This week, millions of Americans will gather around the table, fill their bellies with way too much turkey and pie, then settle into an afternoon of enjoying one anther’s company, watching football and sneaking in a nap. I’ll be headed home to North Carolina the tomorrow and am fully planning on enjoying every moment with my family. As much as I treasure the holiday season, this specific week stings my heart. You see, it was this week almost four years ago that a major event happened in my life that changed my life. I remember every detail as if it were yesterday.
I know you get a lot of grief…
“Oh how I wish my boyfriend/husband would just do this one thing – then I’d be happy!”
“Ugh, I hate boys right now!”
“Why can’t he just read my mind?”
I am writing this letter to all of my Christian brothers!
The purpose is to let you know that you have a sister in Christ who is cheering for you!
You live in a world where there are temptations around every turn, demands that seem impossible to meet placed upon you, and unrealistic standards that are asked of you.
Oh men, may you follow hard after Christ – the perfect man!
The world will try everything in her power to sweep you away with her seductive ways.
Train your eyes to be fixed upon Christ.
Train your ears to hear only your Father’s voice.
Train your mind to meditate upon the Word.
Train your lips to speak of God’s glory.
The Lord made you in His image – be the man he created you to be!
Men need examples of what a Godly man should look like – be that man.
The women in your life need a man to treat them how a Godly man ought to treat a woman ( this applies to all female relationships – mother, sister, friend, girlfriend, wife) – be that man.
I am praying for you, my dear brothers in Christ!
I am praying for your relationships with the Lord, that you will pursue Him with everything in you!
I am praying for your relationship with your future wife, that you will be the man and leader that is required of a Godly husband.
I am praying for you when you’re a Daddy, that you would raise your children in a way that honors the Lord
I am praying for you as you live in this world, that you would be in this world, but not of it!
We don’t need anymore “Christian boys”, we need Godly men!
Your sister in Christ,
In the past, when people talked about contentment, I used to get so annoyed and aggravated. Usually I would roll my eyes, paste on a smile and show insincere interest! Horrible I know, but hey, at least I’m being honest!
As bad as this is to admit, I’ve always equated contentment as something that is dull, uninteresting and undesirable. I want to be the girl who’s adventurous, full of life, charismatic, and joyful! Until now, I could not reconcile how being content, while maintaining the liveliness in my spirit could go hand in hand.
The Lord is currently wrecking my life and my perspective on contentment. Gear up, because I’ll probably be talking about this topic for awhile on this blog!
I’m currently reading a book entitled, “Calm My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow and it’s a must-read! I don’t say that often or lightly, but it is teaching me how to have accurate and Biblical contentment. It is not cheesy or repetitive; instead it is filled with deep, though-provoking wisdom and advice! Pick up a copy here – you won’t be sorry!
After my honest introduction on my thoughts on contentment, allow me to share some thoughts I’m processing through from the first chapter!
What we are on the inside, what we continually think about, eventually shows in our words, actions, and even our countenances.
Allow that to sink in.
You are what you think about! Whether that’s the outfit you’re going to wear tomorrow, what the latest news station is discussing, or what the Lord is saying to you. What you fill your mind with, is eventually who you become!
I don’t know about you, but I want to be someone who’s vision is clear, because I have an eternal perspective! The word perspective means, “Looking through; seeing clearly; the capacity to view things in their true relation of relative importance.” Therefore an eternal perspective is God’s way of seeing!
In the book, Linda shares rules for contentment. After reading this and meditating on it for a few days, I’ve written it and put it up by my desk at work and in the front of my bible!
I’ve begun to be more aware of these things in my life. Let’s just say that I have a long way to go!
Beloved, I’m sharing these thoughts from my heart for two reasons! First, because I want you all to know that I am not perfect! (But you already knew that!) Second, hopefully my struggles along the road of sanctification will encourage you. We are all doing this messy thing called “life” together, and we should be cheering one another on!
I am not there yet, but oh how I despertly want to be a woman who has a peace that is separate from my circumstances. With my eyes fixed upon eternity, I want to always rest in the fact that my tomorrow’s belong to God! When my tomorrows are nestled in God’s strong arms, then I can be free to live today!
Will you join me on this journey? I am learning that contentment, true contentment is one of the greatest things I can possess. It is the farthest thing from boring! It actually frees me to live the life God intended me to live – fully alive!
