Raw Thoughts On Forgiveness…

I am choosing not to go into great detail into the events and circumstances surrounding the topic I’m addressing today for two reasons. 1) It would take way too long to explain. 2) Not that I mind sharing, but the details aren’t absolutely necessary to the discussion. (If you care about the details, feel free to ask. I would love to share how the Lord is working specifically. Feel free to e-mail me at chelseacpatterson@gmail.com )

Forgiveness.

To be quite honest, this isn’t a topic that I have given much thought to until this past year. In the past, if someone hurt me, it was usually unintentional or was something that could be resolved quickly and relatively pain free.

There is someone in my life very close to me who has hurt me deeply over the past 12 months. Last night, some words were said that cut me to the core. I had an “ugly cry” (if you aren’t familiar with what that is, ask any girl, she’ll know!) You see, in the moment that the words were spoken, I choose to believe them.

You aren’t worth anything.

You aren’t worth getting to know.

Those words hurt.

I cried.

I entertained the thought that maybe, just maybe those words were correct and accurate.

Maybe I am too much trouble to invest in.

Maybe I am too complex and aren’t worth time.

Maybe…just maybe…

NO CHELSEA!

Snap out of it. I shook with sobs as I poured out my heart to my mom about how much those words hurt.

You see, at that moment, my head could acknowledge that those words were lies, but it was obvious from the tears falling down my cheeks that my heart was choosing to believe them.

Words are my love language, and I am the type of person that takes a lot of things personally. (Sometimes – in this case, it is not a good thing.)

I’m not going to lie. I threw myself a pretty big pity party this morning, complete with waltzing into work with red eyes and a bad attitude. I was polite to my co-workers, but inwardly I was fighting to take the thoughts swirling around me head captive and submit them to Christ.

“It’s just not fair God! I have done literally everything I know to do to show love to this person. Yet they still are hurting me.”

And so I began my day…

Once in my office, I grabbed my Bible and started reading Ephesians, and stumbled upon the following verses:

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away form you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32

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Well…that was convicting.

I came before my Father and expressed how hard it was to choose to forgive.

Darling,

You are acting selfishly. Why would you choose to wallow in self-pity and believe those lies? Don’t you know that I defeated the devil’s control over you and your mind on the Cross? Hand it over to me. Allow me to bring justice to bear. You can choose to dwell on those lies, or you can choose to allow me to stand between you and those hurtful words.

Beloved, as hard as it is, I am making the conscious decision to allow the Lord to teach me forgiveness. This person hasn’t asked for my forgiveness, offered up an apology or uttered the words, “I’m sorry.”

However, I can make the decision not to take offense at the words and hurt thrown my way.

Yes, it hurts, but I can choose by God’s grace not to allow it to destroy me. I can choose to be kind, I can choose to keep my heart soft and tender, and most importantly, I can choose forgiveness, because Christ has modeled perfect forgiveness for me on the cross.

I will be exploring and grasping the depth of Christ’s forgiveness of me and my sins for the rest of my life. Ah, what beauty!

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

– C.S. Lewis

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Dear One, I do not profess to have it all together, far too often I am before the throne of my Father with tears falling down my cheeks begging for His grace, unending love and mercy and incidence in my life.

But I am choosing to remember that Christ showed me the ultimate forgiveness. He lived a sinless life, was crucified and raised to life. Why? To satisfy the wrath that I was deserving of. To pay the payment on my behalf. To offer me ultimate forgiveness.

I have chosen to accept Him as my Lord and Savior. As I result, I choose to obey His command to forgive as Christ forgave me. It is hard and it hurts, but praise Him that I don’t have to do it alone. I have the Holy Spirit living inside me who is helping me.

I choose to love. I choose to forgive.

Forgive
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Dear Men…

Dear Men…

 

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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?”

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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.

 

Be Encouraged!

 

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.

 

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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!

 

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Your sister in Christ,

Chelsea

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Burden Bearer…

Well…it finally hit me that I’m moving! Until now the fact that I’m moving to DC felt completely surreal. People have asked me how I felt about it and I’ve kept saying that I’m excited, but inwardly, I knew that it hadn’t actually sunk in that I was moving!

