Swift Blogging Challenge: Back In Time
For this part of the Challenge, you need to write a letter to yourself in the past, i.e. to yourself when you were younger. So it’s like you’re writing back in time.
And the letter is for the purpose of giving yourself some much-needed advice. You can choose any age, it doesn’t matter. The important part is the advice that you would give to yourself and why.
I just have to tell you, that when I read this challenge, my heart started pounding with excitement. The most difficult thing for me in this challenge was determining at what age I should speak to little me. I wanted to make sure little me was old enough to understand and remember my advice, for the time when she (I) would most need it.
This is a very special birthday letter to a very special girl on her eleventh birthday. I know what a wild imagination you have, so it won’t be difficult for you to believe what I’m about to tell you. The person writing this birthday letter to you is you, when you’re forty-one years older.
Stop rolling your eyes like you know it all! This isn’t a joke. I heard that giggle slip out. It’s okay. Go ahead, smile. I know what you’re thinking, because even though I’m fifty-one years old, (fifty-one is not as old as you think it is), I am you, and you are me. I’m not doing a very good job of this, am I?
Listen Cheryl, I know you really want to share this letter with someone to see if it’s for real or not, but please don’t. I’ve been given a unique opportunity to write this letter to you, for the purpose of giving you some advice. I was told that I could choose to give you this advice at any age, so I really had to think about how old you should be when I share this with you. I didn’t want to talk to you when you were younger, because I knew you wouldn’t understand, and I didn’t want to wait until you were too old, because some things are about to happen to you in a very short time, that are going to change your life, and I want to help you.
You’re still wondering if this is for real or not, aren’t you? Okay, just to show you that this letter is really from you as a grownup, I know about the report card you erased last marking period, and even though you try not to think about it too much, you’re really starting to get scared, because they’re going to find out about it next week. You believe me now, don’t you?
Oh honey, I know how scared you are, and I know you don’t want to think about it, but I need to give you some advice that’s going to help you when everything happens, okay? Cheryl, l want you to do what I tell you, no matter how hard and how scary it is, and I want to share something really, really important with you.
First of all, let me share the really, really important information with you, okay? Cheryl, you know how you feel like nobody loves you? Well, that isn’t true. Somebody very important loves you, but you don’t believe it, because you don’t love yourself. Do you remember the first bible verse you learned when you started riding the church bus? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Cheryl, I know what you thought when you memorized that. You thought God loves everybody else but you. You started thinking of all those “nasty” things you did, and you felt ashamed and dirty, and you thought there was no way that God could love you. But Cheryl, you were wrong. God does love you very much. Jesus loves YOU. He really does. Cheryl, He knows all about those “nasty” things you’ve done, and He knows about your “nasty feelings,” and He still loves you. You’re shaking your head right now, because you want to believe it so badly, but it’s so hard to believe, isn’t it?
Listen, Honey, God isn’t like your mommy and daddy. You don’t have to earn His love. Nobody can earn His love, no matter how good they are, but Cheryl, He knows about your report card, and everything else, and He loves you. You need to know this, because some really bad things are going to happen soon, and you’re going to feel like you’re all alone, and that nobody loves you, so just remember this. Jesus loves you, and so do I.
Cheryl, next week, when Mrs. Murray sees your report card, don’t lie about it. This is very important, and I know you’re really scared about it, but no matter how scared you are, tell her the truth. If you lie, everything is going to be so much worse for you.
Cheryl, Mrs. Murray is going to call the principal, and they’re going to send you to Mrs. Wainwright’s office, and she’s going to ask you a lot of questions. Listen to me – when Mrs. Wainwright asks you if you’re afraid of your mommy and daddy, tell her the truth. Don’t lie to her. She isn’t being nosy, and she’s not trying to get you into more trouble. She wants to help you, but she can’t help you if you lie to her. She’s going to ask if Mommy and Daddy beat you. Don’t lie about it. Tell her about the beatings and the punishments. Tell her how you’re not allowed to leave your room except to go to school and church. Always tell the truth, Cheryl, no matter what.
I know your mommy and daddy told you that if you tell anyone about your punishments and the beatings, that you would destroy the family. Sweetheart, they told you that everything is your fault, but that is not true. Everything is not your fault, Honey. Do you understand? You are not a bad girl, and you are not the reason why they are so angry. Sweetie, I know you’re afraid that there is something really wrong inside of you, and that you are just as bad as Daddy John. Cheryl, Daddy John was not a wicked man. He had a lot of hurt inside of him just like you do, and just like your mommy and daddy do.
You don’t know who you are yet, but I promise that one day you will know, and you will not only like who you are, you will love yourself. You will come to see that you are beautiful. Did you know that you are created in the image of God? You are funny and sweet, and full of love. And you know how you read all those books, and how you make up stories where you strong and courageous? Cheryl, you really are strong and courageous.
You know how I said that Mommy and Daddy have a lot of hurt inside of them? Well, honey, that’s why they have so much anger all the time. You see, hurting people hurt other people, and Cheryl, your Mommy and Daddy are going to hurt you really bad. They‘re going to say that you brought this on yourself, but believe me when I say that this is a lie. It is NOT your fault – not even a little bit. They are going to tell you not to tell anybody about what happened because it will hurt your sister, and you will destroy the family, but that is not true.
They are the grownups, not you, and they are supposed to love you and your sister and protect you. It is their responsibility to do what is right and to protect their children from harm. It is not the responsibility of a young girl or a teenager to protect her family from danger. It is the parents’ responsibility.
Cheryl, next week, when Mrs. Murray says, “You erased this report card,” don’t lie about it. Tell her the truth, and when she and the principal send you to the nurse’s office and Mrs. Wainwright starts asking all of those questions, tell her the truth. Tell her everything, about all of the beatings, all of the punishments, all of the bad names they call you and tell her about how they curse you. Don’t lie about any of it, and don’t hold anything back.
Baby, if you do what I tell you, you won’t destroy your family. You just might save them and yourself. I have to go now, but I want you to remember these things always:
- Somebody does love you – Jesus loves you very much.
- You are not bad, or ugly, or stupid, or too lazy to breathe, or worthless.
- You are lovable, beautiful, very smart, worthy, and you will amount to something — you will be a success.
- You are very strong and courageous.
- Everything is not your fault, and you did not bring any of this on yourself.
- Always tell the truth, and start by telling the truth to Mrs. Wainwright, then tell Mr. and Mrs. White and Mrs. Kern. They care, and they want to help you. You can save yourself and your family by telling the truth.
I love you Cheryl, and I know that you’re going to grow up to be a good person. You are going to get married, and you are going to have children and grandchildren. Honey, all of those things you’ve dreamed about, being an author and being a lady preacher — you’re going to do it all and more! God bless you, and remember Sweetheart, tell the truth. “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NLT)
Cheryl A. Showers