UPDATED::

Congrats to the following 10 winners of the Graceful, Perfectly Unique, and DaySpring giveaway! Winners, you will be receiving the following goodies:

We’ll be contacting winners by email and are listed below by comment number! Drumroll please…

13) Tricia
79) BethM
125) Rachel
188) Katie Seest
205) Michelle
252) cheryl
321) Ann
377) Christie
403) Sara
459) Christina Y.

 Congrats, winners! And thanks to everyone who left a comment sharing what advice you’d give to your teenage self.  You all continue to amaze us!

***

S
ometimes community hurts. It hurts to be open, to share life, to extend grace when we feel graceless.

One reason why we may often be hesitant to embrace community when we are older is because of the ways we were hurt by community when we were young.

I think of the generation coming up just behind us, of the girls who have big dreams but tired hearts. Of the rule followers, the fear wallowers, the messy and the misunderstood.

I think of the self-critics, the silent judges and the girls who feel invisible.

I think of the girls who long to be loved, accepted, and free.

My heart is heavy for this generation of young women.

How can we teach them to love one another well? To support each other without fear or competition? To be sisters who stand together in the midst of successes as well as failures?

We (Annie and Emily) are taking small steps to walk with girls as they begin to wrestle with answering these questions for themselves. And since we’re writers, we did it in the we know how: we wrote books.

Annie Downs wrote a book for teen girls called Perfectly Unique.

I wrote a book for teen girls called Graceful.

And the fun part?

Both books released on the same day. And now they are both available to you.

Last week, Annie and I hung out together and made a little video for you. It is one part informational, one part ridiculous, three parts genuine excitement. We lose it a little around 4 minutes in, but manage to pull it together in time to wrap it up.

Ignore my weird hair. Go.

Read Chapter One of Annie’s book (Perfectly Unique).

Read Chapter One of Emily’s book (Graceful).

A Giveaway for You

We couldn’t possibly introduce these books without doing a giveaway. DaySpring is generously offering to give 10 of you one of each of the following:

Simply leave a comment telling us one piece of advice you would give your teenage self and we’ll pick 10 winners and announce them here on Monday!

Grab your copy of Perfectly Unique for $7.99 and Graceful for $9.99 from DaySpring today!

 

 

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  1. 1

    Dear teenage self,
    Love people as much as you want to be loved. When they feel comfortable, they’ll welcome you into their hearts, too, and God may just be offering you a home in that community.

    I mean it.
    Ariana.

    • 2
      Anonymous says:

      Teenage self, stand up straight because God made you that height. Don’t worry about what others think and live by Grace…..that’s the love of Gos

    • 3

      Oh I would tell my teenage self a lot of things, one being to not take myself so seriously and to not be so dramatic!! I would have faired a lot better with friends and especially with my sister! I wish I had taken more time to love her when we were younger!

  2. 4

    To my teenage self,
    Cherish the time with your parents, living at home, being carefree and loved unconditionally. Life is short and when they are gone, you will feel a burning hole in your heart…until you can be reunited again in Heaven.

  3. 5

    God has a plan for your life He knew you and loved you even before you were born. Hisway is best just wait on the Lord. You will seek Him and find Him if you seek Him with all your heart Her 29:11.

  4. 6
    Carlie V. says:

    Dear Teenage Self,
    It’s okay to be happy. Being miserable to fit in with your miserable friends isn’t helping anyone. God made your life beautiful and happy so that you could look at your friends’ lives with clear eyes and an empathetic heart and hold their hands as they weep and hold their hearts safely in your hands so they don’t have to give them away to less protective stewards. Your joy is a gift that you should give of abundantly and not hide under a cover of false sadness.

  5. 7

    Don’t put so much pressure on yourself , give up the skinny ideal, and know that the body God gave you is perfect.

  6. 8
    Natasha d says:

    Go into the world and “love” on others! Be yourself and be happy with that (who you are)!!

  7. 9

    Your simple gifts matter. Smiling. Picking up that rolling pencil and handing it back.
    Making room in the locker line-up. Sharing your notebook paper. Thanking the stranger. Your simple gifts matter.

  8. 10
    Maggie C. says:

    I would tell myself to keep making choices for me and not to worry about what other “friends”think or want for me (that turns out! well in the end!) I would also tell myself that I can do things! And not to let family or friends talk me out of checking out some of those careers

  9. 11

    Enjoy your life. Don’t worry so much about what others think of you. Go to church.

  10. 12

    Jesus loves you so, so, so very much. He has a plan for you and the perfect mate for you – you are not alone. You are precious to Him.

  11. 13

    Be you…don’t look to the right or the left but look to Christ. It’s okay to be weak, because in weakness Christ delivers. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Time goes so frightening fast…treasure your loved ones and make tons of memories. Don’t worry about clean houses and stuff….get into peoples hearts and make an impact for Jesus.

  12. 14

    I would tell myself to take seriously the scripture to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. If I had done that, the rest would have fallen into place.

  13. 15

    Dear teenage self,
    You didn’t know Him, but God was loving you the whole time!
    All of those people and events simply lead you do Him!

  14. 16

    1. you guys are awesome

    2. the advice I’d ive my teenage self is: it’s okay to receive help…just because someone wants to help you doesn’t mean they think of you as a charity case, they might actually like you and care about you.

  15. 17

    I would tell myself :
    “Be yourself. You are so loved. Don’t rush through life. Slow down, breathe and enjoy this moment right now. Keep your eyes on Christ. He’ll never lead you wrong.”

    You two are beautiful. And you made me laugh this morning. That’s always a great way to start off the morning.

  16. 18
    Peggy Nagy says:

    Stop trying to hard. Breathe deeply of God’s love for you and trust Him. He’s got you covered.

  17. 19

    Be nice to your mom and you have good friends, hang on to them.

  18. 20

    Tell someone about the bullying because they can help and don’t be mad at them for they are longing for something more than what they have.

  19. 21

    I’d tell myself to stop trying so hard to fit in while the “in” crowd.

  20. 22

    Be nice to your parents! I was such an awful teenager and now my heart hurts for what I put my parents through. :( Thankfully, we are very close now.

  21. 23

    The Bible tells us that God loved us when we were still in sin, that He first loved us. A person cannot give what they do not have. I grew up in a home where abuse abounded. My mother was a woman who prayed a lot and tried her best against a strong foe. It was hard to see her love amidst the anger and violence of a father who did not know about what God expected from him.

    This disconnectedness is what I knew had to change before my children came into the world, but I did not learn it until I got into the Bible myself and learned how to be a child of God first. After God healed my wounds was when I begin to understand how to parent my children the way God had parented me. This is what needs to be taught in the body of Christ. This is what will affect the next generation.

    I did not understand my mother’s faithfulness to Catholicism, because of religion; it was the love of God that got to my broken heart. Teens understand this; everyone understands love. When my son was in his teens, I was shocked at how many of his friends would come to my home and linger, just wanting love and to be loved, with all their tattoos, pierced bodies and strange hair. Some of them changed so dramatically as they accepted love, they learned to give it back. Some of their pain was so deep, they could not accept love, but seeds were planted and prayers said over them.

    I was also honest with the teens that came here, God said our lives would be filled with trials and troubles that being sad, frustrated, or even angry was a part of life but it was how we dealt with these things that strengthened us. To give the impression that life is all good when you are loved and God loves you, is not being fair to anyone. Dealing with the harsh reality of just how inhuman humans can be with each other, is why the teens came here, to learn how to battle the bully in love, to not take insults or abuse, but learn how to hand it to God, to learn their purpose and God’s will for their lives.

    I pray your books do well in helping teens with the pain of they deal with. And I pray the body of Christ understands that so much can be taught to our preteens in the way of dealing with pains and hurts. I pray for the body of Christ to learn how to trust God, receive healing for their pains and hurts and pass on the comfort in Christ.

  22. 24

    I would tell myself to be more responsible for my relationship with God, to spend time in prayer each day. I went to church, but didn’t really develop a personal relationship until later. If I had done so, it would’ve helped with so many other bad choices that I made!

  23. 25

    Hey girl – I knit you together exactly as I wanted you & I want you to know that your identity & “okayness” with yourself is found in me alone. Don’t go looking for it anywhere else, believe what I have said about You in my word & enjoy being who I created you to be! -God

  24. 26

    To spend more time cherishing the gifts and blessings God provided rather than what or who I thought I needed have, be, project to others.

  25. 27

    Acceptance will not be found in friends, parents, or a boyfriend. Acceptance can only be found in God. The rest of the relationships are good but they are supplemental and only give us a flawed glimpse into a relationship with God. That longing inside is found only in God.

  26. 28

    Make it a priority to enjoy the time with your family all together in one place. And when you get that inner prompting that a “friendship” is getting too much and going too far – listen to it! God is trying to spare you. Be brave.

  27. 29

    Dear Teenage Self –

    You have the power to choose – choose happiness, choose joy, choose forgiveness, choose to take small steps each day towards realizing your hearts desires.

  28. 30

    Stop longing for acceptance from the wrong people. One day you will understand.

  29. 31

    Dear Teenage Self,

    Give yourself a break. Look to Jesus not others around you. Rest in the fact that He made you who you are, with a special plan and a special purpose.

  30. 32

    I would tell my teenage self that other people’s choices do not define who you are. You are worthy of love. You are worth the effort.

  31. 33

    I wrote a whole letter…thanks for that wonderful idea emily…therapeutic…one thing…let the LOve of God in sooner…He will heal all the self-hatred…blessings to you both~

  32. 34

    YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE !
    Failure is NEVER final … if you BEGIN AGAIN with GOD!
    (Rom. 8:28)
    Jesus Loves You … unconditionally!

  33. 35
    Melinda says:

    I would tell my teenage self that it’s okay not to be okay.

  34. 36
    MelanieRB says:

    I would tell myself to look to Christ first. Don’t spend so much time on worrying about what peers think and how to feel included in the “in” group. Just be the person God wants you to be and everything else will fall in place.

  35. 37

    I would tell my teenage self to slow down a little bit.

  36. 38

    Hmmm…there’s a lot I would tell myself in hindsight…..but first and foremost, I would tell myself to always “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all his righteousness” because ultimately, that is where true happiness lies. I would also tell myself to always have self respect because no body else will really have that respect for you–not in the those teenage years anyway.

  37. 39

    What would I say to teenaged me? Probably a lot! But one thing I think would be particularly important say?

    You don’t always have to be OK. It’s not your responsibility to hold it all together and take care of everyone else. You’re not always OK, and you don’t have to be.

  38. 40

    I hereby officially nominate this as best video ever filmed in a bathroom! I wish I knew you girls as teens. So grateful I know you now!

    LJ

  39. 41
    Maralee says:

    My teenage self:

    Be you no matter what. Love unconditionally and be a friend. Don’t follow the crowd. Stand up for those hurting around you. You are so very special.

  40. 42
    Tessa Yeater says:

    To love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might.

  41. 43

    I would tell my teenage self to relax, that things won’t always be so hard, and that eventually, I would find a place to fit it. I grew up in a small town where labels were handed out early and stuck for life. And the good girl label can be just as hard to live with as the bad girl tag. The things that were important to me were not valued in my small community of classmates and I often hid my insecurities behind pride. But when I moved away to attend university, I found that I was not alone, that there were other people (including boys!) with similar interests, who weren’t intimidated or put off by a smart girl and were happy to get to know the real me. Now, nearly 20 (!!) years later, I am comfortable in my own skin and happy to be who I am.

  42. 44
    Beth R. says:

    Dear Teen-Me,

    Your life has been hard. It’s OK. What has happened to you, does not define who you are. Love yourself. You are amazing. Let go of some of the hurt, and try and forgive. You are strong, and people will cherish and love you all of your life.

  43. 45

    Dear Teenage Self,

    Here are a few pieces of advice from your older self.

    (1) Hold onto who God created you to be. Don’t try to change into someone else.

    (2) I hate to say this, but the truth is you will face some real downers in the next couple decades. Life won’t be smooth and straight. It won’t be easy, but try to remember God will remain faithful. The Redeemer will sow seeds of grace on your path of sorrow. Through your pain, you will find beauty and wellness as you draw into an intimate relationship with your Savior.

    (3) Lastly, give up your mask of self-control and self-sufficiency—now! It will save you much heartache if you do.

    I pray these points help you and other teens.

    Blessings,
    Your Older Self

  44. 46

    Dear Teenage Self,
    Don’t be so hard on yourself & beat yourself up so much! It’s OK not to be part of the popular crowd or to not fit in. Keep being who God made you to be.

  45. 47
    Michelle says:

    Go on that missions trip to Jamaica.
    Marriage can wait.

  46. 48

    Don’t worry about what other are going to think of you!

  47. 49
    Heather says:

    Dear Teenager,

    You are okay exactly as you are. In fact, you are precious because of Him. Don’t let anyone make you feel that His view of you is less important than thiers. That giant hole in your heart, He can fill it. So let go of what the world is telling you and trust yourself to Him alone.

    Love you!
    ~me

  48. 50

    Dear Teenager,
    Please remember what it is like to receive grace. You will need to offer it to others. Be quick to forgive and do not hold a grudge. This does not make you a doormat, but a reflection of Jesus, and I k now that is what you strive to be.
    Be blessed:)

  49. 51
    Jessica Halpin says:

    Every day that you choose to worry, even every moment you choose to worry, is a day/moment that you could have been focusing on God’s incredible goodness to you, and offering Him back praise. I’m still working on this now. Just remember WORRY IS A CHOICE.

  50. 52
    Robin Troxell says:

    Dear Me,
    Be kind to yourself. And to everyone else. Give yourself and everyone else the benefit of the doubt (esp the Mean Girls!).

    xoxo

  51. 53

    I just bought both of these books from CBD yesterday! I have 2 teenage girls and I can hardly wait to read them! Perfectly Unique is on backorder but the other one will be at my door any minute and I am so excited. Thank you so much!

  52. 54
    Melissa says:

    To my teenage self:

    Grab on and dig in to the Truths of God’s word! Stand firm on the promise that God will take care of you and has incredible plans for you that you can not even imagine. Love all – not just the ones that you enjoy!

  53. 55

    I would tell you to wait for that friend that keep up. She is in more pain than you can imagine.
    I WANT both of these books! My hubs is a youth pastor…would love to share the books with them!

  54. 56
    Jeanine says:

    To my teenage self: Stop worrying about what other people think. Be yourself and enjoy your teen years instead of wishing you were older, out on your own, away from your parents. Cherish each day!

  55. 57
    Phronsie says:

    He really does like you. In fact, you do marry him! Don’t be afraid to tell him you like him too. It’ll save you years of waiting and stupid choices.

  56. 58

    Love who God made you to be. Enjoy all the times you have with Family, Friends, and Church Family . Never fear to tell others about Jesus and His Love for them but most of all LIVE a Christian LIFE before them. You may not see results at that moment but Trust God to bring it to pass. Dedicate all to God and Trust HIM.

  57. 59
    Derin Emukpoeruo says:

    Stay with GOD! Nothing out there is the real deal but HIM!

