The Moment We’ve Been Waiting For

Security and transparency.

I’m 90 percent sure that if I left those two words on a discussion board somewhere, our society, our generation could go on and on about those subjects for quite a long time.

It’s sad to think that many of us lack these two things, especially when we have a Father that completely provides the first and just longs for us to display the latter. But unfortunately we have somehow arrived at a point where it is very hard to posses both of these traits; this year’s election being a magnificent example of such.

So here I am, a complete two years since I set off on a journey of jumping off the grid of any type of institutional structure to search for my purpose in the Kingdom. I am here to be transparent with you, and tell you about the kind of security I have.

In hindsight, it’s completely stupid that it took me this long to realize who I am, and what I was created to do. All stupidity was on my part, of course, not the Lord’s. He was whispering directions to me all long, but I was looking for a different set of instructions than the kind that He was giving me. He was giving me the kind that said: “1. Be honest with yourself, and realize the talents that I gave you in order to be who I created you to be. 2. Trust me with everything. Forget worldly security and walk out on to the platform of my security.” But I wanted the kind that come with furniture on how to put it together. I wanted: “1. Apply for this job. 2. Make this much money. 3. Life will make sense within the realm you have always seen it in.”

Now, to be clear, our basic command from Jesus is always the same no matter what. “Love God. Love People.”- basically. Thank you Church of the Highlands One t-shirt. But I also believe that we are all constructed with certain talents, quirks, and perspectives to add to the Kingdom. Our God is a God of details, and there’s a reason for it.

Now, to get on with my story… The past two years have been pretty painstaking. All of this could have been avoided if I just would have been honest with myself about these truths: 1. I am a massive dreamer. I never met anyone that can imagine as big, lavishly, and dramatically as I can. It’s a blessing and a curse sometimes. 2. I’m creative. I’m artsy. I’m actually pretty good at it.

But instead, growing up, I chose to fall into the belief that artsy professions don’t make money and that they don’t add value to society. In 6th grade, I knew that I wanted to be an architectural-interior designer. By 7th grade, I had decided that job couldn’t even serve the Kingdom in anyway and that it wouldn’t make any money anyway. I fell even deeper into that belief during high school, that by the time I was in college I believed that I needed to go to law school so that I could be a leader in politics, and THAT was how I was going to change the world. (Sidetone: with Donald and Hillary running this year, I couldn’t be any happier that the Lord lead me out of that!)

All along, I struggled to muster up everything I could to make my resume law school worthy. I was in a sorority, I was a Capstone Woman, and I took every pre-law course I could. However by senior year, my plan was beginning to crumble. With one, simple legal writing class, I realized that law school was not only the last thing I need to do, but it was also the last thing I wanted to do. Finally, this was the first time I was honest with myself.

But I kept on trying to be “important” aka: have a good job that society honored and made a decent salary. So I scrambled to form a new plan, because this was the first time that I didn’t have plan, and good gosh that was terrifying. I completed a last-minute application to go to graduate school, and by the grace of God was admitted, but at the time I was just happy because I figured this allowed me to remain in some type of structure. I thought surely this would directly lead to a cool job with a company or firm, and that was good enough! Not law status, but I was alright with that.

In the meantime, I had been privy to design and photography classes. Deep down, I loved them. I even considered switching my major to advertising during my junior year, but didn’t because that would’ve been crazy.

I’m really trying to summarize this at the moment, but honestly, I was miserable. I was trying so hard to become something that I felt was important and the dumbest part of it all was that I was basing it majorly on a worldly definition.

So when I graduated, I felt like I had been abandoned. My plan wasn’t working or moving forward. I compared it to “feeling like the train tracks had just run out”. What I didn’t see was what the Lord was doing. I didn’t see that He was given me a new structure. I didn’t see that He was breathing new life into my creativity. I didn’t see that He had given me a unique set of skills. I didn’t see the dream that He was trying to give me.

Two years ago, school was over, I was jobless, and didn’t know how to function without a completely packed schedule with a side of a massive to-do list. I had no requirements. All I would do was wake up, eat breakfast, read His Word, spend time with Him, work out, and write this blog that I haven’t had much to do with since February of 2015. What was happening, was He was trying to show me a new way of life. One that wasn’t strictly determined by my old, worldly, structure. It was one that He was knitting together.

But I only got dumber. Even though I loved my days of being creative and writing, I didn’t see the value in it. I didn’t see how I could make a difference. My life had become so quiet. So I floundered once more to find a career. I tried more internships, and even worked as a personal trainer just to make some money. All the while I was disregarding the gift the Lord had given me. On top of that, I felt like the Lord had quit talking to me which led to a desert season that went from May of 2015 to January of 2016. I was so confused and so distraught. Really, if I had just gotten quieter, I would have been able to hear the Lord’s direction. Pretty silly, considering He had already imposed a whole lot of “quiet” in my life already.

Now I do believe the Lord works ALL things, even our lack vision, together for His good. And He did this for me during this time. Every experience I’ve had up to this point has helped give me ideas upon ideas upon ideas because of the unique insight I’ve gained through each job. Praise Him, for that.

However, even after I fractured my tibial plateau during the winter of last year and was unable to work as a trainer, I still was reaching to find “normal” structure. Somehow, I finally had enough nudges, whispers, and all-out neon signs to use my gifts and do freelance graphic design. During 21 Days of Prayer this past January, I had a dear friend and mentor come out and say “you should do this!” With nothing to lose, I had just enough gumption to start my business.

The struggle didn’t stop though. This past spring, I took part in a Freedom Group at Church of the Highlands (highly recommend to anyone- even the “experienced” Christian). Going into it, I knew that Freedom Group sought to further sanctification at whatever level it could. I just didn’t think that would include dealing with my self-critical attitude about who I am and what I was created to do.

After a lot of prayer and tears, I finally had the courage to step out and be a freelance graphic designer. I didn’t care about the money I’d make, or the lack of status I’d obtain, I just wanted to help people brand their ideas and companies, and to dream with them and help them, in turn, be themselves too by clearly communicating through their brand. One leader in my group told me to “do what made my heart sing”. And design does that for me.

In the process of sorting out this new plan, the actual plan the Lord wrote for my life, I was still struggling with fear. I asked questions like: “how do you freelance? how do I make this into a living? what the heck is happening?!?” – more or less I FREAKED. So I did the only thing I knew to do. I prayed for ideas and the Lord sent them. He sent them in ABUNDANCE.

For last several months the Lord blessed me with a job that would help me have a steady paycheck while I built up my business. When I accepted the job, I figured it would take me a couple of years to finally make the transition from that job to full-time freelance, but I quickly learned that it was one final lesson. The security in that job was just what I longed for, and I could see myself settling into it quite nicely, but I wasn’t using my talents. It would have been extremely easy for me to get stuck there, but I was so unsatisfied and so unhappy. So finally the Lord brought me a few more clients, and I finally have the courage to step out on my own.

Truth be told, this is a post that has been several years in the making. I wanted to be able to write it as soon as I had graduated with my Masters. If you were a previous reader of the old “The View From Here” blog, then you know. It’s been quite the journey. After a while, I just stopped writing because I was getting to pessimistic. But thank goodness we have a God that loves us, and is gentle with us, and that works miracles so that even when we need to go through the process and take the long way around, He can redeem the time and opportunity that we may have missed.

I have learned several things that will always stick with me about who I am and the purity and rawness of Jesus’ love. He is so patient and so good, and then we come along and rip ourselves to shreds just trying to be important. For years I grew up saying that I just want to be “normal”. This was partially because I grew up with a special needs sister, and my home life wasn’t exactly average. But the older I got, the more I meant that in a way that was hypercritical of my ability to dream big, be creative, and see things in a way most people don’t. But recently, while talking with Jesus, I’ve finally gotten to a point where I’ve said, please don’t let me just be normal. I can finally say with all honesty, I want to become what the Lord wants me to come, no matter what that may entail.

So here it is, everyone. This is the plan that has been in the making for my whole life. The plan that He has knit together. We (the Lord and I), bring you Chaslee Designs.

(Check out the website here: chasleedesigns.com )

Thanks for reading,

Love Chaslee

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The Heart of the Matter

Vacation is good.

If you’ve been in any kind of contact with me in the past week, you’ve probably heard me say that at least once. To my friends who have heard me say this and been at all envious or annoyed: I am so sorry. But take it as your permission to GO ON VACATION.

Here’s why:

It’s funny, because you’d think that with no steady job, I wouldn’t need a vacation, right? Wrong. That’s because vacation doesn’t mean “stop working for a few days”. It’s a change of scenery. A change of pace. A new environment. A new kind of quiet to allow the Holy Spirit in, massage your soul, and give you the overwhelming grace to keep on going. I got to take a vacation last week, and it couldn’t have been anymore perfect.

I started off the summer by thinking that I really didn’t need vacation. I mean, let’s face it, I’m not exactly worn to the bone with work. But for some reason Jesus kept being like, “stop saying that! I provide you with what you need” and apparently I needed 5 days at the beach with nothing to do.
Yet again, He was right and I was wrong. This time I didn’t even see it.
He wasted no time (in typical Jesus fashion), and as soon as I got in the car to drive south 4 hours to Orange Beach, AL, He just started speaking. A LOT.

Know what He said to me?

“You’re trying too hard.”

And not in the good way. It’s one thing to be told by your peers in high school that you’re trying too hard, but when the Maker of Our Souls tells you that? Ha ha ha. 

I immediately thought, “okay, let me just roll over and quit right now.” How could I be trying too hard? Seriously? For well over a year now, all I’ve been doing is looking for just one inkling or hint of why God has me on this earth and for what purpose He intends me for, and that’s about it. I currently have no steady job, and I simply just look for ways to make myself useful during the day, because no matter what I do, the Lord deliberately closes the door and I have to be productive somehow. I’ve been patient for a long time, and now I’m trying too hard? There’s just no way.

