Thirty Day Blogging Challenge #2: Day Twenty-Seven

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Day Twenty-Seven: A Letter To Somebody

This is a letter to my thirteen year old self. During this time, a lot of changes began to happen, and if I could tell my younger self anything during this time, this is what I’d say.

Dear Younger Me,

Congratulations on making it all the way thirteen and preparing to embark on journey through your teenage years. As we both know, you’ve already seen a lot in your life. You’ve seen a near impossible prayer answered in a way neither of us could have expected. You’ve started attending church with your family. You’ve made a group of close friends in your classes. You’re already beginning to form in to the person you’re going to become. But, there’s more—there’s so much more.

I wish I could prepare you for something that’s going to happen soon. I wish I could warn you somehow, and numb the blow, but I have a feeling that you’re going to have to find out the hard way—the way I did. This may sound impossible now—as a Bible toting youth group student, but you’re going to start to struggle in your faith after watching Christian leader take a fall. You’re going to have a hard time going to church and become more aware of other problems you were previous unaware of. Your life is about to be turned upside-down, and you’ll feel a little lost for a while.

It will get better though. You won’t always be as jaded as you’re about to become. You’re going to meet two friends in high school who will help you stay afloat in your faith, and eventually, you’ll stumble upon a blog that will help you find the beauty in faith and church again. You’ll find your own voice and find that maybe you’re not a freak for asking questions—you’re human. What you’re about to witness would be enough to shake anyone’s faith, but it won’t remain shaken. You’ll climb out on the other side, victorious.

I want you to learn to humble yourself. I don’t know if this will change a thing, but I have to say it anyways. Please don’t let the reputation that you hold so tightly to, the reputation of being a good girl, stop you from being real. Don’t slip into the horrible habit of pretending to be fine when you’re crumbling inside. You’re not a bad Christian for having questions and doubts, and you’re not the first person to wrestle with their faith. You’re not the first Christian to go through a period where God feels distant—like He’s a million miles away. You’re also not loosing your faith. It may not seem like it right now, but you’re actually growing in your faith. You just don’t know it yet. God hasn’t turned His back on you.

Also, don’t be afraid to let people in. During your time in high school, you’re going to loose a couple of people, but you’ll also make some of the truest friends you’ll ever have. Don’t let one fallout ruin your desire to make new friends, and don’t let it dim your light. Pretty soon, you’ll meet a girl who’s also in a rough season. Befriend her. She’ll eventually become your best friend.

There’s so much more I could say, but for now, this is the best advice I could give you. Stay true to yourself, keep following God, and believe that it will all work out in the end. Your moment will come, and you’ll eventually find the confident version of yourself that you’ve been searching for.

Sincerely,

Future Courtney.

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Thirty Day Blogging Challenge #2: Day Three

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Day Three: Your Current relationship. If single, discuss being single. 

Note, this is not directed at my current church or any one particular church. I am very happy at my church and believe that there are many great and wonderful churches out there. Nonetheless, I have seen a growing problem within the Evangelical Christian sphere of ignoring or undermining single individuals and I believe it is an important issue to address. I do not claim to speak for every single Christian in the world—this is merely an observational piece based on my experiences over the years. 

Dear Church,

I am one of many like me. I’m young, college aged, and most importantly, Christian.

I’m also single—and you sort of don’t know what do with me.

I’m too old for your youth group, but I don’t fit your “ideal-adult-model”.

I’m a career-minded women who’s currently going to school to become a journalist. My goal is to obtain a Bachelors in Journalism and Master’s degree in Theology. I don’t have a significant other—just a bunch of “significant others” that I like to call friends. No, I’m not an overgrown “kidult”. No, I have no intention of sleeping around. No, I’m not greedy, or putting money ahead of what’s important in life. I’m just single—in the state of not being married, engaged, or in a relationship.

And, I think that worries you a little. Many of you would not consider me for a ministry position, even if I were a guy. An extremely high percentage of your messages are directed solely at married folks, as you talk about “How to have a happy marriage” or “How to raise Godly kids“. Oftentimes, the word “family” is used interchangeably with “Christian“, because it seems you believe all people with a ring are Christian and all people without a ring are far from God—as you buy into the world’s myth that singles are all hanging out at a bar somewhere hooking up.

I also sometimes get the impression that you’re more concerned about my future spouse than you are about me. I don’t want to believe this—I really don’t—but sometimes it’s hard not to get this impression. A truckload of devotionals that I read and flipped through during my teenage years focused heavily on how to develop into a good future wife, when I was still trying to figure out how to be a good present “me”.

The truth is, you’ve taught me a lot of important and vital lessons. You’ve taught me who God is and how to follow Him. You’ve taught me what the Bible says, and how to be faithful in reading it. You’ve taught me the importance of having regular quiet time with God. I’m thankful beyond measure for these things, and still utilize these lessons to this day.

I love The Church. I believe that it’s one of the best places to grow and learn with a family of believers. I love singing and praising God along with the worship band. I love listening to the pastor preach from the Word. I love partaking in communion along with fellow believers. The reason this is such a frustrating issue for me is because I love The Church—and because I want to see it do a a better job at ministering to all of it’s congregation.

I love you, and that’s why I’m telling you these things—so that you can learn how to better love others like me.

So many of us want and need you, but don’t know how to seek you out. We want to belong without feeling like we need a ring to be welcome. We want to learn what it means to be faithful in this season of life, even if it’s different than the season of life you’re most comfortable with. We want to talk and engage with our married peers, and learn about what it’s like for different people in different pockets of life.

We want community—and the family that Jesus told us you were.

I trust that you want what’s best for us. You want us to be happy—but you need to let us know that it’s OK to be happy where we are. I’ll never forget the first and last time I ever heard a pastor say that it’s OK to be single. I’ll never forget how unbelievably welcome that made me feel.

Our best life starts now, with Jesus. Not in the future. We’re a part of you, and we want you to know that we exist—that we’re standing beside you every Sunday.

So don’t forget to save us a seat at the table.

Forever sincerely,

Courtney