Category Archives: spirituality

A slice of life.

We went to Estonia for two weeks in July.  Then we came home and it took about a week to feel normal in our time zone again, another week to get the kids and ourselves back into a regular routine and before we knew it we were headed to Saskatchewan to Clearview Christian Camp for a week, with the kids and I heading to Estevan for a week after that.  Ezra got up betweeo 5:30 and 6:30 the week of camp, and at my mom’s he got up between 4:30 and 5:30 and was throwing major tantrums, not eating, and only wanting his mama.  He’s been pretty clingy since we left him for two weeks.  I shot an engagement session and a wedding, on top of the two family sessions I had right before we left.  By the end of the trip I was physically and emotionally exhausted, we actually came home a day early because I was breaking down and needed to get the kids home.   We came home for about a week, Eva started school, then I drove back out to Regina (by myself, with the kids) for Labor Day weekend and I shot another wedding, then drove home the next day.  Home for a week, then my mom and Randy came for the weekend, Peter left for a week, Dayna and I had a sleepover, my birthday happened, I had two nights by myself in the house and then Karl came for a night, with his family joining us the next night, and Peter arriving home.  I’ve been editing, taking care of family, taking Eva to school, and trying to keep life in order.  In about a week my parents will be back for a few days, then it is my anniversary and Peter and I are trying to get away for a little vacation sometime next month.  I also have four photo sessions booked for next month, oh and I’m currently 24 weeks pregnant.

So you can see how I maybe have felt a little disconnected lately.  Why is it when we need God the most, it seems easiest to push him to the backburner?  Why do I make idols out of these urgent, yet unimportant (nothing is as important as God) things?  When life gets crazy like this and I find myself limiting my availability for God, I feel it in my life.  I stop caring about whether or not I am sinning, or how I treat my family or others.  I react instead of relying on God.

I spent time time journalling my thoughts and feelings yesterday and some good time in prayer.  I strive to spend time reading the bible and praying every morning, but I am finding it harder to get up early as the pregnancy progresses.  Last night I got 8 hours of sleep and still struggled to get out of bed this morning for a quiet time of prayer.  After my time yesterday, my heart was so full of peace.  I know I’ll never be perfect, but I felt I had all that I needed to love my kids and my husband with everything I had and rely on God for the rest.  I try so hard in those chaotic moments to do what God would want, but sometimes you just snap.  Sometimes it’s too much and I’m just so human and I react instead.  But I am trusting that God has started a good work in me and that he isn’t going to stop working on me.  I am praying that he will smooth my rough edges and help me to be more like him, even in the crazy moments.

I’m also looking forward to life settling down a bit here.  I’m sure that will help, too.

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Answered Prayers.

Remember the feeble little prayer I sent up today when I was feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders?

It was about all I could muster.

“Please, God, help me.”

Answers to such a little prayer would be overlooked by me on most days, but today I was paying attention:
– I was able to open a can of soup and fed my kids
– I was able to tidy the whole house, even vacuumed and did two loads of laundry
– I was able to get Ezra down for a nap
– I was able to see how good I have it in life by being reminded of my many blessings
– I was able to make a delicious supper
AND
– I was able to go out for a coffee/bookstore date with a friend, without any children present!

God is good. And I know that only God could’ve helped me to see these little answered prayers given the mood I was in!

(God has also been answering some other prayers of mine, some of them before I’ve even really prayed them.  They have just been little thoughts in my mind, something to add to my prayer list, and God has already taken care of them.

I prayed the other day that my husband would be filled with passion for his faith, more than he already has.  On Monday night he told me that he has been so inspired in the last couple of days.  The other day, I was thinking I should pray about and talk to my husband about him getting up early with me, so that it is easier for me to get up for study and prayer time.  Before I even “formally” prayed about it or talked to him about it, he told me he has already decided he is going to start getting up at 6AM… which is the exact time that I’m hoping to start getting up in the morning.  God is good.)


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One Thousand Gifts Book Club

I have been excited to get the mail for over a week now.

There is a spring in my step as I walk toward the mailbox.

I am waiting in hopeful anticipation for a package.

