A REAL Happy Valentine’s Day

Hmm… how do I explain this.

Ok. I’ll just say it flat out. You’re single for a reason. There are people who look up to you and need you whole and healthy as a single woman – your relationship with Jesus stronger.

It’s just a season, trust me. You’re only single once, but you’re married for a long long time.

These are things I should have told my younger self on valentines day through the years, rather than getting all mopey and binging on chocolate and movies that made me cry. That’s right, I’m a binger. Doesn’t matter what it is I’m currently addicted to, I binge. Music, movies, chocolate, romance novels, even masturbation.

That’s right, I went there. The mind is a dangerous place for a young woman.

An addiction I was caught in for 10 years that I thought was an innocent way of finding satisfaction for what God created to be beautiful and with one man in marriage.

But my addictive personality caused me to get caught in a trap of sin. Sin keeps us longer than we meant to stay and takes us further than we wanna go and costs us more than we can afford to pay. And guess what, only Jesus can fix sin. Only Jesus can heal our minds.

But wait… I didn’t mean to go there with you today – whoever you are finding yourself reading this. Today is Valentines Day… Love day.

I love LOVE – I love the stories, the feelings, the butterflies (yes those annoying things flying around in your stomach with a crush) and the idea of having someone special in my life.

All these years it never went past crushes and butterflies. All these nearly 28 years (yes, I’m turning that old in May.). All these Valentine’s Days without the man of my dreams.

But I’m writing this to you today because I want you to know I got over my addictions. Not by myself of course, because sin is a trap – Jesus set me free. Complete Freedom.

And I want to try and disperse today a little of what trapped me.

The world says you’re nothing without someone special in your life, so it’s easy to buy in.

How many times have you heard the term “Singles awareness day” this year?

I can’t remember a year where it didn’t fill my social media newsfeed more. People mourning the fact that they are “forever alone” or the brave ones (the liars) that say they’re totally fine on their own. People buying in to the concept that they need a person to make them feel complete. Let me tell you this, if this desire is in your heart, GOD will make it happen! And I’m not gonna tell you you don’t need a person to feel complete. You DO! But it’s not who you think it is. It’s not Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Handsome, Mr. Amazing or Mr. Hot-stuff.

Let me tell you after 28 valentines days without that guy… JESUS is ENOUGH!

Jesus is more than enough. He is the one you need to fill your heart. He is the only one who actually can complete you.

You know that feeling when you’re with your crush (or boyfriend) and you think you’ll be together forever, and then when it doesn’t work out it’s like 10-tons of ice fell on your heart and left a hole big enough for a cupid army to fly straight through? Yeah that feeling. Go back to that emptiness for a moment with me. I know you know it. We’ve all been there.

That emptiness? That’s meant to be filled with the man who actually died for you. His name is Jesus. He knows you, he knows what you did to fill that emptiness and how you try to mask your pain with those Facebook posts about being single. He knows. He KNOWS!

And here’s the best part… HE LOVES YOU!

He loves you until you’re whole again. He loves you and completes you the way you’re meant to be completed. He fills that empty spot more than any man could. And he wants the BEST for you! I’m not saying you won’t ever have fairytale romance and hearts and red roses delivered to you on this day someday in the future… but don’t let the butterflies define your life. If you’re going from one guy to the next, or even from one addiction to the next because you can’t function without your sin vice, let me tell you this: Let Jesus in and let him take over that part of your life. Give HIM your love, your affections, your emotions, and your body. He created all of that and he knows what’s best for you – even better than you do.

So down with the singles awareness day facade… You guys, it ROCKS being single! You know why? Because we get to spend a season just doing things with Jesus, undistracted by what the world says about love. We can wait for real love, knowing He’s the one writing this love story.

So whether you’re reading this single or married for 50 years (either place can be empty without Jesus) I just want you to know… You are NOT alone! Jesus is just waiting for you to stop for a moment with him. Guaranteed, a moment will change everything, if you let him.

And if you’re reading this on this Valentine’s day and are totally blank to what I mean, let me know. I would love to share more with you on my freedom journey. I never get tired of bragging on my Jesus. He’s amazing.

Also… if you’re scared to talk to just one person right now (though community and accountability is the best way to stay free – people who will remind you that Jesus is there loving you in the dark moments), but if you are scared and just want to start exploring some ideas, I highly recommend this website: www.moralrevolution.com. These teachings really helped me think through some stuff and come to a place where I did reach out to my accountability for help.