As I share my thoughts on my struggles and victories, I encourage you to rally together and pursue contentment with me! Please let me know where you are on the journey! Let’s be the brothers and sisters we ought to one another!!
“Contentment is essentially a matter of accepting from God’s hand what He sends because we know that He is good and therefore it is good.”
This week marked the 50th anniversary of March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where an estimated quarter of a million people gathered in the nation’s capital to raise their voices for in support of a strong Civil Rights legislation that would greatly reduce segregation and mistreatment for African Americans.
When one thinks of this impactful event, the first thing that comes to mind is Martin Luther King Jr, the fearless leader for Civil Rights. Standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, a monument commemorating one of America’s influential presidents who helped eliminate slavery in America, King delivered the historic speech, “I Have a Dream”. He noted in the opening statements that what was taking place on that August day was the “greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation”.
Deep passion permeated every word spoken by King as he described his vision of a nation where one was not judged based off the color of their skin. “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” Pursuing the goal of Godly equality characterized the life of King and many others as they fought for a better future for their children and grandchildren. The Civil Rights leaders understood that a person should not be treated differently by their appearance, by their skin color, or by their economic status. Instead, King advocated for the day when his children would one day live in nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.
King was renowned for his efforts to ensure that men and women were regarded as equal. He understood that God calls for mankind to treat one another with respect and love, because all are created in His image. Although the African American community was met with animosity, King gently reminded the nation that, “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Retaliation with bitterness to such hardship would have been expected and was the reaction of some. However King understood that the only thing he could change was himself and his reaction. He once stated that he had decided to stick with love, because hate was too great a burden to bear.
Even though our nation isn’t currently fighting for legalized racial equality, there are still many issues that a Christian’s heart should be broken over. The fact that 40 years ago, America legalized the killing of more than 55 million babies under Roe v. Wade. The fact that gay couples can freely be with whomever they choose. The fact that immorality is rampant and celebrated in the media.
The list could go on and on. Even though American Christians find themselves in the middle of a nation that does not honor the Lord, there is still hope. In Matthew 5:43-44 Christ gives this charge, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” The Lord understood that our flesh’s first reaction is to hate our enemies. However, He calls us to something higher – to love and pray for one another. It is not always easy to love like Christ loves, but as Christians we have the Holy Spirit living in us to sanctify us.
In light of the anniversary and celebration of the achievements of Martin Luther King Jr and others, be thankful to the Lord that much has been accomplished in America to honor Him in the nation’s past, be prayerful over the nation’s current leaders, be mindful that there is still work to be done, be active in making your voice heard and be loving towards others.
I’ve avoided writing this post for a while, because I was scared that if I did write it, I would pack my bags and be on the next plane home within an hour.
The first week in DC was the honeymoon phase – I was learning a new job, I went out on a date, I explored the city….then it hit me
“WOW, I just moved my entire life to this strange city. What on earth was I thinking?!”
As much as I love DC and my job, I have been more lonely than I have ever been in my entire life! That sounds a bit dramatic, but for 4 years, I was at Liberty University, where I was surrounded by thousands of people, and I had a whole community that I could call on at anytime. Whenever I wanted to, I could call up a friend and have someone to go to dinner with me, jog around campus together, come up to my room and watch a movie, or walk with me while I poured out my heart. Even when I was back home, there are 8 people in my family, so I always had someone right there for me! Whether I needed a shoulder to cry on, or someone to go get coffee with me, there has always been someone in close proximity for me!
In my new beautiful city of DC, I have yet to make a lot really solid friends. My roommates are super sweet, but they have all been here for awhile and have established community here. There have been many nights when I’ve come home, gone for a run, made dinner for myself and found things to entertain myself.
To be honest, I think I need this season of loneliness. As much as I hate to admit it, and as much as I’ve cried to the Lord to give me friends immediately, I’m learning things that I know I could not learn any other way.
So, I’ve complied a few thoughts on things I’m currently learning through my loneliness. This is by no means extensive, but I hope that it encourages you in whatever stage of life you are in!
1) I’m learning how dependent I have been on people, and not the Lord.
As hard as it is to swallow, I’ve never realized just how much I’ve puffed myself up with pride in the past, based off of how “popular” I thought I was! It’s so easy when I’m surrounded by people to run to a person to satisfy my desire for companionship. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for the body of believers, and I believe that we are designed to live in community with one another. However, I had unknowingly put people in the place of my Lord in my life.
