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faith

Thoughts After El Salvador

Posted in travel

A few days back in the USA and my mind often drifts to last week in El Salvador.

It was a rich week — rich in laughter, diligent work, challenges, and leaning into God minute by minute.

It was truly a joy to work alongside my husband serving the El Salvadorian people. He was familiar comfort when I dealt with some difficult things, an energizing spirit when we were tired, and a voice of love and encouragement every single day. I still thank God we were able to travel, serve, worship, and experience together. I also enjoyed, with God, listening to J preach in our partnering church the first Sunday we were there.

The church we connected and served with radiated faith and joy in God.

Our translators were high school students from a local Christian school, and getting to know them was a highlight of my week. I hope to stay connected with some of my closest El Salvadorian friends for a long time. They were passionate about God and helping us communicate. They were so diligent in their help, and a joy to be around. We laughed and joked and sweated and were stretched in new ways. I pray they were as blessed by us as we were by them.

We prayed and spent time with the men and women of our partner church, and I was reminded we are all the same. We are all followers of Jesus, loved and known by Him, walking through uncertainties and challenges of life, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. How sweet it was to put Gospel-sharing, and God worshipping, in El Salvador on particular faces and names. Our God is good.  Continue reading

releasing more of me to receive more of God

Posted in faith

I need a daily intervention for this reality: choosing Jesus means you live entirely for Someone else.

Choosing Jesus changes the game from “you’re the best, you can do this!” to “God is the best. You can’t, but He can.”

Choosing Jesus replaces self-promoting tendencies with God-exalting habits.

Choosing Jesus fills you with durable hope, compassion, and generosity that you wouldn’t otherwise have.

Choosing Jesus gives a posture of upward and outward affections, in contrast to the life-imploding desires we have without His rescuing.

Choosing Jesus challenges you not to settle for immediate gratification and worldly successes, but aim for the smile of Heaven.

Choosing Jesus means that your passion, beauty, confidence, and purpose in this life is grounded in Someone else.

Have you experienced these fruits of choosing Jesus?

I certainly have, but they didn’t start blooming until I honestly found, and decided, that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are better than every single joy, ability, decision, achievement, relationship, skill, and activity.

Having an active relationship with God deepens everything, but what it has done for me most is shift my heart, soul, and mind’s energy from myself to an open-handed, joyful, adventurous journey towards Him.

And something incredible, He knew I would be terminally imperfect at living this way, but He loved so dearly He sent Jesus to die in my place, bearing all of my sin, my lack, my imperfection. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, because of Almighty God’s perfect plan, nothing separates us. Not my weak ways of loving Him, not the sinful choices I willfully and unintentionally make, not my inescapable humanness.

Choosing this Jesus in our daily life — this Creator, Sustainer, and King — is what gives eternal color to everything we do.

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don’t torpedo yourself

Posted in faith

You know the phrases, I’m sure:

Ugh, why do I always do this?

What is wrong with me?

You don’t ever handle that situation well.

That was a silly thing to say.

I wish I didn’t feel this way.

Maybe you hear them often in a friend or family member. Maybe they slip from your mouth daily.

I found myself in this spot, but adding (misplaced) feelings of shame or guilt. Not helpful or healthy.

And certainly not what God desires of or for me. But it was a habit, one that didn’t seem too crazy or bizarre.

But, like they do so often, Jesus’ words pierced this normal. 

“Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Matthew 15:11

Hear and understand, Chelsea, what comes out of your mouth is serious business.

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