Dear Thirteen Year Old Me,
I have such a myriad of memories of you. With your rainbow beaded dangly earrings from Claire’s and your camoflauge pants from Limited Too, you are full of life and zest and so many questions.
I remember when you woke up on the day of your 13th birthday, the weightiness of “teenagerhood” keenly felt. Becoming a real teenager was almost idolized, and though you thought you were all grown up, I wish I could tell you a few things which might have helped you along the way. So here’s a few things I thought of; I hope they encourage you.
- Life gets better! Judging by your journal entries, most days the world feels like it’s coming to an end. You and Mom are constantly at odds, and you are grounded about once a week. But it does get better! There is life after 13! Keep working hard and keep a good attitude. Give up your need to have the last word. One day, many years from now, you won’t always be in trouble.
- These are not the best years of your life, but they are very important. Everyone puts adolescence on a pedestal, like it’s the best time of your life, and yes, there are some perks, but dear little sparkly earring-ed Sarah, your best days are ahead! You haven’t even been out of the country or to Disney yet. You’ve barely lived! You are becoming the person you’re going to turn out to be. Don’t expect to know how your life is going to turn out.
- Listen to your parents! They sound old-fashioned, but they see things you don’t. You are way too young to be so obsessed with cute boys. If you only knew you would still be single 11 years later, you might lay off the boy crazy a little, haha. Bikinis are overrated. Stop saying you’re not allowed to wear them and go ahead and make it a personal conviction. Begin to make the choices a wise woman who values her body makes, even before you feel like a real woman.
- Be wise with your friendships. Avoid girls who manipulate you and make you feel small. If you feel a red flag go up, run. You are still very impressionable. Choose people who build you up, rather than tear you down. Avoid drama. Forgive people. Learn to take a joke. Realize that most friendships are seasonal, and few are life long. Enjoy your friends, but don’t make them a god. Spending time with your family is fun too.
- People are not thinking about you nearly as often as you think they are. Life is too short to be ruled by what other people think of you. Choose to only allow your family and core group get a say. Be silly. Wear what brings you joy. Don’t worry about clothing labels. Don’t be embarrassed to shop at Wal mart. One day you will be shopping at Roses, so get off your high horse. Don’t be embarrassed you are only allowed to listen to Christian music. Most everything else is trash anyway. Get over the fact that your room is still Winnie the Pooh themed. 11 years later, not much has changed besides my comforter.
- Don’t think that 18 is the end your growing up years. Our society is so warped, you’re probably thinking you’ll move out when you’re 18, but learn to love being at home. Home is not something you just graduate from. Learn to love being at home, and hold onto your dream of living there until you marry.
- Take it easy on the boys. Women’s rights doesn’t mean what you think it means. Avoid hitting people with your purse for laughs. Don’t expect 13 year old boys to conduct themselves with maturity. They don’t. Treat them with kindness, not arrogance or flirtation.
- Finally, invest in your relationship with God! Don’t think for one second that because you’re homeschooled, don’t have a job, and don’t leave your hometown too much, that a relationship with God isn’t important yet. You are building a foundation for a lifelong faith. You are uniquely blessed. You have had an amazing childhood. This is rare, and God is going to use your purity and innocence in big ways some day. Don’t wait until you’re an “adult” to seek God. Now is the time to build. Continue to love Jesus passionately.
- Also, your huge collection of Crocs will soon be out of fashion, but your Steven Curtis Chapman CD’s will always be cool. Oh, and keep your Walkman. One day you’ll be super hipster for carrying that around.
So long, friend.
24 year old Sarah, who is still on her way.
Don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use.
1 Timothy 4
My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.