In the past…
When I’ve been sad or upset about something, I’ve gone to a friend’s shoulder to cry on and receive a hug and their sympathy instead of going to the Lord to comfort my heart!
When I’ve been lonely, I’ll call someone up (usually a guy friend) to come and fulfill that need in my heart to feel loved and desired instead of seeking my Great Lover to satisfy my heart and deepest desires.
When I’ve been excited about something, I’ve gone to friends to cheer for me and to celebrate instead of going to my Father in thankfulness and seeking to rejoice in Him and with Him!
When I’ve been angry, I’ve vented to any available person who would lend an ear to me for more than 5 minutes instead of working out my problems before the throne!
This season of loneliness is making me aware how dependent i was on others in the past. I had tried to place an impossible burden on them of meeting my needs and desires that only my Savior can meet.
2) I’m meditating on Scripture more than I ever have in my life!
While I could sulk and throw myself a grand old pity party (obviously I would be the only one in attendance!) and dwell on how I have no friends, I’ve chosen to fill my head with God’s truth!
Psalm 25 has been capturing my heart’s attention, and I’ve been dwelling on the first verse. The Lord has been revealing to me how many things other than Him that I lift up my soul to, and I’m learning to lift up my soul to Him and Him only!
Beloved, I don’t know where life finds you right now. Whether you find yourself in the exact same boat, and just needed a breath of encouragement, or whether you’re surrounded by a million friends and this serves as a caution to you. Always, always, always make sure that Christ is first in your heart! It’s easier said than done.
I challenge you to seek out some alone time with the Lord to really search out your heart. There are always things that we need to hand over to our Father! Lay those down before His throne and rest in the fact that He loves you!
“I’m against gay marriage”
“I’m a republican”
“I’m a southern baptist”
Do any of these things sound familiar? There are all phrases I’ve uttered at some point over the past year. While they are all true, I’ve been challenged to begin changing my philosophy! Anyone that knows me knows that I love politics! I can hold my weight in a discussion on why I think Obamacare is bad, why I believe abortion is wrong, the proper role of government, etc.
It’s crucial to be able to know what you believe and why, but I believe something is missing! While Christians must stand up for things such as the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage, if standing up for those “issues” is all we do –
we have failed!
You see, if we as Christians merely run around trying to change the social and political culture of our world, we are missing the call of God! The Lord never called us to governmental reform! That sounds like a bold statement doesn’t it! And you might initially disagree with me! Allow me to flesh out that thesis and hopefully you’ll see what I mean when I say that I don’t believe that we are “called” to that kind of reform!
What America needs isn’t a different president, a more conservative media, or a new set of laws…
….what America needs is Jesus!
We can make all the laws and changes that we want to, but ultimately that isn’t where the hope for America lies!
Dear one, as Christians, we have the greatest gift imaginable and we should be pointing others to Christ! I’ve fallen into the trap of allowing myself to be defined for the things I stand for and against, instead of being solely definitely by the fact that without Christ I am headed straight for hell, but with Him, all of my sins are forgiven and Christ has lavished me with grace upon grace!
Instead of running around trying to reform government or society, we should be meeting people where they are! If a young girl is pregnant and is considering an abortion, that is the perfect time for us to step into her life, show her Christ’s love and offer her real hope! Until we begin to care about people as more than a project or statistic, our nation will never change! We must realize that people’s hearts are dead without Christ, and they are going to act in a sinful way because it’s their nature
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16
Here is the question I pose to you:
How are you being the light those around you?
Dear Christian, we are called to offer people hope in Christ! We are the light! When people begin to see and savor Christ as the most glorious treasure, social and government reform will happen as a natural result!
Let’s talk about body image!
To be honest, I’ve avoided publishing this post for awhile because it’s hard to be vulnerable about topics like this sometimes. But the Lord has taught me a lot in this area, and I know I’m not the only one that’s ever struggled with body image, so hopefully what I’ve learned will encourage you!
As a woman, I long to be beautiful – inside and out. I used to be ashamed for wanting to be beautiful, and would try to ignore those feelings – until the Lord brought me to Genesis. Eve was the first woman created, and she was completely perfect for two reasons. First, because she was created in God’s image, and therefore had intrinsic worth and value, and second because there was no sin in her yet.
Oh how gloriously beautiful she must have been! Can you just image Adam, who had been hanging out with the animals, waking up to find her – the finale of God’s creation!
