ve always wanted – letter from your future self.
First of all, I want you to know that you’re about to have such a great year. Really! These next few years are going to be so amazing!
Just so you know it’s really me…I mean you, I’ll give you reasons to believe me.
You just got your license, but truth be told, Dad’s been letting you drive alone for the last few months. You HATE your neck being touched. You have always wanted to go to Africa and you pretend to listen when people tell you that you’d be wise to wait until you’re married. And your favorite spot in the world is the roof outside your window on a stary night. Believe me now?
Good. Now, a few things you should know…
I admire you soooo much! Thanks for writing down your journey with the Lord. You’ve been more of a help to your older self than you realize.
That tugging in your heart that you feel in your times alone with Jesus, listen to it. You’re about to tell your family and church family that you’re putting your “Yes!” on the table for God to use you however He wants. As of now, “missions” means leaving your home and going somewhere else and you’re ready if that’s what He wants. You’ll learn that sometimes it’s harder to be called to stay.
As for now, your courage and your reliance on the Lord and His approval are an inspiration. When you get up there in front of your good ol’ Sunday evening crowd and tell them, you don’t realize how much they’ll remember what you say. They’ll be faithful to keep you true to your commitment. And when the little old lady comes up and tells you that “you radiate like Moses after Mt. Sinai” let that sink in deep. Live the next few years in a way that keeps the light of Glory on you face.
The Journeyman program is a great blessing (even if it send you to Idaho for two months), but don’t’ let it go to your head.
The Lord will use it to take you overseas. When you walk the ground in….(wait for it)…..INDIA for two months, remember that He is the Author of justice. This will mean more to you in time. The more you see, the more you’ll love this aspect of His character.
While we’re talking about high school days, I know you’re “so over it” and that’s okay. Just don’t check out too early. Those privileged kids need Jesus too. And since popularity isn’t too appealing to you, you shouldn’t have a problem doing the un-popular thing and sharing the Gospel with them. I love that you’re not into popularity, by the way. It reinforces your heart for those on the outskirts and flames the compassionate heart the Lord’s given you. Some people will tell you that being tenderhearted is a weak way to live. Don’t listen. Guard that gift and use it to bring Him glory!
As of right now, every friend you have is in a dating relationship with someone that they “love”. All but one of those couples will end up having a nasty breakup in which their heart will be unnecessarily broken before each of them marry someone else. Thanks for not rushing into something just because it’s the way you’re “supposed” to act at 16-18. While we’re on the subject…you are beautiful and wonderful and known by Creator God. Remember that when you’re told that the size of your hips defines your worth in a man’s eyes. If that’s ever true, he’s the wrong man.
Also, those friends you have right now? They’re great, but you’ll learn that you are a better fit with others. This is the year for that. I know you’re slow to warm up to people, but try to be brave with these new girls. They’re worth it.
And…in a couple more years, you’ll meet two girls from the south who will absolutely reform the way you see friendship. You just wait.
While we’re talking about the South…You know how you love to watch storms roll in? Cherish it. 🙂
I know those two things seem completely unrelated now, but it’ll all make sense in the Winter of 2008. You’ll know the Lord better through that time. So, it’s all okay.
A few little tid bits…
1. Start saving for weddings! Your friends will all find their spouses at a young age. And you’ll get the privilege of being there at their side. 15 times, if we want to be specific. (And you always do.)
2. Go to your grandparents’ house more often. And when your grandma leans in close and whispers with tears in her eyes that, “We won’t always have Christmas together, Miss Mandy.” listen to her and live that way. Grateful.
3. Adam, yes that little 12 year old brother, spend time telling him how much he is loved and showing him what grace looks like. Sometimes, you’ll need to be encouraged that you can’t stop praying for him.
4. And in the fall of ’09 when things get tight…remember what your Daddy says about the providence of God. He’s right. You’ll find a brand new dependence on Him this year.
And Africa will on the horizon. Yes, really! And you won’t even have to be married to get there. 🙂
5. And again in the Fall of 2011 when time brings all sorts of change and some tough times. Don’t freak out. He’ll be there with you. In fact, He’ll go before you and make your way. Lean hard into Him and His sovereign power then. And in the words of a friend you’ll make down the road a little…”You don’t have to be ‘Super Amanda’ all the time. And it’s okay not be ‘fine’ all the time.” Basically, don’t let your self-sufficiency drive you away from what it means to rest in Him. Accept the help of the people in your life who love you.
In all of these things remember that you are His and that no matter what anyone says (including yourself), you are not too much or not enough. You are accepted and loved always and perfectly. Tell that to the “good girl” in you. And get excited! 🙂 This decade is all about learning more about your Savior and who you are in Him. What’s better than that?!
Oh! I almost forgot…Never, I mean NEVER cut your own hair. Trust me…yourself.