Dear Middle Schooler,

Dearest, I know you’re under a lot of pressure right now. I know what they’re telling you to be. I hear you as you’re stressed out about trying to be pretty enough, trying to fit in, trying to find someone to love you, and trying to balance your friends, school, and your weird family. You’ve got pressures coming at you from all sides, and I know you’re struggling.

You’ve just hit “the awkward stage” so nothing seems to come out right or look right and you’re still trying to figure yourself out, but it’s hard because everything is changing so fast. Sometimes you think you’ve got it all together and figured out, but then you feel like everything is falling apart.

I hear you talking in the backseat of my car, “Oh my word, I am so dumb.” “I can’t believe I said that. I am so stupid.” “Will it make me prettier? I’m already ugly enough.” “I can’t have anymore. I am too fat.”

Darling, my heart is breaking for you. This is not who you are.

I’m going to tell you a secret – you will always struggle with these things.

Yes, you learn that maybe curls are not a good idea or that you really shouldn’t wear those pants. You learn how to hide the pimples and cover up the crooked tooth when you smile. You learn how to pretend like you’re balancing all the relationships in your life. You learn how to flirt without falling over (maybe). The mood swings get a little better. You learn to blame sadness on Dementors so you have an excuse to eat more chocolate. But unless you change the things you claim about yourself, you will always feel a little ugly, a little too fat, a little stupid, a little lonely.

Everything is awkward right now, but everything about you is also so very good. You, my darling, have bad moments, but that never takes away from the fact that, at the very core, you are made up entirely of good things. I was blessed with amazing parents who taught me these things, but I don’t see this in your life, so sit down and prepare for a lecture of the most loving sort. Because you, my sweet human, are worth this and so much more.

Ahem. Are you paying attention?

Write these words on your heart. Soak them in and let them change how you see yourself, how you talk about yourself, and how you see others.

You are good things. You have bad moments.

You are good things. You feel bad things.

You are smart, but sometimes you have dumb moments. And that’s okay. It’s okay to have dumb moments. You can’t always be the smartest person in the room or have all the answers. You’re not always going to be smart in the same way other people are. But that moment is temporary. When it comes back down to it, and you’re back in your element, at the core of who you are, you are smart.

You are beautiful, but sometimes you feel ugly. And that’s okay. It’s okay to feel ugly. Feeling is honest. You feel the way you do and there’s nothing wrong with that. But feelings are also temporary. When it comes back down to it, once the feeling is gone, at the core of who you are, you are beautiful.

You are a mountain of good things. You were created with loving care by a Creator who never makes mistakes. He formed your body, your heart, your brain, and He made every inch of you immensely precious and wonderful. You, precious one, are His loving creation. You are created by The Artist. You are covered in His fingerprints, surrounded by His love, and cherished beyond measure.

It’s okay to have bad moments and bad feelings, as long as that’s all the are. The way you feel is the way you feel. It’s honest. If you feel angry, feel angry. But don’t let it become who you are. If you feel fat, feel fat. But don’t buy into the lie that you are fat. If you feel ugly, feel ugly. But when the feeling passes, remember that you are a priceless, handmade, glorious piece of art.

It’s completely okay to feel things. It’s not okay to become them.

Next time you’re in the backseat of my car, I want to hear, “Oh my word, I feel so dumb.” “I can’t believe I said that. I feel so stupid.” “Will it make me prettier? I feel ugly right now.” “I can’t have anymore. I feel too fat.”

I’m okay with those things. My heart will still break for the frequency with which those words come out of your mouth, but I know that, as you grow more comfortable with yourself and who God made you, those feelings will be less prevalent.

Darling, at the end of the day, if you hear nothing else, know that you are loved beyond measure and you’re okay. Whatever you feel and whatever you struggle with and whatever you believe about yourself, you are okay. Hang in there. The awkward stage does end. Eventually.

Dearest middle schooler, you are good.

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