I was cleaning out my closets recently and came across a box that contained some of my girlhood diaries.
I chuckled at the sparkly covers and immature handwriting inside the pages. It’s funny, the things I thought were important enough to document back then – the little bits of my life that were such a big deal. I read, and I grinned and sometimes I cringed, and I even felt a little tempted to throw those diaries out – but something held me back.
I carefully packed them back into the box. I will keep them, because I think as a mom, I need the reminder of how important these seemingly trivial things are to young girls. It’s so easy to look back now with perspective and laugh at my silly little worries, joys, and heartbreaks, but at the time those things were massively important to me. It’s hard now to remember what it was like to be a girl, and I think I need those diaries to remind me, especially as a mom to three daughters.
I’ve spent a lot of mental energy pondering what I would tell that preteen Callie, if I could go back and give her some bits of hard-learned wisdom. I came up with a few things.
This is the time to enjoy your family. When you grow up, things invariably change – you and your siblings move out, get married, have families of your own. Life gets busy, and you don’t get to see your parents as often as you like. Those days where you spend the entire day easily enjoying each other’s company are fewer and farther between. You’ll treasure the good times spent as an adult, but the closeness that is possible during the years when you are all under the same roof is what grounds your relationships in adulthood. So enjoy these times at home with mom and dad and family. Soak it in.
You’re probably not going to meet your future husband at 12 years old. Some people do marry their childhood sweethearts, and those love stories are wonderful! But a lot of things change between 12 and 20. You change a lot between 12 and 20, and as you grow you will know yourself better, and know better what your path in life will be. Some people get on their path, and God places someone who has been next to them all along on the same path. Many others find the direction that God has for their lives first, and then they look around and find someone who is going the same way. Seek the Lord’s will for your life, and sure, dream a little, but try your best not to get too caught up in having a boyfriend right now. If God intends for you to get married, eventually you will. It will all work out.
Always stay open to new friends. Emotions are so strong in these young years, and you find the friends who understand you and think they will always be in your life. Some will be, and those friendships are one of the best gifts. But some friends will also drift away as your lives take different directions. It’s normal, even though it may hurt. Don’t let the hurt make you bitter – accept the gift of their friendship for as long as God places them in your life, and when things change, realize that there are often sweeter friendships around the corner of adulthood if you stay open to them.
Hang in there, you will find your confidence. I could tell you now to be confident in who you are, but is anyone really truly confident in their childhood or teen years, deep down? The very essence of those years is turmoil, and I feel I would be falling into that trap of forgetting what it’s like to be a girl to tell you to be confident and expect for that to magically transform your outlook. The best I can give you is to tell you to hang in there. You won’t always feel as unsure of yourself as you do now. At this age everyone is trying to prove themselves in some way, but you are a unique and beautiful person, meant to be yourself, created by God for a purpose – whether you fit into a certain group or are liked by a certain person doesn’t affect that. And eventually, as you grow up and gain experience, that truth will sink down and displace the insecurities. So just hang in there.
Hold your plans loosely. Young girls often make so many plans – what they want to do when they graduate, constantly shifting ideas of who or what kind of guy they will marry, how many kids they will have (and when), what their names will be. There is a very high chance that at least one of those things won’t work out the way you think they will. More important than making plans is to make sure you are as consistent as possible in following after Jesus. He is in control of your life (Proverbs 16:9), and the closer you are to Him, the more you will learn that His plan may not be yours…and ultimately, His plans will be better. It is easier to accept when your plans don’t work out if you know He’s working all these things for good (Romans 8:28). Go ahead and dream, but most of all, walk close to your Savior.
Check out Brave Girls Confidential to help your girls connect with God’s truth about who they are and how special he made them. Join Brave Girls Faith, Hope, Glory, Gracie, and Honor as they discover how much they are loved and they learn what it means to live godly lives in their homes, schools, and communities.
If you could go back in a time machine, what would you tell your younger self?