Do ever find yourself pausing life for a second? You realize that you're in this perfect moment and you just want to savor every last bit of its splendor. Taste it. Breath it. Soak it up. I felt that way tonight. Forgive me for posting about nothing but wedding, fiancé, and marriage lately--its kind of consuming whatever brain cells I have left right now. Phil and I are utilizing some cheap dates as of late (the activities not the people). Tonight we took advantage of pizza and a movie. Snuggled on Streit's stale couch in the lounge in front of the big screen., we popped in "The Social Network" which we snagged from going-out-of-business Blockbuster for 1.05, including candy and drinks. Nestled in between Philip's thermal-clad arm and a spread of Little Ceasar's pizza, orange fanta, hot wings, crazy sticks, craisins and watermelon sour patch, I found my bliss. I looked up at my fiancé, his neatly trimmed goatee and stash, fresh haircut, my face on his warm, lime green Universidad de Costa Rica t-shirt and sighed in contentment.
Was it really one night ago we were fighting over...what was it? Both of us exhausted and inconsiderate.
And earlier in the day we were stressed to tears, praying that God would make a way for us to afford a wedding.
Didn't we remember the magic of moments like these? The good stuff of Chelsea and Philip time. Like earlier today when he said he was going to use a joke I made (about feminine hygiene products) when he becomes a famous comedian someday. Kissed me through the window while he filled my tank up with gas. Held me as I napped off the caffeine overdose that made me feel like I was dieing.
I wanted my senses to absorb this feeling. To download it into my muscle memory so that I'll never forget why I am so lucky to get to spend the rest of my life with this man. Simply soaking up the moments.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your wedding, what your guests will eat, nor about your body, what your dress and tux will look like. For marriage is more than food, and the beauty of your relationship more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither have rich parents nor huge savings accounts, they neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you and your marriage than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single gerber daisy to your decorations? If you aren’t able to do something as small as that on your own, then why are you worried about to doing the rest yourself? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither work at the dining hall, nor the SESRC, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you. Oh you of little faith! And do not seek what cake you are to eat, or what punch you will drink, nor be worried. For all the brides of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead seek His kingdom being built through your relationship, and all these things will be added to you. Fear not, little bride and groom, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you a celebration of your love for each other and for Him. Provide yourselves with party favors that will not grow old, and treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no wedding crasher approaches and no screaming 4-year-old destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
(I hope this isn't blasphemous, and it doesn't offend you. It is my way of applying this scripture to my current life. And it is helping me to breathe).
Remember when I twirled
in pink poof
smeared with mud,
earthworms gingerly in each fist?
Staring into the bearded sky
I saw princes, dragons, and tiaras
that sparkled like
Jumped. Skipped. Ran. Soared.
Now I wear white poof
not down the sidewalk past creamsicle cats,
but down the aisle past friends and family.
Smile. Tear. Kiss. Dance.
On pink daisy petals
to my prince,
his chiseled chin
and auburn curls
and happily ever after.
Soon I'll be wearing heels and walking down an aisle to the man of my dreams. I'll make a lifelong covenant, change into some sparkly toms, and dance the night away with my friends. I want to gush about the cutesie story of how my amazing FIANCE (still getting used to that) proposed to me. But I think the most important thing I need to share is all that God's done to get us to this point. Because, believe me, it's taken a lot.
First of all, you need to know that my prince didn't want to buy me just any ring. He selected the perfect, sparkler to embellish my ring finger. And diamonds aren't cheap. We've been dating for 4 years and we've wanted to get married for, well, awhile. This time last year Philip was completely broke. My badgering, and his diligence led him to apply for job after job, but he got no offers. God was putting His foot down--we weren't ready. This year Philip got a job in the dining hall. We were thrilled! He would work 15 hours a week and get paid minimum wage--or so we thought. When he got his first pay check, we realized he was actually getting paid about $11 an hour. It turns out that if you have work study, a form of financial aide, you get paid more. That was God's first miracle. His second and third came in the form of two random checks that Philip received from the University for lofty sums of money (which he wouldn't disclose to me, he has kept his bank account hidden from me throughout this whole process). Philip later told me that if it weren't for those checks, he flat wouldn't have had enough time to save up the rest of the money he needed in order for us to get married this summer.
The next barrier God pushed through was my parents. When my step dad first met Philip, he wasn't a fan. We kind of set ourselves up for failure--our first date we were out til 3 in the morning, and my dead cell phone battery kept my parents from reaching me to find out where I was. (It was completely innocent, we just were enjoying getting to know each other, more about that later.) Slowly, two of my favorite men bonded over hunting, and their love for me. Now, Tony is almost more excited than I am about the upcoming wedding. You should have heard him when he first found out we were getting married, "You need to call John to find out about weddings at Ross Point, I can roast a pig for dinner, you should get the cakes from Costco..." The other thing is that my parents were semi-anti-young-marriage. I never thought they would approve of me getting married while I'm still in college. Yet now, they say we are mature enough. That where we are in our relationship makes us ready. And that it will even help us financially.