I have been reading Ann’s blog, A Holy Experience, since the autumn and have been wanting her book, One Thousand Gifts, ever since I heard of it.  I was so excited to see that InCourage was going to be reading One Thousand Gifts that I ordered two copies of the book immediately!

I think you should read it, too.  Check out the reviews on Amazon.com.  You definitely should read this book, too.

Here is what you get from the InCourage Book Club:

  • Each Sunday, starting February 6, InCourage/Bloom, will post a video discussing the chapter with Ann.  That’s right, Ann Voskamp herself is joining in on the discussion, and I know we will all be richly blessed because of it.
  • An online BlogFrog community to discuss the chapters with sisters all over North America.  I, personally, am very excited about this.  I have never done anything like this before, and don’t usually get into online communities where I don’t actually know anyone.  But in the spirit of living in a new way, I’m going to give it a try.  And I’m actually excited about it.  I really would love to connect with other women believers (I’m just usually too shy), and I think that One Thousand Gifts will be a great platform for some real conversation.
  • You get to spend twelve weeks devouring and soaking in Ann’s rich words and spiritual insights.  From what I have read, you will be changed.  And change is a great thing.  You will be lifted up, encouraged, and inspired.  Who doesn’t want that?

So go on, order your book now.  It starts on February 6, so you’ve still got time!  I’m going to be posting my thoughts on Inspired Mama once the club begins.  I hope you’ll come along with me!  Leave me a comment if you, too, are planning to read along with the book club!

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Stray.

The other day I was sitting on my couch in the early evening, feeding Ezra and staring out the window.  I happened to see a dog run across my lawn, across my neighbour’s lawn, across the street (almost getting hit by a car), and then crapping on a lawn across the street before running out of view again.

At first, I thought about how free he was, running across the lawns, but fully prepared to be angry if he should deface my lawn if you know what I mean.  I was his owner was following soon behind him, but no one came.  Then I watched him run across the street and come so close to being hit by a car.  The dog just continued on as though he didn’t even realize how close to death he was!  And he looked as happy as a clam while doing business on my neighbour-across-the-street’s lawn, of course not realizing that pooping on their lawn would probably really tick them off.

I hate to say it, but I saw myself in this dog.  Myself before I knew Christ and even sometimes myself when I forget about him.  I saw myself thinking I was free, running around doing as I pleased without much thought about the consequences or how it might affect others.  Unknowingly putting myself in danger and seriously at risk of death.

If this dog stayed near his owner, he wouldn’t have to be chained by a leash but could be gently guided toward better and safer behaviour by someone who can see more than a dog’s-eye-view.  I know from my own experience that choosing to be near God does not mean that I am chaining myself up to a list of rules, but choosing to live in a way that will work out far better than what I was doing before, so I don’t get hit by a car or tick someone off by pooping on their lawn.

Just something I’ve been thinking about.

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Recovery

source

When I came home from the hospital I was weak and exhausted from my brief bout with labour.  I was constantly drinking water and eating nourishing, healthy foods to heal and strengthen me.  Besides Ezra, my life revolved around resting as much as I could and keeping my body hydrated and full of good food.

As I started to feel better, I slowly started eating some junk food.  Some coke, a little chocolate, a #2 combo from McDonald’s.  Now I’m finding that I’m having a hard time remembering or even wanting to drink water, and sometimes I don’t even eat my fruit.  I’d rather have junk.

I think that I do this with my spirituality also.  When I think back to the very beginning of my recovery from my sin-sick life, I was totally worn out and clinging to the living water and the nourishment that comes from a relationship with God through prayer and being in His word.  It was all I wanted to do and I knew that I needed it.

As time has gone on though, I have slowly let other things take the place of my prayer and reading time.  These “other things” may be enjoyable and may seem harmless, but they are junk compared to spending dedicated time with my Father.  Sometimes it even gets to the point where if I’m being 100% honest, I don’t even want to spend that time with Him, I’d rather participate in the meaningless.

So I’m re-dedicating myself to my health, both physical and spiritual.

