Dear 21 Year Old Self

Woman-writing-a-love-letter-1You’ve just celebrated a big birthday: 21! You have a year left of college and you’re assuming that, like your friends, you will find the love of your life and get married right after graduation. But guess what. That’s not going to happen. Your friends will graduate with engagement rings on their fingers but you will not even have a boyfriend.

You will be discouraged and anxious, but you will assume that your time will come within a year or two. I am sorry to tell you that 25 will come and go and you will still be single. And then 30 and then 35, 38 and 39. Those will be hard years. You will buy so many bridesmaids dresses you could open your own bridal shop. You will try each time to drum up joy for your friends, but deep inside, those old feelings of rejection and unworthiness will almost smother you. You will wonder again and again what’s wrong with you. You will shed many tears and you will cry out to God asking Him, “Why not me?”

But guess what. You will also have a very full, rich life during those years. You will discover that you have a teaching gift and a writing gift. You will travel to Africa and Asia and the Caribbean, teaching God’s Word. You will meet so many interesting people! You will make phenomenal friends and go on breathtaking adventures.

And then God will take you on a journey of the soul. He’ll heal old, childhood wounds of rejection and convince you, finally convince you of your worth: that you are good enough and that He loves you utterly. You will learn to accept who you are and the way God made you and you will finally be comfortable in your own skin.

Yes, you will have boyfriends every now and again. And you’ll hope beyond hope that finally this will be the end of your singleness, but none of these men will truly love you. And that will cause more tears. Don’t despair. They are just not God’s best for you and it’s not the right time. Don’t let self-pity sabotage the redemptive work of God.

By the time you’re 39, you will finally be able to let go of this consuming desire. You will finally be convinced in your core that God is enough and that His grace is sufficient. And right when that begins to settle in your soul, a tall, dark Jamaican named Marvin Doyley will knock on your door.

At first, you’re not so sure about him: he gets kind of tongue tied around you and he will be a brand new Christian, so you’ll keep him at arm’s length and tell him, We’re just friends. But as the months go by you will see that He is absolutely an incredible a prince of a man. He will fall in love with God and His Word right before your eyes. His zeal for his new found faith will delight you. And not only that, he is super smart: he’s got a PhD in physics! You wanted a student, but God will give you a professor. He will get you and love you and pursue you. Wait for him. He will be so worth the wait and all of that pain will seem like a distant dream.

And Nicole, you will give birth to the most beautiful baby boys – in your 40’s! They will take your breath away and you will discover the blessed agony of a mother’s love.

This is what I want to leave you with: enjoy your life. God is faithful now and he will be faithful then. The day will come when you will long for the time you have now to write books, to spend with the Lord, to hang out with girlfriends and to sleep! So enjoy this season, it will last longer than you’d like, but it is a blessed season. Soon you won’t able to trot off to Africa on a speaking trip – that will be put on pause, for the most part. Don’t despise your singleness.

Nicole, I’m so glad you will take the time to get healed of so much of your stuff and to get rid of so much baggage. Because you will do that, your marriage will truly be a dream come true.


Posted in For Single Women, God's Faithfulness, God's Timing, Marriage.

One Comment

  1. Nicole this is beautiful. I can’t believe I cried almost all the way through reading it. Our journeys are so similar.

    Thank you for sharing a part of your story with the world. I pray it will bless many others while they wait on whatever is their heart’s desire.

    What an awesome and surprising Lord we serve! He really is a creative and masterful playwright and director, with cliffhangers and about turns interwoven into the plot of our lives.

    Now I want to write my own letter too. ☺

    I can hardly wait to experience the rest of life’s story.

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