Emily at chatting at the sky has asked her readers to write a letter to their teenage self. I had been wanting to write something about the change of tide in my life this year (AKA turning 30) but had not found anything creative enough...or perhaps I was just scared to write it down....sometimes those feelings deep within are scary to behold. So, I must say this feels a bit like eating a whale one bite at a time (ok, I'm exaggerating a bit here). Still, I dunno where to start, but I'll try anyway....
Dearest Kari Jo,
The first attempt at this letter (at least written down) was deleted by your 2 year old son who also just happens to be your fourth child. I was not able to recover it. This should tell you a bit about what has happened in the last 14 years or so and..... that there is an actual undo button in blogger. How could I be blogging (you'll understand more about this term in a few years) for a year and not know this precious piece of information? So don't be perplexed when I tell you that you're still a mess 14 years down the road. You should just go ahead and give up the dream right now. You know the one. The one of wanting everyone to think you are perfect and trying oh, so hard to be that way, my dear. It's gonna save you a whole lotta heartache in the end. Oh, and in the middle parts too.
I'm not sure that you're encouraged by this or not. Knowing that you're still a mess, I mean. It seems that you have bought into the lie that says that doing or not doing certain things defines who you are. And for a long time you will do all the "right things." But it is in this very year that you have also decided to follow that heart of yours for whatever reason and well, it's been ugly hasn't it? It has become hard to discern exactly what is right....what is true. Following your heart isn't all that it's cracked up to be is it? These things, you will regret for a very. long. time. You can't live a life free of regrets, sweet Kari Jo. No, this too is a lie.
The truth is that the the life worth living will be a life full of regrets, but more importantly a life lived... forgiven....a life that has been redeemed.
For many years, when I would think about you, shame would creep in. Sometimes I still wake up from a nightmare and I can't shake this awful feeling...the searching and wanting to be loved wholly and completely. This is not a love you can expect that wonderfully handsome husband of yours to fill, no not even him, not truly in the way that you long for it because that kind of Love came down in a Person and you must know Him to know that kind of Love....to be that kind of love.
It is in this knowledge, in this truth and a whole lot of other messiness that you start to become a new creation in Christ. There is hope! Are you listening?! It is in this kind of Love, the kind that lays itself low, extends grace to those who deserve it the least, and uses the base things that you will find freedom and joy.
This kind of Love is almost too good to accept, but you will....as a gift.
Often you will hear people say that if they could go back in their lives, they would not change a thing because their mistakes make them who they are. They have learned from them and moved on.
I offer you this instead: though I would go back and change the mistakes I made, I fully accept the responsibility and/or consequences for them, knowing that in all of it God was at work. All that pain and misery that you are causing yourself and to me down the road (and those around you) God because of His greatness and long suffering will use it to glorify Himself and bring you to His Son.
See the subtle difference? One says that my mistakes made me who I am. I get the glory for learning from them. The other says by the grace of God, I have been found in Christ and he has made me who I am. Guess who gets the glory for all of it? God! Not you, sweets. Not me, but your heavenly Father. Subtle, but insanely different wouldn't you say?!
Oh, Kari Jo I know you think you have all the answers. I do wish that you could listen to me and be wise. I do wish you would quit gulping down all that kool-aide (as good as it may taste right now.) I wish that I could protect you from all that heartache. But I am here and you are there aren't you? I know your story well and since it's not a novel I cannot backspace, edit and delete. I know how your story ends or perhaps begins is better isn't it??!!
Because herein lies the hope: now, a few months after you blew the candles on your 30th birthday, we are just at the beginning of a new beginning....again. And it is sweet. And it is good. And it is joy. And it is messy, oh so messy. And it is Blessed!