Dear sleeper, I am writing to you from across a divide you don’t know exists. You feel awake, but you are actually sleepwalking. The good news is the alarm clock is about to sound. That is also the bad news. Right now, you view spirituality as a linear journey, with correct interpretations, right answers, and clear mile-markers for growth. You have heard rumblings about “liberals” and “those who have walked away from Jesus”, and you’re comfortable in that dichotomy because you believe you’re with the good guys.
Dear 5-year-old me, In thirty years you will wonder how you could have done things differently. You are only five now, but you will be plagued with the weight of what he has done to you, how he has made you feel sexy even though you aren’t quite sure what that word means, yet. In ten years you will hate yourself because of what he is doing to you now at night between sheets that have become a coffin.
Dear 23-year-old Me, A little while from now, things are going to change. Like, really change. Not all at once, mind you. But that eight-year plan that you have so carefully laid out? Please, don’t become too attached to it. Bit by bit, line by line, the checklists and timelines are going to be revised, crossed out, and reordered. In the end, very little will resemble your original idea of “how life is going to be.
Dear young, single, and soon-to-be-pregnant Sarah, I’m going to tell you a story. This is your story, and not a story you may like. But stick with it till the end – you’ll see God’s grace and sovereignty, and what can become a very happy marriage if you surrender to Him. Warm tears slid down my face as I lay in bed wondering why God allowed me to get here.
Dear pregnant career-woman me, First of all, you are gorgeous! And you are about to embark on the best adventure yet – second only to the one you started after saying “I do” to your man. But you are scared. You don’t know any stay-at-home moms (SAHMs – you’ll know this acronym soon!) who have your level of education and career orientation, and, ironically, this new job intimidates you. Are you throwing away all those years of study and work?
Dear beat-down and broken-apart me, The term you are looking for is “workplace bullying”, and, no, there is no explanation that will make you feel okay. Your job has turned so ugly that you are consumed with the dread of the next day even as you lock up the office each night. Ironically, you’re spending more and more time there, although it’s the last place you want to be. You are paranoid, depressed, and riddled with anxiety.
Dear Sarah, You’re in high school now! The next four years are going to be ones you’ll never forget. It’s going to start out rocky because you’re 15 and “know everything”, but you will soon find out that you just don’t. At all. I know your parents stopped going to church because you moved, and they can’t find a good one in the area. Please please please keep your eyes on Jesus anyway.
Dear 10-year-old Shai, Hi. 🙂 Wipe your tears. It’s not your fault. It never was. 25 years from now, you will see things much differently. Believe it or not, mom is right about a lot of things concerning you. I was going to write you an eloquent letter with paragraphs, but at this stage in the game, you probably need numbered points for easy reference. I love you so much. Please take my words to heart.
Dear 15-year old-me: Looking good, girl! You’re smart, funny, attractive, and full of potential, just like “they” said – whoever they are. The past five years have been filled with ups and downs, and there are several more to come, but you can handle them all if you embrace Godly wisdom and apply it to all things. Do well in school. Apply yourself so you can go away to school and have someone else pay for it.
Dear Carla, Nothing in your life will prepare you for the fall of 2007 – for that span of time when your heart enters a griefdeeperthanwords. On October 1, the sky will be gray and dark, and it will drizzle a mist-like rain – just enough to cover your tears. That day you will give birth. It won’t be your first time giving birth, so you will know what to expect.