But today, my last weekend at home, it “hit” me.

There are many emotions going on in my heart right now. A big part of me is absolutely thrilled to be moving to one of my favorite cities, to work for a fantastic organization, and begin a new adventure. The Lord has worked out every detail of this next chapter of my life, so there is no doubt in my mind that this is where I’m supposed to be.

But if I’m completely honest, I’m overwhelmed!

I’ll spare you all the details of why my heart is overwhelmed. Not only is my move on the forefront of my mind, there are also other things in my life that have been weighing heavy on my heart. Knowing that I couldn’t keep myself together for too much longer, I grabbed my Bible, journal and a cup of tea and headed outside.

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As the tears flowed down my cheeks, I cried out to the Lord.

Abba,

There are more burdens on my heart than I can bear. 

My Father gently reminded me through His word that I do not have to bear the burdens I’ve been carrying around on my own strength. My eyes poured over the Psalms as I read over and over about how the Lord is my refuge and my strength.

Beloved, I don’t know where life finds you.

Maybe you’re on the mountaintop of your life, or maybe you’re journeying through a valley. Wherever you may be, I charge you to remember that if you are God’s child, you do not have to walk through this life on your own strength!

God has granted you all of heaven’s resources if you simply ask Him. He is our great Father, and He delights in being the strength and defender of His children. Press into Him. 

I know I’m going to be okay, because I have the Lord at my side. Yes, there are things in my life that hurt me, and there are going to be times when I want to just throw up my hands and quit. But as long as the Lord is my main focus, and my gaze is fixed firmly upon Him, nothing can shake me!

The following words from Frances Roberts encouraged my soul.

 

I have anticipated your dependence on Me

O My child, give Me your heart, for out of it issues life. My hand is upon you, and I will keep you in all places wherever you go. I am your God, and I am your Father, and I will care for you and provide for you according to all that you need. i will be at your side, ready to help you whenever you call on Me. i am not unmindful of your needs, and My concern is for you.

 

 

You do not need to carry your own load, for I will be happy to help you carry it and to bear you up, as well. You do not walk alone or meet any situation along, for I am with you, and I will give you wisdom and strength, and My blessings shall be yours. Keep your heart set on Me and your affections on things above.

 

Do not wait to feel worthy, for no one is worthy of My blessings. My grace bypasses your shortcomings, and I give to My children because they ask of Me and because I love them; I do not love one more than another. I give most liberally to those who ask the most of Me, for I love to have you depend on Me. This is why the Spirit within you cried, “Abba-Father.” As your Father, I anticipate your dependence on Me. You may mature and outgrow your dependence on your human parents, but as My child, you will never “outgrow” your spiritual sonship, nor will I ever cast you out to rely on your own resources.

 

Heaven’s recourses are at your command, and you need never want, so long as I am your Shepherd. Do not think that since I know all about you, you need not bother to tell Me. It is true that I know, but you need to tell Me so that in telling, you may experience the release of an open heart, and the fellowship of a Father

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Monday Musings – The road from my head to my heart

Happy Monday all!

Before I get to the meat of this post, I thought I would share one of my favorite photos of the super moon with you! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I absolutely adore the moon! I regularly get texts from friends that read something along the lines of, “Chelsea, I saw the moon outside and thought of you!” or “Go outside and look at the moon!”

Whew! God’s creation is breathtaking!

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This week hasn’t been nearly as busy or as “exciting” as the past few weeks have been! I haven’t met any former presidential candidates, I haven’t spoken at any conferences, and I haven’t traveled anywhere! Even though circumstantially, things haven’t been quite as glamorous, the Lord has been teaching me much this week and that is what I would like to share with you!

I’ve been wrestling a lot with the Lord this past week.

Lord, I know how I should respond when pain creeps into my heart.
Lord, I know how I should respond when I don’t know the next step in life.
Lord, I know how I should respond when my heart starts to long for things.
Lord, I know how I should respond when anxiety floods my mind.
Lord, I know how I should respond when a person captures my attention.

….even though I have the head knowledge, so often my heart is running in the exact opposite direction. Whoever said to “Follow your heart” must not have a head because that is the worst possible advice!
Scripture tells us that,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.”

