Dear 16-year-old self,
Here you are, sixteen, care free, with no responsibilities and you love the party scene. That boy you just started dating. Well turns out, he will become your future husband. You’ve just been introduced to church because it turns out he is one of those PKs (Pastor Kid). Church seems pretty weird to you and you’re confused, but I wish you knew Jesus now.
I wish you knew Jesus because, I know you are care free right now, but you can’t live care free forever. You see, I know there is going to be heartache right around the corner, but hold tight because you’ll work through it and it will take you on a journey of self‑acceptance. Although you feel like you don’t belong, that you are not loved, not worthy or that you are not good enough, let me tell you, ‘You are called to great things’.
In a couple of years’ time you will meet your psychologist. Yes psychologist, I know it sounds extreme but one day you will understand that God places people in your life for a reason. She will be with you for years to come.
You may feel weak for having a mental illness, but when you get over the stigma you will learn so many things about yourself, about your boyfriend and you will grow and realise how loved and accepted you are. It may take a long time but keep going, it will be worth it. You will overcome it.
At 19 you will get married, the first year of marriage will be really hard. I’m not going to lie it’s going to be rough! Your insecurities and past hurt will be in full swing and you will feel unsure if its right, but don’t give up. What you read about marriage and what you expect marriage to be or see in other people is just the surface. Marriage takes work and maybe the rewards don’t come so quickly, but they do come.
When you are 21 you’ll give your life to Christ and at 22 you will become a mother and it will cause you to enter into an even deeper relationship with Jesus and your life will be completely transformed.
You’re going to have a baby and you will be so excited. It breaks my heart to tell you this, but you will soon learn that your expectations won’t be met. I mean every first-time mother probably doesn’t fully understand what they are getting themselves into but you will have a little bit more to contend with. I will keep her name a surprise!
She will spend her first eight weeks of life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with an array of problems, You won’t be able to breast or bottle feed your beautiful daughter and then you will learn she will be diagnosed with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, a chromosome disorder that will be with her for her whole life. You’ll spend a lot of her life in and out of hospital. She won’t be able to eat by mouth and will be fed via a tube, she will have severe hearing loss and have a long list of health issues and you won’t understand why? Your life will look like Therapy, surgeries, tests and doctor’s appointments.
You will feel really lost when you become a Mum, you will feel like you lose your identity and a sense of yourself. You will feel the most alone you have ever felt, even though you have people around you that love on you and support you.
You will be living with so many unknowns for your daughter. You will have a deep fear, but you will learn to pray and trust God.
I want to teach you that, ‘it is okay’. Sometimes the pain may feel unbearable, the sadness may not fade at the loss of your expectations and the chronic grief will always be there, but some days will be better than others.
If I could teach you something now it would be that ‘normal isn’t normal’. What the world says is normal we should really say is just typical. What we expect might not be reality. It’s okay. We are all unique, created in God’s image.
You thought that being a Christian was supposed to be easy? But the bible tells you that you will face storms, and trials.
I know you are broken but know that everyone is broken in some way, it isn’t until you learn to live with the broken part of yourself that you really know who you are. Just promise me you will remember this is only one part of you. You are more than just your brokenness. God will use this brokenness and he will comfort you.
You’ll learn to enjoy different things. You’ll appreciate little things more. Some of your wounds will heal, and some will still be raw, but God never leaves you.
That boy you started dating at 16 will become the most amazing husband and father.
You will experience a deep love and extraordinary relationship with your daughter and she will bring you immeasurable joy. That pain won’t last forever. Her smile will light up a room, she won’t complain through the pain she endures, she will be brave and so determined and she will teach you so many things. You will be so thankful to be chosen as her mum.
Even though now you are a little awkward, you are shy and insecure, the years will pass quickly and you will be thrown into circumstances beyond your control but you will discover just how strong you are. You will inspire and encourage people and you will share your story and God’s glory will be seen and you will know that all the heartache and pain is worth it, if through it people will come to know Jesus.
I am writing to you now and I tell you all of this to tell you, BUT GOD! The only way you will make it through is by leaning on Him, His word has all the answers and He will arm you with strength for the battle to come. But God!
God has a plan for your life, you are called to great things, you will suffer persecution, heartache and a pain you can’t understand. But God’s right beside you through the journey, He never left you from the day you were born. He doesn’t want you to do life alone.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made, you are more than a conqueror, you are victorious. But God, God, He’s got you, He’s waiting for you.