If you’re reading this today and know it’s for you, remember this: Valentines Day is a day to celebrate LOVE! So stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop listening to the lie that you’re not enough and that you should mope today with chick-flix and chocolate, under a pile of soggy kleenex. Stop thinking the bitter things that Love will never happen for you. It HAS happened, His name is Jesus. And he wants to heal you and make you whole and then bless your socks off with the most amazing things in life (marriage may be included, you don’t know.).

Also, if you’re like me and have more married friends than you can count and you’re spending Valentine’s alone because there’s literally no one left, let your FRIENDS know you love them and admire them! They’ve taken some big steps in their lives (it ain’t easy being married) and they probably won’t hate some encouragement from time to time.

And one more thing. If you do find yourself alone today, know that you’re not. There is someone a little younger than you probably facing the same things you do. Use this valentine’s day to reach out to them as well. They need some love today too.

So in closing remember this: Love is real. Jesus loves. He wants you to be loved by him. He died for you. He will never leave you. You are NOT alone.

And lastly… Singles awareness day is a joke. Don’t buy into that. You’re single and it’s not fatal. Romance will come in the right time. Focus on Jesus until that time. He was single all his life and changed the world in the process. He gets it, more than you know.

Happy Love Day everyone! 

Why I’m buying a house – Part 1.

A few months ago I stood on the sand and wished I was brave enough to be walking straight into them. To have them crash over me and under me. To learn how to really walk on water. A new longing to TRUST my Father.

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To walk up there where impossibilities really don’t exist.

It’s funny because a few months later I read that last story about the wave game and my nephew and what God showed me… And I heard that quiet Holy Spirit voice speak something new about it to my heart.

But let me tell you some of my life these days.

After that moment on the beach in Florida… I had to go home to real life. But the problem was I wasn’t happy in real life anymore. So I began a searching journey.

So applications went out… 5 of them… to 5 prestigious colleges… for 5 Journalism programs.

My heart was saying, “Go to Hamilton… Go to Mohawk… Be a Journalist… Write for a living…”

Looking back I think my heart was making things up in order to try and make up for a dream that was beginning to die in my heart… like the way one part of the body works overtime in order to make up for a failing organ. (and all of you know how I am SUCH a dreamer.)

But that’s another story for another blog.

A lot of frantic praying went into the college dream… Prayer. And making sure all my people were supportive. They were! There were green lights all the way! So I told the college yes. I looked up student jobs in the area, browsed course lists, and dreamt about how my life would change… and then as things got more and more real there was something deeper in my heart.

I can only really explain it like my heart was knit to this place called Crossroads Life church. And when something is knit, it is so intertwined that any amount of tearing can completely destroy it.

I got really really sad… heartbroken.

And then one night I didn’t want to look up college courses, I didn’t want to pack my things, I didn’t want to downsize and sell my car… and I ended up just crying uncontrollably on my Jesus’ shoulder.

Suddenly these words came out of my mouth… “Lord, I’m sorry if going to college is wrong. But I’ve GOT to do SOMETHING! I’m going CRAZY here!”

As soon as I said that, I chalked it up to nerves. Even denied it for a few days.

But then Jesus sent a sweet and truthful friend my way… A friend who gave me a brighter perspective on living here and serving this house we’re both planted in. Hearts knit together.

And because of that moment of tears only days before, I listened. I cried. I opened my heart to her. I explained how torn my heart felt. She explained why. She even mentioned that dream that I had been trying to replace. 

But I didn’t want to make a decision because of her. Or because of my pastor. Or my parents. Or my best friend. Or my mentor.

No, I was beginning to see how this journey was because my Heavenly Father – my Papa – wanted me to know without a doubt WHO I am and WHO He created me to be.

So I sat down with Him and wrote it out and decided not to go to college. To not become a city girl and leave my churchy family.

Instead I wanted more than anything I wanted to move back to my hometown and BE exactly who my Papa says I am. I am His. I am Loved. I am worthy. I am His daughter. I am filled with His Holy Spirit. I am called to this place. For this time in History. To do exactly what He wants me to do. He told me I didn’t have to go anywhere else or be anything more than I am right now.

He told me not to chase new replacement dreams just because my God-dreams aren’t happening in my own timing. He told me not to fabricate my own blessing, because I may accidentally steal someone elses.

He has plans for me here… This is my adventure.

