If you could walk the halls of time and travel back to your 20 something year old self, what would you say? Is there wisdom you would pass on? I just celebrated my birthday on Monday. I realized time is flying by faster than it ever has. In a moment of desperation I took a selfie and texted my husband. I wanted to remind him he has been with me for over half my life and that this life is half over, and I am getting old! He came home from work being super sweet and kind. I think he thought I was freaking out. I was a little bit I suppose.
If I could meet up with my 20 something self, I would probably bring a bottle of wine. I don’t even drink wine, but this occasion may be the perfect time to start. Before I can come up with the words for that chat, I have to remember who I was back then. I was a lost girl, broken and beaten to the edge. Stalked by the repulsive evil that haunted my childhood, I lived in fear. I was a single mom of two after a devastating accident that changed my life, I was in college, afraid to be alone, and I was searching for more.
The poor girl I see in my mind was a mess. She is small, insecure, hurting, and shattered by a life never meant for her. That is where our conversation would begin. I would smile and gently place my hand over hers, and let her know what she just survived is a mere speck in the grandeur of life. It felt like forever, but it is over. The night terrorizing has ended, the mind games, the ridicule, it is all over. I would boldly share that the shame is NOT hers! The part of abuse we carry the most is the shame. I would want her to know that forgiveness is a gift, not to him, but to herself, and it is imperative that she works on that immediately. The longer she remains unforgiving, the thicker the steel bars that imprison her heart and mind will grow. The prison she lives in will eventually hold every part of her life captive if she refuses to move into forgiveness.
As we smile at one another, and take another sip of that wine, I would address something she’s not yet aware of, “Honey, you have bipolar disorder.” When she looks at me in shock and denial, I will softly explain it is ok, because the Jesus you are searching for is going to get you through. I would tell her those two personalities she has been living are going to collide, and her life once torn, is going to be sewn back together. It will not be perfect, but it will be whole again. I will hug her and tell her the strength she needs will be there, because she is going to come face to face with Jesus, and he is going to save her.
I would remind her to remove the bricks surrounding her heart, because only then can she love completely. Take a darn bobcat to them if you need to, but toss them all away. Sweet girl, YOU are worth it, you deserve that freedom. She would say but he said…and I will lovingly remind her he is in the past, and has no power in her life anymore. I would see the fear on her face in accepting this truth. She will probably glance behind her to see if he is there. I will take another sip, and she will turn to me after realizing he is gone, sit tall, and smile.
Then we will discuss her children. I want to tell her, “never call yourself a failure, you are a good mom.” However, I can’t. I cannot lie to this young me. I will share the truth-I wish I had the answers to parenting and being a perfect mom, but it does not exist. I tell her, you will cry, hurt, laugh, and scream. Maybe try to work on not hollering so much. Like every other mother out there, you will screw up here and there. Other times, you may do it right, but don’t count on it. Embrace motherhood in the temporary pieces and the permanent ones. It will come and go, and you will have questions, regrets, and pain. You will also have joy, success, and comfort. It will be hard, but you will get through. I would give her the one advice I am sure of, tackle your bipolar now so you can be a different kind of mom than I was, a better mom.
Will we discuss marriage? Probably not. If she accepts my advice on who she is and what she must do for herself, then marriage will look very different from the get go. Her marriage will flourish on a foundation of self-awareness and acceptance. This will change every part of her life, with marriage impacted the most. She will have 23 years of something I used to wish for long ago.
As we poor the last bit of wine into our glasses, I have to remind this precious human that she is brave and her caring spirit is a gift. I look her directly in the eye and say, “You have purpose and a calling on your life. Do not fear, for God goes ahead of you in your journey, and what he is preparing is beyond your ability to comprehend. Trust Him to accomplish his work through YOU.”
She won’t believe me, but she will consider those words for the rest of her life. She will never forget them and she will focus on the path set before her every single step. It will change the trajectory of our lives. What I never saw, she will one day see. All I could not accept, she will accept. Who I always wanted to be, she will become.
Happy birthday to me.
I thought I would have so much more to say, but that is about it.