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Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

Well, here I am again, on a Valentine’s without a Valentine.

Ok, that’s a lie. Tonight, Vince, Kim, Jen and Becca are my Valentines.

I just wanted to take a moment to say that your Valentine’s Day is in your hands. I really believe that. I was talking to some customers at work today and they were complaining about the holiday. But, here I am, without a romance, but I couldn’t be happier.

I know where my worth comes from. Not from another person. Well, that’s a lie too. My worth comes from Jesus, who is a man, and is God. He also is the greatest romance in the world, in history, forever. I can’t stress that enough.

I feel really great this Valentine’s . And, I’m definitely in love with my Creator. What peace, what joy, what freedom!

Singleness=awesomeness.

Gotta go eat a delicious pasta dinner! THANKS VINCE! =)

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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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I’ve thought of several more titles for this blog, my blog of all blogs, for example:

Don’t Count Your Chickens Until They’ve Hatched
Loss, Loss, and more Loss
Glenyce Conte is my New Best Friend
The Price of a Broken Heart is About $500
The Most Historic Week of My Life

If you haven’t heard, I just had the worst week of my life, and if you know me well, I don’t say things like that very often. But, before you read this blog, I want to make a disclaimer. This is quite the story. I’m going to do a bit of story telling that will sound like complaint, and will quickly turn into “the lesson of the story” type deal, but if you didn’t believe in Jesus before this, then you will after. And if you don’t, I will punch you. =)

Oh yeah, and feel free to repost this blog, I want people to hear this story.

Have you ever read the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? Well, that could be another title of this blog, except my name’s Bridget Gee, and it was not just a day, but a week.

Hmm, well, let’s begin at the beginning.

My boyfriend broke up with me a week ago. Now, I do not want him to be vilified in any way. Simply put, he’s not in love with me. And, it’s not fair to keep dating someone you’re not in love with. That’s how I see it. Also simply put, it broke my heart. We’ll revisit this in a few minutes.

The next day, I was off to Italy for a few days, because I didn’t have class. I have always wanted to go to Italy because it is so historic, beautiful and full of PASTA AND GELATO! However, I went with a heavy heart, and no appetite. In Rome, Glenyce (my American friend) and I, had a good time seeing some of the most historical ruins in the world, trying to find good gelato, enjoying ancient Catholicism and questionable statues. I even had a Nutella crepe! Thursday morning, the Good Mood Blogger Contest I was in, was over for me because I was #22, and I had to be in the Top 20 to move on to Phase 2. It was sad, but I wasn’t in a very good mood that week, so I was kind of apathetic.

Early Friday morning, Glenyce and I left Rome for Milan, to explore that industrial city and shop before coming back to England. Saturday evening is when all Hell Broke Loose. (Except not really, this is me exaggerating.) I was in La Galleria, all the shops surrounding the Duomo, Europe’s 3rd largest cathedral (beautiful, by the way), when I was determined to spend my last 70 Euro before leaving the next day. I was feeling better about my heart, and life, and being in Italy in general when I walked into this shop called Love Therapy. There were gnomes everywhere. And immediately, I thought, I am spending the rest of my money on Alissa Smith, my friend back in Tucson who ADORES gnomes. I could not pass up  the opportunity. After picking out a great shirt, and spotting a fabulous sequined vest that I wanted, I decided I was ready to get my money out.

But my wallet wasn’t there. I searched and searched, and, no wallet. Which meant no passport. I went into an immediate state of shock. This couldn’t be happening to me.

Glenyce and I sort of retraced my steps, but the truth was, there was no hope. Milan is a big place with professional pickpockets everywhere. My one regret is not leaving my passport at the hotel that morning. It was then that Glenyce and I embarked on the next most stressful 62 hours of our lives. I went to the Polizia to file a report, they had no other way to help me. I went to the US Embassy and it was closed, so Glenyce and I went back to our hotel, trying to come up with plans.

Luckily, our hotel had scanned copies of our passports, so I made them print me out a copy. I also had my letter of acceptance from UEA, proving that I am supposed to be in Norwich studying. I called the US Consolate (word of advice, they say only to call in case of life or death when they are closed, but you should press that number anyway, especially if you have NO CLUE WHAT TO DO) and they told me to deal with the airlines/immigration myself, or else see them on Monday morning (which was not the next day). So, Sunday morning, Glenyce and I made our way to the Centrale Station, got on an hour bus ride to Bergamo Airport and talked to RyanAir Italian workers. After speaking with UK Immigration, I was informed that Italy would let me leave, but the United Kingdom would not take me, so I had to get a provisionary passport the next day.

