My birthday was last week and it was one of those landmark birthdays that only come once every ten years. Ten years brings a decade of wisdom, but I somehow feel the same now that I’m 30 as I did when I was 20. Or do I?
A photograph of me on my 20th birthday reveals how different I was back then. I had long hair dyed red. I was expecting my first little boy that year and the birthday cake I requested had white and baby blue frosting with blue booties on top in honor of my unborn son. But the differences were more than just skin deep. I may feel the same as I did then, but upon closer reflection, I can see I have changed.
And while I know it’s impossible to go back, if I could, this is the letter I’d write to myself:
Dear Younger Me,
You are 20 this year and will soon be crossing the threshold of motherhood. You feel scared and nervous and your smile tries to cover up your insecurity. But let me tell you this. Becoming a mother will prove to be one of the greatest blessings of your life. You will learn how to serve, to sacrifice your all, and then to give even more. You will learn to love and to hurt for another, and in the process, to become more like your Savior. You will be stretched too thin and worn right out. You will cry, you will pray, you will plead. But through it all, you will learn to rely wholeheartedly and completely on your Father in Heaven. And even though it may not feel like it at times, you will be gaining the confidence in yourself you’ve never had. You will find your life as you lose it.
Be patient. A strong tree doesn’t grow overnight. The roots you grew as a child have turned into the sapling you are today. You’re young and small, but stronger than you think. You’ll grow into a willow by and by. Trust the process and cherish the blossoms of the spring.
Stretch your limbs up high and reach for the “son”light. You are more than capable of nurturing your baby seedlings while taking care to grow yourself as well. And it’s all because of the grace of your Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
So don’t give up. All the growing pains of your 20’s will lead to a settling into yourself as you reach 30. All the experiences you’re having now are teaching you who you really are, why you’re really here, and most of all, how deeply you are loved.
If I could give you a few bits of advice: First of all, take a deep breath. Slow down and relax. You are doing just fine, and you can do this. He will help you. Don’t fret about your lack of confidence or your curious personality. You will grow into your true self in His perfect timing. For now, take care to hold your little ones close and soak in all of their precious goodness. They grow up so fast, and I know that everyone tells you this. But it’s true. They really do. And one day, when you’ve reached 30, you’ll wish with all your heart you could go back and have just a few more days with each of the sweet babes that will be born to you. Treasure each moment exactly for what it is, because it doesn’t have to be perfect. And that’s why it’s beautiful. Imperfectly perfect is more than enough. And so are you.
Do happy every day and spread your light everywhere you go.
Your Older and *Wiser* Self