  58. 60

    Dear Me,
    Don’t be so afraid of people who are different from you.

    And by the way, you don’t have to get everything right all the time. It’s OK.

    God’s got a plan for your life, keep walking with Him, learn to hear His voice.

  59. 61

    I would tell her to not put all of her friendship eggs in one precarious friendship basket. Girls as teenagers are all just discovering who they are and who they want to be and it isn’t a static thing. So grow and change and let others do the same and make friends wherever you go.

  60. 62

    I would say ~ ” There are going to be times you are lied to, peer-pressured into things, feel like you are the outsider, missing out on things, and so much more. Don’t worry, you are strong, confident, and resilient. Life as a teen will not be forever. Don’t try to hard to fit in, wear the right clothes, make up, shoes. Try not to worry to much about sounding stupid or saying the wrong thing. And the last thing I want to tell you is ~ not everyone is having sex, even if they say they are, so stay strong in your promise to yourself and God, and do not give in just because you worry about what others think and you worry about what the guy will think if you if you say you want to wait til marriage. Love yourself.

  61. 63

    A quote,author unknown, that has helped me & my 3 girls through many days; both up & down ones! :Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around but, FAITH LOOKS UP!
    Always remember to keep your faith & where to put your trust!! helps everyone make wiser choices!

  62. 64
    Ashley Cannon says:

    Stop worrying about everybody else and their opinions. Learn to LOVE the unique qualities that God gave you. Life happens while you are making plans. Go with the flow… it will all turn out “ok.”

  63. 65

    Dear Teen-aged self,
    Do NOT waste your time on boys (they may be tall, but they’re still just boys) and instead, invest your time with knowing Jesus as your best friend, spending time with family and friends, and serve others!

  64. 66

    It’s okay to be smart & different & a leader. Popularity runs it’s course. Stay steady and true! Keep God first!

  65. 67
    Shannon says:

    I’m going to get personal here . . . I would tell my teenage self to not feel like I need to get intimate with a guy in order to have him like me or to get attention. I am now 35 years old and single. I am proud that now I’m making the right decision regarding intimacy, but I do regret that I didn’t care so much about it when I was a teenager. Thank goodness God forgives!

  66. 68

    I would tell my teenage self, you are beautiful just the way you are. Stop pressuring yourself to look a certain way, when you are made perfect by the one who loves you unconditionally.

  67. 69

    My advice to my teenage self….hmmmm…..Trust what my mom has to say & soak in all my parents idiosyncrasies. One day you will do the same things and when they are gone those will be some of your best memories.

  68. 70

    Hey there teen me…
    Don’t compromise what’s right with fitting in… Wanna be really unique? Stand your ground. When you find a girlfriend that thinks like you, don’t dump her for the latest boy, or for the opportunity to be in a better crowd. They won’t last, but her friendship would have.

  69. 71

    Be kind to yourself — don’t compare who you are to who you think others are.

  70. 72
    Elizabeth says:

    Dear Teenage Me,

    The things you see in yourself that make you feel different? They are God-given strengths that will help you run the race of life. When you feel alone and that no one cares, remember that’s a lie. God is with you and always, always cares.

    Love, Your older and a bit wiser self

  71. 73

    It is okay to be yourself and to act weird at times. People love you for how you make them feel welcome regardless of who or what they are, and what they can or can’t give you. Keep being you. You are beautiful.

  72. 74

    Trust Mom and Dad. Trust the Lord. It will get harder…but it’s all worth it. Still feel like “I’m there” and I’m 26. But God is good and I’m excited to read these too books. I’m all for more encouragement and insight into being a young woman. I may not be a teenager anymore but I can still relate. Thanks ladies and Dayspring. <3

  73. 75
    Brook L. says:

    I would say:
    Keep your chin up sweet girl. God has amazing plans for your life. Be strong and of good courage!

  74. 76

    Dear Me,
    don’t obsess about who you’re going to marry.
    God will make it clear soon enough and you can dream about different things til then.
    Your older self.

    • 77
      Melissa D says:

      Oh yes! Since you covered this one, dear Erika, I’m going to share my other piece of advice to teen me:

      Stop worrying about being perfect. You won’t ever be perfect. Try new things, even if you don’t do them “just right”…the journey’s in the trying! Pick up a camera, join the school paper, learn a new instrument, dance, laugh, travel, relax!!, enjoy this time in your life!

  75. 79

    I would tell my teenage self to speak up when she needs help, to believe the people who really love and care about her when they tell her she is valuable and special, that when she meets Jesus at 13 to never stop asking questions and pursuing Him, and finally I would tell her that giving yourself away is not the way to build a trusting relationship…she (I) would probably not listen if she heard this at 13, but at 16 if someone had gotten in my face with Truth I might have…

  76. 80

    BE TRUE TO YOURSELF

  77. 81

    After a week of trying to write my letter to my teenage self for the link up on Emily’s page, I finally did it.

    My bottom line? Chill out and wear lip color. :-)

    Oh, I would love to win these and give them to dear friends’ girls. I so don’t want them to go through the years of crud I have as a perfectionist good girl.

  78. 82
    Michelle says:

    you are worthy. don’t listen to people who put you down.

  79. 83
    Heather LaRoy says:

    Don’t worry what others think about you!

  80. 84

    To my teenage self,
    Don’t attach your worth to boyfriends, perceived beauty, or popularity. Your worth lies in being a blood-bought soul, belonging to Jesus!

  81. 85

    I would tell her “Good Job!”

  82. 86

    Oh I would love to give these books to my beautiful niece. She is right on the verge of womanhood (17 years old), seeking God’s direction as she pursues a 3-month mission experience in Zambia, and is trying to balance that with a new suitor. And trying earnestly to live out God’s best for her life. The advice I’d give my teenage self — take more risks!!

  83. 87
    Becky J. says:

    Dear Teen-Self…you are so passionately loved by your Lord..be you..100%..and honey don’t waste time with these boys..God’s got an awesome man coming for you and three sweet babies..now get out there and live fully for JESUS!!

  84. 88

    Dear Teenage Self….

    Accept your self now… develop the traits God has given you… You are unique and an original… GOD made you this way ….. You have a purpose to fulfill… don’t compare yourself to anyone… Don’t desire what others have…. look deep within and see the beauty that lies in you… When you find your true self… help others find it too… it’s wonderful when we realize and learn something… it becomes a blessing when we share that knowledge with others…. then we all grow gracefully…

    Learning this young will cause less tears later… trust me… I know now????

  85. 89

    So many things tat seem devastating at 16 will not be a big deal at all when you look back-everything has a season!

  86. 90

    “Don’t ever let anyone take your smile away from you. Don’t ever stop being happy, or stop believing in world peace, love and happily ever after. Don’t ever let anyone take away your joy or crush your spirit. Don’t ever stop believing in yourself. Ever. God loves and cherishes you just as you are. You are beautiful. Don’t let anyone ever tell you different.”

  87. 91
    lyndsey says:

    Dear Teenage self.
    Do not give in to the ways of the world, live for the one true God and believe that He is your everything.

  88. 92
    Tracy Bergsma says:

    Now Tracy, don’t worry so much about what everyone else thinks of you. You are different from each of them for a reason. You have something special and unique to give the world, something only YOU can give! Don’t try so hard to fit in and be accepted… just be YOU because you are the only one who can be! They need YOU, as you are. The world needs YOU, as you are. God wants YOU, as you are. Be the best YOU that you can be!

    • 93
      Tracy Bergsma says:

      Almost 40…. and STILL struggling with this one! I would encourage girls everywhere (and I do with my own teen daughters) to just be who YOU are and be YOU to the best you can be!

  89. 94
    Felicity says:

    You are awesome. Remember that. Invest more time in your relationship with God, and your family, as they rock.

    Stay brilliant.

    Love Felicity xx

  90. 95

    Dear Teenage Self,
    Find an older girl/woman who can help you walk through these years. Don’t believe the lies, guard your heart, and love your Savior.

    Love,
    Me

  91. 96

    You are unworthy of God’s grace but not worthless. Life is more than rule-following and people-pleasing. Having self-confidence is not selfish. Life is going to be hard but God has a purpose for your pain and every detail of your life is working for your good and His glory… even when you can’t see it.

  92. 97

    Do not believe what others say about your weight! You are a perfect weight and God loves you just the way you are because he made you perfecttly!

  93. 98

    You are unique!! Dance to the beat of your own drum….it doesn’t matter what everyone else says about you, it doesn’t matter what people do to you or how they look at you…one of the most important thing is: God loves you just the way you are. He created you..you are fearfully and wonderfully made!

    I see my almost 12 yr old daughter going through a lot of the same things I went through as a youth. I tell my daughter all the time to “Dance to the beat of your own drum”…it doesn’t matter what other people say or do, just be yourself! That’s what matters most to God!

  94. 99

    Dear Teenage Self
    You are not defined by: others, a boy, a friend, harsh words, the worlds ways. Find Christ and hang on…. go HIS way, not your own. Allow God to lead guide and direct your path. No one or nothing else!

  95. 100
    Patty C. says:

    Note to self:
    Be who you are. Don’t cave to peer pressure because ten years from now those people who influenced you negatively won’t be around to support you when you need it. Be who you are created to be!

  96. 101

    I have 2 pre-teen daughters (11 and 10) — as well as 2 and 4 year old daughters and 13 and 7 year old boys — and would love to have either of these books on hand for them in the days to come. I would tell myself to just be me and not try to be what I’m not. Easier said than done, though, it seems.
    Thanks so much!
    Blessings,
    Shana

  97. 102

    Dear teenage Taylor-
    DONT LIE. Not even the little white ones that you thought were harmless! There is so much freedom in telling the truth and it keeps you out of so many pickles! Just simply be honest. You’ll learn this later but you’ll be so much better off to learn this lesson now! :)
    Love,
    Me

  98. 103

    I would tell myself not to worry so much about what “I think” others think about me.

  99. 104
    Bridgett says:

    To My Teenage Self,
    You are beautiful and worth loving. Jesus created you for a unique purpose and you don’t have to fit into the mold of your peers. Take careful note of where you find your worth…find it in Christ, not in the inclusion of the crowd.
    Don’t compare yourself with anyone!

  100. 105
    Shannon says:

    Dear Teenage Self,
    Find your worth in the only One worth giving all of your heart to. He is the only One that will never leave your side or walk away when you are broken. He will carry you through the big and the small and if you keep your eyes on Him, you will not fall!

  101. 106

    Hang on to the joy of your individuality. Continue to embrace your introverted-ness, it is part of who God made you to be – just don’t hide behind it!

  102. 107

    You are not a faliure. In the eyes of Christ, you never will be.

  103. 108
    Deborah Varney says:

    Deborah, you are unique, there is noone in the world like you. You are loved and valuable in the kingdom of God. Stop judging yourself so harshly, remember mistakes are how we learn and grow, they are not fatel, just an opportunity to grow. I also want you to know it is okay to cry and feel alk your emotions. Remember Deborah you have value abd add value to life.

  104. 109
    Chandra says:

    Be yourself…The only one you have to please is Jesus…His relationship is the most important…Live and be the face of Jesus to those who don’t know Him no matter how they treat you…

  105. 110
    Jennifer says:

    What I would have told my teenage self (and what I shared with my own teenagers, and with other teens I was blessed to spend time with) is:
    This is the hardest time of your life, right now. Your path seems scary because you don’t know where you’re going, and you are heading off on your own. You will be fine, and your life will fall into place because God has a plan for you. Keep your eyes on Him, and He will guide you on your way. And He will always give you people (angels?) to help you along the way. You will be ok!

  106. 111

    there are so many things I would share. At the top of my list would be to find my value in Jesus and not seek it from those around me.

  107. 112

    WoW! Everyone else has said all that needs to be said!!!! Love all the comments! Having a young 12 year old granddaughter whose mother is incarcerated for 3 more years, I worry so about her “little inner self”. I will be getting her these books regardless of winning or not. She needs to be reassured that God loves her and adores her since she was made in His Image. Please pray for her sustinance as she endures these years without her mother.

  108. 113

    Stop trying so hard to be like your brothers. Be yourself. Because you’re talented and beautiful in your own way! Be successful at the things God created you to be good at and enjoy it.

  109. 114
    Amy Good says:

    Don’t fill that void you feel with anything but Jesus. He is the only one that can fill it. Learn to love him and trust him…regardless of whether your parent go to church.

  110. 115

    I would tell my teenage self to keep on keepin on, that you can do all things thru Christ who gives you the strength you need! Wear what you want to wear that makes you feel good. Stand tall and smile and be kind to one another! (in fact that is what I tell my two teenager daughters! :) )

  111. 116

    Remember to treat everyone the way you want to be treated. All the good you put out there comes back to you.

  112. 117

    Dear 15-year-old me,
    The things that you think define us – I’m discovering they have very little to do with who you are at all. Fifteen-year-old-you – you define yourself by what you do for others, selflessness to the point of having no opinion on most things, and you receive your worth from how others perceive you. You let that source of worth drive what you do but mostly you let it scare you away from lots of things, afraid of the risk that your reputation might be ruined. Better to have very little reputation than a bad one. Very few people know you – really know you. In fact, since you don’t know yourself at this point, I’d guess that no body knows you. And I know you feel it – how their compliments and praise of the reputation you’ve strained to protect don’t really fit. They set it over your shoulders like a sweater and it is warm but almost too warm, and it is heavy, and by now it has become familiar but not comfortable because it is the wrong fit.
    And guess what?
    You don’t need to keep that heavy, itchy, warm sweater on. What is underneath is truly you. And you are beautiful. Let God peel it away. You don’t have to DO… BE the loved.
    Love,
    25-year-old you.

  113. 118

    Dear teenage me:
    It’s ok to let the boy love you. He’ll end up marrying you and being an amazing father to your child.

  114. 119

    Hi Kelly 1.0,
    Please know how much God loves you. He died for you while you were still estranged from Him and if you remember this, hold on to this fact, even as future events come crashing down, you will be more than a victor. You will know the power of His love and it will be well with your soul. Don’t lose hope!
    I love you, Kelly 2.0

  115. 120

    Note to teenage self….
    Don’t be so hard on yourself…remember to like yourself and have confidence that you are a person worth knowing :)

  116. 121
    Laura K says:

    Life isn’t going to turn out the way that you may think it will. But that is okay! It will be a ride and you just need to let God be in control. His timing is not your timing, and it never will be, but when you move on to a new season in life, it will be the right time no matter what. And don’t keep doubting just cause your last name is Thomas…I MEAN IT! :)

  117. 122

    Oh you silly girl…get in the Word and let Him be your ‘boyfriend’. Those guys just want one thing from you, can’t you see that?! Don’t give yourself away.
    When you get to college, choose the Christian sorority!! The other will only lead you down a dark and lonley path. It will take you years to leave the guilt behind and accept the grace He so freely offers you!

  118. 123

    I would tell myself not worry so much about what others think of me. What really is important is what God thinks of me. He has a plan for my life. If I walk in His ways, fulfilling His purpose for my life, that is what counts.

