dear me: a letter to your teenage self (a link up)

graceful for young women

Why write a letter?

This younger generation is all around us, but sometimes we forget the types of things they are thinking and walking through. As a way to introduce my new book, Graceful, I wanted to encourage my peers to remember what it was like to be sixteen again.

Perhaps writing a letter to ourselves will help us to see the people who are sixteen still. And maybe be moved with compassion on their behalf.

I invited some friends to lead the charge this week and be the first to write letters. Some new ones posting today:

 Holley Gerth

Shannan – Flower Patch Farmgirl

Jen Schmidt from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

You can read what others have written on the letters page. Now it’s your turn!

how to write your own letter

    • Whether you wrote your letter a long time ago or just doing it today, simply grab the permalink to your post and follow the directions in the linky below. (You may need to click over to the blog if you are an email or RSS subscriber)
    • Use one of these “Dear Me” graphics in your post because they are awesome.
    • Read an example of some letters and get some ideas of what you might want to include, visit the letters page.
    • Include a link to if you want your readers to know about it
    • Tweet it up: #GracefulTheBook

graceful (for young women)
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  1. says

    I’m absolutely loving that every time I refresh this page, there are 20 more people linked up!! CANNOT WAIT to read all of these letters! Thanks for doing this, Emily – it was such a blessing to write.

  2. says

    This was a terrific idea! I was surprised at what percolated to the surface in my letter. It certainly has given me a wider view as a parent, even though my girls are both young adults. As a new teen youth leader at church, I will be thinking about these many letters, and remembering more clearly how incredibly difficult it was to be a teen. Thanks for the prompt. It was a delightful exercise!

  3. says

    I can’t wait to write mine this afternoon. And I can’t wait to read everyone else’s posts. I love this link up. I expect to cry. It’s so emotional to write you the former you.

  4. says

    I’ve been trying to write this all week. The “trying” isn’t from pressure but each time I sit down to do it I can’t. Why is it still raw? Going to try again tonight.

    • says

      I think we can all relate. Isn’t it crazy what comes up after all these years? I ended up just sitting down, and writing straight. I didn’t try and edit myself or craft a perfect post or let my perceived thought of how readers would react dictate it. I just wrote and hit publish, unedited and all. (But I am open to a bit of bedlam like that. ) 😉

      Now letter #2 has to be written because this got TOO long. :)

  5. says

    This was so freeing… thank you. Feel like I’ve somehow made peace with someone that I haven’t seen (or thought about) for sooo many years. I no longer need to distance myself from her. I’ve come to realize that she did the best she could at the time. She needed better examples in her life, and thankfully, she (I) did eventually find them. God bless you for this new sense completion — and its renewal.

  6. says

    Emily – thank you for hosting this link up and inspiring SO MANY of us to write these letters. It was unexpectedly therapeutic for me even though it was hard to talk to her about some stuff.

  7. says

    Emily thank you for this link-up and the therapeutic journey it was to write this letter. It surprised me what came out as I tried to just write straight without overthinking it all…but I agree with Jen, it got so long! So much to say, I guess. Thank you for your inspiration and heart-felt sweetness and passion…I just love that! Have a blessed weekend :)

  8. says

    These are all really interesting. It’s interesting, but I guess not surprising, that very few men participated. Men don’t tend to be that introspective. I had a great time doing it, though.

  9. says

    Emily, these are incredible.

    I wrote mine a few days ago and have been kind of a wreck since – I am in a season where my whole life feels like a huge “I have no idea” and it was such a gift to look back 8 years ago and be able to remind myself that all that I was worried about turned out okay. And to be able to be where I am right now and think that 8 years from now, I’ll be able to do the same thing has brought me a ton of comfort in a season of intense transition, change, and fear. So thank you for starting this and know that it has been a huge blessing.

  10. says

    Thank you Emily,
    I sort of went into this half-hearted… not knowing what to say to me. Wow. This has opened up some places that I have tucked away. How awesome to go back in my mind (though I am a little bit in the twilight zone today). Thanks for this link up. Makes me see the world from my “young eyes” again… a beautiful perspective I had forgotten.

