December 13, 2013

If I could write my 18 year old self a letter...

Jenna,

Sister, you look good. Quit hating on yourself and your body. Keep running and going to the gym. There will be a day when you spend hours scrubbing floors, picking up toys and not making it out of your sweats. There will be days when your stomach is scarred with stretch marks and days when you don't know where you get the strength to keep going. There is so much more to life than comparing yourself to others.

You're going to be lonely. The next few years will be some of the lonliest years of your life. You will have trials and tribulations that you never saw coming. But you will turn to Jesus. You will bury yourself so deeply in His word that you aren't lonely any more. In this time you will learn to love yourself. You will learn to be independent and strong. You need to be all of these things so you can be the wife and mother you will need to be one day. Strength is something that you have to work for, it doesn't come easy, and girl, you're going to need to be strong.

You will fall in love and have your fairytale wedding. Don't push things because everything happens just exactly how it was supposed to. Not every day is easy, but most days are wonderful and you get to spend every single day with your best friend. That is one of the best things in the world. And don't worry, he still loves you in your sweats and with those stretch marks because those stretch marks mean you brought his children into the world.

You will change your major to the one thing you said you never wanted to do and you will love it. It will be hard, but you will impact lives in a way you could never imagine. Pour yourself into college and nursing school, there will be a day that you wish you had paid just a little bit more attention about certain topics.

You will learn what love really is. You will find out that love isn't always warm and cozy. Love isn't just a feeling. Love is an action. Love is being selfless. Love is giving every single ounce of your being every single day to care for someone else. It is learning that life isn't fair and perfect. It's dealing with life's hardships together. It's catching puke in your hands. It's walking the house with a colicky baby for hours and hours. Love is a verb that means caring for something so much that you give up your own needs and desires in order to care for theirs.

You won't ever have alone time. You will have "extra" appendages that do not ever stop talking or asking you for things. You will learn to eat mostly standing up. You will love two little boys with a love that you have no idea about right now. Oh, and you also will realize that your mom and dad, yeah, they're basically always right. You will still need them ten years from now as much as you do now, but its different, they become your best friends.

You'll learn that living with in your means is freeing. You don't need the biggest and the best of everything to be happy.

You will learn that family is the most important thing. Don't take them for granted. They won't always be there. You won't always have those times. Cherish each and every single moment with your loved ones. Some of them will go way too early and too quickly. Go to each and every "Sunday lunch", meet for ice cream, go for rides on the boat. Some day you will wish you could do those things just one more time.

Enjoy the quiet.
Read now while you can.
Bury yourself in God's word because you will need the things you learn in college to sustain you on the days that your tank is empty.
Be willing to say no.
Allow others to help you and don't act like you have it all together when you don't. There is no reason to play games.

Cherish the days you have now. It is a season. You'll miss these days, but mostly you'll look back and wonder what you did in all of your free time since free time becomes a rare comodity.

Love with all you have, pour your time and energy into your family, you don't get these days back.

Love,
Jenna

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