Philip will concur that another barrier to us getting married this summer was--ME! I know, what am I crazy? I remember talking on the phone with Philip while he was in Ocean city on summer project, just after I returned from Costa Rica on summer project. He was talking about us getting married this coming summer, which at this point, was very hypothetical. Here is my laundry list of reasons why I thought we shouldn't: no one will want to be friends with us if we're married and in college (they'll be like "we can't relate to you, you're allowed to have sex"), we won't be able to afford being married and being financially independent, everyone is against it, it just makes sense to wait until we graduate, everyone else waits until after they graduate. Philip responded, "I think you just like to divide your life into sections. And you put marriage in your after-graduation section. You should pray about it." My reaction was "I don't want to pray about it." He was so right. It's easier for me to wait on things if I section them off. I can say, I'm not technically waiting because I'm not even in that season of life yet, so it's not even on my radar. I don't know how that man reads my mind sometimes. But I prayed about it, and felt God say "You need to have this on your radar, it will be good for you to wait. Trust me." When Phil returned from the O.C. everything was different. We realized why getting married was the next step for us. He was an authentic man, I was an authentic woman. We both spent time with God consistently, because we wanted to not out of obligation. We were others-centered (for the most part). We knew each other well enough to know we are compatible. Then when I got back to school, I talked to a spiritual leader that I respect more than anyone (except Philip)--Jocelyn Larsen. I explained to her why we felt ready for this next step. To my surprise, her advice was "Get married as soon as possible." I wasn't sure if that was from God, but I knew that if God could use one person to convince me this was a good idea, it was Jocelyn. Sorry Phil, but I knew you were a little biased.
This doesn't even scratch the surface of all the work God's done in us as individuals and as a couple. The past four years have included hardship and growth. We spent unhealthy amounts of time together, and no time with other people as freshman. We broke up for a month. We have struggled with purity for a lot of our relationship. Since then, we learned how to rely on God rather than looking to each other for fulfillment. We understand the importance of other friendships in our lives. Our hearts of changed towards purity, and we are on our way to having a completely pure engagement (pray for us about that!). Philip learned how to be a leader, and I learned how to be a follower. Since we both come from divorced families, it's amazing that people from our backgrounds could have a healthy relationship. And God's not finished with us yet. When we got engaged Philip said, "We are going to do some damage for the Kingdom of God!" Considering all that God's done in us already, I believe it.
"It's loud, the food is no good, the rooms are tiny...blah blah blah." Forget what you've heard about life in the dorms! I, Chelsea, am a junior in college and I have lived in the res halls for the past 3 years. By choice!
1. You don't have to cook.
2. Your freshmen neighbors will keep you young: stay energized and up on the latest trends -- for example the next generation of Cougs doesn't call the place where you can buy groceries in the dining halls "The Market." I know, it blew my mind too.
3. RDA (that's the pre-paid account you use to buy food) is like monopoly money. You won't think twice about using it to buy coffee, or cold medicine, or ice cream.
4. A smaller space=less capacity to make a mess=less cleaning.
5. You have a chance to brush shoulders with people from all different perspectives and backgrounds.
6. It's easy to build relationships and community--eating is communal, plus it's pretty effortless to invite people hang out b/c you can knock on their door and ask them to walk a few steps and go to your room or the lounge or the not market place where you buy snacks using RDA.
7. Three of the coolest people I know Jocelyn Larsen, Amanda LaPlante, and Stephanie Wright of lemontree3.com did it!
8. Walking to class is a piece of cake, in fact you might even have time to stop and buy a slice of cake from hillside with your RDA on the way over.
9. If you're into this sort of thing: Ministry opportunities are readily available. Your neighbors are most likely away from home for the first time. They're lonely and would love you to take genuine interest in them. They are questioning everything, including what they believe. You can help them understand who the God you follow is really like. There are other ways of doing this but where else can you can be there to hear the girl walk down the hall sobbing at 1 in the morning? I promise you will meet some precious people, and if you let yourself, you will build some real relationships with them. Perhaps you'll even join them on their spiritual journey, learn from them, and help them become closer to God.
10. You have the rest of your life to enjoy the advantages of apartment style living, but only a few years (plus maybe when you're in a nursing home) with this kind of opportunity available!
I'll be living in Wilmer Davis next year with a small team of Christian ladies. Join us! Or join Rachel Damiano in Regents to reach athletes, Caitlyn Hammersly and the gang in Stevenson, or male Cougs head to Stimson with Yanek!
