the letter to 17 year old Chelsie


Hey Chels,

I’m writing to you from not too far ahead, but far enough to know a few things. Far enough to know better but somehow still know a little less.

I wish I could tell you to take a breath. I’m constantly telling myself that now but I don’t think I learned that lesson until approximately three years after I needed to. You do not actually have to do all the activities, events, lessons, extra credits, clubs or offices that are available. People will like you anyway. You won’t learn this until close to the year 2012, but hold on, I promise you do get there.

You are going to love more boys than the boy you love right now. (Here, this is a good time to practice that deep breath we discussed.) I know you’re panicking. I know you think that love is not real if it goes away. I know you think that you must be everything or nothing. The world is not black and white, Chelsie, and love lost was still love. You will doubt, in the coming years, what it means to be truly loved back but the glorious thing of it is that you will always know how to love. You are a giver. I know you think this a curse (and I may still some days as well), but know that you will one day get it all back tenfold.

You will find someone who says I love you and honestly, truly, long conversations, bad jokes, constant questions, across 300 miles loves you. I won’t tell you when or who because I can’t ruin every surprise.

You do win the arguments with your dad, eventually. You do move out of state to college, you do make a 4.0 your second semester and you also begin to find yourself along the way. You will fight when you come home, your whole family will. You will think there is something wrong with you, that you think you know too much and you are too bossy. You are wrong. You are very, very wrong and right now I wish I could hug you and tell you that you are made this way for a fierce, beautiful and amazing reason.

More than fighting your dad, you are going to fight big battles. Battles far bigger than your small self can handle alone. Start praying more, now. Please start talking to Jesus and telling him what you love in addition to what you hate. Start saying thanks, not just help. You’ll figure this out in 2011, with a year long gratitude journal, but grace comes from thankfulness.

And there’s that word. Grace. Your #1 goal, your aspiration, your frenemy. Funny enough, I know that you currently think you are very far away from Grace, and in the coming years you will definitely feel yourself slipping further and further from being filled with Grace as you desire — but I (older and wiser, as usual) see this a little differently. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess, but the truth is you are much more graceful than you give yourself credit.

Please give yourself more credit. Please calm down. Your life is so good, Chelsie. You make good friends, you make amazing choices and you make bad choices. You also make some bad friends. But you will live. Oh! I know you’re worried because Audrey has decided not to go away to college, too. Don’t sweat it. She never leaves you and you never leave her. You won’t live in the same city again for many years, but you won’t ever feel like that. You will also have to give a speech at her wedding (in two weeks) – start practicing now because I’m currently panicked.

Be nice to your family. Don’t go to that party in April 2007. Or go, but make sure you email your grandmother back first. She’ll be gone after that night and you’ll email her with no return for awhile. Don’t be mean to Natalie. She’s just a little baby tween right now, and soon she will be 17 (and you will cry at every dance recital) and she won’t think about you the way she does now. Let her be her age. You always try to make her grow up.

Keep writing, keep reading. Embrace who you are. Like I said before (worth repeating) people will like you. And they do.

You do a good job, kid. You’re going to have fun.



PS: your sophomore year of college, you will want to get bangs like Reese Witherspoon. DO NOT DO THAT.

PPS: you do turn into your mother. you’ll thank her for it. you will also think your dad is actually funny. (I know, I know but you will.)






The inspiration from this letter came from Emily at Chatting at the Sky. Emily’s new book Graceful came out this month and she’s asked her readers to write a letter to their high school selves in tribute. I bought this book for sister’s senior year of school present and I highly recommend it for any young girl (or you, if you’re a girl).


What would you tell yourself? Leave a comment and let me know.


1 Comment

Filed under rambles

One response to “the letter to 17 year old Chelsie

  1. Tim Baugh

    Chelsie you truly have a God given talent of expressing yourself with words. Please continue to use it, I loved reading it.PS Those were discussions not fights and I only let you think won some to help build your confidence.(Great Parenting 101, I wrote it) PSS jokes have always been funny.😜
    Your a great person!!

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