Let me take a moment to be even more transparent with you. I thought back in January, that I had reached zero on how much more I had left to give, (see here: https://chaslneemarshall90.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/belief-before-proof/) . Well, after having 6 months of possibilities appearing and disappearing along with waiting and a million maybes, now I have officially reached zero. I actually cannot tell you a single thing about my life with absolute certainty aside from “Jesus is my savior and He is sovereign”. Maybe that’s the whole point of this process. 

Nonetheless, it’s pretty clear that vacation was a necessity. 
So, Jesus confronted me about my honesty and genuineness of heart. He pointed out that I may be involved, and “doing what I’m supposed to”, sure. I pray without ceasing, worship in the most focused manner possible, I’m attending small groups, utilizing my quiet time, and serving others. I’m “doing” it all, yes. But I’m not being honest and raw with Him. 

He said to me, “you’re letting everything proceed Me. Do you realize that? Church, fellowship, your future, relationships. Above all you’re letting your concern about what my mission is for you proceed Me. How can you even have a mission without Me? Seek Me first, not all the extra stuff. And stop performing. Just be with Me.” 

It sort of was like a hit to the gut. To be frank with you, where I am in my life is getting so phenomenally stale that I want to get off the merry-go-round and quit. That being the case, hearing all this made me a little frustrated. 

Despite the frustration, not long after my soul began to feel more rested than it has in the past month in a half because now, I had the permission to just let it all out in all its rawness.

  

He drew my attention to Luke 5 where there are 2 accounts of Jesus healing people. They’re an interesting contrast, because both individuals approach Him and ask for it in 2 completely different ways. A man with leprosy asks Jesus to heal him, “if he is willing”, where as another man’s friends hoist him onto to the roof of a house where Jesus was preaching, and rip tiles off the roof just to lower him to His feet, and ask Him to heal him. 

After the man with leprosy is healed, Jesus tells him to not tell anyone but go directly back to the temple and tell the priests what had happened and then worship and give offerings, which was a process that had to be done for him to be accepted back into society as a clean individual. The man still told everyone anyway, and Jesus knew that he would disobey, but He healed him anyway. 

On the other hand, Jesus told the man with the mat to pick up his mat and go home, and the man did so praising God for what had been done. Much simpler than the man with leprosy, right? What are you doing Jesus?

Well, the man with mat was healed in front of Pharisees who questioned what Jesus response to the man was, rather than his healing. He said to him, “you are forgiven”, and they were like “who are you to do that?”…. Basically it goes in a direction that would take focus off of what I’m trying to say, BUT most important is this:

In both situations, Jesus addresses their hearts first. He gets their hearts before the rest is done, because their hearts, regardless of their condition take priority over everything else, in this case, their physical life. 

And that’s all he ever wants. Our hearts. Just as they are. Ugly or pretty, He wants it.

As a born again Christian that has been on her walk for over 11 years, I suppose I’ve fallen into this idea that I should be pretty near to perfect at all times. I feel like I should be really good at living like Jesus by now, and for me to be struggling as much as I am right now is ridiculous. Maybe that’s true. But to pretend that everything’s okay to the point of not being 100% honest with Jesus about how I feel is even more ridiculous.

He says He wants us. Not our version of our fixed up selves, but just us. For my entire life, every time I’ve ever heard that kind of message, I begin to think “oh that’s for the ones who haven’t been saved yet”. But that couldn’t be more wrong. He wants our whole hearts, the good and the bad, at all times. Even if we feel like we’ve taken a few steps backwards and are embarrassed, He still wants it.
When I got back from the beach, I was relaxed enough to let my guard down. Something about “simply enjoying His creation” (as He told me to do), brought me back to spiritual reality. So for the past few days our conversations have been very honest. 

In fact, my worship at church has looked way more blah than usual because I just didn’t have all the energy I normally do. My prayers have gone from “Jesus you are so sweet and even though I don’t know what’s going on, I love you” to “Jesus, I don’t have a whole lot left. I love you, but this sucks. I’m not going anywhere, but help.” But it’s honest. I’m giving Him what I have and that’s all He wants right? 

Here’s how I see it. Imagine being in an epic movie with Jesus where you literally go through everything together. Then try to imagine how the dialogue would go after that. It’d be super open and honest right? So why wouldn’t it be like that now? The truth is, even when you haven’t felt Him or seen Him he’s been there the whole time. You’ve got nothing to hide. No matter where you are in your spiritual walk, He still wants just you. 100% you. So to be anything short of honest with him isn’t fair. (I’m saying that to myself, actually).

At some point, this will all make sense. I’m pretty sure right now is the point that everything officially makes no sense whatsoever, but I still believe that the Lord has written the story and I have a purpose in it somewhere. I want to give up, really badly. I’ve had it with possibilities turning into waiting, then into maybes, and slowly into no’s. At this rate, I don’t know what He’s promising me beyond eternity with Him. I haven’t got a clue as to what all of this is for. But I trust Him, I swear I do.

A few weeks ago, I was ready to toss this blog in the trash and get rid of it rather than “ramp it up” like I said I was going to a month ago. But instead here I am, writing again. Perhaps this is the part of this story where it’s about to get good. Maybe not. I’m approaching 25, I don’t have a steady job, I’m definitely not getting married anytime soon, and every time I think I’m on to something, it’s a dead end. In terms of “modern day blogs that you should be following”, this one definitely is not one that makes the list. I don’t even know why I’m writing at this point. 

But Jesus has this.  

He has my heart in all its splendor and lack thereof. And that’s all He wants. I’ve reached zero, but He’s got all of me. If I do nothing else in life, at least there’s that.

Above all, He is good. 

I don’t have a resolve in this post this time. Sorry to leave you with this, but it’s just going to have to be a “to be continued…” post this time. 

Jesus has this. The battle is already won. Thank you, Lord for what you’ve already done and will continue to do. 

Love y’all,
Chaslee

Deciphering the Map: Just Give Up…

God is so so so so so so good. That’s pretty much all I can, and all I ever will be able to say.

Just this week, I read back across some of my previous posts. I don’t mean that in a vain or narcissistic way, but I’ve had this blog up and running for two years now and sometimes it’s just fun to take inventory.

What I found is that primarily, I’ve grown in and by the grace of Jesus more than I ever expected to. Grace, grace, what wondrous grace. Thank you, Lord.

Secondly, I have realized that His ways are SO not our ways. And that is how it should be written in the Bible. I imagine something like, “For my thoughts are SOOOOO not your thoughts, and my ways are FAR FAR FAR BEYOND your ways” Isaiah 55:8. Yep, that would totally suffice. No matter how big our dreams or imaginations are, we cannot come close to being able to predict the future He has for us, (unless you have the gift of prophecy and that’s awesome, but nonetheless that’s still of the Holy Spirit and not us).

Thirdly, I have noticed how much longer-winded my posts have become. I’m so sorry, to my faithful readers, and I promise to make these more convenient to read. (Ahem, I’ll edit them better).

Two years later, I am 24 and life is definitely not what I imagined. As a college graduate, I foresaw a steady 9-5 job, possible relocation from my hometown, maybe I’d be engaged or married, and with a few new friends at a good church.

But here’s how it really is. My employment is not like a steady 9-5 to job, I have not relocated and am actually still living with my parents, I’m as single as could possibly be, I have more new friends than I can count, and my church is heaven on earth. Up until that last part, by all worldly standards I am not what most would call “up to par” on life. However, I don’t think I could imagine anything better than where I am right now.

You see, the absolute thing that I know for sure is that I am exactly where Jesus is and I can hear Him and see His direction so clearly. To many, it probably doesn’t make sense that I’ve chosen to stay where I am and not ravenously pursue that 9-5 job in some super cool city. It probably doesn’t make sense that I broke up with a guy that I thought, for a while, I would marry. And it probably doesn’t make any sense that I’m as completely filled with the peace and joy that I wake up to every morning and go to sleep confidently with at night.

Back in August after I graduated from grad school, all bets were off.

If y’all have read the previous posts from the year, you know what happened in terms of events. But really, it became just me and Jesus, without the slightest excuse for a distraction, and even though it was a desert season, His grace was like a flood. As soon as school was over, the rush was gone. I wasn’t hired immediately, and instead my life was hushed so much that I could hear Jesus’ sweet whisper to come in to Him.

It began by starting every day by spending time with Him in His word, with a new kind of devotion that I never fully stuck to. Immediately, the simple peace and joy of His presence washed over me. If I had just been doing that one simple act with that much dedication, maybe school would’ve been less stressful. But it didn’t stop there.

In the midst of the confusion and disappointment of not being able to instantly turn into an “adult”, He began to teach me about what more I needed to do have a servant’s heart. A heart that He could use, and I needed to have before I took on the mission He had for me. The super confusing part was, I still didn’t know what that mission was. So through an amazing modern-day parable, AKA a book, the Holy Spirit painted the most amazing picture of a servant hearted woman I have ever seen. I couldn’t resist, because let’s face it: He’s irresistible. I started trying to find times throughout the day where I could change selfish actions (no matter how little), into selfless actions.

Next, I heard Him tell me gently that it was time to end a relationship that I saw a future for. I didn’t understand, so I asked Him why. He gracefully told me that we were not equally yolked. And after a week of being plagued with that message, I got up the courage to end the relationship. It wasn’t fun. It required sacrifice and it made me sad.  But just as faithfully, the Holy Spirit literally picked my heart up, and put it where it needed to be which was even more for Him than it was before. It was hard to explain to some, but the most simple of answers is: it was Him, not me and not him.

Finally several months passed, and after so many rejections and lack of responses from companies and firms I could not understand why no one wanted me. My resume is outstanding. My gracious references gave glowing reports. How could I not get a job? I got to the point where I said, “Okay Lord, I’ve given you all that I’ve got. What else do you want?” Then He pointed to the very bottom of my heart, and brought up my childhood dreams: being in front of people and performing. Whether it was presenting speeches, singing, acting or modeling, I loved it. But the logic behind pursuing any of that was useless. No one ever makes it and it’s competitive, and I just completed school with zero training. But He said, “give it to Me, and come away with Me”. So I did. It was crazy, but I did.

