Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Even better than having John Wayne for a dad.

This is my dad.  And he's probably the. coolest. dad. ever. No joke.  I'm not saying he's perfect.  In fact, he'd be the first one to say that he's not. We'd reluctantly agree--but we don't really care.  All our imperfections make us that much more quirky!  Growing up we watched a lot of John Wayne movies. I thought he was pretty cool..but quickly realized that movie characters are fake! Bus as I've grown and seen a lot of hard family situations-deadbeat dads, absent dads, workaholic dads, etc. And I don't know why, but God has seen fit to bless me with my dad, who in real life is a good man.
Honestly, he's taught me so many good things.  Like working hard, working for others, and finishing a job.  He taught me to be strong, and to learn as much as I can about as much as I can.

 I told him one time that no matter how good of a show part-time dad's put on to try to show everyone what a good dad they were, I know he's the kind of dad who was there for me.  He was standing at the finish line when I ran my hardest 1/2 marathon, he put his arm around me and held me when I cried when I sold my steer (*and didn't even act like I was silly), he was there for my quiz meets, helped put on llama leaps, has picked me up from the airport hundreds of times, and fixes my car without ever complaining! He taught us how to play basketball--in the living room with a ball of socks.  He didn't bail me out when I got into a project over my head.  He stood behind me and reassured me that I could tame that steer, or back that rake into the barn, or end that relationship.  And when I had to make a hard decision he never told me what to do-even if I cried and begged.  He just gave me some things to think about and told me that he knew I would make the right decision.  Well, this list could go on forever, but I think you get the idea.

But the things Dad taught me went beyond physical achievements.  He encouraged me to know the Lord. He challenged me to read and memorize God's Word, and think about my decisions and actions and how they represent God.  He introduced me to Mexico and missions to unreached people.  I'm sure he had no idea that would have such a deep impact. He and my mom modeled sacrifice like no human I've ever seen.  Imagine, 13 kids, all fed, clothed and educated.  And we never had food-stamps or medicaid.  They trusted in our God to be faithful-and He always has been.  And my earthly dad has been a cool example of unconditional love when I make really poor choices and sacrifice when I don't deserve it, and the encouragement to do more than I think I'm capable of.

This kind of reminds me of someone else...Jesus who "loved me and gave Himself up for me" (Galatians 2:20),
In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us
and sent His son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. (I John 4:10)
He is the ultimate example of love and sacrifice.  Of accepting us and loving uis just the way we are. And as cool as my dad is, I can assure you that he probably has felt on a few occassions that he would rather just put me up for adoption--I was a pretty stubborn kid, okay?!  But our God is faithful in spite of our sins,  longsuffering and kind. He has sent Jesus to pay the debt we've incurred because of our sins that we could never repay.  And that's grace.  And on top of all of that He showed even more grace by giving me the family I've been given.  And because of that, I think no sacrifice is to great to give.  As CT Studd once said,
"If Jesus Christ be the Son of God and died for me,
Then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him"

So today, on his birthday, I'm so thankful to God for giving him to me and allowing me to be so deeply affected by a man who loves his family, gives of his time and skill to serve, and has been faithful (though still learning and growing) in his role as a father, husband, brother and son. And I love him!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Banana Oatmeal Bread Bites

1/2 c brown sugar
1 stick soft butter
4 T cornstarch
1 1/2 c ripe bananas (3 lg, or 4 small)                                                                                                       
1 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c oats
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt

Drop by rounded tablespoons on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.  This recipe is adapted from key ingredient (I didn't have any eggs and wanted to add some healthy things to I added oats and left out the chocolate chips) and they turned out delicious if I do say so myself!  The cornstarch made them soft and fluffy and held them together.  Made them for my nieces and then went home and made them for my siblings!  (*sorry I don't have a super duper fancy camera to take awesome pictures, but I guess this will have to do!). 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Lessons Learned: Grace

So I cannot believe I'm in my final semester of Bible school.  This past week I had my senior interview and it's basically a chance to sit down with my dean (who's been an incredible model of intentionality, honesty and grace) and recap the past two years.  Good times and bad and what God's taught me through all of it (both the academic side (classes) and experiences).  It was a really cool way to be reminded of things and even while remembering some moments that I'm not proud of, to see God's hand in it and His desire to redeem even those moments where my brokenness and sinfulness is most evident.  She asked me how the whole concept of Grace has changed since I've been here and I found myself get really emotional as I reflected on the many ways I've been overwhelmed as God so faithfully  and continually extends His grace to me--even in those moments I'm most ashamed of.  Wow, so different from the response I find in others, or even give many times when others fail.  In Christ we have the chance to move on.  Unconditional love that we do not deserve. The opportunity to grow when I'm incompetent to complete the task in front of me.  The room to move on from failure because in and of myself I'm incapable of making good decisions.  I don't know maybe some of you have found yourself in a similar place.  Before the Lord, broken; so aware of your sin; your need exposed and finding that all you can do is hang on to the Lord and trust that He will be faithful.  Because really, when I look back, I see that I've failed so many more times than I care to even recall.  I remember that every time, my amazingly faithful God has been the source of strength that I need.  I remember the promise of Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
And I am certain that God
who began the good work within you,
will continue his work until it is finally finished
on the day when Christ Jesus returns. 
So grow in grace my friend.  

Two girls that have modeled grace so genuinely in my life. 
My dean Martha (R) and great friend Deborah (middle).