Dear Younger Me...

Next month will mark my 10 year anniversary from graduating high school. When I reflect back on those memories it feels like that was a lifetime ago, but then there are times when I will hear laughter or smell a perfume and those memories flood back in my mind. I love reflecting back on those few years because it shows growth. The girl who walked those halls still exists but life has taken me down many different paths. Some paths I never would have liked to see and some paths I was not ready for and that was where the unfolding of maturity took place. I am so excited to share my (shortened) testimony of where I was and Where God is leading me now.

I grew up in a Christian home with loving parents and a great family and support system. Towards the end of high school I started to make some decisions that were beneficial towards me and what I enjoyed in life. Happiness or pleasing myself started to take the wheel in life and if it made me feel good, I let myself indulge in just that. Brianna started to live for Brianna and no one else. I allowed this lifestyle to go on for several years when God started slowly speaking to my heart.

A short time after graduation my parents received a call stating I had been hospitalized and needed to come home early from their camping trip. I woke up that Saturday morning having no recollection of the previous twelve hours and was told I should be grateful to be alive. The doctors gave my parents information of counselors in the area and highly suggested I seek help. In my mind however, I did not need help. I was just looking to have fun and enjoy life.

That was when God first spoke to my heart. I was proclaiming to be a Christian however my actions stated otherwise. I knew I was living a hypocritical lifestyle but my flesh just wasn’t ready to change. The sting of that event lasted for short while, but overtime that feeling faded and I went back into old habits.

A few years later I went to visit my sister out of state and no sooner after she picked me up from the airport we got in a car accident on the highway. I was the only one injured resulting in broken bones which led to surgery, physical therapy and one long summer of being in a cast. This time around when God spoke to my heart I listened a little differently. God spared my life several years back and I had made a conscious decision back then that I was still going to do what I wanted to do, regardless of being a poor testimony of my faith. However, this time around my heart was spoken to in a different way. I knew that if I did not make a change in my life, a change that would be evident to the people around me I may not have another chance. The lifestyle of living to satisfy myself by whatever means, needed to come to an end. I needed to close that chapter of life for good. So that’s what I did.

That summer I cut off all communication from the people I knew and was left with about two friends. One friend told me she knew a Christian guy and wanted us to meet. The thought was almost nauseating. I was done giving my heart away but I had just cut off all ties from any friends so I figured, what do I have to lose? Well, I could not be more thankful for having developed that friendship. Through him I met some of my best friends, strong Christian women who ultimately led me to my husband (That is a story for another time).

Trying to condense 28 years into a short blog is seemingly impossible. The past seven years with my husband has been quite a rollercoaster ride in itself. Our first year of marriage I was pregnant, hospitalized twice, forced to move out of our apartment at 8 months pregnant, my parents went through a divorce, we experienced a financial drought to say the least, and had to deal with typical first year marriage struggles. But through all this I can honestly say I am thankful for the struggles. There have been times when I have been so broken and distraught, but saw the hand of God work miracles in my life that can only be explained by him.

If there is one major change in my life that took place it was my identity. When I ended that chapter of life, the “me “chapter I call it I was transformed. I am no longer that same person I used to be and I went into the next chapter of life a different person. My Identity was no longer in who I dated, what I did or how I looked on the outside. My identity was now and still is, in Christ. There is so much freedom when you no longer feel the need and pressure to satisfy the world. To know I am no longer defined by what I do or what I am incapable of doing. My past will never define me; instead it allows me to see the transformation of a heart that saw the need for a savior. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." I am so thankful for a God  who loves unconditonally.