Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dear Me,

A sweet blogger and instagram friend, Casey, who I had the privilege to meet  in person asked me if I would like to join her, along with a few other friends, as she writes a letter to her 16 year old self.  I was so blessed by the invitation.  Here is my letter...



Dear 16 year old Me,


Wow....this is going to be a big year for you.  You are dating the cutest boy at Covington High. You get your first car, a 1979 royal blue Toyota Corolla...aka, the Blue Hornet.  You make the homecoming court.  You get to sing the National Anthem  in the New Orleans Superdome when CHS plays for the state championship.  You get to go to your first fancy schmancy Ball in New Orleans (actually this will be your one and only so really enjoy it OK?)   You and Nick both get chosen for The Sweetheart Court for your Junior Class.    And you are going to get some news that is gonna alter the course of your life.


You are going to find out that you are pregnant.  


You are going to feel like your world has ended.  You and Nickie are gonna carry this secret for a long time on your own trying to figure things out.  There is a lot at stake....y'all know when the football scouts find out, there goes his chances for playing ball somewhere... and you can't even imagine facing your mom to tell her.  She has barely gotten over the heartbreak of your dad dying three years earlier.  And now you have to break her heart again and face the disappointment in her eyes.  You will be given advice from "friends" at school who encourage you to just end the problem and get an abortion without having to tell anyone...even a couple of teachers are going to suggest the same thing.   And in your desperation... for a fleeting second.... you even think about that possibility....that it could all just "go away".  But you know in your heart that isn't true....that it would never go away.  That you couldn't live with knowing you had ended a life to make your own life "easier".

When you and Nick finally do tell his parents and your mom, they are gonna be there for y'all. Your mom will be disappointed and she is gonna have to work through some of it but she is gonna be  there for you 100%.  Just give her a little time Ok?   She has been through a lot.  I know at 16, you can't fully realize or  grasp what all she has gone through already in her life...the hard things the Lord has called her to endure...losing the love of her life at the age of 39...dealing with two rebellious sons and one with a drug addiction...having to deal with running her own business by herself....the burden of having to make every decision all on her own... At 16 you didn't "get" that.  You won't understand and you will take it personal when she doesn't embrace shopping for baby bedding right away.  But I promise, she comes around and she becomes your best friend in life.  You will learn so much in the days ahead from her example of trusting God no matter what you are faced with.  She will always be there for you.

And listen, when word gets out that you are pregnant you are gonna feel like you are wearing a scarlet letter....and that it is gonna feel this way for the rest of your life....that you will always be thought of as that girl that Nickie Holden got pregnant.  Or that girl who messed up Nickie's  plans for a chance to play ball somewhere..  That is not true.  You eventually see how God is going to use all of this for His glory. And girl...your future is a gooood one. 

And y'all are going to decide to get married about three weeks before the baby is born.  People are gonna think that y'all have made another mistake...Nick will start back his senior year as a husband and daddy.  Don't you worry what people say.  Y'all not only make it...y'all fall more and more in love with each other with every year.    You're gonna have a little girl!  And you name her Elizabeth and she is going to change your world.  From the moment you hold her, everything you worried about...what people thought....the shame you carried...the "mistake" you made....all that is no longer important to you.  Oh, it will still be there and you will still have to deal with the consequences  but when they put your daughter in your arms, this fierce kind of love is going to overcome you that never goes away.  In fact, it only grows stronger.  

You and Nickie are going to have two more daughters and they all three are gonna make you so proud.  You are gonna love "your girls" and have so much fun with them.  Y'all will have some rough times like every parent but they are going to become your best friends when they grow up....you are gonna do everything together and you are gonna pinch yourself on a regular basis that these amazing women are your daughters.

Another biggie I'm gonna let you in on....but I think you already know this deep down.  In spite of what every one thinks, you  really don't have a personal relationship with Jesus yet.  But He gloriously  interrupts your life when you're 26 and this is another "game changer".  Nickie gets saved and the Lord calls him to preach and ...get ready for it....you are gonna be a pastor's wife! Crazy stuff I know.  But let me tell, the life the Lord has prepared for you is better than anything you have dreamed about.  Better than any Molly Ringwald movie you've watched.   Better than any fairytale you've read. It's goood girl.

And Nickie is gonna get this gray beard that you are gonna be crazy over. I know that is a hard one for you to believe at 16 but it is so true.  You can't quit looking at him even after being his bride for 24 years now.  And Oh...and sit down for this one... I can already hear you giggling when I tell you, but you are gonna be a MAW MAW!  Actually they are gonna call you Honey but still!!  A Maw Maw!  And OHHH...how sweet that is.  As of now you have three little darlings but I feel certain that's not gonna be all of them. :)

So. There you have it. You have a lot to look forward to.  A lot of it is tough when it's happening  but all of it, through God's grace, is wonderful.  Even the hard stuff.


A couple of tips though before I go....
1. Don't let Ms Dianne perm your hair the week of Homecoming.  It doesn't go well for you.  Like, your hair turns orange and you have to cut it off and dye it three different times to get it somewhat "normal".  
2. Hang on to your moms yellow glider under the porch.  You're gonna really wish you had it one day.
3. Call your brother Greg more often than you do.  Let him squeeze you with those big bear hugs of his.  Soak up the sound of his laughter and his infectious grin.  Overlook his imperfections and extend grace to him.  Your time with him isn't as long as you planned and you don't want to live with regret. Just love on him a little more.
4. Enjoy those french fries and Dr. Peppers while you can.  Sadly, your metabolism is gonna slow waaay down and you will gain weight just by looking at them.  So eat, drink and be skinny while you can.  
5. Don't think that people in their 40's are old. Cuz they are sooo not.

Sincerely,
Yourself....twenty-five years from now.

















Now remember my sweet friend Casey I mentioned?
Well go read her sweet letter now.
She has an amazing story to tell.

46 comments:

  1. oh.my.goodness. such a sweet and amazing post friend! Gd is so good and you can see that in your life! my mom was just 16 when i was born...so very thankful for mamas who chose life!

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  2. What a great story God has given you! Thanks for sharing :)

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  3. this made me cry. i love you and your heart. your story to make HIS known.

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  4. so thankful to know you my sweet friend. of course, I cried my way through this post. love your heart & your family. what a legacy Jesus is building from two 16 year olds who fell in love. love you

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  5. This is the sweet thing I've seen in a long time. You rocked this letter. I wouldn't even know where to begin. He's given you such a beautiful life...testimony. Wouldn't it be interesting to see a letter from your older 80 year old self?

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  6. Wow! You have such a testimony. I know I only know you through your blog and IG, but you have an incredible story. I am excited to know that I will get to spend eternity with you...even if I never get to meet you while on Earth. God is just so amazing...He never ceases to amaze me, especially through your story.

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  7. That is the sweetest letter, you totally made me cry!! The most beautiful and inspiring thing is to look back on what we thought were our hardships and see the ways God used them for not only good, but His glory!! Happy Thanksgiving! xoxo

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  8. I adore you! I have heard Casey mention you often. I am so thankful for your transparency and cried reading this! I am so thankful I want to just hug you! God makes beautiful things out of us!! Love it!!

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  9. This has quickly become my favourite post of all time! I love hearing about how God has worked in your life and how he has blessed you with the sweetest love story. You write the sweetest of letters Stephanie Holden!

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  10. Oh my. Laughed and cried then cried some more! How beautiful. What an amazing story and unbelievable to see where The Lord has brought y'all! He must have really enjoyed writing y'all's story ;) Y'all bless me!

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  11. so, so sweet!! love the old pictures! I just couldn't stop thinking that those beautiful daughters and grandchildren wouldn't be here if you had listened to those teachers! wow!

    love you, Ms.Stephanie!

    Jayme-Lee

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  12. I follow you on IG and had to check this post out... So glad I did because I have already fallen in love with you and your blog!

    You have such a story to tell... And I can tell the Lord has truly seen you through. :-)

    As a 17 year old - I can't WAIT to do this myself one day... :-)

    Xoxoxoxo!

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  13. I love your letter. My best friend in high school got pregnant and had many people telling her to have an abortion. She and her boyfriend married and kept that baby. Sadly, they divorced years later, but that little girl grew up to have three children of her own. She's the heart of her parents, grandparents and so many more. What blessings have come from your decision! So glad you didn't listen to the advice you were given. God writes our stories so well. Hugs.

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  14. I enjoyed reading your story so much! So sweet and so hopeful.

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  15. Oh Stephanie, most beautiful post ever. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

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  16. Ohhh, Steph!! This is my FAV!!! So very touching, I was so young back then and never realized the struggles you and Nickie faced when you got pregnant, but I surly remember the JOY Elizabeth brought to us ALL!! I was, and still am, one PROUD cousin. All part of God's amazing plan. So very thankful for interruptions by such an awesome God. Love y'all to pieces.

