Happiest of birthday's to you on this warm July 19th day! You're 18 now and so excited to tackle the world as an adult. My oh my, the things you will soon learn. As you've discovered, being 4.5 hours away from home at a huge university just isn't your cup of tea. Those tears that you cry every Sunday on your drive back to Orlando will eventually subside because soon you will be moving back home to attend the local community college. It'll be okay, sweet child.
In about a week from now, you're going to meet a guy that you thought was your forever. Trust me when I say this: he will not be your forever and that's a good thing! You're going to experience mountains and valleys of emotions when you're with this person. Just hold on, you're going to be in this bumpy relationship for awhile. Family and friends are going to judge you, have concern for you, and some will leave you. It's going to be a painful time in your life but again, trust me. It's only going to get better. God is shaping you into a strong, independent woman with time.
Unfortunately, you're going to experience depression. You won't know it at the time but in hindsight, you'll see it. Just like you didn't see the abuse at the time, you'll look back and see what it was. You will pull through the depression eventually, but not without the thoughts of wondering if your life is really even worth it anymore. Beautiful girl, your life is worth everything and more! God has HUGE plans for you! You don't see it now, but you're going to become so on fire for the Lord that you could just bust at the seams. So on those dark days, and in those moments of questioning your existence, know that you're worth every.damn.breath.
As you go through the next few years 18-year-old-self, you'll develop an independence unlike any other. You will discover that you are worth so much more and you're going to find a man that embraces every part of you and your personality. And no, it's not the fool that you're going to meet in about a week. But! He is a stepping stone in your journey that God has you on. Trust the process.
Let's talk about this man that's going to embrace you in the future (and eventually become your hot husband): He is kind, loving, and everything that you would hope to find in a man. However, know this, God is going to bring you both together and break you both down individually. The both of you are going to grow in your walk with the Lord individually, and together. You'll think you're in love with this guy but just wait - when he becomes a true, God-fearing man, whoa baby. You'll experience a love so deep that you didn't know you had it in you! Oh and that list of qualities you want in a man, he's going to surpass every single one of them and more.
18-year-old-self, you are beautiful in every way. You are kind and your heart is at full capacity when you are giving back to others. But remember to give to yourself sometimes. You deserve that pedicure, an awesome hair cut and color, an education in whatever you please, a life worth living. I wish I could go back and tell you all those things, to save you from the immense heartache that you're about to experience. But I can't, and I won't. See, it's those moments that have made you who you are today and will continue to shape you for the rest of your years.