Trying to surface, but as I push off the bottom of this pool, would you mind if we revisit some old thoughts? From the archives…

My Dears,

I’ve been wrestling with the “if onlys” for the last couple of days.

Does that ever happen to you, and does it catch you by surprise?

Do you ever find that, when you least expect it, ghosts that you believed long exorcised pop their heads out of some dusty corner and whisper “boo” at you?

And not only do you jump, but you let a little bit of something else creep back into your consciousness. Maybe it’s fear, maybe it’s anger, maybe it’s regret. And if you’re like me, you let that little bit of creepiness control you for a while.

You see, I have this beautiful group of young girls that I teach on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. In these young faces, I see so much promise. I want to take all that I’ve learned in life and open their heads and just pour it in. I want to tell them about the hard stuff, the mistakes I’ve made, and all of my regrets. I want to warn them to guard their hearts above all, to stay true to their beliefs and stand firm.

But I know that it doesn’t work that way. I never had someone to tell me those things, but, chances are, if I did, I wouldn’t have listened anyway.

Sometimes we have to learn the hard way.

So I have restrained myself. Instead of telling the girls the history of my world, I buy curriculum.

Yesterday, I went out looking for curriculum.

We needed a new direction. I found this lovely series on inner beauty. It was about how we are all beautiful in God’s eyes. I got so excited just reading the lesson plans. I imagined us doing our nails and discussing Jesus (humor me, I have two sons). I so want for these girls to have an intimate relationship with our Lord. So, in the first lesson, I’m supposed to take a Polaroid of each girl, and we do a little craft with the photo. I thought it would be fun to share a preteen picture of myself with my girls. After much scavenging, I stumbled upon a small snapshot of me at the tender age of twelve.

I was not prepared for the emotions stirred within me at that image of the little girl I used to be. The picture was taken at a very difficult time in my life. I was trying to make sense of some excruciatingly painful things with the wisdom of a twelve year old. I was not a pretty pre-teen. Skinny, with long stringy hair, freckled pale skin, and big teeth.

Yet, I had these eyes. Big and blue.

And in those eyes, this old version of me saw the same promise reflected; the same promise that I see in the eyes of the girls that I teach.

But I knew the future of that little girl in the picture. I knew of all the mistakes she would make, all the wrong choices and concessions. And I let that grief and that regret creep in.

I needed to live with it for a little while, I guess. The Lord tells us that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him.

Tonight, when I was tucking my youngest son in, he asked me a peculiar question: If there was never a you, would there have ever been a me?

Carefully, we traced all the requirements that came into play for my little man to be born, just the wonderful way that he is. In the quiet of my mind, I remembered many more variables. Every wrong choice made, every missed opportunity, every hurtful rejection; all of these things have brought me to where I am today: tucking in my beautiful boy.

If I could tell my girls one thing, it would be this: You are loved with a love that is greater than anything in this world.

If we know this with every ounce of our being, we act accordingly. When we are assured of our value, we act as one who is valuable.

I’m holding that picture of the blue-eyed girl close to my heart. She is beautiful. And in her eyes, I see so much promise.


ABCs of the Word, B with Pam:

“And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made you beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord.”


  1. says

    You’ve probably heard the song by
    Superchick….Beauty from Pain

    It has a HUGE history in our families life… it speaks to what some in the midst of darkness need to hear. I see such beauty in you…He has been faithful.

    Your son’s question was so sweet.

  2. says

    “You are loved with a love that is greater than anything in this world.”

    What a beautiful post, Laura. I want my daughters to know this…in their innermost being.

    Thinking about and praying for you…I’ve been at the bottom of the pool often. You linger there with beauty because of the One who is holding you there. And you will arise soon, with new colors added to the old…more beautiful than before…because of Him.

  3. says

    Thank you Laura. You have just provided me with the words I needed to help me deal the on-going issue I have with my past. These words are beautiful –

    “Every wrong choice made, every missed opportunity, every hurtful rejection; all of these things have brought me to where I am today: tucking in my beautiful boy.”

    My beautiful girl is trying at the moment with her transition into school, but without every wrong choice, etc that came my way she would not be here. Yes, I am a divorcee and single mother, but if not for those things I would not have her.

    Thank you again, Paula

  4. says

    Laura this is so beautiful and really touched my heart. I have so many if onlys that still haunt me, one of the biggest being if only I had known then what I know now. But I am starting to realize that God is enough, and bigger than anything I ever did or happened to me, and He meets us where we are and He heals us and holds us and tells us we are beautiful.

  5. says

    This was absolutely beautiful! My trigger won’t be a picture but the flood of memories as I revisit “home” this weekend. This is a timely reflection for me and I am grateful you decided to share it again.


  6. says

    Hi again Laura. Just wanted to let you know that I’ve linked back to this post in my latest Yes to God Tuesday essay, whoops, I mean post. Thank you again for your enlightenment.

