Saturday, December 25, 2010

How many gods would pour out their heart to romance a world that has torn all apart?

(Original photo)
 Are there any stories that you've heard a thousand times that you somehow discover have caverns of meaning you've yet to explore? For me, much of the bible is this way. I grumble to reread that cliché parts: the cross, Jonah and the whale, Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, and especially the birth of Christ. Even people who don't believe in the bible know about that one, thanks to Charlie Brown's Christmas. Yet this year, when I heard that same ole story once again, sparks flew. The implications of the age old tale, the babe in the manger, the angels, and the shepherds echoes into our lives today. The baby changes everything. Maybe you recognized the story's greatness the first time you heard it, maybe you think the story was made up to help sell Christmas cards, but play along with me.

Just a little back story to the nativity scene: the world was separate from God. Because of sin. Because in that first Genesis story, people decided that God was holding out on them. Eve chose to take things into her own hands but then Adam rushed to rescue her from sin...oh He stood by and did nothing. He actually took part in disobeying God's only forbiddance. Since then the world was sick. It was rampant with the sin disease. People gave God the finger and did whatever they wanted or they straight ignored His existence. Death crept into the world and brought with it sorrow, pain, grief, anger, destruction. God didn't just sit back and watch this new, broken world. He gave them guidelines, that would keep them safe, and make their lives better. But people ignored those too. God made appearances, but He kept a distance because when something is pure, it cannot touch something impure or it too will become impure. It was painful to be apart from what you love, and God could not imagine His treasured creations spending eternity without Him. He had a rescue plan.

God decided to come to Earth. As fully man, and fully God. That way He could touch man's heart. Now, God could have made a grand entrance. He had thunder, lightning, earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, chariots of fire, plagues of locust, kings and queens all at his disposal. Instead, God came in the quiet of the night. And the only sign that pointed to His arrival was a bright, beautiful star. Those who'd listened to God's messengers knew exactly what was happening. People had been talking about this for years. But who would have expected a young, scared couple gave birth to the God of the Universe, in the form of Jesus, God's son? The mighty being, left His throne in heaven where he'd never felt the cold, never seen a dark night, never had to sneeze, to come to disease-ridden Earth. He came as the most dependent of creatures: a baby. He had to be fed, He had to be protected, He pooped His pants. Did he come to the grandest places on Earth? Was he born in a palace? Or perhaps a Macy's parade. No. God had so much humility that His son was born in a stable. The place they keep farm animals. And who did God send to tell the news that His son had been born, that God had come to earth? A grand choir? A professional motivational speaker? The president? Nope. Nope. And nope. God sent angels to tell a group of grungy old Shepards. Shepards weren't exactly the cool kids of the time. In fact, they were looked down upon. They were poor, simple men of trade. Yet God chose these nobody specials to spread the greatest news the world would ever hear.

I bet Mary didn't know as she held her baby that He would grow up to live a perfect life, loving people while spreading the good news about relationship with God, and die to finally give people the power to be free of the bondage of sin. He would bridge the gap between God and man that had been created by sin. He would rescue the world. He would rescue me.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


When I heard that my campus' branch of Campus Crusade for Christ was hosting a mission trip to East Asia during Thanksgiving break my first thought was, sign me up! You see, this was a special trip in hopes to help build world vision that the individuals who went would spread to the rest of our movement. Coug staff kept these things in mind as they selected a few students to accept this challenge. I know that I would have said "YES!!!" If they'd asked me, and couldn't understand why they didn't.

I was SO BLESSED to be able to spend 5 weeks in Costa Rica this summer, just serving God. Sure there were a few large bugs, weird foods, and lonely, uncomfortable situations along the way. But for the most part I got to spend my time loving God, loving my team, and loving Costa Rican university students. What could be more fun than that? So naturally, when a similar opportunity came along, I was cock-eyed enthusiastic about it.

God and I reconciled about me not being called to go on the trip. I decided that what I really needed was a week of rest. I would hit ministry hard when I came back feeling refreshed and renewed. And God was calling me to be a part of this trip through prayer and finances. I loved being on my friends' support teams. My heart needed to give more than it needed to go.

Well, after living out this week I am so thankful to have had it. Inspired by Amanda Laplante's list of things she and Eric are thankful for, here are the things I'm thankful for--Thanksgiving break edition:

Sleeping in til 10. Staying in my pajamas all day. Sledding. Harry Potter. Jordan. Connor. Joey. Late night tv + talk with Joey. Mom. Big girls night out. The Grinch. Hot chocolate. Popcorn. Tea. Muffins. Banana bread. Snow Angels. Dad. Turkey. Mashed Potatoes. Ellen. Kelly and Rose, just like old times. Mischievous dogs. A warm cat. A bed that seems HUGE compared to the one in my dorm. Weddings. Wearing pretty dresses. Philip Arnold. Dance parties. Strobe light app. Rice-a-roni. Jesus music. Taylor Swift's Speak Now CD. Snow plows. Peppermint bark. Pizza with jalapenos on top. The game of things. Jill's jello. Just dance 2. Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer. Glee Christmas music. Cousins. A tank full of gas. Free meals. Family. Jesus. Love.

