Dear 16-year-old Me,
I’m sorry that you thought you had put the hardest year behind you and that this was going to be the year that launched you into the rest of your life. I’m sorry that you were right, in a way, but nothing like you would hope, dream, or even desperately beg for. I’m sorry that your parents’ divorce was a major factor in your diagnosis of depression, your loss of all your close friends, your changing schools yet again, and your need to define yourself through others because you didn’t know who you were anymore. I’m sorry that you were so riddled with fear of losing those closest to you again that you came across as obsessive and controlling to those you loved. I’m sorry that you had finally come to a place where you felt like you could breathe again, especially in this moment right here.
I’m sorry that these friendships, these girls you’d give your life for, will never again resemble what they do in this photo. Because—I’m sorry—hours after this photo, you’ll be ripped apart, physically and personally, in a wreck that changes everything. I’m sorry that it’s going to be your fault and you’re going to have to carry the weight of that for the rest of your life.
I’m sorry that this carefree smile isn’t going to find its way unforced to your face for a couple of years from this day. I’m sorry that you aren’t going to be able to remember most of this night for at least several months, and that it’s going to exhaust you to fight through the bits and pieces to try to formulate what in the world happened. I’m sorry that your head is going to hurt as much as your heart… and that is going to be a lot.
I’m sorry that you’re going to be alone in this difficult fight for some time, but you will make it through, and you will live. I’m sorry for the shame, the guilt, the stress, the blame, and the loss you will be facing, but once you surrender it all to Jesus your soul will begin to heal. I’m sorry that you will feel like you should have died, but you will find life in more ways than you ever knew could be achieved by you.
I’m sorry that you’re going to have to change schools yet again because of heartbreak and harassment, but you will learn more and graduate sooner than you would have if you had stayed where you were. I’m sorry that you’re going to infuriate and devastate your parents, but you will see them eventually draw close together and to marry each other again. I’m sorry you’re going to be severely confused and distrusting of people for a while, but there will be people who come into your life who bring clarity and dependability with them. I’m sorry you’re going to question God so much in this time of your life, but He is going to answer your questions when it’s time for you to truly understand. I’m sorry your questions and confusion are going to turn into anger at God for allowing all of this AND MORE to happen, but you are going to find your calling, your purpose, your forgiveness, your healing, and your value in Him; and it will be greater than anything you could ever imagine.
I’m sorry you’re going to struggle with depression and occasional suicidal thoughts, but you will overcome them and, in turn, help other young girls through them, too, as you get older. I’m sorry you’re going to lose a dozen or more friends over the next few years, but you will gain a select few who will carry you through your twenties and into your thirties where you cherish them today. I’m sorry you’re going to want to run away from everything you’ve ever known because it all becomes associated with the pain, but I promise you that peace will fill your being again one day.
I’m sorry that you’re going to think that the enemy finally found a way to destroy you, but you are going to stand back up, fight back, and triumph over his plans… And God is going to get the glory for it all and use you to help others fight for their lives, too. I’m sorry that you’re going to be unsure of how you can have the strength to fight any more battles, but there will be even more to come. You will fight them and win. I’m sorry that you’re going to hate yourself, but you will learn to look yourself in the mirror with love in your eyes again, sincerely.
I’m sorry that you don’t know all of this yet, but just hang on. You’re going to be proud of the woman you become…
Because I am.