Dear 21 Year Old Me,

Dear 21 Year Old Me.

I just wanted to start out by saying, that you are a talented, vivacious, joyful, lovely young woman.

Scan_Pic0049_thumb.jpg{Kids I nannied for}

  I know you don’t know what your giftings are yet, and that bugs you.  You wish God would just show you already, so you could use them for His glory.  In due time, you will see them arise, and they will really surprise you!  The ministry you prayed for, will come, but not in the way you expected, God is cool like that.

21-year-old Tonya, I know you don’t like what you see in the mirror, but you are beautiful.  Someday, you will see it.  You’ll look back at photos and wonder why you didn’t appreciate it.

You see, age and babies will make the body you find flawed, even more flawed.


And suddenly, you will realize it’s not important anymore.  All the things that seem SO big right now, really aren’t that big at all, not in the grand picture of your life.

I know you are dreaming of your Happily Ever After, after all, you’ve JUST married your Prince Charming.


All is right in your World.

Little family

This is IT:

  The moment you’ve been waiting for your whole life.

Your fairytale love story come true.
Dale and Tonya


Your reward from God for doing things HIS way, right!?

Silly little girl, that’s not the way it works.

Your rewards are not on this earth, for this is not your home.

You will overcome MUCH adversity in the years to come.

You will.

Don’t be scared.

Listen to me…..

Don’t waste a SECOND of your beautiful life with your dashing husband, worrying about what I am hinting at.

Dale and Tonya

Don’t ever stop spreading sunshine.

Don’t ever stop making life’s lemons into lemonade.

Don’t ever stop choosing Jesus.

Don’t ever stop choosing the hard “right thing”.

Listen to me, Tonya, never, EVER give up.

You are FAR stronger than you know.

You are!

You will see that in the years to come.  That shy little girl you are inside, turns into a roaring lion, when it comes time to fight for something she holds so dear.


And fight you will:

When it comes to having children.


When it comes to choosing Love.

When it comes time to stand by your Marriage in the face of adversity.
Wedding day

All of it, a battle with the devil.


You will win.

You know that, right!?

Victory is yours, bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus.


It’s going to be hard.

The hardest things you’ve ever been through, EVER.  You will want to lay down and die.


You are stronger than you know. You will face adversity head on.  You will be blessed beyond measure, and your cup with run over with the goodness of it all.

Never stop smiling. 

Never stop choosing joy.

Tonya-land is a GREAT place to live!  It goes away for a season, but it comes back.  In fact, it comes back even better than before, because you’ve seen the other side.

The darkness is ugly.

You will know that full well.

But you know what, 21-year-old Tonya…..

It makes walking back into the sunshine, that much better!


The 31 Year Old You

31 year old me


26 thoughts on “Dear 21 Year Old Me,

  1. I have got to tell you… I have never ever met you before and I stumbled upon your blog… Girl, I LOVE your blog and I admire you as a Christian! You have really spoken to me through this and you are sooooooo right on all of it!! I just had to leave you a comment.l.. and tell you I do follow you and LOVE your writing! I am a Christian myself and I find your blog amazing!!!

  2. What a beautiful post and letter. I was thinking the other day as I’m contemplating choices that need made: “to bad I couldn’t get a letter from an older me” 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for this encouragement! I really need this this morning. It is always so nice to come to your blog and find encouragement.Thanks for helping me to press on in my marriage and my walk with the Lord!

  4. You are loved by so many! You are a blessing! Thank you for using your gift of writing to reach so many. Miss you, but I’m so grateful to keep up with you with your blog!
    Take care!

  5. I loved the 21 year old Tonya very much, but I truly tell you I have never loved you more then I do now! The 31 year old Tonya is beautiful, courageous, determined, and the most loving, selfless, thoughtful person I know. So when I say I love now more then I thought possible its truth. Can’t wait to know the 41 year old Tonya.

    Your Hubby xoxo!

    • Oh my goodness….You made me cry!!!!!!! Your first comment on this blog, and its a doozy. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your heart with me on here, I love you and I am so excited to see what God has in store for us this year. Now, hurry home from work, we miss you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxox T

  6. Tonya,
    I love reading your blog…I’ve been stalking you for a little while now 🙂 I wish we would’ve known each other better in school…your writing is beautiful & you’re so open. I’m glad you have this opportunity to minister to people everywhere…people you never would’ve have had the chance to meet. It’s great. 🙂
    Andrea (Headings) Schrag

    • Thank you, Andrea!!!!! I appreciate that so so much. I still shake my head when I think about how it all came to be. This blog was an answer to a year long hearts cry of mine for a ministry from home. I was thinking a mommy group, He had much bigger things in mind!!!! 🙂 May we never take lightly our call to be a light for HIM: Chosen in Christ, Called to Influence! Hugs, T

  7. Dear Tonya, I have been reading your blog for some time now and I wanted to let you know how much this post touched me. I know you wrote it to your past self, but I’m writing this with tears down my face because I feel like God is speaking to me through your words here as well. I turn 21 this April and haven’t even been married a year, and so I think I started reading your blog because I was looking for recipes and also a lovely Christian role model wife. Well, now I truly believe God led me here… Especially since literally a minute or two before checking your blog today, I prayed that God would help bring me closer to Him. I’m feeling a lot of the same things that it seems like you felt at 21, like wishing God would show us where to go or how to use a gift He has blessed me with. It’s tiring to feel like I’m wondering all the time, but after reading this post, I honestly feel His peace and yet invigorated and inspired! I believe He’s telling me that I’m doing the right thing by continuing to come to Him, but I need to not worry but keep praying (funny because we actually have Philippians 4:6 transferred on our wall.) I believe God used you to speak to me today, Tonya, and for being a willing vessel on fire for our Lord in these harsh times, thank you. You’re an inspiration to not only me but to many, many other young ladies like me or even ladies a bit more “seasoned with time” (respectively!) than either of us.
    God bless you and your beautiful family today and every day! And, thank you.
    Sincerely, Kairi
    (and out of respect for my husband, I won’t be posting my real name (: )

  8. G’day Tonya. I stumbled across your blog and read through your testimony with tears streaming down my face. I have just read your letter to yourself and I want to applaud you and encourage you for fighting for all that you have stood up for. God bless. I look forward to reading the letter you write yourself in another 10 years! Love, Nicki

      • Thanks! I look forward to reading more of your blog when I have a chance. I love your 10 on 10 posts – you just reminded me that my camera broke before Christmas and I haven’t had time to buy a new one! You wait, when your four beautiful kids grow up, they won’t like having photos taken as often. It’s a struggle to get my four in front of the camera these days so I rarely bring the camera out any more. And that’s something I must change – after all, they’ll always be my kids not matter how big they grow!

  9. Pingback: Re: Dear Mom On The iPhone |

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