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Grace

Here I am.

I couldn’t sleep because I was struggling with my thoughts and with God, so I decided to write. I obviously haven’t wrote here in awhile, not because I haven’t had things I wanted to share or say, but because I’ve been too proud to share what my heart has been truly wrestling with.

But back to today, and why I couldn’t sleep.

We spent the evening at a lady I go to bible study with’s house. All the other women from our group and their families were there. We had an amazing time. There was great food, lots of laughter, and lucky for us a volunteer babysitter ūüôā However, I was really blown away by how beautiful my friend’s home was. They were obviously a well-to-do family, and their kids (who are grown) were so wonderful, and it really caused me to just sort of reflect on my life in general.

Granted the home and the family were not what initiated the thoughts I’m about to share, but was sort of the pinnacle for ideas that had been brewing in my head since a conversation I had over the past holiday.

So here goes:

Something I struggle deeply with is my self-worth. Spiritually, I know my self-worth should come from God alone, but honestly I feel I have nothing else to offer to anyone. Not even my own husband or children. My skill set is extremely limited, and as such I feel easily expendable.

I’m good at motherly or domestic type things: Cooking, cleaning, kissing boo-boos, folding laundry. Things millions of (if not most) other people are completely capable of doing. I used to not feel this way. I always dreamed I would go to college and pursue a career, particularly in nursing. Not that I never wanted to be married or have children, but just in a vastly different order and time frame than I’m currently in. ¬†All this to say, my soft spot, my Achilles heel if you will, is the fact I never went to college.

The particular thought that was running though my mind tonight was that I really wish we, my husband and I, had our act together before having kids instead of constantly keeping our heads above water all the time, financially and otherwise. My thought being that if I had only gotten a degree things would be easier. I know some of you college grads are laughing, but still it’s what I struggle with.

I know the friend whose home I visited tonight has not had it easy, nor am I wishing I could trade spots or anything of the sort. The visit did leave me, as I mentioned earlier, reflecting on what I wish we would have done “better”. But there I was finding myself being a bit covetous of their things!

I laid in bed quietly praying for forgiveness for not being thankful for what I have, and for longing for things that obviously don’t belong to me. Then the more I prayed I about it, the more I thought about it! I couldn’t get it off my heart and mind! I was starting to cry, and as to not awaken my sweet husband I crawled out of bed to pray more here on the couch.

As I did, God placed on my heart the word “Grace”. After all this sinful thinking, the word I was hearing was “Grace”, not grace from God but Him telling me to give myself grace. He gently reminded me that I did try to go to college but my options were swept out from under my feet because of the decisions my parents made when I was younger, rendering my attempts useless. Without going into too much detail, I needed certain information from my parents, as I was considered a dependent because of my age, but they were unwilling to provide it to me, leaving me without the ability to apply for aid.

At that point, I gave up. It was clear to me that school was not in my cards, especially when I had a job that was at least paying my bills. ¬†Could I have tried to overcome to overcome these obstacles? Sure, lots of people do it. However, I had no support system. No one telling me keep on keeping on. No one to give me advice when everything around me seemed like it was crumbling. Most importantly, I had no prayer life at the time. What I did have was plenty of people telling me don’t worry about it, or that college really isn’t necessary, or that there will be time for that later.

So here I am with Grace.

I’m giving myself that today. I was young, with no one to help me. The people you should be able to look to for strength and advice were not to be found. I was also not a follower of Jesus, so prayer was not even on my radar at the time. How was I supposed to know what to do or find the strength to keep going on when I didn’t have the great I AM to guide me and pull me through?

Grace.

I have had it lavishly poured out on my broken self by Him, but have never bothered to gift it to myself. I did what I knew best to do with what I had been given. Praise God, He’s kept me more whole than just completely falling apart.

So did I go to college? No. Will I ever? If it’s God’s will. Am I going to allow that to ruin my self-worth? Not anymore Sister!

I don’t know what God’s got planned for this little life of mine, but last I checked He’s in the business of taking the broken and making it beautiful once again.

Learning to walk in Christ,

Chelsea

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Silly Mommy! Playtime is for you too!

My kids had been driving me nuts for what seemed like WEEKS.

I kept trying to avoid them by reading books, playing on the computer, cleaning, blogging, or making asking my husband to watch them so I can go out alone for ¬†a few precious hours. (Not that we all don’t need a little alone time!) But no matter how much effort I put in trying to avoid them because they were grinding my nerves, they were still here and they still needed me! (Imagine that!)

