If I could give you anything right now, I would choose to give you a giant hug and tell you that everything will be alright. I would stand by your side, let your ears hear my beating heart and know that there is a purpose for your life. I promise you... everything will be okay.
I wish I could crawl into your head and inspire you to pursue your dreams, though you are still young and afraid. Over time, you will go through some of the hardest seasons of your life. You will endure through a hard season of sickness, a few heartbreaking breakups, overseas missions, several college acceptance letters, your first few teaching jobs, a writing career, and way more. God will show Himself to you in the most amazing and unique ways. Ways that are unique and catered to you.
I see you...
In the days where eating a candy bar seemed like the end-all. The days where all you can think of is a 4 mile run and an hour of p90x after a 2 hour volleyball practice. You are not defined by a scale, but your body is a reflection of Him. You are made perfect in His image. Take care of your body, the right way. Eat healthy food (with a cheat day once a week, of course!), exercise like a normal person, and invest in good sleeping habits.
You are finally old enough to go out on your first date, right after homecoming, actually! You will meet a boy who was only at your school for a short time and fall into him so naively. I saw you standing at his bedroom door as he packed his bags to move to Florida just a few days later. You were blindsided... I saw your worry and I saw your tears. I saw how you felt when your first boyfriend moved 23 hours away with such short notice. But once again-- you will be alright. Boyfriends come and boyfriends go. This is something I wish you knew-- though boyfriends come and go, life moves on. It will be okay. Heartbreaks will come, but you will grow and you will bloom. You will use that heartbreak to motivate you to do some pretty amazing things. You will spend a significant amount of time in other countries and experience the fullness of God in the thick of brokenness and poverty. You will fall in love with the God of the front lines and will grow a fiery passion to serve Him overseas and will meet just the perfect man, your husband, to do that with.
I remember the first time you received your first college acceptance letter. You will open it up and will cry with mom... because this is when you realized that God's plan for you was about to unfold. It was scary, but you were fine. I remember you packing up all your stuff. Mountains high of stuff that only a first-semester freshman would need. You walked into college with a broken heart because saying goodbye to your family was the hardest thing EVER. It will be okay. Just trust the process.
Today is college graduation day. The day you have been waiting for all of senior year. But first-- you will have to pass your state board exams and go through several interviews to get your first full-time post-college teaching job. You will be offered every one of the jobs you interviewed for except one. The one you truly worked hard for, but it just wasn't in God's plan and you just have to move forward in joy.
You will move into your first official classroom of your own and decorate it with bright-colored world maps and pictures of missionaries and their adventures. You will pray for all your children by name and feel the weight of their burdens just as heavy as your own. Just remember-- through it all, that God is your strength in time of need. You will then publish your first two books and continue to write for the ministry you will start.
Sweet girl, the God who brought you to it will bring you through it... every single time. Keep your chin up. God will give you all the tools you need to fight through each day. God has told you the truth of who you are. You are beautiful simply because you were made by Him. Nobody else's opinions matter... just His. You are held in the palm of His hand.
I am unbelievably proud of you.
Your Future Self