Women were originally created to be beautiful, because it says something about God’s character! Even though men and women are created equal, they have different roles, and they reflect different parts of God’s characteristics. Men reflect God’s strength and power, while women reflect God’s tenderness and beauty.
But something happened…
As a result, woman’s beauty was distorted. Don’t get me wrong, women are still beautiful and created in God’s image, but now, women’s desire to be beautiful often becomes an idol and something they chase after more than the Lord.
Take a walk in your local drugstore and you’ll see aisle after aisle of products promising women that they can have…
The list goes on and on.
I’m going to be honest, I’ve struggled with insecurity. There have been times when I’ve walked into a room, and the very first thing I want to do is go hide in a corner because I feel like the plainest, most unattractive woman in the room. There have been times where I’ll compare myself physically to other women, and measure myself against an unrealistic standard.
Recently, one of my younger sisters told me that she wasn’t happy with how she looked. I sat down with her and told her that it makes God unhappy when she says that she’s not beautiful, because she’s created in Him image, and she’s insulting Him when she complains about how she looks!
Beloved, when I stand in front of the mirror and rattle off to the Lord about how I wish He had created me with thicker hair, longer legs and higher cheek bones – I am offending my dear Savior, because I am criticizing His handiwork! He fashioned me exactly how He wanted me to be. My appearance, my personality, my story – all of it is perfectly and uniquely and lovingly designed by my Father!
As I’ve been asking Him to give me confidence knowing that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I will be praying for my fellow sisters in Christ! Please always remember…
Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart!
Enjoy the beauty that God has given you – it’s a reflection of Him!
But don’t ever get sucked into thinking that outward beauty is all there is. Character is what matters and what will last!
I am a woman resolved to seeking the Lord with all of my heart, mind and soul. While I do mess up, while I do struggle and fall, while I do need daily grace – I know to whom I belong!
It’s been over 2 weeks since I graduated from Liberty! I hit the ground running and began working two days after arriving at home. Things have been busy because I’m working two jobs and haven’t really had time to sit down and breathe. But I’ve finally allowed myself a few moments to process my feelings towards graduating, how life has changed, and a few other general musings!
I’m currently sipping on my all time favorite kind of tea…even though it’s 80 degrees in North Carolina right now!
Graduation day was one of the coolest day so my life to date. I had the incredible privilege of speaking at my own commencement! My senior year, I served as the Senior Class President, and part of my role was to create, plan and execute the Senior Class Gift. At commencement, I got to present the class gift to the school. My speech was written about 2 weeks beforehand, and I had to submit it for review. The day before graduation myself, my Vice President, and the student body president all went through a run through and got everything nailed down.
The next morning, we processed in with all of the graduates, but then went back stage to wait, because we sat on stage for all of the commencement ceremony. After waiting for about 20 minutes, all of the VIPs arrived and everyone lined up and we all went on stage.
We managed to get a few pictures backstage!
Surprisingly, I wasn’t too nervous yet, and settled in and enjoyed Ravi Zacharias give a charge to the seniors and Shannon Bream give the commencement address.
After Sounds of Liberty performed, we were up! My friend Chad (student body president) introduced me.
While he was speaking, I got extremely nervous and thought “Man, I’m about to speak to 40,000 people! As soon as Chad was finished with his introduction, I stepped up to the podium. My speech was written out in front of me, but I choose to use the teleprompter instead! I’d never used one before, but thankfully I didn’t have too much difficulty getting used to it! There was a time or two when I stumbled over my words, but other than that, it went fantastic!!
We presented the check to Chancellor Falwell, paused for pictures, and then I was headed back to my chair.
Chancellor Falwell stopped me and asked me to tell everyone the story of one of my professors who had known about my car accident and ended up writing me a check to help me out! So, I ended up giving an impromptu speech as well! Hopefully not too many people picked up on the fact that it wasn’t planned!
So, how have I felt as a recent college graduate?
Well, to be honest, I don’t really feel any different.
-There to be a magical epiphany when I graduated.
Instead, I still feel like the same 22 year old Chelsea.
-To have a “grown up” job, with benefits and insurance, etc.
Instead, I’m working two jobs at home. (But I’m completely fine with that because I enjoy both!)
-To move to a new city and have my own apartment.
Instead, I’m living at home. Once again, I’m okay with this for the time being, because I can live with my family and save some money!
