Dear Little Tara,
Stay small, stay sensitive, stay sweet. You are perfect just the way you are and, one day, God is going use you. It’s your smallness that allows Him to be big. It’s your sensitivity that opens the door to what He has for you and it is your sweet spirit that finds joy, even in the most painful circumstances.
Remember that little brown baby doll? Hug that little brown baby tight. And kiss that little brown baby often. Because this little brown baby may be the first to grab your heart, but she won’t be last. God has placed a passion inside of you are already feeling the Call.
You are a free-spirit and that won’t change much. Some people will call you naive, and that won’t change much either, but it’s exactly that which enables you to take big leaps of faith. It’s no secret that you don’t think much through and because of that you are going to make alot (like, a ton) of mistakes; He’s shaping you. One day, your Pastor will tell you, “Tara, don’t make what you’ve done bigger than what Jesus did.” You are forgiven.
You’re going to get your heart broken along the way. And it’s ok. The first time is happens you are too young; it’s not your fault and don’t you let yourself think that; not for one second. When you grow up, you will forgive your dad (not because you understand, but because you love him) and you will be thankful. The second time, you hold just as much fault as the boy. You are still too young. You have no idea. You hurt him and he hurts you. But you learn and you begin to lean. On Him. For the first time in a long time.
In high school, you will be selfish. You will live your life for you and whatever makes you happy. But God still has you in His sights. Just a few short months before graduation, February 16th, you will probably be thinking of boys, and parties and college applications, but in a tiny village in Africa your baby boy is being born. I wonder if you felt it?
Speaking of high school, that’s where you’ll meet Kristi Turner. Keep her around. It’s in high school that she changes the way you think about faith, but it’s not until college (well, you’re still in college), after that difficult breakup, that she invites you to Lifechurch and your life begins to change. You should thank her for that one day.
Also, during this time you will meet Miranda Burcham. You will think Miranda has brought you a great business opportunity, however she is playing a key roll in bringing you back to Christ. She will say, “Fake it until you make it.” and you will think she’s talking about confidence, knowledge, money. However she speaks the word of God and so you do, too. Faking it. You know Jesus, but you want to know
Jesus the way Miranda does. One day, you will make it. I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus. (
You will come out of college in a daze. You’ve been there so long, it’s like coming out of the dark. You will be squinting and rubbing your eyes and when they finally adjust, you’ll see that most of your friends have settled down. They’re married, many are starting families. And you? You’ll wonder what’s happened. But here it is, God has bigger plans for you than you would have ever thought to dream for yourself. All of the plans you’ve made, everything you thought this life would be, will pale in comparison. “God doesn’t always answer our prayers, but he never wastes our faith.” You were created for more.
One day, little Tara, you are going to go all in, and you’re going to get to LIVE in Africa. You are going to love on little brown babies, all day everyday, and they will teach you more about life than any textbook or Sunday School class. You’re going to wonder why He would ever choose you. And then you’re going to look back and realize that He chose you from the very beginning. He created you with everything He needed, knowing that you would wander far from Him, but that you would eventually find your way back. (You always tend to take the scenic route.) You, little Tara, are going to change the world one day. Just you wait.
And one more thing, at your high school graduation, before you run off with all your little friends, squeeze your mama tight and tell her you love her. She has sacrificed so much for you. And though you can’t see it now, she is the best friend you will ever have.
Oh, and don’t forget to be awesome.