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.

 

Advertisements

His Goodness in Our Grief.

For anyone unsure of our story I will share a little history.  My husband and I struggled to conceive and found out we had fertility issues in 2015 and decided to become foster parents in the hopes of adopting.  We got a call in August of 2017 to go pick up a four day old baby girl named Kimora.  They gave us a few hours to go get her and bring her home and they told us it would most likely be an adoption case once parental rights were terminated.  When Kimora turned four months old we got a call from our case worker that a relative was interested in taking custody.  On December 20th 2017 DHHS came to our home and took Kimora and gave custody to the relative.  It has been a little over seven weeks since we have seen her.

As I reflect on what the last seven weeks have been like the only word I can really use to explain is, “grief”.  I am 26 years old and have experienced some very sad things in my life, but I am unsure I have really ever experienced true grief until now.  You see, grief is such a funny thing… it is something no one can see.  Grief is all your own, it doesn’t show a scar or change the sound of your voice and it doesn’t give you a temperature.  Grief is the scary, and silent stillness we experience while the world continues to move and dance.

In the grief however, I have experienced a few things I would like to share.  I have experienced a deeper prayer life.  I have experienced the fall to your knees, scream out, cry for hours prayer that leaves you desperate for Jesus.  I have experienced the gratitude prayer when you (still crying haha) are on your knees thanking God for sending you people who make you laugh again, and for allowing you to smile the smile you thought was gone forever, again.  I have experienced the prayer of fear.  The prayer you pray as you (maybe still crying) seek God’s plan and confess to Him you are still so afraid of the future.  In this time of great grief I have experienced a prayer life filled with truth, pain, and depth.

In this time of grief I have also experienced what it means to grieve.  I know your thinking I just had a typo, but I mean I have learned more about what it means to grieve.  I have learned it is okay to take time to heal, time to hurt, time to cry, but also time to be strong.  I have learned in grieving you need community, your church, and your friends.  I have learned it is okay to grieve, but not to do it alone.

Grief has taught me a lot in these last seven weeks.  It has taught me a lot about God and myself.  It has taught me a lot about my marriage, my family, and my friends.  I feel differently about grieving than I did when we first said goodbye to Kami because I have experienced goodness in the grief.  I have experienced the goodness despite the grief.  I have felt His goodness amidst the grief.

I am not writing this blog to ensure you that if you are grieving it will all be okay.  I am writing this blog to share with you my personal experience with a subject we talk about so rarely.  I am still grieving, and I am still hurting.  There are still some days that come with what feels like 30 pound weights strapped to each shoulder and bury me in my bed as I pray to God to see Kami again.  There are still days I struggle to get through a workout without crying.  In my journey right now grief is not gone, but I have seen His goodness despite the grief and that is what I wanted to share with you.

I have spent the last four weeks working with Kami’s biological mom to get her into housing and to help her in anyway that we can so that she can get her children back.  We have discussed babysitting when she gets Kimora back and discussed Tyler and I possibly having a part in her life when she gets them back, but for now we are blind to the future.  For now, we pray for a photo of her every few weeks, continue to talk with her mom, and pray to God that Kami knows we didn’t leave her and that we love her more than anything.  For now, we pray for another chance to hold Kimora again, but we continue to discover Him, His goodness, and His grace in a sea of grief we navigate everyday.

Kami,

We love you with every piece of our soul.  We pray to see you, to hold you, to see your beautiful smile again every single day.  There is not one day that goes by that we do not love you and I hope one day you read this and get to know that.  Happy six month birthday to the most beautiful princess we have ever laid eyes on.

We love you more than any words,

Forever,

Your (foster) Mom & Dad.

Thank you God for Kami, her family, and her life.  Please use us to bring them to you and bring Kami back into our lives.  We love you, always… Amen.