Letter to My 16-year-old Self

In the past week, I spent time reading my journals from high school. I’ll admit it. I was a bit terrified to read what I wrote. Shockingly, as I read my words from ten years ago, I realized I actually liked my teenage self. First of all, I was good at documenting the events in my life and my feelings about them. Secondly, I had a strong grip on my convictions.

My entries consisted of heartache, goal setting, family frustrations, admiration for the leaders in my life, and prayers. It amazed me to find that as I would describe troublesome times, I would also mention encouraging conversations I had with different people in my life. Those people shaped me to be better, and I am grateful that my heart was in a receptive place to receive their input. (Ginormous thank yous to Karen Austin, Karen Henslee, Jan Ogden, Cheryl Patton, Rich and Lisa Downen, and Alex and Lacey Gorrod. I am forever grateful for your investment into my life.)

I also couldn’t help notice how God was with me throughout the process. Several times I would write of despair, and I would cry out to God for help. Then, I would offhandedly mention a meeting I was going to or a person I had recently met. The me in the future realizes that the meeting or person would become significant in my life. I didn’t know it at the time, but now, I realize that God was actually leading me to places of healing and blessing. Even when it was deeply confusing and dark, God was with me. Always. I love that.

Now, as a high school teacher, I spend most of my time surrounded by teenagers. It is my goal and delight to encourage them in their journey. I remember what it felt like to not be the popular, pretty girl in school. I also remember what it was like to not feel truly connected with my peers because I had a different moral standard. Undoubtedly, high school is a tough season. If I could send a letter to myself at 16, I would want to include the following:

  1. Notice those who are unseen. You have the opportunity to be a light to those who feel lonely and hurt in your school.
  2. Read more books, and develop the discipline of reading the Word daily.
  3. Advocate more for yourself when it comes to your education and future plans. Don’t be shy to ask questions, but always be kind when asking. Kindness is key.
  4. Realize that teachers are humans, and they work really hard. Try to see things from their perspective. It’ll make you a better human being.
  5. I know you decided not to date until college, and you’ll stick to your commitment. For that, I am so proud of you. However, don’t even crush on any boy in Goldendale. It’s a waste of time. You’ll meet the man of your dreams your sophomore year of college. Embrace the special years of single-hood.
  6. Embrace being you and know that you are indeed beautiful inside and out.
  7. When you go on all those mission trips, pray and encourage the locals more than you feel inclined.
  8. Join choir. You’ll love it.
  9. Spend more time with your grandma. Tell her all the things you love about her and how much she has changed your life.
  10. Go on adventures with your brothers, help them with their homework, and keep talking about Jesus. They look up to you more than you realize.

    Live free. Live full.Alyssa


One thought on “Letter to My 16-year-old Self

  1. And knowing your crazy auntie’s and which we are so so very proud of the person you are today ! And in my eyes is the most beautiful wonderfully made person I know !


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