Dear Younger Self…

Dear younger self,

You don’t actually know me, but I certainly know you. Someday you will know exactly who I am, but for now, you are focused on exactly where you are right now.

You are about 17 years old right now and you are living life day by day. You have no worry of tomorrow and no care for the future. This is the time in your life when most of your worries and fears are what you will wear the next day or whether or not the cute boy likes you or not. I wish I could shake you and tell you to enjoy the days and soak up every moment when things are not so bad. I know they feel like the end of the world to you right now, but it isn’t.

In about 3 years you are going to elope and marry the one man no one would ever want you to be with. You will be stubborn and hold as tight as you can to the trust you have in this man you love in spite of his faults. You will have the hardest first year of marriage imaginable, but hold on tight because there is so much beauty in the end! You will be carrying your sweet baby girl in your womb while trying to keep your marriage in one piece, but be still because God will carry you. You probably don’t believe a word I am saying right now because I know who you are at 17, but hold these words close to you if you can. Once you are in this marriage, in spite of the level of difficulties, God will move mountains! You will see Him work in your marriage, in your husband and in YOU in incredible ways! Have patience and trust your marriage to rest in HIS hands.

During the next couple of years, you will fight for your marriage and you will grow together! It will be amazing to see the transformation and the incredible marriage you will come out on the other end with! Thank God for that!

About 5 years from then, you will spend 3 years trying to get pregnant. You will feel the emptiness of your womb in a way that aches to your core and you will grieve the loss of 2 precious babies. Listen to me when I tell you, it’s okay to hurt through this even though you already have children. Do not let anyone tell you differently! Your feelings are valid! You will wonder over and over again why this is happening to you, but you will see someday the beauty and the lives you will touch through your story. It doesn’t make the pain hurt less, but it does give you a perspective to see the good God brings from the sorrow. After a long road of waiting, you will be blessed with a 3rd child, your baby girl, who will change your life forever!

During that time your world will be shaken in a new way you never would imagine.

Your mom is going to get cancer.

I know it’s hard to wrap your head around it right now, but you will go through the hardest 6 weeks of your life sitting by her bedside and witnessing this woman you love so dearly go through something so painful. You will also be part of some of the most beautiful memories made with her and your family during this time. It will be inspirational to see your mom loving Jesus through it all and portraying an incredibly positive attitude!

As you go through these next 10 years with your healthy mom, don’t sweat the small stuff in your relationship because some things just aren’t worth arguing.
Never let things go without reconciliation because that’s the only way to truly have a healthy relationship.
Take lots of pictures because someday those pictures are all you will have to share who she was with your kids someday.
Listen to what she has to say because someday you will wish you were hearing her wisdom and she is one of the wisest.
Even if you are stubborn now and don’t want to hear what she has to say to you, just put it in your back pocket because someday you will want to listen.
Appreciate her as your mom because she is definitely as great as they get!

After your mom passes a lot of things are going to change. It’s going to feel like nothing is the same in any way and you will feel as if you are spinning uncontrollably at all times. Hold on tight because it is quite the ride, but God shows up through it all! Someday you will sit right where I am right now and wonder how in the world you got here. There will be a part of your life you won’t even recognize anymore. Something I keep repeating to myself over and over again is, “it’s not necessarily bad, it’s just different.” Change isn’t always a bad thing. It’s just so incredibly different that it can sometimes feel like a bad thing. Have patience the best you can because there really is nothing you can do to stop the change. Let God do his work and trust in His perfect plan for everyone.

All this change will be so scary, but remember it’s okay to feel scared because it means you are about to do something really brave.

And that is trusting God implicitly.

Remember…Even if life seems unrecognizable doesn’t mean mom isn’t still recognized.

What I mean by this is that it can be so easy to fear that people will forget your mom. It is scary to think that people don’t think about her anymore. They do. People think about her more than you will ever realize. Continue to trust that in the midst of change, your mom’s testimony and legacy will remain the same. Hold on tight to that and get ready for a wild ride!

I’m sure after reading this you are dreading these years ahead, but I want you to know that throughout these trials there is so much beauty!

You will welcome 3 beautiful children into this world and you will make amazing memories with your little family.
You will lose so many friendships, but you will grow so much in your relationship with your Heavenly Father and it will become the most important relationship in your life.
You will build the most amazing marriage with your husband that will only be because of God’s amazing grace in your lives.
You will go on so many fun adventures with family and friends.
You will learn a lot and gain wisdom through life’s experiences.
You will share your story with others and inspire people in their own journeys.
You will follow your dreams and achieve goals you never thought you could!

Even throughout the hardest of roads, there will always be beauty along the way. Focus on the beauty, trust what God is doing and just ride the waves!

One final thought for you as you will find this world we live in will become more unkind and broken as the years go by…

Always choose kindness.
Be the friend who chooses to listen instead of speak.
Be the mom who accepts instead of judges.
Be the person who shows grace to an employee, not impatience.
Be the wife who responds lovingly instead of responding with a hateful attitude.
Be the mom who listens with her eyes, not just her ears.
Be the daughter that respects instead of ruining every moment with negativity.
Be the person that loves deeply, always, no matter what.

Be the person that you hope to become someday.

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