I’m turning 30 this October and looking back I realize that my life was totally different 15 years ago. I didn’t have a direction in life back then, my academic grades were disastrous, and most of all I was eaten up by a number of insecurities. But I guess the worst thing I did was I stopped pursuing God’s gift.
Today, if I would be able to tell my younger self anything, it would go something like this:
Dear 15 Year-old JPaul,
I’m writing this letter to you because I know you don’t know what you are doing with your life right now, you don’t understand the storm that’s flurrying inside you, and you are exploding emotionally deep inside.
It’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with you – you’re just going through a stage.
JPaul, our life’s journey was never easy, from the moment Mom had a dangerous pregnancy to growing up with family challenges, from finding out that we only had one kidney to being molested, not to forget a number of wrong decisions and heart aches here and there.
I just want to thank you for being you. I just want you to know that you are not a disappointment to the world. You have the power to make something great with your life.
For the longest time, I’ve been trying to run away from you – my past – because I was ashamed of who we were, the things that have happened to us, and the terrible things we have done. Today, I want to let go off all the shame and I want to build a good relationship with you.
In the 15 years between us, I have made a bajillion mistakes, but there are three mistakes that have shaped me to the person I am today; there were three problems that helped me find our life’s purpose.
First, I was so angry that we were taken out of the football team because the doctors advised us that being born with one kidney may be hazardous to us if we continue playing physical competitive sports. What made matters worse was our terrible academic grades which was the icing on the cake of being taken off the varsity team.
For the first few years, I was frustrated. What if I had a chance on being really good in football, but I didn’t have the opportunity to live out my potential?
But because of that situation, I was brought to the youth prayer meeting, and I started a relationship with God, and I’m thankful for that. Now I am a preacher who is overwhelmingly happy with his life. Yes, God took away something good, but he replaced it with something better.
Secondly, we stopped writing because somebody told us that it won’t give us a good future. We believed the lie that writing will not be good for us. I’m sorry because we stopped writing for 11 years, because we were ashamed of this gift.
But you know what? I was forced to write again because of being a preacher. I loved it so much that we are blessing thousands of people with our magazine articles, blog articles, and books! A lot of business opportunities are also coming in because of our writing! Hallelujah!
God has a way of restoring lost time!
Lastly, I’m sorry that I allowed our molestation to define us. I lived in so much sin, pain, and shame for many years because we were molested once. I kept on replaying it in my head every day, and it damaged how I lived our life. It lead me to so much darkness for years.
But through God’s grace, we were able to drive a pure relationship with the love of our life. We stopped ourselves from doing any hanky-panky for three years! We’re married now and we are blessing so many people with our story of molestation, brokenness, healing, purity, and transformation.
JPaul, God has shined His light on us, and we are now his torchbearer because no matter how sinful or problematic our life has been, God has used us to help so many people get out of their darkness.
Now, my wish is that when the time comes, we’ll be there for our future children and grandchildren. We’ll be there every time they fall, so that we can guide them on how they’ll stand up from every mistake.
I’m sorry for the many times that I was a toxic person who was difficult to deal with. I’m sorry for lacking kindness and for being selfish at times. I’m sorry that because of these, we would hurt other people along the way.
Through the years, a lot of came and left. I don’t regret anything though, because I believe that every relationship has a purpose. I thank those who left because they blessed us one way or the other.
Today, I cherish the people who stayed, and are helping us to be better. There are people who were with us when we were down and out, people who were there when we were learning to stand up again, people who were there when we became a better person, and lastly, people who will journey with us for the rest of our life.
Jeremiah Paul, I thank God for creating us the way He did. I thank Him for the very unique purpose that He put in us, the numerous talents He embedded in us, the fire He started in our heart, and most of all I thank Him for loving us totally, completely, and perfectly.
You might not understand how the world works yet, there are a lot of things that seem confusing to you, and you are afraid to make mistakes. As you move forward and get to where I am today, I just have one advice for you: it’s okay to make a million mistakes, but it’s never okay to stop loving!
Love makes the world go round.
I am proud of us, and what we’ll become.
The best is yet to come,
Almost 30 Year-old JPaul