Sunday, August 24, 2008

Marriage looming

Disclaimer: I am a man who is ok with sharing his emotions, so if you are not ok with that, read no further.

Well, for the masses who read my blog, but do not know me personally, I just got engaged a few weeks ago. For a detailed description of the entire affair, visit the link to your right where Katie has explained everything at length. I am not so good with typing long stories, so I will jump to the exciting conclusion which is the fact that I am going to be spending the rest of my life with Katie Hill...or eventually Katie Cox, I guess. I think that has a nice ring to it...sounds kinda spunky.

Anyways, I couldn't be more excited about marrying Katie. It is so freeing to finally be able to talk about getting married and being able to represent, together, the beautiful image of Christ and His love for the Church. I feel like marriage is the most beautiful symbol we have been given and I feel so blessed to be able to share it with such an amazing girl. Looking back on our relatively short relationship, it is incredible to me how much our love for each other has grown in little more than a year. It makes me sad that Katie is all the way up near Dallas right now, with me down in Houston, and the fact that we must wait until January to be together is frustrating. However, I am thrilled at the thought that when the new year comes, we will be joined as one and will be able to experience life together for the rest of our days here on Earth. I think God has given me, through this, a picture of His longing for us to be with Him for eternity. God desperately wants us to be with Him, where there will be no more pain, weeping, or sin, and where he will provide for our every need forever. He wants to be with us and have a relationship with us as we serve Him together. Isn't the anticipation of marriage simply a mild version of the anticipation God has of us being with Him? The entire point of marriage is to represent the relationship Christ has with the Church, and to show the world His love through that union. When I look at the different aspects of marriage through the lens of the Kingdom of God, it makes the idea of getting married even more exciting. I think most people look forward to getting married; I mean who wouldn't want to have someone to be with them, support, and love them for the rest of their lives? I am definitely excited about that part of marriage, but the joy of companionship which Katie and I will surely share will be far less satisfying than the joy of knowing that we are being blessed with the opportunity to represent the beautiful love of God for His people!

I am so blessed to have Katie as my future bride. I know she is probably the only one who reads any of this, but I'm going to say all this anyways. I thought I knew, before Katie and I met, what I was looking for in a woman. I had a whole list of qualities which I thought my future wife would have. I was even bold enough to list stupid physical characteristics which I preferred.(Curly hair was not on there at the time) When I met Katie, and got to know who she was, I was completely floored at how amazing of a girl she was. As far as my actual "qualifications", she far surpassed them, and the fact that she had short curly hair, instead of longer straight hair did not matter to me at all. I thought she was beautiful not only because of the gorgeous physical appearance God has given her, but because of her heart for the Lord and her love for others. She cares for people deeply and is willing to make sacrifices in order to spend time with them and care for them. She loves God and puts him first in her life; far before she would ever put school, a job, children, or myself. She somehow finds a way to communicate things to me in a way that is loving, respectful, and honest. Apart from the issue of her not liking fruit, there is not a thing I would change about her...and I figure that is a pretty good record. When I think of the notion of spending my days seeking the Lord with her at my side, spurring me on and supporting me all the way as we chase Him together, I can't help but get goosebumps just typing the thought. I know the excitement I feel for her is but a whisper of the excitement god has for one day being with us forever and that just makes me love her all the more.

The more I think about marrying this beautiful woman God had given me, the more excited I become. I could go on writing, but I think instead I will go to sleep now with the idea of marriage lingering as I lose consciousness and my looming marriage becomes a dream to be fulfilled.



Monday, July 28, 2008

Note to self -

Life is short and sometimes sweet,
but oft we get distressed.
Throughout these times I must remind
myself that I am blessed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My Dream Last Night - Disunity

Last night I had a very strange dream. I am always happy when I can remember my dreams. I think God speaks to us through dreams more than we realize. I also feel like when I remember my dream, that my sleeping was more worthwhile. I wish I could remember this one better right now, but I will do my best here. In it, I was part of some Bible study group of sorts and really enjoyed all the people there and especially the leaders of it. I can't remember if in my dream it was my old Hope Group from Church, or something else, but I definitely had the same close connection with it as I did with my Hope Group. The problem in the dream was that there was this one guy in the group that was being really mean to me for no reason. I can't exactly remember how he was doing this or what he was acting like, since it was a dream and therefore not very realistic or direct, but it made me feel so bad that I did not enjoy being with the group anymore because of this one person. I woke up almost crying because of how it made me feel. I really believe that God gave me the dream to teach me about how people feel when they are in a situation where there is a quarrel or disagreement with someone else in the body. It was so sad, because in the dream, I let that one person completely push me away from intimacy with the group.

