One of the biggest lessons I learned this summer in school was to be kind to myself, my past self, my present self, and my future self. One of the ways I did this was by completing a writing project for school. We were charged to write a letter to our 13-year-old selves, to give encouragement and advice regarding our future. Our professor felt we should share our letters with those who could benefit from them. I immediately though of you, the reader of this web-based newspaper column. My hope is that this letter will inspire you to write your own letter to your 13-year -old self so you can experience the benefits of giving yourself grace, too.
Dear 13 -Year -Old Me,
Hey, sister! Let me start this letter out by first calling you Pam and not Pammie. We both know how much we do not like being called by a child’s nickname, ha! And look at you! You are 13 years old; you are leaving the younger, less (for lack of a better word) powerful version of ourselves behind. You are moving into the middle years.
I want to commend you on how well you have handled yourself up to now.
Things have not been easy for you. I know the pain you have carried both inside and out. At this point in our lives, we are still trying to figure out what to do with all those pesky emotions that keep popping up while fighting hard not to let anyone see that we have been affected by their abuse and neglect.
You do not hear this from others, but I want you to hear it from me, the one person you trust right now that will not lie to you; you are loved, you matter, you are perfect just the way you are. Nothing about you is weird or strange. You are unique and one of a kind. There is not another you, and you are the most perfect you there ever will be.
You are strong, intelligent, and kind. You have gifts you do not even know about yet, and trust me, sister, they are going to blow your mind!
I want you to hear this; you are not strong because you have endured so much physical and mental pain. You are not strong because you can put up walls that (you think) will keep you safe from the pain and hurt you feel on such a deep level.
You are strong because God is with you. You are strong because you can love unlovable people. You are strong because you forgive. You can forgive, and you can value the unlovable. You can. It does not mean you are weak when you cry. It does not mean you are weak when you feel something deeply. It means you are a wonderful human being.
I am sorry no one ever told you this before now. People cannot see into your brokenness. Only God can do that. Pam, He sees you. He always has, and He always will.
Losing dad at such a young age was, and always will be, a source of struggle for us but it does not have to rule our lives.
Always remember how you read the words in scripture that told us God is the Father to the fatherless. Those words are accurate, and we can always trust the words in the Bible. We can always trust our Abba, Father.
You must forgive mom sooner than later. Don’t forget that our mother lost her mother around the same age when we lost our dad. She doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. Her Father was a farmer who did not dote on her, so she does not know how to dote on us. Cut her some slack. She is scared just like you are, but she has much more responsibility than you do right now.
Don’t despise our stepsister. She can’t help the way she is. Be nice to her regardless of how she is toward you. Do not hold grudges because they will only hurt your soul, not theirs.
Pam, things are about to get a little rougher in the next few years. Talk to your counselors. They cannot help you if you clam up.
Do not say ‘yes’ to living with our brother or sister, and they are not healed from the trauma they have experienced either.
Running away is not the answer. Let the grown-ups with authority help you, they know how to do their job.
I know it’s hard going from one oppressive situation to another, but I promise that if you allow the process to work, it will be better in the end.
Pick your friends carefully. Those cute boys won’t be so cute when they are breaking your heart. Don’t worry about fitting in, be you, read the books, plan for college, believe you will get there because you will.
I love that you love the underdog and take up for the weak ones. Keep doing that. Your heart is paving a way for your future.
Do not smoke! It is not cool, and you will smell bad.
Use your God-given humor for fun, but do not use it to hurt people like you have been hurt.
Do unto others as you want them to do unto you.
Do not pay back the evil that has been done to you. Let God be your protector. One day when you look back you will see how many times He stepped in on your behalf and there will be times you had no idea He was there for you. You are not alone. Never have been, never will be.
I won’t tell you everything that could happen in our future because I want you to be surprised. I want you to experience the sheer joy of it all.
I want you to be elated and blown away by the goodness of it all.
You will survive. You will more than survive. You will thrive.
You will help others because you will have experienced so much grace that you won’t be able to contain it all. It will pour out of you onto others. Let it happen.
Do not be afraid to love, to trust, to forgive.
Be as Jesus said, “As wise as a serpent and as gentle as a dove.” (Matthew 10:16).
I will not try to paint a picture of rainbows and puppy dogs for you.
Life is going to be very difficult. There will be many times you will believe you cannot go through one more day, but sister, I promise you with everything inside of me…if you will trust God and cry out to Him, He will answer you, and He will protect you, and He will fight for you because–now hear me–YOU ARE WORTH IT.
I am so stinking proud of who you will become!
Keep your eyes open, your head up, be kind to everyone, do not jump into situations because you are looking for a way out of the one you are in. Ask God for wisdom, He will give it to you.
Most of all do not be anxious about anything. Learn to relax. You are amazing and I love who you are now and who you will become!
With all my love and support,
Your future self
Maya Angelou once said, "You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." This statement resonates with me. My past experiences have made me a stronger person eager to use my story to inspire and help others see that regardless of who they are or where they have been, there is always hope and to know the ability to rise above circumstances lies within.
Each day, I strive to walk in faith and hope surrounded by my family and friends' love and encouragement. I am blessed to have a life full of experiences, some good, some bad, and my ambition is to use those experiences to enrich those around me. I am a local business owner and church Executive Assistant in Highland, Arkansas. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, and student.
My passion is to help those in need who are ready and willing to do the necessary work it takes to help themselves. Assisting individuals who have experienced trauma, loss, stress, grief, and various life changes are the drive behind attending Southwestern Assemblies of God University to obtain my associate degree in Human Services. I plan to further my education in this field by getting my bachelor's degree in behavioral health. I hope to use my experiences and knowledge to encourage, strengthen, and facilitate assistance to those who are in need.
I am also working alongside my husband in the community as an Automotive Collision Repair Facility owner. It has been a great privilege to assist my husband in pursuing his lifelong dream. We enjoy our work together, and it is an exciting experience for me to learn his field of expertise and engage with so many phenomenal people in our area.
I am a fun-loving individual who thrives on living life and pursuing dreams! I am an avid chess player, a lover of all things feline, and a big fan of essential oils! At the age of 50, I decided to return to school to earn my GED. Since then, I have become a member of Phi Theta Kappa and a Notary Public. I have completed credentials for ministry, became a certified grant writer, trained in hospital chaplaincy, and certified in Christ-Centered leadership. Additionally, I am a member of the North American Christian Social Workers Association (NACSW), where I have been trained in "The Role of Christian Faith and Spirituality in the Grieving Process" and "Suicide Prevention for Christians in Social Work." I am an active member of the Spring River Chamber of Commerce and the Spring River Car Club.
My faith is a huge part of my desire and passion for helping others. I strive to always be, as Christ, a light in this world and in the lives of others. In John 8:12, Jesus says, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life." I endeavor to help others see the light in the darkness.
About Beautiful Feet:
Romans 10:15 (NIV)
And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
"For every circumstance and season of life, God has promises that offer direction, peace, perspective and wisdom. "Bible Promises for You" is a collection of promises taken from the New International Version of the Bible and is categorized by topic for easy reference."
God led Jimmy and Pam Fair, in 2015, to partner with Highland Assembly of God, to GIVE Bible Promise Books, Devotionals, and Bibles to anyone who needs direction, peace, perspective, and wisdom.
Contact Highland Assembly or Pam Fair for more information.