A Letter To My 18-Year-Old Self ~ From Michelle


'Letter from World War One describing the journey from Australia to Egypt, 1914: bottom of page one' photo (c) 2007, Ellen Thompson - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Today’s letter is from Michelle Woodman who blogs over at This Time Around in her own little corner of the Internet.  She has one of my favorite tag lines, “Doing my best not to finish where I start.”  Very good stuff.  She loves coffee and good conversations.  Michelle and I haven’t actually met.  She’s from Canada, and I’ve never set foot on the soil of our neighbor to the north.  But I’d like to think that one of these days we’ll finally be able to sit and have some coffee and talk about what we’re writing.  I hope you go check out her blog!  But definitely enjoy her letter today!

Dear 18 year old me,

I would like to say I have some sort of sage advice, some hard-won life lessons to share with you that would somehow do the impossible and reach back through time, changing the trajectory of your life in some significant way.

But even as I move the above words from thought to keyboard to screen, I realize you could very well end up missing out on things if that were to happen:

Would you miss out on your first-year university English class, where the class got into a lively debate about the introduction to the course textbook and how it pandered to the reader? Would you miss participating in said discussion, even if it were still the same few sentences you barely got past the pounding in your chest?

Would you miss out on meeting God in the way that you did, when you did, before making such important decisions as who to marry and what to do in terms of a job?

Speaking of jobs, would you have missed getting to know some interesting people for a season as you cleaned their homes? Would you have later missed working as a kindergarten teacher’s aide for year? Would have missed discovering you could do more than you thought yourself capable of in the job you held after that?

Would you miss the friendships you presently have?

Would you miss out on the discovery you have more than a passing interest in stringing words together?

Would you miss discovering upon your second taking of Math 31 (hello, introductory university math class!) that you can understand how it works?

The thing is, where you end up 22 years in the future isn’t quite where you thought you would be (when you gave it much thought at all). In some ways it is so much better, and in other ways there are still things you feel you have missed out on, that are mucked up beyond repair, beyond God’s redemptive power.

(Yes, I realize that last part is ludicrous, really, but you’re still thinking it, you goose.)

But here’s the thing: When you’re 40 years old, writing this letter, you’re not going to focus on the all the things you messed up. You’re going to see all the bits and pieces, the lovely and the unlovely, come together and make a picture you haven’t even seen the half of yet. This is a good thing, for it finally starts to take root in your heart, the promise God can cause all things to work together for good.

So don’t worry. Trust God, even though at 18 you merely know about Him as compared to really knowing Him in any sort of a personal way. And remember to keep moving forward. There are, honestly,  many good things ahead!


Your 40 year old self

About the author

  • Would you miss discovering upon your second taking of Math 31 (hello, introductory university math class!) that you can understand how it works?

    Yes! I’m not the only one!!! Bless you Michelle. I totally get that.

    • Michelle Woodman

      Yay, Judy! Sometimes it just takes a bit longer to “click”.