My 22 year old self was a recent TCU grad, and had just finished the best 4 years of my life (or so I thought.) I truly couldn’t have asked for a better college experience, from my sorority, to campus leadership opportunities, to Frog Football victories... the memories are truly the sweetest. Little did I know I was walking into the loneliest year of my life. I had a job where I worked from home when not traveling, and unfortunately all my friends had left Fort Worth. I was desperate for community, friends, and to be loved and known. I constantly cried out to the Lord wondering why he wasn’t giving me these things. Weren’t these good things to ask for? At the time I couldn't have predicted how much better the next four years would get. I now look back and see how intimate my relationship with the Lord was that year, because He was all I could hold onto. I see how he answered my prayers above and beyond. He mapped out a life that I could not even imagine.
Reflecting on all this, I wanted to write this letter to myself. Rewinding 4 years ago, I picture 22 yr old Lo sitting on my bed, reading the bible, and journaling my prayers with tears down my face. Praying for friends, a dog (a story for another time), and wondering if or when I would get married. It seemed like everyone around me was getting engaged, married or in a new relationship and I felt like I was running a race I just couldn't catch up to. I think if I read this letter then I would have laughed, cried and been in disbelief at what was to come.
I’m writing this letter to remind myself how faithful the Lord is and who he promises to be. To look at all that has happened, and what He has done. To celebrate entering my upper 20's as a single girl instead of being ashamed and disappointed. Here goes a letter to myself.
It’s me. (you.) I know you’re lonely, so lonely, and feel like community is so far away, a husband is so far away and everyone seems to be getting engaged. You really don’t like your job, and you’re wondering: Lord what is next?! Well, you’re 27 now, and doing things you never dreamed of. I’m here to give you hope and encouragement. I'm here to tell you all these things get so much better, easier, and God guides you through it all. Here are 27 things I wish you knew, so you would have a few less tearless nights, and more excitement for what's to come.
- You’re still very single. Yup. Not even close to being married, BUT you are happy and so content (most days) and I promise you it gets better, so much better!
- This year is tough, but so are you.
- God has bigger and better plans than you can dream of. These next four years look 0% like what you expect - they're even better.
- Trust God when he says, " For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11
- You live in Dallas, Texas now! Ya, that place down the road where your friends are begging you to move to right now. But we made it!
- In Dallas, you have the BEST community. You are surrounded by friends who love and know you. Friends who are single, married, dating, and all invest in you and are so life-giving.
- You like red wine now.
- You will be in 6 - yes, 6 - weddings, and not have a date for a single one. But I promise being a bridesmaid is the sweetest gift, and 2 of those weddings... you don’t even know the brides yet!
- You still love Harry Potter and re-read and re-watch the series each year. The love only grows stronger.
- You should look up the mid-west (I know it’s irrelevant to us California girls, no offense mid-western friends), because you’re about to live in Branson, Missouri for 2 years. There, thanks to Kanakuk Kamps Ministries, you'll grow more in your faith than you can imagine. (Yeah, you think you know a lot, but you don't. So buckle up - it's a humbling 2 years! )
- This challenging and lonely (yes it does get hard) year leads you to doing a biblical studies program called the Kanakuk Institute and it’s the best thing you’ve ever done.
- You can give an overview of the bible in 30 mins. (believe me, lol I'm still shocked too)
- You know how to defend your faith and why.
- Eight is the number of countries you have traveled to in the last 5 years (Greece, Turkey, Ireland, England, France, Italy, Spain, Bahamas).
- You get to live in Belfast, Ireland for 6 weeks because your job (yeah, UNREAL) is to mentor girls in a gap year program and go abroad. It’s the best job ever. These girls teach you more than you can imagine and they are the most precious God fearing-girls in the world. Working at Link Year is an incredible blessing and year of growth for you.
- You won’t go on another date until you’re 26.
- You go on three dates (all set ups) and none work out. But it’s ok!
- You have traveled to NYC four times, Chicago twice, Colorado three times, Nashville, Kansas City, San Fransisco, Oregon, Maui, and more.
- Clearly, you love to travel.
- The Gilmore Girls are great "fake friends" - I wish you would have met them this year. Lorelei and Rory get you through some lonely nights!
- You have an obsession with NYC and constantly wonder if you should move there.
- You are very relationally driven, so no wonder this year is so hard for you.
- Sorry, but you still don't have a dog.
- Remember to thank Mom, Dad and your incredible more mature than you little sister Courtney more often. For putting up with you, praying for you, and guiding you through some anxiety attacks and many tears.
- You learn that God IS good enough, and He always will be.
- Right now you want to be pursued, chosen, and loved. But you already are. Read Psalm 139.
- You're going to be ok. I promise you.