I had a birthday yesterday. A big one. And I can’t help but look back over the last 40 years and thank God for His hand in my life. It seemed like an appropriate time to repost this letter to my 16-year-old self.
To that 16-year-old girl, forever trying to prove herself, seeking acceptance, and standing at a fork in the road, I say: There’s hope Sweet Sixteen.
You’re going to take the wrong road. A road that will lead you to a day, two years later, where you weepingly confess your wandering heart to the Lord. That wrong road changes everything, and your dad comforts you saying, “Honey, it may seem like the end of the world, but it gets better.”
Sweet Sixteen, your Dad is right. It gets better.
God in an act of marvelous grace will bring you back to that fork, and this time you will choose differently. God will redeem those lost years wasted on your own strength, on your own wisdom, forging your own way.
It will be ten years before some scars heal. More for others. It will be nearly fifteen years before you settle into yourself and really move forward. But Dad is right. It gets better.
Your sister really is the best friend you’ll ever have. Your brothers of few words are deep thinkers who love completely. Your parents are your biggest cheerleaders and your in-laws are not in-laws. They’re family. And family matters.
All things young eyes can fail to see.
You will marry the most wonderful man and wonder if you will ever have children with him. You will move away. You will come home again. You will embrace life, even when it knocks you down.
Then you will get back up.
Your mother heart will come to appreciate your Mother’s heart, and all that she quietly did for you. And you will quietly do it all for your children.
You will learn life, even your own life, is not really about you. It is so much bigger than that. The thought will both scare you and comfort you in a strange and intimate dance.
You will wish you could go back and do things differently, but you eventually accept your past as a piece of you, making you who you are. That drives you to your knees interceding for the three tiny souls entrusted to your care.
Sweet Sixteen, Dad is right. It gets better. And the unconditional love he gave you paves a way of acceptance of unconditional love from your heavenly Father.
You don’t know Him as well now as you one day will. Like so many things, you won’t fully appreciate Him when the path is easy, but you will when the path gets hard. And it gets hard.
Your black and white world will accept some grey -in some things – but not others. You’ll come full circle and discover some things really are black and white after all.
And when you come full circle, embrace the dance, Sweet Sixteen.