Dear 23-year-old me: In All Things Give Thanks

Dear 23-year-old me:

Congratulations, you’re married.

You’re about to enjoy a honeymoon but it won’t be long before the warm, fuzzy fairy-dust of lovey-dovey grossness will settle and you’ll clearly see the relationship you’ve entered.

You’ll bicker over someone’s driving, limited closet space, and hangers.

Yes hangers.

You’ll have discovered an even greater sense of dependence but struggle to understand each other.

Your backgrounds are both oddly similar and extremely different. Don’t feel like there’s only something missing with you. You’re all inferior when measured to perfection.

Everybody is inferior.

Get over it.

But you’re in love. You married a sweet guy. And you’ll both eventually discover the growing fruit of long-suffering patience, as well as joy and peace.

Loooooong before the harvest though, you’ll toil and work some pretty tough ground. You’ll sweat, bleed, cry.

You’ll also laugh. Don’t forget to laugh!

It will get worse before it gets better.

And wow, it sure gets better.

Dear 23-year-old me:

Over the next few years people will enter, and thankfully some will exit your life while saying some really careless, thoughtless, rude and callous things. Then they’ll call you overly-sensitive when you express being hurt. That’s called “gas-lighting” and total bullying behavior.

Your feelings are ok. Their behavior isn’t.

I won’t tell you to not let it affect you, because it will. What I will tell you is that you will learn a hard lesson in faith. You’ll realize many many many years later that the hurt, intended or not, will teach you something about your faith. In Jesus.

You’ll discover that your view of God has been clouded from the beginning. By your parents, your friends, and anyone who says they believe. Most people share or have shared the same struggle.

It’s a transition into maturity when you recognize this, but don’t compare how long it took you to make that discovery. There IS no comparison. You’re unique. You’re beautiful and you are filled with intrinsic worth. You’re also called to live with purpose. Once you fully get what that means embrace it, hold it tight and don’t let go.

Be a faithful servant.

Dear 23-year-old me:

Remember before you got married how you told your serious boyfriend turned husband-to-be that you wanted to settle something long before you have to make a decision about it? The one about the baby? How when you start a family you want to put your career on hold and raise your family without the burden of dividing your attention?

Congratulations, you did it. Not on your own, but you did it.

You struggled for years to put yourself through school. You set a goal and you achieved it. And you were smart not to let anyone distract you from the dream of becoming a journalist. But let me be honest with you about something. You got waaaaay a little off course.

You heard nothing but the negative negativity people. Instead of listening to the chorus of supporters that you were ok to make a choice and go with it, and that it was right to recognize that you weren’t emotionally or mentally ready for the challenge of raising another human, you got off track.

You heard only boos in that crowd and you let them drive you. Your focus was all out of whack.

It was on other people and not God. That’s never good.

You let this evil force that SNLs church lady loves to blame convince you for a while that your career was most important. And then you let that evil prince of the air convince you that you weren’t feminine and that people saw you as lacking maternal instinct.

You heard them call you crazy. You cried. You heard them whisper behind your back: you grew bitter.

It’s because you were hurt. And I’m sorry. The pain path is a hard one to walk.

I’m also sorry that nobody quite understood what you were going through when it all came crashing down. You walked through the wilderness with nearly nothing left inside and had no choice but face your own human limitations. Your frailty, your humanity.

Again, I’d tell you to not let other people affect you but that would be short-sighted. In all that pain in rejection, condescending criticism, and just flat out meaness, you learned another valuable lesson: You learned once again where to place your focus.

Where to hide your heart and who to trust it with.

Jesus.

Dear 23-year-old me:

That baby you knew you wanted is yours now. He’s beautiful and your family is a beautiful treasure. Hold onto them and give thanks in all your circumstances.

It’s hard to look over your life filled with its own share of failures and be bitter… when you’re giving thanks.

Thank you Jesus for taking my place. Thank you God for your Glory. Thank you for this life I lead. Thank you for the people you’ve allowed in it and for using all life’s circumstances, choices and behavior to change me for my good.

It would be beyond an honor that it reflect your Glory.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Comments

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Comments

  1. Jessica :) says:

    What a great post!! You’re so beautiful inside and out! :) And such a great mommy! I miss you!

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