Hello, sweet one. It’s me, at 43. Ten years and I’ve got to tell you it’s been, well, tough to say the least. There’s a part of me that wants to warn you what’s to come, but I’m quite sure you wouldn't believe me, even if I could.
But if I could somehow prepare you, offer words of encouragement, if I were somehow able to reach through time and send this letter, like in the movie The Lake House, here is what I would say.
You are precious. Yes, this thought goes with being loved but in my mind, in our mind, it’s a little different. Being precious means you have value, value beyond what you do, what you create, or who you help. You have value simply because you’re, well, you. Yes, you can do great things. And yes, you have a stubbornness and tenacity that will bold well for the coming years. But you, just you, dear me at 33…you are precious, and wonderful just as you are.
You are strong. Your strength is more than merely pushing through. It’s more than making the choice to do the right thing. What we faced at 26 rocked our world, when death first stared at us from a loved one’s eyes. But now me, at 43, can see how God used those events to prepare us, prep us, allow us to grow because dear one, you will need strength in abundance. But you will make it through, dear me at 33. You will make it because you are strong, and you figured out exactly where - and who - your strength comes from. “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1
Life gets ugly because the world is broken. Oh, if there were a way I could insulate you from the tragedy about to strike, I would. But then, if I did, we wouldn’t be me, now, at 43. And we’re doing well, despite it all. But between me then, and me know, remember that sin is destructive. It has not only broken the world, it has broken people. People you know. People you love. That brokenness is going to leak all over you, threaten to drown you. It’s gonna hurt, and it’s gonna hurt bad. You’re about to experience more pain than you ever thought possible. But you won’t get sucked in; it won’t completely consume you. Scripture will ring true in your life, dear me at 33. “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
Jesus is near. Lean in & keep your eyes fixed on him. Remember, he is the Author and Perfecter of your faith. You just started to memorize that verse. Cling to it. Remember it. Write it everywhere you look. Cling to Jesus as you did before. His Word is true. He will never leave you, even when you feel abandoned. He will never forsake you, even when you feel betrayed. He will never allow anything to completely destroy you, even when you feel your heart ripped out of your chest. “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NLT)
Laugh. God blessed us with a sense of humor, and it is a gift. Laugh often. Find the little things and giggle. Even when it seems inappropriate or too soon. Even as tears stream down your face. Laugh. It’s good for your tummy muscles, and even better for your soul.
Keep on keeping on. Your greatest nightmare is about to unfold. Yes, that fear you’ve always feared is about to become reality. I promise you, sweet me at 33, God. Is. Bigger. He is bigger than your biggest fears, stronger than any enemy, more loving than you can possible imagine, and will shower you with peace, and comfort, and His presence in ways you will experience and long to share with others.
But there will also be days when the light seems so far away, when the pressure crushes in on your heart, and your deepest wish will be for every drop of pain to disappear. The desire to give up, to give in, and chuck it all will come. And yes, you will make many mistakes. Some big. Some small. But when you do, know there is grace. Wonderful, abundant, life-giving grace. Grace to restore your soul, to heal your heart, and to redeem every single tear you shed.
So, dear me at 33, enjoy these last days with your sweet girl. Hug her. Shower her with kisses and tickles. Breath in her scent. Watch her dance. The day is coming when those will be but a memory. Sweet, bittersweet memories.
Heaven is real. It is home, and it will draw near to you. The veil will be thin, and you will experience moments when you feel its breath brush across your skin. Trust Him. Obey Him. Go through the valley of the shadow of death, for you have nothing to fear, even when fear becomes more real than you’d ever experienced.
I’m proud of you, me at 33. Oh so very proud. Thank you for choosing well. Thank you.
Me at 43
If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would you say?