Another reason I think God gave me the dream was to teach me something about how some of the relationship problems my roommates have been having affects themselves and others. I think that there are many times that we allow for things between two people, big or small, to cause disunity in a group of believers or friends. I am glad that I was able to feel a degree of the pain that some of my friends have been going through recently so that I can better understand what they are going through. I pray that God will give me the wisdom and discipline to keep from ever being the person in my dream that shattered unity. I also ask Him for the perception to be able to tell when someone is feeling that way so that I can help comfort them. We were created for community with each other and with God. It is so sad that so often we allow for our problems and differences to become bigger than that fact, because it can damage the whole group. One part suffers...all parts suffer.

I guess I'll get back to studying now, but I just needed to write this down before I forget about it or something.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008


So I just finished watching the movie "What Dreams May Come" with Robin Williams. I had heard about how it gave a very strange idea of what Heaven is like and I was interested to see how it depicted it. It was scary seeing how so much of the world pictures Heaven: as their own self-fulfillment without any kind of relationship with the God that created us. How disappointing that would be. In the movie, Heaven was very beautiful, but that was about the only part I agreed with.

I have been thinking a lot about Heaven over the last year and have come to learn very much about misconceptions some people have, and what it will actually be like. I became interested in the subject because honestly, Heaven scared me a little. I'm sure some of you know what I am talking about, but many, I hope, do not. I think that the first reason I used to be afraid of Heaven in some way was the idea of just freaks me out. The idea of something continuing forever, and ever, and ever was too big for me to handle. I also fell victim to some of the misleading ideas about what Heaven is like. I had heard that it was a place where we would worship God forever. I love music and I love worshiping God, so that sounds pretty good. I had also heard that we would no longer have relationships with other people and would not even recognize others, since we will only need God. That seemed like it sort of stunk, but I assured myself that I would be happy about it once I got there. I had heard that we would float around in a purely spiritual place. I wasn't too sure about that one, but I didn't really know. I mean Heaven is "spiritual", right? I had even heard the argument that once we go to Heaven, we lose our identity, as we know it now, completely. I had heard all sorts of things from people and my conclusion was that I was surprised that any of the people who told me these things were really satisfied with that kind of eternity and were not longing for something more.

A book I read recently, Heaven by Randy Alcorn, has shown me, along with scripture, the errors in my understanding concerning Heaven. The exciting thing is that now that I understand more what Heaven will be like, I am overjoyed that I will be able to spend eternity in such a place.

Heaven is a Spiritual AND Physical Place:
One of the main points in the book I read was that Heaven has a very physical aspect to it. Revelation tells us that the New Jerusalem will come down on the New Earth and they will be one. There will be a new Heaven and a New Earth which we will rule over with Christ. Heaven is not just some spiritual reality or state of mind. Heaven will be a physical place where we will walk, talk, and have relationship with our Creator, Savior, and Friend. While the New Earth will no doubt be different in ways we cannot currently understand, it will be a New EARTH, meaning that it will be very much physical. Many Christians, I believe, are naturally opposed to this idea in a way because we are constantly told that "worldly" things are evil and we therefore conclude that there will be no "worldly", "Earthly", "physical" things in Heaven. We mistakenly focus on the fallen Earth as it is now, and not as God intended for it to be: a beautiful and perfect place for humans to live. In the New Earth, we will have physical bodies that will be made new when we are resurrected from the dead! There is nothing to be afraid of about that, but only to be excited about.

