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The number one lesson I learned this semester abroad is the title of this blog.

It has been a reoccurring theme in my life that I have been lavishly spoiled and provided for beyond my wildest imagination. Seriously, several times in the past year I have found myself in tears over how good God is in my life.

Let’s rewind to Spring Break 2010. My aunt Theresa flew me out to Chicago because at the time I had planned to go live there for the summer and work. (That didn’t end up happening, which those of you who regularly follow my blog already know.) However, I flew first class to Chicago for free, stayed with my aunt who fed me, provided me with a train pass into the city, and let me just go off wherever I pleased- even to Michigan for a couple days to see one of my best friends, Jenn K. While flying on the plane home, eating chocolate ice cream with bits of cheesecake, the depth of the situation struck a chord in me.

I teared up over my delicious dessert and thought: I don’t deserve this. When I learn things like the fact that America is a country that consists of the most confident youth in the world or that all university students are a part of the top 10% of the wealthiest people in the world or that some people don’t have shoes or clean water I think that again: I don’t deserve this.

This summer, I was living at home and feeling really unloved. At the same time, I read through Hosea which is a book all about God’s love if there ever was one. Before I came to England, I was going through a lot of pain and learning with Jesus. I hadn’t dove off the cliff into just God’s love yet. I was still looking around for validation and affirmation from the people I expected to love me. I loved harder, hoping they’d love hard in return. But they didn’t. They were horrible at loving me back. But Jesus was there all along, asking me why I hadn’t turned to Him.

So I started to learn. I am loved by the God of the Universe, what more could I need? That’s covered.

But then, something incredible happened a couple weeks after I traveled across the pond. I started making English friends. And, I entered a contest. The Good Mood Blogger. The next few weeks were a rush of chaos, excitement, loss, and emotion. But all throughout, I had people all over the world loving on me and supporting me and missing me and wishing I was back home, or glad that I was a new friend.

I have been so provided for. Whether it was last minute arrangements to pay for my study abroad trip, or a really good friend who let me come cry in her room for a couple hours while she offered me tea, I was provided for. When I have been sad, there have been people there to make me laugh. When I wondered about my worth, I had my beautiful God telling me that he made me special since my birth.

And then, I’m spoiled. Rotten. I am the metaphorical equivalent to a rotten cavity ridden tooth. Mainly because my aunts for some crazy reason love to bless me. My aunt Patty just sent me on a trip to visit Belfast, the place of our roots. I was warmly welcomed by my wonderful cousins and pampered and fed and I felt like a princess. They were sweet and funny and only heard about me, but were willing to take me in, drive me around, and spend money on me.

It amazes me that I have been so blessed to be able to travel the world just because. I don’t deserve it. But my God isn’t a God of scale. He’s limitless, he’s matchless, and he doesn’t expect that I could ever do enough to earn anything. I am fed, I am clothed. I have money. I have stability. No one should ever expect so much. I can’t believe it has all just been handed to me. I guess sometimes I just stand back and wonder why God let me be born Bridget Gee.

And I begin to realize that if I am blessed, I have the responsibility to be blessing others around me.

So I am going to try.

But glory to God.

Seriously.

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Currently, I’m reading My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. I couldn’t wait until I was finished to write this thought down. The book is a lot different from the movie. If any of you have seen the movie, the basic idea remains.

For those of you who know neither: this story is about a family. A couple, Brian and Sara, have 2 kids, Jesse and Kate. When Kate is 2, she is diagnosed with an acute form of cancer. Sara decides then that she will do everything in her power to keep her baby girl alive. So, Brian and Kate decide to have another baby genetically formed to be a perfect donor for Kate in all ways. A year later, Anna is born. The book starts when Anna is 13 years old, and she is suing for medical emancipation from her parents. She was never quite asked to be the donor, rather expected to.

First of all, Jodi Picoult is a tremendous author in my mind. Every chapter is a different character in a different voice. The book really is an intense character study of each involved. Picoult takes something very controversial and plunges it in the middle of a family dynamic. From the beginning, the reader puts each characters’ shoes on to try out the moral dilemma for them self.

The moments of the book that I find myself so stuck on, are when the character of Sara is displayed most clearly. Sara has made the entire family’s life about Kate getting better…or getting worse. She seems to care for nothing more and no one more. She has made the choice to fight for one person in her family to live life as a sick girl rather than everyone else have normal lives (including her). I mean, what else are you going to do but fight for your daughter until everything fails?

That’s where I get stuck, because as Brian puts it at one point, “Sara is fighting on multiple fronts.” Anna is suing her mom because she has always felt that she was not much more than a temporary cure for her sister’s ailments. Brian has lost all semblance of the relationship he once had with his vibrant wife. Jesse is a delinquent and secretly lashes out because he thinks he has no value. The only one who has no question of Sara’s love for her is Kate. Everyday, Sara is right by Kate’s side, willing to knock down doors, and sacrifice everything in her life for Kate. While this is heroic, it makes me think deeply about what love really looks like.

