I've been keeping journals since I was in the 3rd grade and I'm so glad to share some of my most intimate life moments with you here! Here, you'll find inspirational and encouraging stories of me and other broken people like me. We are all jars of clay who have been afflicted in every way, but not crushed...struck down by not destroyed. Here, you do NOT have the right to remain silent, so as you read, grab your favorite snack and drink and leave a comment...share YOUR story. I can't wait to connect with you in this beautiful safe space.
For those who don’t know, I’m the oldest of three girls.
Growing up in a house full of girls is…challenging to say the least. Someone is always borrowing a pair of jeans (without asking), trying to tag along with you and your friends and there is NEVER enough toilet tissue, lipgloss or makeup. There is never dull moment when growing up in house full of girls…but for me, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Sometimes being the oldest is A LOT of pressure. My mom always says “Someone is ALWAYS watching,” and I’ve found that to be so true. I know my sisters look up to me and I always try to make sure I’m making the best, most responsible decisions not only for me, but for them.
But in the midst of trying to always be a shining example to them, I have fallen so many times. I’ve made some really stupid mistakes along the way, so Tiesha and Kayla, this post is just for you.
I know you two always think I’m being hard on you, but it’s because I want you two to be better women than me. Even though you two are still growing into the women you will forever be known as, with the new year coming, I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned along the way:
1. Choose your friends wisely.
You know that saying “You are the company you keep?” Oh honey. It’s probably one of the truest statements to ever leave a human being’s lips. The people you surround yourself with today are the ones who determine the kind of person you yourself will be tomorrow. Too many times, we’re so quick to use the term “friend” instead of taking the time to really get to know the person. The Bible talks about iron sharpening iron and if your friends aren’t sharpening you to be better, what are they REALLY doing? A friendship is about building each other up. Not tearing you down. So if your “friends” are doing more tearing you down than building you up, cut them loose. Trust me, it’ll save you from so much headache and heartache down the road.
2. When it comes to boys, choose even MORE wisely.
I may not have been a serial dater growing up, but if it’s one thing I’ve learned and still carry with me into my adulthood it’s this: you have to defend and protect your heart at ALL costs. It would be inaccurate for me to say that all boys are out to disrespect you. HOWEVER COMMA, I will say that not all boys are going to truly respect you. There are some guys who will say any and everything to try to take advantage of you. DON’T LET THEM. Any guy (or girl for that matter) who ever puts you into a situation that will compromise your morals and steals your inner peace is not someone you want in your life.
3. Discover your passion and chase it like there is no tomorrow.
The good thing about you two being my sisters is that you’ve seen everything. You’ve seen my highs, my lows, the things I do and the things I LOVE. Discovering this passion didn’t happen over night for me and it may not happen overnight for you either. Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what you want to do right now. Instead, pray about it. Ask God to reveal to you the true desires of your heart and the passion that He has placed inside of you. Pray diligently and when He does reveal it, you better chase after it like your life depended on it, because…well…your life and the life of the ones coming after us depends on it.
Which brings me to my next point…
4. Don’t compare yourself to ANYONE.
Kayla, you are not Tiesha. Tiesha, you’re not me. I am not either one of you. We all have specific gifts that God has blessed us with. I will never be able to draw like Kayla and how Tiesha has been able to be a college cheerleader, be on the dean’s list every semester and ace Chemistry is BEYOND me. Comparing yourself to your sisters and trying to change who you are to be like your friends is SUCH a waste of who you are. When God created you, He created NO ONE ELSE LIKE YOU. So why try to be a carbon copy of someone else? That’s like slapping God in the face and telling Him you’re not good enough. But you are. YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. If someone can’t clearly see your worth, honey chile cut them loose. You guys always call me weird or different, but I embrace it and I want you two to embrace your uniqueness as well. If you keep comparing yourself to everyone else, you’re wasting time. So stop comparing yourself and start cultivating yourself. You have a gift inside of you that the rest of us in this world is waiting to receive. EMBRACE IT.
5. Sometimes…Most of the Time..Mommy is right.
I know, I know. Sometimes, we don’t want to admit it. But what can I say? I’ve known the woman for 26 years now and most of the time when I ask for her advice and she tells me something I don’t want to hear, I brush it off, only to discover the woman was right. SIGH. Guess that’s why she’s the Queen. LOL She has a lot of wisdom about a lot of things and as corny as she can be sometimes, she loves us like no one else and at the end of the day we can safely trust her because we know she has our best interests in mind. Look, I know there are times we don’t want to listen to her and she is not right all the time, but when she speaks…listen. Even when she’s not around, if you just listen, you can hear the whispers of her spirit inside of you.
6. Give and Give some more.
I’ve truly learned the beauty of giving this year. There’s something so special about seeing other people smile because of something I’ve done for them. Giving to others not only pleases God, but it pleases yourself. You two both have such big hearts and I’ve always admired that about you. Continue to give with no expectations. You will be blessed for it.
7. Take naps.
No seriously. At least once a day. Take a nap. Your body and everyone you encounter will thank you for it.
8. Guard your mind, heart and soul.
It’s in the music we listen to. It’s in the shows and videos we choose to watch. I know I’m going to sound like mommy on this one, but yes there are spirits all around you. I’m not here to tell you what to watch or what to listen to, all I will say is guard yourself. It’s ok to not listen to the hottest song if every other word is profane. It is 200% ok to not watch that popular show or video because you feel like it goes against what you believe. What you allow to enter into you, will eventually come out of you. Remember what I said about you are the company you keep? That applies to the company you keep when you’re alone as well. When no one else is around, when people are around, guard your spirit. The person you are becoming depends on it.
9. Remember who you represent.
You are not just a daughter of your earthly mother and father. You are the daughter of your Heavenly Father. If the world is your stage, you are starring in the role of your life and the audience is so much larger than you can see. His light should always shine within you. Watch the words that leave your mouth, the way your dress and the the things you share. People are always watching you. You can’t say in one breath you’re a Christian, but then curse someone out or talk about someone behind your back. You represent Him at all times and when you take your final bow and read his critique of your performance, I want you to have the best review He’s ever written. Being a Christian is not just a job that you punch in and out of on Sunday. It’s 24-7-365. Always remember that.
And last but certainly not least:
The greatest love you will find is in God. The second greatest love is in you. Look in the mirror boldly and allow yourself to enjoy the view.
You two are created in perfection. Enough said.
I love you two so much. Seriously..being your big sister is one of my greatest achievements. Now go out and be great. No excuses. No backtalk. Big Sister has spoken.