Dear Sixteen Year Old Me,

Happy Birthday! The little red car in the garage with a bow on it is yours. It’s a gift from your parents. Don’t freak out. Its a stick, but you’ll take your driver’s test in the Grand Prix. And you’ll pass. Practice cleaning it out once in a while, it’ll give us a leg up in the future.
The gap between your front teeth will never close. Braces couldn’t hold those puppies together. But never fear. You’ll finally have them capped- much to your pleasure.
You get an allowance right now that seems small. It is exactly twenty dollars more a month than you will have as an adult to blow on coffee and entertainment. Enjoy it. Continue to treat your friends to lunch periodically. And hey, when they hand it to you, stop and thank your parents for it. Gratefulness is something you are going to have a lot to learn about in the future. As is savings, but let’s take it one step at a time.
Do me a favor, don’t enroll in that Chemistry class next year. It is going to be the only class you ever fail. And it won’t matter how hard you study, you just aren’t going to “get it.” Physics isn’t in your future, I promise. But English on the other hand, you are going to use that so pay attention.
Sixteen year old me, you need to REALLY listen.
The guy you are dating right now, he is not your husband. He’s not even someone you will see after graduating from High School, heck, you guys won’t even be “Friends” on Facebook. I don’t know how to break this to you, but the next five guys you date, yeah, they aren’t your husband either. Its gonna be a rocky road and though you think you are making better choices, you have some colossally stupid decisions just around the bend. Take the hint- being alone is not the end of the world. Find a hobby, make close friendships, learn to balance a checkbook. There will be a day when you will beg for a little time alone, enjoy these free moments without needing a male present at all times.
Sixteen year old me, listen close.
Fidelity isn’t going to come easily to you. We both know you can’t stay focused on one person right now to save your life. I need to tell you that it doesn’t get easier to be a one man kind of woman. There are no blinders handed to you at the altar that keep your eyes from roaming. Practice right now being faithful. You don’t have to serial date, there is a man God designed just for you and he’s not that far in the future. This would be the perfect time to start getting it right and start being faithful to him. Sixteen year old me, you are not defined by the mistakes you’ve made in this area, but this is the perfect time to start getting it right.
Girl, listen. I’d give fourteen year old me and seventeen year old me the “what for” if given half a chance, but you have your head on and you are heading in the right direction. I’ll tell you why.
The decision you’ve made to start going to youth group is going to change your life. You are going to see Jesus in people there and its going to to set your feet on a path to eternity.
I know being a “Christian” is something you are confused about, but you are on your way to discovering the lover of your soul. Your healer. I know you are wounded and can’t even identify all the ways yet, but that Bible you hold in your hands is about to become the salve for your heart. I know about the tabs you put in that second hand Bible, don’t be embarassed when it takes you a long time to find those passages they talk about in Sunday School. The experience of being new to God’s word is going to be invaluable in your future. Sink deep in that word and treasure the teaching you receive here. It is good and your mentors here are directing you well. This Word is the light to your path and the stirring inside you to learn, that is the Holy Spirit. Just so you know.
Sixteen year old me, one last thing.
Its gonna be a hard year. You are going to loose a really close friend, unexpectedly. You are headed toward some of the greatest times of growth for your faith, and one of the largest pits of your life. I wish I could mark it all out for you so you wouldn’t have to fall, but hear my heart. The decision you are making right now to learn to follow Jesus IS EVERYTHING. I can’t get you through the next few years, but HE will. He does. He is good to us over and over again.
Your attention is waning, I can tell from here. You can head back to doing whatever it was you were doing. Unless it was watching ‘Days of Our Lives.’ There just is no good excuse for watching that show, sixteen years later, they same people are still hookin’ up and breakin’ up and there’s already enough drama in your life. On second thought, go sit on the porch swing and enjoy the night sky and the mountains.
That view definitely won’t be the same in sixteen years.
I watched a video on you tube the other day called Dear Sixteen Year Old Me about Melanoma. The thought of sending a message backward was intriguing. Honestly, I’d like to write a note to many years, but that’s another story. What would you tell a sixteen year old you?

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