Conclusion: God is smarter than me.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Goodbye hunting season! See you again next year.

*Disclaimer* I have nothing against hunting. I actually think it's great that Philip, my boyfriend enjoys it. Granted, I resent the fact that my dad snuck strange elk and deer meat into my diet against my knowledge growing up. I know Phil likes bonding with his dad and uncle, being in the woods, getting away from Pullman for awhile. And when I went with him, I actually enjoyed it for the most part. Hunting is a perfectly good hobby. Here's my issue. I hate that it takes Philip away from me for 6 consecutive weekends each year. I've seen people who make hunting more important than anything else. They neglect their families, and invest excess amounts of time and money into the sport. Phil is definitely not one of those. He proves it by skipping hunting when my birthday, or an equally important event falls on the same day as season. It's just that as busy college students, most of our free time lands on the weekends. We've been good about sneaking dates into Wednesday afternoons and making an effort to be active in each other's lives throughout the week. And his absence has given me the chance to have extra girl time! But I am so ready to have our normal hangout routines back. As of this weekend I am a hunting widow no more! (I wrote this poem while Philip was out shooting things and I missed him.)

You are shooting deer
and my heart
with the body,
into a crunch of leaves.
Sift through wafts of burnt candles
I catch your scent
freshly wetted bark
like a butterfly in my hands.
I peek at it,
it flutters away.
I run through trees
And see only wrinkles in the
blanket of green
that might be you.
Like fireflies,
the first snow of winter

Monday, November 15, 2010

Roomie love

I love Roomies. When I was a little girl, I came to terms with the fact that I was never going to have my own room. I thought, "Now I share with my sister, when I'm in college I'll have roommates, when I get married I'll have a BOY roommate...This is never going to end." Well, I did get my own room in the basement for all of high school, unless you count the spiders as my roomies. My younger self was complaining about a lifetime of roommates, but I have come to be excited about them. It's nice to have someone to share the cleaning responsibilities with, to talk to about your day with, and who doesn't love a good pillow-talk? I have found that roommateship can be a unique relationship that you can't quite cultivate any other way.  I have had 4 long-term roommates. I want to give a little shout out to each. Some of my favorite things about my roomies(past, present, and future):

1. Jordan, my little sis. We wear the same size of clothes. I probably didn't appreciate this as much while we were roommates as I do now that her fashion sense has aged and developed like a good wine (not that I would know). She played with me. We still play together, just not Barbies or Polly Pockets. My sister has become one of my best friends.  We are different but in some ways we're the same.  We both want to be loved, to love God and the people around us and to change the world.  OH yeah and to have lots of fun along the way.

2. Jamie Miley. Haha. I love Jamie's snarky attitude, the way she tells it like it is, and the way she's not afraid to talk about anything. She probably learned more about me than any of my friends my freshman year. Jamie, my boyfriend and I would all hangout like a scene straight out of "3's company." I sometimes called her Dr. Phil because she helped my boyfriend and I through some tough struggles and arguments, by reminding us that we loved eachother and that was the most important thing.  Also, we survived the mouse invasion together.

3. Erin Dienst. Crying on that well-loved patch of carpet late at night, and praying together. Praying that we would be able to understand God's love for us, that He would bring revival to our families, our dorm, our campus, our world. Erin would make a good husband. She made sure we went on lots of roomie dates and hung out outside of the room.  She makes me feel believed in, challenged, and empowered.

4. Katie Anthony. Witty roommate banter. So much laughter.  Extreme intimate details.  Random dancing, especially to Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream." And the way she shares herself with me, but also seeks to know and celebrate who I am. She is the best encourager I've ever met. Loves the girls around her and makes Streit feel like home for me and for the freshman that live on this floor.

(5). Someday I imagine that I will share a room with...dare I say it...a man. That man being my future husband! Here are some perks I see to that. 24/7 spider patrol. I'm hoping I'll never have to kill one of those tiny manifestations of Satan again. A warm body to keep me cozy while I sleep. Man deodorant, it smells so good. (Although between you and me I have already had this privilege with one of my roommates, I'll leave who up to your imagination). He won't take up much closet space, leaving me plenty of room for my mounds of clothes. And then the best part, we will experience a relationship more intimate than any other as we walk through life together--growing closer to God and to each other.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I was a Type 2

There are 2 types of nonbelievers. Ok there are lots of types, just like there are lots of types of people. But in college, and as far as what they use to fill themselves, most of the people I've met who don't follow Christ fall into one of these 2 categories.
Type 1: The Partier. This is the WAZZU stereotype. The person that uses drugs, sex and rock and roll to try to fill the God-shaped vacuum in their heart. People that drink 'til they're numb, bump and grind with strangers on the dance floor, use sex to gain excitement, intimacy, self esteem. This person is the most common type in Streit (the dorm I live in). And while as a freshman I stuck up my nose at these people, now they really break my heart. I nearly cry when I see that girl walking home from a party late Thursday, Friday and Saturday by herself wearing almost nothing. I know what she's thinking! She wants to be loved, noticed, to feel beautiful. And she uses her body to seek a reaction in men on campus. The scary thing is that there's something about her that seems appealing to me. Part of me wants to look like that, to have my body on display. I believe that the desire to be captivating is deeply embedded in a woman's heart. It is a desire that God wants to fulfill. Someday it will be exciting to have my body celebrated by my husband (hope I didn't make you go ew), but I am already so celebrated! For the bible tells me so: "Is that a joyous choir I hear? No it is the Lord Himself exulting over you in happy song" Zephaniah 3:17, "I will praise You for I am remarkably and wonderfully made" Psalm 139:14, "For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with the Beloved." Ephesians 1:3-6

