A Letter to my Younger Self
by Elizabeth Paige Chavoustie
Dear Baby Me:
You beautiful little precious angel, there are a few things I want you to know. You are not a mistake. You are not unwanted. It’s true that your dad did not want children, but your Father did. Although your mother tried to abort you, even before you breathed a breath or did anything right or wrong, God allowed no weapon formed against you to prosper. No one was allowed to snuff out the life that He gave. That He created. That He loved.
I know that your mother had an IUD in place, but it also was not allowed to scrape you off the surface of her womb, nor imbed itself in your frail little frame. Your existence proves God’s sovereign love and care for you. Though your mother and father forsake you, it is the Lord Almighty, the King of the Universe who breathed in you the breath of life and protected you under the shadow of His wings. He will receive you. You are not a mistake or unwanted. You never were. Just look to your true Father to find love and acceptance. Trust Him to guard over your life.
I also want you to know that your parents’ divorce was not your fault. How can a baby cause a divorce? Babies are perfect and beautiful expressions of love, first from God, and secondly between husband and wife. It is your life that was supposed to draw them together, to teach them what real love is, to teach them to live selflessly and to find joy in the gift God gave them, but they chose not to. That is their free will and their choice. But that choice should never make you question your worth. Your value is in what Jesus paid for you—His blood, which is worth more than anything in this universe.
You are beloved, blood-bought, and worthy. Let no one look down on you because of your youth and your frailty. You are a precious treasure and you are in God’s hand, created to fulfill His plans and purposes in this world. Be strong, you have a rough journey ahead, but know that you are never alone, and you are deeply loved and deeply wanted by the One who made you.
Dear Seven-Year-Old Me,
Precious little girl, so quiet and withdrawn. I wish I could scoop you up in my arms and make it all go away. I’m so sorry for all that you have gone through in your parents’ divorce and how scary and confusing it is to watch your parents date other people and move hundreds of miles away from each other. I’m so sorry that you never feel peace or wholeness, but get bounced around between two parents, two lives, just to always miss someone and to always feel like life will never be right. I’m sorry you have no good memories at all. No memories of a loving mother and father. I’m sorry that you feel like you have to constantly be so good because their worlds are so frail and they are so self-consumed with anger and bitterness.
I’m so sorry that each one tells you that they hate the part of you that is like the other parent—thus making you feel that both halves of you are completely worthless. I’m so sorry. I wish I could say that it will get better with your new stepmom and stepdad, but I won’t lie to you. You’re going to need to be so strong, my baby girl. But you can do this. Your dad will neglect you and put you last on his list of what’s important, but that doesn’t mean you are not important. He is temporarily blind to your beauty and your worth. He has believed a lie that children are a nuisance and that work is the only true value. He will follow false gods and fill your home with idols and witchcraft. Your stepmom will verbally and emotionally berate and abuse you and treat you like you are worthless, but you are not. She is also blind and deceived, never having recovered from the abuse she suffered from her mother. She sees you as a threat to her and her daughter. But you will have to patiently endure. And forgive. In the future, she will struggle for her life against breast cancer.
You will witness vicious fighting and violence, more divorces, and more marriages. Stepparents being replaced by new stepparents and stepsiblings will disappear and you will never see them again.
During the wars that take over your home, you will cower under your bed and withdraw inside yourself, but never lose your love for God. He will not let one hair of your head be harmed. Although no one has introduced you to Him, you know Him. You pray. You hold Him dear to your heart. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will deliver you. Try not to grow weary in doing well, for in due time, the Lord will deliver you and you will reap a harvest, if you faint not.
Dear Fourteen-Year-Old Me,
My sweet, sweet girl, I know you are hurting and your heart can take no more. That’s why it is bubbling out. You have found a voice—one with a sharp and digging tongue, for out of the abundance of your heart, your mouth is speaking. You are hurt and scarred and quick to pass on the favor. You are guarded. Who knows the real you?
My baby girl, don’t look for love from friends who only love you when you do what you know in your heart is wrong. Don’t look for approval from those who disapprove of you unless you are just like them. Don’t look for your value in what you wear or how you look, or how popular you are. These things are sinking sand, and so are the people they impress. They are here today and gone tomorrow. Their opinions of you, good or bad, are simply a breath in the wind. They will not remain in your life, and you will never think of them again.
