Like all you lovely folks, I’ve got a dream

Posted in creative

If you have any sort of knowledge of Disney, you might recognize that line from Tangled (one of my favorites).

In my years of publishing words, train tracks have been made in the form of two Bible verses:

1 Peter 2:9-10, which says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

and Psalm 73:28, “But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.”

Christianity is a faith that revels in the sharing, writing, expressing, and creating of words.

Everything we see and experience is a result of our creative God’s words. He gifted us His written Word, that we would pitch our tent in it, it being “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:15–17)

I am a longtime journaler. Writing helps me process my experiences, about God, about marriage, about life. It helps lay bricks of foundational truth, and is a sweet climate for the adventurous nature of communicating with God. It helps me uncover lies I’m believing, or small joys to be thankful for. As I write, the Holy Spirit irons out thoughts and feelings, always prompting me to apply the Bible’s counsel.

In the early years, my blog was a mixture of documenting memories, sharing inspirational quotes, talking about God and books, and other random creative things. Only a handful of people knew it even existed. This year is my 8th year maintaining a personal blog, but like most hobbies it has evolved as I have grown.

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Have you ever had a dream and found yourself [maybe somewhat timidly] asking God to multiply it, to make it meaningful and useful for His kingdom? Me too.

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Books That Transform Lives

Posted in books

Books. Worlds to dive into, catapults to new perspectives, adventures of knowledge. Various paths forged by unique personalities to help love God with our minds.

I asked a handful of friends for a book they would say has transformed their life in a meaningful way, and why they choose it. Enjoy their answers! I certainly did.

Steadfast: A Study of the Prayer Made David’s Whole Heart Rely on a Steadfast God by Lauren Mitchell

This is one of my favorite devotional books because it walks you through the life of a very imperfect man that God raised up to lead a nation. I love that despite David’s sinfulness, his disobedience to God, and his very imperfect life, God (out of his steadfast love for David) still chose to do a redeeming work in him, use his life to write history, and use his story to show more of God’s character. This devotional walks you through six areas of life: Your Time, Your Identity, Your sin, Having No Fear, and Your Destiny. Lauren’s writing is easy to understand and her ability to break down big concepts will keep you engaged and help your understanding of Psalms. I highly recommend this devotional because through it you begin to understand God’s amazingly steadfast love for you and how he meets you where you are at and uses us – broken people – to show his character. Erika Carder, Lifestyle & Product Photographer

“David understood and accepted God’s character and promises. He did not find steadfast to be a quality that inspired fear, but rather stability.”


Lady in Waiting by Debby Jones and Jackie Kendall

As a woman, I feel like I’ve spent so much of my life waiting for the next thing… a job, marriage, children, vacation! When I’m so focused on “what’s next”, I often miss what God has for me RIGHT NOW! Although it was written specifically for single women looking towards marriage, Lady In Waiting  written by Debby Jones and Jackie Kendall, holds truths that have convicted me and encouraged me in many different seasons of my life. Using the biblical book of Ruth as a guide, Jones and Kendall remind women to keep their focus on the Lord and live a life of reckless abandonment in and for HIM… not for a husband (or children, or job, or friends). Faith, patience, and contentment IN THE LORD are essential to living a life that glorifies God. The first time I did this study was in college and it completely changed my perspective on my state of singleness – I stopped looking for a husband around every corner! Instead, I started to focus on living my life for the Lord. And what an amazing difference that made in my spiritual growth! As a married woman, I’ve lead young women through this study and bought more copies of it to hand out than I can count! Each time I revisit the truths presented, I’m convicted to refocus my life and energy on what the Lord has for me THIS DAY, in THIS SEASON of my life. Michelle Parnell, Appling, GA


