Out of the Trenches: A Letter to My Past Self

Dear Kayla,

Today I realized that I don’t know you.

Sure, I know the name. I know the college student, and the stories that made you who you were. 

But as I sat in bed reading your thoughts from the past several years, I found myself wishing that somehow you had the answers to your painful questions. So, my dear – here are the beginnings.


Kayla – 

You will be free. Ridiculously free. And contrary to what you believe now, your freedom is not the result of any grand or philosophical conclusion on the part of yourself.


I want you to say the name again – 

But this time, not with any fear that you aren’t good enough for Him. 

Because, well, you aren’t.



I want you to face that fact now. 

I want you to give up striving; no grades will make you perfect. 

But neither will any friends – nor leaders, mentors, nor any deep thought. 

And especially not anything you think you can prove to Him.

Simply. Jesus. 


You will learn what it is to sit and bask in the presence of the One who is worthy. 

And you will cry because you have no words to express His goodness. 

You will realize that you don’t have all the answers. 

Indeed – even what you came to know of what it truly means to follow Him will change. 

Your theology will change.

And you will realize that even I don’t have the answers. 

But you will have a knowledge and a wisdom so much sweeter than any knowledge you ever had sought or will seek to obtain. 




My dear, you will learn to love again, in all senses of the word.

Joy will radiate from the inner depth of your being at the thought of community.

And even when your community drastically changes – 

You will be ok. 


And finally, Kayla, you will learn to read the Bible. But not just read it. 

Study it. And love it. And cling to it. 

I pray I never give that up, because it is our sustenance. 

Our very bones ache at the thought of a day without it. 


So, Kayla Marie. 

I don’t write you with answers or a quick fix, but I do write you with the hope of a new beginning – a beginning that starts with the knowledge that you will never be enough. 

Because only He is. 

It’s precious on the other side of the trenches, my dear. 

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