February 7, 2012

What I would say

My smile is large. I'm having fun with my friends on a youth group scavenger hunt. I'm also wearing two different knee high socks with my black Keds (Remember when those were all the rage? That was the '90s version of Toms perhaps). Something about my big smile and my mismatched socks makes it easy for me to find kindness for my 14 year old self. I wish I liked myself more back then. I really was quite fun as a girl. Maybe it's just part of being a teenager though and maybe you never really like yourself at that age. Are any teenage girls really self-aware and comfortable in their skin and mature enough to accept who they are as lovely and wonderful?

Yeah, probably not. Because I'm almost thirty-one and there are still parts of me that I don't like.

I was thinking about what I might tell her. What did I not know then? What did she need to hear?

Because if I had the chance to talk to her, I wouldn't tell her about all of the things that were about to happen in her world - no one could handle that. But I would want her to know a few things that I didn't know. Things I had never heard or that might have been useful for me at 14.

This picture was before my own version of normal fell apart. Before my brother died, before the divorce. Before everything rattled my world and changed that girl's big smile forever.

You are beautiful Jenn. Seriously, you are a beautiful.
Don't believe anything different.

Your smile is contagious.

You are fun and bold and cheerful.

You are not too much.

Always be YOU even if that means mismatched knee high socks.
(Besides, you totally rock that look!)

Don't worry about not having a boyfriend. You will have them later. And yes, you will get married someday to a really kind, wonderful and incredibly good-looking man.

Don't hate yourself. There is nothing there to hate. God doesn't hate anything about you - even the things you might feel ashamed of.

You are not alone. Remember that. Whatever you struggle with or you hold inside and are convinced that you're the only one....you're not. You are never alone.

You aren't like everyone else. So, don't try to be someone else - just be you.
God created you just the way you are.

Keep singing.

Remember - mistakes don't make you an idiot. They make you human.
It's okay to make a few thousand.

Write more.

Sometimes life comes with really hard challenges Jenn - they will come. And you might think that you won't be okay, that you won't survive it or that your circumstances are bigger than you. Those things might feel true, but you will be okay. You will be more than okay.

There will be people in your life that you can trust, that are safe and will listen to your heart.

Be a good friend to Sarah.
She sticks around for a very, very long time.

Feel your feelings - don't stuff them, don't eat them, don't hide them. Feel them, write about them, scream them out, talk about them. They are just feelings.

Give your mom some more grace. Hug her a little more often even if she feels distant. She LOVES you!

People who have to go to counseling aren't crazy and it doesn't mean something is wrong with them. We all need a little a help sometimes. Don't be so judgemental. And maybe consider going for yourself too. It will be good for you, I promise.

Your body is special and sacred. It should be treated with kindness and tenderness - by you and anyone that you deem worthy enough to share it with.

A lot of things in life are more gray rather than black and white.
You don't always have to be one or the other.

Enjoy sleeping in while you can. You won't always get to do that!

You have a story. Someday you will share it.

You are lovely, you matter, you are loved by God and you are precious.

My teenage self needed to hear those things. Maybe, I still do.

I'm curious....what might you say to your teenage self?
What did you need to hear?


  1. This actually almost blows me away.I never saw a lack if self confidence on the outside.,I saw someone strong, popular, and has it all together.And to answer your question,I probably needed to hear those things from my grown up self too.Most important I wish someone would have told me that it is okay if you make mistakes, that we learn from them and they make us Bette r stronger women. And to never let others determine your own self worth! well done jenn!

  2. I'd say find your identity in Christ, not in people (family, friends, boys, etc). Those relationships might fall apart, but if you know who you are in Christ, you will be able to breathe and keep your head up when the world you know comes crashing down.

  3. I needed to hear the thing about not trying to be like everybody else. And that everybody else was feeling exactly as insecure as I was. And that nobody, no matter how it looked from the outside, had a perfect life. And that there were much, much better times to come. (And better kissers!) Also, STOP TIGHT-ROLLING YOUR PANTS ALREADY YOU LOOK RIDICULOUS I DON'T CARE IF EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING IT.

  4. HIS Princess DianaFebruary 07, 2012

    To the grown-up Jen - your quote: "You are lovely, you matter, you are loved by God and you are precious." I will add that you are HIS PRINCESS, that is all that matters. Be confident in who you are, Jesus loves you dearly,period........It took me a long time to get to this point, wasted years, tears, time, all behind me. You are who you are, that's it, girl, be confident and assured. Know how loved you truly are. :)

  5. What a cute photo of you and your friends when you were 14! I have photos of myself at that age on my laptop too, but my friends read my blog and they might kill me/disown me if I posted them! :P

    As for what I'd say to my teenage self if I could go back...hmmm...to stop procrastinating because life is a whole lot shorter than you realise.

  6. I am not really sure what I would say....maybe quit stuffing my feelings, quit hiding, people will always hurt you somehow so don't let that keep you from letting people get to know you...you really do matter to your friends even if it doesn't look like they care,etc.... Someone will love you and know who you are someday....just a few thoughts...