I know that you think you carry the weight of the world on your shoulder. You are so afraid to mess up and make a mistake. You want to please your parents, your teachers, your friends, and those you meet daily. You would give up making yourself happy to please these people, because that’s how important their opinion is to you. Lay down those fears of messing up and making others upset. Honor the Lord in all that you do, follow your heart, and you will get “there” in a much lighter way, feeling less burdened than you do right now.
I know that you are first and foremost a planner. You will plan out the next 10 years of your life, and while most of it will go according to plan, like attending college, getting accepted to and graduating from Physician Assistant school, getting your first job, and falling in love, other parts of life, like the tiny, daily details, will derail you at times. You will have your heart broken more than once, and because you are stronger than you believe yourself to be, and because you have the most incredible support system of friends and family, you will come back, better, more resilient than before. You will surprise yourself at your ability to leave your hometown, the place you feel most safe and comfortable out of anywhere in the world and go to school two hours away and then move to Durham (weird). You will mess up sometimes with your friends and family and be disappointed in others too, but this is part of life. Take the good, leave the bad, and keep on living your best life. When life doesn’t happen according to your plan, trust the Lord’s plan for your life. I can tell you that His plans are far better than what you think you want for yourself.
You already know this, but the school you attend right now, is a sacred place. You will never find teachers and mentors that willingly invest in your life like those of Wesleyan Christian Academy. In fact, ten years later, you will run into them at the mall or need to rent a piece of wedding decor from them, and they will still be your biggest cheerleaders. Tell them thank you, often. Love others as they have loved you. Invest in someone(s), as they have invested in you. You will be what you become, because along the way, this family of people have believed in you and thus, you believe in yourself. Those hallways are a special place. Cherish every day you get to spend there. Thank your parents, often, for sacrificing, so you can attend such a remarkable school. The school lessons are important, but more important are the lessons about developing a personal relationship with the Lord, loving others because Jesus first loved us, honesty, integrity, and friendship. These will stick with you for the rest of your life. You are so blessed.
I know that you worry about never getting married. You will find the most perfect man for you in the most unexpected place you could ever imagine (Hint: a Mexican restaurant in a tiny, precious NC town). He will empower you, encourage you, love you so well, and challenge you in all the best ways. You will do the same for him. No relationship is perfect, but yours will be pretty close, and in about ten years, you’ll get to walk down the aisle to him. You will know he’s the one God intended for you, so right now, just relax, enjoy being a teenage girl, have fun with your friends, and make memories with your family. The best is yet to come.
The theme of this letter seems to be, STOP WORRYING, because it will all be better than you can ever imagine. Trust the Lord’s plan for your life, do the best you can, love big, and laugh often. You will be amazed at the places you’ll go. Stop and be grateful. Say thank you. Say the words always. There are never too many “I love yous.”
Enjoy the next ten years,
Your 26 year old self