The summer I turned sixteen seems like an exaggerated moment in time when I think of it. Summers were long and lazy when we were younger. Watching cartoons, random tv and playing in the back yard with my siblings while our parents were at work filled the daylight hours. Lots of fighting with each other and calling mom at work only to get in more trouble for having bothered her in that way. Day after day of boredom and drowsiness.

At night I pretended to be more mature than I was and I would sneak out from my bedroom window to hangout with friends or even sneak them IN to hang out with me. I’m pretty sure that was the summer I felt like I was painfully in love for the first time and spent my thought life day dreaming of ways to see him at night. The kids I grew up with in my cul-de-sac were sneaking about in the night just like I was and it seemed like we owned the whole neighborhood after everyone went to bed. My dad worked out of town all week during that time and would only come home on the weekends. My step mom worked such lengthy and grueling hours at her job that when she crashed at night I was free to take full advantage…and I did.

We had a 3ft deep above ground pool in our backyard that summer that got most of its use in those late night and wee morning hours. We would swim and smoke flavored cigarettes ( and other stuff perhaps) and listen to music. I had become obsessed with listening to Led Zeppelin that summer initially because I had learned my dad hated that band and thought it was devil music. I was intent on challenging him in every way to somehow assert myself but eventually I became a fan just because they were awesome. I had a greatest hits CD that became the soundtrack of that summer and even still when I hear the songs “Black Dog” or “Stairway to Heaven” it makes me think of those nights of mischief. I think of my sixteen year old self thinking she’s cool because she is a mature music consumer. Playing old records and learning the words to Jimi Hendrix songs and making my own hemp jewelry with chipped blue and green nail polished fingers.

Now I just think, “Ugh. How cliche.” Shaking my head with a little embarrassment.

Would I have ever imagined back then that the summer I turned 31 I would be the happily married mother of two? Happy with my family life but suffering in my heart trying desperately to gain spiritual, emotional and physical health? You don’t feel yourself change so drastically or mature from the ripe old age of 16 until you stop and look back and realize you are worlds away from those barefoot in the grass, worry free nights. I wonder if my sixteen year old self would be proud of who I am now? Would she be ashamed to know that she would grow into…this?

It makes me wonder. It really makes me wonder. (Zeppelin fans, get it? Ha!)

If I strain I still can’t remember what my goals or dreams were at that age. I honestly didn’t think I’d survive to make it to adulthood. The emotional toll that adolescence takes seems blinding and all encompassing at that age. My biggest concerns were not getting caught doing the things I was doing and avoiding getting in trouble.

Maybe my current state of affairs isn’t far off from that still?

Still trying to get away with rubbish and sneak around doing whatever I feel like without wanting to endure the consequences? Challenging my Heavenly Father to assert my independence? Clinging to my false sense of control by hurting myself?

My current eating life feels much like this no matter how committed I am to obedience.

Do we ever learn?