  11. says

    Loved getting to this activity! I work with international teenage girls in Ecuador and I am constantly thinking about the advice I would have given myself! Now I had a little opportunity to do just that in the blog post! Thank you! Want to read your book to my small group some day. Thank you for that resource!

  12. says

    This was amazing…thank you Emily! I look forward to reading everyone’s letters! I’m new to linking…is it bad that there is a red x next to my name? I’m listed as 213 but I don’t know if I did it right 😉 anyone out there know what I’m talking about? Thank you!

  13. says

    Thanks for having us do this Emily…it’s actually something I’ve always wanted to do. I think in ten years I’ll be looking back at my thirties and wishing I could have written a letter to myself. We are just too hard on ourselves. You probably don’t remember me but we met at Blissdom 2010. I’m Edie’s friend. xo, Jessica

  14. says

    I linked to mine last night. I tried to comment, but apparently I didn’t do something right, so I’ll try again today. :)

    I enjoyed this. It was harder than I thought it would be – I guess I wasn’t prepared for the emotion that came out when I wrote my letter. Thank you for it, though. I think I need to do things like that more often, especially since my husband I work with those who just graduated high school and are just starting off “alone” (or so they think). It’s so easy to forget what that was like. Thanks for the reminder! It sure does help you regain any compassion you may have lost and earn some new you didn’t know you had.

    I look forward to reading more of the letters on here, too. It certainly gives new perspective that is so valuable! Thanks to everyone who shared…I know it wasn’t easy, and I personally am grateful that you trusted us with your personal thoughts. What a blessing, conviction and challenge to me…if not to everyone reading them.

    Thanks again, and I am hoping to get both your books some time soon. I think they will come in very handy, especially when my daughter reaches that age in about 12 years. :)

  15. says

    what a cool link up~ once again realizing, we’re not in this alone. “pimples and bad perms.. you too? i thought i was the only one!” funny to me thinking back to those awkward teen years, how some things though never change. the same struggles then, can be the same struggles now. maybe i dress better and my hair is straight, but my heart.. well, that transformation takes a lifetime. learning again and again that nothing – not friends. or my husband. or things. or money. or what others think of me. or blogging. or abilities. – can fill my cup like Jesus Christ alone can do! ~ so glad for this book, emily. and how it’s going to point our girls to the true Thirst Quencher.

  16. says

    I wrote my letter to my self. It was a hard one with many tears but I got through it. I loved reading what everyone had to say and I think this was an awesome idea. Thank you for letting me have a chance….

  17. Tammy LeGlue says

    Thanks for letting us share in this Emily. I wrote this letter to myself today, but don’t officially have a blog so I can’t do a link. I pasted below.

    Dear Me,

    Here are some things I wish someone had told me while I was still you – a starry-eyed 16-year-old with her whole future ahead of her….

    God has loved you before you even existed. He created you with value and purpose, and then He alone proclaimed your value. Don’t let anyone – the mean girls, your inner critic or satan – convince you otherwise.
    Since God already proclaimed your value, it’s not possible to find your value in any other source. That career you want? That does not define you – only God does. If you try to find value anywhere else, you’re just going to come up empty and hurting.

    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.

    Take more time with your family. It seems like they will be here forever, but they won’t. Take time to listen to the old stories of family and faith. That legacy of faith is something that will be important for you to pass on to your children, too.

    Speaking of your children, when they come along, be sure to start sharing these things with them early and often. In fact, don’t wait for your kids. Share this with everyone you can. Everyone needs to hear that God loves them and that they can find rest in Him.

    Your Big-girl self

  18. says

    This is great! My husband is a youth pastor and I lead a small group of high school girls. I and couldn’t forward this on to them fast enough! Greatly looking forward to reading Graceful together in a few weeks, thanks so much for the leader’s guide Emily!

    I wrote a blog in response to reading all these great letters-to-my-teenage-self… thank you for inspiring me to think not only of the “way back when” but also the here and now.



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    I was over on This Glorious Day (9/17/12) post which brought me here. Wow, lots of links to your post and it’s no wonder. That was a great idea.

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