An Open Letter to the Girl Starting Back to School

Hello Lovely Lady,

I wrote this blog about 2 years ago, but for some reason the Lord sort of put it on my heart. I thought about just re-posting, but instead I wanted to come back and edit/add some things. The older you get, the more you learn. I know just in the last couple years- I’ve grown and learned more than I thought I could! I want you to know how loved and valued you are because as the next few years unfold you will go through many different seasons of life. Some good, some bad, some exciting, and some terrifying. And that’s ok, it’s all apart of life. However, I’m going to share with you some things people shared with me when I was younger as well as things I’ve learned in these short 24 years.

  1. Middle school and high school don’t last forever!

In the moment, some things seem so important. Everything seems finite. Who you go to prom with, what you wear the first day of school, the drama of middle/high school romance- but in retrospect, it is not near as big of a deal as you might think. Don’t get caught up on the little things, keep your eyes focused on your future and your goals. It’s okay to care about what you wear or who you go to prom with- just remember that high school is only 4 years. You have so much ahead of you.

2. The friends you have in 7th grade may not still be your friends when you graduate and that’s okay.

During your middle/high school years, you are going to grow and change and the people around you will as well. Some friends will weather the storms of life with you, and others will move on to other things. It can be sad in the moment to lose a friend, but know that you will meet new people wherever you are and in whatever season of life. God is going to put the right people in your path in the right time.

3. Being in a relationship is not a requirement.

You are not weird or a freak if you are single. There is nothing wrong with taking time to focus on yourself and give the guys around you time to mature and grow into the men they need to be. You don’t need a boyfriend to have value or worth. Don’t let anyone tell you differently! I went out on dates in high school, but I was 21 before I had my first serious boyfriend. There is nothing wrong with dating in high school, but you should never feel pressure to enter into or remain in a relationship simply because you are worried you’ll be looked at differently if you’re single.

4. A Kylie Jenner Lip Kit will not make you like yourself more or help the things you are self-conscious about (I’m talking to myself here).

Something I have never liked about myself is my lips. I know that sounds dumb, but every time I would look in the mirror, I would look at them and think they are too small. I always told myself when I got older I would get some type of filler to make my lips bigger. It made me feel better to think eventually this perceived “flaw” would be fixed. However, there came a point when I had to realize that I’m not Angelina Jolie or Kylie Jenner- I’m Bailey Kennon. “Fixing” or “covering up” something was not going to deal with the real issue at hand- which was my heart. Not saying there is anything wrong with lip kits (I like lip liners as much as the next person)- simply that before you attempt to “fix” yourself on the outside, you have to examine your heart on the inside. Then, real progress and transformation can take place.

5. You don’t have to make mistakes, but it’s okay if you do. 

The beautiful thing about having parents, older siblings, and mentors is that you can learn from their mistakes. You don’t have to make the same mistakes they do- you can take their advice and hopefully avoid many obstacles. However, it’s okay if you do make mistakes. That’s how you learn and that’s how you grow. I have certainly made my share of mistakes, but I’m learning I can’t mentally beat myself up for it. Understand that one wrong turn does not mean you have derailed your entire life- every day is a new day and a new opportunity to make it better than the day before.

6. You are not who you have been, you are who you choose to be. Choose to be someone good.

Change and transformation is normal. You’re going to go through many seasons of life. Sometimes you may not understand your purpose, you many not understand why God has put you on a certain path. But regardless of where you are, be something good. Learn to shine wherever He places you. One of my favorite quotes is- “Grow where you are planted”- learn to live by that.

7.  You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

In regards to this, I’m not talking about your parents or other authority figures- I’m talking peers and boyfriends. Just because someone asks you to do something does not mean you have to. Whether that be going to a party, going further physically in a relationship than you want to, underage drinking, smoking, etc. You have to know what your boundaries are and not allow anyone to push you past them. Just for the record, it is possible to get through middle school and high school without drinking, partying, or smoking. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Do what you know is right and let the chips fall where they may. Be strong and stand up for yourself.

8. Pray for your future spouse.

This is so important. Regardless of whether or not you meet the man you’ll marry in high school- he is going through the same things you are. He will have seasons of loneliness, happiness, frustration, and worry. Pray for his heart and for his relationship with the Lord. Ask God to give him the strength to stay strong in his faith and to put the people in his life that he will need to mentor him. You never know what is going on in his home or in his life- Make sure he has your prayers.

9. Words carry weight.

My primary love language is words of affirmation. My whole week can be made by a tiny compliment- as well as an insult can tear me to pieces. I’ve had to learn to toughen up, but I’ve learned that words carry a lot of weight. Use your words to build people up- not discourage or tear them down. In this age of social media, once you put something out there, you cannot take it back. Know the power of your words and your keyboard. Before posting something, remember that it will always be there and try to think of who it will affect.

10. Give grace.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in life is that we’re all going to mess up. Today it might be me, tomorrow it might be you. Regardless, give grace. I’m not saying you shouldn’t defend or take up for yourself if someone is treating you poorly. I am telling you when a friend hurts you- remember a time that you hurt someone and how you would have loved to have been given grace. I am trying to learn to live a life that abundantly gives grace, because that’s what our Lord does and shouldn’t we try to be more like Him?

Above all, center yourself and your life in Jesus. Life won’t always be easy, but it will be fulfilling knowing that you’re walking with the Creator by your side.

Happy school year ladies- make it a good one!

“Her clothes are strength and honor. She is full of joy about the future. She opens her mouth with wisdom. The teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” -Proverbs 31:25-26 (NLV)

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