(just in case i die and don't get the chance)
1. life isn't fair. (and that's not fair.) we have to just put on our big girl panties and deal with it. "again i saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all." ecclesiastes 9.10-11
2. God will be your only constant. even when i mess up, and your dad messes up, and your friends mess up, and people you trust mess up, and people you're counting on mess up (just wait, you'll have a lab partner someday who will punk out on their end of the report- it'll happen- and hopefully it will be the worst you experience), God never messes up... even when the entire rest of your world seems to be crumbling around you... He is always there. "God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. has he said, and will he not do it? or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?" numbers 23.19
3. this life isn't about what happens to us, it's about how we react to the things that happen to us. sometimes we think "this is our movie" that we're the stars of this show... but this is a big, huge, epic production, and we are merely the extras that make the movie possible. always focus outward, never inward. don't become ego-centric (thinking the world revolves around you). trust me, after a certain age even the small portion of this world that you influence doesn't revolve around you. :) do the right thing, no matter what. this life is about getting to heaven and taking as many people as we can with us. (daddy will be happy to tell you a lot more about this in a few short years- i promise... it goes deeper... for now, lets stick with the basics.) "cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. for some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked." 1 timothy 1.19
4. give people the benefit of the doubt. always. it is hard... and it is a conscious choice sometimes... but you will appreciate the same courtesy being extended to you at times. approach people with an open heart and go to them with a problem... don't dwell on something that upset you... don't hold on to hurts. talk to the people who hurt you and explain to them how you feel. you will be much happier if you see the best in people. be hard to offend and you will have so much more peace in this life. (and fewer people to forgive, which is hard to do as well!) approach people with an open heart and go to them with a problem... don't dwell on something that upset you... don't hold on to hurts. "but i tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? are not even the tax collectors doing that? and if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? do not even pagans do that? be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." matthew 5.44-48
5. everyone has their struggles. everyone has something that tears them away from the Lord. (sin is lawlessness, and it keeps us from being able to be in a relationship with God.) what we forget in our day to day lives is that sin is all sin... and the things that are keeping most of us from Him are the quiet sins... the secret things in our heart that we don't let people see. anger is the same as murder, lust is the same as adultery, selfish ambition the same as drunkenness... not all sins are visible to everyone around. we have to keep ourselves from those internal struggles, just like the external ones. and it is hard! but we must strive to do the best we can. and we musn't think less of people with those external sins that people see as "big sins"... they are separated from God just as anyone else who isn't living for Him- in a big way, or in a little way.. we have to strive for their souls just the same. (and remember, the person with the most to forgive is often the happiest to have that forgiveness.) “two men owed money to a certain moneylender. one owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. now which of them will love him more?” luke 7.41
6. the only boy who wants the best for you is daddy. (and grandad. and papa too. and uncle titus. and maybe a few others, i'll let you know. :) always keep that in the back of your mind. give your heart to your daddy, and someday, when you meet the right man- this most likely will not be in the 8th grade, or even the 10th- give it to him. keep you body pure as well as your heart. keeping your emotional purity will save you so much heartache and so much trouble... keep your crushes crushes and save "true love" for when you're ready to be married. i promise... mommy did this part of her life all wrong... and i wish so much that i had known this when i was a young girl.
7. sex with your husband is beautiful. and it's ok to make yourself beautiful for him.... and it's ok to be a loving, supportive, confident wife in all ways. this world has made sex into something perverse and out of context, leaving everyone feeling like it's always something dirty... but it's not. it is beautiful. it is perfect. it is holy. and outside of marriage, it is heartbreaking. trust me.
8. love yourself for who you are. and be someone you can love. this is something that i've struggled with my whole life sweet little bird. (and i'm sure most women do.) watch some of those commercials by dove for "real women" and don't think less of the ones with cellulite. feel strong and happy in your skin, no matter your shape, color (pasty white as you may be), bad hair day, lack of make-up, mismatched socks... be a person on the inside that you can feel good about... and forget about the outside. (though, i can tell you- a cute purse never hurt anyone. :)
9. be content. contentment is oftentimes hard to muster up- and even more often hard to maintain. (i pray that this is something that will come easily to you like it does your daddy.) you have to take a minute, breathe it all in... and be thankful for that breath... be thankful for that minute.... regardless of the rest. sometimes life is AWESOME!!! and sometimes life is supercrummy.... but if you can be content, no matter where you find yourself, you will always have joy. "i am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. i know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. i can do everything through him who gives me strength." philippians 1.11-13
10. be honest. even when it's hard. even when it hurts. even when it seems like it might collapse your whole world. a lie will fester in your heart and always be a sore in a relationship. "lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal faithfully are His delight." proverbs 12.22
and because it's my list and i wasn't done-
11. i will always love you. no matter what you do. you can disappoint me. you can make me angry. you can make me sad.... but you will always be mine... my sweet little bird that was surgically removed from me and rushed into this world almost a year ago.
happy mother's day to me... your sweet giggles and sleepy snuggles were the best present a mom could get. (making daddy's job much easier.)