I've always looked young for my age.
At twenty-three years old, I'm often mistaken for a teenager. A fifteen-year-old. Fortunately, this doesn't bother me as much as it used to, especially not in the way it did when I actually was a teen. But growing up, I often felt older, more mature, than my peers; perhaps it's because I'm the youngest in my family and the youngest of thirteen cousins.
I felt older yet my appearance gave the false impression that I was younger. And because of that, I resented my youth. I wanted to be older. To be treated with more respect.
Especially when it came to pursuing my passions.
From a young age, I've known that I wanted to be an author "when I grew up". Writing has been my passion since I was three-years-old; I could never see myself in a profession that wasn't related to books.
So, at fourteen-years-old, I decided not to settle for an "average teen lifestyle" and instead chose to get a head start in my writing career. I studied the writing craft, launched a blog, and set out on my writing journey. My debut novel, Purple Moon, was then published five years later at nineteen-years-old.
When I first began to take my writing seriously, I soon discovered that others didn't. That's not to say I didn't receive support from professionals in the industry, because I certainly did; rather, there were a handful of people who thought it was "cute". That assumed it was just a phase.
Believe me: My passion for writing was not a phase!
Since then, my sophomore novel, Unwritten Melody, has been published, and I am currently under contract for a teen devotional with Bethany House. (I work on the publishing side of the industry as well; I'm an associate agent for Hartline Literary and YA Acquisitions Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.)
It was tough, dealing with criticism from those who looked down on me. Still is. That's why I have to constantly remind myself of the vision, the calling, God has placed on my heart -- to minister through the written word. It's also why I have a passion to provide encouragement and support for other young people who are struggling to pursue their gifts. Teens who long to take their youth seriously yet are underestimated by the culture around them.
My name is Tessa, and for the past 7 and a half years I've written on my blog for writers, Christ is Write. On that blog, I share tips for writers, post book reviews and writing prompt contests, etc. But I've discovered that I need a personal space where I can provide young people with the support they need to cultivate their own gifts and pursue the life God has called them to live. That's exactly what I hope to do through this new blog. (Don't worry, writers! I will continue to post weekly on Christ is Write.)
I'm here to give you the support + encouragement + motivation + inspirational + tools to unleash the potential God has birthed within you so you can make an impact. I'm here to encourage you to pursue the impossible -- all the while building the foundation of a relationship with Christ.
I believe in you, even if everyone around you is trying to convince you that you're too young, that your desire to make a difference through your gifts is impossible or "just a phase".
And if that is the case, let me remind you of the scripture 1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT), which states:
"Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity."
No, you're not too young.
In fact, you're at the prime age to begin making decisions that will alter the course of your future.
So let's start on the path toward pursuing!