… To be continued. 🙂

Waves over my head…

It was 2 days after Christmas when this was my view…

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So different, a sunny Christmas, for this Canadian.
But not for the brown-eyed boy smiling at me from the waves… “C’mon Aunty Chelle! Lets play the wave game!”
For life is a game, to all who are unafraid.
His goal – to not let the waves touch his dancing feet.
My goal – to keep up with him.
But alas, this Aunty got tired quickly.
Sometimes the pressures of life build… and suddenly you’re in up to your ankles in sea-foam and saltyness.
The crazy thing about being up to your ankles is that the incoming tide will find a way to come higher… until suddenly my sundress was soaked and Carter laughed… “Aunty Chelle! That’s not how you play the wave game!”
See to most of us the “wave game” is to stay away from the things that will get us wet and sweep us off into the sea.
How could I tell him that I wanted to get swept off to sea… that a little part of me was still afraid, but the reality is that I was – that all of us are – born for a greater adventure. And I was too tired to fight against it anymore.

So I let the waves carry me and splash against me and I was so blissfully happy…

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Fast-forward a few weeks… I’m back in the land of ice and snow.
And my sweet friend is leading worship, as I stand in the front row… I don’t remember what song. I was too lost in His face – my beloved Jesus was there speaking words over me. I could hear him.
Sometimes Jesus talks to me in pictures while I’m worshipping him. I think because he knows how I love beauty and visual things.
This time I’m standing on that ocean shore again… I’m in up to my ankles and the waves are getting high enough to hit my knees, like before. The hem of my dress gets wet and I’m so happy to be here with Jesus again.
But wait… He’s trying to tell me something. He wants me to know more of his plans for me. (Plans to prosper me, not to harm me. – Jeremiah 29:11)

“Look at the waves around you…” His voice. So beautiful. So loving. So strong.
“Look at the waves… My daughter. You could stay here on this shore where it is safe and warm and happy. You could stay here and live a full and happy life on the shore where you can always know exactly where your feet may land. You can choose this safe path… OR! You can choose to come up higher. Come up with me. Come away with me. Up where the waves crash over your head. Here where it isn’t “safe” but it’s instead a grand adventure. Come further up and further in… I will show you how to walk on water. Up here where impossibilities do not exist!”

This is what my Jesus says… This is how he calls all of us.

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What will you choose? Will you choose to stay safe and warm and happy in whatever sphere you are in right now.
Or were you meant to choose more – to be more.
Will you trust Him enough to jump into the waves… Over your head… up where impossibilities do not exist?

A few more weeks pass and I’m listening to a new album just hitting the iTunes market from a church that defied all impossibility and made beauty out of a small-town called Redding, California.
Something about these lyrics were written for me in this season…

I choose this… whether I sink or whether I swim. It makes no difference.
As long as I’m with my Jesus.
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It’s not glamorous… but it’s a wonderful life – Pt 2! :)

So in order for me to continue explaining to you about Community and how it has defined my life, I must re-visit the realizations that have gotten me to the place I am as far as friendships. I want to show you a blog I posted some time ago – a throwback, sort of. It covers the foundation of what I want to say about friendships – and next time we discuss this beautiful topic, I will share what I’ve learned since August 2011 when this appeared on my old blog.

So without further ado…

Cheerleading Friendship

By the time David had finished reporting to Saul, Jonathan was deeply impressed with David—an immediate bond was forged between them. He became totally committed to David. From that point on he would be David’s number-one advocate and friend. (1 Samuel 18:1)

He loved David more than his own soul! (1 Samuel 20:17)

True Friendship… here a picture is painted.

Two unlikely friends – Jonathan, the young Prince of Israel – David, a poor shepherd boy, but God’s anointed as the next King of Israel.

Do you think Jonathan didn’t know that in the usual lineage of Kings’ successors he should have inherited the throne? Don’t believe he could have been that naïve… is father, King Saul, pretty much shoved it down his throat everyday that David lived and breathed. Saul tried his best to kill David – envy and anger ate at his soul from the moment God’s hand of favour left Saul’s life.

But Jonathan’s deep love for David transcended the mind of his worldly father.

Jonathan knew God’s anointed, and would not rest until David was put in his place as King. Even risking (and eventually losing) his life, Jonathan knew the honour and favour of God that would come from protecting the future King.

What would happen if we understood friendship like that?

What kind of honour, favour, and blessings would be bestowed upon us, if we – instead of seeking our own success in life – instead built our lives around encouraging and pushing others forward.

What selflessness would abound!

What a better world we would have!

Years later, after Jonathan & David are long dead, a man named Jesus Christ – the son of David – came to show the world true love like that only even more powerful! He was the Son of God and his love took him to a horrible cross, he died and overcame death and all our troubles and fears.