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” – Ephesians 5:15-17

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Team Tartu

I just spent the past weekend with these guys (plus Ezra, who was still in utero when this pic was taken).  We had an intensive training weekend for our Let’s Start Talking mission trip that we are going on this July.  I was nervous about how this weekend would play out, with Ezra not even being 2 weeks old yet, but both the kids did great and I think everyone had a lot of fun!

More importantly that all the fun we had, I feel like our team has really bonded and I think all of us are super excited about this summer and where God is leading us.  It is so cool that at one time we were all random people, living our lives, and now for this period of time, our lives have all come together for one purpose.

We can’t wait to go to Estonia!

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grace.

In a lot of  situations I am an all-or-nothing person:
– hitting the gym for 2 hours a day, every day, or not at all
– starting a huge sewing project and needing to finish it in one day instead of breaking it up to work on it over time
– no junk food at all, or else all the junk food we have
– i’m too tired to think of any more

Anyway, it’s no surprise to me that when it comes to being like Jesus, I am extremely disappointed in myself when I fail.  I’ve heard that the point of Christianity is not to be perfect. I’ve heard that when you decide to be baptized, it doesn’t mean that you’ve arrived at a destination, but rather you are beginning a journey.  I know these things and I believe them, deep in my heart, I believe them.  Yet I still have this desire for perfection, and if perfection isn’t achieved, I find myself wanting to just give up completely.

A huge struggle for me lately is patience.  I’ve been blaming pregnancy, but 9 months is a long time to try to write off a bad attitude.  I am totally aware of my lack of patience and when I lose my temper, especially with my sweet Eva.  At night I lay in bed and I am completely beside myself, I feel absolutely terrible.  I am so angry with myself.  I feel like curling up under a rock or running away, just giving up on this life that I said I wanted to have.  It’s too hard to be like Jesus.  I just can’t do it and I hate myself for constantly sucking at it.  It literally breaks me, and instead of wanting to be fixed, I just want to lay there broken, a waste.

A few weeks ago at Breakforth, I had the unique experience of listening to Frank Peretti speak.  What a guy.  Wow.  He was quite erratic, but most of what he said was pretty encouraging.  He talked about “going through the middle”.  We are a people who want everything quick and painless.  We want everything now and we don’t want to work for it.  I know that I, for one, am like this.   Peretti says that real life just isn’t like that; he says that we have to go through the middle at times.  We struggle.  We can’t just jump from the beginning of something to the end, we have to endure the work of getting there.  Kind of like “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction“, if you’ve read that book.  He said it’s especially like this as we work towards reflecting God’s qualities in our own lives.

Have I really been expecting as I have prayed to be like God, to have the fruit of his Spirit in my life, to have his patience, that I would just wake up one morning and have all of his qualities?  Doesn’t it make sense that if I am to learn to be truly patient that I would be put in situations in which to exercise patience?  Isn’t that how we learn?  Isn’t that how our character is formed?  How can I keep forgetting this?

Donald Miller touches on this in his new book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years“.  He goes on this hiking trip in Peru and he and his friends take the most painful and challenging route through the mountains to the city of Machu Picchu.  The guide that they are with lets them know that they could drive there, they could take an easier route, but that this way, this challenging way, though more painful and dangerous, is much a more beautiful way and truly the only way to get to the city.  Miller says, “…the people who took the bus didn’t experience the city as we experienced the city.  The pain made the city more beautiful.  The story made us different characters than we would have been if we had skipped the story and showed up at the ending an easier way.”

So I am trying to allow myself to make mistakes.  I am trying to be humble, to admit when I am wrong, to accept God’s forgiveness and continue on the path, instead of laying there broken.  It is not wrong of me to be broken about my sin, in fact, I should be broken about it.  I should be repulsed by it.  But I can’t let it keep me down.  I can’t have an all-or-nothing attitude.  I am not going to be perfect.  I can’t just take a bus to where I’m going.  I have to keep going through the middle, to push through to the end, because even though it is more challenging, it really is the only way to get there.

(If you want to hear Peretti’s talk, I found this playlist on youtube.  I haven’t listened to all of it because it’s too late, but the 30 seconds that I did listen to sounded very similar to what I heard at Breakforth.)

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