Monday, November 3, 2014

Dear Sixteen Year Old Girl

There is so much that I wish I could go back to tell you. So many lessons I have learned and so many things I have realized now that I am separate from all of the situations that used to seem so daunting.

You were never fond of listening to anyone's advice. You have always been so independent and so stubborn. I can tell you now, that is one thing that might not ever change. But dear young highschool girl, all the advice that was given to you would have been so useful to listen to. 

Those people who told you to embrace your highschool years? They knew what they were talking about. It might not seem like it now, but highschool sets the stage. The things you learn in highschool will be some of the most important lessons you ever learn. The friendships that you make will impact you forever. The choices you make will affect the way you view yourself. The way you prioritize actually matters. So be involved. Find what makes your heart happy and embrace it. Don't worry about fitting in with the right people. In the end, nobody will care who you were or were not friends with. Find your place and choose to love it. 

People are going to be watching you once they find out that you love Jesus. Don’t let that scare you. Let that motivate you. You have been given a profound opportunity to influence so many people. So share God’s love and don’t be afraid to talk about Him. Use the gifts He has given you to better His kingdom. Take your gifts outside of school and become involved in the community too. You will love it, and it will open so many doors.

Those people who said it's not smart to date in highschool? They were right. Highschool isn't the time for falling in love with a boy. You are still figuring out who you are. Highschool is a time for falling in love with Jesus. Let Him be your First Love. You will save yourself so much hurt and confusion this way. Girls' hearts are so easily broken. So focus on friendships with the girls around you. Don’t jump to the future, and don’t give your heart away so soon. Don't think about every boy you meet as a possible boyfriend. Focus on figuring out who you are instead. Find Jesus and enjoy His love. You have so many years of freedom ahead of you. Embrace them. 

Beautiful highschool girl, you don't have to be the smartest. That other girl who always gets one mark higher than you on everything? You don't need to compare yourself to her. Other people's opinions don't matter. In five years nobody will even remember your mark on that Grade 11 Chemistry assignment. And don't worry about whether or not your marks are good enough for university. God already knows where you will end up going. So stop stressing. Let go of your anxiety. All God asks is that you do your best. You don't need to strive anymore. 

I wish I could go back in time to tell you to value your relationships with your parents. You don’t think that they understand you, but they do. You doubt their love for you, but you shouldn't. I know that you think your mom is annoying, but she’s really not. When she tells you to change what you’re wearing it’s because she knows exactly how you can look most beautiful. And I know that you think your dad is overprotective, but I’ll tell you a secret. Dads are always right. They have wisdom that nobody can explain. Seriously, they just know things. Your parents have your best interest in mind. They really do know a lot. Sometimes they just forget what it was like to be your age. So cut them some slack. Talk to them. Fight less. Argue less. Listen more. Take a deep breath when they frustrate you, and remember that God asks you to honour your parents. They aren't perfect, but they will always love you. 

Your siblings are important too. Your sister will be your best friend one day. She will look up to you and admire you more than anyone else. She loves you even when she yells at you. Your brother loves you too. He is always looking out for you and wants the best for you. He has insight and sees things you don’t see. So invest in those relationships. Be patient with your sister. Talk to her. Love her and love your brother. Listen to them. They matter.

When things aren’t easy - when there is so much pain in your family, when you feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster, when nothing seems to be going right, when you feel alone, when you feel worthless, when a boy hurts you or a friend leaves you - remember that Jesus is with you. He will not leave. He always stays. So lean on Him. Go after Him with everything that you are. Every time that you see a sunset or a flower, every time a friend encourages you or something does go your way, it’s not a coincidence. Jesus is pursuing you. He wants you to fully trust Him. Only then will He give you your heart’s desires.

Young girl, don't live for the future. You might think it will be easier, but it really won't be. Every stage of your life is going to come with its own set of trials. God always has things to teach us, but He always has blessings to give us as well. So find those blessings. Find the good in the place where you are. Even more than that, find ways to give hope to those around you. Be the good in the place where you are. 

Dear sixteen year old self, you are so beautiful. Highschool tends to destroy self esteem. But I want you to know that you were created in the most perfect image. God loves when you are bubbly and excited, and He also loves when your gentle spirit shines through. You don't need to fit in to be beautiful. You don't need to always be surrounded by your friends to be confident. God has given you confidence. He has given you the most radiant beauty.

So smile more often. Let your eyes sparkle. Curl your hair if you want to. Wear sweatpants to school if you want to. Leave your hair in a messy bun if you wake up late. Just be confident. 

Dear girl, have a teachable spirit. Open your ears to wisdom. Be thankful often. Forgive always. Practice patience. Love yourself. Love people. Guard your heart. And most of all, love Jesus. 

Trust that your life is going to be wonderful. And let yourself shine.

I promise that one day everything you have been told will make sense.

- Kayla & Jessica 

[co-authored by Jessica Bellemore]