Relationships and Marriage:
I always hear that we will not have "relationships" with other people in Heaven, but I do not know where this idea comes from. One thing is for sure - it is NOT the Bible. While the ultimate joy in Heaven will come from our relationship with Christ, there is nothing to make us believe we will not also have relationships with each other. God has made us relational people and we have every reason to assume that when we are in Heaven, we will have ETERNITY to build relationships and have community with the rest of the body of Christ. Also, since we will be ruling over the new Heaven and Earth with Christ, I would assume that we will be required to have relationships with others as we do that. It is also true that we will not be given in marriage, since the Church's marriage to Christ will be the anticipated reality of the picture we painted of such in marriage on Earth, but I am sure we will not cease to know who we had relationships with beforehand. This is nothing to be sad about since we will not lose anything here, but only gain.

Our Personal Identity:
The thing that upsets me most is when I hear people talk about how we will not even have an identity in Heaven. This does not sound like a Christian view to me, but I have heard it from Christians before. This eastern idea implies that we will be absorbed somehow into a state in which we will be pure enough to be with God. The fact is, that if you are not aware of who you were on Earth, then YOU have not really gone to heaven. The whole point of salvation is that God accepts us, despite our sin, and allows us to have a relationship with Him for eternity. In order for us to experience God's grace and mercy, we MUST know the whole story when we are in Heaven so that we know the full extent of His love. Yes God will give us a new name and a new body, but it will only be a renewal of who we are, not an entirely different person. If you accept Christ as your Savior and give your life to Him, He is going to want to have a relationship with YOU, not some drone.

I hope that my random thoughts made some sense tonight, but if you disagree with anything I wrote, please comment and let me know. I am very aware that I do not have a great or perfect understanding of what Heaven will be like, but I am trying to prepare myself as much as I can for what it will be as I walk daily with my God towards that day. I am no longer afraid of what eternity will bring. I can hardly wait to experience all God has for me when I am finally with Him as it has always meant to be.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Farm, Tea, and Katie

I apologize to the hundreds you readers who undoubtedly have been waiting for another post, and who I have been keeping waiting so long. I don’t have the internet at the house here in Leona, so I have been going to the church to use it when I need to. I guess I’ll start with an update of what I have been up to lately. For the last two weeks I have been leading worship at Leona Baptist Church, helping with vacation bible school at First Baptist Madisonville, hanging out with the youth, and studying for an insurance licensing exam. I went up to Dallas on Monday and Tuesday to take my exam and to see Katie. It was good to see her since it had been about two weeks and that is the longest we had ever gone without seeing each other. I know that doesn’t sound long, but it definitely felt long for us. We didn’t get to hang out for very long, but the time we had together was good.

The Farm:
I have really enjoyed my time here at the farm thus far. To some degree I miss people being around, but being here alone has for the most part been a nice change. I have always loved being up here. Even the smell of my great grandfather’s old house when I come in the door makes me smile. When I go on a bike ride or a run in the morning, I see the roads and the land and am reminded of all the times I have been here before. I am thankful that I have always had the farm to come to in order to get away from everything and I am thankful that it will always be here for me to come to. God seems to have a special way of speaking to me here. He shows me who I really am whether for good or bad. If any man wants to truly know his own heart, then he should go away by himself for a few days. He should take notice of what he spends his time thinking about and doing. You can hide with schedules, with work, with school, or even with other people, but when completely alone, God will show you exactly who you are.

On a lighter note, I have recently been drinking tea quite a bit. I have a tendency to kind of go all out when I get into something new, be it a new instrument or a new random hobby. I started drinking tea mainly because of Katie. Having been raised a Brit, she drinks loads of tea, and I decided that I would give it a shot. I love coffee so I figured that tea might be alright too. The thing that really started me onto it is when I stopped having Katie put milk or sugar in it. I find that tea, like coffee, has the best flavor when it is unhindered by any additional ingredients. My favorite tea at the moment is Twinning’s Irish Breakfast Tea. It is a delicious black tea that will change your morning. I also enjoy Bigelow Green Jasmine Tea which reminds me of Chinese food restaurants. I could name more, but I have no doubt that no one really cares about my tea drinking too much, so I will stop.

