Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Letter to My 21 Year Old Self

Hello, sweet thing.

Today, your 29 year old self leaned into the mirror and saw a little gray hair poking up near the front.

She thought of you, younger Lara who wakes up every morning before class to run, shower, and straighten her hair.  There aren't any gray hairs looking back from that dorm mirror, are there?

I need to tell you a few things.  We're almost 30 now, and things look a little different on the other side of the decade.

You, tender heart, are beautiful.  It's the question that pounds in your heart with every ragged breath on your morning run.  Am I pretty?  Am I pretty?  You've bought into the skinny-equals- pretty lie, and in your mind, you are never quite truly skinny.  That boy who you want to notice you?  He's not going to.  In a year, he's going to date your best friend, and after graduation, they will part ways, and he will become nothing more than that boy you tried to impress by losing 20 pounds.  Someday you will live in a house where the only mirror you can see yourself in is a wavy and speckled century-old medicine cabinet.  It's not full length, so you can't stand in front of it debating whether or not your thighs are fat.  Listen - you might not be able to believe me now, but heed me when I say hope is coming,

for you will move in your own skin without stopping every other step to analyze it, you will give up running in favor of extra sleep, you will know that your beauty is not in a number or your face, you will leave the gray hairs unplucked.  Oh dearest, it's a breathtaking freedom. 

You, beloved, will be broken.  In a few months, you will begin dating one of your friends.  In the middle of all the crazy, fun college things, you will begin to love him.  You will wonder if?  Is this it?  It is not.  When the whole long, complicated story ends, you will be left with a month of college days, and you will cry your way through every one of them.  In that darkness, my love, remember - it is God's hand who breaks you with kindness, and it will be His hand that holds you with tenderness.  When you arrive in India nary half a year later, you will arrive with a two-piece heart, yet when you leave, there will be no counting the many pieces it has shattered into.

You will know then that brokenness is not a disease to be cured, but a precious posture of those who follow the Rabbi Jesus.  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

You, young dreamer, will see dreams fulfilled and dreams deferred.   At 29, it's not a hut in Africa or a flat in India where you will lay your head.  It's a house in Missouri, your home town.  But not even Jesus returned to Nazareth, you protest?  Wait and see, fiery girl.  Wait and see.  A million tiny graces will fall around you in that town you think you've moved out of for good.   A million tiny graces and two huge ones -  a man who is the closest earthly representation to Christ you've seen and a baby who brings only joy.  The passion you live with now?  Call it to mind often as you age.  The ethereal dreams need flesh.  That neighbor across the street needs Christ.  You live in your home town, yes, but God lives in you, and He'll move into any neighborhood you ever unpack your boxes in.

As the years stack up, you will dream still.  Keep dreaming.  You'll soon have proof enough to know that all the dreams worth dreaming belong to Him.  


It's a lot, huh?  You have 8 years to unwrap it all, and it all comes one day at a time.



P.S.  And because I know you are wondering,

You still LOVE coffee at 29.  Although you have to switch to decaf while you're nursing.

I can't tell you what you name your baby.  That's best kept a surprise.

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