Which meant spending hundreds of dollars. (New plane tickets, coach tickets, bus rides, hotel room, and passport.) Glenyce, angel that she is (as well as her parents), paid for everything. So, Glenyce and I went to a hotel that wouldn’t have let me stay if it weren’t for the copy of my passport, tried to take our minds off of the chaos by wandering around Milan, came back and crashed, and woke up in the morning for more fun.

And by fun, I mean waiting at the Consolate for a couple of hours to get me a new passport. Things steadily got better from there. Glenyce and I spent a lot of time sitting around at airports. We missed our 2am coach ride from London to Norwich, so we waited until 6am, and finally got back to Norwich around 10am.

Oh, and did I mention that halfway through I got my period? Icing on the cake. On the big fat delicious cake of Life. (I don’t even like cake…or icing…haha.)

Alright, so there’s my story. The main point of this entire blog is the lesson.

1. The Italian Police are worthless. But, a police report is NOT.
2. Don’t ever carry your passport with your money. In fact, carry all your stuff in different places. That way, if you lose one thing, you don’t lose it all.
3. The UK really needs to get over themselves.

But more than that, I learned, that I am so blessed. I am blessed to not have been mugged the way I heard someone else was that I met at the US Consolate. I am so blessed to have a friend that stayed by my side through it all. I am blessed to have parents that don’t have a price tag on me, they just want me safe. I am so blessed to be loved by many, many people who have been praying for me in the past week.

Sometimes, I don’t understand how people make it in life without Jesus. During the whole process from Saturday evening to Tuesday morning, I was under control. Glenyce and I had our times of tears, but we had many more times of laughter. We were able to look at the irony of life, take it for what it was and move on. I was so lucky to have someone like that with me. But more than that, I wasn’t mad at God. I was really comforted by him.

He kept telling me that there are worse things. And that this life isn’t about me. And that I would be ok. Just because I lose things, doesn’t mean I’m lost. He kept speaking over my heart that I am greatly loved, even if the man I love isn’t in love with me. He kept speaking over my heart that I have an abundance of wealth even though I had no money. He kept telling me that he has something REALLY good for me even though I did not move on in the Good Mood Blogger Contest.

Before leaving for Italy, I was talking to my friend Andy and he said, “Man, when it rains, it pours.” Little did I know, it would pour in my life that week. Taking blow after blow after blow really tested my character and integrity. It tested my faith and hope. And not for one moment did I lose either of those.

What I know about God is that he wants us to turn to Him for everything. Literally everything. He wants us to ask him for stuff. He wants us to rely on him and not each other, and not ourselves. I got the best opportunity to do that this past week. Jesus was my Comfort. He was my Provision. He still brought me joy even in the middle of all my pain and loss. I never felt alone, or abandoned or hopeless. And seriously, without Jesus, I would have felt all those things, and worse. I would have been mad and bitter through the entire process of getting home. But, I had peace. I have never been more convinced that Jesus is the answer to everything.

Because with Jesus, I don’t need any man to tell me he’s in love with me.

With Jesus, I don’t need money.

With Jesus, I don’t need a great job.

There’s this verse I’ve heard my whole life, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.” This week, I’ve figured out what that really means. I’m going to stop asking God “why?” because he knows what’s up. Eventually, I will know too.

I’m still hurting, but day by day, things get better. Plus, I can completely rest in the fact that the Lord has promised good to me.

And, I’m really excited to see just how good. =)

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I think I’ve been learning a bit more about friendship lately. Friendship, the best remedy for the soul (after Jesus’ friendship). So some things I’ve been thinking about and working on is the kind of friend I want to be:

I want to be a friend who lets their friends makes mistakes.
Like, let my friends date people who are as good for them as a bowling ball dropped on their head is good for them.

I want to be a friend who gives grace and the benefit of the doubt no matter what.
Like, when I’ve been hurt, to still be open to forgiveness and trust.

I want to be the kind of friend that you can call up after not talking to for years and know that I’m here.

I want to be the kind of friend that shuts my mouth at the right times, opens it to share truth, and listens more than I speak.
I also want to be gentle when sharing truth and not self seeking. And I want to really listen. Not only hear the person, but react to what they’re saying, not based on my own experience, just in general. For listening’s sake. Because sometimes, people just want to be heard.

I want to be the kind of friend that is honest no matter what, but approachable. Because for some reason my honesty, and my strong values put up a wall.
I want to be able to tell my friends when they’re hurting me. When they’re hurting themselves.
But I also want them to able to come to me in honesty about anything and everything, not feeling like they have to hide.

I want to be the kind of friend that doesn’t get defensive, only humble and apologetic.

