2.28.2014

A dream and a birthday


Today's my dad's birthday. Or his almost birthday? His pretend birthday? He's a leap year baby, so this year he gets two honorary days to celebrate his birth. (Lucky dog.)

Now, stay with me as I go on a somewhat related side rant here. Two nights this week, I had dreams that I remembered in the morning. That never happens to me. Well, rarely happens, I suppose. I guess I should also specify that it was the same dream both nights. Oh, and it was less dream and more nightmare.

In my nightmarish dream, my father passed away. My awesome, funny, brilliant, loving, cooler than yours father died. 8,000+ miles away from me. Something with his heart. It was so real. so vivid. I pretty much spent the whole dream weeping. I woke up to tear-stained cheeks. Even when I realized it was just a dream, it took a moment for the floodgates to start working again. It was awful.

Okay, now back to his happy birthday and butterflies and rainbows...and unicorns.

In my dream, I stood at his casket thinking. Thinking about things I wanted to say. Thinking about things I should have said. Thinking about things I needed to say.

Because it was just a dream, I still have time to say these things. So here we go:

Dad, you handsome man, you, On the day that we celebrate your 50th trip around the sun, I wanted to start off by telling you (and the internet) that I am honored that I, of all the daughters in the universe, get to call you Dad. I am so proud of you. God couldn't have picked a better father for me.

I am secretly thrilled that people think I look just like you, cause who wouldn't want to look like Will Smith (hahaha). I just hope I reflect you in more ways than just my appearance. I hope I love and serve like you do. I hope I never meet a stranger like you do. I hope one day my children admire and respect me, the way I do.


I pray that all of your dreams come true. If anyone deserves it, you do. If anyone would receive the blessings humbly, you would. If anyone would get TURNT for Jesus at an awards show or in a mega-church, it would be you and your crazy self. Hahaha. But don't worry, 'cause we'll all be backstage and on the front row acting a fool with ya! :)


Today, I also want to say thank you. Thank you for leading our family to Jesus. For getting our family to the point where it was stupid to ask if we were going to church, even though we sometimes tried to get out of it by playing sick. (Haha. Lord, forgive us.) Thank you for loving my momma. I love telling people that my parents have been married for 29 years and I hope to get there one day. Thank you for being good at what you do...Not everyone's father gets a personal phone call from Hillary Clinton ;) for a job in Abu Dhabi! I love that you are out there being awesome. Gives all your daughters something to shoot for.


And since I have you here reading, here are some things I am not thankful for (laced with sarcasm, of course) - your boyish good looks that cause people to think you are my boyfriend, those painful (and now somewhat funny) memories learning how to skip...and the ones learning algebra, the time you spanked me for laughing because Dehli forgot to take out the trash, the time you made us watch Roots and Amistad...and some nature movie, the time we played truth or dare during the storm and you guys sent me out to the garage by myself, the time you crouched like a gremlin and scared me when I walked around the corner, the time you made me drive in San Antonio like a maniac chasing my rabbit. Wait, I actually am thankful for that lead foot. Haha.


I love you, Dad. I hope that you had a crazy fun time in Dubai with mom and Lord & Lady Brackett. Wish I could have been there to celebrate you passing the half a century mark in life. See you in TEN weeks!!!

2.16.2014

Sunday Scripture - 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

1 Corinthians 13: 1-8a. Most people know it. It's the love chapter. I was reading through some old posts of mine and found that I had talked about these verses almost exactly two years ago today... Since it also happens to be two days after Valentine's day, I figured this was a good one to revisit.

In case you aren't familiar with the passage, here you go:

13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
I truly believe that LOVE can fix any problem, any situation, any division, any hurt, any jealousy, any anything. Because of that, I want it to be said of me that I love. And I mean this in so much more than a romantic way. Don't get me wrong: I desire to one day have a husband that I will get to love for the rest of my life, however, I don't think that is the end all and be all of love.

I believe that with love (genuine, selfless, Christ-like love), we can do anything.


Love forgives sins (1 Peter 4:8 - love covers a multitude of sins), mends relationships (Proverbs 17:9 - he who covers an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats a matter separates close friends; Proverbs 10:12 - hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs), causes fear to flee (1 John 4:18 - perfect love drives out fear), and reveals Jesus to the world (John 13:35 - By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another). And that's hardly an exhaustive search of the Bible.


This world is angry and hurting and full of so much hate (if you don't believe me on this one, read the news). They need to see people full of God's powerful and life-changing love.