At my wits end, I’ve spent this last week doing the exact opposite of what I had been doing before. I tried being on the computer less, and engaged in them more. I think we were out of the house almost every day last week! We went to almost every park in town, went shopping, went to the library for story time, went out to lunch…you name it we did it! You know what? The more time I spent with them actively engaging them, they less irritating they had become and the more I understood why they had been misbehaving.

To some people it seems so obvious, the more time you spend with someone the more you get to know them and know why they do what they do! (DUH! Right?) To others of us, and I think us stay-at-home-moms in particular, it’s easy to overlook that. We are¬†physically¬†around these ‘people’ all the time, but we aren’t mentally and spiritually connecting with them. Thus, not really¬†knowing¬†these little people we care for every day.

I’ll share an example. Noah, my three-year-old son, had been really getting on my nerves to the point that I had seriously considered selling him to the Gypsies! (No really! They won’t accept rambunctious three-year-olds…and they have to be 100% potty trained! ) I had tried time-outs, spankings, yelling, hugs, sitting down with him and explaining why whining/hitting/yelling/jumping on furniture/being rude/not obeying is all wrong and how he should behave instead.

Exhausting, right?

However, it really drove me nuts when I told him do something and he would be silly! SILLY! “How dare he be silly!”, I thought.

Then in dawned on me, he just wanted to make me laugh to break the tension! How much more mature he was than me! He just wanted a mom he could laugh with, who could take joke, who didn’t take life so seriously!

It’s been quite a revelation to me, and it’s been hard to change from being serious mom to being a silly mom.

The ‘A-ha moment’ was when I asked Noah to put away the silverware from the dishwasher. I didn’t feel like having to supervise every single fork, spoon, and knife to be put away and he was (seemingly) putting them away in the wrong spot on purpose saying, “What is this? Where does this go?”. Him knowing full well it was a fork and the slot for the forks were¬†right in front of his face.¬†I almost yelled at him to tell him, “Just get down Noah! I’ll do it myself!” But a still small voice that could only be from God said, “He just wants to make you laugh! His intentions always start out good, he’s a child.”

I stifled tears! I was so upset that I hadn’t seen it sooner! When did I become this sourpuss mom? Things had to change, and they had to start with me.

So for this past week I’ve tried being more intentional with my children. Reading to them more, holding them more, being¬†silly¬†with them more, going out and actually doing more things with them, and in return it’s made me love them more.

Make no mistake, Noah still does the whole, “What is this? Where does this go?”, but now I respond with “It’s a rocketship! It’s goes up in space!”. He laughs, I laugh, and the world of parenting seems like a lot less scary place to be.

Learning to walk in Christ,

Chelsea

I Want to Trust God BUT…

I deal with a lot of but[t]s¬†in my life. Besides the fact I still have two kids in diapers, I’m constantly arguing with God saying, “I’ll do that but…[Fill in the blank]”. I feel almost hypocritical, or perhaps I am, when I ask God for his will in my life and when he lays it out for me I say, “But how? But why? But when?” ¬†instead of, “Yes Lord.”

I have this problem with needing to know every.single.detail. If I don’t know every.single.detail. I usually end up scrapping whatever¬†idea¬†I may have had. The same goes for the prayers I pray to God. When I ask and He answers, I then proceed to bombard him with the “How? Why? When?”. He always replies with, “Just do it!”

Since I’ve taken a break from blogging this past month, I have been struggling with whether or not this something¬†I¬†want to keep up, or if I’m just¬†embarrassing¬†myself by essentially baring my soul for the entire world. Satan’s a punk that way. When I ask God to free me from the bondage of caring what others think, and to allow me to glorify Him, he has told me to do it through my writing. I’ve spent the last month¬†packing¬† running blog idea after blog idea through my head. So many things to share! Then scrapping every.single.one. for fear of rejection. I am then reminded that even if my blog only helps¬†one¬†other person, then I’ve¬†succeeded¬†here. I have always loved¬†The Parable of the Lost Sheep¬†in the books Matthew and Luke. It serves as a reminder that¬†each¬†of us is important to the Father.

Matthew 18:12-14 (ESV): 12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Luke 15:3-7 (ESV): 3¬†So he told them this parable:4¬†“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?5¬†And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.6¬†And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’7¬†Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

There are many other things God has laid on my heart to follow through with and obey, but I’m slowly learning to trust God again. For now, I blog. It’s what he’s asked of me, therefore I’m doing.

What has God asked of you to do today?

