Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The More of God

"We have access to the more of God as we embrace HIS identity as our Father." I had to stop and really absorb this thought as I read through my devotional today.

What is the "more" of God? 
What does it mean to have access to this "more"?
What does HE and as a result, we, have "more" of?
Do I feel like I have "more"?

I haven't posted in a while. I've been a bit overwhelmed with the mountain of new things in my life. New friends, new family, new country, new job, new language, new life...need I really continue? And sometimes I think I should only post if I have something truly profound to say. Which let's be honest, is not that often. But looking back on these last couple of months, I wonder how I could have been ignoring the more that God has brought to my life. What post could possibly be more profound than the proclamation of God's more?!?!

God promises more! God IS more!

I don't mean this in the "prosperity gospel" sense of the word. I mean that God IS more than our tiny little human brains can possibly understand. He offers us more love, more freedom, more mercy, more protection, more truth, more trust, more consistency, more comfort, more goodness, more peace, more power, more fulfillment and more life. When we ask the Holy Spirit to enter our bodies and our lives, we are escorted through a doorway to a life filled with so much more.

So what is standing between you and the more you could be living with? What is getting in the way? My anxiety and busyness are not bigger than God. I choose to walk beyond what I see in front of me today. I choose to accept God's more. I will choose daily to learn more about who God is and the more that he has planned for my life.

Have you been searching for more? Because Christ is freely and willingly offering you everything.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Passions

Too many children go home to empty houses, broken homes or to parents with drug and alcohol addictions.  Too many children don't complete their educations because they are working to support their families and too many don't believe they are good enough.

I believe that every child should have hope, equal access to an education and an introduction to Jesus.  Every child should know that they are "fearfully and wonderfully made" by the creator of the universe and should always know that they are loved.

I became a teacher to impact the lives of children and I am transitioning to Youth World for the same reason.  My passion is to show children that they are valuable and worth it.  Even if no one else is, I will be on their side.  Even on the worst of days, I will be there to remind them that the God who breathed our whole planet into existence, loves them unconditionally and created them for a purpose.

I choose to follow my passions and I choose to follow Jesus.  As I move forward, all I can hope for is that God will bring the love he has shown me, into the life of each child I serve.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Persevering with Joy

"He loves others, works hard, and overcomes his circumstances no matter how bleak the moment may seem.  I have a lot of respect for this young man.  I appreciate his intellect and fervor for science and learning and I am in awe of his compassion and his ability to show love and bring joy to each person in his life.  He is already an asset in the lives of everyone he knows and he will absolutely be a huge asset on any college campus.  I can’t wait to see what his future has in store."

Yesterday, I wrote these words in a letter of recommendation for a young man who I both admire and respect.  Ralph is a senior in high school and going through the process of applying to some of the best colleges in the country.  With an impeccable academic record and a slew of extracurricular activities, Ralphie is sure to gain entrance into a great college, but what makes me so proud is that Ralph's accomplishments are in spite of the pain and sadness that the last year has brought.  A little over a year ago, Ralph came home to find his mother and step-father arguing.  That night, his step-father and step-brother packed up their belongings and moved out of the house.  Over the last year and a half Ralph has had to get used to a brand new way of life.  He has learned to live without a father, without a brother, and with the emotion of returning to a quite lonely house when he was so used to returning to a full and bustling home.  Through these changes, Ralphie has continued to peruse life and relationships to the fullest.  He found reasons to smile, reasons to be grateful and he never looked back.

It is young men like Ralph who encourage me and give me hope for others around the world.  Hope that pain and abandonment can be overcome with love, joy and determination.  Hope that with the right support and guidance, any youth can overcome what life or their parents have thrown at them.  Hope that God has a bigger plan than what we can see in the moment.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Hope in the Desert

The purpose of today's post is to brag about an amazing young woman who I have watched blossom into a strong, beautiful, vibrant flower despite her dry, hopeless situation.  She is a symbol of hope and determination for mistreated youth everywhere.