I read somewhere once (I don't remember, so please don't ask. lol) that you can substitute Jesus' name for all the times they say love in the passage above and it still is 100% true. As in love Jesus is patient, love Jesus is kind...etc etc. And how true is that! Jesus is patient and kind. He is not envious, boastful, or proud. He does not dishonor others. He is not self-seeking or easily angered; and he keeps no record of wrongs. He does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. Jesus always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Jesus NEVER fails.


(Side note: We can also trade Jesus for the other times that Paul uses love in that passage. For example: "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love Jesus, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love Jesus, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love Jesus, I gain nothing". We are nothing if we do not have Jesus...but that's a whole other can of worms.)


If we are to be like Jesus (which we are), I believe that we should also be able to substitute our own name in place for love...It'd go something like this (with your own name, of course lol): Natasha is patient (uhh...no comment). Natasha is kind (sure, sometimes). Natasha does not envy (yikes). Natasha does not boast (all the time??). Natasha is not proud (sorta)...etc etc.


Wow! When you look at it that way, you begin to see all the areas that you need to work on. You begin to see that, hey, maybe I'm not loving as well as I think I am! So, I challenge you today to swap love for your name. And then in every instance where it becomes a false statement, pray that God would make you more like him. Take steps to make yourself more patient, kind, humble, trusting, faithful, etc etc.


Before you think that I'm trying to bash you and make you feel bad...realize that the beauty in this method is that it doesn't exclude any of us from work because none of us are perfect. Yes, maybe you've got kindness down, but you realize that you aren't so patient at times or maybe you're not self-seeking but you're really bad about holding onto past wrongs and so on.


We all need to work at being more like Jesus...and since Jesus is love (1 John 4:8 - Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love), love is good place to start!

2.12.2014

Eighty-five.

Eighty-five days until I graduate.

Eighty...five...days. Wow!


I remember when I was just contemplating going back to school. It was about this time two years ago. I was stuck in this dead-end job and school seemed like the obvious way out. So, with a little prodding from family, August 2012 came and I went.


Going back to school has been a tremendous blessing. It was nothing and yet, everything I imagined it would be. I thank God I was able to attend Abilene Christian. The people I've met, the things I've learned, the places I've been able to go...I'll never forget this time in my life.


Now, I'm sure I'll post about school and all that it's meant soon, but today, it's about what comes after I walk the stage, after I'm hooded, after the diploma is in my hands.


It's simple, really: I HAVE NO IDEA.


Eighty-five days and I have no idea what I will be doing on day 86. Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. My internship ends in July so I will know what I'll be doing on day 86, but you know what I mean.


I have some inklings, some wants, some dreams. But no concrete plans.


And I have to tell ya: it's miserable and magical at the same time. (If you got the song lyric, we need to be best friends. If you didn't...uh, stop reading, please. Haha. I kid. I kid. Please continue, everyone.)


In case you're not a Taylor Swift fan, let me explain how something can be both miserable and magical (the ending of Merlin, anyone?) at the same time:


On one hand, I love knowing that I don't have to know everything. I love knowing that God's my front and rearguard...that he'll lead me where I'm supposed to be without a (needed) worry from me. I mean, come on, he created all that we see and more, I'm sure he can handle my post-grad adventure with no problem. So for that, I am thankful. I'm thankful that he hears my prayers, that he knows my likes and dislikes. I'm thankful that all things work together for my good, even things I mess up. I'm thankful that while I may often times be in the dark about life, God is never lost, clueless, shocked, or surprised by anything that happens.


But...on the other hand, I hate (dislike?) not knowing his plans. Yes, yes, I know what I just said up there about knowing that they are good plans. And good plans, I'm sure they will be. However, when I go on (good) adventures, I still like to know where I'm going, how I'm getting there, how much money I'll need for the trip, what activities I'll do while I'm there, when I'll be returning. I like to plan with a capital P. Or I guess, I just like to KNOW the plan. Now, don't get me wrong: I'm okay with God planning my life, because he'll do a far better job than I could ever do on my own, but sometimes I wish he didn't hold his cards so close to his chest.


Misery and magic aside, life is not meant to be lived knowing the end from the beginning. There would be no faith in knowing every twist and turn in the road ahead. You would not have to trust that God had good plans intended for you, if you were able to peek ahead to the last page and see for yourself. (Side rant: If you're one of those people that reads the last page of a book before you get there...we can no longer be friends. Sort of serious. Haha. End rant.)


So eighty-five days from now:


I will walk the stage.

I will be hooded.
I will receive a diploma in my hands.

And with or without plans, I will be secure in His everlasting love. Trusting in His infinite faithfulness. Believing in His perfect goodness. Knowing that come what may, His plans for my life have been ordained and my steps ordered. 
 
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