Remember back when you were 14 and you couldn’t wait to “grow up” because life would be so much better? You wanted freedom! You would be able to drive and not have to go to school and choose what you wanted to do. It sounds amazing, right?
Then, it happens… you grow up and life isn’t exactly what you thought it would be.
This morning I was thinking about the things I wish I would have known years ago, so here goes….
Dear 14 year old me,
Hi, it’s the future you at 31. I know that sounds old, but it isn’t and boy do I have some things to clue you in on.
You know that cute boy that you were spending all the time talking to at that birthday party? You’re going to marry him in 5 years. Be careful in how you move forward with this because one of your best friends likes him too and if you aren’t careful and caring, you will lose your friendship with her completely.
You guys are going to have 3 of the most beautiful baby girls ever. They are going to be born perfectly healthy and it will be amazing even though each of them will be a c-section. You are going to “feel” like you failed at childbirth. Don’t give in to that feeling and don’t waste even a moment feeling bad about it. How your baby is born isn’t going to make an impact on your child’s life.
Life sounds amazing, but the truth is… life is HARD! Everyone keeps telling you that and I know you don’t understand exactly what that means. Hopefully, some of this will help.
That boy you are going to marry… he’s great, but he isn’t perfect and no matter how hard you try, he isn’t going to be perfect. Truth of it is, no one is perfect and you have to accept that. He will let you down and he will hurt you (any man would) but you can’t let that scare you because you won’t find better. He will be there with you through the tough times, even when he doesn’t want to be.
Love is hard. Your parents have given you an unrealistic image of how great marriage is. But honestly, there are times they have been putting on an act for you. In just a short time you will learn some things about their marriage that you wish you didn’t have to know. You will learn that not everything is what it seems and it will hurt you. You will be upset and feel betrayed. There will be a person that was part of your life growing up that will disappear from your world; and while you are glad they do, it’s going to hurt. You will be confused.
Don’t hold it in. Let yourself process the information that you are learning. Don’t be scared of it. If you try to bury it, it’s going to keep eating away at you. Don’t let other people have that kind of control over your life. You have to forgive them and the sooner the better.
Speaking of forgiveness, it’s one of the keys to having a good life. God didn’t mention it so many times in the Bible for no reason. Forgiveness is not something that you “feel”; it is something that you “do”. You have to decide to forgive those that hurt you, even when they aren’t there to ask for forgiveness. Everyone says unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping it hurts the other person. You will hate that saying when you are older because you will learn that unforgiveness, while it does hurt that person, also does hurt the person who wants to be forgiven.
Remember, that life is hard and your parents have made and will make mistakes, but they are just people too. Give it 15 years and you will realize that being a spouse and parent is the toughest thing there is. It’s so rewarding, but there are so many things to maneuver around that you won’t understand always how to do it right. And, sometimes you will just downright fail.
Be good to your best friends and don’t worry about the others. In 15 years those three best friends will be the only ones you really care to see and stay in contact with from school, and that’s ok. In fact that is how it should be. You will grow and your interests will change and your friends will change. But hold onto those few close friends because they have been with you through a lot.
Establish your own relationship with God. I know you have been raised in the church, but that doesn’t matter. You can’t live on your mom’s faith. Figure out what you believe and then choose to act in it. Study and learn what God’s forgiveness really means. I know you haven’t committed any “big” sins right now, but understand that all sin separates you from God unless you seek him. It will be much easier for you to learn this now, then to wait until you understand the deep pain that your sin brought because your sin has a greater consequence in your own life.
Figure out who you are and where God wants you to go and then stick to it. Choose what your favorite color is and what your favorite movie is by yourself. Don’t worry about what the other kids think. Otherwise you will start to lose all the wonderful qualities that God gave you because you are trying to be someone else. You will never be successful at being your friends, or the popular kids, or anyone else; you will only be successful at being who God created you to be.
When that sweet boy from before proposes to you, you are going to say, “Are you serious? Yes!” and then you are going to start to plan your wedding right away. Don’t forget to plan your marriage. Read and study from the Bible and Christian books what it means to be a Godly wife and then put those things into practice.
I know you will only be 19 when you get married, but don’t let that stop you from feeling like an “adult”. When that happens you will need to step up, even if you don’t feel like it. All those women that you have went to church with for years are now your peers and there are some that would make great mentors. Learn from these women and stop acting like a child.
No one in this world can fill that hole in you. God is the only way. Don’t waste your time trying to get approval from everyone else. This will only lead to heartache for you and your family. Fill this hole with God and know that He is the only way that you will ever be complete. You husband can’t do it for you. Your children can’t do it for you. Other people can’t do it for you. Only God can, so cling to Him.
Don’t be afraid to try new things and take risks. When you get married, move far away from home with your husband. Don’t stop him every time he suggests that because you are scared to leave your parents and what is familiar to you. Go on a crazy adventure with him because once you get a little older and have kids, you won’t be able to pick up and try something new that easy.
Do NOT go into debt. It will drown you. You will be a slave to it. Your debt will make decisions for you and close doors that otherwise would have been open. Live on less and save. It won’t seem like a big deal at first, but it is like quicksand that pulls you deeper and deeper. Avoid it at all costs!
If you follow these things you will be able to avoid the heartache that I have experienced. You will be a woman that you can be proud to be and not have years of regret.
31 year old you
P.S. Disney World is awesome, go there with that cute boy as soon as you can and start building some great vacation memories!