Dear Tory,

First of all, I wish you knew that you are beautiful. You are not a size two today, your body is scarred from childbearing, but you wouldn’t trade what that brought you for anything. Do me a favor, and don’t eat the candy in the bowl on your desk – I’m about to have to start running yesterday’s piece off. Ok, one piece a day is cool!

I wish you knew how much strength you actually have. I wish you knew the hurts of silence today will give birth to and make way for beautiful relationships tomorrow. Hold your ground and don’t settle for letting anyone take advantage of your kind heart. Know today that some people will love you as best they know how, but their love will define your happiness as much as you let it. 

You aren’t a mommy yet. You are still a little scared that you won’t be any good at it. You’ve hardly ever been more wrong. You won’t be perfect, and that’s what you’re really afraid of. You aren’t very good at extending grace to yourself, and honey, it would make the first part of motherhood so much easier if you’d let that go now. You won’t, but someday you’ll wish you had. 

You will not always have your house perfectly clean, you won’t put makeup on everyday or fix your hair, but you’ll learn that’s not how you measure success in this area. You measure it in smiles, memories made through the messes, and a little voice that says things like, “I’m so happy to see you” and “I love you!” 

I wish you would pray more now. I wish you read your Bible more now. I wish you made a point to “get into the tent” today because that time will fortify your heart for tough days ahead. Rest in the Lord. Trust the Lord’s sufficiency all your days starting today.

Take more naps with Rob. You usually take one every weekend, and you are going to miss them someday so try to take two. 

Make more time to see your girlfriends. Lauren will move away, and you’ll be so proud as you watch her adventure unfold. She’s going to marry a great guy and you’ll enjoy hanging out with him too.  One day you’ll get to hear him tell you he’s been ring shopping and you’ll just about die with excitement and be on pins and needles waiting for “the call” from her. Janay will move away, but there will be a cool thing called FaceTime that will let you see her and her babies. They are going to be so cute. You’ll gain strength just by seeing what an amazing wife and mom she’ll become, and you’ll heart will hurt with how much you miss her. Alissa will still be home, and that will always be a comfort to you. You are going to be heartbroken to move away from her babies because you love them like your own. You’ll wish you had more play dates and sleepovers every time you hear Lauren ask to see Evie, Emie, and Liam. You’ll miss her so much, but you’ll cherish your time together more. You’ll move away too. You were right about one thing. These girls will always be there for you, and nothing – not even hundreds of miles – will change how much you guys love each other. Don’t take that for granted, and do what you can to see them as often as possible. 

Learn to breathe and let go of how you think things should be. God has never let you down and He never will. Don’t stress or worry. Jesus is exactly who He said He was, and you’ll understand who you are in Him more and more all the time. 

About being really afraid you’ll never be a great mom: you are so great at it. It’s not because you always get it right, but because you love your babies and do everything you can for them everyday. You encourage them, help them grow, pull them into your lap, pray over them, sing over them, rock them, teach them about Jesus, teach them to love, teach them to respect their daddy, teach them kindness, and they know you love them. You will be great so let go of that fear and get ready for the adventures ahead. They won’t be easy and you’ll cry some times, be frustrated a lot, sleep less than ever, but those faces give you a glow and love that make it all worth it. 

You aren’t a mommy yet, but it will be one of your greatest joys. Get ready because life is about to get really cool!

Love yourself today!