Be true to who you are. Your heart is good and pure. You want what is right, yet you are mocked for being smart and good. Why do you want the friendship and the companionship of those who enjoy what is evil? You know part of your heart dies inside each time you turn from the voice of True Love and Goodness. Do not turn off the path. Stick with the narrow road. Even if it is lonely, it is far better to walk alone than to walk in a crowd with a corrupted heart, separated from the One who loves you more than life itself.
Dear Nineteen-Year-Old Me,
How I wish I could step back in time to rescue you. How I wish I could hug you and love you and show you your worth and change the course of your life. I wish I could stop it all and stop the pain before it ever began. If only…
If only you wouldn’t have gotten that job at the Foot Locker shoe store. If only you wouldn’t have been so bored that you filled out your name on an entry to win a free health club membership. If only you had stayed on your couch in your basement apartment with the barred windows when the call came in saying that you had won a membership. If only you had not been so, so lonely that you went and met him.
If only you hadn’t fallen for a man eleven years older than you. If only you had been adored by your dad so that you didn’t seek love from older men. If only he hadn’t been married and had two kids. If only he hadn’t lost his job and started drinking. If only he hadn’t moved in with you into that basement apartment with the barred windows. If only you had listened when God tried to warn you. If only you hadn’t gotten pregnant. If only you had not still been so insecure that you would do anything to please those around you, even if what they wanted was wrong.
If only your mother hadn’t paid for you to do it. If only they had really loved you unconditionally. If only your mother had thought about how she had almost aborted you. If only you loved God or your baby more than people who only love you when you do what they want. If only you hadn’t driven there that day. If only you had refused to go in when you saw the protesters with signs. If only you had run out when they gave you a valium and tried to tell you it was a lump of flesh when you knew it was a baby. If only you had valued your life, or the life you carried. If only you let your baby live.
If only I could have stopped the chain reaction of evil before it started. I wish I could stop him from berating you, from telling you that you were worthless and never should have been born. I wish there had never been anything inside you that believed that. I wish I could have stopped him from torturing your pets and killing them, one by one. I wish I could have warned you to get out long before he beat your head into a brick wall and punched you in the stomach over and over again, shocked that you refused to pass out. I wish I could have held you in my arms as you crawled to the living room and grabbed his gun, your life flashing before your eyes as you agonized over the life and death decision to shoot or take a chance that you could be shot yourself.
I wish I could have grabbed the razor from your hand, as you held it to your wrist, not knowing any other way out. When you heard the Voice say, “Where would you go?” I wish I was there to whisper in your ear, “You are beautiful, and valuable, and have always been loved and always been wanted by the One who made you and gave His life for you, that you can live forever with Him. He already forgave you before the foundations of the world. He wants to set you free and give you a new life and a new hope and a new future. Will you let Him do it?”
I wish I could have rescued you from all of that pain, all of that suffering, and all of that shame. But then again, knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t rescue you if I could. This trial will drop you to your knees. It will show you that no matter how you try, you can’t save yourself. It will draw you to the One who already paid it all to save you and set you free, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He will take your ashes and transform them into beauty. He will take your scars, and let people see the light of God’s glory through your weaknesses and sufferings. He will take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it around, not only for your good, but for the good of so many others who will be set free by what you proclaim from the mountaintops. The enemy is defeated by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, and you will testify far and wide, without shame, without regret, to set the captives free and take back what the enemy stole, by one hundredfold.
No, if I could, I wouldn’t rescue you, but I would pray that your strength would not fail and that your roots of faith would grow deep into the endless streams of the grace of God. I would trust that God would not let the trial endure beyond what you are able to bear, and I would cheer for you, along with the cloud of witnesses of those who have walked this sod before us--like Abraham, and David, and Paul, and John—shouting the praises of our faithful God and celebrating with all of Heaven as the little lost sheep is scooped up in the arms of her Good Shepherd and carried in His arms, close to His heart, heading for Home.
© Elizabeth Paige 2018