  119. 124
    Judy Sivia says:

    To my teenage self,
    Stay close to God and remember you are a child of The King. Walk confidently and smile lots. Be a friend. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others and let them know you care; you may be the only light in their life.

  120. 125

    Dear Teenage Self,

    Learn to soak up God’s grace and dance in His goodness, instead of trying so stinkin’ hard to “do everything right”. Stop worrying about having all the answers, about having this whole thing figured out, and start holding tightly to the One who created you. He’s got it all figured out AND He loves you more than you could ever imagine. Snuggle up in that love. It’s the safest place you can be.

    ~The Older Me

  121. 126

    Don’t let anyone get away with trying to make you something you are not. You are beautiful & Awesome!

  122. 127

    Dear Teenage Self,
    Please don’t panic when what you think is your world starts to disintegrate. Try to learn patience in these very difficult days when you feel abandoned. Try to forgive and realize that there are always many angles to every story, every person. Don’t try to buy everything to try to fill up the now empty places in your heart. Please cling to your Heavenly Father instead of trying to cling to what’s left of your world. Things will look up and you will one day be trying to guide teenagers and it will test you. Remember what you felt at these ages and try to give your babies what was not given to you.
    Love,
    the tired 40 year old you become.

  123. 128

    Don’t worry so much about pleasing other people. Instead, please God and love other people and you will be at peace.

  124. 129

    I would give them to my teen age granddaughter after I read them myself. They sound wonderful.

  125. 130

    I would tell my teenage self that if I want to except new people into our church,that I first need to except my body.

  126. 131

    Oh how I wish you knew how much God loves you
    You would surrender to His love
    Cry tears of joy
    and be less obsessed with trying to
    fit in with and be accepted by all your peers.

  127. 132

    It is ok to BE different, yes you WILL feel awkward at times – this is truly just the beginning you have the REST of your life ahead of you! Some days are tough,listen to your parents,just be yourself and HAVE FUN!

  128. 133

    Dear teenage me:

    Deal with your hurts! Accept you are angry! You think hiding those things makes you a better person, you think you can please everyone. It is not possible to please everyone! Trust God and let him take care of you! Stop trying to control everything by pleasing everyone! Love God and Love others!

  129. 134

    Dear Teenage Self,

    Your relationship with God is more important than your relationship with your friends and your relationship with your friends is more important than your relationships with guys. Get your priorities in order, girl!

    Love,

    Your 40 year old self

  130. 135
    Tawnya V. says:

    To My Teenage self,
    Believe that you are beautiful, and worthy God never makes junk…. One day you will understand. But until then keep telling yourself you are beautiful, and worthy and hold your head up high. (not only did I struggle in this area of feeling very insecure, I see this in my 16 year old daughter) I am praying that my daughter will see that God never makes a mistake.

  131. 136

    To My Teenage Self:
    Hang in there! God really is in control and He has an awesome plan for your life. (Hey – He LOVES you!)

  132. 137

    Dear Me,
    DON’T ever, ever judge your value by what you perceive others to think of you. Ever. Not ever! Only God’s thoughts matter. And they are incredible.
    Amen. :-)

  133. 138

    Though I know you won’t listen to this because you are headstrong and passionate, please know that the enemy is trying to set dynamite in your foundation. You may not feel it now, but he will try and blow up your foundation at different times in your life. He is trying to rob you of joy and an intimate relationship with God. Don’t fall for the lies he whispers in your ears. You don’t need people to love you according to their rules and view point. You are uniquely special and put together by God to do wonderful things and have a fabulous life that fulfills your heart’s desire. If something feels shameful or you don’t feel good enough or pretty enough, then take it to the Lord and let him heal those wounds like your mom used to heal the cuts on your knees. Unchecked, these wounds fester and become walls around your heart that are impenetrable by the ones you want to love and who want to love you back. Don’t waste that time … it is too precious. Oh, and even if you don’t listen, you will still have a great life; I promise … your kids and husband are just wonderful, and you are very talented and completely in love with Jesus. It’s all good.

  134. 139

    I LOVE you girls. And I love your books, even though I haven’t read them. But because I love your messages of grace and acceptance and freedom and your books are extended monologues of those themes, well, I love them. Also, my oldest child {who is a girl} became a middle schooler this year and oh my goodness, it’s like my heart is walking around in fitted Aeropostale t-shirts and crying over bad hair. It’s weird is what it is. Probably because I still pretty much feel like a teenager myself on the inside and yet I’m raising one at the same time.

    So thank you girls, both of you, for loving my daughter and her generation.

    Oh and my advice: Love your hair. Love it. Because however much you hate it now, it is beautiful compared to what pregnancy hormones and gray will do to it. {How’s that for some meaningful advice?}

  135. 140
    Donna K. says:

    As a child (pre-teen or teen) I’d worry. Worry, worry, worry! I’d tell myself: Don’t worry about tomorrow because God is already there! Whatever happens in your life; God knows and He’s in charge! You and he can handle it. I tell that to my pre-teen that now. Also: if you can look; you can get up.

  136. 141
    Lisa Mather says:

    Hmm, I’d tell myself to take those extra classes, join the sports I was afraid to try out for, and not worry about boys. To enjoy what I had been given, not complain about I didn’t have.

  137. 142

    My teenage advice to myself is if I want to except and welcome new people into my church I need to except my body.
    Lizzie
    Thank you so much for your book Annie.it has really encouraged me.thanks!!!!
    I’m about to read gracefully!!!!!

  138. 143

    Just love the LORD with all your heart, soul, mind & strength. All the rest will fall into place.

  139. 144

    My teenage advice to myself is if I want to accept and welcome new people into my church and I also need to accept my body.
    Thank you so much for your book Annie. It has really encouraged me. Thanks!!!!
    I’m about to read Graceful!!!!!

  140. 145

    My teenage advice to myself is if I want to accept and welcome new people into my church and I also need to accept my body.Thank you so much for your book Annie. It has really encouraged me. Thanks!!!! I’m about to read Graceful!!!!!

  141. 146
    Michelle Murphy says:

    Dear Teenage Self,

    Don’t take for granted all the things you have at the moment: the parents who only have your best interest and the wisdom to help guide you, the freedom to make choices that only you can make that will steer you down the path of life, and the ability to be whatever God has designed you to be. Time flies so fast as you age and you don’t want to look back and regret bad choices or realize you missed countless opportunities to precious time with those that you love and that love you!

  142. 147

    ‘be yourself’

  143. 148

    I would tell my teenage self that the choices that I am making now will have consequences that will not only affect me as an adult, but also my children, as they grow up in a single mom household.

  144. 149

    You are being a witness by the way you live your life. Keep standing strong. Don’t compromise good friendships for the surface level popularity.

  145. 150
    Christena Burnham says:

    I would tell my teenage self that I am loveable. God loves me more than anyone else ever could and His opinion is the only one that matters. Love and trust God like nothing else in the world. He is going to take care of everything in his time… be patient!

  146. 151

    Teen advice for me in my teen years.

    Dont worry about being different! If they are your friends they will like you just the way you are. Hold tight to God and never let go. Dare to be different!!!

  147. 152
    Linda Shaffelburg says:

    To my teenage daughter (who is already so much more than I could have ever dreamed of !)

    “You are fearfully and wonderfully made”
    ~ Psalm 139:14

    And because of that you are always enough.

    Don’t let fear stand in your way of living life because you are never alone when Jesus dwells in your heart and soul.

  148. 153

    Be yourself, not who you think others want you to be. I still struggle with that today and wish I would have learned it back then!

  149. 154
    Katrina Felix says:

    Dear Teenage Self;
    “Trust God! HE has the perfect vision for my life. HIS promise is powerful! With this promise, I need to follow HIS directions and live in the flow of the Spirit.
    “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

  150. 155

    To myself and my “tween” daughters: That person and this group of people don’t give you value. Your value comes from only from God who loves you with a love you will never be able to comprehend; the love that you have always longed for.

  151. 156
    L. Bradley says:

    Dear Teenage Self,
    Don’t believe wrong thoughts about yourself. Battle those thoughts with truth from God’s Word. I matter to God. He designed me. I am not worthless because He paid a price for me through His Son Jesus Christ. Believe who you are in Christ.
    Just so happens my mom and I are beginning a mother/daughter bible study next Thursday morning. I’m going to tell her about these books!

  152. 157

    Dear Teenage Self,

    Remember, remember, remember – everything about this time in your life (and you will). Treasure everything – even the pain and heartache. You don’t know it now, but God is already redeeming you. Already walking right beside you. Years later, as you find yourself counseling teen girls, you’ll know that you wouldn’t change a thing. Everything that happened is what has brought you to this place and enabled you to walk beside them. For now, though, hold on to hope. You’re already the eternal optimist. One day you’ll know the object of that hope. For now, don’t change. Be just who you are. And know that I’m proud of you.

  153. 158
    Jennifer Postma says:

    Dear Teenage Self, You don’t know this yet, but God is watching over you and He loves you. You will go through some tough times, but one day you will know that God was with you every step of the way. He knows that you will come to know Him when you are 24. He is molding and shaping you into who He wants you to be. You can rest knowing that He is in control. He loves you dearly….

  154. 159
    Ashley Phelps says:

    Dear teenage self,

    That boy doesn’t matter. Jesus matters.

    Sometimes, you may need to be the grown-up in relationships with actual grown-ups…but in doing so humbly, respectfully & lovingly, they’ll understand. Jesus understands.

    What the world calls “fun” is actually pretty scary and reckless. Jesus is fun.

    The pain heals. Jesus heals.

    Be nice to everyone. Jesus is nice to you.

    That still, quiet voice is much more reasonable than you give it credit for. Jesus talks back.

    It’s ok to be mad or sad sometimes, life isn’t necessarily going to be easy. Jesus always provides.

    Celebrate your blessings, daily. Jesus is always present.

    {…your children are beautiful & your husband is a hunk. Jesus knows the desires of your heart and is exceedingly abundant in His gifts.}

  155. 160
    Debbie Diggs Phillips says:

    To my teen self–
    There is no big unseen set of eyes, watching and judging everything you do….you are loved, unconditionally. Share that love with other….and laugh. A LOT! Then love…and laugh. MORE!

  156. 161

    Dear Teenage Self, You don’t know this yet, but God is watching over you and He loves you. You will go through some tough times, but one day you will know that God was with you every step of the way. He knows that you will come to know Him when you are 24. He is molding and shaping you into who He wants you to be. You can rest knowing that He is in control. He loves you dearly.

  157. 162

    There will always be those that don’t accept you, but the Lord accepts you and adores you, perfectly just the way you are NOW. Not the way you will be tomorrow. But the exact way you are today. He loves you more than you will ever know and so do your mom and dad.

  158. 163

    Dear Me,
    Don’t let anyone or any circumstance define you. Failures, sarcastic or just plain mean words aren’t who you are. You, my dear, are a precious child of God. He’s the only one who can truly define you…..for you were created by Him and in His image! Get up, dust yourself off, and listen to HIM!

  159. 164

    So many things I would say to my teenage self; hold tight to your family and those that love you. The teen years are hard, so called “friends” will be mean, boys aren’t important, relationships with your parents, grandparents and siblings is what matters. Knowing Jesus is the best gift you can give yourself! Cling to Him, he will not forsake you. He will give you the strength, love and acceptance you are seeking.

  160. 165

    I would tell myself to always follow the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit, because despite what lies satan whispers in your ear, you do have something to bring to the table… God has equipped you with the gifts you need to fulfill whatever task He has set before you. Nothing else matters in the world. Not one thing.

  161. 166
    Melanie Grace says:

    Dear Teenage Self,
    When you look in the mirror remember Who created you. He gave you wavy red hair and freckles for a reason. You are beautiful & unique. A peculiar girl you are! This is a good thing. A beautiful work of art. Inside a heart full of joy & love to share with others. It will be hard at times, but trust me it will be worth the journey. And you will get a big kick in later years when everyone around you (guys & gals) have red hair! They’ll have to pay for theirs. Yours was free!

  162. 167

    My advice to my teenage self is if I want to eccept and welcome new people into my church I need to first eccept my self. I also need to not be afraid to ask for counsel and I need to hold my tongue and honor the Lord in what I say.
    Lizzie
    Thank you so much Annie, your book has encouraged me in so many ways. Thanks!
    I started reading graceful! I’m so excited!

  163. 168

    There are lots of things I would tell my teenage self! That I am loved and treasured… And to look UP for comfort. Thanks for the chance to win :)

  164. 169
    Tauna Patterson says:

    Dear Teenage self,

    I encourage you to guard your innocence.

    Things will happen in your life that will make you think that your innocence has been lost forever, but God is a God of restoration…

    So don’t give up what is left of your innocence- fight to keep hold of what you have and trust God to restore what has been stolen.

    Don’t give up this fight!

    Fight. Fight. Fight.

    You are worth fighting for.

  165. 170

    Dear teenage self,

    It’s important to listen to the voices around you…many of them will offer words of wisdom, comfort and encouragement. But it’s up to you, as well, to filter out the voices with messages that are meant to tear you down. You must listen to your own truth and in the end, you must let your voice be the loudest.

  166. 171
    Carla Goetz says:

    Dear one…I so want to hug you right now, gently take your chin and look you in the eyes and tell you that I know that life is difficult for you and you want it to end it…please know that you are loved. You are loved by God who holds you in His arms…lean into Him and trust that these ugly moments are fleeting ones…it won’t be this way forever…God will show you that there are people out there that will share His love with you, that you will connect with, that you will feel safe and comfortable with…it seems far fetched from your point of view, but believe me…I lived it and it’s true! All this pain that you’ve experienced will make you stronger and you will be a blessing to others someday who are struggling and dealing with their own issues as you will have a deep understanding of what it feels like to walk thru the darkness. It’s all part of a bigger picture, my love. Stay close to and hang out with those who have faith in Jesus Christ…your experiences in life will be so much richer, take it from me, I know…these are the things that I wish someone had told me when I was your age. Always look up, look to Christ, listen to that still small voice in your heart…that is HIM…He is speaking to you…let Him rule your heart….trust that you are loved…walk in His blessings, dear one…

  167. 172

    Dear me,
    You’ll meet him, you’ll love him instantly. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it. You will want to see this world through his eyes.

  168. 173

    I would tell my teenage self…

    You don’t always have to have a crush on someone or have a boyfriend. It’s okay to just be.

  169. 174

    Dear teenage self,

    This too shall pass. Yes, the growing up years are hard and filled with many growing pains. But hold onto to God – he will never leave your nor forsake you. Listen to your parents, even though you think they say and do the most embarrassing and ridiculous things. Be in fellowship with other Christian girls and seek out an older girl as a mentor.
    Remember, this too shall pass and you will be grown up in no time!

  170. 175

    You are not invisible. You are wonderfully and perfectly made by an awesome God that loves you and cares about you. He has great plans for you. Stop settling and look towards God and seek His plans. You can’t do it alone and you don’t have to for God is with you always. Dream big. Do what you love not just what makes money for God is in what you love and the money will come.