"How do I draw a Veteran?" my fifth grade self chimed as I drew some sporadic scribbles on a chalkboard. My good friend Ben Shuler answered in character, "A veteran is a WHO and not a WHAT."
Ben and I were hand selected to be in the Veteran's day skit. I think it's because we could memorize lines, and were goofier than the other kids--which led to more animated acting. There we were, in an assembly before the entire elementary school, attempting to explain to our peers what the heck a veteran was. Some of them, like my confused character, had never even heard the word before. We needed to settle some common ground. And there is a great distinction between a "who" and a "what."
Sometimes I preach the Gospel of things. I think I turn God into a "what" instead of a "who." My life becomes about Christian events. Must read bible, must pray, must attend bible study, must attend church, must share my faith, must disciple. Now don't get me wrong, all of these are great things. I think they help me to better understand God. They promote growth and healing in my life. And even when I don't feel like it, I think it's important for me to be disciplined enough to do those things. That doesn't mean I should go all Pharisee on you and change my view of myself based upon how I'm doing in those categories. Nor (Nor is just the sort of thing a Pharisee would say. "Thee before thou except after thine") should I judge those who don't partake in those helpful activities. Or those who don't partake in them as frequently as I do.
But my Christian to-do list, and Christian events, are simply NOT THE GOSPEL. These things can't save me. Only who God is, and who I am in light of that changes my life. What is the gospel? Since I'm an English nerd, I'll tell you that the definition of the word is "good news." I really believe that what the bible teaches is in fact good news. If someone has caused you to experience it in another way, I am sorry! If I have caused you to experience it in another way, I am sorry! Imperfect people sometimes muddle a perfect message. So for those who haven't heard it, or those who have (I think that everyone needs to hear the Gospel, especially me), click here to see the basic message of the bible in four clear points (pictures included).
My friend Atalie wrote a list of things she needs more of and less of here. I think it was a good idea. Thanks for inspiring me to reflect on my growth and priorities, At.
I need... (Or I strongly desire, and think these things would improve my life)
time with girl friends
friends w/ different perspectives
sunshine (ahem PULLMAN)
walking in the spirit
apathy about school
pressure on myself to perform
empty bottles on my desk
junk in my trunk (no really, I threw all the junk that was taking up space in my car, into my trunk)
hiding who I am
For those who are wondering: Why the heck am I asking questions as my facebook status? What is the RIGHT answer to those questions? And what's the deal with my profile pic?
Ok, first of all I am involved with a group called Campus Crusade for Christ or CRU (and not the rowing kind). Despite the stigma behind the word "Crusade," what that group is really about is helping college students walk with Christ for their lifetime. Our WSU CRU's vision is: A world transformed, one Coug at a time. That is because we think the message about Christ that can be found in the bible, and is evidenced in the lives of those who closely walk with Jesus, is transformational. We believe that if the Gospel truly touches your life, that will change everything. The context we choose to share this message is on an individual level. We don't want anyone to feel like a number, or to slip through the cracks. Personal relationship building is key. Our vision is as big as the world, because we believe that as people's lives are being transformed, they will begin to live for God's Kingdom. Kingdom principles bring justice, and mercy. And God has asked us to share that we believe He is the only thing that truly brings peace and fulfillment to our lives. In the book of Matthew it says: "Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” We want to help other people know God, who will help other people to know God, who will help other people to know God, who will ultimately help the whole world to know God. We believe that would change the world in a radically positive way.
As a WSU CRU movement, we have collectively decided, this week, to spend time listening to, and trying to understand other people's perspectives. Each day of the week, we are asking a new question. I honestly care about what you think, and what you've experienced. We want to meet needs on this campus, physical, emotional, and spiritual. So this will help us to understand what those needs are. Hopefully, these questions will give us a better grasp on what our campus believes. I'm not here to judge, to convert or persuade you, or to tell you how dumb you are for believing whatever you may believe. There are not right answers that I'm looking for. I simply want to understand you better. And if you'd be interested, I'd love to help you understand my perspective as well. Jesus has transformed my life, and continues to give me what I need, and what helps me to come alive, even as I continue struggle. I hope you will feel comfortable sharing your perspectives on the questions I post that are related to God, life, and spirituality. (Even if you think your perspective might be different than mine). And if you're interested, I hope you will feel comfortable asking me those questions back.
Monday–What is the nature of God?
Tuesday–What is human nature like?
Wednesday–What is the meaning and purpose of life?
Thursday–Who is Jesus?
Friday–How do we discern spiritual truth?
(Feel free to answer those questions by commenting here, if it's easier or you feel more comfortable doing so).