Y’all see the pattern here, right? Our love turned a corner back in August, and suddenly I just WANTED more than anything to be like Him more than I ever have before. I mean I was saved when I was 4, rededicated my life when I was 13, baptized in the Holy Spirit when I was 14, and been in quite a pursuit of Him ever since. But this? This has been crazy. I cannot find another word for it. I say that, not boastfully, but as a testimony to His Holy Spirit. In the most beautiful way, He began to mold the back corners of my heart that I wasn’t even aware weren’t fully for Him.

Stripped bear. I have nothing left to give. I know that I’m not perfect and as I continue to grow, I will continue to find pieces of my heart that are not direct reflections of Him and they will need adjusting. That’s just basic sanctification. However, the more I give, the more He has for me, and although it’s difficult, it’s so good and so right. It makes no earthly sense, but in His terms, everything is coming together according to plan.

At the beginning of the year, I went through the most strenuous fast I have ever gone through. It was one of the best things I have ever done. My diet was restricted to veggies and fruit as I continued my work out schedule, and I woke up before dawn every bone-chilling morning to experience Jesus. The analogy of coal being turned into a diamond comes to mind. By the end of the fast, He provided and I accepted an internship in an area that was right up my “dreams” category.

I learned and am continuing to learn so much. Added to that, He provided me with friends from Church of the Highlands Tuscaloosa, and suddenly the meaning of community in the sense of the way Jesus and Paul talked about community has VIBRANTLY come to life.

There’s a verse in John that has constantly been on my mind ever since January.

 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:14-12

He tells us that we can do even greater things than the miracles that He performed, because we have been adopted! And we can experience heaven on earth, and that’s what’s happening right now, people. My earthly circumstances cannot change how I feel about that either, because the truth of the matter is He is always right here and He is my source of joy, my everything!

Where He goes, I will go, where He stays, I will stay.

So the internship ended a few weeks ago, and I wasn’t hired. It just wasn’t His plan for me and I am completely fine with that. Just as smoothly as possible, I immediately accepted a part-time job as a personal trainer at the University Recreation Center, just as I wanted to back in December. But this time, I’m more equipped. Part-time isn’t full-time, but it’s ideal.

Last week, the opportunity quickly came to participate in a model casting call for a “well known athletic brand”. My amazing, most Godly, most talented friend, sent it to me and encouraged me to participate. I haven’t been training as consistently for the past few months as I would’ve preferred, but I sent in my photos and sure enough! Nike cast me as a model for their sportswear. WHAAAAAT? (Y’all be on the look out for me around town!)

My friend took this. Started the day by shooting with Nike, and ended it by putting on UA Golf's putting green. Just follow Jesus. He does things you can't.

My friend took this. Started the day by shooting with Nike, and ended it by putting on UA Golf’s putting green. Just follow Jesus. He does things you can’t.

Had I been working full-time, that wouldn’t have happened. It was my very first shoot (actually, the first casting call I’ve ever done), and I had a blast. Ever so appropriately, God has lead me down this path and He has taken a big dream that a tiny little girl had and even though that’s only one shoot (and maybe the only shoot), it’s a dream come true.

There’s so many other little parts to this, but to save on words: His plan is so much better than ours. The truth is, if you’re evaluating your life by worldly standards of any kind, then it’s time to reevaluate. Everyone’s journey looks different, but regardless there is a peace and joy that surpasses all of it, because there simply is nothing like being in a non-complacent, intimate, relationship with our sweet, gracious, and SO LOVING Savior!

I may never know what tomorrow holds, but if it means that He is in full control then I don’t care and I don’t want to know.

Basically what I’m saying is this: He’s leading me in an amazing direction, and He has given me so many more promises, some that I wish I could tell you about, but you will know about soon enough. I don’t even know how any of it can possibly come about but He has taught me to never underestimate Him, because He loves me, wants the best for me, and He can do anything. But I do have an announcement!

Things are about to change for this ol’ blog. It’s been part of the centerpiece to this journey for me and certainly an amazing platform from where I can talk about God’s goodness. However, change is coming.

I’m embarking on a new kind of journey, and I want y’all to come with me. As I start my job at the Rec Center, I’m going to start back blogging about fitness, and nutrition. There’s also more to that, which I want y’all in on, but I’ll let that remain a surprise! My Daddy is about to take me some where super cool, but it’s not just for me. It’s for y’all too!

That all being said, I’m working on creating a new site. Basically, we’re gonna kick all this up a notch! I’ll still have all my old posts available in the archives, but this little space is just not big enough for what is about to come. I hope to write posts more frequently, with less to read, so that it’s more convenient and entertaining, and prettier! This has been fun, but it’s about to get even more fun!

It’s crazy to think what can happen in just two years. But I’m glad that Jesus is as wonderful as He is to make it all possible. Y’all will never cease to hear my praises on how wonderful He is. Nothing in my life or my life itself, is worth it without Him. I’m still working on the new domain, but look for it coming soon!

I hope y’all are ready for this wild ride. With a God this big, don’t expect anything small.

Love y’all,

Chaslee

6 + P = 9

Believe it or not, the above title (thought) actually crossed my mind the other day. Just as plainly as it’s written, I thought, “yep, makes total sense”.

Is that an equation? Is P equal to 3?

Hahaha. LOL. No. In this case, 6 + P literally equals 9.

Welcome to the land of Dyscaluclia, everyone. Are you ready to learn? (Or rather, unlearn).

Obstacles are an interesting thing, aren’t they? My entire, life I’ve always tried to understand how certain things like disabilities and diseases happen to certain people. We all know that it can be attributed to the Enemy and the fall of man, yes. But what about when kinda good things come out of it? Well, Paul says it best. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).  He works ALL things to His good. Not just some. But He never causes bad things to happen, either. To finish summarizing this, (sorry but this isn’t the focus of this post), the Enemy is constant pursuit to ruin our lives and when the Holy Spirit is not present (yes, He can leave when we don’t foster Him), the Enemy tries. Thankfully, although the Enemy may strike His heel, He will crush His head (Gen. 3:15). The battle is won and done, so although the Enemy may try, he will never prevail.

One of the many circumstances in my life that isn’t ideal, is my slight inability to read numbers. It’s called Dyscaluclia, but it’s also known as Mathematical Disorder (dumbest name ever). Interestingly enough, I’m quite good with equations of all kinds, but I don’t get the right answer because I’ll hit the wrong key on the calculator. I tell most people that it’s the numerical form of dyslexia, which they are in the same family. So I transpose numbers a lot.

  • It took me 10 years to memorize my social security number.
  • I have misdialed my grandmother’s phone number more times than I can count. (Just did it last week, actually).
  • It took me 5 years to memorize my sister’s phone number.
  • I’m not sure how I managed to memorize my CWID number in college. Pure miracle.
  • It’s absolutely over with if I do not have a graphing calculator.
  • Do not place me behind a cash register to deal with cash and change. No one will get their money back correctly.

Those are just a few fun facts about Dyscalculia with Chaslee. But enough about that. Y’all probably get it by now. Basically numbers and I aren’t friends. I had a math teacher tell me once that, “numbers are the language in which God wrote the world”. That’s lofty.  If that’s the case then I must just be dumb. And no, God breathed the world into existence, with a few words. Bible says so.

Needless to say, my difficulty with numbers is just annoying. It isn’t all the time, but it happens when I need to read sequences or when I have several numbers to deal with at once. So what does it look like in my brain?

Well, “6 + P = 9” is an awesome example. If I glance at a series of numbers, I see similar shapes and will get them confused. 5’s and 2’s are similar. 4’s and 7’s are similar. And 6’s and 9’s are similar. See how “p” is basically the letter form of 9? Well, mix that shape with a digit and you get the number 9. I also can’t count very well. I’m always one number off.

Anyway, hopefully y’all understand Dyscalculia at this point. It’s a weird thing.

My Heavenly Daddy’s ability to speak to my heart and soul never cease to amaze me, though. Logically, it shouldn’t because He created me as an inspiration or reflection of just a tiny facet of Himself.

Several years ago, (about 8 to be exact— and yes, I’m sure I didn’t get that wrong), I realized that suddenly the number 10 became oddly plastered all over everything I laid my eyes on. I was in high school, and for some reason that number just wouldn’t leave. I never understood why, and just summed it up to be my brain noticing it more. Then a couple years later it became the number 11. 11 was everywhere. Again, I just thought I was having another “episode”.

These “number plagues” happened on and off from high school, and into college. Although, I know certain digits carry weight and meaning in the Bible, I never thought that numbers like 10 or 11 meant anything.

About a year ago, I met a girl in my campaigns class that wasn’t quite like any other girl I’d ever met. We talked about Jesus and our faith, and what really intrigued me about her was how she believed God communicated with her. Our faiths didn’t line up 100%, but something that she told me was that she saw the number 11, and biblically, the number 11 usually meant something bad.

Remembering my bout with the number 11 from high school, I had a “wait, what???” moment, and asked her to elaborate. She explained to me that several numbers, (not just 7 and multiples of 3), have meanings. Number 11 meant disorder, chaos, and judgement. Later that evening she texted me a site that studies and references numerical appearances and meanings in the Bible. If you want you can find it here.

(Disclaimer: I have since done a lot of studying about numbers and the Bible, and that girl was right. This is just a handy little site whenever I can’t remember)

After I read up on 11, I remembered the issue that I was dealing with and praying about at the time. Looking back, what I wanted for that situation would have ended up in the biggest, mass chaos, nothing but a few buildings and rubble left standing, sort of disaster. The Lord obviously protected me, and found another way to speak to my heart on that situation, but had I figured out what it meant earlier, perhaps I would’ve dropped the issue like a hot potato right there instead of dwelling on it.

