The Weight of our Roles.

I am a full-time youth pastor, a wife, a foster mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend, but I am mostly a daughter of the King.  I am a 7 on the enneagram which means I struggle to complete projects, love every single person I meet, and if your reading this I probably think we are best friends.  I enjoy collecting water bottles, near suffocating my dog trying to snuggle her, and being around the teenagers God has called me to disciple.  I also experience anxiety in a way most could not understand.  Anxiety when it’s at its peak in my life can cause crippling effects and wreak havoc in my world.  I wanted to share my struggle with you today as I have many times before because if you understand the struggle of anxiety you are not alone.

Another student calls me at 1am with a problem I can’t even type because it is so heart wrenching.  Not only is she suffering through it, but she feels alone.  The caseworker called today to inform us they found a relative to take the second foster baby we had hopes of adopting.  My husband gets irritated with me for barking orders at him because I, in an overwhelming voice and harsh tone, ask him to clean the kitchen.  A friend cries to me as she faces the trials of this world and needs my shoulder.  My mom and grandparents face health concerns and stressors that would scare anyone who loves them.

It is in all of these moments I am reminded that I am a full-time youth pastor, a wife, a foster mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend, but I am mostly a daughter of the King.  It is in these moments where the anxiety begins to creep in that I cannot handle all that is on my chest or all that is put in front of me.  It is in these moments I cry out to God and ask Him to please release the weights on my chest and give me air to breathe.  It is in these high stress moments where the devil tries to fill my heart, and my mind with anxiety where I hear God softly whisper, “you are mine.”

In my prayer time I continually have been reading Psalm 61:2-4, “From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.”  The greatest part about this scripture is upon first reading I wondered if David meant “from the ends of the earth” literally, but in my continued reading and studies I discovered it was a figurative term to describe his mental state.  How fitting that David was exclaiming when we feel like we are just from the ends of all we have that we cry out to God.  The trials and struggles of this world may not cease today, but the ability to obtain joy and peace from the Father is ever so present if we only call upon Him.

Today although I am still serving in all of the positions and roles I began this writing with but I am not drowning without air.  God has not released me of all of the burdens, or taken away all of my pain, but He has provided me with a peace and comfort that He has and will never abandoned me amidst it all.  Psalm 4:8, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”  I am praying today you can come to the Lord and find safety and assurance that you are never to anxious, too alone, or too heavy burdened for Him to give you peace.

Always in prayer,

Chelsea.

 

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Hope in the Suffering

A few months ago my mom called me, I could hear the anxiety in her voice as she said “are you home?  I just need to talk to you when your home.”  It is when my mom asks if I am home that I know she has awful news.  I put my car in park in front of my apartment as my mom told me the doctors found a spot in my Grammie’s lung & they had fear it may be cancer.

I prayed.  I text my closest friend and he put it on his prayer chain at his church and I text my friends on the church staff and we prayed.  I prayed for God to remove the mass and for the doctors to be in SHOCK that following week at the scan.

At that next scan or maybe the next, it becomes so jumbled when your looking back.. the doctors revealed the mass was cancer, but they would do a surgery to remove it.  It seemed like no big deal almost, cancer seems scary, but removing it seemed wonderful.

We prayed.  God please let this mass be gone.  Perform a miracle, but thank you for the blessing of a hopefully easy surgery.

A few weeks later it came back they couldn’t remove it due to size so my Grammie would need radiation, but maybe not chemo.  Here is where I want to pause and share with you my real prayer.  Not the fake Facebook prayer in which zero pain is revealed, but my “yes I am a pastor, but it doesn’t change my REAL pain right now” prayer.

GOD WHERE ARE YOU?  CAN YOU EVEN HEAR ME?  I AM SO FRUSTRATED.  I AM SO SCARED.  DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH MY GRAMMIE MEANS TO ME?  HOW IN THE WORLD COULD YOU NOT CURE THIS?  HOW IN THE WORLD COULD YOU NOT TAKE THIS FROM MY FAMILY?  IN WHAT WAYS AM I NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU TO HEAR MY PRAYERS?  GOD, WHERE ARE YOU?

That was my prayer.  Raw, real, sad, and scary, but that was it.  That was my prayer not just once, but multiple times that week and the week or so to follow.

We prayed. Lord no chemo please no chemo.

New results return, she needs radiation and chemo.  She may not lose her hair though!

We prayed.  God please let my Grammie keep her hair.  

My grammie lost her hair.

….I think at this point of my blog you are realizing why my previous prayer was screaming at the Lord.  I also realized a miracle wasn’t occurring, at least not yet.  I realized I had two choices.  I could be terribly mad at God, or I could keep praying (even sometimes angry prayers) and I could have hope and peace that only could come from Him.  I chose the second one.  As I changed my prayers a little, God gave me verses like this in my daily devotion (GoTandem is the best if your seeking) and in my Bible as I studied his word…

“I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2

“I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you.” Hosea 14:8

Slowly, but surely regardless of what the doctors say, regardless of what they continued to say I maintain a hope that surpasses all understanding.  Although if you read my story you may ask where is God, but as I awoke today and felt so heavy for my grammie and just started to get that fear again, this was my daily devotion today 5.27.17,

“I cried out to the LORD in my great trouble, and he answered me.”Jonah 2:2

Here is what I hope this blog says to you, I hope as you read this you see a pattern.  A pattern of our God who is constantly hearing your prayers, burdens, and struggles.  A pattern of love and grace.  A pattern of a child of God crying out to her God and although you cant see a mighty miracle from the outside He is constantly calming the storm within her soul.  I hope if you read, see, or hear nothing else that you can see the love of God as he speaks to me through his word.  I pray and hope that you can see a story that looks as if its hopeless and scary, but realize I have more hope and confidence than ever before.  I hope you read this and wonder, “How in the WORLD could she be so sure its going to be okay?”  That you re read the scripture God gave to me and realize even when we cant see, He is speaking, He is hearing, He is MOVING.  Here is my prayer today, it looks a little different than the one above…

Father,

Thank you for hearing my cries.  Thank you for taking my burdens.  Thank you for being my rock.  Thank you for taking care of my grammie even if her health isn’t great right now.  Thank you for every memory, every laugh, every single moment that fills my soul because you made her my grammie.  Thank you for your miracle healing that I know is upon her.  Thank you for working all things for the good of THOSE WHO LOVE YOU even if I am a little unsure what that means for us right now.  Thank you for my papa, and for showing my grammie how strong he is.  Thank you for my mom and for keeping her right where she is, in Sylvania for such a time of this for my family.  Thank you for every single blessing you are giving to us that we sometimes cant see because of this illness.  Thank you for the doctors and nurses caring for my grammie.  Thank you for calming the storm in my soul, for being my father, and for holding me in a time when I have never been more scared.  I love you God, I feel you, and I just please continue to ask for your love to surround my soul, and my grammie’s every single day in this journey.

Your daughter,

Chelsea.

Praying today you feel the Lord and the peace and joy of the spirit, even if you feel like the storm is too big.  Remember, He created it all, what is a big storm to us is a small rain cloud for him.

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