Then there's Type 2: The Achiever. This type uses success: in school, their relationships, extra curricular activities, even "doing the right thing" to fulfill them. The dangerous thing about this type is that they are often overlooked. As a freshman I was puzzled by my non-Christian friends who had good morals and did well in school. They sure didn't look like they needed Jesus. But the truth is that they are searching and striving just as much as Type 1. I can relate the most with this type. When I'm not trusting in Jesus I revert right back to this. In high school I loved to think of myself as the yearbook editor/band vice president/key club president/Soccer Most Inspirational/Wrestling Pioneer and team captain/Teens Against Tobacco Use member/kids soccer coach etc. etc. etc. Then I came to college and this was all stripped away from me. Achievements are such an instable place to put your identity. It's like putting your life savings in a ziplock baggy and floating it out to sea, hoping it will survive. "For what does a man get with all his work and all his efforts that he labors with under the sun? For all his days are filled with grief and his occupation is sorrowful; even at night, his mind does not rest. This too is futile." Ecclesiastes 2:22-23.

Not one of these ways of seeking fulfillment is better than the other.  Both let us down.  And both are sin, bring death.  What then can bring humanity the fulfillment and satisfaction they are constantly searching for? Once at Ross Point Camp Jesus spoke to me about this. He emptied me of all the success I turn to for wholeness. I couldn't pass the swim test (athlete Chelsea) I wasn't the center of attention in my cabin (popular Chelsea) it seemed like I couldn't do anything right (good at stuff Chelsea). Jesus looked me in the eyes and said "You are not worthless You are mine," and for the first time I believed Him. I believe that the only way for us to satisfy the thirsts we're dying of is to take a look at ourselves through Christ's eyes. We must, "comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God's love, and to know the Messiah's love that surpasses all knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19

Monday, October 25, 2010

Baby Just Say Yes

How can you help but love her? I fall for her soft curls and blue eyes that sparkle like her sequined guitar every time. She's an innocent kind of beautiful. No in your face curves or chance of her wardrobe malfunctioning. Taylor Swift is a true all American girl. She wears sparkly dresses, and believes in love stories. She writes her own music on notebooks in her bedroom and designed her whole tour herself--appropriately named, "Fearless." Tay Sway's not afraid to share her heartaches with her girlfriends around the world, or to call out guys who've done her wrong--by name. We learned from her that "These things will change, the walls that they put up to hold us back will fall down," and to "stay beautiful" because we're "really gonna be someone, ask anyone." That sometimes the bad guy rides a "white horse" and we were empowered to say "it's too late to catch me now" when he comes crawling back. America shook their fist at Kanye when he stole her moment in the spotlight. They cheered with her as she won 6 American music awards, 5 CMT music awards, and 4 Grammy awards. Laughed with her on SNL as she "didn't talk about" liking baking or Taylor Laughtner. And cried with her when Joe-who-must-not-be-named broke her heart.

I know there are Tay-nay-sayers out there. And if you fall under this category I know who you are. You think you're too cool to swoon over the latest teen fads. You roll your eyes at Taylor's glitter and optimistic smile. You wouldn't be caught dead listening to music sung by the seat of screaming 13-year-olds' affections. Here's my challenge to you. I bet that if you gave T-Swift half a chance she would win you over. Maybe if you played "Hey Steven" as you drove down a country road, or let yourself sing along to "Teardrops on my guitar" you wouldn't be able to be a Taylor hater anymore. I dare you not to fall for the twinkle in her eye, the zeal in her hair flip, and her uncanny ability to charm audiences of all ages. Give her a shot, I won't tell anyone.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A new chapter

Can blogs have chapters? Books can have chapters. Life can have chapters. But blogs? If they can have chapters my blog is about to enter a new one.

In the past I've used this space to post poetry. Kind of a dump space for when I write something and I don't know what to do with it. But as I'm growing up so are my writing skills (as Napolean Dynamite would say, okay maybe I'm not becoming TOO grown up). That doesn't mean there's no place in cyber space for my poems, just that I don't want to post them until they've had time to breath. They've been reworked 3, or 4 times as I routinely browse my disorganized file of baby creations. I can't just throw them into the world without the nuturing they need.

Also, I have more things to say. I am twenty years old for crying out loud. I feel as though it happened over night. Without warning, I've become an adult. So this blog is going to be rebirthed, or at least get a makeover. Time to be used as an outlet for all my thoughts, poetic or otherwise. Turn the page. Welcome to Chelsea's blog chapter 2.
[And for conservatives like me, remember "Without change there would be no butterflies."]
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