  171. 176
    Danielle Martin says:

    Find your identity in Christ. Strive for that and nothing else.

  172. 177

    I’d tell my teenage self to be more outgoing.

  173. 178

    Advice to my teenage self: Worry less about what everyone *might* think. They really aren’t that concerned about what you are doing as you think. Those girls that look perfect really are imperfect and broken just like you.

  174. 179

    this will not be the most important time in your life……..quick worrying what everyone else thinks because one day you will only care what God thinks!

  175. 180

    Cherish your parents, your childhood home, your huge extended family and all the fun that goes along with that, and be so respectful of the fact that you have so many people who love you to pieces and that you can love in return. Try to deeply absorb those memories of times at the old homeplaces so you can easily conjure them up later in your life.

  176. 181

    Think less of yourself and more of others. Don’t hold on to your past, to bad memories, or to difficult relationships that never were what you wanted them to be. Trust in Christ and rest in Him. He is truly all you need.

  177. 183

    Inner beauty is more important than outer beauty. Outer beauty fades away but inner beauty always stays and shines thru. Love :) Me

  178. 184
    Heather says:

    Dear Teenage Self-
    That man you dream about marrying someday? He’s definitely worth the wait! It will take longer than you want to get there, but God is faithfully preparing both of you. The whole purity thing is worth it, too – stay the course and let God protect your heart!

    • 185
      Melissa says:

      I was hoping I wasn’t the only one telling my teenage self this. My life and marriage would’ve been so much easier!

  179. 186

    Dear one – get in the word more. Yes you love Jesus but make an effort to set aside time for him. It will make grown up devotion time so much easier. Also, you are doing a killer job being the gal God wants you to be. Keep it up and don’t let anyone change you! Hugs, me

  180. 187
    Anna D. says:

    Don’t let ANYONE else define who you are! God alone defines who you are and.if you let Him lead you, you can achieve anything.

  181. 188
    Katie Seest says:

    Dear Katie,
    God created you just the way you are. Use your abilities for His glory, do your best in whatever He gives you to do, but stop stressing about not being good enough, failing, or the rejections of others. His love is unconditional because it is not based on you, its foundation is Jesus Christ. He truly will never leave you. Cherish the time you have with family and friends. Things change that you never see coming in life. God will use all of them for good (even the evil and hurtful things) in your life. RUN to Him in these times and let Him hold you closer.

  182. 189
    Dougherty says:

    Dear younger me,
    Everyone else’s happiness/issues/etc *are not your problem*. Leave those people in God’s hands, you can bring them to Him in prayer, but use your energy in deep work on your life with God and let Him handle them. If someone is coming to you to fix their issues, point to God and leave it at that. Let them take their journey and you take yours.
    And never forget, you are *so* loved (Is. 43:4)

  183. 190
    Anne Marie says:

    Dear Anne Marie,
    Your father was right (ouch, still hurts to type 15 years later!) :) but don’t date that boy…it will save your years of pain and frustration.

    And worry less about what other people think, if they don’t love you for who you are, you don’t need to convince them. There are plenty of people that already love you exactly as you stand.

    Lastly, keep up the good work of avoiding becoming attached to one cliche….you learn so much more about life and how to manage work/life/everything by finding something beautiful no matter what “group” you are around and it brings out the best in your own uniqueness!
    Love~Me/You/Grown up Anne Marie (wait, when did time fly and I had to consider myself grown up?!)

  184. 191

    My advice to my teenage self:
    Don’t be afraid to get to know new people. Let go of the fears and go out on a limb sometimes. If you are seeking God and walking in the way you should go, you don’t need to be fearful. Don’t judge so easily. Let God do the judging. Just love.

  185. 192
    Robin in New Jersey says:

    I would tell myself: Don’t do it! You will regret it one day! And: God REALLY loves you, HE is your father.

  186. 193

    Dear Self,
    Get over yourself. I mean it. It will be FINE. Stop worrying, already!

  187. 194
    Melissa says:

    Don’t let competition creep into your friendships. It will try in each of your closest frienships. But see the lie in that competition. Go one step further with that train of thought. Do you actually want anything less than the best for your friends? No, you would rather suffer any day than watch them suffer. You would go to the end of the earth for each of them! So live in the truth of loving them well and not in the lie of competition.

  188. 195
    Carissa M says:

    You don’t have to be perfect! If you loosen up and let people see who you really are, they will love you more. It’s better to take that risk and possibley get hurt than to continue hiding and never really experience true love.

  189. 196
    Rebecca B says:

    Dear my teenself~
    Have courage!! Let your feelings be known. Be Brave!! Sing the solos. See your beauty!! In 10 years you are going to look back at the pictures and realize your thoughts of yourself were wrong! Have Faith!!! God is going to do amazing things in and through you! You are beautiful!

  190. 197

    Dear Teenage Self,
    Don’t be afraid. The Lord your God is with you. He’ll never leave you. Even when you feel alone, He is there. And He made you exactly the way He wanted you to be.

  191. 198

    Dear Me,
    Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself . Be respectful of your teachers and other adults but don’t let them mistreat you or take advantage of you. Be confident in who you are. God created you as a unique individual because He loves you dearly. Never forget that.

  192. 199

    Tears & Laughter this morning – thank you! What a gift you are to all of us and to His daughters. You are so right – they want to be heard and seen. A client of my husband’s just had her 18-yr old daughter take her own life this week. I’m holding my own daughter much tighter. And, Annie – my 13-year old read your book and loved it. I read it too first and then put it on her Kindle in case she “needed something to read.” I pray the Truth you wrote sinks down deep in her. And, Emily – I’m reading your book now and plan to take a group (daughter & friends) through it. I will recommend both. Keep using those gifts, girls!

  193. 200
    Melissa says:

    Wait for your one true love. He is special. Those other guys aren’t. Your husband will cherish you. The gift of purity is such a special gift to give him. Wait for him.

    I pray I can instill this in my daughter…and she listens. Her life will be so much easier.

  194. 201
    RacheL H. says:

    Dear Teenage Self,
    Close your mouth and open your ears. Listen with your heart. Listen well.
    Make forgiveness a habit. It will help you let go of the pain. Not forgiving hurts you more than anyone else… more than the one you won’t forgive.
    Love,
    Your twenty-one-year-old self

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    Tammy LeGlue says:

    That verse where God says “Be still and know that I am God…” He means it. He alone is God; you are not. You are not responsible to orchestrate life for everyone else. He is. Listen to His voice. Lean hard into Him. Yes, it is possible to be still and still be doing something that He has called you to do. That’s what it feels like when you rely on Him and not on yourself. When He asks you to help someone, be obedient, but don’t try to do it all in your own strength. It’s exhausting and hollow and often ineffective.

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    Keep living for Jesus. Even and especially when it’s unpopular, hard, and extremely ‘unconvenient.’ He’s always there and He never changes…unlike those human beings you’re trying so hard to please.

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    Stop wearing yourself out worrying you’re missing out on something and enjoy where you are now. Be kind to everyone and be yourself.

  198. 205
    Michelle says:

    Dear teenage self,
    Don’t sell yourself short by buying into the lies of the enemy. You are a new creation…even in the midst of recovering from mistakes or bad choices you once made! Believe that God can use you. Yes, even you!

    ~from one who has walked the road

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    God’s plan is best… even if your “fairytale” is nothing close to the way you plan!

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    I offer the same advice that I offer my girl who will turn 13 in about 3 weeks, be comfortable in your own skin.

  201. 208
    Jessica says:

    Dear Teenage Jessica,

    You, my dear, are simply beautiful. Inside and out. You don’t hear that a lot, and I know you don’t believe it because you are so unlike every other girl out there. Embrace your uniqueness! When you get to University (by the way, you DO get into that University), your friends will constantly comment on what a wonderful woman you are. Believe them. And one last word of wisdom? That boy you can’t stop thinking about? He’s not worth all the heartache and tears. Trust me, beautiful one.

    Love,
    Your Future Self

  202. 209

    Dear Teenage Self,
    Be true to yourself, and who you are. Be kind always. Have fun. Although it may feel like the teenage years will last forever, they don’t:) And the best way to get through them is to connect with others based on your true likes and interests. Don’t try to be someone your not just to fit in or be ‘popular’. Trust me, you’ll look back 10 years from now and giggle at what was ‘popular’ back then.

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    I would tell my teenage self to not worry so much about the world, your life, what you need to be doing for a career for the ret of your life. But to enjoy each day for all it holds, to stay in God’s Word, to enjoy being a child still while you are young, to explore lots so that you can find out what there is in this world and what you may be good at that you had no idea of. To make great friends, to be an even better friend. To treasure your family, to get lost in great books.
    So excited about both of your books. Looking for some great books to share with my daughter right now as she was just diagnosed yesterday with upper intestinal issues. Was told that this is very common in young /teenage girls due to them internalizing their worries and concerns. Looking forward to spending time with her helping her seek God and sharing her concerns, worries… and to learn how to grow through this.

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    Short and sweet, although I may not have believed this.
    None of this matters and things will be different in the future. I would also tell myself about Jesus.

  205. 212
    Melissa says:

    Dear Tennage Self,

    The choices that you’re making now and in the coming years are going to change who you are. Don’t allow yourself to live in the shadow of your shame. Don’t be afraid to step out in to the light. You can, and will, overcome this. Try to forgive those that have hurt (and are still hurting) you. The sooner that you can forgive them, the sooner that you’ll be able to heal. God still loves you and you will never be too far from His reach.

  206. 213
    Carol Y says:

    Dear Teenage Self,
    Learn (through HIS word) how much God loves you no matter what…..He made you perfect and that’s what you are!

  207. 214

    First off…THANK YOU for that video!! I needed that smile badly! :)

    To my teen-age self -
    It REALLY, TRULY doesn’t matter what others think…only God! Being unique then was just as awesome as it is now…you just didn’t know it. :) Hiding who you really are in Christ, also hides Christ from those that need to see Him.

  208. 215
    Jenny@Living a Listful{l} Life says:

    Teenage self, don’t worry so much about what everyone thinks of you and even if they are thinking/talking about you at all, because chances are? They aren’t.

  209. 216

    Dear teenage self,
    Always remember to be just you. People will/can say hurtful things, but Christ was not without persecution. So just remember that God loves you.

  210. 217

    You two are too cute! I loved the video and I love your heart for teen girls. I have the same heart. I bought Perfectly Unique for my 12-year-old last week and then I bought Emily’s Grace for the Good Girl for my self as well. I’ve devoured my book and already feel a change in my life and a peace I haven’t known in a while. My daughter and I are going to read Perfectly Unique together. I can’t wait! Thanks for sticking with your dreams and being open to God and sharing those “ugly” stories. We all have them, but when we share them I believe the hurt from those events lesson with each retelling. Blessings to you both. Thanks for believing in the girls of this generation!

  211. 218

    Dear Teenage Self,

    I want you to continue to be you! No matter what anyone else says be you! Don’t be discouraged when the one doesn’t come along as soon as you like… God will send him in time! Follow God whole heartedly! Never take your eyes off Him even when others make you question the things in your heart.

    Last but not least follow your dreams! God knows what he wants of you and for you so go make that path for others to follow you!

    Love me!

  212. 219

    Dear Teenage Self,

    When others don’t acknowledge you in group don’t let the insecurities of the little girl in you cause you to withdraw. The hurts from the past don’t define who you are now!
    Give the grace you want others to give you~This will all be a stepping stone and become a life lesson!
    You are amazing~

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    You really don’t know anything about what Christianity actually is although you think you know everything. Start to talk to Jesus.

  214. 221

    Dear Teenage self,

    Always remember that life is not high school… and high school is not life. There is so much to be passionate about and so much to do in life. Don’t let high school and its drama consume your passions in life. And study hard, it does pay to have an education!

  215. 222
    Chellie says:

    Dear Teenage Self,
    You are chosen and dearly loved! (Colossians 3:12)
    Please hide these two verses in your heart right now, it won’t take long…”Braiding your hair doesn’t make you beautiful. Wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes doesn’t make you beautiful. Instead, your beauty comes from inside you.
    It is the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Beauty like that doesn’t fade away. God places great value on it. (1 Peter 3:3-4) Now, continue to take care of yourself, and look your best, but remember you are not your body!

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    Be your honest self around guys. Some can be good friends and help you grow. But don’t feel you have to be liked/loved by a guy to be worthwhile and loveable yourself. Guys need to grow up, too, and many won’t recognize your worth or know how to treat you with respect and genuine caring.

  217. 224

    Dear Teenage Self:

    Remember that you are beautiful no matter what others say. You are cherished and loved by the One who created you. You don’t have to get your love and acceptance from anyone else just get it from the One who knows you best. Remember you were created special and you have special gifts, look and see what they are and use them. They might be big they might be small but whatever they are they are important and all you have to do is be YOU! Please Me (Jesus) and you will have peace and will please others and if you don’t please others that is ok just please Me! :-)

  218. 225

    dear teenage carrie,

    you are loved. Jesus is the best friend you could have. and all the crummy days and heartbreak will lead you to where you’re supposed to be – and you’ll gain one heck of a story to tell someday.

    keep the faith.
    -older (at times, doubtfully wiser) carrie

  219. 226

    To my teen self,
    Cherish your time as a young women it comes and goes ever so fast. Don’t go looking for love in all the wrong places the ONLY ONE to fill that hole WITHIN YOUR HEART and Soul is Jesus Christ allow Him to be your lover until the day He blesses you with your future Husband !

  220. 227
    Christina says:

    Sit down and talk to your Grandma more often, listen to her stories, write them down. One day when she’s gone and you have your own husband and children you will miss her terribly and want to remember what she told you.

  221. 228

    To Me:

    Joy, that’s all you need! Smile big and bigger and remember that no one is looking at your imperfections nearly as much as you are . . . . What the world sees is your smile, your shoulders back and your delight in who you are. The world needs you, desperately. Go forward in all the unique and amazing beauty of your self and set the world on fire.

  222. 229

    I would tell myself that it’s okay to not be okay. You don’t have to always have it together. Let your guard down, let people in, show them who you really are. They will love you for it.

  223. 230

    All that rebellion and bad behavior–with the self-loathing and guilt, result from seeking the three A’s (affirmation, affection, attention) from a distant earthly father. This is not the Heavenly Father, who can be approached because his Son made a way for you to call him Abba. First, the drawing by His Spirit of Love, then repentance, forgiveness and adoption. This relationship fills the void of a fallen woman. This relationship is fresh and pure. This relationship is dynamic and will lead to three more A’s: abide, assurance, ability !

  224. 231
    Nikki Y says:

    Dear Teenage Me, instead of being so concerned with what everyone is thinking of you (and assuming it’s mostly negative), assume that everyone is feeling as insecure as you are (because 99% of them are :) ) and just treat them as you wish they’d treat you. Treat everyone as if they long to be accepted and cared about, because they do!

  225. 232

    I’d like to tell my teenage self that those popular girls in high school? Many of them ended up divorced, alcoholics, etc. That their life now is not better than the life you ended up with.