Oh how true those words are!

Often times, I struggle to submit my heart to the Lord. If I’m incredibly honest, it is because I don’t fully trust Him. Pridefully, I think that I can do a better job at managing my heart than He can.

Yet…

He’s the one that created my heart.
He’s the one that knows me more deeply than any human ever could.
He’s the one that chooses to love me regardless of my sins or shortcomings.
He’s the one who numbers the hairs on my head.
He’s the one who collects my tears in a bottle.
He’s the one who adopted me as His own daughter.

He’s the one in whom I can place my trust!

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Beloved, I will be the first one to stand up and say that I struggle connecting my head and my heart and then laying both before the throne of God! The first part of Romans 8 has been capturing my attention, and it is discussing life in the Spirit vs. life in the flesh. Oh how despertly I long to be a woman living in the Spirit! I pray that you will join me as we seek to become people who learn how to trust the Lord with everything…including our hearts!

This song, Head to My Heart is beautiful and is a sweet reminder that I’m not the only one struggling!

Pro-Life Emphasis Week – Recap

Wow…just wow!! I am still trying to process everything that happened this past week!

I had the honor of planning and putting together a Pro-Life Emphasis Week at Liberty University! When I first became the Senior Class President, I honestly didn’t really know what to do. I knew I had a cool position, but past a title, I was kind of at a loss at what to do. So, I decided to pray about it. The Lord asked me what both He and I were passionate about, and I responded, “Life”. When the Lord placed me in the position of Senior Class President, I never knew what was going to happen, but I set about planning for a Pro-Life Emphasis week for the student body. The early stages of planning began in September, and have been in the works ever since then.

The purpose of the week was to educate ourselves on how to be pro-life not only in word, but also in deed, and to inspire the world’s largest Christian university to hold life as precious and dear, just like our Father!

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The beginning of the week was awful, and Tuesday was probably one of the worst day’s I’ve had in a long time. I cried openly in public more than once. Everything was falling apart on Tuesday. There was a lot of stuff happening back home which was breaking my heart, and things were not coming together with pro-life week. I found out that I didn’t have access to the money that I was counting on (which was about $1000). Thing after thing wasn’t going right. When I got into bed on Tuesday night, I felt defeated and discouraged and was so close to just throwing up my hands and cancelling the entire week.

When I got up on Wednesday morning, my dear mother had sent me a Facebook message…

Remember that this week belongs to God, and He is well-able to make of it what He wants. You don’t have to do it in your own strength, and even through your willingness to put this together, He doesn’t want to share the glory of it. Get physical rest, and stay in that place of obedient,joyful rest in Christ.

More than anything I needed that reminder.

This wasn’t my week.
This wasn’t my glory.
This wasn’t my success.

….this was God’s.

Wednesday morning I prayed this prayer…

“Father, you were the one who placed this idea on my heart. You were the one guiding me through everything. I gave this week to you a long time ago, but I’ve taken it back into my own hands. I’m sorry that I’ve been running around like an idiot trying to get everything done. I’m sorry for stealing your glory. I hand you control of this week. I’ve never been in a place where I could fail so miserably. Lord, I ask you to come through and make this week a success! Even if it doesn’t look like what I think it should, it’s in your hands.”

I do not have sufficient words to even begin to describe all that God did!!! I literally just stood back and watched the Lord work all week.

Pro-Life organizations set up tables in the back hallway of DeMoss all week.

Rock For Life sold T-Shirts and other pro-life merchandise, and raised well over $1000.

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Some of my friends who stand for life

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My incredible friend Sean, who runs the pro-life club on campus called Lifeline also set up a table!

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On Wednesday, we had Mike Spencer from the Life Training Institute come and do a session on “Abortion and Apologetics” Students listened for an hour as he discussed how to intelligently discuss the subject of being pro-life from science, philosophy, etc. Then they participated in an in depth question and answer!

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After campus church, students participated in a prayer walk!

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I had the opportunity to meet Clayton King before church and discuss the week a little bit with him! He was adopted as a baby and lives in North Carolina! I feel like we should be friends!