I’m about to create a scenario that is ideal. Not everyone gets married. Not everyone has children within the context of marriage, and not everyone loves each other in their family. Bear with me.

In a family, there are a couple of kinds of love going on. Initially, there is the love between a man and a woman. The two meet, are attracted, and then fall madly in love with one another. From there, they decide that they want to be exclusively together for the rest of their mortal lives, so they wed. This kind of love is a decision to love someone, and tie yourself down to someone when you don’t have to. Then, there’s the love a parent has for their child. When a couple has children, they make another decision to love a human that they both took part in creating, a human who is physically and genetically a part of them. To me, this love seems deeper because there’s a physical and emotional tie that goes beyond something two people can conjure on their own. However, the romantic love is absent. Lastly, there is the love between siblings. Siblings have no choice but to be siblings with their siblings. They are just born, grow up, and love each other. I tell my sister sometimes that she is the person I love most and hate most in the world. I didn’t meet her or chose her, I had to live with her. But she’s my number one person that I am tied to. This love, I feel, is so much deeper than even a parents’ love.

I guess in this realization that love looks so many ways and comes from so many places, I was kind of thinking about how I love and want to love. When I’m married, I am going to love my husband’s brains out. I want him to feel like the luckiest guy in the world, and that he never imagined marriage would be so freakin awesome. I want to be best friends, ultimately on the same side, adventuring together and laughing all the way. I want our love to be a microcosm of Godly Love. I want it to be Godly love. So that when I have kids, and decide that I want to create more little monsters, that I can love them with that love. And I will, with all of my heart, each one of them, they will never be lacking love! (Well ok, I should give myself grace, they may at times, be lacking love…but never enough to want to sue me….well, maybe they’ll threaten to sue me…I went through a “i’m going to sue you stage” of childhood, but my kids will be loved gosh darnit!) The main point of all this though, is for me to say that through the Holy Spirit I pray that I love my family in a big heroic and grand way for my entire life and that none of them will question it for very long.

I also want to stop and say, Thank you Jesus. Thank you that I know you. Thank you that even if I never got married or had a family, or my family didn’t love me, or I had no one, that I still have you. You’ll still represent me. You’ll still hold me. You’d still die for me, and sacrifice everything for me. Even though I suck at loving (and thus, plan to do really well at it with your help).

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I think it’s about time I write a blog about my family. I talk about them all the time. And while I’ve said this summer has been hard living with them, they are an extraordinary bunch. I’ll start with the prettiest.

Mom (Rosemary Scott) – My mom is a little Irish redhead with freckles from head to toe. She’s got these gorgeous blue eyes and adorable smile. My mom is a babe. Anyone would say so. Today, my dad said in the car that “she was the prize.” I couldn’t agree more. My mother, is a prize mother too. She’s one of those mom’s who knows her children more than they know themselves. Countless times I have come to her with complaints about my siblings and she speaks major truth and wisdom about my siblings and me. I love when people tell me things that I don’t know about myself or I think no one else knows. Rosemary Scott is a generous and compassionate woman. She gives crazily. She is very sensitive to the Holy Spirit because sometimes she just gives on whims or says something hard to hear, but turn out being right. My mom would give me the world if she could. In fact, I think sometimes it breaks her heart that she can’t. But we’re both better off this way I think. She loves people. My mom can get a whole room of people laughing, but she will never seek out the attention. Her wedding dress was this deep blue thing, not your typical gown. I think I get my sense of humor and adventure from her. Before she was married, she had lived in Utah and Maine and then back to Chicago. It was her idea to come out to Arizona a year after my parents got married, and obviously, we’ve been here ever since.

Dad (Alan Gee) – My dad is an amazing man. He always wants to be better. When I tell him he’s a great father, he rarely can just take it. When I was barely one, God stole my dad from a life of drugs, sex and alcohol. God lured him in, and cured the addiction LITERALLY overnight. Ever since, my parents have been learning what it means to bring their children into the Kingdom while living as children of God themselves. Over the years, I have seen my dad mature a lot. He used to be very legalistic because he says he thought he had to. However, I have benefitted greatly from years of Scripture being spoken over me. It is funny how a person can commit themselves to the Word, speak it over their family, and in turn, the Word be used so greatly throughout their lives. In countless situations I have heard my dad quote, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” or “By the stripes on his back we are healed.” and more and more. People are often intimidated by my father until they have a conversation with him. He is a sweet and gentle guy most of the time, but he can use his gruff to make a point. My dad is a major handyman. He knows how to do nearly everything. If he doesn’t, he’d like to try. My mom says that he’s sloppy, but she’s a perfectionist so they really balance each other out. I love my dad because he is so apologetic and forgiving. He has really taught me to be that way. He also has this strong hatred toward sin. Sometimes I pray that God would help me understand that and feel that way too. My dad’s humor is that typical cheesy dad humor, but I love it anyway. He commits his life to Jesus whole-heartedly. He is such a great example of that.

