An Open Letter to Year-Ago Casey

(In celebration of reaching the end of my year of online college classes and of God’s faithfulness to me even through all of my crazy ups and downs, I’m sharing words I would go back and tell myself a year ago if I could.)

Hey year-ago Casey,

About a month ago you were crying while curled up on a seat in the back of a charter bus. I wish you had pulled yourself together because that’s kind of embarrassing to me now, but I’ll let it slide. The object of your frustrated tears was an email confirming that the school you really wanted to go to did not accepted you to campus, but is making you take your first year of classes online. And a year ago from today you decided today that you’re going to commit to this online program thing. You’re a little bit happy to have finally made the college decision, but mostly sad and angry and asking God if He hates you because you think you know exactly how this next year is going to go, and it doesn’t look good.

Well He doesn’t hate you, let me tell you that. And let me tell you something else.

Okay, year-ago Casey. I would be lying to tell you that it’s going to be easy. There will be so many of homework-in-the-basement nights, and plenty of bumming-Starbucks-wifi-for-countless-hours days. It will be boring. There will be more tears in this next year than I’d like to admit, tears of frustration and anger and self-pity and loneliness.

But there will also be laughter, a lot more than you can imagine right now. There will be new friends, you haven’t even met them yet but in less than a year you will grow to love them deeply. They will give you new perspectives and encourage in you a level of confidence you’ve never had before. And there will be old friends, who will remind you the value of truly caring for and knowing someone. You will learn how to love people over long distances. And you will be loved, in hundreds of big and small ways, at just the right times. Most importantly, you will learn that the most essential love is from the One who loved you first. You know that now, but by the end of this year you will actually believe it.

You will grow closer with your family, that will be one of the biggest and best results of this year. There will be adventures that I don’t want to spoil for you yet, just trust me that they will be breathtaking. And in the end, you will be thankful.

Thankful? Thankful for a year of textbook reading and essay writing in your basement? Hard to believe right now, but yes. Because most crucially of all, you’re going to learn more of who God is, and it will change you. You’re going to come out of this with a new perspective, an open mind and a wider arm span, more ready to embrace all that God has for you. He is going to trade out some of your fear for faith, and some of your pride for humility. He is going to take your weakness and use it to reveal in you His all-surpassing strength. And that will not leave you unchanged.

So hang on tight, girl. Its going to be hard and hurtful for sure, but somehow still extremely wonderful. Don’t worry about the tears, because those moments will pass so quickly. And don’t forget to appreciate the laughter, because those moments will pass even faster. (Ouch. That was so cliche, it was physically painful to write. But its true.) Before you know it, you’ll be standing here on the other side of your freshman year with nothing but thankfulness in your heart, thankfulness that God chose His own plan over yours.

“Oh Lord, You are my God, I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name! For You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.”

Hang in there, year-ago Casey. You’ll be okay.

With love, Casey

PS. And to a year-from-now Casey? I am beyond excited to see what God has for you. Let’s do this.

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