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Thursday, January 31, 2013

What Does God Think About Me?

A moment of confession here:  Wednesdays are supposed to be my blogging days.  Yet, today is Thursday, and still, no blog.

That's because I was feeling utterly uninspired yesterday.  The feeling carried on into today, until I was browsing pinterest (because what else do you do when you're uninspired?) and saw this:

He calls me beautiful one.  This made me think of what else God thinks of me, so I went on a treasure hunt through the Bible. And When I was done, I felt way more inspired. 

Let me first just say this:  If you have been a Christ follower for any amount of time, chances are that you have read some parts of the bible more than just once or twice.  Sometimes, when we do this, we sadly fall into the pattern of forgetting how incredible the Bible actually is.  Do not do this!  These are the very words of God, written to us as His dearly loved children.  These words are living and active.  There is incredible value, unending encouragement, and yes, even inspiration in them. 

I will so often tear myself down or become discouraged over something as small as having a bad day.  I will dwell on a mistake I made much longer than I will dwell on what God says about me.  I have decided that for me, that has to change.  God has said amazingly beautiful things about me.  He doesn't think of me as an unorganized, worrying, confused girl who can't seem to get anything done.  No, instead, He calls me beautiful.  It's time I start remembering that. 

Today, I hope that you immerse yourself in the fullness of what God says about you.  I hope that it builds your confidence and reminds you of your value.  Allow yourself to realize the immenseness of God's love for you.  

This is what the creator of the ENITRE universe says about us:

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
Psalm 139:14

You are the salt and light of the world. 
"You are the salt of the earth . . . You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden."
Matthew 5:13-14

You are complete in Christ. 
"And you have been given fullness in Christ."
Colossians 2:10

God holds your hand and helps you.
"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 
do not fear; I will help you."
Isaiah 41:3

You are loved with an everlasting love. 
"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness."
Jeremiah 31:3

God takes great delight in you and sings over you.
"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. 
He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, 
He will rejoice over you with singing."
Zephaniah 3:17

You are anointed and have been given a purpose. 
"The Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives . . ."
Isaiah 61:1

You are forgiven and redeemed. 
"In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sin,
 in accordance with the riches of God's grace."
Ephesians 1:7

You are created in the image of God. 
"So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, 
male and female He created them."
Genesis 1:27

You are beautiful.
"The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for He is your Lord."
Psalm 45:11

You are more than a conquerer.
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."
Romans 8:37

You are chosen, holy, and dearly loved. 
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved . . ."
Colossians 3:12

You are chosen, holy, and blameless.
"For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world 
to be holy and blameless in His sight."
Ephesians 1:4

You are God's handy work.
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Ephesians 2:10
You are worth fighting for.
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."
Exodus 14:14

You are set free. 
"Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death."
Romans 8:2
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."
Galatians 5:1

{This one may be my favorite} You are a new creation. 
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; 
the old has gone, the new has come!"
2 Corinthians 5:17

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Find What You Love & Live It.

I've been reading this book about writing, and it is full of advice on how to unleash your creativity and grow your confidence as a writer.  One of her suggestions is to tell everyone that you happen to talk to about how you want to be a writer, because the more you say it, the less intimidating it becomes and the more you start to believe it yourself.

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday, and the nurse came in to ask me a billion questions about myself.  When she asked what my occupation was, I decided to try this new technique out.  "I'm an office assistant, but also an aspiring writer."  She looked up from writing my information down and said, "Aww, that's so cute... Do you have any books out?" Um, hello.  Do you know what aspiring means?  

"Not at the moment, but hopefully in the next few years."

"Aww.  Well, maybe I'll write a book too."  Cue pity laugh. 

Geeeez.  It's no wonder I'm having to read a book about growing your confidence. 

This woman didn't know anything about me, so her opinion didn't really hurt my feelings or cut at my confidence.  In reality, I'll probably never see her again.  But the exchange did make me think. 

