A Letter To My Disheartened 13 Year Old Self. Sincerely, 23.
Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by Nadine Schroeder. She blogs at nadinewouldsay.com and tweets at @nadinewouldsay. Even if you aren’t a writer, sit down this week and write a letter to yourself. At any age. Or write a lot of letters at different ages! It’s an incredible experience. – Lauren
I met you again recently.
I was visiting at my parents and happened to grab an old journal off of my bookshelf in my old room. I figured I would just look at one entry but soon found myself scanning the entire thing and then moving onto more journals.
Oh 13, you were so sad. You were so lonely. You were so broken. You were trying to figure out how to please God, but you kept thinking that if you worked hard enough He would show up.
Everybody was hurting you. You wrote about giving people chances, you had pages filled with the names of everybody you knew and the ranking of how much they cared for you.
I remember those days. I remember feeling alone. I’ve been able to blur those years well enough that I can’t quite remember which girls said which comments, but I still remember parts of them.
Reading your words I can feel your pain again.
Oh darling, I wish I could go back and just hold you for a while. That’s all you needed – somebody to wrap their arms around you and tell you “you are beautiful, you are wonderful, you are loved.”
You wrote about praying and praying and praying for a friend who cared.
You wrote about wishing God would let you cry. Don’t worry sweets; God’s going to faithfully answer that prayer in the affirmative. You’re going to turn 22 and start crying all the time. You’ll be thankful that you prayed all those prayers for so many tears. You’ll suddenly start to be able to express the emotions you held in so very tightly for so many years.
You wanted to love Jesus but spent most of your time judging others. Part of me can’t blame you because I can remember how mean those girls were and how hurt you felt, but a much larger part of me wishes you had leaned into Jesus rather than made daily attempts to stand on your version of His pedestal in order to watch everybody else live their life.
There’s good news in this letter. His name is Jesus.
You’re going to meet Him. He’s going to change everything. It’ll take you a few more seasons until you get there though. In fact, you’ll even go so far as to not really believe in Him anymore for a while, but eventually you’ll come back. He’ll draw you back.
You’re going to move cities to find Him, and in His providence, that season will finally bring the friends who you prayed for as your 13 year old self. You’ll suddenly have friends who call you before you call them and who are just as excited to see you as you are to see them.
You’ll still wonder. You’ll still be unsure about what other people think, but day by day, sometimes minute by minute, you’ll draw closer to Jesus. As you draw closer to Him, you’ll start realizing that your worth comes from Him and not them. Eventually you’ll start to find peace there.
Some days you’ll forget. But most days you’ll rest in the words that He spoke.
Oh 13, you’re one sad chick. Your words written in those journals, they brought me near tears. They brought sadness to my heart as I remembered those years of feeling so very alone.
Sweet self, you had reason to be sad. Those girls were vicious. Those teachers didn’t know how to protect you. Your parents did the best they could, but I don’t think even they realized how close you got to ending your life.
I’m so glad you kept living. I know you only stayed alive because of the guilt of what killing yourself would do.
I remember those conversations reminding yourself to stay alive. 13, you took it day by day. You didn’t think you could make it through, but you did. I remember standing there, so many afternoons in that hour between getting home from school and Mom getting home. I remember, so many days and weeks in a row, considering ending it all. Guilt saved you.
I don’t think many could say that.
That guilt will be what saves you. You’ll go back to Jesus because you’ll feel guilt and condemnation. Later you’ll realize that Jesus never spoke that guilt or condemnation. He spoke mercy and grace, protection and care, love and kindness over you each day that you were away from Him. Your guilt will guide you to His grace.
13, I wish I could change the things that happened. I wish the words you were penning at the time didn’t have need to be written.
But they made you who you are. They made you become a girl who can easily forgive and can, because of Jesus, give a thousand chances to people. Those years will bring a lot of hurt to your adult life as you sort out how to trust people but they’ll also lead to a lot of healing as you start to finally lean into Jesus.
Oh 13, I wish I could come save you. But I can’t save you. I couldn’t then, and I can’t now. But Jesus can. Keep trying to find Him because in a few years, you’ll finally realize that He was with you all along.
Want to join us & pass this along to other women in your life?
Follow Good Women Project on Twitter: @goodwomenproj
Be a fan on Facebook: facebook.com/goodwomenproject
Subscribe to our email newsletter for insider updates here or subscribe to the blog here. Or both.
Everyone on our team is volunteer, and we are funded 100% by you. If you'd like to donate, you can here.
We're also doing fun stuff on Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest!