Saturday, July 08, 2023

What Would You Say to Your 15-Year-Old Self?

"I was a quiet teenager,
introverted, full of angst."
NIGELLA LAWSON, as seen on

A fellow Instagrammer, whose daughter was turning fifteen, posed the question to her readers: What would you say to your daughter who is turning fifteen? Right away I knew what I'd say... if I had a daughter. They're lines found in the ancient book Song of Solomon, lines I read years ago that resonated deep in my heart at the time:

"O my dove, (here) . . . in the sheltered
and secret place of the steep pathway,
Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your face is lovely."

If someone had spoken those words 'your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely' when I was a quiet, insecure young woman, I probably could have lived on them for the rest of my life. How I longed with every fiber of my being to be found lovely, and not to be found wanting in any way. My fifteen-year-old self always felt nervous that she would never quite measure up, never be pretty enough, or good enough. She worried the boys would never notice her or be interested in what she had to say. The beautiful movie stars of the 1950s were her initial standard... with their swishy dresses, beautifully styled hair, and lovely nails. Oh if I could only look like that, she yearned. Instead, my teen self would look in the mirror and see a pale face and the slight bump on the bridge of her nose from a childhood encounter with a swing. I couldn't see the pretty green eyes that looked back at me. Or that my blonde-turned-brown hair glinted with hints of auburn in the sunlight. I knew definitely what I'd say to Anne of Green Gables when she asked, "Which would you rather be if you had the choice—divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?"

Barely twenty, I met my beautiful friend, Jean, and it wasn't long before we discovered we were kindred spirits. Enjoying similar things, finishing each other's sentences. Bosom friends, like Anne and Diane. One afternoon, maybe a lazy Sunday, we were hanging around in my tiny apartment. She wrote a poem. Which she gave to me. Titled The Rosebud - in which she wrote how she saw my life as a tightly furled rosebud that would one day mature and blossom. Several stanzas... those words were like water to parched ground - I drank them in.

Some years later I came across those words from Song of Solomon, and I felt the love and acceptance in those words all over again. My soul bloomed into maturity. I felt beautiful in my own skin, and I began to find my way to live a beautiful life as a single woman.

Of course it took a lifetime to learn that beauty is not just skin deep, that beauty is also shaped by our daily choices and attitudes, how we present ourselves, what we choose to focus on. It took me a lifetime to learn in my inmost self that God so loved me, so that I could 'hear' and believe for myself those beautiful words, 'your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.'

They've been in my heart ever since. And so I know the great value of speaking words of beauty into the lives of our girls and young women. Maybe not every woman needs to hear those particular words, but I think we all need to know we are loved as we are and accepted by the Beloved One. It helps us to love ourselves. Then, in response we turn to love and accept others.

Wishing you a beautiful day!
With love,

Photo credit:
Top image by Silvia Rita from Pixabay


  1. What lovely thoughts ,Brenda.

  2. There are so many things I could say to my young self, but with the hindsight of age, I think I might try to get me to think about what kind of a person I'd like to become. And then encourage myself to think about how to take the small daily steps needed to become that kind of person, reminding myself that nothing happens without work and perseverance. I wonder if I'd be wise enough to listen to myself:)

  3. Love this Brenda. Such words of wisdom. I try to tell all of my grandchildren the beauty I see in each of them & acknowledge their gifts. I always say I love you at the end of our conversations. The teenage years are hard years for sure trying to see where you fit in. Very thought provoking.

  4. That was a splendid post, Brenda. Loved it. It will help me to remember to say beautiful words to the teenagers and pre-teens in my life. Young people need to know they are beautiful, just as they are! Wonderful message. This is Susan from Writing Straight from the Heart. I don't know how to eliminate the Anonymous title. Have a great week, Brenda. Your writing is so beautiful. Susan

  5. I so agree with you! When I found Psalm 139:16 and realized that God created and made me for his purposes, it changed my life!

  6. In the wise words of Taylor Swift:
    "And when you're fifteen
    Don't forget to look before you fall
    I've found time can heal most anything
    And you just might find who you're supposed to be
    I didn't know who I was supposed to be
    At fifteen"

  7. At 15, I too would have loved to hear the words that brought peace and light to your young heart. I grew up with a lot of pain and shame and comfort seldom came my way. But the wonderful thing is I am now in a position to undo all the old damage inflicted upon me by raising my own children with the right words in their ears. By the look of things, they're turning out well and it's a joy to my husband and I.

  8. What a lovely post, Brenda. I would have loved hearing those words as a teenager. It's a time filled with so much confusion and self-doubt.
    As a high school teacher, I didn't comment on my students' looks, but tried to be as positive as I could in encouraging them that they were wonderful human beings loved by God. As my grandchildren age (the eldest will be a teenager in December), I want to instill the confidence that comes from knowing they are loved and beautiful in God's eyes, and in mine.
    Thank you for writing this post.


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo