A Letter to Younger Me

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Hi sweet girl, You don't know this yet, but in several years you will nanny for a family of four children with one daughter. One interaction will catch you off guard, as you will watch the mother tenderly hold her daughter and comfort her tears. While she holds her she will slowly and gingerly coo, 'Oh my sweet, sweet girl,' over and over. It will unsettle and inspire you all at once - this affectionate, personal love between mother and child. It is both familiar and uncomfortable to observe. DSC_0129 - Version 2 Who has called you sweet, sweet girl? Not many. Even if not slurs and shouts, just the simple sound of your own name - Amanda - sits you up straight, makes your heart race. If I remember correctly your ears bear witness to rants and rages. Your tears are often caused by those who should comfort them. I shake my head at the memory of the conflict the pain you endured caused your heart. I'm sure I could write an epic letter of all the things you would need to hear to get you through what you're going through. Many pages would simply be devoted to words of encouragement, praise, and the lifting of your spirits. But actually, you have proven resilient. I know that in your heart you were hopeful - not the 'anything must be better than this' hopeful, but the true 'He will trade dust for diamonds' hopeful. You're such a strong and fierce girl, even though you wouldn't think so. With time that strength will grow and shine. You will be healed. See, the abuse you've been through won't define you. It will define God's perfect healing within you. Your story is a redemption song. Instead I want to thank you. Who I am today is because of who you committed to being then. I know you struggled in your own skin and that good choices didn't always feel great. If you could see you now you'd understand the long term value of believing in your convictions, following your heart to Jesus, forgiving freely, and loving without fear of loss. Thank you for the simple things: for judicious spending habits, good grades, hard work ethic. For not drinking under age and for following (most) rules set for you. Thank you for the big things you didn't know were big: For investing in lifelong friendships, writing your journals, and struggling to find your identity. Thank you, even, for being so petrified of kissing a boy that you saved it for the man who would one day be your husband. You've created a living fairytale love story for your daughters to be told. And yes, you have daughters. Whiting_0026 I don't recall you worrying too much about who or when you'd get married, build a family, or raise children. The future you, however, gets married young and as of now has three little girls. They're extraordinary. To be honest, it's a bit bizarre to be a woman raising women. But, they will teach you more about your capacity for love and healing than anything else thus far. I can't alter the past, but if I could change any one thing about you it would be this: your belief in yourself. I'm proud of you. Really, I am. You truly are something special and worthy of love. You are a sweet, sweet girl. Blessings, -Amanda