Meeting Katie:
Changing subjects again, Katie recently blogged about how we first met a year ago. It was very interesting to hear from her point of view, as I have before, how she and her sister Carolyn thought I was a creepy Corps guy who was just trying to hit on them. I will try and extend to you my view of how things went and if you would like the more complete and detailed side from her, you can go to her blog listed to the right, and check out the post yourself. First let me start with the day we met. I went into Coffee Station, as was my general custom, to study some Geology. I saw that my usual couch was unoccupied so naturally I got a cup of coffee and had a seat. There were two girls sitting in the same section, but I didn’t really think anything of it. Somehow I started talking with the girls and found out that both of them had taken the class I was studying for. I had a question about something in my book and Carolyn helped me with it. They eventually left and I didn’t really think anything of it. In fact, I didn’t even learn their names until the next time we met. I will admit that I noticed that they were both attractive girls who were very nice, but what guy wouldn’t notice that? Anyways, I saw them again when they were in Coffee Station another time and I actually learned their names this time. From there, we started hanging out more and I invited them to come if my buddies and I were seeing a movie or cooking out or something. The more I saw them, the more I liked hanging out with them and eventually I got the idea that I wanted to have some people come out to the farm one weekend. I invited my buddies, friends, and the Hill sisters, and we all went off to the farm. It wasn’t until we were all sitting around the dinner table one night, talking about what we were passionate about, that I realized that I really liked her. She was talking about how she loved serving others and talking to people to get to know more about their lives. I saw so much of Christ in her at that table. I enjoyed every minute of that trip. After that I went through a period of denying that I liked her, but my feelings grew. I loved each conversation we had and how it always pointed toward the Lord. We would meet at Coffee Station and learn about each other’s lives and ideas we had about different issues in life. Those two months were a sweet time of friendship and learning and I would not have had it any other way. It took me a long time to feel that I was ready to start another relationship since Margaret and I had dated for so long, but eventually I felt like it was time. I asked Katie to come to Houston with me for my birthday and she did. She says that at the time, she didn’t realize I really liked her at this point. We had a great time in Houston and ended up actually starting to date a short time after the trip. For what it I worth, that is my recollection of what happened last summer and how Katie and I came to be “in a relationship” as they say.
While I would love to continue writing about how marvelous the days since we started dating have been, I’m afraid I must go to sleep now so that I can be rested for vacation bible school tomorrow. If you actually read this, it must mean that you have a good deal of free time, so you should check out Katie’s blog. She has an amazing heart for people and a great deal of wisdom for someone our age. I really like to read her thoughts, and you might as well. This plug is likely in vain since if you are reading this it is probably because of a link from her site, but I figured what the heck?

Good night,

(2340 hours 6-11-08)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Just Went To The Dentist

So I'm pretty sure I felt exactly like this guy while I was in that darn dentist chair. I went to the dentist for the first time in a couple of years today and I felt as if the woman cleaning my teeth was punishing me for it. I have never had my teeth treated that way in my life. The sound of an ice pick-like tool being scratched all over you teeth is quite unnerving to say the least. I do not plan on going back any time soon, even if they did tell me I needed to. Grinding my teeth my rear end.

So anyways, I finally returned yesterday from a two week trek all over Texas. I started out by going up to Dallas to visit Katie and her family for a week, which was absolutely wonderful. I got to hang out with Katie, watch movies, drink tea, and just relax a bit. This sublime leg of my journey was followed by a drive down to College Station so I could wake up the next morning to join the car pool to Sudan, TX for Korey and Macie's wedding. Korey is one of my buddies in the corps, so lots of people I knew were there. We stopped in Abilene on the way for the the bachelor party which consisted of water skiing and hanging by the lake. The wedding was a blast. It was relatively small and if you know Korey and Macie, you know that they are starting their marriage off right. They both have a passion for the Lord which spurs them on in their love for each other and I have no doubt that they will have a very happy life together as they serve the Lord.

After they were all married and such, we went back to College Station where I stayed for the night. The next morning I got back in my truck, took some instruments to Madisonville where I will be staying for the month, and headed up to Keller, TX to stay with Ryan Chance (another Corps guy who was commander of a different outfit in the band). I had dinner with his family and we talked for quite a while. They were the most hospitable family I have ever stayed with I think. I have stayed with many people who were very nice to me, but they seemed to really go out of their way more than needed, to make me feel welcome. After dinner, Ryan drove me all the way out to I-35 so that I would know how to leave in the morning. When bed time came, he even had me stay in his own bed while he went to sleep on the couch. I protested of course, but he insisted that it was no problem. Before I left, his mom told me I was welcome anytime even if Ryan was not there. They were just so nice that I could not believe it.