Since then, I’ve realized that, believe it or not, the Lord will sometimes choose to communicate with me through numbers. Numbers. The one thing my brain doesn’t do well with, the Lord was like “yep, I’m going to use that”. In a way, it makes sense. I always know it’s Him, because when I see His numbers, I see them more clearly than any other digit I’ve seen in my life. They literally translate differently. Isn’t that miraculously cool?

There’s some of you right now that are just like , “okay, whatever. You’re just trying to make God cool, but your brain is just noticing things more often than not”. Yeah bud, well I thought that too until the Lord used the number 8 one day a few weeks ago. The end result was my face turning hotter and rosier than I care to admit. What’s more embarrassing is that it took me, a cross-as-my-banner raising Christian, that has proclaimed to have a close relationship with Christ for 10 years, several years just to understand how my Creator chooses to “neon sign” communicate with me. And I swear to you that I have not lost my mind. (….say all the people who have lost it, right?)

This has nothing to do with numbers, but how amazing is God's creation. That's the ultimate point of what I'm saying. Look at this view over Texas!

This has nothing to do with numbers, but how amazing is God’s creation. That’s the ultimate point of what I’m saying. Look at this view over Texas!

Want to hear the number 8 story? Well, I’ll tell you. I can’t tell this story in it’s fullness, because this particular thing is a seed that God has planted, and although I am part of the plan, it is not my plan that I invented, but He’s given me His crazy, wild, promise, and I’m trusting Him. In non-OMG format, I mean this: The Lord is still working on this and I have no idea how it’s going to turn out. But it will. And trust me YOU WILL KNOW when it happens. Until then, the Lord wants me silent on the thing because it’s between Him, me, and my prayer warriors.

Eight is the number that symbolizes new beginnings and God’s ordained timing. It’s the number of timing. I honestly can’t tell you why I already knew that, but I did. Anyway, I was en route to this place and I was super excited. I had no expectations for what the day would hold, but the Lord had totally blessed me with so much peace and joy that morning during my prayer and worship. I knew that it was going to be good.

So I pull up to my first stop for the day, and suddenly got this overwhelming feeling that I should be prepared because I was going to see someone that I had been praying for (and had no idea why I was praying for them outside of Jesus told me to). But based on what that person’s schedule is as opposed to mine, and where we live and where I was, reality said that my chances in seeing this individual were slim to none. “I’m just anxious for the day”, I told myself. I need to calm it doooown.

I looked out my window, and noticed that literally every vehicle had the number 8 on it. Whether it was a sticker, license plate, whatever, they had a little 8 on it. In fact, my “address” that I pulled up to, ended in the number 8. That little voice in my head instantly reminded me what 8 meant, but I thought “I REALLY need to calm it down!”.

I get inside, and get where I’m going, and the entire time that I was walking to my destination, I was having this internal battle of “They are here. No they aren’t Chaslee, stop it. Yes, they are just watch.” I settled into where I was, and took just a clean-sweep glance of the premises to make sure to prove to myself that said individual was no where to be found. First glace: no one. Okay, I can calm down, right? Yes. Good.

I start people watching and look over my left shoulder. Right then, I see this figure that resembled the same person I was sure was not anywhere near me. I instantly rebuttled with “No, Chas, that’s not them. It’s just someone that looks like them.” Then I heard their voice. So familiar. I ended up getting a closer look (I promise, I was not being a creep). And then it was confirmed. Person that I had been praying for, was about 10 feet from me. My face turned hot as I looked away, and really wanted to say out loud, “Oh my God, I am so sorry, that was you, you were right, this is crazy”.

Needless to say, I later met up with the person, things were crazy, and that story is to be continued because the Lord is doing something. It’s His project and I am not disturbing it.

Fun story, right?

But that’s just it. It’s not only a story. It’s real life. The reality is our sweet, loving, creative, kind, Father longs to be initimate with us, to romance us, and y’all, He is so good that He will go out of His way to create circumstances and communicate with us in crazy ways, just to say, “I love you, baby. You’re my precious creation, and I don’t have to do all this, but I am because I’m God and I’m your Father and I want to.”

So many times we don’t understand why God takes the time He does, uses the words and instruments/people He does, and we see His grand gestures as unnecessary. Why would He do certain things and go to certain lengths for us when could have just done it more casually or simply and gotten the same result? Because it’s part of the song and dance.

Kim Walker-Smith worded this so beautifully in an interview when she talked about the relationship between God and His people as the relationship between Christ, the Bridegroom, and the Church, the Bride.

Jesus has made this commitment to us that is so deep and so big and so beyond what we could understand. A love that says ‘I will fight for you’. And that did, to the death, so that we could have power over sickness and death. It’s a selfless kind of love that is a pursuit. But much like getting married, the pursuit doesn’t end the moment you say your vows. The rest of your life is a constant pursuit of each other and each others’ hearts. He’s constantly pursuing us.  He’s coming back for His bride, the one that He loves and desires.

That’s a bit of a paraphrase. But that last part is so right and so true! The romance doesn’t stop as soon as we’re saved.  He wants our hearts forever and He is willing to do whatever it takes just for us to love Him fully. Whether it’s talking to you in a way that is unique to you or dying for you in the worst way possible. It’s all for you, honey. Let the walls of logic down and just embrace it. He isn’t bound by a single thing, and His creativity outweighs anything you could ever try to think of. So let Him romance you! It’s a good and an exciting thing!

I can’t wait to see what this promise that He has given me holds. For those of you with curiosity just itching, I promise you will know.. and you probably won’t have to come back here to read and find out what all this is. However, He still wants me to pray about everything and to remain expectant. And if He can go after me with a radical, fighter, pursuing love, then I can do it for Him, too.

The other day, I briefly became worried about, “okay God, you’ve given me this promise, now. So am I supposed to do something?” I had an underlying feeling that everything would be okay, but as the rest of the day continued, the number 9 followed me everywhere. Sweet, number 9. Know what it means? Finality. That it is finished. Jesus took His last breath on at the 9th hour of the day. The Lord really spoke to me and said, “Chaslee, you haven’t had control of this plan since it’s inception. But I have already written the ending to this story. It is of Me and it is good, and it is final”.

I cannot wait to see what’s around the corner. I’m starting a new chapter and a new season, this time with some amazing friends from Church of the Highlands, and I know that He is guiding me. His voice has never been this audible. If nothing, it’s a testimony to say exactly what Kim said. The journey doesn’t stop after you get saved. Things just get even better. I’m gunning to get as close to Him as I can, and I hope you will too. It is literally the sweetest thing that you could ever dream of. Just let Him romance you, and get ready to see big things happen 🙂

Love y’all,

Chaslee

Dreams Bigger Than The Sky

It’s funny how you can really get into a routine that’s on a steady incline, everything’s even keel, and suddenly the Spirit just interrupts and says “Hey, (your name), remember this? Well I want you to know this.” Or something along those lines.

Today, I was working on uploading some material on social media, and it was taking a while. I listen to Spotify, like most, while I work. But today, I got a little tired of my regular playlist, so I switched over to something different. Remembering a conversation I had with my cousin Thomas, I opted for some Jonathan David and Melissa Helser. The tempo, melody, and harmony was the perfect fit for the ambiance at my little desk. So I continued to work, and then suddenly this extremely familiar song came on. One that I knew the words to. It was like remembering something from a dream, and I couldn’t figure out why I knew the song. It was fun listening to it, and I continued to work, with the hushed thought in the back of mind wondering about when and where I listened to this song so often to know the words. Out of curiosity, I looked up the release date of the song, faintly remembering downloading it onto my iPod… (it was before my iPhone days if that tells you anything). When Google told me that it was released in 2012, a light bulb went off.

Weird, how you can look back on your life with such a different perspective, huh?

Recently, my mom and I had a conversation about the differences between sin and a mistake. How making the same mistake, knowingly, becomes a sin because you deliberately commit the mistake knowing that it isn’t what Jesus would want. Heavy stuff, I know. That’s actually pretty common for us. But interestingly enough, there was a sense a relief that washed over me when I realized some of the sinful mistakes I made in my past, were (although still sinful, because I am a human born into original sin), were more like mistakes because I didn’t actually look Jesus in the eye and say, “I know you did that for me, but I’m going to do this instead.”

I know your wondering, “did she copy and paste something and forget a transitional paragraph between those two?” Nope. I didn’t. You’re reading it the way it’s intended. Just roll with me. It’ll make sense in a little bit.

Back to the song.

I randomly downloaded that song back in 2012, right after it’s release. Around that time (January into the Spring), I started turning my running sessions into worship sessions by listening to worship music when I’d run. So I ran to that song a lot. I never got tired of the song, I just started listening to other songs and forgot about that one. Y’all know how it is. That was the summer that I interned in DC. Right before I left for our nation’s Capital, I had experienced some pretty serious heart break because my dreams that I had had for the preceding 3 years hadn’t come to fruition. The song was a little bit like a salve for my soul because it says,

On the shores of my soul I give You permission To wash my tears away And take all my disappointment [and] fill me with joy once again I’m gonna sing out loud And let my voice be heard It’s a song of victory And it’s ringing in the earth

So I could sing that song, make it like a prayer, and by doing so, I was reminding myself to sing through the storm.

I think I’ve said it before, but I am a big time dreamer. If I could tune people into my brain, it’d probably make excellent television. I don’t say that with pride. I say that with equal parts embarrassment and equal parts praise for how wonderfully my Father made me. But the point it is, my dreams are big, they happen without prompting, and my imagination builds and builds and builds them to the point that my expectations are set so high that I have to rely on God to see them come to life, because there is no earthly way to even make them a possibility. It’s been a reoccurring thing throughout my entire life. And while I know it’s one of the most unique things that God formed about me when He created me, it’s also one of those vulnerabilities that Satan has made low blows to throughout my life.

Three years ago, my imagination was let down further than it ever had been. I thought I had nothing else to look forward to, that it was the end of the road and nothing else could happen. Was it because I had allowed myself to dream too big? Was it because The Lord was trying to teach me humility? Why could something go so far up and come so much further down?

