A letter to myself…I’m imagining she is 17. Mercy. You might know too much about me after you read this.
Oh honey. The world thinks you are winning these days, but the truth of the matter is, you’ve lost yourself completely. This is the year several boys confess love for you; that you are valedictorian; captain of the basketball team, the year that you stop eating. This is the year you pass out from the acid of your body eating itself and vomit on the floor of your first job while helping a customer. This is the year you sacrifice all your passions on a church altar that has nothing to do with Jesus. You learn the gospel of SHOULD NOT; soon you will learn you’ve never heard the true Gospel of Jesus. That he came to doctor the sick. To restore justice. To bind the broken with love. Somehow you missed that part of the story…all you heard was TRY HARDER. BE GOOD.
I want to tell you (and the girls who will follow you) not to take yourself so seriously. Relax. Laugh more. Go on some dates. Tell some people about the broken-up-to-bits inside…people think you got your crap together and it is really sending them for a loop. They think you are a Christian because you are too good for them. You know the truth that Jesus is the only glue that holds heart and head together in one place and sometimes the only safe place is hold up together with Him…alone.
You need to know NOW that you are an introvert. You forget that for most of your twenties and you wake up one day, with a gaping hole where once dwelt passion. Some babies die in your tummy. You blame yourself. You treat everyone badly. Mostly yourself. You stop writing. Really you do…Imagine? I know…it is how lost you get in your pursuit of that which you are not.
There will be a time, you birth a near ten pound baby. You will grow him inside that body you hate, with his big brown eyes, his strong heart, his stubborn nature (showing even then the way he just flat-out refused to be born…sorry to scare you but it really is awful). Then the way you will wake with him, fed him, clothe him. The way you will keep going no matter how tired you get. Then a baby girl will come along. She will scare you to death (mostly because you are the type of person who writes letters of regret to your 17-year-old self and know that she will too). And yet, you know she was meant for you, and you for her. And this little girl of ours? She has no time for a mother who hates her body…that kind of thinking is a fierce contagion. So get over that will you? I’m telling you…you are strong (TEN POUND BABY !*$#!#@).
You found Jesus there too…the other side of the end of yourself. He lives there still and I try to not leave that place very often. Tonight, I ate fresh-baked cookies on the deck with the kids while the sun set. They told me they loved me “MORE THAN THE PLANET JUPITER” “MORE THAN CARS 2” “MORE THAN THE SUNSETS”. You are married to a man who chases Jesus with a fire in his belly and he makes you want to. You live in a cabin in the woods. Life is good.
I would like to tell you to do things differently; To not waste so much time trying to be someone, prove something, get somewhere. But the truth is I think that God used those times to make you who you are and you might even like her when you grow up.
With love, regret, and a whole lot of hope,
Yourself, Melissa, age 34
This post is dedicated to the release of a book (I’ve ordered but not yet read) by another ‘youth pastors wife’ down south. I read her blog and it is rich in Jesus, grace, compassion. Pick one up for a ‘young woman’ in your life that suffers from the ‘try harder’ complex I suffered from…