A letter to my teenage self

Dear Janna:

I want to talk to you about that boy.  The boy who didn’t treat you very well.  First, I want to tell you that you need to forgive yourself.  For staying with him as long as you did.  For not standing up to him.  For not being as strong as you think you should have been.  It’s not your fault.  Second, I want to tell you that he is not the one God is preparing for you to marry.  The one God is preparing for you is safe and kind and gentle and will never make you feel scared.  THIS is how God wants you to feel in a relationship and THIS is how you deserve to feel in a relationship.

That boy moved you along in your relationship physically much quicker than you wanted, and you knew in your heart that it wasn’t right, but you didn’t say anything.  That doesn’t mean it was your fault.  You were confused and didn’t know what to say or do.  It’s ok.  No boy has the right to set the physical boundary in the relationship without your consent.  No boy has the right to tell you how you should kiss him, so that you would question yourself in future relationships.  You shouldn’t be critiqued in a relationship.  Your husband will not treat you like this.  When you are dating he will respect your boundaries, and he will not judge you.

That boy wanted to control you when you were with your friends and wouldn’t let you talk to other guys.  In your heart you knew that wasn’t right, but you didn’t say anything.  You thought that maybe you hurt his feelings.  It’s ok, it’s not your fault.  He was insecure.  No one has the right to pull your arm so hard that it hurts.  No one has the right to hurt you.  He could have used his words if he was upset, but that’s not what he did.  He made the bad choice, not you.  Your husband will not treat you like this.  First, he will be confident enough in your relationship to understand that you have both girl and guy friends.  Second, when he is upset about something he will use his words, not his hands.  Ever.

That boy shook his fist in your face and told you not to piss him off, but you didn’t break up with him right away, because you thought you could handle it.  No one has the right to threaten you.  I know you’re mad that you didn’t stand up for yourself.  I know you’re mad that you didn’t break up with him on the spot, but he did just threaten to hit you so it’s understandable.  It’s ok, it’s not your fault.  The point is, you did get out of it.  You got out before he hit you.  You never let him hit you.  Your husband will not EVER treat you like this.  He will NEVER threaten you.  He will NEVER treat you like some sort of object.  He will NEVER think so little of you.  He will love you the way God has commanded him to.  You will be safe with him.

When you broke up with him, you were scared.  That boy yelled at you.  He sobbed.  He yelled at you more, then he sobbed more.  All while he was driving you home.  You did the right thing.  YOU ended the relationship.  YOU were brave.  When he walked you to the front door, YOU shut it behind you.  YOU DID IT.  I’m so proud of you.  You were so young, and so little.  But you did it.  You feel like you didn’t stand up for yourself, BUT YOU DID.  Your husband will never treat you like this.  You will never, ever be scared with him.  He will protect you.  When he holds you, you will know that this is the man God prepared for you, and He prepared you for him.

I’m so sorry.  I’m sorry you went through that.  I’m sorry that you almost changed who you were to meet that boy’s requirements.  I’m sorry that you have no good memories of your time with him.  But I’m so proud of you.  You realized that you deserve so much more.  God created you, and it was not to be treated like that.  God’s desire is for you to be loved like Christ loved the church, and that is not how He modeled love.

You need to forgive yourself, because you did nothing wrong.  I know you let yourself down, but what happened was not your fault.  You just wait, because the man you’re going to marry is right around the corner, and you will know right away that he is the one.  And he is amazing.

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