Dear, 15 Year-Old Me…

Dang, y’all – 35 years goes by so fast.

My mom always told me: the older you get, the faster time flies. As usual, she was right. I’ll never forget something Sandy Johnson said to me: Lacey, you don’t really ever age in your mind. I’m in my 50’s, but in my mind, I’m still 26.  I believed her because she was Sandy Johnson, but I now know it to be true. Age is just a number is something I thought old people told themselves to make them feel better about aging – but no – it’s true. Age really is just a number.

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Thank God, because I don’t ever plan on growing up. Neverland will remain my home and Peter Pan will always be my boyfriend.

I started thinking about what life was like at 15. Taylor Swift sums it up perfectly in her song Fifteen. Everything was so much easier back then. Whoever said being an adult was better – lied. Straight up lied. Oh, what my 35 year-old self would tell my 15 year-old self! Which got me thinking… What would I tell my 15 year-old self? Here’s what I came up with…

Dear 15 Year-Old Lacey,

It’s both a good thing and an unfortunate thing you don’t know how your story will unfold over the next 20 years. If you did, you’d do a lot things very differently and keep a lot the same…

You’d make wiser choices. You’d be more courageous and take more risks. You wouldn’t care so much about what people think about you – Especially in your bathing suit. You’d pick people over productivity. You’d buy the one way ticket.

You’d stay clear of the players you knew would inevitably break your heart into a million pieces. You wouldn’t have ignored the red flags. You would’ve listened to your gut.

You would get a college degree. You’d boldly state your opinion when asked. You would learn how to take care of yourself – body, mind, soul and spirit. You’d spend less time in the office and more time in the studio. You’d spend less time in the studio and more time with the people who love you – like your mom. You will only have her with you on this earth 24 and a half more years, so don’t waste a moment you have to cherish her.

You would’ve rejected those credit card offers and learned how to create a budget and stick to it. You would’ve been content to drive your 2003 blue Honda Civic Si till it drove its last mile.

You would’ve listened to your mother more. You would’ve prayed more. You would’ve guarded your heart better. You would’ve believed what God could do through you.

You wouldn’t have cut your hair like Felicity’s and you would’ve learned how to use a flat iron… and TONER. You would’ve demanded your hair stylist use TONER. *face palm*  And, while we’re talking about hair – you never would’ve dyed it red or brown. Mom was right. You look so much better as a blonde.

You would’ve gone to that intimidating audition – knowing full well you didn’t have a chance. You would’ve told that guy you liked him – knowing full well you didn’t have a chance with him.

You would’ve left that movie earlier or later so that guy wouldn’t have rear-end you at 55 miles an hour.

You would’ve ended that relationship sooner.

You wouldn’t have let that person go.

Lacey Louise, I know it sounds like your 35 year-old self has a lot of regrets. And, she does. I know it seems like she’s experienced heart break beyond what your teenage mind can fathom right now. And, she has. But, you know what? Just because she regrets it doesn’t mean she would change it. It’s made her who she is. It’s made you what you’ll eventually become.

You should know you’re going to live an incredibly blessed life. You’re going to travel the world. You’re going to love the wrong guys whole-heartedly. And, yes – it’ll result in heartbreak most of the time – but at least you gave your all, even if it wasn’t wanted. You will be proud of yourself for that.

You’re going to serve tables. You’re going to sky dive twice. You’re going to swim in the Sea of Galilee. You’re going to get your nose pierced. You’re going to work for a software company and wonder every day why in the world God has you there?. You’re going to create services and productions that will bring people closer to Jesus. You’re going to pioneer a school that will teach hundreds of people how to dance, sing, act, play music and hang from the ceiling on apparatuses.

You’re going to love animals and help the homeless – just like mom. Speaking of mom, you’re going to be more like her than you prefer to be right now. But, trust me – around 34, you’re going to be more than okay with that.

You will meet so many people who leave hand prints on your heart. People like Gail, Sandy, Bekah, Brianne, Rodney, Becky, Rachel, Taylor, Yvonne, Kevin, Brian, Nicole, Dede, Nathan, Grant, Telvin, Beca and Dave. Each one of these people will change you for the good. They are going to be a reflection of God’s unfailing love and grace in the brightest and darkest times of your life. They’re your tribe. It won’t matter how much time passes, what web of sin you find yourself in or traumatic life event you encounter. They’re going to be there in body, spirit or both. Never take them for granted.

Then there are the hundreds of dance students God will entrust to you. Those hand prints will bring you so much joy and sense of purpose. That’s because you are called to teach dance. Don’t ever think just being a dance teacher isn’t enough. It’s what He made you to do – no matter how old you get or where life takes you. His calling is irrevocable. Those students will teach you more than you teach them. Each one of them are as unique as the stars in the sky. Treat them how you wish your teachers treated you. While you may not be a mother for a long time, they’ll make you feel like you are – and they’ll make you so proud.

Let’s talk about your beautiful family… I already mentioned you only have 24 and a half years left with your mom. You should take more pictures. I know you both hate having your picture taken, but do it anyway. You’ll be so glad you did.  (And, just so you know, this will be easier when you get a smart phone.) You’re going to take her on adventures like she’s never experienced. This will serve to create memories that will keep her alive in your heart and mind. Savor every moment you have with her. Every moment. By far, her hand print will always be the most influential.

After much prayer on everyone’s part, your brother will hear the will of the Lord and choose to marry Kristen. Haha. They’re going to have the most beautiful boys who will leave the tiniest, healing hand prints on your heart. Kristen will be the sister you never had. Her hand print will become even more evident when you encounter a life altering, personal shipwreck. She and your brother’s collective hand print will bring the brightest joy and provide much needed healing to your soul.

Just so you know, your dad will never cease to blow your mind. Just when you think you’ve figured him out, he will surprise you with his generosity, wit, wisdom, support, and rock-solid love. And, he is going to be the best grandfather you could ever imagine. You’re going to wonder where this version of him has been your whole life. The way he takes care of your mom all the years she battles cancer, you’re going to pray your future husband has half the amount of patience, love and support as your dad does. He will be the hero of your family, but remember he needs you as much as you need him.

I hate to break it to you, but you won’t have met your person – the man you’re going to love for the rest of you life – yet, but don’t worry. He’s out there. I know seeing all your friends get married, have kids and live seemingly perfect lives will make you feel like you’re on the clearance shelf every once and awhile. When you feel that way, tell yourself that Christ is in you and you are enough. Cause you are – just the way you are. You are enough for God. You’re enough for you. And, you will be more than enough for the man you spend the rest of your life loving. Just remember, there are worse things than being single…Marrying the wrong person is one of them! You’ll be SO glad you didn’t marry any of the guys you’ll consider to be options.

Funny enough, you’re going to be able to check off living in Texas off your bucket list by the time you’re 35. The situation that takes you there, the city itself and the people God puts in your life will shape you into a  stronger, better, braver version of yourself than you ever thought imaginable.  I’m not going to lie to you… It’s going to be scary. You’re not going to want to stay. You will experience depression and anxiety for the first time. But, if you don’t give up and trust God’s healing process, you’re going to be more than okay. You’re going to rise strong. You’re going to thrive. You’re going to live the next 35 years plus with a God-glow you could only get from persevering through adversity.

God’s got you, Lacey. And, this is just the beginning…. a new beginning of the rest of your life.

Standby for greatness,

Your 35 Year-Old Self

PS… I know you don’t like coffee now, but you’ll become an addict around 27. 😉

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