Dear 18-year-old Laci,
I know you’re sad, hurt, and lonely. I’m sure you just got done writing the millionth journal entry about wanting to find your one true love. (Don’t worry, we keep them and get a good laugh each time we re-read them 12 years from now.)
Right now, is probably one of the toughest seasons of your life and I’m sorry you couldn’t read this 12 years ago. I know it would have really helped, but sine we don’t own a DeLorean or a flux capacitor this will have to do.
You know that man you dream of marrying? Well I’m so happy to tell you that you find him in the most beautiful and life-giving way. Not only do you guys get married, but God uses him and his family to save you from the ministry cult you joined.
I know it’s hard to call the ministry you’re in a cult, but once you escape and start looking in from the outside, you’re going to be able to see it for what it really is. A controlling, manipulative, and dysfunctional cult. Sorry to be blunt sister but it’s the truth. Walking away from them isn’t going to be easy by any means. It’s going to hurt, you’re going to lose “friends”, and part of your mistaken identity is going to disappear, but the freedom and relationships you get afterwards are beyond worth it. I promise.
Oh, and that list. Yeah, the one listing out all the things you wanted in a future husband. Well shockingly enough he fits every single one of them and he even purpose under the stars just like you dreamed. (No, he didn’t see the list until we were already married!)
You know Tory, you guys are just getting close but girl, she is a friend, a TRUE life-long friend. When you leave the cult, she’s going to be the only one that stands by you. She will continually speak life into your brokenness and comfort you in your grief. She’s the needle in a haystack kind of friend so keep her close no matter how far away you move from each other.
This relationship you have with God is surface right now, but as you grow, I promise you you’re going to develop a deeper more intimate relationship with Him and it will continually be life changing.
YOU CAN HEAR FROM THE LORD.
Let me say that again for you.
YOU CAN HEAR FROM THE LORD.
I know your “leadership” right now is great at making you think that they are the only ones who hear from the Lord, but boy are they wrong. Over the years after you leave you will start to learn how to hear and trust the Lord for yourself. It’s scary at times but for the most part it’s refreshing.
You remember how you had a passion and dream as a kid about traveling and getting to see beyond Texas? Surprise! In just 9 years of marriage you will move 11 times and 4 of those moves will be out of state. This in itself will teach you more about faith than any verse of the Bible or Christian self-help book. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it is 100% worth it.
These moves don’t just build your faith. They give you the opportunity to explore and take risks, something that right now is trying to be snuffed out of you. Don’t worry. They never succeed.
This may shock you, but you have 3 little girls of your own. THREE!
I know crazy. No boys, but God knows what he’s doing and you’re learning to trust him in every area of your life, even if it’s not what you imagined it would be like.
I know this is hard to talk about but it’s necessary. You know that childhood trauma you experienced that affected your entire life? Well I’m so happy to tell you that through inner healing, therapy, and time you begin to heal. It’s not easy. It takes a lot of commitment and more time than you ever imagined, but when you come out on the other side it’s a new level of freedom that I can’t wait for you to experience.
During college you’re searching for your identity, and as much as I wish I could say you find it quickly after getting married, you don’t. It takes years, but the moment you stop caring about what the outside world thinks and start being honest with who you are is the moment you find your identity. It’s coming and it’s glorious.
I know this time in college is not only hard but it’s weird. I’m here to tell you that you will come out of it stronger, more passionate, and more dedicated to truth and Jesus than ever before. It’s truly beautiful. The way you’ve grown and walked with the Lord is inspiring. I know it’s not over and if getting to 30 has been this much fun and life giving, I can’t wait to write you again in 12 years.
Pssst…. You know how you ALWAYS wanted a tattoo? By the time you’re 30 you’ll have 6 with 2 future appointments already scheduled to get more!
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