I read something today that encouraged me to reflect on what I’ve learned in the last 10 years about myself and about the world and about God. It prompted me to write a letter to my younger self, and since this year marks my 10-year class reunion, I figured it was as good a time as any to get weepy about how quickly time passes. The following is a letter written to my 18-year old self.
Holy cow. Time sure does fly. I know you’re stressed out right now because of prom and graduation and figuring out college stuff. You will never know how many times in the next 10 years that you wish you could go back to that level of stress. Enjoy it. Appreciate it. Don’t take it for granted. I’m writing to you to tell you a few things that I’ve learned in the last ten years. Things that I wish you could have known, because if you had, you wouldn’t have sweated so much of the small stuff. These are things that I’m still learning, but things that have made my life so much sweeter.
Number 1: God is so much good-er than you thought. I know at 18 years old you kind of think that God is waiting for you to mess up – that he’s like a police officer who wants to write you a ticket for every mistake you make. But Steph, he’s so much more good than that. Right now you have a tendency to believe that God is good, but that he isn’t pleased with you and isn’t proud of you. You think you have to be perfect and that anything less than perfection is not enough for Him to love you fully. Oh sweet girl, I wish I could convey the depth of the Father’s love that I know now. The sweetness of who He is. The kindness that he is clothed with. I wish you knew now that you are enough for Him just because He calls you His. He is good and in His goodness He says you are enough.
Number 2: God is taking you deeper than you ever thought possible. I know you don’t know that you’re called to ministry yet. I know that you’re struggling to figure out if you’re going to be a politician or a pastor – If your impact on the world will be politically or spiritually. But I just wish I could whisper to you on the nights that you cry out to God for direction, that you can trust the dreams, passions, and gifts he’s placed in your heart. There will be people who question your call. There will be people who question you. But Steph, God is taking you on a journey that will bring you to places with Him that you didn’t even know existed. You will know Him in ways that I can’t even explain. You’ll know His heart. You’ll know His voice. You’ll know His love. And the journey will be hard. It has to be. That’s where the growth happens. That’s where you’re stretched and you’re tried and you come out stronger and it’s where your faith grows. It’s where you get to know Him as Papa and Provider and Comforter and Sustainer… Really, it’s where you just get to know that He is enough for you. And you are enough for Him. It’s the sweetest journey, Stephanie. Let Him take you deeper.
Number 3: Marriage is a means, not an end. Ohhhhhhhh Stephanie. This is the greatest struggle of our little life, isn’t it? From 15 years old, we’ve known that our biggest dream in life was to be married and have a family. And for so long, we’ve believed that it was the end-goal – that nothing in life would fulfill us fully until we were married. Can I just say something? That’s not what’s happening here. As I’ve gotten to know Father God and His goodness and as I’ve gotten to journey deeper with Him, I’ve realized that all this time we’ve searched for someone to make our life complete. We never wanted to admit that we were one of “those” people, but we totally were. And while I do believe that marriage can make life full and wonderful and that it can be a means to the end…. It’s just not the end. Steph, the end is to bring God glory. The end is to serve Him and impact the world for Jesus. The end is to use your influence to impact the world around you. And whenever marriage comes, it has to help fulfill the end. If it doesn’t, it’s not what you need or want. I wish you had understood this so much sooner. It would’ve saved so much heartbreak and so much wasted time. But I know that everything you go through in the next ten years will get you to this point, so to God be the glory.
The next ten years will be filled with so many ups and so many downs. At times you’ll survive it and at times you will thrive. Enjoy every minute of the journey. It is so, so good.
Hi! My name is Stephanie, and I'm the girl behind this blog! I'm a pastor and a writer and a lover of all things chocolate. As you browse the content on this page, I hope you find yourself encouraged and smiling. At some moments, perhaps you would even shed a tear or two. Most importantly, I pray you find hope in whatever season you're walking through. We are in this journey together, and my calling is to encourage you along the way!