Friday, October 2, 2015

a letter to my younger self

dear younger self,

i smile when i think back on you. you are so full of expectation and dreams. i'm going to mention some things you might want to do differently, but this isn't one of them. keep your eyes sparkling with those hopes and dreams. they will keep you going.

when you had one, and then 2, babies, you were so tired. the goal of every day was to get those 2 babies to take a nap at the same time. that was so wise. it formed a habit in your whole family of getting *quiet* for a bit in the middle of the day and it's good and healthy for all of you. one day none of them will take naps and they will start staying up at night until you go to bed (or after! working on homework!) and you will grieve those days where they had to sleep for so many hours of the day. keep soaking in the endless precious moments in your day. you did a good job of this...and the memories will get you through hard moments years from now.

when you had 4 little kids, you tried to do it all. decorate your house. do triathlons. write summer Bible studies for your kids. check off all the things you made up to write on your to-do lists. be happy all the time. not to mention the housekeeping and meal planning and laundry and homework helping and lunch packing. i wish i could tell you to stop. to take a nap, and one that is longer than 7 minutes. to do the things you enjoy, because those are the gifts God has given you. i wish i could tell you that if you keep spinning at the speed you're spinning, that in a few years you'll be so tired at your core, that you'll find it hard to care about anything.

when you had 6 little kids, you tried to survive. what other option is there, really?? let people help you. you can't do this on your own and when you try, you end up hurting people you love. admit your limits and find others that understand and can challenge and support you. you didn't seek this out, but they found you and i'm proud of you for letting them into the hardest parts of this season. these 6 little kids are going to grow up into 6 bigger kids and then, eventually, 6 PEOPLE that you are going to send out into the world. their hearts and your relationship with them is more important than their actions, than the laundry being put away, than them getting to bed by 8:30 pm. ask them the deeper questions, even if it's uncomfortable. hug him when he leaves for school, even when he gets to the age where he doesn't lean into you anymore and it would be easier for your fragile heart to put up the emotional wall you protect yourself with.

through each and every stage and change, keep talking. especially to your husband. you are both changing and growing all the time. don't ever assume. anything. just because he likes turkey sandwiches today, doesn't mean he's going to want that packed for lunch four years from now. just because you had no desire to travel to europe when you got married, doesn't mean you don't dream of a vacation there years down the road. you used to love gifts. now your heart is turned by being listened to and understood above any gift that could be given. marriage will be hard. don't ever coast and think you can work on it later. there will be consequences for that and it will be painful.

stop racing. every day you run a race. if you reach the finish line, you just make up a new race, so what's the point? in the end, very few of the things on your list matter. i'm sorry, but it's true.

you love Jesus. you always have. but you need to TRUST Him. trust Him with your lists, and, through you, He'll finish what needs to be finished. trust Him with your marriage, and He will show you how to love your husband how he needs to be loved. trust Him with your kids and He will reveal their hearts to you so that you can meet them there. trust Him with your body (this might be the hardest one...and it's one that even I, your "older self" still struggle with) and He will help you to keep it as strong and healthy as it can be, without being an idol. you have a hard time trusting. you have a hard time "letting go." but, once you truly trust and let go, you will feel the freedom of His infinite love and care and guidance.

younger self, just do the next thing. or choose to take in what is happening in front of you. you will fail. you will succeed. your obedience in these tiny little moments DO matter. they will add up to amazing blessings. who knows? maybe one day people will come to you nearly daily and ask for your advice on parenting their little kids ;-)

i'd do anything to go back and be you. things just keep getting more complicated and have bigger consequences and take more of your mental energy. soak it in. stop trying so hard. and take a nap (did i already say that??) your kids will think you're amazing no matter what you do.

i'm proud of you and smile when i think of you.


love,
your older self

{now. i need someone to write a letter to me. from my REALLY older self. what do i need to know NOW??}

2 comments:

Kate Boka said...

can't tell you how much i needed this today. i love you my friend!

Megan said...

Hmmm...

Dear Courtney now,
Grace.
For you.
For them.
All a reflection of His for you.
Grace.
;-)

Now, can you please write me one of these to the current me that says "Be intentional". I still go round in circles with that one.