a letter to my teenage self

Over the past week you may seen quite a few bloggers write letters to their teenage self.  There is a link-up over at Chatting at the Sky that has hundreds (literally!) of these letters & it inspired me this weekend to participate. I've often thought about things I wish I had done differently as a teenager. Writing this letter was actually pretty therapeutic.

Dear Teenage Laura,

There are so  many things that I wish you could know at this very moment in your life. But the truth is, as much as things may hurt & as bad as you think things sometimes might be, it's better for you to learn things on your own. When you are 16 & 17 years old, your emotions are so strong & you will feel like the world is over more times than you care to mention. Trust me when I say that the world ISN'T over and you aren't defined by your high school years. Goodness, if only you knew what all was in store for you 10 years down the road. I know that you think high school is the best time of your life, but your adult life is pretty amazing.

You will spend the first 3 years of high school sorting through friendships & never completely feeling like you have a niche. Don't worry. You will go hiking in Canada for 10 days with YoungLife the summer before senior year and that trip will renew you. You find yourself that summer and realize who your true friends are. Cherish the times you have with those friends. Once you all go off to college you will miss having them 5 minutes away. Don't take them for granted & spend as many late nights at Steak n Shake with them as you can. This huge group of friends makes your senior year at Lassiter so much fun & even as an adult you are thankful you had such a tight-knit group of friends to help you survive those hormonal teenage years. Here's a fun fact: some of those girls are still your best friends even if they are hundreds of miles away.

Oh, girl, I wish you wouldn't put so much of your value into your physical appearance. You are beautiful & perfect just the way you are. Stop comparing yourself to other girls at school and church. This will quickly turn into an obsession and completely take over your mind. Trust me when I say that an eating disorder will get you nowhere but home during what is supposed to be the best freshman year ever in college. There will be moments in this season of life that you hit rock bottom. You aren't sure how you're going to get out of this sad place. You are so much stronger than you think you are. I wish more than anything that you knew that. You learn so much about yourself during your senior year of high school & freshman year of college. Your eating disorder doesn't define who you are, you will recover, & you will come out a much stronger and more confident girl.
I also want you to know that these boys you spend SO MUCH time focusing on are not the ones for you. You spend so many nights crying over things they say & the way they treat you and they just aren't worth any of your tears. They don't respect you & you can do better. You know this deep down but like the attention they give you. Trust your gut. At one point early on in college you will just want to give up on guys all together. You feel broken & used. Yes, you will shed many, many tears but here's a little secret: not long after this you will meet a wonderful guy who will eventually be your husband. He makes you feel beautiful & important & he loves you. and guess what else? God didn't hand you just one guy...he gives you 3! That's right...that guy you meet will also be the father of your 2 precious little boys. Don't give up yet, sweet girl!

Sometimes you feel so conflicted about who you are & what type of person you want to be.  It's hard to walk the halls of a high school with almost 3,000 of your peers and not feel insignificant. You have friends from many different "groups" and it confuses you. You are a Christian but you feel torn between how to act. Sometimes you feel out of place because you are more naive than some of the other girls. Sometimes you feel out of place because you don't go out & drink. Here's all you need to know: don't turn away from the Lord because you feel like a hypocrite sometimes. He loves you & is so passionate about you. and guess what? You're a sinner saved by grace & you aren't supposed to be perfect. Cling to your faith & don't worry about fitting in with all these different groups of people. People like you because you are kind and genuine. You have a good heart. You CAN be the girl that is involved with YoungLife, goes on mission trips, sings in the school chorus, AND has friends that are different than you. Even friends that are a little wild. I promise.  Don't worry about not fitting in to a certain mold. This makes you a more well-rounded person; a quality that you will appreciate as you get older.

Lo, be carefree and young while you can. Have fun with your friends. Take advice from your parents--trust me, they usually know what they're talking about. You'll actually become friends with them after you leave the nest...isn't that crazy?! They're pretty fun to hang out with. Don't wish away your life--you'll get to that marriage/mama thing eventually and it will be the best season of your life--BUT, enjoy the moments before that. You think that senior year of high school is the greatest time of your life, and while it was pretty awesome, it only gets better.


27 year old me

P.S: you look better with long hair. Don't cut it off.