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  17. I loved reading this Steph. I got a little weepy, your story reminds me so much of my own. Nay sayers be gone...God is SO good. You are always such an encouragement.
    xxO

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  18. i love this post. you are darling {then and now} and i can totally see what you mean about the grey beard!

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  19. I can TASTE God's Grace over your life as I read your words. I'm full-on crying, just imagining your 16 year old self, having no idea the blessing and goodness that was to come. Praise God! Thank you for sharing your story in such a way, it is such a testament to His faithfulness!

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  20. What a sweet, beautiful, powerful letter! Thank you for sharing your story!

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  21. Simply Beautiful! What an AWESOME testimony!

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  22. Oh, what a blessing this was to read and thanks for sharing. What a testimony to God's faithfulness in our life, in the good and not so good of times. You family is just beautiful and I'm sure the Lord has lots more in store. Again, thanks for bringing a big smile to my heart this evening.

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  23. Dear Honey, what a blessing you are to me. I am crying happy tears reading this. You are so filled with God's goodness. And what a beautiful family you make. I love you.

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  24. Stephanie,

    Thank you for sharing your letter! I cried through the whole thing....WOW! I am so encouraged by you. I have been such a mess the last few years & I have now been gently reminded that all is well. I am a work in progress and need to jump back up, dust myself off & take this life one day at a time...sometimes one hour at a time! LOL! Thankful for you! Hattie

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  25. I absolutely LOVED this. Yours is a beautiful LOVE story and what a great and glorious thing to be able to still be so in love with your high school sweet heart. God is SO good!! That HE would turn all of this around for you. THank you so much for sharing your love story here, Stephanie. Your number 3. tip made me bust out in tears, cause I have a brother named Greg. I'm gonna go give him a call.

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  26. thank you.

    i love reading your story. you're letter to you.

    so much truth, redemption, grace, BUT GOD!

    thanks for reminding em today that that is who He is.

    16 year old me needs a letter...a "look back, hope forward" kind of letter. see where God has been faithful, hope forward knowing he will continue to be faithful. that IS his way!

    i love His faithfulness in your story.

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  27. tears.

    many, sweet tears.

    love you!

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  28. This is beautiful! What a perfect picture of God's goodness. He is so in control... especially when we're sure he's not :) Your family is gorgeous!

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  29. I cried and cried reading this! It inspires me to try and write a letter to my 16 year old self some day. :)

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  30. Such a beautiful letter! A true testimony of how God uses everything for our good. Love ya :0)

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  31. WOOOOOWW. I LOVE this post. This is the first time i've seen your blog, and what a wonderful post to start with. :) God bless you, girl!

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  32. sweetest post ever. God is so good!

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  33. I Looove this post! Your family is just precious - you've done well momma!!

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  34. oh stephanie! you know i love this right? this is such a glorious story, it gives me chill bumps! i love your heart and your story and i am so glad i got to see the joy all over your face when you told me some of these things in person. God is faithful.

    PS- your young Nickie looks a lot like Tom Cruise!

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  35. Thank you for sharing your story! I too had a surprise pregnancy at age 18, and it was one of the biggest blessings I have ever been given

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  36. Absolutely loved reading this! What a precious story!

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  37. What an awesome story. So inspirational!

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  38. This made me cry tears of sweet joy! Thank you for sharing your letter with the world. I love you two so much!!! And God loves your beyond the universe!

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  39. Oohhhh how I just adore you!Your heart for Him is a thing of beauty! You shine...always.XO

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  40. cried through this. how beautiful. the power of a redeemed life... God is so good!! <3

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  41. I was looking at your daughters bridal portraits and this was down at the bottom as a recommended read or something. Anyways, this is a beautiful letter. I am a teen mom. I didn't have quite the outcome like you did with your 24 year marriage but none-the-less, I felt the same as you did. But I now have a beautiful daughter who is the best thing that ever happened to me. She is 14 now, so smart and so beautiful. (I also have 2 boys!). I have someone in my life that suffers from addiction. I am not sure what happened to your brother because I have only been reading your blog for a short time. But bless you for writing this.

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  42. What in the world? So, I'm looking at fashion pins and end up crying my eyes out. Just 2 days ago, I left my post as Executive Director of our Pregnancy Care Center. Wow, wow, wow. you nailed it sister. I was thinking I might try this letter to my 16yo self thing, but I'm not sure I'd make it. Thanks so much for sharing your story. It really, really, blessed me today.

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  43. Love Love Love this, so beautiful!

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