Thirty & Thankful: Reflections and a Letter to my 15 year-old Self

I started this post months ago and finished it a few weeks before my 30th birthday. I celebrated the occasion in November, but held off on sharing my thoughts until today. Here’s what I would tell my 15-year-old self:

  1. KEEP GOING. Your life is going to do a 180 degree turn. Every prophetic word you’ve heard these past few years will come to pass. God’s going to blow your mind and then some!
  2. DON’T WORRY about the friends you’ll lose along the way. You value your friendships and you’ve poured your heart into them. Don’t be hurt by those friendships that come to an end, especially those that have abrupt endings. It’s not you and it’s not necessarily that those are bad people. God has a plan for you. Not everyone is authorized to go where you are going.

  1. THERE WILL BE coat-tail riders, but there will be a faithful few who are there to lift you up and encourage you to be greater. Pray for discernment to differentiate the two.

  2. NEVER FORGET the purpose God has placed in your heart and the secret prayers you’ve prayed to God. That purpose will keep you going on the days when life seems too hard to bear.

  1. NEVER be ashamed of who you are or where you’ve come from. God has orchestrated EVERY detail of your life to fill you with knowledge, wisdom, life experience and sensibility that you will need later in life. God is NOT punishing you. He’s preparing you for GREATER.

  2. TRUST YOUR IDEAS. God has blessed you with creativity and VISION. You will encounter people who will question your intelligence and challenge your ideas. When you excel, they won’t understand why, but know this — God has His hand on you and will continue to advance you as long as you seek Him first and acknowledge Him in EVERYTHING you do. Remember — Wherever you are, from the boardroom to the podium, God IS WITH YOU!

The photo on the right is me in high school. I think I was in the 9th or 10th grade in that photo.

I remember that girl. She had so much hurt and pain on the inside and most people, even those in her small circle of friends, had no idea.

One day, I remember lying on my parents’ bed just crying and talking to God internally and I noticed a New Living Translation bible on my mom’s side of the bed and a book of prayers for teens. I opened the bible and read Psalm 56:8 New Living Translation (NLT)

You keep track of all my sorrows.
    You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in your book.

That word met where I was and I started taking that Bible with me everywhere. (I’m actually wondering how I managed to not get in trouble for taking those books–I don’t recall asking my mom if I could have them, but that day they became mine– I carried that soft cover bible until both covers fell off! The book of prayers faired much better–I still have it today!)

Does that mean that I was perfect over those next 15 years??

Absolutely NOT!!! I’ve made mistakes, I’ve fallen short, but I know God is real.

That’s why I understood Adele’s lyrics to “Hello” long before she explained them in an interview– my soon-to-be-30-self was living that experience — the growth and maturity that allows you to process past hurts and see your own mistakes enough to own them and want to apologize, but to have also matured to the point that even if they refuse to accept your apology, you’re just calling to say hello.

“Hello from the other side of the hurt/pain/anguish that USED TO define my life!”

Hello, it’s me….
HELLO from the OTHER SIDE.

The side where God gives you beauty for every bit of ashes you EVER experienced.

Isaiah 61:3 New Living Translation (NLT)

To all who mourn in Israel,
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
    that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

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