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On Thursday, I had asked Phil Kline to give a talk on “Abortion and the Law”. He gave the best talk I’ve ever heard on abortion! Quickly, he captured everyone’s attention, and held it for well over an hour. Mr. Kline is the former Attorney General from Kansas, and is the only prosecutor to ever obtain abortion clinic records from Planned Parenthood. It was an incredible honor for him to participate in the week!

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Friday’s convocation will forever stand as one of my all-time favorite memories. I had asked the entire student body to wear either red or white shirts, depending on their section. One third of the students wore red, to represent the amount of people “missing” due to abortion. I’m going to be honest, even though I had broadcast as much as I knew how, in the back of my mind, I never really expected people to participate. When I arrived to convo on Friday morning, I was blown away. Tears started pouring down my checks as I saw the student body participating!!

I have never been more humbled or in awe of all that the Lord accomplished!!

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Johnnie Moore spoke on why Christians should hold life as sacred, and did an excellent job!

The week was ended in the most incredible way ever! Phil Wickham came in for a free concert!! A love offering was taken, and all of the proceeds went directly to the Liberty Godparent Home! The concert was one of the most Christ-centered concert’s I’ve ever attended and Phil shared some of his new songs with us!

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I had the privilege of meeting him and chatting with him about the week! He was incredibly gracious and kind!

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Best pro-life emphasis week!!!

Boston

My heart is broken over the events that took place in Boston today.

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Our nation we have paused and gathered together to pray for Boston. The events surrounding the bombing are still unclear, but right now, that doesn’t matter. What matters is we as Christians stepping up and showing the world Christ’s love.

Many people have questions right now and are asking the question, “Why?” Beloved, we have an opportunity to shine Christ’s love to a broken and shattered world. Hearts are ready for Christ. Will you join me in spreading His love? No, we don’t have all the answers as to why suffering occurs, but we can use these tragedies as an opportunity to spread the Gospel?

Remember, one day things will be redeemed and restored!

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Running On Empty

This might be one of the most raw and honest posts I’ve ever written.

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The reason being is that I can typically put a “spiritual” spin on my writing, and write about difficult topics without making myself look bad. But, for what I want to talk about today, I am not afraid of being totally and completely vulnerable because I believe this topic affects a lot of people.

Business….

I was driving to the store the other night with my mom, and I said, “I’m tired”, she said something alone the lines of going to bed early, and I said, “No, I’m tired. Worn out. Weary” Then the tears started falling as I listed all of the balls that I’m trying to juggle…

– 18 Credit Hours
– RA and the daily duties and responsibilities
– Senior Class President
– Meetings
– Planning a Gala
– Planning a Pro-Life Week
– Planning the Senior Class Gift
– Keeping up with texts/emails/phone calls
– Working a job while being on break
– Trying to keep up with friends
– Training for a half marathon
– Applying for jobs/internships

….and on and on the list goes!

I feel like I can’t let anything go, because I’ve committed myself to so much.

Over committed.

Truth be told, I hate being harassed and hassled by life’s demands, but I love being in demand. I enjoy having every minute crammed with activity.

…but I am running on empty.

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You see, I have subconsciously allowed myself to believe that my activity and accomplishments determine my identity. When I’m busy, I feel important. People praise me for my accomplishments, and how much I have achieved, and I enjoy their praises.

– RA…I enjoy being looked up to by 55 girls.
– Senior Class President…I love getting to attend meetings with the Chancellor and head administration of the school.
– Planning large scale events…Receiving the credit for the success of an event makes my head swell even larger.

My heart stung as I typed each one of the words above, because it is hard to admit.
It is hard to allow the world in and show that I do not, in fact, have everything together, as much as I would like to have people believe.

I struggle with pride.
I struggle with accepting God’s grace, and not feeling like I have to earn it.
I struggle finding my identity solely in Christ.

How’s that for honesty?!

Today, I determined to get some solitude, no matter what it took. So, I grabbed my Bible and a notebook and set off. I ended up at a local park by a lake for some time alone.

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I decided to sit in silence for awhile. After what seemed like an eternity, I checked my watch.

10 minutes had passed.

“This is madness” I thought, as I went back to sitting in silence.

I am so used to being constantly connected, that I literally didn’t know how to be still.

