Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Letter to my 16 year old self....

A dear friend of mine, Joanna Roddy, and some of her friends have asked people to participate in a "simul-blog", where several people post on the same topic on the same day.  The subject is "A Letter To My 16 Year Old Self".  Here is a link so you can read the others who are joining in. http://seattleiteimagery.blogspot.com/    Her blog is Roddylife http://roddy-life.blogspot.com/2010/08/letter-to-my-16-year-old-self.html and I highly recommend it.

Wow.  That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of my 16 year old self.  Wow.

Since I am 51, a bit more time has passed for me than most of you sharing in this “simul-blog”, so a lot more stuff has happened since I was 16.  Many of you are just starting families, my kids are all grown.  But I certainly remember being 16 and all that came with it.  So, I am going to give this a shot.  Well, first let’s think of where I was at 16....

At 16 I was already married and had a daughter, Shay.  We had settled into family life and had even purchased our own home (after I went to court and gave up my rights as a minor so I could legally sign the contract).  I was learning to cook, bake and make a home.

The home we purchased was just a couple blocks from where I went to middle school, so every morning kids just a bit younger than me walked past my home on their way to school.  I have to admit it was a struggle watching them go off to classes with cares that at the time you think are monumental (boyfriends, bullies, where are we going for lunch), but compared to the cares that came with marriage and kids, I looked at them and thought “they have no idea”.

But, what would I say to myself knowing what I know now?  Here goes:

The first thing my 51 year old self wants to tell you is that you will be ok.  There will be times when you will be ready to lose your mind, and you will even have a couple of nervous break downs, but you are going to get through them.  You will think you are alone, that no one understands you and that you are unloved, but are going to be ok.  The person I am now, is because of who you were back then.

God loves you.  No, Sue, I mean it,  He REALLY loves YOU - just as you are.  In fact, He made you the way you are...really.  He loves you as you are now and the person you will become. HE LOVES YOU.

Be grateful.  Be very grateful.  Don’t focus on what you DON’T have, but what you do and know that the possibilities ahead of you are endless.  Be grateful everyday, several times a day.

Right now, your meals consist of pretty simple stuff as your cooking skills are nil.  One day, you will be a wonderful cook.  And, you have taught each of your children to be wonderful cooks - so when you are old, you will not starve.

After you have your second baby (in about a year or so from now) your mom is going to tell you that you are too skinny.  Don’t listen to her.  In just a few  years she is going to do an about face and every time she measures your hips for a new garment she is making she will say “Oh Susie!” as she looks at the tape measure and your growing hips.  Weight is harder to lose the older you get.

Believe in yourself and don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know, but do everything you can to learn what you need to know.  You will not have many people you can identify with because of your early motherhood, but don’t be discouraged.  Even though it seems like many of the people around you talk “down” to you, underneath they really do admire your courage and maturity.  They respect you and you should respect yourself.

God loves you.

Your love of reading will pay off, so keep on reading whatever you can get your hands on.

You will be a great mother.  Hug those babies as often as you think of it because truly, it is the blink of an eye.  You don't believe that now, and nothing I say will convince you of it and thats ok.  But look at those sweet faces whenever you get the chance, tell them how wonderful they are and pray for them always.  Cherish these days of young motherhood.

You will never love cleaning house so don’t even start beating yourself up over it.  Just because you accept Christ does not mean you automatically become a perfect housekeeper, so stop thinking something is wrong with you. You are no less of a woman because of it and there are many other things you will excel in.  In fact, soon you will get the revelation that the term “housewife” is demeaning and tell people that call you one that you are married to a man, not a house.  You go girl!

Your kids will grow up to be wonderful, gifted human beings.

You will have great friends.  Many of them will help you be a better mother.

It's ok to ask for help, don't always feel that you are stupid if you don't know something.  ALL mothers need help, not just 16 year old ones.  You are normal.

Right now, you still have some issues with your parents.  Even though you are married and have your own child, a part of you is still that rebellious teenager that does not want to be told what to do.  But one of these days, a light will go on and you will appreciate them more than you can ever imagine.  They are about as scared as a parent can be right now, wondering if you are going to make it.  But you will make them proud and will gain a new respect for them in the not too distant future.  They love you more than you can see right now, but one day you will understand.

You have a purpose...several in fact.  It's a wonderful journey discovering them all.

Exercise.  All the time, make it a way of life and learn to love it.

Fad diets don’t work...don’t even waste your time.

Sometimes life sucks so bad you want to ask God if He really knows what He is doing - go ahead, ask.  Tell Him how you really feel because He knows anyway.  He is not going to strike you dead for being honest, He is not going to be angry because you said the "wrong" thing.  He is so much more merciful than what you are being led to believe. Think of the love you feel for your daughter and multiply that by a number too large to imagine...that is how your heavenly Father feels about you.  After your rant, listen to what He has to say.  He loves you and wants to give you the desires of your heart.

Know that everything you go through, every experience you have will add to you.  God will use the good times and bad to teach you, strengthen you and bring you closer to Him.  Soak it all in, write it all down.  Those journals are your story and it is a grand story.  You will gain confidence over the years and one day will be able to tell your story and there will be no shame.  God has done marvelous things in your life and you are loved beyond what you have ever dreamed.

Keep going...the best is yet to come.


  1. Oh Sue, this is lovely. You are a woman of great wisdom and value and those who know you can count themselves wealthy because of it. Now I just need you to write a letter to your 30-year-old self so I can glean both the new mama wisdom from this ANd the developmental stage I'm in now. You are a treasure.

  2. Sue, thanks so much for posting this and participating in the "simul-blog". You have so much insight to share and I agree with Joey, you should write a letter to all us 30-year-olds! I love that you say things will be OK and, though life may not get easier, it gets better. Thanks for your encouraging words and for sharing a bit of your story.

  3. Thanks Joanna and Alisha! You guys are too kind. I will have to think about that 30 year old letter...:)

    I loved reading your letters as well. Such wonderful stories and beautiful letters. You are phenomenal women.

  4. Thank you for the comment on my blog. And thank you for sharing your letter. I am floored. I wish I'd had your courage at 16!