And most of all, I want to be the kind of friend that is open. I want to be open to anything. I want to be open to having friendships with anyone no matter how different they are from me. I want to be open to rejection. I want to be open to hurt. I don’t want to be a friend who walks on eggshells. Because here’s the deal. I already have the best friend, so all the rest, whether they come or go by choice or situation, will just be blessings.

But while I’m your friend, I want to love you. I’m sorry if I haven’t enough.

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Friendship Blessings

My friend Jennifer Kirksey and I are pen pals. We are also phone and text pals, but the pen one is our favorite. Sometimes, she and I talk about gathering our years of letters (and there are about 4 years now and it will continue) to make a book. She is great letter writer. And for me to write to her, is something therapeutic. I tell her everything, about everyone in my life, my daily schedule, my heart’s desires and longings. She knows so much about me and I her. Whenever I receive a letter in the mail from Jenn, it is a fatty and I get really excited. Right off the bat I’m laughing, I smile the whole way through and I often verbally respond to her written quips.

The funny thing is, she isn’t the only one that I have mounds of letters from. One of my best friends, Kelsey Coon has been a friend of mine since 4th grade. In 7th grade she moved to Northern California. I can count the number of times I saw her during middle/high school on my fingers. Yet, every Saturday we would get on the phone at 3:33 and talk and talk and talk. Again with her, I would pour out my soul and she gave me hers in return. However, we also wrote pages of letters from those essential years. They are funny to come by these days because we would write on for pages about boys and plays we were in and silly dramas that mean nearly nothing now. Kelsey and bonded and stayed close from miles away because of our commitment to pour into each other. She will for sure be one of the girls who stands next to me when I marry. She’s a sister.

I’m writing this blog because I decided to go through my memory box the other day. I have a ton of letters and cards from people over the years. I’m a writer. I enjoy giving my writing to people and luckily, they enjoy writing to me in return! Going into organizing my stuff that night, I was in a bad mood. I’ve been apathetic and discouraged lately about not getting a job and wondering how God is going to provide for me. (Does it really matter anyway? He will no matter what!) Anyway, by the end of my sorting through countless letters and cards I was so uplifted.

God has blessed me with friendship. I am surrounded by people who love me and want to invest in me. I had a friend say to me recently, in regard to the fact that I’ve just entered a long distance relationship, “but Bridget, you have people everywhere.” She was letting me know that I’ll never be truly alone, even if my boyfriend and I are separated for the next year. This box of letters is such a good reminder of that. My friend Felicia has probably given me a card for every occasion since I turned 14. Since then, she and I have become the best of friends. I cherish her deeply. I still have post it notes she left for me at work when we’d switch shifts at the gelateria (RIP Arlecchino) and papers that she decorated my room with when she dog sat for us while in Chicago. My friend, and older sister Lysh, has not only been there for me since I was a freshman in high school, but she loves me so greatly. The cool thing is, I get to see this in comments she makes to me like, “Bridge, I love summer! I get to drive over and see you whenever I feel like it.” But going through my box of letters, I found item after item of encouragement. Random cards and notes that she gave me at camp or for my birthday. It’s so good to see lasting relationships in my life.

Others to mention: I wrote back and forth with my friend Ashley Boyes for a while my eighth and ninth grade year. She’s so cool. And it was great that she was willing to do that with me. My friend Becky V. has been a wonderful mentor in my life, and while we’re 7 years apart, she always made sure to include me and make me feel special. She went away to college for a little while and wrote me in the mean time. I’m sure my letters to her were silly and juvenile but she loved me for me just the same. My best friend Crystal has a lot to do with that memory box because she has been there since we were 7. I have a birthday card from her made out of winterfresh gum wrappers because it’s this silly inside joke song memory we have together. She also made a collage of Cameron Doran’s faces through the years for me when I was in love with him in 7th grade.

One really cool thing I found was a stapled couple papers filled with affirmation from my freshmen English class. It was cool to see what those kids thought about me and think about our relationship to come in high school and even now. Like my friend Vadney seems really sweet in it, as if we weren’t that close, but she was my best friend that year, and continues to be one of them to this day!

The point of me saying this is because I am really truly blessed to have all those people in my life. There are a ton more people who have come and gone and shed their light on me and loved me a little or even a lot. People I didn’t expect to stick are still around, thinking of me, and loving me the way I need it. (Mister, Jefafa). There are some people who are my favorite people in the world and I don’t see them enough anymore (Sophia!!!). And I’m so excited because I will continue to add to it with more letters from Jenn and Felicia, and newer friends. My boyfriend has written me a few things that are small but so special to me. And I’ve never got a more romantic letter than from Jennifer Sandoval. I love love love love love my life.

I don’t deserve the kind of friendships that I have. Thank you all for being my friend at one point or another, and still now. I love you all and hope that I’ve been just as good of one to you.

