Dear Elisabeth… (On Your First Day of High School)

Has there ever been a weirder start to a school year? On your first day of high school, you went to bed at 2 a.m. This was after saying goodbye to your big sister—and then driving 900 miles from Nebraska, smashed in the backseat with your brothers.

This is a metaphor for your place in this family. Actually, your freshman year is the most middle-child-ey season ever for you, Elisabeth. As you’ve already discovered as the second girl in the family, the younger twin, and the older sister to Nate, being in the middle can be tough. Especially if the world sees you as more part of this family than an individual.

We’re all feeling Catie’s absence, but it hits different for you. Not only have you lost your best friend, but seeing her life at college shows you what your next chapter will be.

Also, Sam is in lots of your classes this year, something that hasn’t happened for years. As you figure out who you are (or aren’t), it’s hard to not compare yourself to the way he’s navigating high school.

Finally, Nate idolizes you. He comes to you when he needs advice, comfort, entertainment, a listening ear, and help with homework. He’s always confident you’ll help–and he’s never wrong.

Being a middle Hergenrader kid is your reality—but it doesn’t define you. Because you are so much more. You are a force. You are yourself. Even when it seems you’re invisible, you live from what you know is true.

Here’s what that looks like…

  1. You believe. You know who God is and how He loves you. Behind every action, every relationship, every decision is your deep faith that you’re God’s child. This isn’t a reaction to anything your family does—this is and always has been you. 
  2. You see. Time and time again, you make me laugh so hard. This is because you tell the truest truth—and that’s always the way to be funniest. You notice everything and point out the absurdity of life. This is a joy to everyone around you.
  3. You follow-thru. You have learned the art of doing what you say you will do. You call your sister every day because you said you would. You pray, read your Bible, practice, and keep showing up. In a world of distraction, your dedication marks you as unique, Elisabeth. 

Don’t stop becoming. Never stop being you.

I’ll be here—watching, cheering, laughing, and crying (just a little bit).



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