Thursday, September 20, 2012

Once upon a sixteenth birthday

Dear me at sixteen,

I'm just a little older than twice your age now.  And there is so much between these years.

You are sweet sixteen-and-never-been-kissed, and I know that you hate that...but trust me, it's okay.

I can still see you arriving at home, hot, sweaty, and happy from cheering at the football game...only to be completely shocked by all your school and youth group friends yelling "Surprise" while you're still in that ridiculously short cheerleading skirt. (Enjoy that metabolism while it lasts.)

Oh my. High school scrapbooking...yikes!

I'm glad you felt comfortable dancing in front of your friends and parents at the party. (A few years would never have done so.) You are growing in confidence and emerging from that shy cocoon.

You are surrounded by friends...and there are true ones in that room.  And some that will hurt you. But you will be okay. You will learn what true friendship looks like, and that is an important lesson.  But learn to forgive too. Don't worry, you will find your dearest friends in just a few years at college, though one of them you already know, she just lived three hours too far to make it to this party tonight. She will go with you half-way across the country. But go ahead and put those green and gold stars all over the letters you send, just to be sure.

In the kitchen giving you a bit of privacy, are your two greatest fans, right now and always. I'm so glad that you trust and value your parents as a teenager. You will be so thankful that you do. Mom will continue to keep your secrets close; you will continue to hope to one day be just like her.  Daddy will always be a safe place.  And he will always be an excellent judge of your friends, without saying a word. You can trust the look in his eye.

Upstairs is a sweet ten-year old with a long, blonde ponytail. Invite her downstairs to the party. Trust me. Her memory of not being there will break your heart when you surprise her at her sixteenth party. Those six years that separate you will somehow grow smaller. She will be your best friend too.

In the next few days, you'll get a dark green Jeep Grand Cherokee. Be careful in parking lots. Very careful. Extremely careful. When you drive your brothers to the middle school in the morning, spend lots of time talking. Leave earlier so you don't feel rushed. Enjoy them. Love them well.  One day they will let you hug them again. And one day you will live much further away from each other than you'd like to be.

You are sensitive and a bit emotional and that's okay because God has made you that way. You have a soft heart but firm resolve. You don't back down from what you know to be right...and even though that's tough in high school, continue to be authentic.

You find that you love to write...don't stop. Keep journaling...reading your old words will make you smile and cry and roll your eyes. But you will wish you had recorded more.  Especially during college and the early years of marriage. And yes, you already know the person you will marry...but that's all I'm going to say. It's good to not know some things.

And as for college, it's true what they say. They are great years. Unique years that you'll miss and treasure. Don't rush them by always looking to what's next. Look forward...but don't rush forward. Enjoy each stage of life as it comes for each stage will pass all too quickly...surprisingly, even potty-training your children. You have the rest of your life...and it is a good one.

Trust in the Lord, Kimber-Leigh, with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path. This favorite verse of yours is true. True then. True 17 years later. True forever.  Years later, you will also cling to the knowledge that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is His faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him.

Continue to hope in Him,

me at thirty-three

p.s. I wasn't kidding about the parking lots.


mk said...

What a great idea!

Maria said...

Lovely writing...

Ella said...

I absolutely loved reading this. So sweet! Would love to read a future blog post of the story of you and when did you actually meet?? I have fun memories of him surprising you with a visit at Baylor...showing up at Mary Ann's bday party. :) Reading your letter (and all your posts) also made me wish I had gotten to spend more time with you at Baylor and really gotten to know you!! :( maybe someday you''ll end up in Alabama??? Wishful thinking on my part....

Jen Kershner said...

The part about you and your little sister choked me up. My girls are almost 8 years apart and are the best of friends.

I loved reading your letter. I would have liked to have been friends with your 16 year old self. I think you sound awesome.

Stephanie said...

Catching up on your blog and this made me smile! Oh the things we thought we knew! Love you friend and I would have loved to make it to your surprise party!


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