Dear me ten(ish) years ago,

You are just starting out your high school career.  Right now, you are happy.  You don’t have a busy social life, but the few close friends that you do have are like sisters.  You are excited about getting your driver’s license in a year because you know the freedom that comes with getting behind the wheel, and the adventures that lie on the road ahead.  That desire for adventure and independence doesn’t go away.  It is part of who you are.  It’s how you learn about yourself and the world around you.  It’s where you meet Jesus. But it will cause some hurt in your family.  Please choose your words wisely when communicating with them. They love you and want what is best for you. It may seem like they aren’t listening to you, but they are just trying to understand.  You’ll get through it, even though it will be hard, but everyone will be better for it in the end.  Oh, and Matsufuku is what you decided to name that first car of yours…. I might recommend a different one.

See those beautiful blonde locks up there? Don’t get used to them.  When you are 23 you develop an allergy to an ingredient in hair dye called PPD that makes you break out in a gross rash on your face and neck.  So live it up, girl!  Your hair will be every color you can imagine until that time, but you’ll be stuck with a lovely chocolate-brown color once you hit your mid twenties.
Your days at Jackson High School, will fly by.  But while you are there they seem to take forever.  You’ve always had that urge in you to leave the nest and explore on your own.  You feel like school is holding you back.  Believe it or not, you even consider trying home school so that you can free up your schedule to do more “life”!  Don’t miss out on opportunities to build relationships with your peers. They will teach you more than you realize about how to love people the right way.  You are a confident person, you aren’t insecure, and you don’t struggle with much.  Things come easy to you; and whether its academics, learning new hobbies or solving problems, not too much can rattle you.  Use this strength of yours to encourage your friends and don’t be shy about it.  The teen years are rough and you are unique amongst your group.  You’re a leader in your friendships, which is an area of life that you will grow the most.
One summer you will go on a trip that changes your life.  Sorry I don’t have any pictures from this summer.  But you build relationships that are still going strong 10 years later.  Those people invest their time, money, and lives into you and you will see Jesus in a different light after this summer.
After you graduate you move to CALIFORNIA!  It was a big decision and very scary.  You are 18 and living with four strangers in an 800 square foot apartment to volunteer with a program called Mission Year.  That year will be a year that you will never forget.  It was a turning point year.  It was during that year that all of the ugly you were hiding during the last few years came out.  The image you created of yourself as being all put together, and with out mistake shattered.  You weren’t that girl anymore, and it terrified you.  One of the biggest struggles of your life happened that year.  God showed you that you aren’t perfect.  In fact, he wanted you to be WEAK so that he could be STRONG. How absurd, right?  You fought and wrestled with this for the majority of that year.  I want you to remember that you never have to be strong all the time.  That sharing your struggles and questions with your life friends not only helps you process, but encourages the people you share them with.  Never be too strong that you leave no room for God to take over.  Let Him love you his way, which is way better than any person (including you) could love you.
These are those four ladies you lived with.  They got you through that tough year.  You don’t talk to them as much as often anymore, but they will always be some of those “life friends” I told you about earlier.
And I’m sure you noticed there hasn’t been any mention of boys!!  You know, little Karrie, they never played a big role in your life.  Which was probably the best thing that could have happened for you.  It saved you a lot of heartache and confusion.  And in January 2010 you met the man you would marry only 10 months later.  You were able to give him a baggage free past and start your lives together with a clean slate.  He’s takes great care of you and it doesn’t hurt that he’s pretty darn handsome.
So I leave you with this.
Keep having adventures.
           Don’t seclude yourself away for too long.
                      Make sure you don’t take all the credit for everything you do.
                                 And make it a priority to laugh everyday.
This post was written to celebrate Emily Freeman‘s newest book Graceful.
What would you say to your teenage self? Write it. If you have a blog, link it up to Emily’s post tomorrow. Find the details here.

8 thoughts on “A Letter to my Teenage Self…

  1. caroline

    Love this! What an encouragement your strength has been to me & my family since we met you 10ish years ago! & thanks for the reminder to laugh everyday! Love you!!


  2. Reeve

    Karrie, I loved reading this. You have such a beautiful story that is rare. Never take it for granite. You lived and continue to live a life that other people wish they had. Love you!


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