A friend’s daughter is turning 16 and asked a few friends and family members to write her a (short) letter about their memories of being sixteen and perhaps a little advice…here’s mine. I dedicate it to all the young women reading this…whatever their age.
Sweet Sixteen! What a milestone! Hooray for you! On my sixteenth birthday, I got my driver’s license. Now that was sweet. Sixteen is a year of transition and wonder and enlargening circles and increasing freedom and more deeply stepping into the lovely young woman you are.
When I was sixteen, most of the girls I knew had entered into the fray to attract a boyfriend. A date. An invitation. A kiss. A something. (Is it the same for you?) An intangible grid shifted in too many hearts around me (including mine) which gave an enormous amount of weight to the young men while robbing it from the young women. What did “he” think, say, do, ask? Those were the engrossing questions. What had begun in elementary school, increased to obsession in middle school, and became defining in high school. Girlfriends were sacrificed on the altar of “I’ve got a boyfriend, now.” Friendships that may have lasted for years were set aside in the interest of a relationship with a boy that may have lasted barely a few months or even days. You know it happens.
Something internal inside of too many of us handed away our self worth to the cutest boy who made our heart skip a beat. Yikes. When I was in high school, I accepted this. It can be a girl thing. This valuing boyfriends above girlfriends thing.
But you are not a girl. You are a self possessed, loved, and cherished young woman. Still, you are living in a world of girls. So guard your heart. Who you are is the most valuable treasure you possess. Be vigilant against handing away your self worth to anyone else. Male or female! You matter! Your heart matters! I still have girlfriends from high school. But…not any boyfriends. Friend boys. Yes. Boyfriends, no. (My most important friend boy from high school is now my husband!)
There is only One who can tell you to the core of your being who you are. And He has spoken and He continues to speak. Through creation, through His Word, and through the life, death, and triumphant resurrection of His Son. You are priceless. You are immeasurably loved. And nothing and no one can ever change that!
Enjoy being 16! Soak it in! There is the temptation to “rush” it…to rush life in the looking forward to the all that is coming. But I encourage you to savor it. Relish it. Stay in it. Be present to your own life and to the stage you are in; the glorious, wonderful age of sixteen!
Happy Birthday, dear heart! You’re marvelous.
your aunt Stasi