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I went to a wedding yesterday. (Congrats Anneliese and Marc!) I love weddings. They are so beautiful. But they make you think. About everything. Life, love, relationships. So I’ve been thinking lately. About all those things. I mean, there have been other reasons than weddings that have led up to this web log of thoughts, but here they are just the same.

In my life, hopes, and dreams, what am I willing to give up? There’s this song by the sister band Barlow Girl that says: “Surrender, surrender you whisper gently
You say I will be free
I know but can’t you see?
My dreams are me. My dreams are me.”

Now, this song is multi-faceted, but it makes me ask myself: what dreams of mine do I need to give up? In one way, I am thinking that my dreams make me who I am. Then again, I ask, are those dreams God’s plans for me? Because I say that I know God. And if I know God, then I want to have what he wants for me. That means giving up whatever I think it is I need. I have to surrender those things. And perhaps, I will get them back.

But these weddings and relationships that I am so blessed to witness teach me about relationships with humans. It makes me ask myself how much I am willing to give up for another person. Am I really at all sacrificial or selfless? So if I fall in love, how much will I be willing to compromise for the betterment of my husband? Will I move to a different country for him? Will I wait for him if he has to go somewhere? Will I give up on dreams of travel and missions if he doesn’t want it? Or will we sacrifice for each other? Will we sacrifice our desires or our emotions so we can have the cake and eat it too?

Let me be specific. I dream to be in ministry. And an author. I want to travel a lot. What if the man I want to marry has different dreams? He might have a missional mindset, but just be a more settle down type-of-a person? (By the way, I am not writing this to get, “hey BG, God will give you the perfect man for you” feedback.) I know a few couples who have one spouse in ministry and the other in another career path, but they are both so in love with Jesus and all about his mission. They are very sacrificial people. Dealing with being separated many weekends out of the year, having children amidst that, and letting each other live a life worthy of the calling that God has specified for each of them. Honestly, I think it’s beautiful.

I really do think God has it all worked out for me. Ultimately, he wants me to shine his glory all the days of my life, so I believe he will give me every opportunity to do that, including marrying a wonderful man. It just makes me take a step back and wonder if I will be up to the challenge.

I say that I know God, and God is love. And his love is sacrificial. So how can I be sacrificial in my love now, with the people in my life now? How can I persevere with others in love now to get all the practice I need? Jesus’ love is sacrificial. Mine should be too. I guess marriage just really puts it in perspective for me, because getting married is sacrificial. It’s a sacrifice of living a life for yourself and your own dreams. Sometimes I think, we have to put those things aside to make things right and good.

You with me? Let’s make a love sacrifice!

Sidebar: Hey, future husband (if you’re reading this). By the time you and me are “you and me,” I’ll be ready to give it all up for you. If you promise that we’ll give it all up for Jesus. =)

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A bit of mourning…

I am going to to take this moment to mourn. I think recently, I have lost a lot of true feeling for those who I have lost. I have disregarded that they are no longer in my life like it is normal. And maybe it is becoming normal.

No, I’m not talking about death. I am talking about the handful of good friends that I have lost over the years for whatever reason. Sometimes, I don’t even know that reason. Some of the fading relationships were just that-we slowly grew apart, and others had dramatic ends. Still others ended in a deceitful way, and some broke my heart. I guess I’m in a place where my heart is hardened toward these losses and I feel I need to say something about that.

Dear Old Friend,

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if we were just as close now as we used to be. You and I have both changed, but I wonder what it would be like if we both still loved each other as the people we’ve turned into or if we’d be different people if we were still best of friends. I believe that I am who I am because of the people around me and my circumstance, so maybe we’re not supposed to be friends. But I still wonder.

In a way, I haven’t forgiven you for believing that I was dispensable and replaceable. I still see some of you and I am appalled when you are surprised at things about my personality. I am frustrated when we talk small talk when we never used to. I hate that you don’t want me like you used to. And I don’t know if you feel this way about me.

But I owe you an apology. Whether our friendship faded, you walked away, or I failed you, I am sorry. I am sorry that I did not love hard enough. I am sorry that I did not endlessly forgive you or give you the benefit of the doubt. I am sorry if I was not a friend who respected and loved you clearly. I am sorry that I was not relentless.

Because I believe in the kind of love that never ends. I believe in a love that does not know that apathy exists. I believe in a love that draws you in and holds you tight. This love also loves when it is not loved back. Like with God. He loves you even if you don’t love him. And I didn’t do that. I barely know what that is like.

So there’s my apology. My apology of my unforgiveness and unlove. I shouldn’t un-anything.

And, I miss you.

Trying to Love a Little,

Bridget Gee

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