The Bible says we are the body of Christ… this means we are connected.

As a body, how can we function without each other?

I have a couple of personal stories to share about this…

I have the privilege of working with one of my best friends – Elsbeth.

We have a unique friendship. A true Proverbs “Iron sharpens iron” relationship.

I love her to death – she loves me – we get on each other’s nerves – we are very much sisters. J

Yesterday at work I was in a bad mood about something (I even forget what it was now) and I was letting it hurt our friendship, (though I was more to blame, on this one).

I returned from a lunch break (to just get away) and what’s the first thing my dear friend does?

She chooses that moment to come up, massage my back, and pray for me.

It was such a sincere moment, I felt so convicted.

Isn’t this how God treats us?

In our moments of weakness, negativity, and pain… He loves.

The bible even says “While we were yet sinners, He died for us.”

Such profound love is only capable through Jesus Christ.

Another thing about the body – we are called to be advocates and cheerleaders for each other.

An advocate is one who speaks for another.

This is the selflessness I mentioned earlier – for who is more unselfish than one who puts others first at the risk of promoting others before himself?

This is not something you see often in our world today.

We seem obsessed with being first and climbing the ladder to success.

The thing about this is that we usually trample someone on the way up!

How is hurting and pushing down helping to build the body of Christ?

As a member of the body of Christ, we are called to be different from the world!

In this race we call life, we are all called to be runners AND we are all called to be cheerleaders!

A cheerleader is one who believes in their team even when they are not at their best. They are constantly encouraging and uplifting the spirits of their fellow team-mates.

A cheerleading friend is a true friend.

A “Jonathan” type of friend.

One who is willing to put aside all his selfish desires and pray, lift up, and encourage his friend to succeed in his calling.

I know what you’re thinking. You wonder if you start to put others first, what will happen to YOUR dreams and desires? Doesn’t God have a calling on your life too?

You bet He does.

But will He honour you for a sacrifice and a pure heart to see your friend succeed in His calling?

You bet. J

Besides… Jesus said: If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

Another personal story.

I have a few AH-MAZING friends who demonstrate cheerleading friendship to me by consistently believing in me (even when I don’t believe in myself) and encouraging me on in everything I do.

I love them so much, I hope someday I can be there for them as much as they are for me.

Tonight I got home from work and felt a lot of fears filling my heart (I won’t get into that because this is not the point of my story).

I texted my girls and asked for prayer – and one in particular called me out and encouraged me to fight back the enemy’s lies by quoting the word.

Another encouraged me by saying “perfect love casts out fear”…

After a good long talk with Jesus and quoting a LOT of scripture, I texted them back.

With so much love, my beautiful cheerleading friend simply stated that she loved me, couldn’t stand to see the enemy keep me in a foothold, and that’s what she was here for – To build and encourage the body of Christ.

You see, a cheerleading friend will speak into your life and lovingly state:
“If YOU are winning, then I have won.”

I want to leave you with one last thought on cheerleading friendship.

One that I believe is key to everything I just talked about.

Remember Job? He had problems… and he had friends who were slightly less than encouraging.

But God honoured him for his faith.

Look at this:

And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10)

So friends – wherever you are tonight. Whatever struggles you face. Whatever lies the enemy has you ensnared in…

Take heart – have faith in a very real God who loves you enough to send His Son to display true love for you.

Then turn around and begin to PRAY for your friends…

God will bless you beyond your wildest dreams.

A side note: if you are reading this and you find yourself without friends (my heart weeps for you) – remember there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother – His name is Jesus. He loves you more than life.

And then start asking Him to send you people who will be an encouragement to you as you are an encouragement to them.

I pray you find a real friend you can build up and be a “Jonathan” towards…

Something I’ve been learning – in regards to Job’s prayer for his friends.

If I pray FOR my friends and they pray for me, we often get answered faster than if we pray selfishly.

Try it. I bet you won’t be disappointed.

It’s not glamorous… but it’s a wonderful life.

Friends, Family, work, churchy… Four elements that make up my life.
I almost wish I could journey with you through the last 26 (and a half) years to explain to you why I am who I am (or the way I am… because those phrases are the same, but oh so different in meaning.)

If I could sum up in one word what shaped my life it would be this:
COMMUNITY!

