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Friday, September 14, 2012

Dear Me - A Letter to My Teenaged Self

Today is my birthday...I'm now officially on top of the hill...assuming I live to be 90 I'm firmly in the middle ages right now! :P

What a perfect time to link up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky where she is hosting a most intriguing blog party.  I learned about this through my dear friend Kris who participated and decided to take part myself.

Emily recently wrote a book for teen girls entitled Graceful. To celebrate the release of the book she is hosting a linkup which  features letters written by our 'mature' selves to our teen selves. As the mother of four daughters, I think this is a beautiful venture and I look forward to sharing with them what I discover here.

So, with no further ado:

Dear Lisa (you've gone by quite a few names over the years from Lili to Lisedewise and the much-hated Liza Minelli to what most folks call you today...Lise)

I wish I could step into Doc's souped up DeLorean and slip you a little note when you were about 13. What a year of changes for you! I guess you were always in that strange place  in between the uncool and the wannabes. Your search for who you were made you try on so many different cloaks. That's natural I guess, but it sometimes took you away from who God wanted you to be. 

You were always a tomboy growing up... in the teen years it became a balancing act between wanting to look glamorous (remember when you and your bf read cover to cover the Sweet Dreams Fashion Book)  and giving in to your own natural tendencies.  Remember how you and you friends and sisters used to play dress up and model for the camera? You had to have fun somehow right? Pretending to be models and the Solid Gold dancers...unfortunately deep down inside you didn't believe you could measure up...your body didn't look like theirs. Ah, but if only you knew that you were beautiful to God and an heir to His Kingdom, you'd have know you were a princess and it didn't matter if you could dance in high heels or you were too big in certain places!

Even though you tried on the class clown cloak, the serious side of you won out and you ended up a class prefect in your senior year...boy did you lord it over those younger ones. Power definitely did not suit you at all...if only you had worn that mantle of authority with humility and gentleness...as God would have wanted you to. Alas...wisdom comes with age!

You always knew that God was there with you, but I wish you'd embraced Him and loved Him more fully in your youth. You were so lucky, He was always such a good shepherd to you and you know full well you were saved from the consequences of many scrapes!

Like the time you and your bf read Sweet Dream's Popularity Plan (anybody else remember this?) and decided to concoct your own with the boys in the school play and ended up getting the wrong boys' attention?   

You wanted to feel loved and accepted, if only you'd realized that He was all the love you needed all wrapped up in one precious gift. You could find complete and unconditional love and acceptance in Him. Perhaps then, you wouldn't have been so insecure growing up.

I know you felt the severity of your father's restrictions and his harsh discipline all the way to your soul. Someday you will appreciate how he protected you and if only you could have looked beyond his stern exterior you would have seen a man who wanted affection too but didn't know how to give it as it hadn't been given to him.  Someday you will also struggle to give this to your children. What a pity that you never had the courage to reach out to him first...what a difference that would have made!
You were so insecure in yourself...your body growing so fast you wanted to hide it and the unwanted attentions it brought, your ability to make others like you or love you. Everything falls into place in time and someday you'll be loved for who you are... flaws and all.  Meanwhile, you'd savour the unconditional love of your pets...bleeding heart animal lover that you are.  How many injured birds did you rescue...even taking one with you from the beach to nurse back to health, crying when they didn't make it. You know what? Someday humans will become more important than those animals you love so much now (and let me just whisper in your ear that at least a couple of your future daughters are going to be just like you...so bear it with a smile and remember your own days)
Peaches, Ginger, Lady, Rex and Sheena 

Your love for reading and writing...that was awesome, but it kept you locked away from your family. I know it was your way of dealing with your  teenage drama, but it was a bit selfish.

In fact, you sometimes were so wrapped up in yourself that you didn't pay attention to your sisters and you got upset when they came into your room. Funny that...your future eldest daughter is going to do the same!  

Looking at everyone else's freedoms, you felt the sting of what you couldn't do and have.  My dear, if only you had appreciated what you DID have, but that's the way of youth. The grass always seems greener on the other side. If I could have slipped you a note about one thing it would be this:


You were always anxious to grow up, to escape, to live. You felt caged in and you longed to have the freedom to discover what was on the other side of the fence. Life goes by so quickly, if only you had savoured that time of innocence and freedom...yes freedom! You didn't know it yet, but you WERE free...free of responsibility, debt and all the baggage that comes with growing up. 

You know, despite you father's strictness, you would have a lot of fun growing up. You always had cousins about and the vacation days at your grandmother's home while both your parents worked provided a lot of room for freedom. Your father graciously allowed your best friend to spend many weekends at your house so you could study and have some fun together. You didn't think anything of it, but it was his way of bending a little...he wouldn't let you go out, but you could have a friend to share some time with.

Oh, and what about that school play you took part in when you were 15? That was one of the greatest times of your life...you really loved the drama! Maybe that's why one of your daughters loves it so much now. That took alot out of your father to drop you to rehearsals and pick you back up when you lived so far away from school. Of course, you wouldn't see that until you become me, the grown up.
There you are, with your bad self,   diamond drawn around your eye, acting as a gang member for the school play

My dear, if I could, I would tell you to slow down, give more of  yourself, appreciate what you have, give more grace to others and most of all...cling to the Father and let him mold and shape you. I would tell you that the most important thing in the world is...how you love!

Why don't you join in the fun and write a letter to your teenaged self? Link up at the site below. Its a very enlightening experience. Warning...introspection required.

graceful for young women


Kristin Bridgman said...

HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY my sweet friend! Welcome to the top of the hill :)

I identify so much with you! I think we could be kindred spirits...maybe we are. Except it sounds like you got the curves I so desperately wanted back then. I was called a beanpole and I still have the pole look, but I'm ok with it now. The teen years were valuable in lessons learned but I'm SO glad I'm not there anymore.
Loved reading about your teen self.
I'm blowing you a great, big birthday kiss from across the seas...sssmmmmmoooooccccchhhh! :)

Lisa Maria said...

Thank you Kris! I felt the same way when I read yours...and I SO agree...I wouldn't want to have to do it over again, especially now in this generation!

Sending hugs and kisses back! xoxox

Stefanie Brown said...

That's so true. It's so tempting to get caught up in the small world around us. May we lead the way in showing our children there's more.
Enjoy your weekend...

Nannette Ricaforte said...

Hi Lisa, happy birthday! Like I said in my blog post, the 40s are the best years of my life and I could tell you're living yours with grace, wisdom, and humility. I DO relate to many things you've written about! Like how your love for reading and writing kept you away from the family. I used to read my books at the dinner table!

Thank you again for letting me know you're out there! Be blessed!