Fast forward a couple years and that whole imagination thing became a roadblock for me, because I became too afraid to put 100% of my trust in Him. Instead of using such a wonderfully crafted part of me to serve Him, I became too absorbed in worldly expectations and let the whole thing become corrupt.

In simpler terms, it went like this. My heart was for Jesus, but I hadn’t allowed myself enough time with Him to become more like Him. By not being more like Him, my desires became for worldly things even when I didn’t see it that way. (This was a MISTAKE…reference that blip about mistake v. sin above). As they became more worldly, so did my dreams. But here’s the funny thing about being worldly: when your heart becomes worldly, your vision becomes nearsighted. So in this process, I felt the need to limit myself, because certain things “just weren’t possible”. Then, by limiting myself, and by following what I thought was my dream, I ended up in a huge messy pile of disappointment. ITS CRAZY HOW TWISTED THINGS CAN GET… isn’t it? Satan specializes in making a mess of things.

Over the past several months (nearly a year), my schedule has thankfully slowed down enough to let the Holy Spirit (in His fullness) back in. He’s sweetly, and swiftly helped me get back to the root of my dreams and aspirations and helped me realize what He has given me. Let me tall ya, where I am now is VASTLY different from where I was for a while. And my dreams look much different too. The biggest differences now are that my dreams take into account absolutely ZERO limits, and ultimately He and His glory are the final destination.

I feel like I’ve probably lost you, my dear reader, by now. So, I’m going to be more literal.

Why am I writing this right now? Well to be honest, I’m at the end of the diving board again. I have my big ole dreams of how I can serve Jesus in tow and my faith is acting as my little floaties on either arm. It’s time to jump. And the truth is I’ve been reluctant to do so, simply because I don’t want to be disappointed anymore. I don’t want to let my dreams run wild, only to have nothing happen. The moment I do that, the moment I give Jesus my already large dreams, I know they will grow like weeds and I will have no control over them OR the actual situation that is my life. The fear of disappointment is just a creepin’ around the corner.

However, here is the main, very important, difference this time: my dreams are built on Jesus and wanting to love and serve Him. I actually do not care about what happens to me as long as it brings Him glory. And I am not boasting on my behalf. No, no, no. His Holy Spirit so thankfully has taken my heart and made it more like His, something that I could have never done on my own. Let that serve as a testimony to His goodness, because it’s hard to be like Jesus sometimes, and it’s not by my own effort, but by His retaliation when I let myself go and take up my cross. How awesome is that?

That all being the case, here’s what I know. He loves me so much. He will never let me fail. Even if my dreams don’t play out exactly the way I dream them, doesn’t that mean He has something better waiting for me? I mean ultimately, heaven is waiting for us, and I’m positive that it can’t get better than that. So what have I to fear? No matter what, no matter what, no matter what, it is all going to be okay.

So we’ve addressed that end of it. Now here’s the faith boost: no matter what our dreams or expectations are, the reality is Jesus defeated sin and death in 3 days (Just 3. Something that had an effect over all of time, took 3 days for Him to defeat). AND He rose from the dead. Nothing is impossible. And when His presence is in our lives, we have all we need.

Why am I making this a post for all to read? Well folks, I earnestly believe that one of the most defining characteristics of our generation is that we all dream big, and the reason that all of us millennials are having a hard time with being in this phase of life is because we’re afraid that all that’s around the corner is disappointment. We can make jokes about it all we want to, but by giving it so much time and attention, it’s just making the problem worse.

So my message to all of you is to pick up your little floaties, and jump. Jesus is not telling you to jump into something that’s going to kill you. Your eternity is secured, and He should know because He’s the one that did it for you. BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU. And why would someone that loves us, tell us to do something that is going to hurt us? If we place everything in Him, nothing bad can happen. Don’t try to figure out the logic in it, because that’s thinking in worldly terms, and we are spiritual beings my dears!

And here’s something else. Three years ago I made the mistake of letting other things besides Jesus define my dreams. At this point it’d be a sin to do anything but let Him fan those flames. There’s no way I can’t give Jesus these crazy dreams and let them run wild. So just go ahead and take it from me, it’s better to give Him your heart, and go after your God-given dreams than to not.

So let’s face our challenges and opportunities today with confidence and faith-filled hearts, all the while meeting everyone with love (that’s the most important part, so don’t forget!).

And here’s my technical update: for me, change is around the corner again. I have dreams for how it could all work out, but I know that if it doesn’t it’ll be okay. I don’t even need a “fail safe” for my hope (ahem, a distraction, as in “well, if ths doesn’t work out, then I will focus on this”), because my hope is in Jesus. He is the one that leads my footsteps, not my emotions. I would share what all I’m dreaming, but it’s not even nearly as important as what’s written above, and it would just make all this even longer. Also, you’d be like whaaaaa? So go forth, and give all you got to Jesus. Don’t fear disappointment cause it’s not even worth it! 450b0cd3394ad9fa04131f6d6c7c4e4b Love y’all,

Chaslee

Homesick

Today, I’m going to be forward with you. I’m going to jump right into things. This morning, I got pretty fired up about life, but only after being stupid, stressed, and completely discouraged this weekend. Isn’t the Spirit so sweet? I love how relentless He is in His pursuit of us.

Life has been grand lately. By grand, I mean it’s just been really big. High volume. And in every way possible. I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off, and if I’m completely honest with you, I’ve been so non-stop busy that I haven’t had time to spend enough time with Jesus (that’s not a grammatical error. I mean just that. “Haven’t had time for enough time”. I’ll come back to that). Every time I sit down for too long, I fall asleep. Like an old man.

If I get too far into the details, I’m going to lose the focus of the post, but just allow me to paint a little picture for you. I have a lot to get done during the day at my internship. I am fully, 100%, tickled pink to do the work that I have been given. That is not at all an issue. So I get that done during the day, and everything is hunky dory. But then I spend 2 hours in the car alone. And as much as I try to fill that with Jesus, I am not persistent enough in seeking Him during that time. I get stressed, and tired. By the time I get home, I’m too tired to work out, but my mental and physical self cannot NOT work out. Things quickly go south and I can get pretty ugly if I don’t exert my energy constructively. Plus, the endorphins make me feel good. So I have to work out early in the AM. Which leaves me with maybe 2 hours during the day to not be doing something constructive and just rest my mind…. And suddenly I’m a mess.

My schedule and time management is important (see a few posts ago), but that isn’t the issue in this case. I have a lot on my mind these days. I’m trying to do my duties to my best ability all while being a light of love to others and maintaining my sense of joy and peace. I’m not only trying to the task that following Jesus requires me to do, but I’m trying to do it with the heart and soul that He did too. I’m trying to foster goodness, patience, kindness, meekness, humility, and love, but I’m falling short. And I know that it’s because I’m not allowing Jesus the proper time to fill me up, but in today’s day and age how do I do EVERYTHING? Something’s gotta give.

When my stress bubbles over like this, I don’t resort to giving up or getting more competitive. I get homesick. Homesick for heaven, Jesus, and eternity. It took me a while to truly identify, what was happening here, but I start to just wish that Jesus would come back. However, I wish it in a selfish way. I confess to you, that in these times, I tend to lose sight of God’s purpose for my life, because I get tired, and I just want to rush to the end, the “good part”, if you will. I suppose I get so blase’ about my salvation, that I start to push it to the back of my mind and it becomes how Jesus is getting me into heaven, rather than what it’s really about.

Life just becomes hard with that mentality. The sense of defeat is multiplied ten fold, and my exhaustion is exponentially greater. I become shameful because I start to think, “Where is my spirit? What is this? Why am I not meeting my trials with joy? This is chance to be sanctified and bring Him glory!” Thank God for conviction….

….And thank God for friends and the church. Needless to say I was pushed to the point of tears with frustration on Saturday (I actually resembled a tired baby that needs a nap). I probably drove my mother mad with all of my venting. However on Sunday, I had the pleasure of just chatting with the loveliest friend that the Lord has recently brought into my life. In our conversation, I realized, all of this is where it is because I’m not as spiritually fit as I need to be. If I’m going to set my bar higher, then I have got to get more serious about meeting it and setting it higher again. (1. Conviction).

I went to bed last night with so much more determination. I even packed a lunch, set out clothes, and fully prepared myself to work out this morning. I did a spin work out (which I haven’t done one since early January, so it was in a way therapeutic) to some worship music, and was out the door of the rec center by 7:40. (2. Time to make a change).

I shut my door, got out my Cliff bar and banana that I had packed for breakfast, and as soon as I turned on the radio, 93.7 had I guest on that had some powerful words. I have no idea who he was or what the topic was, but immediately, he said “…because here’s the thing, Jesus didn’t die so that you could go to heaven, He died so that you could live with Him daily and bring Heaven (His kingdom) to the earth everyday”. He continued to basically say that, you can’t just wish for heaven everyday, because the Lord has more for us than that every single day. It doesn’t stop at salvation. Every day that we are on earth is another chance to experience Him, and be Him to others, so we should be greeting every morning with enthusiasm, knowing that the victory is His and the ultimate battle is won.

Needless to say, my day so far has been much brighter. And ironically enough that rainy forecast for today is not present, because it is sun shiny outside today.

The truth is this: no matter how busy things get, no matter how “high priority” something is, if He is not at the helm of my day, if I’m not taking time to spend with Him, if He is not what my life revolves around, then I’m not actually being productive at all. The other day, I heard the old story of Mary, the spirit-led woman who sat a Jesus’ feet, while Martha, being task-led, was preparing a meal. Every time I hear it, all I can think of is “gah, I’m so like Mary. I never clean, I just sit and listen to stories. I’m so lazy”. Prime example, of missing the point and letting ADD go on coast for a while. But this time, I tuned back in and realized that the Lord was using His word to say to me, “Chaslee, you’re getting to be too much about your to-do list and not enough about me.”(3. And action).

