When I think of my “younger self” I immediately cringe. I see flashbacks of plaid Bermuda shorts, short brown hair, and braces. When I say I had braces, I mean I had it all. Picture me with so much metal in my mouth that I attracted every magnet in the southeast. I may have been a magnet, but believe me I did not attract boys, and there is living, breathing, physical evidence on my Facebook of how unattractive I was as a middle schooler.
There is one particular day of middle school that will always be engraved in my memory. On the last day of 7th grade, the entire school got to leave class about 30 minutes early so we could go out on the soccer field and sign each other’s yearbooks. This was obviously the best day ever because that was the most freedom we had been given thus far in our lives. I immediately brought out my bulky 20 lb. digital camera (you know the type) and tried to get a picture with my friends. One of the girls looked at me and said, “I’m not taking any pictures, I’m too ugly to be photographed.” I frowned and put my camera away. Was I “too ugly to be photographed”? Refusing to take a picture because I did not look good had never crossed my mind until right then, and I will never forget it. Ever since that day, I have paused before a picture and thought to myself, “How do I look?” What a sad moment. It was almost as though a piece of my childhood died right there on that middle school soccer field.
So here we go.
Dear Younger Self,
I don’t care what the other girls say. Take the pictures and capture these memories. They won’t last long, and these pictures are things you will cherish and laugh about for years to come. I don’t care how ‘awkward’ you think you look, each chapter of life is precious and you’re going to want as many memories as you can store. You’re beautiful, even when you’re not.
On a bit of a more serious note, you don’t always need someone to blame.
You will always have trials and struggles and things to overcome. There will be situations in life you will have to deal with that are out of your control and are not your fault. But that doesn’t mean they are someone else’s fault. Even when others have wronged you, there is no reason to build up walls or store resentment in your heart. Cast all of your struggles on the Lord, and He will carry your sorrow and restore Joy in your heart. You don’t always need someone to blame. So don’t blame the world, and don’t blame yourself. Instead, cultivate and maintain relationships.
Things will happen that don’t seem to make sense, and that’s okay. Not everything needs an explanation. Give your parents a break, they’re doing the best they can. Believe it or not, they know what they are talking about occasionally. Although you fight now, your mom will become your very best friend. Maintain communication with them - be there for them, and let them be there for you.
Your little sisters look up to you more than you realize, so be a good role model and don’t push them away when they come to you. When you go to college, you will miss them more than you could imagine and, believe it or not, you’ll call them just to “chat”.
Finally, if I could tell you just one thing, it would be to “keep your fork.”
Mom has recently adopted this saying into her life, and it’s one I wish I had heard years ago. There is literally a framed fork in our kitchen to provide a daily reminder. When you have a meal and you finish your entrée, you always keep your fork. Why? Because dessert is coming. The best is still yet to come. So in life, keep your fork. There will be trials and there will be joy, but the best is yet to come. Each chapter of life holds so many experiences, and it only gets better. Life is so beautiful and fun, even when it isn’t. Trust that God will lead your path because He will. The best is yet to come.
So, 10 year old me, hold on to Jeremiah 29:11 and go take some mirror selfies while you still own Crocs.
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