Monday, January 4, 2016

Dear 21 Year Old

I'm 21 today - January 5, 2016... this is strange sort of letter I wrote to myself - from the outside, looking in...
 A letter to remind myself.

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      Dear 21 year old... I keep looking at where you are today and smiling. You smile back in your wild sort of way - where your eyes scrunch, you show all your teeth, and you look as if you might start laughing. 20-year-old you - me - has lived her year... Now it's time to walk into a new one.

   Today's not where you dreamed to be - and yet I think you're fairly content with where you are.

      I know where you wanted to be... As a little girl, all you ever wanted to be was a mother someday. You never had another answer - even when the other little girls wanted to train horses, or be a doctor, or design clothes... Always your answer was, "I want to be a mama like mine someday."

      Even when you hid that answer with, "I don't know what I want to be" because some people didn't accept your answer - you still believed deep down that that's what you wanted to be.

        I still see that girl... dear little 21 year old, I see that little girl in you. But she's grown up a lot. She has not given up on that hope, but she no longer feels like she's waiting. She is not waiting for life to begin - she is living life as it comes. She has become a lover of people in different ways that fill her heart. She is content most days - and loud, and joyful - and some may even say a she's a little bit weird... but she's happy with that too. (Haha - Honestly I think she's rather comfortable with the term "weird".)

    She's looking at this next year and seeing the ways she can serve. She's ready to run into this new year... She's not so worried about the future she used to cling to - if she'll ever be married to someone who will be her best friend and leader, or have children to love, or if she'll get to homeschool those little ones. She's not so fearful about the future because she's trying to pray about the present... She's finally realized that God can and does mightily use her outside of her plans... She's finding His plans are more than she imagined - deeper, wider, better - more.

    I saw her the other day laughing... because she was marveling at the enormity of God. I saw her standing in the rain with her hands above her head. I saw her singing at the top of her lungs. I saw her fiercely hugging someone precious to her. I saw her loving the people she has in her life... I saw her feeling more alive than ever, because she's found herself wrapped closer to God.

     She's not perfect... and I've seen her struggle. I've seen her cry. I've seen her whisper, "It's too much. I'm afraid." I've seen her bend under weight she isn't meant to carry, and  I've seen her angry - though she doesn't let most people see it. I've seen her weary and discouraged. I've seen her lose sight of the basic truth - that God loves her immensely more than she can comprehend...

     And then again - I've seen God bring her through each part of that. I've seen God bring friends to tell her God's grace. I've seen God answer her seemingly littlest prayers because He cares; and I've seen Him answer prayers she never thought to hope for. I've seen God teach her about hope again and again. I've seen God send her blessings and hold her when she's cried. I've seen God remind her to run to Him in times of struggle - and given her words to remind others. I've seen God be faithful to her... and I know He'll continue to be.

      I see that little girl grown up... I see you little 21 year old...

      At fourteen years old, you wrote a letter to your 20 year old self, and tied it up with string. These were the last words of the letter:

As you go into this next year, I want you to ponder that question.
Are you living your Christian life to the fullest?
And what does that look like?

      To you - to me - to the person who's reading this right now -

      Don't be afraid to walk into this next year. I know there are uncertainties you don't know how to face but you are standing beside a God who keeps His promises - a God who swears by Himself because He is so great. 
Look at the way He Loves you. 
Pray, believing that He's a loving Father who wants to hear you.
Run with joy next to Him.
Sit in trust at His feet.
Dance in delight on the days He gives you that strength.
 Be a light that others see Jesus reflected in... 
and stop trying to do things in your own strength. 
Willing as a little child, grasp tight again to the nail scarred hands 
of your Father who knows the way. 
He will never let you go, and He wants you to remember 
He is with you - no mater where you are today... 
Dear little child of God - when you're trusting in the Almighty, the best is yet to come. 

~Ophelia - Marie Flowers