Why are we so afraid to say what we want to do, or own up to who we are?  There are a thousand answers to that, and not one of them are even worth mentioning.  Life is short, and you only get one of them.  So why not use it all up living out your passion?  

I'm so blessed. I have a mom who, when I would write a poem or story growing up, would ask me to read it again and again, making me feel was the most talented eight-year-old in the whole world.  A dad who, when I called him to tell him I wanted to change my major to English--something most people told me was an idiotic decision because I would never get a job, and also something that was going to cost him a lot of money--responded with, "Gah, Chels.  I've been praying you'd do that.  You're just so good at writing."  Who's parents say things like that?!  

Maybe you're not so lucky, and you don't even have friends who you can feel confident telling your dreams to.  But do you know who you do have? You. 

And do you know who will be there in five years, even if your friends are gone?  You. 

And do you know who will be there in ten years?  You. 

And do you know the one single person who will be damaged and discouraged because it's ten years later, and you didn't go after your dream because you were worried about what those people, long gone now, would think?  You. 

You are the only one who can make decisions for you.  Be who you want to be.  If you don't like who you are, change it.  If you don't like what you do, change that too.  Life is too short to be kept miserable by your own hand.  Don't be ashamed of your dreams, or where you want to end up.  If you want to spend your life researching ancient Egyptian history, DO IT!  Sure, you might also have to work at McDonald's to make ends meet, but does that really matter if you're getting to live out your dreams and desires?  Don't be stifled by negative opinions.  When it comes to your life, the most important opinion is your own.  You alone know the desires placed in your heart when you were created.  You alone know what makes you come alive.  And you alone can choose to do it.  So why don't you? 

Next time you meet someone for the first time, and they're asking you about your job and what you do, tell them your dream.  You don't have to go into details, or give any explanation whatsoever.  "I'm a receptionist, and I really have a heart for reaching out to teenage girls."  It doesn't matter that these two things aren't related.  Just say it out loud.  Write it down.  

When it comes to starting to live out your dream, tomorrow is good, but today is better. 

"If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it." 
-John Irving



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kony 2012, Slavery, and Quitting.

Every January, my news feed on all forms of social media is filled with statistics about slavery.  This is largely due to the Passion conference that takes place at the beginning of January, where many people learn gut-wrenching facts about modern-day slavery.   While the people vary, the words are pretty much the same:

This is an outraged! 
How could we as Christians just turn a blind eye to this?
Write the president! 
Go on strike! 
Stop buying this brand, because it supports slavery! 
We can make a difference! 
We can make a difference! 
We can make a difference!

Do you know what happens to these outcries by February?

They are gone. 

Remember Kony 2012?  The campaign with the tagline, "Stop at Nothing!" How many people blew up facebook and twitter and went on midnight raids of their towns to put up posters and stickers because they could not stand the thought of the horrific injustice that was taking place at the hands of Joseph Kony?  Well, it may not be 2012 anymore, but last I heard, Kony is still out there.  There are still mass amounts of suffering and violence because of him.  But when was the last time that you stayed up all night raising awareness for this issue that you were so public loud about merely a few months ago?  Or, better yet, when was the last time you even prayed for those affected by this situation? 

The answer to that should make you a little bit sad. 

Stop at Nothing! Yet, we stopped. 

Those are just two examples, but the list of issues Christians become outraged about, only to let die off a few weeks later, could go on and on.

Clean water.
We can make a difference!  We can make a differnce!  We can make a difference!

Except, we don’t. 

Why is that?  Why do we do this?  Why do we become so obsessed with something that for a short time, we act and feel as if we could dedicate our whole lives to a cause?

To be blunt, we do it because it’s the popular thing to do.  It’s easy.  When thousands of other people are mad because of injustice, it’s easy to join them.  We just hop on the bandwagon and wow, does our voice sure seem loud when it is in chorus with all these other voices!