I realize it’s hard to separate my parents into two separate people. They compliment each other very well. Plus, I am a good mixture of the two. And you know what they say in the Bible, the two will become one. They look nothing alike, but they are best friends and in my opinion, very good partners.

Anthony – My older brother and I have a lot of the same basic traits. He is a very out-going, passionate, funny, and adventurous person. However, he and I are very different. I think through my relationship with him, I have learned a lot of the hardest lessons of my life. Like, what it looks like to love someone, and what grace is. Because for a lot of years, we struggled to show those to each other. Honestly, I’m still learning and trying to do better and he is too. But here’s the thing. My brother, he’s one of those guys you brag about. Anthony didn’t walk at his college graduation. I was told by my sister that when he opened his Degree in the mail, he had a moment of awe that he had graduated. Anthony is a lot like my dad where his first priority is often going to be his ministry. I have always known my brother to read practically every Christian book he can get his hands on, go on every missions trip he’s been able to, and befriend people that we wouldn’t normally befriend. Anthony puts his all into his ministry. And it must be hard because he does it, virtually for free. It has been really cool to see him grow over the past few years and be put into a place of leadership – exactly where he has known he wanted to be for quite some time. You know what’s cool about Anthony? I have heard him pray aloud in his room to God. He and God are really good friends. You should hear how he talks to him. I almost wanted to see if Jesus was sitting in a chair in his room! The kind of person Anthony is, is viral. People catch his vision. People don’t want to miss out on what Anthony Gee is doing. He’s really tight.

Rosemary – My little sister is probably my best friend. I told her earlier this year that she is the one person I love and hate most at the same time in the whole world. I have spent the majority of the past 17 years with Rosemary. She has gone from the goofiest and most adorable little girl to a very talented yet mischievous person. She is very adventurous like me, but a little more bold in some areas. She takes risks that I won’t. She also gets in a lot more trouble than I ever did. But she’s a really good kid. Her heart loves so hard. And gets taken advantage of a lot. Because Rosemary is captivating. She is hilarious and sarcastic and so much fun. She gives everybody a chance. And usually over and over. She sees art in everything and everything is potentially interesting to her. She can soak up every art form and appreciate it all. Rosemary is a huge glowing ball of potential. What I mean by that is, in the past 3 years at her art school, she has done film, photography, theatre, dance, singing, and even dabbles with writing and some instruments a little. She’s crazy, but always having fun. She’s really really smart too. She learns fast. There’s this blessing that Rosemary has. She walks into a place and doesn’t leave empty handed. That often happens without paying a dime. She makes me laugh more than anyone, but also makes me want to scream more than anyone. But, I’m pretty sure she feels similarly. But she’s my only sister, what do you expect?

Luke– Luke, he’s my shining star. I came home today and I hadn’t seen him all day. That’s a first considering I’ve spent the majority of my summer with him so far. I went over to him on the couch and zzrrbrrted him on the cheek. He pretended like he disliked it, but then requested a hug. I love him because I think he and I have similar spirits. Most of the time, when his ADD isn’t getting the best of him (and I mean that seriously), he is a very light-hearted kid. I would fight the world for him if it stood against him. He’s my babe. He’s 7 years my junior but will be taller than me this time next week. Luke is 4 years younger than Rosemary, so they had a small window of play time together before all of his older siblings wanted to go play with big kids, other places. So Luke does a lot of running around outside when it’s not scorching hot. He adores our two dogs Sadie and Rocky to death and adopted Rosemary’s turtle as his own. Luke plays video games until he wins and can put together a K’Nex theme park in an hour and a half, just by looking at the front of the box. Right now, he’s growing Sun flowers and he is very faithful to them. I just love Luke because he is brilliant and there’s this wisdom inside him that I don’t see in other kids. It only comes out sometimes, but I think it’ll show up as he gets older. Everyone loves Luke though. He’s 13, and still he decided to join my college-age Bible study when I hosted it at our house a couple weeks ago. While he still seeks attention and laughter, he can be serious and surprise us all. I really love him a lot and I can’t wait to see what he turns into.

To be honest, there is so much more to say about my family. But I love them. I am so lucky to have such awesome people in my life. I am so glad that we had the childhood we did and that God redeemed our family from potentially being incredibly broken and possibly 2 people short. I learn so much being a Gee. We laugh a lot. We bicker a lot. We laugh then bicker then laugh a lot. Most of all though, we LOOOOOOOOOOOVE Jesus! And he loves the Gees.

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