you, in the red jean jacket

photo (5)

a letter to me, September 1994

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My dear, sweet, sweet girl,

You have just begun your final year of high school. You've been elected to the student council, you're planning your big 18th birthday bash, you are travelling this year, and by the end of it all, believe it or not, you will graduate as the class valedictorian.

And behind the scenes, it will be the loneliest year of your life.

So read this, love, and then fold it up and keep it in your pocket. You may need to read this again.

I know, what an oxymoron, to be surrounded by so many people all the time and yet feel so alone. There is no shortage of siblings or friends or homework or outings. You're keeping busy and you welcome it because it keeps your focus away from the unwanted solitude. Because when you're left in that, you're led back to that place where you remember that your mother has died, that you don't know what you're doing, and that everybody has someone listening except you. The older ones are married or dating, Dad has found a new partner, and your friends all have boyfriends. The younger ones seem to have each other. And then there's you. In that dark place where you are inaudible and you're secretly wondering if you should see a doctor or something because you can't get out of there. So you will enjoy the year ahead on a moment-to-moment basis, not making bad decisions, per se, but you will be tempted to give up, maybe give in. It's a lot of work, maintaining that facade that conceals the feelings of abandonment and uncertainty and self-hatred and loneliness.

Darling, don't give up. Please don't give up.

I so badly want to hug you for a really long time. Oh my gosh, you have no idea what lies ahead. You are walking through a fire that is preparing you for big plans God has laid out for you. Trust me. Seeds have been planted, you just don't know it yet.

Did you know that you have already met your husband?! Believe it, girl. And in a little over a year from now, he will tell you he loves you and you will put your foot in your mouth instead of saying it back. But it's okay because twenty years later, you'll both say it to each other all the time.

You will become the one thing you know for sure you want to be. A mother. It will take you (and a whole wack of other people) by surprise in many ways and several times. Parenthood will teach you so many things about yourself, your parents, your world view and the expanse of God's love for you.

You are going to build strong and lasting friendships with people already in your life and with some He will later send your way. You will go through sooo much with them, and it'll get bumpy with some of them, but be patient and humble and watch them grow into really beautiful things.

In all this time that you're feeling lonely, know that you're not alone. He is with you now and will never, ever leave you. He hears your prayers and knows the desires of your heart (and also knows what's best for you, which is why you're not getting a few of said desires).

Be assured that everyone's time in your life starts and ends exactly at appointed times. It will become clearer in a few years. In the meantime, be brave and press on. It's important that you experience this suffering, and the good stuff you know is there too, because it is equipping you to do big things He has lined up that I can't even fully see yet. I've had a sneak peak, though, and it's all pretty darn brilliant. Just you wait and see.

You are loved, L=)

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (‭II Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭17-18‬ NKJV)

PS - Remember that invention-of-the-future project you did in grade 5, the video telephone? Everyone has it now! It's called Skype. Cool, huh?

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What would you say to encourage your younger self?