The problem is, very few people actually take action on these subjects.  Instead, they take to social media and conversation and t shirts and bumper stickers.  And do you know what happens next?  Of course you do, because you've done it many times. 

You quit.  You give up.  You become silent.  That is, until the next social issue comes along, and then you pipe right back up again.


Because it becomes uncomfortable.  It is no longer easy.  Your voice doesn’t seem quite as loud anymore, once others are silent.

It is not easy to pray for those in slavery everyday.
It is not easy to have to constantly think about your actions and your purchases like you said you were going to.
It is not easy to think about the thousands of homeless people who will go hungry tonight while you are going out to eat for the third time this week.
It is extremely uncomfortable to bring up abortion when it’s not popular to, and no one else is talking about it.
It can be awkward to think about how many people die from not having clean water when you are taking a thirty-minute shower.

So better just stop thinking about it.  Better just go back to living life like you’re used to, and only focus on the things around you.  It’s better that way.

Do you know what this makes you look like to the rest of the world?

Again with the bluntness: It makes you look stupid.

And lazy.

And hypocritical.

Why would anyone want to be a part of a group of people who are all talk and no action?  Let’s be honest, when we act this way, that is exactly what we are making Christians look like. 

Please stop doing this.

Do not learn about an issue, tell everyone you know that this outrages you, that God has stirred your heart and that God is going to use you to change things, and then quit. 

If you are going to quit, please leave God out of it.

At the same time, if God stirs your heart about something, do not quit!  By all means, blow up social media.  Write the president a letter.  Tell everyone how you are going to change the world.  But follow through on your words.  God can use you to change the world, but only if you choose to not quit.

Do.  Not.  Quit.

Even though we can sure act like it does, The Bible does not say, “God is pleased with this: raising awareness for as many possible issues as you can.”  Instead, it says this:  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)

Notice those are not words.  Those are actions. 

Don’t quit. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

we're MARRIED!

Crazy, right?! 

I think so too. 

After three and a half years of long distance dating, I finally married the love of my life.  It was, hands down, the most amazing day of my life.  My family made it into the most perfect day in all of history.  Seriously, you guys.  They did so much.  I have never felt so loved.  The day turned out to be exactly what I wanted it to be.  It was such a reflection of me and of Chris and of our relationship.

And let me just tell you . . . coming together with all of your family and your closest friends to make a promise to the God who created the universe that you will be one with your best friend for your entire life . . .

There are no words.

It was magical.  And beautiful.  And whimsical.  And will forever be remembered as the best day.

So now, real life starts!  It’s odd not wedding planning and marking things off of my to do list like a crazy person twenty-four hours a day, but I am loving it.  It’s been amazing to be with Chris this much and to not have to plan the next time we will see each other.  It feels like I’ve been holding my breath for a long time, and I can finally breath now. 

One of my New Year resolutions was to blog more, so be watching, because I have a lot to say!

Here are some pictures from the greatest night ever.  


Me and my mom pretty much handmade my entire wedding. (And I only say pretty much to be modest.  We hot glued an entire wedding, people!)  This was the day before, setting up for the reception.  I don't think our expressions need any explanation.  

Jeb seeing me in my wedding dress.  I think his expression says it all. 

Taking some pictures before the ceremony with Dylan.  He is, hands down, the world's greatest brother and helped make my wedding incredible.  Love him. 

Just about to go to my wedding and stuff.  No big.  

Reenacting the picture from "Bridesmaids" with my best friends in the world.  This was hilarious to take. 
As soon as I get the actual picture from this, I will post it.  

1.  My dad preformed the ceremony.  How many girls can say that?!  I'm so lucky. 
2.  See that gorgeous background?  Yep, we hot glued that. 

Father-Daughter Dance.  Why yes, I did do the Dougie with my dad.  Funny you should ask. 

This picture pretty much sums up how I feel about the whole day. 

I'll put up more pictures once I get them!