Friday, August 26, 2011


Some of the many reasons why I love college students:

1) They will do, go, say and sign up for anything (well, almost) to get free food.
2) Freshmen dress up the first couple days, but, later in the week they are wearing comfy clothes to class.
3) They desire to engage with people who will hear them out.
4) They're willing to take risks.
5) They want to change the world and they're crazy enough to do it.
6) They love, love, love wings (especially free wings).
7) Watching and eavesdropping on the flirting that goes on between guys and girls (sometimes I'm embarrassed by the conversation and the lame pick-up lines).
8) Mac & Cheese, ramen noodles, and coffee--staples in their diet.
9) They are searching for meaning and significance. They are searching for Jesus and I have the opportunity to introduce them to Him.
10) This week I've been asked, "How are your classes going?" and "Are you a freshmen?"  Thank-you for making me feel so much younger than I am!

College students are awesome!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Perfect Planner

Plans for My Life:
(1) Graduate high-school: check
(2) Graduate college: check
(3) Married by the age of 25: check
(4) Own a house by the age of 27: nope, not yet
(5) First child by the age of 27: nope, not yet
(6) Proud pet owner-preferably a maltipoo: nope, not yet
(7) Live in a weather-all-year-round state: nope, not yet

Wait a second, four of my seven (oh, and I have more) life plans have yet to happen. For a control freak like me, this is cause for anxiety, worry, and "God doesn't know what He's doing, so let me take over and 'force' this to happen" moments of panic.

Then I read Proverbs 16:9, "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." Or, how about Proverbs 16:33, "We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall."  

Comforting? Yes. And no, not always. I like being in control. I like when plans go MY way. So, where does that leave me? Either I stress out, develop an ulcer, and gain 5 pounds because I find comfort eating yummy chocolate ice cream. Or I surrender my plans to the Perfect Planner, rest in Him, and enjoy how the dice land.

It's such an obvious choice, yet one that I struggle to make everyday.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Think Twice, Speak Once

"Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything." (Proverbs 13:3) 

Everything?  Really?  Let's think about this, what can be ruined by opening your mouth?  Relationships.  Marriages.  Friendships.  Car rides.  Evening strolls with your honey.  A romantic dinner.  Even healthy conflict resolution can go south very quickly if one's mouth is moving too much (take my word on this one).

I don't know about you, but once I get warmed up, words continue being formed and escape from my mouth faster than I intend.  I often dismiss this "ability" as verbal processing, but God's suggestion is: keep your mouth shut (my paraphrase).  I think He'd also agree with my mom, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."  (if I remember correctly, mom said this more to me than she did my sisters)

Sometimes freedom of speech isn't the best freedom.
I want to experience the freedom that comes when silence is the wiser choice.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wisdom? Yes, please.

"Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it." (Prov. 8:10-11)

I desire many things: clothes, comfort, a trip to Greece, a baby, freedom, a pair of TOMS just to name a few.  I pray for wisdom, but usually only in crisis situations.  I don't consider wisdom to be of more value than rubies (or diamonds for me, personally).  I don't desire wisdom.  Honestly, there are days when given the choice, I would not pick wisdom at the expense of my desire.    

I want freedom from my own shallowness; freedom from my here-and-now focus; freedom from my selfish, nasty heart.  

This is my prayer today, by the power of the Holy Spirit working in me, is that I will focus on Christ in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3).   

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sweet Whispers; Loving Arms

Since I was a little girl, I've envisioned being a mother.  It's been one of the greatest desires of my heart, and yet, it's still only a desire, a longing.  

Lee and I have been trying to get pregnant since November of 2009.  Twenty-one months later, we are still trying.  This is the most difficult trial I have ever had to walk through.....ever. 

I had begun to lose hope that God hears my prayers.  I had begun to lose hope that God cares about this longing in my heart to be a mother, to have a family.  I had begun to lose hope that He sees my tears.  

But, today, God gave me a gift, a sweet reminder of the God I serve.

Parents find it very difficult, painful actually, to hold their baby while the pediatrician pokes them, numerous times, to administer life-saving vaccines.  But they do it.  Why?  Because it is best for their baby; it could save their life.

Today I felt like a baby looking up at my heavenly Father, crying, and asking Him, “Why are you doing this to me?  Don’t you see how painful this is?”  Gently, the Holy Spirit reminded me, “Yes, He does see how painful this is,but He is not withholding anything from you. He is doing what is in your best interest. Trust Him. He loves you.”

I felt God’s arms wrap around me even more tightly when He softly whispered, “It hurts me that you hurt so much.”  Like a parent, who is often crying with their baby, while the doctor administers painful shots; so is my heavenly Father.

Immediately, Hebrews 4:15-16 popped into my head: “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testing we do, yet He did not sin.  So, let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Each month God grieves with me; He cries with me.  I don’t serve a God void of emotions.  I am His child and He doesn’t enjoy seeing me in pain, but He also knows (better than I) what is best for me.  So, even though this chapter of my life is painful and I don’t understand what God has planned or why we aren’t getting pregnant, I am choosing to trust that God is good.  He is not withholding good things from me.  He sees my tears.  He knows my heart, my desires, and my longings.  He is doing what is best and, oh, how He loves me.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Live Free

You may be asking, what does eleutheria mean?  It's Greek for "freedom."  According to, there are several definitions for this word, but the one that resonates with me most if this: true liberty is living as we should not as we please.

One of my favorite verses is Galatians 5:1, which reflects the definition of eleutheria.  It says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."  

Christ has set me free; He has liberated me.  Jesus Christ satisfied the demands of the law, so I can live free.  Yet, so often I find myself putting on the yoke of good deeds, performance, and "righteous" living.  Chained to my sin nature, I work overtime to meet the demands of the law I've put on myself.  All the while, Jesus is softly nudging me, "I've set you free, my child.  Live that way." 

So, each day I wake up and make a decision: will I live this way?  will I live in the freedom that cost Christ His life?  will I live as I should, not as I please?  will I yoke myself to Christ?

I have experienced eleutheria, but I want more of it. 


Sunday, August 7, 2011

And so it begins....

Hi.  My name is Chelsea Bickerstaff and I am a verbal processor.  Whewww, I feel better. Now everyone knows; I think out loud.  Not that thinking out loud is a bad thing, but when I verbally vomit all over my husband (he gets the brunt of it, as with most things), something needs to change.  I need to process before I verbally process.  Which leads me to enter the world of blogging. (Plus, typing is so much faster than writing. Maybe that is why I don't consistently journal?)

When I ran this genius idea passed Lee, which is to "process" by writing THEN process with him after I've organized my thoughts (and considered the repercussions of what will come out of my mouth), he quickly said, "Yes, babe. I think that is a great idea!"  I sensed an air of excitement (or maybe hope) that my frustrations, joys, ramblings, and emotion-driven thoughts would be released into cyber blogging space, rather than onto him. Whatever his initial reaction, I had already decided to try my hand at blogging, I just needed to process and receive validation that my idea was a good one. :)

So...this is my first ever blog post.  Welcome and enjoy the ride!

PS: I love my husband very much and I am thankful that he supports this endeavor of mine.