I met Laura when she was 14, loud, rebellious, and searching for someone who would love her for exactly who she was.  After suffering abuses at home, Laura was placed in the foster care system and landed in my Algebra I class.  We clicked pretty immediately.  We bonded in this indescribable way that a teacher and her favorite trouble maker can't help.  You kind of just know that you were meant to be in each others' lives.  As a kid, Laura bounced from foster home to foster home, back and forth across county lines and on and off of different drugs.  Luckily, along the way, she found people who believed in her and knew that she was meant for more than the pain and loneliness she had learned to embrace.  At 17, Laura was adopted by a family who loved her and treated her as her own.  Later that year, we all watched her graduate from high school, with tears in our eyes! Laura's story only continues to bloom from there.  Now she is 22, a face of the National Foster Youth Institute, has shadowed congress members in the White House, is hosting a foster youth awareness event in LA later this month, and is, right this moment, in a job interview to work at one of the group homes that helped to change her life!!!

I am so indescribably proud of Laura!!  She has crossed rivers and broken boundaries that many people in her life never thought she could.  I hope that I was and will continue to be a constant reminder to her that she is loved, valued and looked up to!  As a teacher and a youth worker, my biggest hope to be a place of light and love for other children and teens as they find their place in the world!  I love you Laura and I am so proud of who you are and who you continue to become!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Busy Bee

The last couple weeks have been crazy! I've been subbing 4 days a week, meeting with potential donors, and I flew to Idaho to see my sister and my in laws.  The calm in the whole storm was rocking my sleeping, 2 month old, niece.  Andee Paige is so sweet and smiley and such a light of joy.  I didn't know it was possible to have so much love for such a little blob, but she captures my heart!

It is truly hard to stomach that I'm going to be gone for three years.  I'm going to miss Andee's first three birthdays, her first words and her first steps.  But I am looking forward to skyping with her and her parents, to sending her videos from South America, and to the day that she learns to call me "Tia Chelsea."  I love my little blob, Andee Paige!! I am so excited to spend as much time with her as I can, and then to be able to send a little part of Ecuador back to her!!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Heart of a Child

The 2015-2016 school year took a toll on me.  I taught an extra period (which means I didn't get a break in my day) and I taught two new classes.  I was tired, worn out and cranky.  Despite all of that, I had an important reason to get up each day!  My heart and my soul endured each day because of the joy and fulfillment I found in my students.  I've done a few pretty tough things in my 29 years of life, but nothing was as tough as having to tell my students, that I would not be returning to teaching for the 2016-2017 school year.  I knew I was making the right decision, but my kids are MY kids!

This school year has been so different.  I'm not a full time teacher, but in the month that Montclair has been back to school, I have subbed 7 days of school.  It feels like I never left.  I look forward to going to work, to seeing the bright shining faces of the kids I love and to sharing my journey with those who are interested.  The last couple weeks, back on the MoHi campus, have been such a light and a reminder that my heart lies with children, no matter where they are, because the hearts of children shine brighter than anything else I know.

I am so excited to bring the children of North America together with the children of South America.  United, "two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up" Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.  Imagine what the hearts of children all over the world can do when they are united as one!!

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Blur of Summer

The last couple of weeks have been crazy!  I met my beautiful new niece for the first time, I turned 29,  I sold almost all of my belongings, I raised 10% of my monthly support and tomorrow I am substituting at the school where I used to be a full time teacher.  Emotions are running high and a million things are swirling through my mind.  Life is flying by and I'm having trouble catching up, but through it all, God is SO good!

Last week I had a moment to stop and breathe.  Sitting in the shade under a tree, I took a few minutes to listen to the breeze, close my eyes and thank God for the peace of that moment.  Having a chance to take a deep breath and thank God for my friends, family, co-workers, and crazy new life was just the break I needed from the hurricane that this summer has been!!

Come September, I will be living with my sweet grandparents and have a regular routine.  My grandfather has Alzheimer and it will be such a blessing to spend my last few North American months loving on him and his wife!! I will also be able to put so much more energy towards fundraising!  I have high hopes for the coming days and am so grateful for the big plans God is laying out in my life!!