Dear 18 Year Old Carole

This post was inspired by Tori Taff's post on her blog, She wrote to her 18 year old self, I thought that was a cool and creative thing to write so here's mine...

Dear 18 year old Carole,

Wow, what  huge transitions you've been through recently. The move to your dads was the first, then making a commitment to follow Jesus was the biggest life change ever. Your new faith is so exciting I know. The good news is, it's real and it last. The bad news is, you will go through times where you have trouble with the rules, but then you will find that it really has nothing to do with rules. Yes, yes, I know that right now, in the environment you are in at Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, you believe that it's all about rules, your main concern is staying away from rock music, even Christian rock music, and rated R movies. But you will come to see that all that is is legalism and all it does is trade one form of bondage (before you started following Christ you were in bondage to sin) for a new form of bondage (now your bound to the law, rules, rules that kill, they don't give life as you currently think) you will go through a lot to get there- to get to grace, you'll make some bad choices and even some that seem bad but are actually for the good, and you will find it eventually, or I should say, you will discover that grace was there the minute you decided to follow Jesus, you just couldn't see it for all the fundamentalist legalism your in now.

Yes, you do get over Jimmy Mills, completely, and you will thank God that he spared you a life time with him. Even better then that, you find your life-mate when you least expect it. I wont tell you any more but just know this, you will love him more every day and he is a better father to your kids then you can even imagine right now. Yes, you have kids, three. How they come to be yours is such an amazing adventure, one that is filled with joy, heartache, fear, and all three of your children are huge acts of faith.They will blow your mind daily. There is no way to tell you how wonderful being a wife and mother is.

Your going to find that your dreams will die, some for a very long time, and then God will give them back perfected in Him at the most unexpected times. He is going to take all the bad, all the hurt and pain, and transform it, and use it as part of the fulfillment of your dreams and he will give you new dreams. Really great dreams.

I wish I could tell you that you will learn all the important lessons of life easily, but I can't tell you that. Even at 43, I'm still learning most things the hard way. The fact that you had to grow up fast, be completely independent at age 18, didn't have a father in the home while growing up and were raised a redneck who more then once, took her earrings off to fist fight, will both work for you and against you in life. But know this, you are going to find yourself. See, right now, your trying to fit into the "good" box. You've changed everything about yourself to fit in to this religious Utopia your living in right now as part of Swaggart ministry. Your entire life is there, you work there, go to church there, hang out with friends at the bible college there, so it's easy to think everything about it is good and right but one day you will see that Utopia's are temporary at best and they aren't real.

Oh young girl with your thick eyebrows and large permed hair, one day you will look back fondly on this time when you thought a size 9 was fat and you were sure you'd never want or need a tummy tuck and what I'm about to tell you will shock you, but you wont always wear dark red lip stick and you will paint your nails black on a regular basis.

OK, that's all I can share with you for now my young self. Let me leave you and get back to being the 43 year old Carole. I know 43 seems really old to you now, but most of the time, I still feel just like you, full of hopes and dreams, looking to the future. The exception is that now, I have less time to accomplish all that is yet ahead.

oh I almost forgot to tell you,  I've seen Pat Benatar in concert it was as amazing and wonderful as you dreamed AND just this year, I bought a Pat Benatar T-shirt.

See what I mean? I'm still you.


Anonymous said…
"I'm still you"--I love this so very much! It's so true, and you expressed it so beautifully.

(BTW-- my husband Russ Taff is TOTALLY one of those Christian singers Jimmy Swaggart told you not to listen to! Boy howdy, was he wrong!)
Candice said…
You are an amazing writer. There wasn't anything sad in this, but I still cried lol!

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