Letter to Me at Sweet Sixteen, 1993

1993 sweet sixteen0002

Hello dear one.

I know your heart was breaking at your birthday party.

You could barely hold yourself together, fearing you’d drown in your own tears.  I know you could hardly enjoy yourself, knowing your best friend would leave soon.

She was the one who listened so carefully all those years at recess when you went to the big tree and sat on the roots in the shade.  She listened to you unburden your heart.  You’re right—no one understands you the way she does.  She’s the only one you permit to hold your whole heart.

And now you have to navigate school, boys, and family frustrations without her.  I understand how overwhelmed you feel.  I know this will be hard, but I want to encourage you.  Your faith will grow through this.  God will sustain you.  Don’t forget that when the loneliness gets hard to bear.

Please don’t beat yourself up for turning your back on her in seventh grade.  Focus on the fact that your friendship was restored.  Her moving away isn’t your fault; it isn’t punishment for how you acted then.  You are forgiven and loved.  That was a mistake, and you’ve learned from it.

Precious girl, I encourage you to be wise in your choices of new friends.  You may stumble when you choose familiarity over quality.  You don’t have to settle for control, criticism, and competition in the name of companionship.  Friendship shouldn’t be hard work.  Let it be fun and light and encouraging.

It’s okay to reach out to new people.  If you don’t find a close friend right away, that’s okay.  Keep searching, especially in the church.  That’s where you will find the healthiest friendships.

Keep asking, seeking, and knocking.  I know you’ve heard this before and didn’t like it, but it’s true:  You’ve got to be a friend to gain new friends.  I know you fear rejection, but you will have to take some risks and lower your expectations to move forward.  Remember, friendship with boys is possible too.  In fact, it’s the best way to start out with boys.  Give it a chance.

There will never be another friend just like her in your life.   But the good news is you two will still be friends in years to come. You will never completely lose touch.  She will give you encouragement and wisdom decades from now.  You are truly blessed to have her as a friend, and it will be a great blessing to you in the future.  Your friendship is like David and Jonathan’s, abiding and deep.

Dear one, you are never truly alone.  The Lord God Almighty is at your side, watching over you.  He will fill in your gaps if you turn to him.  Let him heal your wounds.  Allow him to hold you when you’re sad and lonely.  He knows how you feel better than anyone else ever could.  You can trust him completely with your heart.

I love you,

From your older self in 2016