  226. 233
    Christine says:

    Dear Teenage Me,
    Stop trying so hard to be perfect. Just cling to God and rest in Him. You will make mistakes. Pick yourself up time and time again. He makes up beautifully for all that you lack.

  227. 234
    Lauralee says:

    Spend more time with your Dad, ask more questions. Time is short soak it all in.

  228. 235
    Stephanie says:

    Everyone else is trying to fit in too!

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    Hey you? You’re great! Just the way you are.

  230. 237

    Dear teenage self,
    Live the life you want to live and not what others want you to live. Trust the instincts that come from God and let those lead the way! :) and always keep smiling

  231. 238

    Dear Teenage Self,
    You are enough. You are good enough, you are smart enough, you are pretty enough, you are fit enough, you are enough. God loves you just as you are flaws and all. His love is enough. Stop striving for move and love who & where you are every day!
    Love,
    Your grown up self!

  232. 239

    Dear teenage self,
    Just be you! You! Not who you think others want you to be. And you are loved fiercely, so stop chasing those who don’t. They never will. But God will always love you. He delights and sings over you. And He is always, always with you. Even when you think He is not.

  233. 240

    Dear Teen Me,

    It’s okay when things aren’t okay. It is not your responsibility to make everything okay and to clean up every mess. You can’t do it. Stop trying to hold it all together. Let go and take His hand.

    Love,
    Me

  234. 241

    Just be yourself. God made you beautifully.
    He loves and accepts you just the way you are. Let Him love you so you can love yourself and others.

  235. 242
    Susan Even says:

    Dear Teen-Age Self, The Lord formed you as “one of a kind” for a purpose that only you can fulfill. Don’t worry about “fitting in” to the right crowd. He will direct your steps and fulfill that which concerns you!

  236. 243
    Kathryn says:

    Say yes to more. Be pleasant and talk to people. Your life will get better, you will get out and meet people who are more like you, but you will never get this time in your life back so try to enjoy it. Don’t worry about being the girl who’s always reading in the halls, embrace it. Relax and accept others, everyone is dealing with issues just like you are.

  237. 244

    Dear Me,
    Beauty is more than your reflection.

    Read my entire letter to my sixteen year old self at:
    http://mindyrogers.blogspot.com/2012/09/a-letter-to-my-sixteen-year-old-self.html

  238. 245
    Elisabeth says:

    The boy is not THAT important. Be yourself, don’t worry about what other people think.

  239. 246

    Just be friends! Don’t worry about having a boyfriend.

  240. 247

    Dear Teenage Amanda,
    Don’t put so much emphasis on relationships with guys. Have fun with your friends. Study! You’ll find God’s perfect ONE for you soon…don’t give your heart away to the rest.

  241. 248

    I would tell myself that sometimes the friends you make in high school that you think will be there forever and life won’t go on without them are not always who your best friends turn out to be. God has bigger plans and my best friends are my friends that I have made years after high school and they love me for me and not what I can do to benefit them or their popularity.

  242. 249

    The teen life is stupid. Well, at least the teen life that is proposed by our culture and magazines. It doesn’t fulfill the heart of God for you. These things don’t matter….what matters is your heart for God and allowing Him to work in your life.

  243. 250

    It’s OK not to have a best friend. It’s OK not to have one clique to call your own. It’s OK to be an introvert who just happens to be friendly. Really, the Lord will use this later in life when He calls you to love others in a radical way.
    Just keeping swimming against the current and loving others~

  244. 251

    I would tell myself to breath. To enjoy life and not try and have all the answers. I”d tell myself the boys and what they say doesn’t matter, that there are good men who will show you Jesus. I would tell her to love her body that it will do amazing things.
    I’d tell her to savor. To believe and rest more.

  245. 252

    All of life does NOT revolve around whether or not you have a boyfriend. Be yourself, not what you think others want you to be. People will see your actions. Teenage girls can be cruel, but most of them are just trying to shift the attention off themselves. No one has it all together. Your relationship with Jesus has to be YOURS not your mom and dads.

  246. 253

    The fact that I was immediately brought to tears at the thought of my teenage self. Oh dear. What would I tell myself: I would start by saying God created you and He loves you and has a purpose, a mightly purpose for your life. You’re not hidden from Him, He sees your pain, He saw what happened, He knows and you have never been more loved or beautiful to Him. Lastly I would give myself a criteria check list for a boyfriend. And now I have a 12 and 10 yr old daughter(s), wow. Lord, help me teach them wisdom. In God’s Love, sheila

  247. 254

    Dear Teenage Me,

    You are valuable, You are beautiful, You are loved. Take care of your self. Life is going to be a crazy adventure but God has you in the palm of your hand. It’s going to be hard, but He’s going to be with you every step of the way.

    Love ya!

  248. 255

    You are so known and loved by God. Carry that with you always.

  249. 256
    Patty Flowers says:

    You are the beloved. Jesus loves you not because you are good, smart, responsible, hardworking, or sweet. He loves you just because you are His. Start learning now how to rest and revel in that.

  250. 257

    I would tell my teenage self this. You are not who your parents are. what you survive through today will make you a stronger woman and mother. We are not defined by the clothes we wear or the fear we carry. You are stronger. You are destined for great things and there will be people who love you for who you are and do not expect you to change, only to grow. You answer to God. He has protected you all this time. He will continue to so. Don’t listen to those who tell you what your relationship should look like. Listen to your heart and God will show you what it is.

  251. 258
    Kristy Lynn says:

    Dear teenage Kristy, know you only need to seek God’s love in your life! You are so beautiful and worth everything to Him. God has a perfect plan for your life so set your eyes to Him and Him alone. You are loved by the most amazing Father and don’t need to look for love in the wrong places. You are cherished and treasured by the Lord Most High. Don’t ever forget that!!

  252. 259
    brittany jacobson says:

    oh wow what would i tell my teenage self that is a good question. My advice would be to if you see someone new you know what its like to be new love the new people. another peice of advice i would give my teenage self is dont treat people like a wall if you were treated like a wall show love to others . and love those who hurt you

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    Dear Jacqui with a qui because you wanted to be unique,
    One day, you are going to have four daughters and you are going to train them up with their eyes stamped with eternity with our Heavenly Father. In order to do that, you have to start seeing your life in that glorious truth. When you are ridiculed by those you love and long so desperately for acceptance; turn your eyes towards Jesus, look full in His wonderful face and KNOW that you were stamped with His approval all along.

    Love you precious,

    Mama Jack

  254. 261

    I will tell myself that I need to find my joy and peace in Jesus and no one else – and know that no matter what I did wrong in the past – with my weakness and brokenness, Jesus will always loves me.

  255. 262
    Karren Stuart says:

    Dear Teenage Self,

    Remember when you stepped out of your shell and introduced yourself to someone new at church? That didn’t go so well and they put you down and it scared you.

    God was with you the whole time, and He was proud of you. Remember that part and keep reaching out to others even though it may hurt sometimes. Keep caring about others and be bold.

    Note to self: I wish I had focused on that all those years ago instead of the pain.

  256. 263

    My advice would be:

    Trust God for anything and EVERYTHING!

    When I do this, life is much easier!

  257. 264

    Self: Always, always keep your hands and heart open to God. Don’t hold anything too tightly. When he chooses to take something, let him because trust me, he either returns it (and makes it even better) or replaces it with something that you wouldn’t trade for the world. He’s good. Trust him.

  258. 265

    Teenage self,
    You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are a precious jewel you are a daughter of the most high! Receive his love and let his love shine through you. Love and cheri sh family they are important. Remember always that God has a good plan for your life.

  259. 266
    Saundra says:

    Don’t try so hard. People already love you and you already fit in. Search for love in Jesus not boys.

  260. 267

    dear teenager,
    you need to get into and stay in God’s Word. though you think you are grounded in God’s ways, you need to focus on Him more. when you worry about others, you need to turn to your Bible. it will fall into place once you prioritize and place God first. the friendships, schooling, family, excellent grades, dating all seem to be fitting well.
    however, you are not taking the best choice of placing all your faith into your Lord. make each day start and end with the Lord. the middles of your days will be more fulfilling and God ordained. the Lord will speak to you about your path.
    you never are a risk taker. you need to stretch out of your comfort zone and develop the roots of your foundation in Christ. there is a scary, unsure, failing, fallen world once you leave home each day. arm yourself with the princess clothing He gives to you as His daughter. you will be protected and secure.
    the risk taking will be more possible and less scarey with His strength. you are beautiful the way you are. you seem to have your focuses grounded and aren’t tempted to be in the mainstream. my hope is for your courage to explore to be expanded and strengthened while you are young. let go of your fear and grab a strong hold onto God’s hand.
    you are beautiful. courage and risks can be beautiful, too.
    love,
    your future less-prone-to-be-a-risk-taker self

  261. 268

    Dear Teenage Me,
    Delight yourself in your relationship with Jesus, and He will give you your heart’s desires. He will actually make your desires, His desires. He is your rock, your foundation. Each day, seek him in the morning. His Word will guide your steps, His voice will comfort and bring peace. And when that fear and insecurity starts creeping in, cast it upon Jesus…again and again and again…and He will renew your youth like the Eagle. Trust Him. And, Girl, you’re gonna soar!

  262. 269
    Carolyn says:

    I would like to tell myself that I have done enough. I should look for things that I do not need to do. I should fulfill my mission in life by leaving tasks for others. I should be discerning about the tasks I choose to take on. I am already good enough. My tasks in life should give me hope and joy, not take from me to the point of exhaustion and depletion. I am enough.

  263. 270
    Breanna says:

    Self: Hold onto that confidence and adventurous spirit or it will be a distant memory by the time you are about to turn thirty….

  264. 271
    Stephanie says:

    To realize that our identity is in God…nothing else.

  265. 272

    Don’t worry so much about what other people think! And when you go away to college, get involved with a church or church group – you’re going to need it!!

  266. 273

    Dear Erica,

    Focus on becoming the best person you can be, and not be so focused on the outward appearance. True beauty comes from within and that is God given…you can only bring that to the forefront when you put God first. Trust me, when you are REALLY happy…you can wear a white t-shirt and jeans and feel FABULOUS!!! Psss…and here’s a secret…when you feel good about yourself, you will attract positive people who will broaden your perspective. God has so much in store…get ready for a journey!

  267. 274
    Rachel E. says:

    I would tell my teenage self that it feels like you’ll never get over this eating disorder, but you will. You have to keep moving forward, day by day relying on God’s grace and not giving up. The excruciating physical pain will pass, and God will give you comfort for the emotional pain. His grace WILL be enough to carry you through, even though it doesn’t feel like it.

  268. 275
    Sarah Noll says:

    Advise for my teenage self…………..Those boys wont matter 10 years from now. Pay attention to how you spend your time. Pick your friends well. Love yourself enough to make choices based on what is best for you, not anyone else (maybe consider your family, but nobody else matters in the big picture)

  269. 276
    Amy Cheng says:

    Dear Teenage Self,

    Do not be afraid to make friends. You will wish later on that you invested more time in friendships when you were young.

  270. 277
    Anne S. says:

    I would tell my teenage self to remember the Truth that you are wonderfully made by a Loving Creator and stop measuring your body image by the media’s distorted standards. I have two teen daughters–i’d like them to read these books because they sound so helpful. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  271. 278

    Dear Teenage Self,

    God is pursuing you like crazy. Make your life about Him. He loves you in ways you don’t even know or believe. Believe it!

  272. 279

    I would tell my teenage self, you are beautiful and invest in friendships don’t just be shallow but go deep with the people you care about. It’s ok to be vulnerable.

  273. 280

    1. be nice to your family
    2. don’t worry about what everyone else is doing ~ be yourself.
    3. don’t be in a hurry to grow up and experience life.

  274. 281

    HS self, don’t be afraid, take those art classes.

  275. 282
    Veronica says:

    Dear high school self
    Don’t look for love and acceptance in the boys you meet, look to God. Don’t worry about fitting in, just be yourself and it will all work out.

  276. 283
    Adrienne says:

    To me,
    You will find ONE man who will love you forever, through eternity, yes it is possible. Even though your mom was married 5 times and every man who was important left you, God will provide for you. Your man HE has for you will introduce you to HIMSELF. Your husband will show you unconditional love and he will show you who your FATHER truly is. Appearance is not nearly as important as you or you mom raised you to believe.

  277. 284
    Adrienne says:

    To me,
    You will find One man who will love you forever, through eternity, yes it is possible. Even though your mom was married 5 times and every man who was important left you, God will provide for you. Your man He has for you will introduce you to Himself. Your husband will show you unconditional love and he will show you who your Father truly is. Appearance is not nearly as important as you or you mom raised you to believe.

  278. 285
    Adrienne says:

    To me,
    You will find One man who will love you forever, through eternity, yes it is possible. Even though your mom was married 5 times and every man who was important left you, God will provide for you. Your man He has for you will introduce you to Himself. Your husband will show you unconditional love and he will show you who your FATHER truly is. Appearance is not nearly as important as you or you mom raised you to believe.

  279. 286

    If only I could get my teenaged self to really listen, it would be so awesome to pass on wisdom and lessons and hopes. This is something I would tell myself at some point, for sure:

    It’s okay to make mistakes and poor choices. Your friends and family–especially your parents–make mistakes and poor choices all the time. They know how disappointed you might feel afterwards because they have been there and done that. They might seem far too fabulous and put-together on the outside; but if you sat down and asked them each one on one, you’d learn that they are more like you than you ever realized…and you’re not as alone as you feel…

  280. 287

    I would tell my teenage self that it is OK to be yourself, and it is okay to put yourself out there and make friends. I was so shy and had such low self-esteem, I really believed nobody would like me for who I really was. I would have told myself to always trust in Gods plan for my life as well!

  281. 288

    The one thing I would tell my teenage self is to dive into His Word and believe His promises, and what He says about me! :)

  282. 289

    That high school boyfriend is going to hurt you deeply. Spend more time with the girls. Those relationships are more important.

  283. 290

    I would tell my teenage self to TRUST YOURSELF. I was constantly listening to the advice of others, my parents, my friends, self help books, self help articles in Seventeen, and never really listening to that still small voice inside of myself. I failed to realize that the Holy Spirit was inside of me, guiding me, just as much as He was in other people around me. The difference? He was inside of ME, telling ME what to do or how to think or how to feel and I didn’t trust myself (or Him) enough to listen.

  284. 291

    I would have told my teenage self to stop trying to please everyone and stop seeking approval of man. Dig deep into the Word of God and remember that all of this, this life, is temporary!

  285. 292
    Caroline says:

    Listen to your instincts! They are good, they can be trusted – because God lovingly placed them within you, dear one.

  286. 293

    Stop dreaming about the future (!) and start living the moment, while focusing on your personal relationship with Christ.