It will never get any easier. Jesus told us that the road is long a narrow. So that means that I have to be more intentional about pursuing Him. He’s pursuing me, and He’s there, all I have to do is take that step. Funny how Satan tries everything in His power to make it so that, for whatever reason, we don’t make the effort. But we have more than that. We have the promise that through Him, we can do all things. We know that He is with us in every moment, in every task, in every situation, and we only need be still.

I cannot forget or even put on the back burner the purpose of the cross. He died for me so that I may have life, so why am I stressed and tired? His salvation should be my banner in every single day of my life. Even when I am homesick and just longing for the day when I get to be with Him.

With Easter and the remembrance of the resurrection just within the next few days, I’m making it my goal to remember what His sacrifice meant for my life, not just my after life, and to celebrate it everyday. It’s time to bring my A-game. Even as I’m dying eggs and eating Easter candy.

So today, I’m challenging you too. Rest in knowing that He is with you, even as you’re reading this, or your at your desk, or while you’re cooking dinner. Be encouraged and inspired that every day has a purpose. “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it”. He created each day, and He went before you, so if you are alive and have been brought into a situation, then ask Him to fill you up and face it with determination. He died, just so we could have access to Him and just so we could face everyday with Him on our side! And remember, He makes ALL things work together for His good. Nothing that we can do is too big or too small for Him to deal with.

We are going to run this race and we are going to run it well!

If you need a little further encouragement, I LOVE this new song that Hillsong just released. Give it a listen 🙂

Well, I think I’ve gone on enough for today. I truly hope all of you have the most intimate Easter with Jesus, and look out on Friday for a bonus post this week!

Love y’all,

Chaslee

Cinderella: Why it’s Okay to Believe in the Fairytale

Hi friends!

So I’m back this week with, what I would consider, a more upbeat post than last week’s. (Not that my feelings have changed on that subject for my life personally, but I digress).

Perhaps it’s the time change and the days beginning to be noticeably longer. It could be that the sunshine has been out from behind the clouds this week. Or it simply could be that the Bradford Pears have put on their blooms, and although I despise their pollen and odor, it’s a sign that Spring is in its humble beginnings. It could even be that I’ve finally kicked mycoplasma to the curb and now I’ve been working out again (FINALLY!!!), so that’s all in balance now… (or getting there). Whatever the reason, my spirits are higher this week than they’ve been in a while. Not that they were low, but now they are eeeeeven higher than they were! You could say, I am pretty jolly about everything.

Spring is such a catch 22 for me. Although Winter is my least favorite season, I started not to get quite as excited for Spring during college because it was usually filled with school assignments and stress. It became anticlimactic compared to every other season and I always ended up slightly disappointed. This year, out of habit, I felt the same about Spring. But already, this season is shaping up to be pretty wonderful.  I think that catch 22 might be a throw 21 now.

This weekend was perfect. It was relaxing, productive, and sunny with a mild temperature (for me that means in the 70’s… I’m the coldest-natured person that I know). My favorite thing that I got to do was go see Cinderella.

Image cred goes to Disney, obviously.

Image cred goes to Disney, obviously.

I’ve been following the movie’s Facebook ever since last Fall. I love Lily James in Downton Abbey, and it’s Cinderella, so I’ve been excited, but I always have doubts about how well a motion picture will be executed. However, Cinderella was flawlessly done. You can agree or disagree, for whatever reason. But I feel like it was perfect.

There’s several reasons, why. The acting was great (how can you go wrong with Cate Blanchet and Helena Bonham-Carter? Answer: you can’t, unless you try to mess it up.). The costumes were so lovely. They brought the Disney cartoon to living, breathing, life. The set was jaw-dropping. It glittered nearly as much as the costumes did. And my favorite part was how it was written. It was the perfect mix of the classic tale and the Disney movie. To summarize it, the film was absolutely dreamy. It will be a classic in my house. I’ve already seen it twice (once with my mom, aunt, and sister and another time with a friend).

There will be spoilers, from here on out, so if you don’t want to know, then don’t read.

Part of the reason I’m critical about movies is because of their endings. Most people are like that, too. They want it to be just right. Satisfying, with a slight twist. What people permit as “satisfying” is where we fork. I’ve already seen a review for the movie that only gave it 3 stars. I immediately thought, “it’s probably because it fully indulges in the fairytale, and sassy pants wanted a different point-of-view or more realistic take on things”. My point is, it’s Cinderella. Let it have the perfect, happy ending. Be inspiring and let people dream.

I get where they’re coming from. It helps you not set such a high standard, and not set you up for disappointment. Or it simply helps you feel better about your circumstances. Sometimes, it allows you to create your own ending of what happens in the future, and instantly it becomes more relateable to you. I fully get it. If every movie had a happy ending it’d be too predictable. But Cinderella is the exception.

I probably sound like a diva princess, talking so passionately about letting Cinderella have her happy ending. Perhaps I am. But as I was watching there were so many instances where I just couldn’t help but revel in how sweet the story was. In terms of love, it creates a beautiful picture. And God is love.  It’s easier to put all this in bullet format, so let me explain:

  • At the very beginning, Cinderella’s mother tell her to “Have courage and be kind”. I adore that because it’s a call-to-action to be bold and to show love. She ends up living by this statement, and it’s pretty wonderful.
  • Even in the face of her evil step mother and step sisters, Cinderella maintains the heart of a servant and does everything with kindness as though she’s doing it in love, despite her circumstances. She never even complains. It’s more graceful than any of the Disney princesses, if you ask me. She’s thankful for what little she has, even though she’s made fun of for it. She shares her little bit of table scraps with her friends (the mice), and finds ways to make due with what she has. (The part where she sleeps by the fire to stay warm and wakes up with ashes on her face, completely unaware until the others made fun of her… That would 100% happen to me).
  • Then we get to the prince. Their “meet cute” was genuine, warm-hearted, and sweet. What I love about the prince is how humble he is, and that he doesn’t think twice about Cinderella’s social status. She has the humility to be completely honest about who she is, and the first time he asks her to dance, he says so in way that’s like a  formal request to someone far more important than himself. It’s an invitation that I don’t think anyone could resist.
  • At the very end, Lady Tremaine walks down the stairs after being proven wrong, and after Cinderella has accepted Kit’s marriage proposal. Cinderella turns around and pauses. Just when you think Disney has finally provided a window for the perfect “last word”, Cinderella tells her step-mother “I forgive you”. And she meant it. It’s the cherry on top.

Above all, the movie offers a sense of hope. It gives a good ending to someone that has bowed down consistently, lovingly, and without complaint. She worked hard, stayed sweet, gave of herself, and in the end, without her doing anything out of the ordinary she ended up exactly in the best spot she could have ever, (but didn’t) imagine. And all she wanted to do was go to the ball to visit with her friend, “the apprentice”. Her love for Kit was genuine. Does any of this sound familiar?

Much the way marriage is supposed to model the relationship between Christ and the church, there are so many parallels between this movie and how Christ romances us. If the fairy godmother were an angel, you’d have a story that resembled a story out of the Bible. Jesus offers us so much hope, just like the story of Cinderella does. Only with Jesus, it’s not made up. It’s real. And the happy ending is life eternal with Jesus in heaven.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to end up like Cinderella (anyone know of any really nice princes that love Jesus?). But the real reason that it’s okay to believe in this fairytale is because in reality, Jesus already wrote the love story for us. It’s kind of funny to think about it this way, but Jesus was Cinderella during His time on earth. He gave love with boldness that the world had never seen, remained pure and holy while humble and tender, and when the world turned its back on Him, He forgave us.

Our call of duty is to be as much like Him as we can, which can resemble the life of Cinderella, and we are promised life eternal. The only difference is, the Prince of Peace loves us just as we are, not even as good of a person as Cinderella, as ugly sinners, before we even encounter Him. Our happy ending is written without us even knowing it. All we have to do is love Him. And how easy is that when He is so sweet? (Easier said than done, yes).

That’s why there is absolutely nothing wrong in believing in the happy ending, what the world has deemed as “the fairytale”. The truth is living in this world, is the alternate reality for a short time, and where He is is reality. The fairytale is the reality. How awesome is that news?

So if you haven’t, I highly suggest going to see Cinderella. Guys, too. It won’t hurt ya. Perhaps you will get the same warms fuzzies that I did, too!

As always…

Love y’all,

Chaslee

Mawwaige, Mawwaige

Well I think I’m actually beginning to really move into “the working phase” of life. Usually when I write, my process goes like this: I think about what’s going on, what I’ve been mulling over, what’s come full-circle or at least will make sense and not misrepresent the Lord, and I just talk about what’s in my heart. Very often I don’t plan what to write. I mean I give thought to it, and screen out certain things, but I don’t have a scheduled list for my personal blog.

Lately, I just haven’t felt like I’ve had anything new to share that isn’t about brand representation and social media (which I’m sure y’all don’t want to hear about). Normally, I’d just not post and not think about it, but for some reason I’ve felt like I needed to post something new. At least something.

So where am I at in life? Working away the days, really. Mind you it’s just an internship, but I really like what I’m doing. Like I said last week, my dreams when I’m asleep at night  have switched from being really imaginative to being really practical and making about zero sense. It’s like in Divergent when Tris hops on the train in the very beginning… I did that about a month ago, and haven’t stopped thinking about PR stuff. It’s been fun having something to work for, especially since I love the “cause” that I’m working for.

Other than that, there’s really not much else going on aside from just watching where Jesus is leading me. Honestly, that’s action enough for me. I waited in stillness for so long, that I have absolutely no complaints about anything. Be sure to note that, okay? You’ll see why in a bit here. NO COMPLAINTS. ALL PRAISES.

But I’ve gotten pretty used to the 2 hours of alone time that I have in the car. I-20/59 is a busy and crazy commute, so it’s not quite as calm as one would imagine, but during the boring parts of the drive, I pray, and my mind wonders, and I pray.

If y’all ever knew about everything that runs through my mind, it probably wouldn’t make sense to you. My brain never stops. It never turns off. But I’m still a 24-year old girl, so the other day the thought of marriage came across my mind…. Calling all da single ladiesssss. (And married, too.)