Teach me how to be still. Teach me how to abide. Teach me how to live a quiet and peaceful life. Teach me how to enjoy. Teach me to slow down. Teach me to wait upon You.

My heart began to pray…and as I prayed, I heard my Father say,

Dear One, I love you. Fix your eyes upon Me and rest in my finished work upon the Cross. I can never love you anymore than I do now. You cannot earn my love. Slow down. The most important thing you will ever do is spend time with Me. Seek My face. I promise to fill the hungry with good things, namely, Myself.

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Beloved, I am sharing these things with you because I know that I can’t be the only one that struggles with business and restlessness of the soul. In this distracting society of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, iPhones, Emails, etc. We can be constantly connected, but our souls long for so much more than a retweet or a “like” on Facebook.

Can I get an amen?!

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As I continue on my journey toward learning how to be still and practice solitude. I invite you to join me! I don’t have it all together (this post should be enough to show you that!) But I strongly desire Christ about all else, and I am resolved and committed to seeking Him. Even though I fail. Even though I get distracted. Even though I don’t always know what to do.

I know whose I am…God’s child!

I leave you with this quote by Charles Spurgeon and a song!

“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord…”

Simply…pray!

Beloved, one of the greatest lessons I am learning in my journey with the Lord is prayer. I have written before on prayer and it’s extreme importance to the life of a Christian. I am starting a series on the Spiritual disciplines. (This is based on a bible study I am currently going through right now) I have entitled this series “Simply…” and each week I will focus on a different Spiritual discipline. The purpose of this is to point you closer to Jesus.

I am by no means an expert on prayer, but it is something that I truly love to do! My heart beats faster when I wake up in the morning, because I know that I’m about to spend time with my Jesus, communicating with Him. Prayer hasn’t always been a delight for me. I can remember as a little girl, I would play a game with myself and try to see if I could keep my eyes closed the entire time the pastor would pray in church. (They tended to be pretty lengthy prayers!)

To be honest, the greatest thing that has made prayer a source of joy for me is…desperation! There have been so many times in my life where I am completely and utterly helpless, and in those times, the Lord has taught me where my true dependance comes from. I don’t understand sometimes how prayer works, but I do know that it does. I don’t understand sometimes the mind of God, but I do know that I can trust Him. Beloved, press into the heart of your Savior and spend deep, intimate time in prayer with Him. As cliché as may sound, prayer makes a difference. Prayer is communicating with God Almighty, creator of the Heavens and the Earth!

This video from John Piper does an incredible job discussing prayer!!

Prayer Changes Things

An honest look at prayer!

I sat on bended knee looking very saintly with head bowed and eyes closed. Recently, I made a commitment to the Lord to spend 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with Him solely devoted to prayer. I feel as if I have reached a wall and instead of calling up someone and venting, picking up the latest, “Fix your life fast” book, I decided that I would take things to the Lord’s feet. I’ve prayed growing up, but my prayer times have been inconsistent at best or when I’m in the midst of a life crisis. I’m reading the book “Fresh wind, Fresh fire” by Jim Cymbala. Prayer in that book changes lives. Story after story is told of miracles and things that point back to God. I desire miracles in my life, so I told the Lord that I would (literally) go into my closet and pray for 30 minutes daily.

 

Well, I hit a road block! I prayed for everything in my life that I could think to pray about – then it was if my mind went blank and I ran out of things to pray about.

“Shoot, I still have 20 minutes left.”

Refusing to stop early, I did the only thing I knew to do, I began reciting the Lord’s prayer. After about the third time, my mind began drifting to my to do list, what I would wear tomorrow and calculating how much sleep I would get when I was finished praying.”

“Darling…”

I was startled. The Lord spoke again to my spirit,

“Stop. You’ve given me this time and all you’ve done is rattle off selfish prayer and day dream, this time can be so much more than that, use it to get to know ME better! I promise that I will reveal myself to you.”

I spent the rest of my time praying for others. While it’s a struggle for me to pause and listen to the Lord, I’ve committed time to leaving the world for awhile and getting to know my Beloved in a way that I’ve never done! I will continue to update you guys, and if you’d like to join me in my pursuit of getting to know our Savior more, I’d love for you to join!!!