-To be in a relationship and be getting married in a year or two.
Instead, I’m single as they come!
While some of my expectations weren’t met, I’ve learned that it’s okay!
The Lord is teaching me that His ways are higher.
His timing is not my timing.
My soul will find rest in Him alone.
Even though my expectations have not come into fruition, that is not what the Lord saw fit.
Things that have been difficult since graduating:
– Community has changed drastically. At Liberty, I was an RA over 55 girls, and could easily text a number of people to go on a walk with me, or share a meal together. At home, I don’t really have too many close friends, and because I’ve been working so much, I haven’t really had the chance to build a community. I’m not gonna lie, this has been the hardest thing. I have been very lonely. But I keep praying that The Lord will teach me things through this season of my life, and I am seeking out community.
– Feeling like I should be at a different place than I am right now. I feel like I should have it all together. But like I said above, I am constantly bringing these feelings before the Lord and surrendering them to Him. Beth Moore once said, “The problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps crawling off the altar.” I couldn’t agree more. Each morning, I tell the Lord that He has control over my day, and over my life, but by noon, I’ve got the day back in my own little hands working out things how I think they should go. Oh, thank goodness that the Lord is so patient with me!
So, here I am in good ‘ole North Carolina. True, things haven’t played out right now how I thought they would, but that’s okay! My hope and trust lies in my Beloved Father, and I know that wherever I go, whatever I do, or wherever circumstances may find me…
He Remains Unchanging
I’m on an adventure!
Good ‘ole Valentines Day is next week…
So I figured it would be a good time to share my personal thoughts on dating/relationships! Please keep in mind that these are merely my opinions! :)
I’m not currently in a relationship, and I’m going to be completely honest. Sometimes it is hard. I am 22 years old, and when I entered college, I thought I would be the girl who met her husband first or second year, got engaged, and would be getting married right out of college. That is not how my life has played out, and clearly the Lord had different plans for my life.
I can’t tell you how incredibly grateful I am that the Lord is in complete control of every area of my life, my dating relationship included! He has spared me much heartache over the past years, and for that, I am very grateful! Please know that the thoughts on dating I’m sharing are my opinions. I know alot of people that disagree with me or have different views, but that’s okay!
Here we go…
1. I have a very traditional view on relationships/the roles of men and women in relationships.
Yeah, I’m an old school girl when it comes to relationships! I personally wouldn’t ask a guy out, or pursue a guy for a relationship. I think that the man should be the initiator of a relationship, and should be the one to pursue a woman. Obviously, there has to be interest on both sides, and the woman can definitely let the man know how she feels, but the man should be the leader of the relationship! Think about it this way, if I (as a woman) were to pursue a guy, and we ended up dating, I would always think
“Does he really like me, or is he just dating me because I pursued him?”
When I date and eventually marry someone, I want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they want me. The way this happens is when a man takes charge and leads the relationship by pursuing a woman!!
2. Find someone who loves the Lord more than they will ever love you!
It might sound “romantic” to hear someone tell you that you are their world, or you are their everything. If someone tells you this…RUN as fast as you can in the other direction! I hate to break it to you, but you can’t be someone’s everything. That is a completely unrealistic expectation to place on yourself or on someone else. You will fail. They will be disappointed. Both parties will end up discontent. Seriously, if you don’t hear anything else I say, please hear me when I say this…
** Find someone who doesn’t make God a part of their lives, find someone who God is their live!! **
3. If you’re single right now, spend time growing your relationship with the Lord, your character, your hobbies, your interests, your passions, etc.!
There is a lot of freedom in being single, because you have more time to spend on growing! Find something that you would like to pursue and go do it!!! I’m passionate about running, reading books, drinking coffee, and writing. When I’m not busy with classes, senior class president stuff, ra, or my other relationships, I have time to pursue my hobbies! Also, find an area that you would like to improve, and work on developing that area! I am probably the world’s worst cook, but when I have time, I practice my cooking so that one day, I will be a decent cook!
4. Trust in the Lord!
I’m not trying to be super spiritual, but keep in mind that the Lord is in ultimate control of your life! He knows you so intimately and personally.
Trust that He isn’t going to leave or forsake you! Trust that He will direct your life in the ways that He sees fit!!
I hope this has encouraged you and sparked some thought on how you feel about dating/relationships!! I would love to hear feedback, so let me know your thoughts!!