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Blog

I know I just started this bloggy thingy, but we are in the process of moving at the end of March and I am going to take a break from writing actual posts for you to read. I’ll be the first to admit I can’t handle too much on my plate at any given time. In the meantime, I’m going to work on back-end stuff. Making my site more personal (and pretty!) and going to try and stretch some writing skill muscles. I have every intention of starting back April 1st unless God lays something on my heart to share beforehand.

I also feel convicted to share my story about my struggle with depression, and it’s going to cause me to peel off a lot of layers that I don’t feel like peeling right now with so many other things to juggle. So be looking forward to that. I know I am, but it’s going to cause me to not only be real with you, but with myself and God. I already know what I’m going to have to face and having to write it out is going to hurt, and what I might say may be hurtful to those closest to me. However, I know it will bring about blessing in my own life and the lives of others.

Thanks for understanding and please be praying for my family and I as we are starting a new chapter in our lives. I’m very excited to see what God has in store for us!

Learning to walk in Christ,
Chelsea

Who Am I?

I have been reading the most wonderful book by Jennifer Luitwieler, called Run With Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of Poo. It’s the most amazing story, and I just LOVE her sense of humor. The book, in short, is about one woman’s journey with how she became a runner, her struggle with depression, and learning to love life and herself again. I have yet to finish the book because it speaks so true to me and my own struggles. I posted the other day about my struggle with depression, and this book really tugs on the heartstrings.

This book has got me to wondering, who am I? What makes me who I am? and all those other “fun” questions we all like to ask ourselves! I want to share an excerpt from the book that I keep coming back to and re-reading:

“When famous writers give speeches or presentations, they are often asked a question like, “How do you become a writer?” The answer rarely differs. Now,¬†these¬†people know how to follow a playbook. They usually reply: “To be a writer, you must write every day. That makes you a writer.” The people who ask this question are never satisfied with this answer, and they will continue to ask it at every possible event; this is not the magic-pill they sought…

And then I went for the big guns: “I am ¬†a writer.”…

…this kind of deciding to be a writer carries a heavy weight. It means that in every day, the discipline to write and to pursue an idea or dream must take precedence over other things. It means that when I hurt, I still have to write. And this is the hard part because people don’t always feel happy. We don’t always feel amazing, genius and infectious. Sometimes we feel we abused, used, sad or angry. Sometimes days just suck.”

What makes you who are is by what you do every day, regardless of how you feel. If you want to be a writer, you must write every day. If you want to be a runner, you need to run every day. If you want to be happy, you must do what makes you happy everyday. If you want to be forgiven, you must forgive every day. If you want to be loved, you must love everyday. If you want to be sober, you must be sober ever day. The list goes on and on and on.

I could share with you what I want to be, but really it only matters to me and to God. Then I must follow through with each thing every.single.day, regardless of how I feel, because “sometimes days just suck”. If I can be disciplined enough to do these things that matter most to me every day, I know I can look back in 10, 30, or 50 years and say I’m so glad I stuck with it!

Now I want to know, who are you? And do you have enough discipline to be who you want to be every day?

Learning to walk in Christ,

Chelsea

Satan’s a Punk

I’ve dealt with depression for longer than I haven’t. There are days (weeks or even months!) where it consumes me. It grips my heart and soul so tightly that my very spirit will become suffocated by it. It hurts. It hurts mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. It comes without warning. Days upon days of happiness and joy are then smothered, choked out, and forgotten by one day of depression.

Depression IS hell.

Let me make it clear for those that have never dealt with the demon “Depression”. It is NOT something you can control. You can keep an eagle eye on your radar for any warning signs that it’s creeping up on you, but¬†there aren’t any. For those of us cursed by Depression, it sweeps in and steals any and all joy you’ve been building up, like a ninja thief in the night.

I’ve been spending the past year looking for what causes or triggers depression episodes in my life. Then this morning it hit me that it’s literally a CONSTANT¬†battle.¬†C-O-N-S-T-A-N-T. CONSTANT.¬†Did I mention it’s constant? Because it totally is.

As soon as I wake up, Satan¬†immediately¬†begins to bombard me with things to suck me into a major depression. It’s mornings where my kids wake up too early and Satan whispers in my ear, “Your day is going to suck cause those damn kids are up too early and they need you. Don’t they know how tired you are? You’re exhausted! You’re never going to make it. You might as well give up now.”

Satan is ugly like that, and yes he has a potty mouth.

If he doesn’t get me with that, then he will try and get me when I go to take a shower for the day and I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror he will whispers things like, “Look at how ugly you’ve become. How can your husband stand to be with you? You are never good enough. You’re absolutely disgusting.”¬†¬†On ‘bad’ days it seems as though every hour I’m being hit with something else that I could easily dwell on to drag me down into a depression spiral.

