A Stone Of Remembrance Never Collected…Until Now

“Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” John 8:32

 

This is a letter {stone of remembrance} to my 16-year old self:

Hey you, beautiful young lady—yes I called you beautiful.  I see you. I see you hiding in the family pantry contemplating death.  I see the wounds you cover up with anger, jealousy, hatred fueled by insecurities and perfectionism.  I see your sadness and perpetual feeling of loss from a broken home, not having your mama to raise you. I see your tear stained pillow. I weep with you right now.

My heart groans for your sadness and hurt and how you numb yourself and put on masks trying to be all you can be for everyone. There are so many truths I want to share with you but I only have time for a few:

  • Stop comparing yourself to others. You know that one girl that you have compared yourself since sixth grade? You know who I’m talking about—you say, ‘she’s everything I am not.’ Stop comparing…you will find out later at graduation day she signs your yearbook saying how much she admires you! Run your own race sweetheart—one day you will learn to keep your eyes fixed on Someone else.
  • Stop letting your insecurities keep you from loving others. See yourself and others as God sees you; God has gifted each of us differently, celebrate the differences don’t envy others or wish yourself away—someday you will be free to enjoy the Butterflies!
  • Stop trying to please others and force friendships. Don’t you feel like you’re trying too hard? It only makes you feel rejected and lost when they don’t respond to your friendly smile or notes.  God wants you to have friendships too—one day you will learn ‘The Gift and Purpose of Friendship’!
  • Stop being distracted by the things of this world. Yes, it’s difficult to be a United States Marine Corps  ‘base kid’ in a school full of students with wealthy two parent homes. That is one of the reasons you end up throwing yourself into making money…and you do make over $100K before you turn 34 but one day you fall in love and follow Someone very special exchanging worldly rags for glorious riches!
  • Keep Writing! You have written journals and stories since you were eight years old—don’t stop I enjoy reading them and seeing how God has transformed and made a redeemed life beautiful—I call them stones of remembrances.
  • Don’t live in fear. I know the near fatal accident of your Daddy when you were five left you living in fear of losing someone you love.  I know how you keep a distance from people because you know they will someday leave but sweetie, just let go and love without fear because God will give you the grace to go through any loss.
  • It is not OK. You learn some hard lessons at an early age. You are trapped by lies and insecurities and allow the first boy that showed attention to you take sacredness from you.  He berates and hits you eliminating any confidence you have. My heart hurts to remember this. He has hurt you real bad and you are like a worn timid puppy thinking there is nothing better than this—he tells you that but don’t believe his lies. It will hurt to leave but you must, and you do. You will see God helps you, though you don’t see it that way…at first. You do end up marrying a wonderful man and learn the true purpose of marriage.
  • Forgive. There is a lot you are holding in your fragile heart poisoning your heart, darkening it, you must forgive. In time, and with Someone’s help, you will.
  • God is real and He still speaks! You have heard about God and it is evident all around you. You finished your catechism, made your first holy communion when you were eight but this moment you are unsure.  You don’t believe there is a God–though inside you wonder if you could be wrong, especially after meeting several ‘different’ teenagers that seem to radiate a Light. But, right now your heart is so hardened and you think if God does exist He really wouldn’t want a worn out sinful teen as yourself—you’ve already messed up in so many ways.  But God does want you.  He’s drawing you right now.  All those people He’s sent into your life telling you the greatness of Who He is—but  you run the other way.  You make fun of these Christians. But He’s still with you. He’s with you right now. In three years you begin to seek Him hesitantly and in your own terms.
  • Don’t just wear the cross around your neck bear your own.

The ultimate Truth is you can’t do anything of these things on your own.  In fact it’s not what you know but Who you know that will heal you.

You need a Savior, you need Jesus Christ. Bring your brokenness to Jesus Christ. Sweetie, I know you make fun of Jesus lovers right now but you become one in seventeen years, and it’s the best decision you ever make. You will learn apart from Jesus Christ you can do nothing.  You will learn to know God the Father and Jesus Christ IS eternal life.  You will learn God’s Spirit must come BEFORE you can produce eternal fruit. You only need to believe on the Lord Jesus, turn from your sins and turn to Him and you will be saved. You cannot earn this GIFT of salvation, it is grace.

I know you are still reeling from receiving that Scholarship from Horatio Alger Association.  I also know deep down inside you feel they made a mistake.  You feel unworthy.  Especially after they flew you to Washington D.C. and you met all of those beautiful intelligent students from across the States—I hear your words, ‘Surely, they made a mistake.’ But they did not. “The lot may be cast into the lap but EVERY DECISION IS FROM THE LORD.” This was another gift of grace from the One that created you.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!” 2 Corinthians 3:17

But still you will spend many years trying to prove to others you deserved that scholarship.  Just like you will spend so many years trying to clean up and ‘be good’ to prove you deserve salvation—but the truth is, you don’t deserve the gift of salvation, none of us do.  We all deserve death, but Love came down—God incarnate, Jesus Christ came down and walked among us and died on the cross making the final sacrifice for the sins of everyone—the FINAL sacrifice. It is finished.

Aren’t you tired of trying? Draw near to God through Jesus Christ and you will taste and see the Lord is good and you will see how all this time God has been with you.  I know you want to do great things and before you were encouraged to make an ‘investment in America’s future’ but you will do even greater things…you will make an investment in God’s kingdom as you teach your children and sow God’s Word to those around you through your life of worship.

*One more thing…do you remember when your English teacher Mrs. Judi Conroy said, ‘Arcelia, you are beautiful, you are like an enclosed flower that is having a hard time growing but one day Someone would lift it and you will blossom.” Well, that Someone is Jesus Christ! You are free sweet one, your faith has healed you—now go and tell others!

**

This letter was inspired by Emily P.Freeman’s invitation to write a letter to my teenage self, in celebration of the release of her new book, Graceful, for teenage girls.

What would you say to yourself, as a teenager? This was very revealing and encouraging for me to write. I encourage you to do the same–even if you don’t share it with anyone else 😉

About altarofheaven

My name is arcelia. I love, worship and revere God. I am enJOYing the peace with God I have through Jesus Christ and I'm learning to listen and respond to His voice through His Word and convictions of the Holy Spirit in this midst of this chaotic and distracting world. I am a broken redeemed healed vessel, joyously drawing water from the Spring of salvation pouring out in God's strength by His Spirit for His glory. "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." 2 Corinthians 13:14 View all posts by altarofheaven

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