I’ve never really talked much about this before, but it is a popular topic. And it’s important too. So let me just give y’all a run-down on that area. (FYI- this is me going out on a limb, cause I like to keep my heart cozy and hidden away, and hardly anyone is allowed to know anything.. so I will discuss without revealing too much).

The other night I was watching The Bachelor, and Whiney Whitney said something about “I’m ready for him to put a ring on my finger”. When she said finger, I thought “finger- chicken fingers- yum”. And I was still full from dinner. So that should give a glimpse on where I am about marriage. I see people get engaged and I’m no longer surprised. I’ve been in 3 weddings in the past 2 years (and loved every minute of it), but I can’t even fathom changing my last name. Sharing a home with someone that isn’t my blood relative, and fostering a Godly marriage by “being willing to be uncomfortable in order to work things out” sounds beautiful, but trying to picture myself doing that at this point in my life is like something out of the Twilight Zone.

  It’s strange, because I’d love to be married. I don’t want to say that I’m not mature  and ready for that yet, because that will denote the absolute WRONG connotation. (By no means do I love ‘jUst BeInG sInGlE, GoInG oUt On ThE wEeKeNd’… That’s so not it. I mean right now I run, paint, and hang out out with my family on the weekends and I’m so very content).

I’m settled and mature, but I’m not “looking”. I’m completely over dating for the sake of dating. I don’t want a “boyfriend”, I want a companion. I’ve adopted the mentality of “I don’t want to be married, unless the Lord wants me married.” For now, I’m pursuing a relationship with Jesus, and unless a romantic relationship is actually bringing me closer to Jesus then I don’t want anything to do with it. So guys, get your hearts right if you want me! Haha, I’m totally kidding. You can’t pursue Jesus in order to get to me. But it won’t hurt you to just love Him cause He loves you back.

I get so sick of the trash that Elite Daily publishes about dating, and really anything else secular. But some of these Christian articles are dinkey, too. You can be raw about your feelings, and still have Jesus at the center of it, and that’s what I’m figuring out.

Some days, I feel like I’ll be the last person to get married, if ever, and that’s never a good feeling. It just seems like it’ll take forever. I’d love to have a family and still be somewhat young so I can keep up with babies and toddlers, and not be the oldest mom at my son or daughter’s graduation. However, more than that I want to glorify Jesus, and I know He has everything under control. But until the day comes, I’m here because the Lord delights in me and He wants me around. I live for Him.

On most days, I think about who I’d actually like to marry and then resort to the conclusion that the likability of that individual existing is slim to none. Before you start thinking about “oh she believes there’s just one person for her to marry, blah blah blah”, SLOW YOUR ROLL. That’s a debate that’s about God’s plan for our lives, and I don’t think that any of us can comprehend that so I think that debate needs to end everywhere, now. But here’s why I think that: after my last relationship, the Spirit literally picked my heart up and put it in a different place. He’s been revealing more to me about my heart ever since. The entire story to that is long, and too personal for here, but one thing that the Lord really impressed upon me was that I do need to set a high standard for the man I marry. And it is HIGH. But coupled with that, the Lord created me, and one of the things that He created is my narrow margin of who I’m actually attracted to. And I’m unabashedly embracing it. Note that attraction does not necessarily just mean physical attraction, but it means an attraction to their heart. I know I sound like an icy-hearted witch, but in the past, I haven’t always dated with that in mind quite as much because I just figured it wasn’t as important. But now that I’m at this point and age in life, it’s important. And heck, God created it and He has validated it, so I’m gonna roll with it. Now, I know this sounds like me saying “good luck guys with being able to date me”. I’m absolutely not doing that. The Spirit will move my heart when and where and for whom I need to be moved. But that time hasn’t quite come yet. So my standards are staying put.

  Everyday,  I’m surrounded by people that are getting married. I’m interning for a bridal gown designer. I’m literally around the whole marriage thing every SINGLE day. (No pun intended). It doesn’t mean that everyone who is getting married is any more or any less than me or vice-versa. It simply means they are at different points in their lives than me. That’s it. So even though it’s constant, it’s not negative. It’s just another chance to dream about what that might be like one day. There’s no reason for it to bother me.

Lately, my heart just seems like there’s a corner of it that’s in a tiny tug-of-war. I couldn’t be more peaceful and joyful about where my life is right now because I know I’m exactly in the center of Jesus’ heart. And quite frankly, I want to remain there, so I’m trying not to do anything that will push the Spirit out of my day-to-day. But then I get a tiny tug in my heart that’s like it misses my companion, and then I go, “well he isn’t here, but Jesus is”. And that’s what’s most important.

Truthfully, I don’t know how or why this would interest anyone. But my sister and I seem to talk about it a lot. We feel differently but the same about some things. And then the other day, my aunt was at church and happened to say out loud that “my niece is totally not concerned dating anybody or marriage because she says she’s married to Jesus and that’s all she needs!” (which is true), and it was enough to catch the attention of dear sweet girl from far away. So I know I’m not the only one, and if I’m not then it’s worth discussing.

My attitude about this will be just like my attitude towards unemployment because the truth is, it’s a phase of life. I will wait patiently, not wishing I were somewhere else because this is where He is. And that being the case, I feel like it’s worth documenting. I feel compelled to write about it. So perhaps there will be more posts like this in the future, perhaps not. But for now, this is where the Spirit has lead me. As always, I hope this provides you with a way to connect with Jesus more today, and just remember, this isn’t my declaration against men or how to be single and hopeful for marriage. You listen to what He’s telling you.
Love y’all,

Chaslee

Managing Time to Foster the Spirit

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Man, old habits die hard, right? You think you’ve learned your lesson, and then not moments later, something is there to meet you and push you over the edge… well, at least nearly over the edge. You feel like you’re going around in circles, but I’m here to tell you that circles have no welcomed place here. Rather than be pushed over the edge, it’s time to recognize the issue, face it head on, and break the cycle.

I’m sure y’all are wondering what all this is about, accompanied by either the thought of “oh no, not again,” or “seriously, what’s it this time?”. Well friends, the whole point of this blog is to share my experience in hopes that it can help you cope, too. Fellowship is the name of the game. So allow me to explain…

It’s been longer than usual since I posted last. Things got busy at my internship, and then just in time for the weekend, I found out I had mycoplasma, which is basically a form a pneumonia that isn’t contagious or super serious, but will linger like a bad ex and make you feel rotten. Plus, it’s a dog for someone with asthma. So today, I had no choice but to surrender to this icky illness and stay home from work. It sucks. I actually haven’t felt this unable to breath since I was maybe 2, or since the time I had my sinus surgery. It’s plain awful. Not to mention, my need to be productive is being less than satisfied. But there is a reason that I’m sick.

Rejoining the “real world” has really been putting everything I learned in my season of unemployment to the test. For the most part, I’ve been able to set precedents for my daily schedule that allow me to get everything done that I need to without added stress. Although I’ve got a lot on my plate, there’s just enough room for everything.

I suppose the biggest challenge has been trying to find the right balance between being too busy and in a hurry, to” just right” productive, to lazy and not productive enough. That last one, I’m happy to say, has not occurred yet, but if you looked at the condition of my car or room, I’m sure you might disagree. Lately my brain has been on non-stop. It’s been so on, that my dreams at night are about silly details like “maybe I should get a new Wobble water bottle so I can stop buying brand new ones from the drink machine”. You know you’re busy when that starts happening.

There’s a lot to be done at my internship, and I love it. It’s a new territory so it’s challenging, but I’m not without a vast expanse of information at my finger tips (thank you, God and thank you, grad school). I’m beginning to see all these little pieces to this puzzle that I never thought I’d be able to find a spot for, come together to make this really epic picture… I think. So of course, when you finally get on track, and say, “Jesus, it’s you or nothing”, and He has this grand, dream of a plan and you embark the journey side-by-side and it’s great, Satan knows he’s lost the battle. He knows your weak spots even if they’re trivial. In this case, mine is asthma and mycoplasma. That’s the reason that I’m sick, I think. Satan is trying to slow me down, cause that’s all he’s got left.

I don’t get what it is about being sick that will dampen your mood, but just as emotions can play on your health, I’m convinced that health can play on your emotions. The total, honest, truth is that I’ve probably been sick for a solid month. Back in late January my dad brought home this awful cold, which if he has something, then usually it’s contagious and not nice. In summary, we all got it. After the first two weeks of the illness, it fades away and you think you’re fine, but ohhhh no no no. Then a couple weeks later you get this dry cough, and it’s mycoplasma. (Sorry for being bitter but I hate being sick). So around Friday, I just got kinda blue. I prayed, and talked to Jesus, tried to get myself out of it, and truthfully couldn’t figure out why I felt gloomy. I even began to wonder if everything was going to be alright, because I was slower at work than usual and made stupid mistakes. Also, the fear of “falling into a job for 5 years with nothing happening except for a job– as in no husband, no purpose for Jesus, and just being a 20-something” crept in, and around that time, I started thinking, alright, this has got to go. Because that is just all a big lie. Every day has purpose as long as Jesus is in it, and I have Jesus.

This is where that habit part comes in. I truly prayed about where I was. I knew none of the way I felt was coming from the Lord, so I asked Him to just meet me and help me like a pathetic little kitten with a hurt foot on the side of road. Immediately, He pointed out how little time I had been taking to pause throughout the day and just spend in His presence. Now, “little” in this case is compared to how much I had been seeking Him right before, which if you will recall was that magnificent fast. I had still been doing my morning devotionals, and listening to worship music on the way to work. But that solid hour of raw conversation between Jesus and I had faded away. And I need that. More than I need the air that was being sapped from my lungs this morning (…and that actually was so bad that I cried).

Two years ago I had this perpetual problem of not managing my time right. Part of the issue was because my definition of time management wasn’t what it ought to be. I figured that as long as I could get everything done, be “on time” to class and tours and other duties, and got 6 hours of sleep somewhere in there, then I was managing time well. But that’s not true. Time is not only about to-do lists.

