A letter to my 16-year-old self, inspired by Emily and her “Dear Me” post

**There are some awful pictures of me in this post. Seriously AWFUL. Consider yourself warned.**

Dear Erin,

This is your 31-year-old self writing to give you a little glimpse into the future. I have just a few things I’ve always wanted to say to you if I could and Emily invited us to do just that, so here goes…

It’s ok to have boys as “just friends.” I know you think about this A LOT. Not having a boyfriend doesn’t make you any less wonderful. You will find out later many of those just-friend boys were actually intimidated by your intelligence and talents. {Yes, they actually admitted this!} And I’m really happy to say that you will never compromise either to get a boyfriend.

Enjoy those friendships now, be yourself, and stop fretting about dating. In six short years, you will marry a super hot guy who is also your very best friend – someone you could spend every second of every day with and enjoy it! {And he’s not threatened by your smarts either because he is super smart.}

Oh, and he was at music camp with you this past summer but the two of you never met. Remember that guy who sang “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables?” Yeah, him.

Speaking of boys, you’re going to have three of them. THREE.

Your love for sports will be very useful. Star Wars and Legos will rule your life. And you will love being a boy mom. You probably are already thinking that, aren’t you? {In two years, you will be voted “Would Make the Best Mom” in your graduating class.}

That girl who loudly passed judgement on every other girl wearing something from Target? Ignore her. Target is THE place to shop now. All you Target shoppers back then were ahead of your time. Way to go. And that girl probably shops at Target now as well. {She also got a lot nicer after high school.}

You have a great group of friends right now. They will continue to make your high school time tons of fun and won’t lead you into any trouble. Stick with them and don’t wander off when the seemingly “cooler” crowd looks your way. These friends are the real deal. And you’re having way more fun with them than you would with anyone else. They are a blessing from God in many ways.

While we’re on the topic of God, you don’t know Him very personally yet, do you? Sure, you go to church and you pray occasionally and you do everything you “should do.” That’s all good, but it’s not the same as relationship. And stop judging others in your head – the ones you think don’t “do all the right things” religiously. It’s not about that.

You don’t know Jesus well yet, but you will. You will fall deeply in love with Jesus before you fall in love with a guy and that’s exactly how it should be. {Well, you’ll THINK you’re in love before that, but you’re not. Trust me.}

Also, being in your thirties is awesome. Sounds so old, doesn’t it? But honestly, at 31, you will love Jesus more than ever, adore your family, have amazing friends, be in the best shape of your life {Yes, you CAN run more than a mile without dying!}, and be finding your way as a writer {did I just write that?!}. Signing up for newspaper your senior year will actually come in handy later on down the road, even if you do strongly dislike the teacher!

Unfortunately, you’ll still be a little scatter-brained and battle acne {ugh}, but you will realize neither of these is the end of the world. Most things aren’t.

Be nicer to your sister. Let her borrow your clothes because you will want to borrow hers before too long.

Spend more time with Mom and Dad. They are really great, fun parents and people in general. Learn from Mom’s great heart for hospitality, even in a small house, and take notes from Dad on how to really bless people. That man knows how to listen to what people really want and need.

The “Rachel” haircut will never turn out for you the way you want it. Don’t worry – Rachel will change her hair many, many times before the show ends. And you will cut your hair very short your senior year. It will be a LONG road to grow it back. and much patience will be required. Deep breaths – you can handle it.

Keep studying and practicing and working hard because it will all pay off in the form of scholarships and a job you love and great life experiences.

But don’t stop having fun and being silly just because that one boy called you an airhead one time. Your outgoing, bubbly personality is one of the things people love most about you.

Don’t let worry about things you can’t control consume you. I know you lie awake in bed at times thinking about all the bad things that could happen. Give them to Jesus and let Him carry them. They are not your load to bear.

Your life from where you are now to where I am now won’t be without its valleys, but God will put just the people you need in your life at just the right time. You will look back and know He was with you all the time.

You have so much to look forward to – enjoy every moment!

Lots of love,



This post was inspired by Emily Freeman and her new book Graceful for teenage girls. I don’t have a daughter to pass this book on to, but having worked with middle and high school girls as a teacher and youth group volunteer, I know how very important it will be to so many young ladies in those awkward years of self-discovery. Thank you, Emily, for ministering to those girls! And you can read lots more “Dear Me” letters linked up at Emily’s blog today!