I’ve got some really cool moms in my life--some I get to spend time with and some I don’t. But we know each other from a distance and catch up through other people or when circumstances allow. One mom, whom I admire from afar, has a daughter turning sixteen soon and she asked several women to write letters to her sweet girl. She will in turn make a book to present to her. Of course, I love the idea and was honored to be included.
I wrote about an area that had just reared its ugly head in our family over Christmas. I’m not embarrassed by it because I think it’s normal and especially something we learn to put in perspective ALL of our lives-not just in middle school. I am so grateful that we got to have the conversations we did about it-- that I even knew the feeling had erupted among us. I continually thank God for any of these things that happen sooner than later because they are growth opportunities and platforms for GREAT conversations that can be revisited again and again.
Dear Almost Sixteen,
I am honored to get to express some thoughts to you during this exciting time of life. Your sweet mom knows you well and what will communicate love to you. You are so blessed to be raised by and loved on by her.
I could write pages because I am raising a daughter too- one who, by the way, looks up to you very much. Thank you for encouraging her in her faith and walk with Christ. You have earned eternal treasures by investing in several girls--- and you have earned my respect because of it. I have many opinions and boat loads of advice on girls growing up in these early decades of 2000 but I will try to stick with just one thing.
Girls compare. Two words that can create a library of pain and misery. We all do it but the younger years seem a lot worse, more intense, and possibly more harmful. Twitter and Instagram don’t help either. The more time you spend comparing, you naturally land in a nasty place. Jealousy. I took advice years ago from a lady who told me the BEST remedy for jealousy was to CELEBRATE-- to celebrate with the person of which you are jealous. It could be a grade, a relationship, a new something, a haircut, a new house, horse, car etc.-- the list goes pathetically on and on and on and on and on of the things that trigger our jealousy. Reach down and find the joy and let it come out so you can celebrate with your friend who has something you want. Pray for the joy and then, pray some more. And when you are feeling sorry for yourself and can’t seem to shake it, determine to yank out the jealousy by the root and burn it-- and pray some more. Because jealousy, left to take root, is misery. A jealous person is a miserable person. And who wants that? It’s too costly. It’s ugly. It tears apart relationships. It steals joy from both sides of the relationship. And the bottom line, it’s sin.
And a personal few sentences to you-- my guess would be that others find themselves jealous of you-- for many reasons. You have been given much- on many levels- tangible and intangible. I think with that comes the responsibility to celebrate others as often as you can- to make a big deal out of other people as often as you can. Because of your beauty, your abilities, your intellect, and your walk with Christ, people are drawn to you and you are celebrated, naturally. But the real beauty for you to show in these situations is to turn the focus back onto them and uplift them. I’ve seen you do it with other girls- so you just keep practicing that.
Happy Birthday, young lady. We think you are pretty awesome. Julia and I are blessed to know you and blessed to be a small part of your life. We celebrate YOU!