I came across a sermon by Mark Batterson around that time about time management, and it sort of turned everything upside down for me. I wrote down a few notes on a skinny rectangle sheet of paper and placed it on my mirror above my dresser, where it still is now. I came across it just the other day, and item number 2 caught my attention. It says this:

“Leave margins of time. Otherwise you will shrink your capacity of gratitude and creativity– at which point the Holy Spirit can leave.”

Perhaps the reason that it caught my eye is because I’m relearning about my capacity of creativity and how to use it. Nonetheless, it speaks to how important it is to leave comfortable pockets of time between the day so that it still leaves room for the Holy Spirit.

After my big long break, I’d say that I’m pretty good at leaving margins of time, and room for the Holy Spirit. But then I receive these blessings and opened doors, and suddenly I’m back to where I was. Old habits really do die hard. I can’t forget what I learned though because the only reason I am where I am is to be a witness of His light, and a servant for Him. If I lose that time with Him, then what’s the purpose of being where I am? That’s why we have to slow down. It’s important to be organized, but we cannot marginalize God.

The actual reality of the fact is that our to-do lists don’t matter as much as we think they do. That’s actually what we fill our time with until Jesus leads us to the next thing He has for us. What it’s really all about is waiting for and listening for His voice, even (and especially) when He calls us to break away from our scheduled lists and asks us to chat with a friend about something they need help with. Or perhaps He wants us to skip working out so we can spend an extra hour in prayer, uninterrupted. You get the gist.

So as I sit at home today, humbled by mycoplasma (of all things,) I’m reminded of what the true heart of servanthood is, and that’s living for Him. Without Him it is pointless, and without time spent with Him, I can’t experience Him in His fullness. And honestly, with the way I’m feeling, I don’t want to try to do it my way ever again.

I don’t know how any of y’all feel about any of this, but that’s my beef for today. If we don’t start slowing down just long enough to experience Him, it’s all pointless. So give yourself a breather today. Spend it in prayer and just get to know your Savior. Trust me. It will make you feel a lot better. I am also not too proud to ask for prayers against this illness, if you feel so inclined 😉

So next week, I promise to provide you with a more upbeat post. As I take time to slow down and seek Jesus, I’m sure that things can only get better.

Love y’all,

Chaslee

Lent: More Than Just Fasting Until Easter

I’m going to be honest with y’all. I love Lent, like a nerd. Ever since I was old enough to understand what it meant and each of its components and traditions, there’s just been something about remembering where man once stood, being humbled, and the glory that comes at the end of the season that has always been so special to me.

This year the season has approached much quicker than I anticipated. Perhaps it’s because the Lord has presented such amazing, yet unexpected, opportunities and I’ve been occupied with that. Or maybe it’s because I just celebrated 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, and I just came off of a high, high mountain top. Either way, I feel privileged. Privileged, because it’s another opportunity to draw closer to Him. This year, Lent will be serving as a reminder that the kind of closeness and intimacy that we achieve with Christ during those highs can continue to grow more and more every day, even after we go back to a daily routine that doesn’t include that added pause.

The period leading up to my internship offer and my other big news was unlike any other fast I’ve ever participated in. I told y’all about it, y’all know. I don’t think I’ve ever bowed that low and felt Jesus in such an intimate way. When I found out where the Lord was taking me next, I was so excited, but not 2 weeks into my new routine I started getting a little concerned because I suddenly had so much on my plate. “Lord, I don’t want to revert. I don’t even want to stay stagnant. I want to continue to grow. I want this intimacy to remain. This is best part of all that’s happening in my life right now, it’s YOU! How do I do this? All of this is for you, and without you it is nothing, so just be with me and intervene!” That was my prayer while in the car, of course. I spend more time there now than I used to.

His soothing voice came back to me, just like a wave on the shore, in perfect tandem. He prevails over my life, and every minute that I put Him first, He will make all things work together for my (His) good. I’m seeking Him, and He is ALWAYS seeking me, so it might take some getting used to, but He won’t let my foot strike against the stone. If I just stay focused on him, it will all be alright, no matter how high or low the activity level is.

It’s kind of like when you’re first learning how to water ski. You’re put in the water, have the rope to hold, and with the skis on your feet, everything feels heavier and the water rises higher as you sink down. But if you position your feet just right, and hold on tight, then the boat will move and you’ll be on top of the water, gliding along beautifully. It may take a few tries to get right, but once you get the hang of it, and if you keep your eyes ahead, then you’ll be gliding on top of the water.

Lent couldn’t come at a better time this year. Even though I have so much happening and more responsibilities to take care of,  and even though Lent will complicate figuring out what to eat thus taking more thought and time, it’s perfect. As soon as I walk into the work place and the pace of my life picks up, here’s this season to remind me of where I just was so that I really won’t forget. Not a month later, I have this fast–which although it’s longer than 21 days, is still less intense–to keep me close to His heart. I’m getting to learn how to further keep Jesus at the focal point of my life in the midst of busyness, success, to-do lists, and this time I’m going to continue to grow nearer to Him. What joy that brings, during a somber season.

Back in November, I heard an ad on the radio for an audition with a group called AMTC (Actors, Models, and Talent for Christ). It caught my attention a little bit, but I changed the station and forgot about it. However, ever since I was little, there has been a place in my heart for acting. At the age of two, I invented my own little game which consisted of picking my favorite movie (Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, The Music Man, The Jungle Book), gathering necessary “props”, and acting out the movie along with the movie playing in the background. From a very young age, I could easily memorize lines and inflections, and was always willing to perform in front of a packed audience. I vividly remember sitting my parents down after dinner one night and reenacting the entire dialogue between Cruella DeVill (Glenn Close)  and Anita, when Cruella sees Anita’s drawing of the puppy coat  and brings her into her office to discuss the young designer’s career. (Lovely 1990’s flashback right? ) I knew both character’s lines like I was saying the Pledge of Allegiance and had so much fun showing off for my parents. Not too mention, so much fun speaking in a British accent!

As I grew up, I simply didn’t think there was any sensible way to pursue acting, so I just moved on when I got to grade school. I mean, everyone has crazy dreams like that right? I wanted to know what my real life calling was. But November was a month where the Holy Spirit awakened this part of me, reminding me of what He created me to be. Long story short, on what seemed like a fun whim I decided to give AMTC a shot.

So in late January, I did it. I prepared a monologue, and despite being sick and a little discouraged, went and layed the very last piece of my heart on the line. I felt really silly. But the cool thing about AMTC, is that they believe that the entertainment industry is the call out mission field of the 21st century. They are there to use their talent, and simultaneously be light for God. They are technically a 501 C3 non-profit, and they call themselves a congregation. Everything they do is faith and scripture based. (Trust me. Skeptical-me did a serious amount of researching). I have always thought about what I would do as a Chrisitian if I were in the public spotlight, whether it were being a politician, business owner, and of course, an actress. Everyone pictures their life and how they will live it, but I always can’t help but think of it from an entertainment point-of-view.

(I have never laid all this out for anyone but my family before. If y’all have gotten this far and don’t think I’m crazy yet, y’all are champs).

Anyway, to wrap up the story, Carey Lewis, the founder of the company, was my consultant and apparently gave me a perfect review. For the rest of the weekend, we prayed about me joining. The biggest issues for me were 1. can I still work a real job alongside this? The answer was, yes, of course, because 95% of their performers have jobs they do with AMTC on the side. 2. Money. I hate money y’all. Good thing it’s the number one thing the Bible tells us to not worry about. Jesus just said, “remember what I’ve said about tithing and building up treasures in heaven? Just do it. If nothing else happens, consider it your tithe to a great ministry”. So, for the next year, I’m doing online classes, and will communicate with my hub in Atlanta all in preparation for a week long event called SHINE (next winter) where I will audition for hundreds of scouts (including Warner Brothers, Fox, Turner Broadcasting, and Sony just to name a few)…. I am following Jesus and He has a plan. No idea what it consists of. But I trust Him.

Between AMTC and work, I suddenly have amazing things to do. I love my internship so far, more than any other job I’ve worked (which may seem intense for only having been here less than a month, but it’s great). AMTC is seriously so cool. I don’t even care if Jesus decides for me to participate and nothing come out of it but friendships and community. He knows what’s going on. Some days I feel like I’m dreaming, but this is real. That’s how big our God is. Best part is, He isn’t even finished yet.

Lent couldn’t come at a better time. I said it once, and now I said it again, but I mean it. If you haven’t seen the common thread in everything that’s been happening yet, you might consider getting glasses because you might be blind. (Haha! Just kidding. But seriously). I don’t care about any of this is Jesus is not in it. His intimacy is what I want above everything.

Notice I’ve said “intimacy” several times. That’s because intimacy and a relationship are two different things. The relationship is important, but it simply isn’t enough. I cannot survive without Jesus. I can’t. So I need Him all day, errday. And I need Him in the rawest, closest form possible. Thank God He is who He is!

Fasting and dedicated, conscious prayer is what brings us to this level of a relationship with Christ, to this intimacy. And that is what Lent brings about. Not only do we reflect on our lack and His bounty, but we come to the conclusion that we need more of Him. So that’s why I love Lent. It silences busyness and puts Jesus back where He belongs: paramount in our lives. We are nothing without Him.

Unfortunately, I have a plug that I have to give. I don’t make any money, but God said trust Him on the money thing. That being the case, I’m doing what I can, and have begun painting. It’s called 3D By C.Lee, and is available on my website. Each work will have at least one 2D element incorporated into it, whether it’s feathers, chains, raised paint, textured paint, etc… I’ll  have them up soon, so be sure to take a look! Everything I make will 100% go towards my membership with AMTC. Guaranteed.

So during this Lenten season, I hope each of you find a new way to get closer to Him, and I pray that you experience His love in a whole new, more intimate way. Until next week…

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Love y’all,

Chaslee