But you know what? ALL OF THEM ARE LIES. 

The most sickening part about Satan is he¬†disguises¬†these lies by buttering and sugar coating them. They almost¬†sound logical! I find myself agreeing when the depression battle seems to get to be too much to bear. I’ll say back to him, “You know what?¬†You’re right! Of course I’m tired! I just want to sleep! Why do I have to be¬†responsible for them? This is ridiculous! I’ll just ignore them all day and sleep. They obviously don’t care about me, why should I care about them?”.

You see, I welcomed the depression in the moment I said “You’re right!”.¬†

While I was waking up this morning and praying to God, I screamed at him shouting, “Father! Why and where do these thoughts come from?!? They are not right!”. He responded with, “Satan is your greatest enemy disguised as your best friend.”

In the words of a great man and my friend Chris Wilson who said, “Satan is punk!“. I think God would whole-heartily agree with you Chris. I would go so far as to say that Satan is THE punk. The punk by which all other punks are judged by.

Tonight I’m too tired to go into ways to combat depression. I’ll save that for another day. For now,¬†I’m posting this for those of you who struggle too. I want you to take heart and know you aren’t alone. ¬†I leave you with a verse that has helped me over and over again in my battle against Depression:

“...take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.” 2¬†Corinthians 10:5

Take every thought captive my friends, they are the battleground.

Learning to walk in Christ,

Chelsea

Listening to God

Listening to God is not always easy. His voice is still and quiet, and unless you know what to listen for, you will miss it. With two small children, endless media bombarding all my senses, and all the noise, noise, noise that infiltrates my ears day after day it is almost impossible to settle down long enough to try and find God’s voice.

However, I believe God understands this about me and when he knows I only have a few precious moments of uninterrupted silence he will cram-pack as many things he wants to tell in the shortest amount of time possible. It sometimes makes me think (or doubt) is this really God revealing all these things to me? Or is is me trying to think of as many important things as possible before this precious moment of silence is annihilated? Then I will say to God, “If this is really your revelations to me, then please show me something to remove this doubt.” He has yet not to. Let me share an example with you.

We had planned to homeschool our children, then one day I became consumed with the idea of finishing my nursing degree. (Which is another story) So after discussing with my husband, we agreed that I could¬†pursue my degree when the kids were old enough for preschool.¬† I also used to want to blog, but I became too consumed with what people might think of what I would have to say so I gave up on that idea too. I prayed about it for awhile, and I know I heard God say I was making the wrong decisions but I pushed Him away and didn’t listen. I was too afraid to go against the norm. Then I would pray again for “direction in my life” and it sounded a little like this:

Me: God, I just don’t know what the heck I’m doing or where I’m going in my life. Please show me some direction here!

God: Chelsea, I’ve tried to show you but you ain’t listening to me!

Me: Well, if that’s really what you want me to do. Could ya make it a lil’ more concrete for me? I’m still new to this praying thing.

God: Watch and wait my child.

First of all, God really did say “ain’t”. Secondly, he really did prove himself to me. What happened next was pretty darn cool if I say so myself. I entered a contest on a blog, Good Morning Girls to be exact, to win a ticket to go to a ‘Mom Heart Conference with Sally Clarkson’. I read a tiny bit about it and thought it would be fun to go to a conference about ‘mom-ing’, but I knew there was no way I would buy a ticket on my own accord though. But lo and behold, I won!

Apparently Satan didn’t want me to go, he put so many obstacles in my path to getting there it’s unreal. Tragic things at that. In the midst of it all that was going on, my prayer was still for God to show His direction for my life. The morning of the conference, which at that time I was NOT going, my cousin Jennifer texted me and asked if I would like to go with her. Desperate for something lovely in my life, I agreed and went.

I spent the next 48 hours with a bunch of blogging, homeschooling wonderful women. In two short words it was life changing.

Granted, not all the women who went were bloggers or homeschoolers or even a combination of the two. However, the women I hung out with and talked to did. If that isn’t God proving himself to me, I really don’t know what else is. Not only did he talk to me, he ran me over and knocked the wind out of me. God is BIG¬†that way.

So here I am with my first blog post. I don’t know what is going to happen with this blog, what it’s going to ‘look’ like or even be about or anything else but I found a rare moment of silence tonight and God told me “to get up and go write” and for once I don’t doubt it’s Him and I obeyed.

Learning as I go,

Chelsea

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