  7. says

    You have much love on the inside of you and wisdom to share what you know to be TRUTH with these beautiful young girls. If only ONE comes away from walking beside you in this era of their life….better for it…Praise God. Lord, let there be at least ONE. Amen? AMEN!

    Love YOU

  8. says

    As always, I SO identify with the little girl in you, because she was SO much like the little girl in me.


    God is SO good!

    (((BIG HUGS!)))

  9. says

    You are beautiful!

    what a precious thing you do for these girls. this beatiful influence, which many girls don’t have that at home, will be blessed. thank God they can spend this weekly moment with one who cares (you)… some things that seem like only ‘moments spent’ are the very things that leaves an impact for all eternity for the kingdom.

    In Him,

  10. says

    Sweet Laura…what I would have given as a teenage girl to have a woman like you, with such an obvious love for the Lord, in my corner. You are such a blessing to so many. I’ve been in that pool bottom a few times. I am attempting to retrieve something I wrote last year along those lines but referenced the unfortunate place of dwelling as a deeply-dug well. Many hugs being sent your way!

  11. says

    YOU are beautiful! Our life’s journey provide lessons learned for ourselves, but, I think – I know – for other as well. God will use your stories of your life for one or some or all of the girls you are caring for, or maybe even for somebody they know. At His prompting. And then from there, you can only be blessed. Keep loving that little girl with those big blue eyes… I know someone just like that… I look at the photo I have of her, and swell with so many emotions when everything that has come between then and now rushes at me… I never had anyone to talk with me, Laura, but if I did, I know I would have listened… I was polite like that!!!;) But, seriously, I would have listened, because I can remember craving for someone to talk to me and listen to me. It may not look like they care about what you’re saying, but I know they do, and you’ve probably heard the research that indicates teens WANT a mentor, and they crave boundaries. These girls you invite into your home are such blessed people; I pray from that that you will be blessed and that the burden you are experiencing at this time will be carried away. Shalom, my dear friend! Love and hugs. Naomi x

  12. says

    Hi Beautiful Girl,

    Your writing made me feel what you felt. That 12 year old girl sounds just like myself at that age only not skinny, but chubby and freckled..and big teeth.
    A heart that ached from loneliness and emptiness I couldn’t identify.

    Oh yes, it led to naive victimization and then horrible choices…

    One thing gives me hope everytime I get that dread of “if only” and I used to get it everyday at first and just cry and cry to GOD to please let me have time to make it all up.

    One day HE finally settled it for me….I guess I got quiet enough to hear HIM.

    Not audibly…but in my heart and spirit…”You were chosen and called when I decided that you could be used for MY glory and not any of your own that you may be tempted to pull out.” Just like the apostle Paul must have wondered why HE didn’t get to be one of the 12 with JESUS or why did he have to persecute the church and watch Stephen being stoned before GOD called him…BUT no time for “if only”.

    I know Paul probably didn’t say “if only” but I imagine he could have…but GOD decides our times and places and callings….

    I love your heart…thank you for being such an encourager with a gentle spirit. I needed that today.

    Love and blessings,

  13. says

    Oh my friend,
    Thank you for these words and reminder that where I have been, and the choices I have made, God used to make me into me… the me that my husband knows, the me that has two beautiful children by the grace of God…

    The words that God gave you to speak (write) helped release something in me too… some more healing I think…

    Oh to have had a mentor that that young age… I would have given anything I think… to be told that I was beautiful, no matter what anyone else said.. to know that only One opinion mattered… and to know Who that One was…
    But then I wouldn’t be the “me” today that I am, would I?

    Thank you for your words.
    Love you so much,

  14. says

    What an awesome post Laura.

    I look into the eyes of my daughter and long to open up her head and fill it with all the things that I have learned over my years… but I can’t. I do tell her many things… I only hope that to despite the negative expression on her face there is a set of listening ears close by.

    I look into the eyes of my Bible study ladies and long for them to have a deep relationship with the Lord…

    That is what we do… pour out ourselves into the lives of others. Hopefully passing along a little bit of wisdom on the way.

    Thanks so much for sharing this… my mind is swirling.


  15. says

    Your writing here is beautiful and so is your heart. I have tasted beauty just visiting here and been reminded of my value.

    ” When we are assured of our value, we act as one who is valuable.”

    May my actions speak loudly today of my God who treasures me.


  16. says

    Dear friend, again you have painted a beautiful picture.

    I was very gangly at 12… very skinny legs…

    What a gift you are to those girls!

    What you did when you looked at the picture was what we did with that ministry I told you about. We remembered…. and then we told that 12 year old the truth of who she was.

    It was a powerful time in my life.

    I hope you are doing well.
    Love and hugs from Georgia!

  17. says

    Hi Laura,
    This was another beautifully written post, spoken from your heart. I was feeling for that 12 year old you were.

    I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, too, and isn’t it wonderful to know we are forgiven? God does cause things to work together for our good.

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