What are some of the things you wish you could tell your younger self? July is my birthday month and part of the celebration will be glimpses into the lives of five generations of women. There seems to be something healing about getting our stories down on paper. An opportunity to share the wisdom we have gained with others and the reassurance that we are not alone. Some of us write publicly, others of us only put pen to paper for ourselves. All of us have been trusted with a gift – our journey.
Several times this month we will have giveaways – some of my favorite things. What’s a birthday without gifts?
Let me briefly introduce you to our writers…
July 9 – Kristi Woods ~~Generation X
July 16 – Cookie Walter, Mom ~~Generation Mature
July 23 – Katina Brown ~~Generation Y
July 30 – Malloree Newell ~~Generation Z
Today I share my story. A letter to a sixteen-year-old who is about to enter one of the most pivotal years of her life. I often joke with Lary and say, “I hope you like me because you helped make me who I am. You finished raising me.”
As I look into your eyes, I feel the excitement I see in your smile.
You are celebrating in this photo, wrapped in Lary’s arms. Games, cake, friends, and family fill this night. Sweet sixteen.
A promise ring is your gift. You might find this hard to believe but you will still have this ring thirty-nine years later.
Your sixteenth year is a pivotal one. Although on this night there is only a promise, in November you will become engaged and just before your seventeenth birthday, you will become Mrs. Lary Horne.
Tonight, your smile portrays the sense that you are now in that sweet place of perfect. What more could you ever want or need?
You will spend many days and years after this night searching for perfect. Too many. You have yet to understand where true love and security lay. You think it is wrapped up in a man – your man. You will be perfect and he will be perfect and you will never feel abandoned or unloved or unsure of your beauty again.
There are many things to learn about yourself. As the camera flashes, you believe your strength comes from your relationships with others, especially Lary. He’s the strong one. He has the answers. Every bit of your worth is tied up in that handsome blue-eyed blonde you are hanging onto for dear life.
You seek his approval above all others. And when you feel you don’t have it, you feel anxious and sad. Your happiness will be tied to his happiness for years. As you grow older you will discover that you have placed him in the position of honor that belongs to Jesus. Oh, how unfair that is. To him and to you. How will he grow and learn with those expectations? Why would he feel he needed too?
Victories over brokenness and insecurities will put you through battles that will be hard-fought. You will need to learn that God is your refuge, your strength, your hope, your security, your Savior. A keen awareness that your significance is tied up in Jesus will come, I promise.
Learning these things will bring scars that you will come to see as beauty marks. They will be used by God to grow you and make you stronger. God will make beauty from the ashes of your dreams and you will learn to appreciate the weaknesses you carry tonight.
Carmen, you are strong. So much stronger than you think you are. You are beautiful and smart. Trust your inner self. You gave that part of you to Jesus at church camp and you will need His wisdom to walk your path; a journey that God knew before your birth. He knows your strength and He lovingly celebrates as you learn these things about yourself.
Looking at you from my perspective today, 39 years later, I’m not sure how I would rearrange your life. So many things could have been done differently but what would I choose? You have changed. God will and has renewed and restored.
Every tear and every scar will be worth it. In 2015 you will still be married to your sweetie and one of your dearest friends will be your daughter. You will still be following God’s path and…you will feel so blessed to be you.
I love you dearly,