Dear Younger Vanessa,
Once upon a time, you were seven and sat at your desk pretending you were a New York Times best seller. You wanted to write to change the world and point others to Jesus. Now, here we are.
I write this letter to a younger, much louder, spunkier you. You are currently states away from your familiarity in California, in Tyler, Texas. You got this life changing opportunity to get to pour the gospel into younger children through boys and girls club for the summer. Once upon a time you once were that kid who wanted to learn of Jesus at any cost. What happened to your hunger for more of Him daily? Just being real with you. Find it again. This summer will challenge you in every way. Try and see the lesson Jesus is teaching you to build your character. Jesus can't move you to your next step in life until he knows your character and heart matches your calling. You don't believe me, Vanessa, but, you have this crazy, adventurous life ahead of you. Your family won't stop you. You will more than have survived your childhood. You will have thrived.
Those dreams of seeing the world. I promise you they'll come true. Believe in those dreams. Oh, the places you’re going to go my friend. By the time your 21, you will have lived in New York for three months, visited South Carolina, lived in L.A. a year, driven from California to Ohio on a road trip with friends, seen half of California and spend a summer in Texas. You’re going to travel and fly alone for almost all of these trips and travels. You'll like the idea of being independent. That my sweet, friend is only the start. You’re going to live life to the fullest. You'll find who you’re called to be as you live life in your travels. You’re going to create your own journey. In the end, you really will be okay. Knowing how strong headed and independent you are, you probably won't listen to what I have to tell you until after you realize you made a mistake. Listen anyways. Please, listen!
* You’re going to experience things and have offers come your way at a young age only others can dream of. Humble yourself. You'll find out that those dreams of yours aren't about you. There about impacting those around you for Jesus' glory. Check your heart and motives once in a while. You’re in the people business.
*You are talented. Don't believe other's when they say you'll never amount to nothing. "You’re just a dumb kid. A dreamer." In the end, you'll be the one who is successful. You will get an opportunity to be part of your own online ministry, "Worth More Ministries" and you will travel to share your testimony. People are going to fly you out to hear you. It’s true my friend!! Your days of day dreaming of being anywhere but, home will be over. You will no longer write in your hello kitty journal to be heard or feel safe. You will have a voice for others. Hang in there. I know it’s tough. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
*Be vulnerable. That saying, "Sometimes a person is hurt so much they stop hurting at all." Yes, it's true. Don't let it stop you from love and learning to be loved. This concept of accepting love is one you'll always struggle with. I'm not going to lie to you and tell you it will be fixed. You'll always be searching for love. The damage done as a child was tough, but don't let it stop you from learning to trust other's. Love Jesus first and then learn to let others love you.
*No, not everyone leaves. Some people really do stay. Don't push other's away. I know, your parents both leaving you was tough. You made it thru a lot of emotional damage. As you get older, you'll see things from a different perspective. Here's what I've come to understand within this last year in L.A. Some people are in your life till the day you reach heavens gates. Some people are seasonal. Some people are life lessons. Some people become friend's than mentors. Some friends become family. Some people use us. Some people hurt us. Some people build us. Some heal us. Some love our brokennesss. All people we meet teach us. They become life lessons. All people we meet leave an impact. Some people, actually most people come and go. A select few stay the course on your journey with you. Maybe I've matured or gotten older, but as I grow I see it's not who's on the journey with me. But, what's their purpose in it. Either way whoever does or doesn't stay on my life journey. My question for you is what kind of impact do you want to leave on people during your season in their life. Make it good. Impacts last a lifetime. Have fun along the way. Make intentional friends. Find peace in knowing some people weren't meant to stay in your life, but only for a season. Embrace that. Thank God, for their season with you. Find peace in knowing who's in your life is meant to be.
*Ask for help every now and then. It's okay to not be okay. It really is. Let your guard down. Learning to ask for help, really is just a stepping stone to your healing journey. It also, shows humility.
* You will have different friends than you have now, and some of the same. It’s okay. The ones who aren't as close with you anymore are still with you, and it doesn't undervalue the wonderful time being spent with them right now. You'll learn that you can love people from 1,000 of miles away and not be afraid of people leaving you.
*You don't have to be the cool kid. Stop mouthing off to your teachers, getting detention every day. Also, stop smoking weed, getting drunk and high. All that won't feel that empty void in your heart. Only Jesus will do that. Listen to your teacher's. They love you, they really do. They just want to save you heart ache they went thru as a kid in the party life. You’re probably laughing now, rolling your eyes as you’re in detention. But, years from now when you travel and end up in Texas, those very same teachers are still going to be your biggest fan. They’re going to text, call and face time you all the time. Remember they really do love you. The detention is just tough love and to be honest you need that love.
*Forgiveness to others and yourself. I can't tell you that you'll forgot all the bad, or fully move on. Your still on a forgiveness journey. Just remember, you are braver than you give yourself credit for.
* It's okay to cry. Frankly, you didn't start learning to cry until a month ago. But, it is okay. Tears mean you care and you’re on a new journey of restoration and freedom.
*Keep making your mistakes. Take full responsibility for them as well as full credit for your breakthroughs. You’ll be fine.
*Be patient. You don't have patience. Learn to be still and rest into the lords will for your life. Not yours. Your stubborn. Just listen, be obedient. Your obedience is going to open up some life offers. Know that with every mistake, there is grace to be found. Make mistakes, but don't stay there. You will go thru dark periods of anxiety and depression, know that it will pass. Lean into Jesus and good friend's in those times. Don't ever lose your passion for people and heart for the lost. If you lose that, you will have lost some of your best character traits.
Oh, younger me… You were so special. You still are. You are valued. You are loved. You are worthy of love. You are worthy. You deserve those parent's you never got. Your life has purpose. You’re going to change the world kid. You don't even know it. I'm half laughing and crying now, if you only knew. You have such... A journey ahead. Fight, keep fighting. Your fight for your future will only show how much your preserved in the end. You'll thank me one day.
I love you, Vanessa. Don't let all those years keep you from learning to accept love like it did me. It's my biggest regret and struggle to this day. Your worth it, kid. It really will be okay. See you later. Enjoy the best years of your life.
All my love,
The older college you
P.s. Hot Cheetos aren't a full meal, even thou think you so. Yes, it’s okay to be in college and still wear footie PJ's. They're comfortable. Stay a kid at heart. Stay true to you.
Written By: Vanessa