(all photos featured in this post are by https://www.facebook.com/DiaWorlingPhotography)
#1-Daddy and I love you so very much! There are going to be times that you think we must hate you, but please remember that we are your parents first and that sometimes we have to make difficult decisions that make it seem otherwise. I promise, our love for you is always our motivation in every prayer-filled decision. When we say no to things others your age are getting to do, there is a good reason.
#2-Friends are going to come and go, but your family is always going to be constant. In your 13 years, you have lived in 2 countries, 3 states, and lots of houses! You've gone to 4 different schools. You have had so many friends, but the one thing that has remained the same is the people in the place you come home to each day. We will always be here for you.
#3-Being a teenager is going to suck. There will be days that life is going to be awesome, but there will be many that it seems the world is against you. In those days, I want you to remember, Daddy and I are on your team. Always. No matter what. Take it slow, you don't have to grow up overnight.
#4-Pray and read your Bible. Please, start and end and live your days in prayer. Make your decisions through prayer. Know that you are going to make mistakes (we all do!), but if you start out in prayer, there will be fewer of those mistakes. Ask God for wisdom and protection, and know that Daddy and I are praying for these things for you as well. Study your Bible, use it as the guide to life. Stay involved in church and youth group.
#5-Choose your friends wisely, but most important, be a great friend to others. Be the person that others know they can count on and trust. Give everyone a chance, and treat people with respect.
#6-Girls. As much as I'm not ready for this, there's going to be girls in your life. Choose the ones that are special to you wisely. Pray for them. Treat them with respect, and respect yourself. Respect the wife that you are going to have one day, even though you may not know her yet. Respect the fact that the girl you might date could be someone else's wife one day, and until then she belongs to the Lord, not to you. Treat every girl as God's property. **Treat yourself as God's property!** Know that you can trust your parents when they give you advice in this area.
#7-Be a good big brother. Your little sister looks up to you, and you have a big responsibility as her brother. Set a good example, admit when you make mistakes, and be a friend to her. She is going to be someone that you will go to when you can't come to me and Daddy. Treasure that relationship and protect it.
#8-Be responsible. Study and do your chores. Work hard for the things you want. Life doesn't hand you anything, you have to earn it and being responsible is the first step to reaching your goals.
There are so many things that we will encounter over your journey through your teenage years. We are so proud of you, and love you so much!! I can't believe we are here at 13!