August 16, 2010

a letter to my high-school self

the following letter was inspired by another blog i read called '20 something letters' by cassie boorn (http://cassieboorn.com/). it's a collection of letters written by women writing to their younger selves about the different things they wish they had known and the different things they will learn. it inspired me to write a letter to my high-school self, and i hope you enjoy it.

dear high-school charissa,

at this point in your life, you resemble eliza thornberry. after only 2 years at a new school you will be called into the crazy world of high school. you will feel nervous and scared. that's ok. you end up surviving. 3 of your new friends will move away, leaving you totally alone. but you will make the cheerleading squad, which makes you feel somewhat better, and you will think it is the greatest thing in the world for about a week. you will make a 'b' in geometry and will think it's the worst thing ever, but you totally get over it. once you lose the braces and glasses, you look kinda cute. you will be invited to the prom as a freshman. this will be a big deal. but you will choose to use sunless tanner. this will be a grave mistake. sit by blake in english. he will turn out to be your best friend. oh, how i wish you knew that once you start liking yourself, everyone else will, too.

congratulations, you survive your bottom locker days and make it to sophomore year. you trade the cheerleading squad for the debate team. it completely changes who you will become. you operate much better as a nerd. at 15 you start taking voice lessons. keep taking them, you become an allstate musician. you also start taking spanish. stick with it. one day you know how to speak it. but it's not all perfect. you will get an urgent call. you will hold your grandfather's hand as he passes away. he will tell you you're beautiful. you should listen. after you watch him leave this earth, you will never doubt that there's a heaven again. you take driver's ed. you almost cause your instructor to suffer a heart attack as you stop in the middle of an intersection. keep driving because you do in fact get your license. but you name your little white corsica "the beast." what are you thinking?

you're a junior, sweet girl. and every year seems to get better. but after 4 years at your school, you will still feel like an outsider. at 16, a pizza hut delivery man will hit and total your car. you will never eat at pizza hut again. you will suddenly become terrified to drive. drives will become filled with prayer. keep driving and keep praying, GOD is teaching you to rely on HIM. and you eventually get over that fear. not much later, a doctor will remove your tonsils and adenoids. it will hurt. don't panic! girl, we both know how much you love to talk, and you will talk again. that surgery changes your life. you are dared to go a year without chocolate, and you totally do it! i wish you knew that you can do anything. you finally get that cell phone you've been waiting for. and you finally get to wear that makeup you've wanted, but in a short time you will realize you're far prettier without it. you travel the country debating people from all over the nation. you make boys cry! but i wish you would learn to tame those arguing skills and use them a little less on your parents. you will start falling for a boy. keep falling. it won't last forever, and you'll be ok with that. but years later, that boy will help remind you that wonderful boys do exist and that you will find one.

senior year is a blur. it's a rollercoaster. it's the hardest year of your life in many ways. maybe i shouldn't tell you that. in school, you will always come up just short. you will get 2nd place in almost everything. people will try to stifle you, to give you limits, to put you in your place. and there is nothing you can do about it. the odds are against you, but don't fear. satan will throw constant curveballs at you, but against his wishes your faith will only grow. you will find your identity in CHRIST and not in the praise of other people. you will look to HIM for your validation. and years later, you will be thankful for the struggles and the tears and will not want to change a thing.

i'd like to tell you that you will eventually figure it all out. that you will totally fit in. that you won't feel like an outsider. but that day never comes. you always feel different, never quite fit in, and always feel 2nd best. but you realize that it's just a season of your life. one of refinement. one of developing your character. and your inner beauty. one of preparing you for what's to come. hard lessons that will make you wonder if the rest of your life will be the same way. but college...college is a totally different story. :)

love always,
22-year-old charissa

August 6, 2010

all the single ladies

"keep dancing with GOD, and at the right time HE will allow the right guy to step in." a dear friend

this ones for the girls. for all the single ladies. for every girl who may be currently questioning her singularity.

it's about a lie. a lie that satan has created. and a lie that we continually tell ourselves. and here it is plain and simple: your life revolves around finding the one person you're meant to be with, and you are incomplete until you find him.

