Sisters of the Faith: Chelsea
Several years ago Joanna went on her third mission trip to Romania. On her team was a young lady named Chelsea. The two of them became fast friends, bonding because of their like-minded desire to share Jesus all over the world. Bloom! is delighted to ask Chelsea, now a senior in college, a few questions about how the Lord has been working in her life.
When did you come to Christ?
Well, when I was five, my parents and I moved to another state. I had been asking questions about sin and other things that my grandma had told me about Jesus. My parents weren’t believers, and so I think this made them uncomfortable. The summer after we moved, we received a doorknocker for Vacation Bible School (VBS), and my parents thought this would be a great opportunity for me to get to know some kids before I started Kindergarten. A few weeks after VBS, the pastor and another man from the church visited my family and shared the Gospel. My parents accepted Christ because of the men sharing.
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?
I know I’ve struggled with self-reliance over the years. I remember coming to that realization in middle school—I was obsessed with Christian self-help and study, but I didn’t have the same passion for Scripture or prayer, so I put a stop to reading anything of that genre for a while. I’m still pretty cautious. As a minister’s kid, I’ve seen many problems in the church, and in my early teenage years, I really had to rely on God instead of the church. Unfortunately these experiences in ministry have led to much heartache and bitterness, but God is working that out in my heart. (Sometimes it seems very slowly, but he’s doing something.) Relationships - loneliness in high school, the loss of my childhood best friend to suicide, and depression from a break up in college, along with the recent death of my grandma - have made up a large part of the pain that God has worked through. Not that I’ve had a horrible life, but you asked about struggles.
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?
Everything. I think that’s part of my problem. I lack focus. Or maybe I try to focus on too much. Life’s so full of wonderful things to explore - it’s just a matter of learning what God thinks is best, because I sure don’t know.
What are your hopes for the future? How do you see yourself continuing to serve the Lord?
Ha, the question of the semester. You know, I’m torn. I want to write for Him, go oversees to Palestine for Him, have a family for Him, teach or counsel college students for Him, or maybe work with justice organizations to help stop human trafficking for Him, or help those who are impoverished and oppressed for Him. Something that I’ve tried to keep in focus is doing the small every day things to the glory of God.
A few of Chelsea’s favorite things…
people :: fall :: books :: Irish Breakfast tea:: mountains :: other cultures :: writing :: the outdoors
Cool post. Love the mag! (:ReplyDelete
Nice to know you. Thanks for shared.ReplyDelete