Over the next few blogs, I want to unpack for you the essence of the word “Community”.
God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.”
So often I’ve heard this phrase interpreted, “It is not good for man to be unmarried”… but that’s not what it means.
Adam didn’t have anyone who was like him. Someone he could talk to for hours, go out for coffee with, talk about the serious stuff and enjoy the exciting moments. God saw that Adam was lonely so he created Eve (yes of course there was physical attraction there as well… I’m not that naive. I mean, come on. How else did the world get populated? … unless you really buy that high school anthropology lesson that told we came from apes. Yeah right. Ok with that outta the way – lets move on.)

YOU ARE NOT MEANT TO DO LIFE ALONE!!!

There’s another verse in the Bible (Psalm 68) that says, “God sets the solitary in families.”
Maybe you think you actually are a loner… some people are. I could easily be, and kind of was for a season in my life. But God saw that. First thing he did was put me in the craziest most social family on the planet. I really think there’s only two of us that are true introverts (any family reading this, draw your own conclusions. 😉 )
We homeschooled, travelled, and had a crazy amazing (and too short) bunch of years living under the same roof. When we all grew up, we spread out. I really believe it’s because my parents raised us to be the salty truth of Jesus in this world. And since salt doesn’t taste good all in one spot, God had to spread us out a little (ok – a lot.) and use us all in our own different spheres of influence all over the world.
Family is important and I wouldn’t have picked anyone else to be mine.
Not only that – theres almost 8 brand new additions over the last 5 and a half years that will change the world! This aunty couldn’t be more smitten with the next generation. 🙂

God put us in families… He meant for us to be in community.
Not only with him, but with everyone else he put in our lives.

Tune in tomorrow night to see what God says about friendships. 🙂

PS. Just a bit of a brag on my family… here we are in summer 2014. (baby boy coming soon to join us in February 2015!)

New Seasons… New dreams…

Good morning writer’s world!

Today is Saturday… the day following one of the strangely hardest work weeks of my life. I woke with a jump at 7:55 this morning, thinking I was late for work. When I realized I wasn’t (what joy!) I decided since I was awake earlier than needed, some Jesus chill time could happen longer than usual. 🙂

Life is good when you just chill under the covers for an extra half hour with Jesus. He really shines new perspective on life and what He wants you to see as important.

So that brings me to you, dear writer’s world… I heard Jesus say this is a writing season. A preparation season. And one of the ways I sift and filter through my life is by writing it out. So my world is going to be laid out in small daily increments. A theme for every day. No, I’m not going to tell you right now… stay tuned and you’ll figure it out! 🙂

For now… just enjoy these few pieces of art I collected this week. Enjoy today. Live fully in today. Love Jesus today.

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Thursday heart…

It’s Thursday… that in-between day. Not mid-week and not quite the weekend.
That day that doesn’t seem to quite… fit.
It’s the kind of day that is restless with anticipation, you’re wishing the time away. And yet, nothing of importance can be made happen instantaneously. The really important things in life require a waiting season.
The question is… how will you spend your time in the waiting?
How will you seize the day on Thursday?
Even though you’re completely looking forward to what lies ahead on the weekend, there’s just nothing you can do to make it come faster. You can’t rush Thursday.

It’s the same way with life.
I’m in a season right now that can’t be rushed.
My heart still aches to rush this season – there’s just too much anticipation and dreams of what could be next!
But there comes a time when you have to relax … look around and be thankful for Thursday. Be thankful in the waiting.
There’s so much to be done right in front of you – those dishes, that stack of paper to be filed, that relationship with a long-lost friend to mend. Sometimes we can’t truly move forward until we conquer Thursday.
There’s nothing we can do to make it go faster, and there’s nothing we can do to make it go slower.
That’s life.
No matter what you do, you cannot rush through the waiting season.
And funny thing… There’s nothing you can do to slow it down either!
Whether you conquer your “Thursday” with a smile, or simply limp your way through, nothing can stop you from going THROUGH this season.
But wouldn’t it be so much better to enjoy the waiting? See what you can learn here.
God has a reason for every Thursday that may come your way.
The question is, how will you spend it?

I’ve decided in my Thursday… in my waiting…
I will conquer. I will overcome.
God has a purpose for this season.
A lesson to be learned in the mess of dishes, in that stack of filing, in that broken friendship aching to be restored.
So Lord Jesus, bring on the Thursdays… my restless heart may wish to rush through, but I choose to trust you here in the midst of the waiting. I choose to learn what you want me to learn.

Trust him?
Then seize Thursday.
Smile on Thursday.
Don’t throwback Thursday … and don’t throw it forward either.
Be here. Be now.
All you anticipate is just around the corner.
Lets hem it in before by embracing Thursday – the waiting day – for what it is.
A time to dream and anticipate God’s faithfulness TODAY!

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