What if you could write a letter to your younger self? What would you say? Would it be witty, wise, or warning? I loved the idea when Angela at Becoming Me said she was going to do it, and since she encouraged us to join in I thought I would give it a try. Would I actually change anything if I could? I don’t know. Part of me knows my past has shaped me into who I am, but I can’t say there aren’t decisions I would change. So, if I could write a letter…
Dear 30 year old Loretta,
You did it; you made it through the past decade! And right now you are feeling stronger and more brave than you have ever felt before. You don’t know what the future holds but you feel like you are finally moving forward. And you are, although there are some twists you don’t know about yet…
The first thing you need to know is that no matter how things are going, whether they are going great or not, God has a plan and it is not the same as your plan. Resist the urge to take the reins into your own hands, it is going to be your biggest pitfall even now. Oh, you think you have it all figured out now; getting your accounting degree, setting out on an independent life, maybe buying a little cottage, a few cats and settling down to nothing more than being someone’s ‘honorary aunt’. Girl, is God ever going to knock your socks off!
Yep, this is it. This is the year you meet ‘the one’. I’ll give you a hint; your heart will know it from the first moment you hear his voice, it will just take a few more months for the rest of you to figure it out. And even now the thought of him will make you smile. (A word of warning…PLEASE try to keep your thoughts from wandering to him during Econ class, it is going to bring you perilously close to failing…but you’ll manage to pull it off at the last minute.)
With this joy comes a caveat. Don’t take him for granted just because he’s so laid back. Yes, you will have a lot on your plate the first year of marriage between finishing school, working, and studying for the CPA exam. You will still be utterly focused on getting that degree, on being the best. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this wonderful man is just there to tag along on the Loretta show. Treasure him, let him know how much you love him even in the midst of your busy life. Let him know that you love him MORE than your busy life. If you don’t start building the idea of you as a team now it is going to be a lot harder to get there in the future.
The next ten years (or so) of your life are going to be among your best. There will be rough patches, there will be times of doubt and times where you have to REALLY work on stretching your faith. By the end of this time you will be sensing the working of God in your life in ways you never imagined.
Hang in there when you go back to work after Gates is born, I know every fiber of you longs to stay home with him; trust in God’s timing on this one.
Don’t be afraid to tell someone about how you are feeling and what you are thinking. It will be six more years until you hear the words post-partum OCD and although it finally frees you, you will wish for those six years back.
Go ahead, use cloth diapers from the start instead of waiting until your youngest is almost potty-trained. You’ll save a boatload of money and you’ll be able to get that obsession with cute prints and patterns out of your system.
Don’t let the visiting nurse panic you, go find someone who really knows what she’s doing. And when your second child comes along, be stronger and stand up for what you want when you go back to work.
You will lose some friends you thought would be there forever. Don’t waste time on bitterness. People grow and people change, some friendships were not meant to withstand that. Yes, it will hurt. Yes, it will make you feel used. You will eventually need to move on. Give thanks for the friends who are in your life now. And give thanks for the blessing they brought into your life while they were a part of it.
It will be rough for awhile after you move; keep on believing in the call that led you there. It is easy to get angry with God when things don’t go the way we think they were supposed to go, but that’s the control issue again. Give the reins back to God, he knows what he’s doing. That job you didn’t want? It’s going to be the doorway to your dream of staying home. The months spent looking for a church and doubting that you’ll find one that feels like home? You’ll find one when you least expect it and where you least expect it, and it will be exactly where God wants you. You will really begin learning how to build relationships and how to serve there.
Love your family with all your heart, practice grace and gentleness with them.
Cultivate a life of prayer, a life that is centered on knowing God.
Exercise more in the early part of the decade, you will thank yourself when you turn 40.
Check your neck for lumps. Yes, do it, it’s important.
Go ahead, start that blog, be honest, be open, be yourself.
Don’t place your identity in who your children are and what they do.
Get Gates a speech evaluation when you first start feeling that something isn’t right.
Don’t get that haircut at JC Penney salon, it will make you cry. (Which will probably be partly due to pregnancy hormones.)
Learn to rejoice in what you have been given…you are exceedingly blessed.
With joy, your future self.