Dear 23 Year Old Me

Dear 23 Year Old Me,

It's me.  Your older, wiser self.  Just kidding, I'm not really that much wiser.  I've just been around a little longer and I've seen where you're headed and I wanted to give you a heads-up. 

I know right now you are getting really excited.  You've just graduated from college with your chemistry degree.  You'll be moving back home to Maryland in a few months and I know you are super excited about being closer to your family and starting one of your own. 

That's the part that I want to talk to you about. 

You see, I know you have this built up in your mind.  I know you think that as soon as you and Denny leave the city behind, all of your dreams will come true.  I know deep down all you really want is to make a little family of your own.  I know you have dreams of holding a little one in your arms.  I know you think that it's gonna be easy.  I mean, everyone gets pregnant, right?


Honey, the next few years are gonna be hard.  Things are not going to go your way.  This is gonna hurt.  At times you are going to feel alone.  And you are going to struggle with jealousy.  You will question a lot of things.  You will question your womanhood.  You will question whether God loves you or even cares.  You will question whether Denny loves you.  Before, you experience all of this, I'd like to speak some truth to you.

This will hurt. 

This will be hard.

But you will survive.

You are strong, but only because He that conquered death, hell and the grave is on the inside of you. 

He has not left you.

Denny will not leave you.

Denny loves you.

Jesus loves you.

You are not broken, even though you feel like your body betrays you every month.

You will watch all of your friends get pregnant (many of them in the same year) and you will survive. 

You will have to experience insensitivity and lots of stupid questions from well-meaning people.

I know this is a lot to handle.  But I do have some good news for you.  Jesus is going to work in your life.

He is going to bring you redemption in the form of a little girl who will rock your world.

She will open your eyes to the world and because of your love for her, you will learn to love your Savior more.

She will begin to open your heart to love others and in her you will begin to hear the cries of orphans around the world.  You'll lose sleep thinking about children who have no parents and you're going to drive Denny crazy with all of your ideas about how many you can adopt and how you can help all of them.

Her name is Alivea, by the way.  Alivea Joy.  Alivea (not Olivia)- because she is Alive and Joy because she will be your joy.

Because of loving Alivea, you will begin to love others and you are going to travel the world to love others.  You are going to go to Haiti, Kenya and Uganda just to love on other people.  You're going to meet some amazing people.

I know at times this journey is going to be hard.  But be open and be honest about it.  It will be much easier.  The pain may never go away.  And that's okay.  Just know that it's okay to hurt.  You are human.  Allow yourself to feel.  Allow yourself to grieve and allow yourself to cry.  

But also allow yourself to have hope.  Your Savior is not done with you yet.  You have a story to share.  It's not the one you thought you were writing, but it's a much better story.  Trust me.

I know all of this is a lot to process but I just wanted to let you know.  I've seen where you're headed girl and even though your life in 10 years will look nothing like what you think, you're gonna love it. 



Hard and Holy and Humbling

The Pregnancy Test Was Negative and I Survived