As you leave home for the first time and go off to college, there are so many things I want to tell you! I had no idea that ten years ago my life would be turned upside down by a darling little 8 year old girl.
Oh, I knew my life would be different, I just didn't know how different.
Ten years later, I am grief stricken and torn apart at the thought of dropping you off 1,290 miles from home. It's strange to be so proud of you and so filled with peace that you are following God's will for your life and be so sad at the thought of you not being here.
It's so hard to share things with you right now without bawling my eyes out so here I sit.
Did I ever tell you the real things of value in my life have been my family? Friends have honestly come and gone; as have boyfriends, trips, jobs, memorabilia... but my family have remained. You, darling, are my family. Meeting and marrying your daddy has blessed my life in so many ways! You and your brother and sister are three of those ways,
There are probably many keys to happiness. One that's worked for me is reading. I love reading and have been to so many places and experienced so many things through books. The peace and rest that comes from reading has brought be so much happiness.
While I do not have a college degree, I have never stopped learning. I have found education valuable because it opens up doors that remain closed to some. For example, to teach English in China, one needs a college degree. Until I get a degree, that specific door will remain closed to me. I desire for you to have every door available that you might want to walk through and not be told, "no" due to a lack of a degree. High School graduation is just the beginning!
Beyond book learning, there is life learning. The importance of my faith has been my life-line! When all else fell away and my life was spinning out of control, my faith and the foundation my parents laid did not let go. I pray that your faith becomes just that - yours. I pray that the foundation Daddy and I have laid will hold and you will be able to stand and grow in Jesus.
Do you know what I've looked for when seeking a "spiritual advisor" or guide? First off, their faith. Do they have what I want? When I look at them, do I see a person I want to be when I am... an adult... a wife... a moma... a nana... a teacher... a friend... a quilter... a runner... an athlete... a cook; you get my drift. I listen to how they speak of Jesus. Is He their Guide? You know who my "prayer warriors" are and you get an idea of what I look for when seeking advise, guidance, discernment.
Have I told you that I have started a new grateful practice? To express and experience a place of gratefulness, I started a list. 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp was my inspiration and motivator in starting this practice and I can tell you, honey, when you do it, it works! I linked to her blog and if you are led, it is a good one to bookmark and look up daily when you need a dose of joy.
Let's talk about friends. Oh, how I have struggled with female friendships. Maintaining lasting friendships requires Jesus to be the center. I have found that is the only way years can pass and we can still be friends. I've found the way to make a good friend is to be a good friend! It sounds cliche, I know, but it's true. Most of the time, you get out what you put in... this is true in your relationships; as well. I've learned to avoid people who make me feel bad about myself. If I leave a conversation and I feel worthless, that is someone I should avoid. Especially, if it happens with each interaction. When my pulse quickens with anxiousness and fear, that is not healthy. When I can't avoid these people, I make sure my armour of God is solidly in place and that I am "prayed up!"
A good rule for getting along well with others, is to be compassionate and loving. No matter what, Jesus loves them as much as He loves you and me. When we remember that, it is much easier to get along with people.
Dating. One thing I can say about dating is, you should only date someone you would marry. If you can't see spending the rest of your life with that boy, then what on earth are you doing dating him?!!? Just be friends, for crying out loud and go out with a group of friends. It is so much more fun to do it that way, anyway. If you do find yourself in a relationship that you know you shouldn't be in, end it sooner than later. It will not become easier. It will hurt you both more in the long run the more time passes. Make the break short and clean. You will not be friends so don't say that. Friendship with that person may happen in the future but for the immediate time, it won't work. One of you, if not both, will still have romantic feelings for the other. Yes, sometimes you may need to break it off with someone you love. It's awfully painful but you will survive. I know because I am sharing this with you!
Stay healthy, hon. It's hard with all that carb loaded cafeteria food, but it's worth it! Get out there and do your sprints! You don't need a track to run! Sprinting between power poles works great! Yes, there are power poles where you are headed in middle of nowhere, Kansas. Sprint one - recover one or sprint two, recover one... get out there and run! I have found I feel so much better in every way when I eat healthy and take care of myself. You know this, too. Now, you have to decide if you are going to do it yourself since I'm not there doing it for you. It's worth it!
Have fun. You are going to live on campus and share your room with another. I pray you two become fast friends. I have seen so many people make their life-long friends in college.
If you are ever unsure which way you should turn, 1) Wait. Don't rush in to anything. 2) Pray. Spend time with Jesus. Spend time in the Word. 3) Ask your prayer warriors to pray for you. 4) Ask God to make it clear by opening or shutting doors. 5) Don't go prying windows open when God has shut the door. If you are wanting something and it seems God and you aren't on the same page, go back to #1 and wait. I hope you have seen Daddy and I live this out for you.
Lastly, call home. We are all going to miss you something fierce!!! Keep time for us. Skype is wonderful. Texting is okay but you know what, I need to hear your voice. Remember you are loved by so many people and we are all praying for you!
"Only carefully obey the command and instruction that Moses the LORD’s servant gave you: to love the LORD your God, walk in all His ways, keep His commands, remain faithful to Him, and serve Him with all your heart and all your soul.” Joshua 22:5
I love you, my beauty. Come home.