Sue at 8

What Would You Say to Your 8-Year-Old Self?

Recently I watched Disney’s The Kid again. This is a movie recommended by a counselor friend of mine, and I have heard of several other counselors who assign people to watch it because of its insights into why we can become the adults we are. Bruce Willis plays a not very nice man who meets up with his 8-year-old self, and the two have some important information to give each other.

There is a scene where a friend helps him process what it means to be talking to his little boy self, and asks, “What would I say if little Deirdre turned up, bursting out of her St. Mary’s uniform, asking me what comes next?” Suddenly, my eyes welled with tears at the thought: what would I say if little 8-year-old Susan LeClair appeared in my living room? What would I want her to know, after 30+ years of intentionally seeking “wisdom beyond my years,” the prayer the Lord instructed me to pray for myself right after becoming a Christian?

Here’s my first pass:

“You are not damaged goods. You are not the ugly crippled girl you think you are. God made you beautiful, and He put you in a handicapped body to greater put His glory on display. Your frailty will make your gifts, and your intensity, less threatening to others. When His joy radiates out from you, He will get the glory, and you will love that. It’s OK that you had polio. One day, your scars will be beauty marks, and you will see that your ever-present limp simply is. It’s not a shameful thing. Jacob’s limp was the souvenir Yahweh chose for his nighttime wrestling match with Him.

“Your purity is a precious gift. Don’t let anyone steal it from you.

“Your intellect doesn’t make you better than anyone else. It’s like the color of your hair or eyes. It’s just part of the package God put together when He made you. Yes, you’re smart. Don’t be a show-off about it. That’s ugly. And nobody will figure out, especially seventh-grade girls who will leave a deep wound on  your soul, that you’re desperately trying to cover up a core of shame by proving you’re not hopelessly rotten, damaged, not-OK. Speaking of which, you ARE hopelessly rotten, damaged, and not-OK in your flesh, the part of you that operates independently from God. That part of you deserves to die, and one day you’ll recognize that and it will be crucified with Jesus. Then He’ll give you a new heart and a new spirit that is whole and perfect and indescribably lovely—just like Him. You will realize that all the parts of you that you really like are all gifts from Jesus or His character shining through you.

“Oh, and Mom tells you that since your eyes change color depending on what you’re wearing, you have hazel eyes. You don’t. They’re green. Mom doesn’t know everything, but it will take you 40 more years to learn that.”

In the movie, Deirdre says she would answer little Deirdre’s question by saying, “Baby, don’t you worry about a thing. Everything’s just going to be great!” If it were me, I’d cup little Susan’s face in my hand and reassure her, “Sweetheart, I’m not going to spoil the adventure by telling you how it’s going to play out. I can just promise you that because you’ll put your trust in Jesus in college, He’s going to give you a life so full of joy that you can’t begin to imagine it right now. He’s not going to make your dreams come true; He’s going to give you new and better dreams, and make those come true. There will be pain, but the joy and richness will far outpace it. It’s going to be a delightful life, sweetie. I promise.”

What would you say to your 8-year-old self?

Sue Bohlin is a speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries, a Christian organization that helps people to think biblically. She loves teaching women and laughing, and if those two can be combined, all the better. She also loves speaking for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Clubs) on the topic How to Handle the Things You Hate But Can't Change, based on her lifelong experience as a polio survivor. She has a freelance calligraphy business in her home studio; hand lettering was her "Proverbs 31 job" while her children were young. Sue also serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered organization that helps people struggling with unwanted homosexuality and the family members of those with same-sex attractions. Sue never met a cruise ship she didn't like, especially now that God has provided a travel scooter for getting around any ship! She is happily married to Dr. Ray Bohlin, writer and speaker on faith and science with Probe Ministries, and they have two grown sons. You can follow Sue on Twitter @suebohlin.


  • Heather A. Goodman

    Nothing profound. Nothing

    Nothing profound. Nothing my parents didn’t tell me.

    Keep practicing piano. Keep reading. Keep writing.

    But I wonder what my eight-year-old self would say to me?


    • Carol

      My eight-year-old self would say
      “Just get through it.” Like Israel’s wilderness wandering, a lot of life doesn’t make sense at the time, while we live subject to time-keeping devices and calendars that keep track of days, years and decades.

      A view from eternity changes perspective. “By faith Jacob

      • Sue Bohlin

        Just get through it.

        Yeah, Carol, that is sage wisdom. Reminds me of a word of wisdom someone put on their wall, taken from the Nike ads: "Just do it." Sometimes you just gotta keep doing what has to be done.

        . . .Like raising teenagers. Just get through it.

  • Missy

    Yes, Jesus Loves Me..for real
    You are loved. You don’t have to spend the rest of you life seeking love. That ‘Jesus Loves You’ song that you’re always singing..yes, He really does.

Leave a Reply