  287. 294

    People will fail you, Jesus never will. Set your heart on Jesus, and let Him teach you how to abide through the storms of life, and come through without built up hurt and bitterness. Let Him Love you, so you can extend that love to others who need it just as much as you~ You don’t have to protect your own heart, because only HE can do that~

  288. 295

    Teenage self, tell someone. Tell anyone. Tell someone that you’re dying inside, because pretty soon you won’t be able to “handle it” anymore. It’s okay to ask for help, and sweetheart, you need help.

  289. 296
    Diana H. says:

    Dear Teenage Self,

    Having a boyfriend isn’t the same thing as being loved. Stop trying so hard to grow up! In a few years, the love that God has intended will come and sweep you off your feet. He’s worth the wait!

  290. 297
    Sallie E. says:

    Advice to my teenage self: Wait. Let God do the match-making. Just wait. It will be worth it. Wait upon the Lord.

  291. 298

    Baby, You. Are. Loved.

  292. 299
    Jessica says:

    Dear teenage me:
    God really will work all the things in your life for good. So trust Him completely, wholeheartidly and obey Him with reckless abandon. He really will never forsake you.

    Ha, I think my 29 year old self needs that reminder too.

  293. 300
    Caroline says:

    Dear Teeange Me,

    You know how everytime you see someone in public with special needs-you cry, how you tear up when one of your friends hurts, and how you want to soothe the sick and hurting? That is called empathy. It is how God made you, and it is okay. Don’t ever apologize for your tender heart.

    Love,

    Your Older Self

  294. 301

    I would tell my teenage self to slow down and enjoy the journey. Life is too short and being “grown up” lasts a lot longer than the teens.

    Sunny

  295. 302

    I blogged about what I would tell my teenage self here:

    http://waltzingwithpotatoes.blogspot.com/2012/09/dear-ashley_14.html

    But the most important thing would be to relax and be comfortable being you.

  296. 303

    Dear Teenage Self,
    You don’t have to be afraid of everything, or think you’ll never be enough! You ARE enough, and God is equipping you for everything you want to do – strike out and DON’T BE AFRAID!
    Love,
    Middle-Aged Me :)

  297. 304
    Christina says:

    I was considering buying these books for my niece, but both books “trial1 chapter read” did not work for me. I won’t buy a book without reading some of it to see if it’s appropriate, especially one I’m giving as a gift. :( disappointed in your link setup

    • 305
      Carolyn says:

      Both books link to Amazon and you can read from Chapter one of each there. I have an older version of Internet Explorer. Try going directly to Amazon.com and searching them out and hopefully it will work for you.

      Hope today is great for you.

  298. 306

    The cool crowd really isn’t as cool as you think they are. Don’t believe me? Hang out for 10 years and check ‘em out on Facebook.

  299. 307

    I would tell my teenage self to find love and acceptance in Christ and not guys and what other’s think.

  300. 308
    Paige Woody says:

    I would tell my teenage self to just be comfortable in your own skin. Don’t try to do the “cool” things that you think the other kids are doing. Stop comparing yourself to others!

  301. 309
    Melanie Stevens says:

    Keep being you. Clothes and cliques really don’t matter. Christ is in you. Be brave. Share more of yourself. Don’t be so shy – people love you and wish you were their friend.

  302. 310
    Tracy Sheridan says:

    Pray for wisdom to make good choices-
    Wait for Gods best for your life!

  303. 311

    I would tell my teenage self to pay attention. To just slow down and nurture my relationships and to remind myself that you have to give respect to earn respect.

  304. 312
    Cindy R says:

    Don’t rush through life and want to grow up so fast!! Take it all in and enjoy every day! :)

  305. 313
    Nicole harris says:

    I would say stay strong, listen to your parents and those close to you… They have been there before

  306. 314

    Take more naps and read more books! Oh, and, you will have those “friends for life” :)

  307. 315

    To my younger self I would say be yourself, laugh, enjoy life, step out of your comfort zone a little more often….smile, hug, embrace life. treasure what you have and don’t try to move forward too fast.

  308. 316

    God loves you no matter what choices you make, He is always waiting with open arms for you. Friends don’t always have the best advice, the wisdom of parents and other adults can help you further in the long run most times. It’s okay to still be a kid, you don’t have to be a grown up yet, you’ll have plenty of time for that later!!

  309. 317
    Chelsea D. says:

    I would tell her to follow God’s prompting and get plugged into the church even if it is by yourself. & I would also tell her that she is beautiful, not in a normal way, but a different kind.

  310. 318
    Christie says:

    This is a piece of that I still need to learn to follow today, but I would tell my teenage self to learn, know, and rehearse my your identity in Christ often and memorize Scripture on your identity in Christ. Know these Scriptures well for all the times you feel insecure or worthless and use these truths to affirm and encourage others. Also, stop comparing yourself to others and don’t be so concerned with what others think about you. Bring your feelings before the Lord and Him to give you wisdom and remind you that His thoughts about you are what truly matter.

    I realize though that this is often easier said than done, but I can pray for the Holy Spirit to work in my life and help me to change in these areas.

  311. 319

    My advice to my teenage self. Be strong in the Word and you will be strong in the world.

  312. 320
    Georgiana says:

    Enjoy your youth! It will vanish before your eyes before you know it!

  313. 321

    Don’t worry so much. You’re smart, kind and beautiful. The teenage years are not who you are. There is so much more growing to be done. Your future holds amazing things. Hold on. Be patient. Don’t squander yourself. You are loved!

  314. 322

    Dear Teenage Self,

    Your life is going to change so amazingly in the next five years. Don’t stress about what you think people think about you. Instead, draw close to God. Cultivate your relationship with your parents. Don’t be worried about finding the right one. BE the right one, and God will send you the right one.

  315. 323

    Get in the Word, stay in the Word, and don’t deviate for any reason! Nothing else matters- live for Him alone

  316. 324

    Be you; think what you think, like what you like, do what you do without worrying if it’s acceptable to your peers. Just be uniquely, gracefully YOU. ;-)

  317. 325
    StacyBrick says:

    I would tell myself that all the high school drama will end quickly after graduation, so just smile more and surround yourself with the ones that matter. And, that boy you are crushing on will be your husband one day and it will be as WONDERFUL as you think it could be.

  318. 326
    Jennifer says:

    Dear friend,
    Don’t worry about young men, keep your focus on the Lord and develop the talents HE has given you and use them to help others, you will be BLESSED!!!

  319. 327
    Melissa says:

    Dear teenage self… be more concerned about what God thinks of you than what others think of you. I know that’s hard right now, but in the long run it’s all that really matters. You WILL survive all this other junk. You already know who you are, inside, now let it shine!!

  320. 328
    Mary Beth says:

    The Lord has created you uniquely beautiful and He had wonderful plans for your life. Always keep Jesus as the center of your heart, the center of your dreams and see yourself as you Precious loving Father sees you.

  321. 329
    Kristin K says:

    One piece of advice I would give my teenage self is that it is not about living up to the expectations of other people.. It is just about finding who you are and rooting your identity fully in your creator and his love for you.. (I feel like this is advice I still am giving myself)..

    These books sound amazing!!! :)

  322. 330

    I would tell “teenage self” to keep holding my eyes focused on Christ and not let negative influences of the world make me feel like I’m not living life to the fullest like they (falsely) believe they are.

    I would love to win this to give my (almost) teenage daughter!

  323. 331

    Every time THAT voice inside your head starts to speak, just start singing “Jesus Loves Me” until the voice goes away.

  324. 332

    Dear 16 year old self-
    I WANT to warn you that the road you are chosing will be painful. You will experience pain, rejection, betrayal, sorrow. You will doubt your choices, question your faith, lose hope, feel totally worthless. And just when you think it is all behind you, you will face it all again.
    I WANT to warn you of all of this, to make you turn another way, but then you would not learn this truth: you can only learn to trust God when you surrender your idols and fears to HIM. Amidst the pain you WILL find a deep and abiding joy as you turn to the ONE who Loved you first. Like the woman in Mark 14:3, who broke a priceless vial to anoint Jesus, you will find that it is through the breaking that true beauty is discovered.
    So I guess I am saying- don’t be afraid to love, even when it costs…cause it cost HIM everything, and you were worth it.
    Love, your older, abundantly, extravagantly blessed self

  325. 333

    Be true to yourself. You are perfect just the way you are.

  326. 334

    That book by Hank Hanegraaf – “Christianity in Crisis”? Hanegraaf’s right, and God loves you more deeply and profoundly than you’ve ever been taught. Get it. Know God for who He really is. Knowing Him means everything – absolutely everything.

  327. 335
    Carrie K says:

    You will have many many chances to love someone…dont settle because you think you arent good enough!!

    what an amazing prize pack!! crossing my fingers for the win :)

  328. 336

    dear self, it’s okay to be who you are. be proud, be courageous. you are beautiful just the way you are.

  329. 337
    Kelly Lake says:

    You are valuable and beautiful and worthy. You don’t have to trade your physical self to get attention and self-worth, because God made you perfectly and He loves you perfectly, and He is the only one who will never ever leave you or forsake you and He is the only one who will fill that longing in your heart for True Romance!

  330. 338
    Lacey C. says:

    I would tell myself to find a better youth group and get plugged in!

  331. 339

    Dear Teenage self,
    Trust and security is found in God and him alone…despite betrayal of those who say they love you and call you names and wound your heart repeatedly. People disappoint, this you know, but God wants you to stay soft to him and let those tears fall and to trust him, not tuck it away in the back closet. He wants you to walk within the shelter of his presence.
    Love,
    Your older self

  332. 340

    Dear Teenage Nicki,
    You are the perfect you for the life you’re living. No one could do what you’re doing better than you already do. Your Father loves you, always, always believe that!
    NMV

  333. 341

    Teenage self- Don’t let others control you or your decisions! live for GOD and everything else falls into place.<3

  334. 342

    My Dear Teenage Self,
    Give the best of you and don’t worry about what others say. At the end of the day you will go to bed knowing that you did the best you could, some will notice and some will not, but what matters the most is that you will be at peace with yourself knowing that maybe today you change someone’s life forever. ;)

  335. 343

    Always keep God first. Pray and wait for His direction and timing instead of making your own decisions.

  336. 344
    Ann Marie says:

    Don’t worry so much. You’re smart, kind and beautiful. A teenager is not who you are. There is so much more growing to be done. Your future holds amazing things. Hold on. Be patient. Don’t squander yourself. You are loved!

  337. 345
    Linda Toney says:

    I would tell myself to live, love and be happy with the person I was born to be. To have the faith to live without self-condemnation. That I was a child of the King and I had something to do for Him here on earth. I would tell myself to run for that reason of faith in our Lord and God.
    To enjoy everyday being who I was in Him.

  338. 346

    Don’t give in to peer pressure. Be who you are, don’t try to be one of the crowd and don’t worry about what others think. Stay close to Jesus, and find out who you are in Him, you only have to please HIM

  339. 347

    There are so many things I would like to tell my teenage self! Mainly I would tell her that even though she THINKS she is a Christian, she isn’t in a relationship with Him, like, at all. She needs to lean into Him fully and embrace all that He has to offer (not what all of the dumb boys she is obsessed with have to offer her, which is nada)!

  340. 348
    debbie pete says:

    Don’t let the world tell you what you are worth. God thinks you are to die for get your value from His word. Meditate on verses like Psalm 139

  341. 349

    Well, since I am a teenager, I’ll share what I’m in the process of learning! Trust the Lord above all else and spend time with Hiim every single day, and He’ll give you more joy than you can imagine. Love and serve other people, even when they don’t love you back or say thank you. Be who God made you to be, and don’t worry about what the world thinks.

  342. 351

    My advice: Just because people are louder, more popular, or more recognized doesn’t mean that they are right or worth more:)

  343. 352

    Dearest Precious Self,

    Yes, I am talking to you! It’s so radical but I just know you will believe it. You HAVE to believe it!

    You are totally accepted and so abundantly loved just the way you are! It’s true and you know who told me? Jesus! The freedom is so awesome! Freedom from condemnation, (from you and others), the freedom to love yourself because Christ does, the freedom to simply be uniquely you!

    And what is so cool is that then your free to love others even more! It’s all about radical grace baby!

    All my love,
    Me

  344. 353

    Dear teenage self,

    THERE WILL BE OTHER GUYS. Don’t waste four years of your life on one whom you know isn’t who God wants for you… when there is one you will meet at the perfect time who loves and cares for you more than you ever thought possible.

  345. 354

    Dear teenage self,
    There is a reason for everything you are experiencing now. God will use it in the future! Learn how to get ahold of God now, and grow your relationship with Him even in the good times!

  346. 355

    Dear Teenage Self,
    Popularity looks so good and I know you want to be loved and accepted, but don’t compromise to do it…don’t allow yourself to give in to the magnetic pull of approval of people, especially boys, only to sell yourself short. You may think that being sexually active will fill the deep yearning for love and being wanted. Don’t be fooled, the temporary good feelings will turn to regret, remorse, even self-loathing before you know it. You are precious, loved, and accepted by the people who really matter…and beyond imaging by the God of the universe. He knows you and He loves you. Really!
    I love you too…I think you’re awesome,
    Me

  347. 356

    Listen and believe what your Mom keeps telling you – BE YOURSELF! running to keep up with those you think are so much prettier, more popular, or just plain cooler will leave you dry and wilted. You are a pretty cool person when you just be yourself and lean into Jesus – He has never failed you and He never will!

  348. 357

    My advice to myself would have been “you are loved”

  349. 358

    Dear teenage self,
    Take time to pay attention to the people around you, and not just yourself. Those you love and who love you have lives too, and they may have wonderful or terrible things happening in those lives. Don’t be oblivious; be attentive and compassionate and loving. You may not always have them in your life, so enjoy each and every one of them each and every day, while you can. Self-obsession now will lead to much regret later. Remember to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. God’s way is always regret-free!

  350. 359

    I would remind myself that beauty really isn’t about what’s on the outside, because God looks at the heart. I wish I had known and believed how truly loved and accepted I was and that I didn’t have to try to be someone I was not in order to make friends. (Also, I would love to gift this to my two teenage sisters-in-love.)

  351. 360

    I would tell myself to not grow up too fast. Running with the older crowd isn’t such a good idea.

  352. 361

    Remember that what God thinks is most important, what your parents think is close behind and what your “friends” think you should take with a grain of salt as they are still young and may not always be right, no matter what they say and how they make it sound.

  353. 362

    Quit trying to impress others and just be me and pick friends who will encourage and lift you up and who are on fire for GOD!!!

  354. 363
    Joyce M says:

    It’s okay not to be part of the “cool” crowd as long as it means hanging out with the crowd that makes the right choices.

  355. 364

    Like what I wrote in my link up at Chatting at the Sky:

    “It’s okay to be different, what matters is that you’re doing what makes you – who you are. That I am proud of you for waiting for the right man. What they say that, it’s the best thing you can give to your husband…I think it would be best to say that it’s the best thing you can give to your child. You know why? You will be blessed with the best daughter you could ever have. When it’s time for her to talk to you about boys, her knowing you waited will be the best example she could have.

  356. 365

    Dear teenage self: Believe in yourself, even if the whole world is against you–because God is there. God loves you beyond all things! Believe it! Love him back and he will help you love others, even when it’s hard.

