To my 16 year old self:
Today is the day… babygirl you have been waiting for this moment forever. It seems like just yesterday you were getting ready to plan your sweet 16, but today you are officially an adult. On this day you will experience a plethora of different emotions mostly overwhelming joy because of God’s grace and mercy in your life. You will cry, you’ll laugh, you’ll leap for joy, and most of all you’ll be happy. As I reflect over my 21 years of life I cannot help but get emotional because despite everything I am still here, stronger than ever and ready for everything that life has to offer!
So I am going to take a walk down memory lane. When you were eight, you walked down the aisle to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, soon after that you were baptized, you grew in the word, your Bible was attached to your hip, and you read Proverbs daily. Everything seemed so simple at that time. Yet the years seemed to grow longer and your faith seemed to get weary. You began to struggle with mild forms of depression. Yet you never told anyone in fear of judgement. You struggled in your relationship with both your mother and father as you were growing into adulthood. You began to question the calling on your life. Everyone seemed to see such a greatness in you, yet you never saw it. You limited yourself due to the fear of failure. You experienced things such as attending Harvard University for a semester, you traveled to over seven different countries and islands before the age of eighteen, you have done things that people only dreamed of doing at your age. So babygirl, hold your head up keep pressing because your walk is someone’s strength.
Life was good to you, you were accepted into over eight different universities when applying for college; choosing the illustrious Hampton University. It was bliss. Suddenly your life seemed to be in a downward spiral, the goals you set weren’t reached, and you kept failing (according to man). It was your HELL. You fell in love, you got your heart shattered into pieces more than once, I’ll admit. So then you became guarded. You struggled with every friendship and relationship you had because you were soo afraid of being hurt. As if all of these things weren’t bad enough, your brother died . . . I’ll repeat it was your HELL. You chose to live with so many regrets because of who you were and the way people looked up to you. You chose to be silent when everything in you wanted to scream. Broken is what you were, but God’s hand never left you. In the midst of your darkest moments God proved himself to be worthy yet again. Here are 21 things I want you to know in celebration of this day.
Life goes on. Despite all of your trials and tribulations, life will continue, and you must keep moving forward.
Speak up. Speak for those who don’t have a voice, speak up for yourself because no one will do it for you.
Love hard. You never know when your life will change, so love as Christ loved.
Don’t take time for granted. You seem to think that you have time, time to learn more, time to love more, and just more time to spend. But the time is now, so do it NOW!
Continue learning. Knowledge is power and can be used as your weapon when needed.
Understand sacrifice. Know that what has happened to you was not in vain, you will reap if you faint not.
Be honest. First be honest with yourself, then with all those around you.
Treat yourself. You always do things for others sometimes it’s okay to do for you.
Be selfish. You are young and have so much life ahead of you. So live it, to its fullest.
Learn to let go. Letting go may be difficult but it’s necessary.
Forgive. Forgive those who will wrong you, because it’s for your own good.
LaToya Downing and Gleason Wood are your parents, honor them with everything you have. Appreciate all the sacrifices and decisions they have made in your upbringing. They will forever be your biggest supporters.
Cherish your family. Family are the only people that will always have your back no matter what.
Remember when nobody has you, God got you!
Keep your faith. The Bible says faith of a mustard seed can move mountains. So keep the faith!
Your time is coming, be patient because when it comes you will be a witness of how God has kept you and brought you out!
Always remember that you are a precious gift from God, He has called you to do great things, you just have to walk in it and trust His plan. This is YOUR moment.
I pray that my 21 lessons and words of wisdom empower you to think a little different on this beautiful day. Love you all