We started attending church, but it wasn’t until a few months later that I realized that I needed to make that decision myself. Before this, I knew that Jesus had died on the cross, but I didn’t know why. I had always thought that murderers and really bad people went to hell, but now I realized that I was going to hell, too. To be honest, that scared me - I knew my parents were going to heaven, which scared me even more because I wouldn't be going with them. I still honestly think this was my five-year-old understanding that I needed to accept Jesus myself. Since then, I’ve grown to understand the gospel more.
When did you start living for Jesus?
I’m not sure of a definite time, I mean, relationships ebb and flow, to use the cliché, and I know that I’ve grown closer to Him over the years. Sometimes I have a clear experience of the Holy Spirit’s presence, and others, not so much, but I know He’s there.
What have been some of your joys and challenges as you live out your faith?
Now for the joys—can I say I love C.S. Lewis’s quote? “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” Through many of these episodes, I’ve been blessed and seen God’s deliverance and I’m reminded of a quote a professor shared with me last semester by St. John of the Cross:
Oh, then, spiritual soul, when you see your appetites darkened, your inclinations dry and constrained, your faculties incapacitated for any interior exercise, do not be afflicted; think of this as a grace, since God is freeing you from yourself and taking from you your own activity. However well your actions may have succeeded you did not work so completely, perfectly, and securely—owing to their impurity and awkwardness—as you do now that God takes you by the hand and guides you in darkness, as though you were blind, along a way to a place you know not. You would never have succeeded in reaching this place no matter how good your eyes and feet.
I’ve been blessed by my family and friends, along with professors and other “older” adults who have poured into me and shared not only their friendship and expertise, but their godly wisdom. And the Holy Spirit is a constant companion.
I've seen photos and heard stories from your recent mission trip to Israel. What is something that the Lord really taught you during your time overseas?
I’m not sure I can fully process this. I’ll definitely have to say that the touring portion showed me how ordinary and relevant Christ became for us. Gethsemane was precious in that I often feel inferior regarding my emotions and wonder what God thinks about them, but here in a natural place (much like the places I like to get away to) Christ reached an extreme low (and I think you would agree that this is an understatement). Something about this connection made me feel closer to Him, like I sensed His compassion. At the same time, it was ironic to remember that here Gethsemane was where the greatest battle was fought, and yet it is one of the quietest places in a bustling city—and a country filled with battle grounds/forts and such. More importantly, though, I saw how the Palestinian people live, and I strongly believe that God planted a seed in my heart for the Muslim people.
What are you passionate about?
What are your hopes for the future? How do you see yourself continuing to serve the Lord?
A few of Chelsea’s favorite things…