gentlemen, i realize that even though i've put that this post is for girls, you are still going to read it out of pure curiosity. so to that i say if you dare to read further, take from it what you can and enjoy the insight into the mind of a girl.

i have the best example of marriage that i could ever ask for. my parents got married at 20 and 21, and will be celebrating their 33rd anniversary at the end of this month. they are still as crazy, if not crazier, about each other as the day they got married. in 22 years, i have never heard my parents raise their voices at each other, and i still catch them holding hands when we go to the movies.

after seeing such love, i naturally have been seeking for even a hint of what my parents have. ever since i found out that my mom got married at 20 i just naturally thought that i would, too. i think most girls envision getting married at the age their moms did. so that was kind of my plan: survive high school, go to college, travel europe, meet mr. right, get the sweet bling, get a diploma (but who really cares about that when you have the bling), and get the license. but i left college without a husband or a ring or even a ring pop. and today i thank GOD that i did because i realize that i was in such a hurry because of satan's sweet lie. i always thought that if this ever was the scenario i would feel complete and utter panic. but i have never felt such excitement and peace, mainly because GOD'S timing is perfect and there is peace in HIS plan.

every day i see girls in a rush for the left hand bling. we search crazily trying to find our jerry maguire who will make us complete. we tell ourselves that the main event of our life will be the day when our eyes meet his and that life is not worth living until they do. we tell ourselves that we will be happy once our last name changes and that then we can really start living. the purpose of our life changes from sharing the JOY of our salvation to finding 'the one' in a limited amount of time.

we forget that the only ONE to make us complete has been with us all along. we forget the day that our eyes met HIS. we forget that we already have a MAN in our life, and that HE will always be all we need regardless of what happens. we lose sight of our PURPOSE and the true SOURCE of happiness. we mistake the ONE with whom we will really share forever.

in our race to the altar, we drop certain things that are preventing us from getting that wedding ring. the thought of 'being in love' truly blinds us and taints our judgment. we forget our values, drop our morals, and shed the must-have qualities in a husband that we've been praying about for years for what we believe is love. sometimes we find ourselves in a relationship with the exact opposite of that list that we started writing so long ago. we would rather be married than married to the right person, and we feel such pressure from the lie that we forget the list.

i know this to be true because i've been there, feeding myself the lie that i cannot reach my full potential until i find 'my other half.' but in my search for mr. right i have learned this one thing: it's hard to give up something for nothing for the hope of something greater, but it's better than having a nothing that you think is something.

i have saved myself for one man for one lifetime. i have prayed for that boy for as long as i can remember, and i believe that he will eventually come into my life. but in the process of waiting i have learned the following things: 1) marriage is not the purpose of my life. 2) i will not grow old with cats. 3) maybe with a cute dog, but not a cat. 4) GOD'S timing is everything. 5) if it isn't godly, it's not worth keeping. 6) there is no hurry. it's an illusion. 7) i have the rest of my life to spend with someone and very little time to determine the someone. 8) i am not willing to settle for someone other than the man GOD wants to step in. 9) my life is incredible in its current state. 10) i love the excitement of not knowing and can't wait to see what's in store.

in conclusion, my life became complete on april 25, 1999, and i've been walking hand in hand with my MAN for almost 12 years now. i'm just as excited about HIM as the day we met. HE still looks at me with those loving eyes, making me feel cherished, protected, and adored. and i still get butterflies when i talk about HIM. when people see us walking together i say, "i can't believe HE picked me." HE puts up with all of my little imperfections, and after almost 12 years of searching, i know i will never find an imperfection in HIM. HE'S building this amazing house for us to live in, and although i haven't seen it yet, i hear it's incredible. we talk all the time, and HE always answers my calls. HE never leaves me wondering for too long. and HE never makes me doubt myself or puts me down. HE carefully tells me when i'm wrong and always strives to make me better. HE always has a plan and knows exactly what HE'S doing. sometimes i don't understand the plan, but i know as long as HE'S driving i don't have to worry. HE pursues me as HE has from the start and grieves at the thought of losing me. my life was transformed the day i looked into HIS eyes, and i know it's a love that will truly last forever.

"delight yourself in the LORD and HE will give you the desires of your heart." psalm 37:4