  357. 366

    You are Gods masterpiece!

  358. 367
    Shalena says:

    Always put God first! Allow Him to speak to me and always follow His guidance. Don’t hind behind your feelings. God will always give you the strength to overcome all obstacles on the path of life.

  359. 368

    The one piece of advice I would give my teenage self would be to not limit myself to having one friend only; have as many: girls and boys as well.

  360. 369
    Lindzi Smith says:

    Dear teenage self: even though you’re taller than the majority of the kids in your grade [uh hem...high school] & teachers, have a bob haircut emphasizing your “giraffe” features, and braces…you’re a teenager. Take that height and reach higher to know the Lord’s love for you, work that haircut because inside you really dig it & think it makes you quirky, and smile despite your braces…it will give you practice for when they’re off [p.s. wear the retainer or you'll get another visit from those things]. Keep shining His light precious one!

  361. 370

    Teenage self: You’re confident in who you are, but don’t hold onto that confidence but give up the judgement. That judgement will hurt your very best friends more than you know and they’ll leave you when they need you most.

  362. 371

    I would tell my teenage self that life doesn’t always work out the way you think it will…never lose sight of God, keep trusting Him.

  363. 372

    Dear self – quit worrying about how you look – you don’t know how beautiful you are!!

  364. 373
    Gretchen N. says:

    Please don’t worry about what others think so much. Be content with who you are and how God made you!!!!

  365. 374

    Dear Teenage Self –

    God loves you. Really. He is a good Father and cares about you more than you can imagine. Learn to love yourself as you learn about His love.

  366. 375

    Dear teenage self,
    Forget trying to please others all the time and worrying about what “they” may think of you. Thoughts like these are futile, and will set you up for heartbreak and disappointment well past your teenage years.

    Live to please God… he’ll NEVER let you down!

    PS: Don’t worry too much about your freckles, you’ll learn to love them one day!

  367. 376

    I would tell my teenage self that she is beautiful, and that she should stop worrying about what other people think of her because the only One whose opinion matters is God.

  368. 377

    I’d tell that 16 year old girl just diagnosed with cancer and on the fringes of excepting Christ as her personal savior, that you will survive but don’t return to the world. The Lord has called you out and you are His. Save the four years of heartache and use them for Him!

  369. 379

    Dear Me,
    Those crazy expectations you have for your life….God has bigger ones! Things you can’t even fathom or imagine! You will find friends that love you dearly and share so many amazing memories together! They will be kindred spirits and challenge you to become more like Jesus! Also remember that Jesus is enough, nothing you do will be able to save you, it has already been done!

  370. 380
    Beth Williams says:

    I would tell teenage me–be yourself, open up & talk with others don’t be so shy. Be the wonderful, funny semi-outgoing person God made you to be!

  371. 381

    I would tell my teenage self that my mom isn’t as clueless as I think and that I should listen to her!

  372. 382

    Dear Teenage Self -

    Remember that in the eyes of our God you are beautifully and wonderfully made! What the teenage boy or jealous girl says about you doesn’t matter – hold your head up high and know that in HIS eyes you are always loved!

  373. 383

    The rules are there to protect you, not to trap you in… (ouch)

  374. 384

    Dear Teenage Self,

    Be intentional about adopting Heaven’s perspective of who you are. Be very discerning about who you allow to speak into your life and shape your identity in Christ!

  375. 385

    Dear teenage self
    Don’t believe everything people say about you. Don’t believe everything you say about yourself, for that matter. Learn what His says about you, and believe THAT!

  376. 386
    Carolyn says:

    I would tell my teen age self,You are not invisible,you are loved by others around you! Don’t listen to the lies from the enemy. jesus thinks you are very precious and worth it all!!

  377. 387
    Sophia DeLonghi says:

    Some of the things I thought were the most important ending up not mattering. Treasure the relationships that matter with people that you can have a mutually encouraging, nurturing, and spiritually challenging relationship with. Your self image at the time was not a true image of what you looked like! It was way better and probably still is. Be kind and sweet to yourself and trust God’s plan for your life! You are precious and beautiful!

  378. 388

    I have a youth group full of teen girls and I so badly want them to realize just how much God loves them, just the way they are! That would also be the advice that I would have given my teenage self. Lean into God’s love, believe He knew what he was doing when he made you. He has a plan for you that will be the very best if only you will follow in obedience. And even when you mess up, he still loves you, adores you and delights in you! Oh to have realized that as a teenager!

  379. 389

    Be strong and confident; don’t just do what others want you to do because you’re afraid they’ll no longer like/”love” you. You are a smart and talented young lady so surround yourself with people who recognize, honor and respect that. Don’t let guys continue to hurt you; as difficult as it is, let them go and move on. Show them your strength and confidence; don’t let them lure you back with guilt. You don’t need people like that…you’re worth more than that. Be true to yourself and stand your ground!

  380. 390

    Oh my teenage self…
    don’t move out of your home in anger. Yes, moving hundreds of miles away from home seems like a good, freeing move, but in reality…not so much. You end up holding on to baggage that you gather on your journey…loosen that iron grip. Let God take it. Forgive yourself. And the domino effect of your choices follow you into your marriage. Take that third shift Waffle House job sooner…God uses it to keep you out of trouble :) And just say no. It’s okay. Be who God made you. Celebrate who He made you. He LOVES you. Accept that love.
    oh…and enjoy those skinny legs and skinny tummy. One day you’ll have babies and you’ll assume that skinny will be just like before. not so much. and that’s okay :)

  381. 391

    To my self 25 years ago, you can’t please everyone so stop trying and just be you. All you.

  382. 392

    God’s grace and acceptance are more than enough and all that really matter.

  383. 393
    Heather S says:

    One thing I would tell my teenage self would be, it doesn’t really matter what other people think.

  384. 394

    You are worthy.

  385. 395
    Diana C says:

    I would tell my teenage self, “You are good enough, you are loved, be yourself.” So often I found myself looking to others to figure out who I was, believing lies, and not finding my worth in Christ.

  386. 396
    Deborah Sherman says:

    Dear Sweet Teenage Self-
    The world is open to you. Focus more on what God thinks of you than what friends think. Enjoy everyday of this stage of life…once you’re grown up you can’t turn back to these carefree days! I love you just as you are.

  387. 397

    I would tell my teenage self not to worry so much about what other people think. They’re opinions don’t matter. It is 10,000 times more productive to take the time you spend worrying about other people and apply it to your quiet time and relationship with Christ and your family. These things are way more important than the opinions of people you really won’t talk to at all in 5 years.

  388. 398

    My best advice to my teen self is “don’t try to fix what doesn’t work. If something is not going the way you want, learn to put it aside and don’t worry about it. If it is meant to be, it will be.” I just pushed too hard when I never should have and definitely worried about so many things that should never have bothered me back then. I am much better at that today though, and I guess I finally learned the lesson!! Thanks for a chance to win – love to read these books both!! Cool water bottle too!

  389. 399

    I’d tell my teenage self: find Jesus, he is living, and loving you, your beautiful self.

  390. 400

    Dear teenage self,
    Take advantage of every opportunity to tell about Jesus! Stop spending so much time with the reached and focus on the unreached.

  391. 401

    To pray for others who challenge me, disappoint me, cause me pain. To pray for others.

  392. 402
    Mitzi M. says:

    Dear Teenage Me, the world is not coming to an end just because “that boy” broke up with you! Stop wasting your time. He’s really not worth it. And go ahead, be sold out to Jesus! Don’t worry what your friends think. He’s the One that’s worth it all!

  393. 403
    Nicole T says:

    be kind, be less arrogant, be gentle with friendships.

  394. 404

    Dear Teenage Self,
    Speak up, be confident, and embrace you! You aren’t alone. Tell others what you are feeling instead of stuffing it all inside.

  395. 405
    Shannon says:

    Don’t be so afraid of life and thinking that others won’t like you that you don’t give them a chance to know how special you really are.

  396. 406

    I would tell myself that loving yourself is not conceited. I wish someone had told me that years ago.

  397. 407
    Leah Yates says:

    I would say to do all to the glory of God because everything else is temporary. Don’t waste the best years.

  398. 408

    It’s hard right now because you lost your best friend to cancer at 15, but hang in there because you’ll make great friends in college and the things you’re learning are priceless. Guard your heart, learn to listen to God’s voice, thank him and rejoice! Later you can learn fashion but you are doing fine!

  399. 409
    Teresa S says:

    I would tell myself that I am valuable because God chose to make me just as I am.

  400. 410

    To my teen self, I would say, “No, your family isn’t perfect. Yes, it’s a broken home. Your daddy left and your mom is all alone. Cheer up, girl! Let me introduce you to the One who specializes in all things broken. He can mend relationships and will restore your broken heart. He will, believe it or not, in time.”

    Remarkable how God can take broken pieces and turn them into something beautiful. My hope will always be in Him. He can do anything!

  401. 411

    I would say, “You are not alone, your Father loves you just as you are right now, in the midst of all this mess………., and you are beautiful and more capable than you can even ever imagine………” :)

  402. 412
    Valerie says:

    Just hang in there! God has it all under control and you will get through this!

  403. 413
    Heather says:

    Note to teenage self:
    You will never live up to the expectations & standards of others or even the ones you have planned & made for yourself but that’s okay because all those things don’t matter. All you need to know is that the Lord rejoices over you with singing & delights in you for you are His & He has made you beautifully perfect in Him! So rest, rejoice, & live for it is life that He has given you & it is abundant & good no matter the circumstances.

  404. 414

    I would tell her…
    “Yes. God made you with that analytical brain so do not feel you have to hide it but do not talk yourself out of the dreamer side of you either. You are a paradox and that is okay. Embrace both. In the balance of the two, you will soar.”

  405. 415

    Dear beautiful teenage danae,

    Hey girl. I know you think you’ll never live past this stage of awkward and single and good, church girl status, but better days are ahead. Hang on. You’re gonna make it! :)

    But I want to give you one piece of advice, danae. Ask Jesus how much He loves you. Every day. You try so hard to love others, and you play by the rules to the “T”, but you don’t really “know know” that God loves you, do you? Beautiful little girl, knowing Jesus’ love for you is the only way to live confidently and securely. It’s the only way to really love others. It’s the only way to really live. He really does love you. Pursue His love. Ask Him what it’s like. You are so precious to Him, and He knows you personally. He does. I promise.

    Better things are ahead!
    From: your twenty-year old self

  406. 416
    Stephanie says:

    Don’t make plans. Teach yourself to listen for his voice instead. His plans are ALWAYS better.

  407. 417
    Melissa Douthart says:

    Dear teenage self,

    Laugh.
    Laugh with your friends.
    Laugh with your parents.
    Laugh with God.
    Laugh with yourself.

    Don’t take things so seriously. Life is filled with messes and mistakes. It’s hard and messy and so, so unfair.

    But it’s like that for everyone.

    So when the car doesn’t start,
    when your teacher is unfair,
    when that boy you thought had your heart steps on it,

    laugh.

    Even while you’re crying.

    Because you are a child of God and His unending joy fills every fiber of your being. Just let it all go.

    Love,
    30 year old you

  408. 418

    Thinking badly about your self is just as bad as thinking too highly of yourself…either way your focus is on you rather than Him. Shift your focus…change your life!

  409. 419
    Joanna Warren says:

    Don’t make decisions based on what you believe would make another person the most happy. God gave you unique interests, desires, and likes; and it is His approval and acceptance that validates you as a person. Follow His principles and love Him, and He won’t lead you astray. By the way, love and accept those other people who may not quite understand your choices, too!

  410. 420

    if i could tell my teenage self one thing it would hands down be not focus on boys. focus on Jesus, academics, adventure, strong relationships with girlfriends that could potentially last a lifetime. oh, if i could do it all over….

  411. 421

    Oh man, I think about this so often when trying to counsel teenage girls.

    I would tell myself it’s okay to be the nerdy, president of bible club, eating lunch alone because your friends all started partying and don’t like you anymore, lugging your guitar around, always excited about youth group girl. That boy that dumped you and turned all your plans upside down? Once you let yourself get comfortable in who God made you and stop trying to guess what a guy would like instead [and it will take 5 years because you're stubborn!], he will have turned into an amazing, Godly man who is ready to start again, and marry you this time. :]

    I’d also tell myself to SLEEP MORE!! Once you have babies, you’ll miss all the time you should’ve spent sleeping!

  412. 422

    Oh boy…I would tell myself to tell someone how I was feeling and to not be ashamed of needing help. I was seriously depressed from about the age of 16 and getting treatment then would have short circuited so much pain in later years. Also…meet Jesus NOW instead of waiting 10 years!

  413. 423

    Dear teenager,

    Grow in God. Learn that it is only what He thinks of you that matters. You will never please everyone else. God created you and He said, “You are very good.” He is your never failing Rock.

  414. 424

    Dear teenage self, be comfortable with who you are, and how God designed you! Don’t always blend in with the crowd, when you were made to stand out, and just because”everyone else is doing it”, doesn’t mean you have too!

  415. 425

    Dear teenage self,
    Be kind to everyone! Reach out to the “outsiders” and love them like Jesus would. Think less of yourself, and more of Jesus and others.

  416. 426

    Dear teenage self,
    Never, ever take your eyes off Christ. And please find out who you are in Him before you become involved in any relationship with another boy (man).

  417. 427

    Dear Teen Me,
    Wait!!! I know you don’t want to, but wait for that one true love, He is looking for you, His name is Jesus.
    Self

  418. 428

    I would say, “You are complete in Christ. Just be who He made you to be.”

  419. 429
    Jennifer says:

    Dear me,
    It’s ok not to be perfect….give some control back to God….
    He does a great job with everything : )
    and He loves you always. Laugh more!
    p.s. Even when you mess up

  420. 430

    Advice to teenage self- You are never alone. The Lord is always with you, rain or shine. Always remember that. :)

  421. 431

    Teen years can be wonderful and hard all at the same time. Your body is changing and you may be developing before others around you, or after others around you….you will probably be bombarded with thoughts of what everyone else around you is thinking about you — and you may feel the need to try to impress others, or be perfect, or look perfect……..but none of those perceptions are truth. In fact, the are called imaginations and the Word teaches us to cast those thoughts down and take them captive to Christ so we, ourselves do not become captives and prisoners to those thoughts…..
    Instead, trade those thoughts in and spend time learning about your identity in Christ, who He says you are and how much He loves you…knowing that even on your worst day, He loves you as much as on your best day, that He loves you as much as He loves Jesus….Knowing your identity (who He says you are) will give you strength in your choices, in the times you fall, in times of pressure, and courage in times of fear or loneliness. Find out who you are in Him, that you are truly royalty, His chosen princess…a precious daughter born to rule and love and be loved. He calls you beloved…His own special treasure…..Let His truth about who you are teach you about true love and let Him be the first romance of your heart and life. Meditating on who you are in Christ, your true identity, is one of the best weapons you can have in your arsenal….the more you are built up in the truth of who you are and that you are never alone, the harder it will be for thoughts and others to tear you down.