Well, after leaving the amazing Chance family, I went up to Dallas to surprise Katie for her birthday. She about jumped out of her skin when I came up behind her and rubbed her shoulder. She was expecting me to come I think, but I don't think that she had any idea it would be as early as 9:00. We spent the day together eating Thai food, drinking tea, having dinner with her family, and watching Star Wars. Can life get better? I submit that it cannot. I stayed the night and left the next morning, which was yesterday. It was hard leaving Katie, knowing that I would not be able to see her any time soon, but I know that things will be ok. I shouldn't complain having to go weeks at a time when I know many people have to go months and even years without seeing someone they love. I know God will be gracious to keep us both busy and satisfied in Him while we are apart.

So now I am back home playing catch-up before I go out of town again for my time in Madisonville. I would write more about how excited I am about all of that, but I'm afraid it is time for dinner and I don't want to keep the family waiting on my account. Later.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

First Post Ever

Hello everyone,
(and by everyone I likely mean Katie since she is the only person who will probably read this)

I finally decided it was time that I joined the trend and started writing a blog. I don't know much about blogs, except that I read Katie's all the time and it is awesome, but I figured I would give it a try. I'm at a transition time in my life right now that I personally find entertaining and even though not many other people probably agree, I'm going to tell the unknown "you" about it.

First a bit about myself, in case you randomly stumbled upon this newbie blog and are wondering who I am. I have grown up in Houston Texas and am the son of a Baptist minister and a High school English teacher. I thank God for His provision and guidance through the hands of my parents throughout my life. I went to Clear Brook High School and was in the marching band as well as choir. After High school, I figured I would go give the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M a whirl. so I packed my bags for Aggieland. There, I was a member of B-Company which is an outfit in the Aggieband. I also studied Finance in my spare time. I just "died" from the Corps last week, and this the the main cause of my aforementioned "transition time" I am currently in. Another contributing factor is the fact that later today, I am going to go sign a contract for a job I am starting after I graduate in August. I could probably write about the new job I am going to have for hours because I am tremendously excited about it, but I will spare you from talk about Investments and Insurance at least for my first post.

That pretty much sums up where I am in my life right now. I am very excited about this Summer and how God is planning to use me. While I am going to be taking two classes during July, the month of June will be spent in Madisonville working with Churches in the area and spreading the good news of the life that is in Jesus, my Lord. I can't wait to see what God has for me and am already seeing doors open as He leads me to people who need help this Summer at their Churches. In case you do not know, Madisonville is a small town halfway between Houston and Dallas. Also I would like to tell the couple of people who light read this that I have been praying for another man to accompany me in the ministry I am doing in June but have not yet found anyone who is able and willing. If you happen to know any men who are passionate about Christ, and are free in June (even for a few days), please let me know because I really am seeking for people to help in the work at hand.

Beyond that, I really don't know much to write about. I don't see how Katie(my incredible girlfriend, in case you are not privileged enough to know her) can write at such length about all kinds of things even when she has written so much already. I will say that I am very excited about going up to Oak Point (Where Katie's family lives, near Denton) to visit Katie's family and go to my good friend's wedding. I love getting to spend time with Katie's family. She has four sisters and they are all so different and fun to talk with and get to know better. Her parent's are also amazing and make it easy to see why all the girls are so great. Katie and I are going to be seeing each other a lot less pretty soon since she is going to be in Denton this Summer as well as next semester when she student teaches, and I will be in either Madisonville, College Station, or H-Town. We will still be able to see each other fairly often, but not for huge chunks of time, so I am really going to enjoy being able to stay with her family for a whole week.

Well I know this was not the most exciting blog you have ever read, but at least I started one I guess. I'm off now to go sign a contract for employment at IMG Financial Group as a Financial Advisor so I guess I will have to pick this up later.