a letter to me.

there's a brad paisley song i love. he sings a letter he wrote to himself, telling his younger self things he wishes he would've known. things he wishes he would've done.

well today, i am writing one.

if i could write a letter to me... and send it back in time to myself at seventeen...

"dear 17 year old me,

you have no idea the sunny mountains you're gonna climb and dark valleys you will face in the years to come. i wish i could take your baby face in my hands, and as a 20-something woman, keep you from the mistakes you will make, people who will hurt you and things that will break your heart. i suppose, though, this is what will make you stronger. nevertheless - here's what i would tell you, if i could send a letter back to that little girl with the world at her feet....

darlin', i know you think you're not gonna make it through high school algebra, but you will. don't worry.

i know you don't like it at all right now 'cause you think it's bitter, but start drinking coffee your first year in college. it'll help you get through. but please don't take it too far. when you pull all nighters and resort to eating chocolate covered coffee beans and washing 'em down with black coffee -stop. that's just gross.

next year, someone you love very much is going to leave your life forever. it's okay to cry. cry it out. this is just the beginning of your heartbreak. but the lord jesus is going to take your pain and make it into something beautiful.

photographer: esther martin

it breaks my heart to tell you this ... but when 98% of the church you grew up in and gave your heart to don't act anything like christians and when they stop loving you - forgive them. and don't blame it on the lord....it's them who hurt you, not him.

hug your great-grandma and your uncle... every chance you can.

when you're in college, in the dorm and you wish you were all grown up and out in the world... don't let your impatience steal your joy. laugh with your girls, use your time wisely, and enjoy each minute. it's gonna fly by so fast. and you're gonna miss it. alot.

don't start going to tanning beds. it's dangerous, doesn't last, and you'll regret it.

don't fall for that one guy with the cute car and muscles. trust me - the cuteness will wear off and when you see his true heart. beauty is skin-deep.

read more books and practice the piano when you don't want to. someday you won't have time.

don't make big decisions when you're sleep deprived, emotional, or heart broken. it's okay to take time to rest, heal, think.

after you say "no" to that one boy and kick yourself for a year 'cause you wish you hadn't....don't lose sleep over him. 'cause years later, you'll be ever so happy you said no.

you know that boy you are just sure you're going to marry? he's not the one. but it's okay. because even though you don't think you will ever forget him, you will.

and you know, there's gonna be this one boy with really pretty eyes. don't fall for him!! you'll know the one. he'll just play with your heart and then move on to someone else. (not worth it, babe.)

this one woman is going to tell say you can't sing. don't listen to her - in just a few months, you're gonna sing in front of 4,000 people. and you'll smile and prove her wrong.

don't try to please everybody because you're afraid of losing them. you'll lose many of them anyway, and you'll wish you had stayed true to yourself.

you're gonna make some big mistakes, fall flat on your face, and people you loved won't understand you. run to jesus.

there's gonna be this one summer when you'll try to be cool and hang out with people who aren't your true friends. spend time with people who encourage you to be who you are, even though they aren't as exciting. you'll wish you did.

don't take your sister for granted. love her. she's your best friend. she's not always going to be just a wall away from you. and you're gonna miss her like crazy someday when she's married.

i know it doesn't seem fair when he breaks your heart and walks away, but someday you'll be okay. pain like that is rare. and doesn't last as long as you think it will.

don't forget to fill up the car with gas when you drive to the beach all by yourself ... actually, nevermind. that one turned out to be kind of awesome.

be there for your friends. show up. ask them how you can serve and help them. don't be so selfish.

sometimes, it's okay to say "no".

one day, you're gonna be in a plane flying to dallas, texas and you'll see someone you've wanted to meet since you were 10. run after them, catch up with them, introduce yourself. you'll regret it if you don't.

you can't imagine it now, but there will be this one day when you can't get out of bed because you've been crying so hard since midnight and you can't stop. it's okay, darling. someday, you will laugh again. i promise.

for job interviews, remember the 3 c's that you'll make up with a friend some day: cute, calm, and confident.

do your homework. all of it. on time. stop messing around!

please, please, pleeaaase save your money and stop spending it on clothes at abercrombie and american eagle.

i don't wanna scare you... but your house is going to come dangerously close to burning down in a fire this year. listen to the firemen who tell you to not worry. you're gonna be scared, it will be okay.

in those moments (and they're gonna come...) when you feel like you can't do it - take a deep breath, pray, and do the next thing.

and someday, you're going to have this blog and meet these amazing people through it (i know you are asking "ummm, what's a blog?" right now. well, they don't really exist yet but you'll see.)

and you know what? in your darkest moments, remember - god did not forget.

please, don't rush things.
you have time.
you're just a baby.
you're only 17.

your older self,


ps -

tell me....
what do you wish you could go back in time & tell yourself?