Dear Emily at Sixteen,
Hey girl, it’s your twenty-one going on twenty-two year old self–the “older, wiser self” you’ll constantly wonder about in the future. I just want you to know that it’s okay, you’re going to make it.
That boy you love–the one you’re clinging on to so desperately–he will shatter your heart into a million little pieces. It’s okay; it will hurt more than anything you’ve felt in a long time, but you will be okay. There is beauty in the breaking, and in it you will find true love and life. And yes, you will fall in love again. And you will get your heart broken–a few times actually. You’ll also be the heart breaker, and you will learn that love is rarely a fair game of give and take.
It’s worth it though–never regret falling in love. It’s the closest we can get to the moon and stars without actually being in heaven.
This coming year will be one of the most difficult years of your life so far. That seed of low self-esteem will sprout into a hatred you thought could never happen. Suddenly the mirror will become the enemy, and so will every single bite you take.
Little girl I wish I could stop this. Letting this happen is the one thing I regret in my twenty-one years of stupid mistakes. Instead of viewing your body as a temple, you will see it as dirty, too fat, too skinny, too weak, too ugly, and not ever enough.
And it won’t be enough. It won’t be enough to keep him around. It won’t be enough to make you popular, or better than your friends. It won’t be enough to make your father put you first again. Little girl you can’t change people, and you can’t stop the world from breaking your heart. For the next four years you will feel inadequate, but then something beautiful will happen.
This beautiful thing is already unraveling inside of you. As you lie awake at night over the next few years, crying and feeling swallowed up by the whole universe, you will feel that gentle pull. Even when you want nothing more than to just escape and end the pain and anxiety, you’ll know you’re not alone. As you lie awake, crying out to God, you will start to feel His presence. Hold on to this with everything in you. Hold on to this hope, because it’s the only foundation that won’t let you down–even when everything else does.
This hope and your desperate longing for something more will lead you to the doors of a wonderful church. It will be a battle, but eventually you will find out how much God truly loves you. All those days and nights of feeling numb and you wondered, am I alone? You’re not alone. Jesus loves you just as you are. Nothing you’ve done can make Him love you any less. He died so you could know that–plain and simple.
Bit by bit, as time goes on, you will learn to surrender to God’s incredible love. This will hurt at times, as He will demand more out of you than you are willing to give. Slowly you will learn to give Him your trust, your insecurities, your relationships, your fears, and all that comes with your old life.
I’m not going to lie–the depression still creeps up sometimes, and anxiety will still cage your heart and mind like wings wrapped around too tight. But God is there, and you will get through it.
You will see your dad again. You will be scared, you will cry, and you will fight. But you will also laugh, give, and love. He’s still the same as always, but your heart will finally be released from any guilt or anger.
Emily, I am writing this to make peace with you. It feels like we’ve been waging a war with each other for far too long. I just want you to know that you are beautiful. You always have been, and you always will be. Soon you will come to realize that true beauty is the essence of a woman’s spirit.
Emily it’s not your fault when people hurt you. We are all flawed, and people make mistakes. It is theirs’ to own–not your’s. Forgive them and move on; maybe you will have to move on without them, but it will be okay.
Emily you have a future. Life will always be a bit scary and unknown, but that’s all part of the adventure.
Here’s what I want you to remember. Love others, and give them your time to help them. This will bring you the greatest joy. Go through the hard times. They will mold you and shape you, and continue to build your faith. Cherish your family, because people are fragile and this life with them won’t last forever.
Be yourself, and know that it’s okay to love Disney, collect dolls, and do yoga at ten o’clock at night. Never stop writing, but let the Lord help your words blossom onto each page. Most of all, hold on to your faith. It will take you to places you could never even dream of. Remember that God loves you and is holding your hand, and He never lets go.
Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment and share. I only ask that you link back to my blog for credit 🙂
This is one of the most difficult pieces of writing I have ever shared. But it is so worth it! I hope my words speak to each one of you lovely readers, no matter how young or old you may be. You are beautiful and you are loved by the One who created the heavens and the earth.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV).