Dear 16 year old Bekah,
When I turned 25 a few days ago I thought I owed you an apology. Who you think you'll become and where you think you'll be doesn't happen. Actually, life looks nothing like you think it will. And I mean nothing. You don't live in NYC. You aren't single living with a random tribe in Uganda with lots of orphans playing around you. You didn't get your Bachelor's degree. You're not Mother Theresa. There's no world peace.
You're married. You got married at 21 and your husband at 19 (I prefer to say 2 weeks shy of 20, otherwise, it sounds like you marry a teenager...). I'm sure you're laughing right now because you swore up and down you'd never get married, and if you did get married there would be honeymoon babies. There were no honeymoon babies. Actually, you're 3 1/2 years married and there are still no babies. And, for the most part, you're okay with that.
You live in Colorado Springs. Yup, 30 minuets from your parents. You actually lived with them for 17 months during the first three years of marriage. In your old bedroom...
You got your Associates Degree and didn't go back to college after that. Your degree was going to be in Political Science. You read that right. You like politics. The tension, fighting, research to "prove" your point. You love it! You were going to go to school for youth ministry, but you changed degree after Intro to Political Science.
You've got no babies, but you have a puppy and a cat... In an apartment. So it's like you're building roots, but also not.
I'm sure you're feeling confused and slightly depressed about all that. But you know what? Getting to 25 is God's absolute grace on your life. You see, 4 months after you get married your health starts to crumble. You quit your job at church and use every last piece of energy you have to finish two semesters of college. And I mean every. last. ounce. of. energy.
You saw a specialist, had a test done, or ended up in ER/urgent care 3-5 times a week for 4 months. After almost a year of searching for the answer to all the health problems you've had since you were born, we found out it's Chronic Lyme Disease and 2 other coinfections.
Even though you've been told you're crazy numerous times and you feel crazy- there is an answer to every single health problem you've ever had.
Chronic Lyme Disease. It's crazy. You are not crazy.
And treatment is nasty. You end up in a wheelchair, with a PICC Line, infusing 8-10 hours a day. It gets rough there for a while. Like at one point your Dr will tell you he's glad you made it and is a little surprised that you did.
But Rebekah, you made it. I made it. We make it. On your 25th birthday you'll still be fighting 2 coinfections, but, you're out of the wheelchair, PICC is out, you can drive, walk, dance, and have a sound mind.
And you like you're life. No, it looks NOTHING how you want it to look, but it's a good life.
You're married to the most outstanding man on planet earth. I swear no one else could have walked though hell with you.
You are part of a beautiful young adult small group. You get to be part of their lives and you get to hear raw stories.
You have a cozy apartment that people come over for game night, dinner and to just sit on your couch and cry.
And you have friends who adore you. Friends that are like family. They tell you you're pretty on sick days and go on adventures with you on healthy days. They pray over you constantly. They're your people. You do have some heartbreaks with some friendships, but Rebekah, you'll be okay. Enjoy the friends you have currently in your life and enjoy the memories when friendship seasons end.
I wish I learned this sooner: Stop trying to be someone you're not. You aren't gentle, quiet and submissive. You're fiesty. You love big and intensely. You have a voice and God gave you a loud voice for a reason. You have things of worth to say. Some people won't like this about you, but you keep on being you. Don't let people steal your joy or voice. Don't let the "I hate Rebekah Gibson" club get you down (watch Friends and laugh). People are mean and jealous and hurt. Love them anyway.
So no, by the time you turn 25 you won't be single in a random part of the world. You won't have finished your Bachelor's degree. You'll be very unsuccessful to the world's standards. But you'll be exactly where God wants you to be. The best place to be. Moving mountains in Colorado Springs.
Don't wait till you move there or get that job or finish that degree. Move mountains now. In the valleys and the mountain tops give life all you can.
On October 2, 2014 worship Jesus. Worship Him with everything you have because He is good. And though that weekend will be scary, you're going to make it. That'll be the weekend you beat death. Dance on the grave. Then enjoy every ounce of life you are blessed to get.
I'm glad life looks nothing like you want. Cause it's better than you could dream.
And girl, start using coconut oil. As moisturizer and lotion and conditioner. Seriously, your face will thank you ;)
Love, You at 25
~ Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to slide across
the finish line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, and shouting GERONIMO.