  422. 432
    Kelli D says:

    Don’t be afraid to fail, not make the team, not be #1, go for it! Be who God created you to be its okay to try and not make it, your pride can handle it. Be silly, don’t take life so serious, enjoy today. You are God’s workmanship, He has created you uniquely it’s okay if you don’t fit the mold the world reflects. SHINE for Him!

  423. 433

    Dear Teenage RuthE,
    Please realize you are a young lady of worth. When your parents discredit your accomplishments, know God gave you your talents to be enjoyed.
    Remember that just because something is fun to do doesn’t always mean it’s sinful. Know your parents do love you the best they know how and many of their thoughts and actions reflect distorted thinking from their parents!
    Look for the good in your life and take comfort in knowing it is coming from your Heavenly Parent, Jesus, because he truly loves you unconditionally!

  424. 434

    One thing I would tell my teenage self is that dreams will change as we grow but that you can also don anything you desire to do whether it is be a mom, a writer, a photographer, a professional dancer – whatever it is, as long as you listen to your heart and don’t let others tell you otherwise, you can be whomever God has called you to be. Believe in who He created you to be.

  425. 435

    Note to teenage self:
    Life is short so enjoy every moment. Being a teen is fun, but life gets so much better! What seems so important today, will be a long lost memory. Be thankful for everything God has blessed you with.

    Love, me

  426. 436

    Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

  427. 437
    Rebecca says:

    I would tell my teenage self- don’t worry about what others think about who you are and how you look. Be beautiful for GOD.

    Note to grown up self (who still feels young at heart!): ditto.

  428. 438
    Cheryl Esh says:

    Hi Teenage self,
    Please look around, outside your comfortable circle of friends, and befriend another girl who is shy or seems to struggle socially. You will gain a new friend and encourage those around you to reach out as well! God will bless you with courage to do this if you ask Him! You Go Girl! Your friend, Cheryl

  429. 439
    Anonymous says:

    Dear one,

    Learn to forgive yourself and others now. Give your hurts to God and do not carry all the grudges you hold because they will weigh you down for a long time.

  430. 440

    Dear teenaged me,
    Be YOU!! Don’t ever allow yourself to be squeezed into the mold of “do this, don’t do that, and what will people think”! You are an incredibly unique gift created my a Heavenly Daddy who thinks that you are amazing and delights in YOU!!!!

  431. 441
    Mmcolburn says:

    Dear Teenage Self-
    This, that you are going through, is going to make you stronger than you can imagine, give you a stable foundation that will help keep you grounded when things get even more over whelming, and puts tools of value in your emotional pockets that you can rely on to guide you safely. This comes, because you are able, in the midst of it all, to keep your eyes on God- even tearfilled. He does not wane or change, and His promises are true. God sees you, hears you and will bless your faith intensely- you just wait and see!
    Love, Present Self

  432. 442

    Young Megan, you are freakin amazing. I know you don’t see it now, but you will. Hold onto Jesus, it’ll be the best thing you can ever do. Cultivate the things you love–embrace them. Your life will be better for it. Don’t worry about what others think about you, pressures will fade soon enough. Then you’ll be left with yourself, will you like who you become? Now is the time to embrace who you are–and who God wants you to be. Your future, it’s fantastic.

  433. 443

    “Don’t look for [a guy] you can live with; look for someone you can’t live without.”
    ~Shannon (Kubiak) Primicerio

  434. 444
    Caroline says:

    Dear Teenage Me,

    Don’t ever apologize for loving too much and feeling too deeply. It is called emapthy, and God made you that way, and it is good.

    Love,

    Your Older Self

  435. 445
    Lindsay says:

    Be confident, finding your identity in Christ! Study and learn as much as you can – to be educated is such a blessing and privilege.

  436. 446

    Don’t ever hesitate to be honest and real about what’s going on inside your heart and head. It won’t always be easy but faith is always better than fear. Authenticity will heal many of your wounds and aide in healing others’ wounds as well.

  437. 447

    My Teenage Self: Always worked soo hard, doing many jobs, trying to please everyone. Taking life seriously. Instead stand up for yourself/stand tall, be strong, be yourself: happy, fun, carefree, kind, loving, take time out for JOY (Jesus, Others, Yourself) – laugh lots, lots, & lots! Don’t allow others to tear you down. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in love, in faith, and in purity.” I Timothy 4:12

  438. 448

    please just do the hard things. i know you are scared, but your confidence will soar if you try something you think you can’t do, and you succeed. and you will succeed. please just do it.

  439. 449

    Dear teenage self,
    Don’t try to fill that empty “hole” in your heart with a boyfriend or being popular. The
    only one that can fill that part of your heart is Jesus. IF you will read His word, pray and listen to His voice he will lead you down the life path He has for you. God’s way will always be better than the worlds way.
    Don’t rush into dating/sex because every one else is doing it. I heard an analogy today from my grown son that he told his 14 year old daughter when she asked “why do you not want me to have a boyfriend now.” His reply, “here are 10 pennies, you have a boyfriend now and you give him 1 penny. When you are 15 you have a boyfriend and go a little further, so you give him 2 pennies. At 17 you have fallen out of love with him and “love” another boy who expects you to go a little farther to
    prove your love, so you give him 3 pennies. Your 18 and have fallen in “love” with another boy , you give a little more of yourself to him, so you give him 3 pennies.
    You are in college and God sends you the man of God that you, your Mom and I have
    been praying for since the day you were born. How many pennies do you have left?”
    Her answer,”OHhhhhhh…I only have one penny left.” :(
    He said she got it! :)

  440. 451

    “Love GOD. Love the Creation he created you to be. Love others.”

  441. 452

    Be yourself! Love God. Love people. Nothing else really matters…you will bake lasting friendships later in life and what your high school “friends” think of you won’t matter one bit later in life.

  442. 453

    “Don’t worry God loves you and he never ever change.”

  443. 454

    I’m still a teenager, actually. 15. Still, I would tell myself to spend more time with my family. That time is precious, and I’ll never get it back. Enjoy being young & virtually carefree while it lasts! And most of all, Jesus is amazing.

  444. 455

    The first thing that I would tell my teenage self, is to be yourself!
    Don’t always try to fit in, where you don’t want to be or even
    belong. Be true to yourself, because that is really all you have…
    Respect every living thing and if you can’t help someone, at least,
    don’t hurt them.
    Many thanks, Cindi

  445. 456

    Appreciate your body- you will look back later and realize it did not look nearly as bad as you thought- actually, you looked good…

  446. 457

    Be yourself!

  447. 458
    Vicky Blackwell says:

    I would tell myself to enjoy every minute of life and make time for your friends and NOT be all about boyfriends!

  448. 459

    I wrote a letter to myself. But to sum it up, I’d tell myself to learn to love Me. Have that kind of courage to trust that it’s that important.

    (I’d so much like to give both of these books to my neighbor friend. It’s not in our budget, though I think it’s a *must*.)

  449. 460
    Christina Y. says:

    What I would tell my teenage self: “It’s okay to be your own person and be unique. Don’t follow the crowd just because it’s the “cool” thing to do. “

  450. 461

    I would probably tell my teenage self that “he” isn’t the one so wait before giving in to him.

  451. 462
    Christina R says:

    1. Listen to your parents, they really do know what they are talking about and they really were your age once too!

    2. Everyone feels insecure, some just hide it better than others.

    3. This time goes by really fast and in 10 or 15 years you will look back and be amazed.

    I guess that’s more than 1 piece of advice!

  452. 463
    Celeste says:

    Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Be you and be brave about it.

  453. 464

    Dear Teenage Self,
    God Hears YOU!!!!
    God hears your prayers, He hears your tears, He feels your pain! Keep praying, He will answer that prayer, it will not be today, it will not be tommorrow but He will answer them. It will take years for you to realize that the prayers have been answered, you will not be able to change what has been done but He forgives, you just need to remember to forgive yourself.
    Love,
    Me

  454. 465

    Dear teenage self,
    Don’t worry so much about what people think. They like you even though you don’t really like yourself. God would help you through a bunch of crap if only you’d let Him.

  455. 466
    Chris Harms says:

    Dear teen-Chris-
    Not everyone needs your opinion. Enjoy what others have to say without concentrating on what you’re going to say next. Really listen.

  456. 467

    Dear younger self,
    Just as you know the depths of your own depravity, know the height and depth and width of His grace. And don’t be good, be loved by The Creator.
    –older self

  457. 468
    Becky W says:

    Don’t think so much about what others think in the end it isn’t important and it’s okay to be different.

  458. 469
    Caddrose says:

    The advise that I’dgive my teenage self is:
    “Love will always come. Don’t rush to find it, it will find you. All that you need to do is to love yourself enough to let you grow, blossom, and develop into who God meant you to be. Dare to be different through your obedience in Him.”

  459. 470

    So many things I would tell myself….I guess the main thing would be to pursue Christ intentionally, and wholeheartedly–nothing else matters.

  460. 471

    Dear Teenage KR,

    You are beautiful. Your hair is beautiful, but that doesn’t matter. Your nails are beautiful, but they don’t matter, either. That pimple? No one will notice it, and even if they do, no one really cares about it. God made you perfectly. No boy will ever love you the way God does. Boys are just that…..boys. They won’t be men for a long, long time. And that’s okay, but stop worrying about that. It doesn’t mean you are not perfect to God. Because you are. Don’t dwell on the boys. Dwell on the God who made them.

    Love,
    Grown Up KR

  461. 472

    Dear Teenage Me,

    Nothing will stay the same. So do not despair about your current situation. It is a blessing in disguise…later you will realize it ;)

    Keep on being true to your heart and cling to what is pure, loving and peaceful. The girls at school are being very mean and cruel, but it is because they are hurting very much and feeling insecure. Those sick men are being very wrong…I wish I could take away your fear caused by these people. You are now learning that you cannot trust some people, though they may look normal. Know that all of your sad experiences will later become the source of goodness and that you will be able to become a blessing to people. God will do this and he will show you the way to go. For now…keep looking for sunshine and never doubt the goodness of life.

    Although you don’t know the Lord Jesus yet, He loves you beyond measure. And He is yours and you are His :) Although you are not aware of this, God of Creation is pursuing you. Now. In fact, He is constantly watching you and seeing everything that is happening. And He will heal you from all your hurts.

    xoxo,
    Older Me ;)

  462. 473
    Christina says:

    Dear Teenage Christina,

    This too shall pass. Please don’t worry about what everyone else thinks of you. In the grand scheme of things it just doesn’t matter. Seize the day and stop worrying about failure. (See the repetition here? You worry too much.) Put your worry in God’s hands and let Him lead you.

    Love, Adult Christina

  463. 474

    Seek Him. Be present in the moment. It’s okay to make mistakes :) . You are loved!

  464. 475

    I would tell myself that; This to shall pass! To be proud of who you are and not
    to follow but to lead. Most of all to be involved in a good christian fellowship group with an adult leader who can be real and remember what’s it’s like to be a teenager again!! Most important, allow Jesus to be your best friend!!

  465. 476

    I would tell my teen aged self to slow down a little bit and not worry so much about what others think.

  466. 477

    Drama doesn’t actually ever end. It just takes on a different look. Start practicing how to stay away from it NOW. And be you. If God had wanted you to be more like someone else, He’d have made you that way!

  467. 478
    Veronica says:

    “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9
    > Daughters of the King>
    “YOU ARE FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE”
    YIELD TO GOD IN YOUR YOUTH!!!!!!!!
    TRUST HIM~GOD IS LOVE

  468. 479

    You are loved and cherished beyond comprehension, by a heavenly Father who wants to know you, wants to hold you. Please, please, please stop seeking affection and self worth from earthly arms. God will forgive you. Of course God will forgive you. But, you may not be able to forget. P.s. Put on some sunscreen!

  469. 480
    Natalija says:

    You are beautiful. Don’t try so hard to please people. Relax in God’s grace and worry about knowing Him and doing His will.

  470. 481
    Heather says:

    Don’t worry if everyone doesn’t like you.
    Don’t worry if you’re not the most popular girl in school.
    Those things will not matter in a few years, I promise!
    Just be yourself and be kind to everyone.

  471. 482
    Heather says:

    Don’t worry if everyone doesn’t like you. Don’t worry if you’re not the most popular girl in school. Those things will not matter in a few years, I promise! Just be yourself and be kind to everyone.

  472. 483

    Be yourself. Don’t conform to the world. Stand apart and stand up for your beliefs.

  473. 484

    i would practice asking for, and accepting God’s wonderful, never-ending, GRACE every single day! hearing about it and learning to give it to others is one thing as we age, BUT accepting it from Him daily as we navigate this journey is something i was not good at in my teen years. it created baggage that eventually i left at the foot of the cross, but if i had only learned that His grace was for me as a teen it would have made the journey lighter.

  474. 485

    Stand strong! Don’t give way to fear.

  475. 486

    Keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep your heart focused on Him!

  476. 487
    Stephanie says:

    I had awesome parents and as a teen I told them pretty much everything. My parents also did the same, they were always open and honest. As I started actually having to think twice about some decisions I was making I thought to myself “am I going to be embarrassed to tell my kids about this one day?”. That would usually quickly make my decision for me. The things you do seem to only affect you in the moment but the reality is some of those little decisions you make right now I’ll affect you for a lifetime.

  477. 488

    Oh you dear, silly, insecure, teenaged Madison,

    Leave to Thy God to order and provide
    In every change He FAITHFUL will remain.

    And furthermore; who ever told you, and WHY did you ever choose to believe, that people’s opinions and thoughts are more important than God’s? Not true. Period.

    Sincerely,
    A more mature and secure Madison

  478. 489

    God made you in his image……God doesn’t make junk……..smile and the world will smile with you……you’re beautiful on the inside.

  479. 490

    Don’t criticize yourself. It leads to hesitation.

  480. 491
    Tamra Harrison says:

    Wait on God and His timing for your life. You are dearly loved and He has a plan for you.

  481. 492

    Dear Me,

    Give your life to Jesus at an earlier age, so you have more time to live for Him!!!! Follow His leading more closely!!!! Be what He wants you to be!!!!

    Love,

    Self

  482. 493
    Brenda Bell says:

    Love yourself (body, mind and soul) because God made you, and he makes no mistakes. The world says you’re not good enough, but God says different, “you are fearfully and wonderfully made”. Put your life in his hands, trust and seek him nomatter what life throws at you, let him transform you and you will experience a joyfilled life.

Trackbacks

  1. […] She started middle school this year and though she’s still 18 months from being a bona fide teenager, the winds of adolescent change, they are a-blowin’. So far it’s all {mostly} good. Though we never really know which mood the wind is going to blow into our midst on any given day, God has been generous with the parental grace. We’ve sort of been gearing up for this.  I think the letter to my teenage self struck an extra-sensitive chord because parenting an adolescent daughter can’t help but usher in a lot of my own teenage memories and their accompanying emotions. I submitted this comment earlier today {in response to the release of these 2 beautiful books}: […]

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