There is no way I'm 33.
No way.
There is no way that I'm not still a teenager with no idea what's happening in life. 

I had this weird experience the other day when I just looked around wondering at my life. That is simultaneously exactly what I have always wanted it to be and nothing like what I thought it would look like. 

But it's my life. 

This year I've been in therapy for over a year. It is also strange to be in the middle of a negative pattern of thought or behavior and realize, it doesn't have to be like this! The idea that I can just be a different person is the weirdest and most "duh" inducing idea I've come across in a long time. 

Pete's lived here for another year (since he moved in on my birthday weekend 2 years ago it's easy to keep track of when he moved in) and I can't image him not living with me. The ridiculousness that has ensued and honestly just the friendship that developed is so cherished. Also, it's really hilarious to combat all the "are they or aren't they" conversations with mutual looks of horror and recoiling. Every once in awhile we'll say something about when we move into separate homes and honestly, I panic a little....because I don't know how I'd eat since he cooks all the time! Oh, and playing Mario Kart alone is boring, so clearly we need to live together forever.

God took away my writing voice for awhile; but I feel it trickling back into my lungs and expelling words again. But in taking away my writing voice he gave me my speaking voice. Standing up for myself, saying no more often and when I want/need to has been ridiculously revolutionary for my life. 

There are still holes. Places in my heart that can't seem to heal quite yet. But newer people are beginning to weave their friendships around them; helping me trust and believe that things can be different. For which I am eternally grateful.

But more than anything else; this year has given me a sense of contentedness. Content with my life, where I'm at, what's happening and with whom. Here's to another year, 34? That can't be right...


Dear 16-Year Old Bethany

Dear 16-Year Old Bethany,

It will be better. You will not always feel like you're under someone's thumb and these people will not have power over you forever. Just hold on a little longer.
Please don't feel like you have to cling to the scraps of attention and love you receive from boys that are beneath you. You deserve to be cherished and cared for as if you are the most precious thing in that persons life. If they cannot treat you that way than you need to stop wasting your time.
But on that same note: You should not be so callous with the hearts of people that entrust them to you. Be kind. Life is too fleeting to be cruel and unkind just because you can.
Pay attention in church. Because Jesus is waiting for you. He's waiting for you to realize that he loves you exactly where and how you are regardless of what you've done or not done. Jesus is not like so many of the people you grew up in church with. He is like Noriko and Mary who always remember your name and what you've been up to. He remembers your birthday and celebrates the day you were created because he created you.

Don't be in such a hurry to grow up. Being an adult is hard and it doesn't get easier, it just gets more manageable.

You have great parents that want the best for you; please be kinder to them. I know you're just acting out because you are so scared all of the time but they know when people aren't good for you. Stop sneaking around or telling them they don't know what they're talking about.

Stay a kid for awhile. Don't rush into sleeping with boys; you have your whole life for that and this is the only time you have to focus on setting up your future and the only time you have to be so carefree.

Be carefree. Don't worry so much about what other people are doing and saying. Those that matter are on your side; the rest are just loud noises that should be relegated to the periphery of your life.

School matters. The luxury of being able to work during the summer only and focus on school the rest of the year is one that will not come again. It's ok to not know what you want; don't panic. You don't have to be who everyone else thinks you should be. Just be yourself. Most everyone is as confused and scared as you are; it's just that no one talks about it.

Don't smoke. Don't even start. It's hard to quit. Don't drink when you're so young. It makes you do stupid things that even though they're funny sometimes are mostly just hurting you in the long run.

Be brave in your friendships. Know that you will get hurt but don't shut down. Friends may come and go but God will redeem all of those hurts; every single one of them.

Love. Be open to loving others and being kind. Don't discard people just because they are in your way of something you think you want instead. The best way to have kindness given to you is to be kind to others.

Don't close your heart when you're hurt. It's a habit you will find nearly impossible to break as an adult. Everyone is hurt. Everyone is scarred in some way. Love anyway. Love without ceasing and be irrationally kind.

People will show you kindness in the future; and it will literally save your life. You won't have earned it, you won't believe you deserve it. That kindness is Jesus writing a love letter to you asking for your whole heart. Give in sooner. Don't be so stubborn.

Being secretive is a trait that runs in your family. Be open with people. It might be embarrassing at first; until you hear the first person saying, "I thought I was the only one..."

You are good. You are not bad or spoiled or a terrible girl. Start fighting against the lies you've been told now. It will save you so much time and money on therapists as an adult.

I believe in you. You are enough. Just how you are.

33-Year old Bethany



Floating into my lungs like smoke from clandestine cigarettes is the memory of you

Days like today my lungs are full of you
The decision was right, it was appropriate and true to the call I hear to live a particular life

But days like today I long to shove all of those things to the darkest and deepest reaches

Forgetting and forgoing all just to hold on to your hand again

The years are racing past me so quickly yet when my mind reaches for you we are still how we always were
No gray hairs
No great distance between our bodies and hearts
Just laughing

I wonder what it’s like on the other side
I wonder if I ever wander unbidden into your thoughts
I wonder if you ever wake with my name on your lips
An afterthought of a dream of what might have been