Surprised By Hope by N.T. Wright

Surprised By Hope was a book God used to refine my understanding of the beautiful, breathe-taking, overarching storyline of Scripture. I find a strong grasp of biblical theology to be essential to any and all Bible study, and Wright’s book is revelatory in this aspect. With a continued emphasis upon life after life after death, Wright exposes the true Christian hope as the restoration of creation as opposed to the evacuation from creation. He writes, “The central Christian affirmation is that what the creator God has done in Jesus Christ, and supremely in his resurrection, is what he intends to do for the whole world—meaning, by world, the entire cosmos with all its history,” (91). All groaning creation finds its only hope and rescue in the Kingdom-inaugurating work of Christ Jesus. “What creation needs is neither abandonment nor evolution but rather redemption and renewal; and this is both promised and guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead,” (107). The story of the Bible is the story of a God who does not abandon His original design after its corruption in the garden but instead sets out to redeem, reclaim, renew, and restore it. And how would God accomplish such a mission? Through the life, death, and resurrection of the King of glory, who brings sight to the blind, light into the darkness, and raises the dead to life and in whom now all creation eagerly awaits. Matt McKinney, Pastor at Madison Street Baptist Church


Anything by Jennie Allen

I weep now again as I write this. I weep because I almost got away with a wasted life. What if I had blown off the interruptions he was offering? I might be stuck with the mediocre life I was so afraid of losing at the time. But it was like he lifted my head, while I was in a puddle on the bathroom floor, and let me see into his heart, into heaven, into the brokenness of those suffering, into my own soul. And in a moment what had never occurred to me made perfect sense. So much sense that I was willing… desperately willing… to do anything. (78)

Few times has a book so resonated with me like Jennie Allen’s journey to praying “anything.” After purchasing the book, I held on to it for a while. I would carry it in my purse everywhere I went but wouldn’t dare open it. I knew the potential impact it would have on my life and it scared me; the woman was saying to God that she would do anything – literally anything He asked. I was right. The moment I opened chapter one, I could not put it down. I saw myself – a college girl wild for God and wanted to see the world be awakened to the Kingdom of God. And then life happened. Responsibilities pressed in and God was being pressed out. I’ve always known there to be more than what we lived and experienced in college, but our schedules had gotten in the way. This book gave voice to what I had been feeling for a long time, and encouraged a reckless, courageous surrender to obediently risk all that I knew as I step into anything that God calls me to do. Lizzie Attaway, Atlanta, GA

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why I created a rule of life

Posted in faith

Two good friends sat across our living room, having just asked how they could pray for me.

“I want to be a deeper person.”

In typical external processing fashion, words of explanation tumbled out: I crave simplicity of passion, sweeter clarity in my life with God and others, ruthlessly eliminating distractions and noise. I long to dig deeper into myself, the shadows and the bright colors, what is whole and what is broken, and uncover every possible layer than can be re-formed to image Christ. I need depth in my knowledge of God through the Bible, and learn to put on and pour out His truth instead of my own. I want depth in my Spiritual fruit orchard, instead of living parched and reaching for habits of patience or joy I don’t have.

All of this sounds marvelous, wouldn’t you agree? Too bad my default way is to live emotionally and mentally small and “spread-thin.” (insert exasperated emoji here)

It makes sense… I’m a Two on the Enneagram. In a run on sentence, this means I tend to give of myself, hoping my Chelsea-ness isn’t too much, to meet as many known or perceived needs as within my power, without considering the consequences.

 

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Enter: creating a rule of life.

A rule of life “serves as a gentle guide that keeps you trained toward God.” Sacred Ordinary Days

My landing pad is a prayer of Paul’s:

“For this reason I kneel before the Father… I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21

Filled to the measure of all the fullness of God? Yes, please!

No one else lives my quirky, God-ordained, unique ‘two space’ life. And I don’t want to waste the days. I can’t expect to grow and be the best made-in-the-image-of-God Chelsea I can be without intentional effort.

Creating a rule of life has helped me prayerfully and practically make decisions that expand my capacity to experience more of Him and who He created me to be.

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