Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Insatiable Quest for Beauty

This review is practically a year overdo...please forgive me, Tiffany Dawn! It's been a crazy year, as a lot of books on my list. Better late than never, right?!
The Insatiable Quest for Beauty is an easy read for girls and women in general, but guys can also join in on this great read, too! Tiffany writes in such a real way that it feels like she's talking to you or as she would say, "on a coffee date". She explores the many struggles that girls often face such as weight issues, insecurities, and dating. Tiffany, herself, has had many tough experiences and has so graciously shared them with us in her book.

The book is divided into 12 chapters, also known as "coffee date topics".
In every chapter, she includes a diary entry and a quote or song lyric that sets the stage for the rest of the chapter. At the end of each chapter, she poses questions that will make you think, as well as a link to her website so you can watch videos pertaining to the specific topic in the chapter. She challenges us ladies, to find our worth in Christ and not in what the world tells us. Also, she gives us different ways to work on our insecurities in hopes to better ourselves, as well as our relationships. With the help of many Bible verses and real stories, we can be encouraged in Tiffany's book.

I want to share one of my favorite quotes from the book...
"Don't date to find your worth, because you already have your worth. You are already valuable, and you are too precious to throw your heart at guys who don't treat you like a daughter of the King. Your worth is wrapped up in the love of Jesus Christ, not in boys."

The Insatiable Quest for Beauty would be a great book to read in a small group/Bible study or simply by yourselves. Learn more about this wonderful book and how to buy it at
post signature

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Be a part of the campaign!

I recently received an email from a lady named, Heather.
She was asking that I would participate in her awareness campaign for Mesothelioma...
and how could I say no?!
I know that with Lyme Disease, awareness is key!
However, Lyme Disease isn't the only illness that needs awareness, many others do, too.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day is September 26 and she would love for all of us to participate in this awareness project by spreading the news via social media. Her goal is 7,200 shares so let's help her reach her goal!
Here is her link to her story:
Thank you for your support!

post signature

Monday, September 16, 2013


Hey everyone!
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! :)
So I wasn't able to make it to church yesterday because I was feeling really bad :(
BUT I listened to a sermon (for the second time haha) and I figured I would use it for my "Sermon Notes" series, especially since it's clear that I enjoyed it enough to listen to it twice within a few days. It wouldn't make sense if I didn't share it with you.
I'm going to summarize it, but provide you with the link in case you want to listen to it (which I think you totally should so you get all the great examples and details).
The sermon is titled "A Christian's Happiness" by Pastor Tim Keller and is based upon the popular verses, Romans 8:28-30...
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
I know I've talked about this verse a lot, but I feel like it's something people really need to grasp, as well as the encouragement it can provide.
Many people believe this idea that when you put your faith in Jesus Christ, that life will be easier. Perhaps suffering, life obstacles, and trials can't touch a Christian, but the truth is, that's not true. This idea can create a lot of heartache because if you are a believer and something bad happens in your life, it would be natural for you to question God's goodness or even the strength of your faith.
In fact, there was a period where I thought why is this happening to me and is my faith not strong enough that God would allow this to happen?
Pastor Tim Keller would answer, "No." He explains his reasoning in 3 simple points.
1. Bad things will happen.
2. Good things will never be lost.
3. The best things are yet to come.
Let's dig a little deeper into each point...
1. "Bad things will happen even if you love God."
Jesus never promised that if you believe in Him, your life will be free of worry, suffering, and hardship.
Instead, He promised that you will face trouble. For example, all of His disciples faced many hardships, even persecution and death. Therefore, we can't believe that suffering is not included if we love God.
John 16:33 says, "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
So bad things will happen, however, God can use them for good in totality
Pastor Tim  says, "The lower you lay me, the higher you'll raise me."
If something bad happens to us, we can't expect it to turn to good the following week. Maybe it will, but maybe it won't.
In my experience, the first 6 months after my diagnosis, I was angry. I didn't understand why God would let this happen to me. It became a wedge between us. However, as time went on, I realized that through this suffering God had shown Himself to me in ways I had never experienced. I started seeing the good that has come out of it. Lyme Disease is bad. Period. However, God has shown me that through times of suffering, good can be created.
We may never see the good that comes from our suffering whether it be death or disease, but we can rest in the truth that even if we don't see the positive outcome, our suffering can bring us closer to God if we realize that He's not doing it to us, but better things are yet to come.
2. "The good things will never be lost."
Anything good that happens to us means that God is working together for good.
"Jesus did not suffer so that you will not suffer, but when we suffer we will become like Christ."
Through our suffering we can become like Christ and closer to Christ because we are able to taste a piece of what He went through for us. We can come to appreciate the life that He lived, including the suffering.
Our faith can be strengthened.
These good things will never be lost.
3. "The best things are yet to come."
"The Bible doesn't promise better circumstances, but a better life."
Things like grad school and marriage are considered a circumstance.
We are never promised that because we are Christians that we will go to the best grad school and have the best marriage, but we are promised that our life in totality can be better. In verse 30, it says that our life is already better because "He has glorified" us. The "ed" shows that it's already been done.
God will change our inner essence into Christ's essence which in turn gives us a better life because we are able to live in humility, nobility, joy, love, service, etc.
The circumstances don't last, but what Christ can offer us can last forever.
Just like I talked about in the last post, the stuff doesn't last, but the way we live can. Not to mention, the best thing that is yet to come, is the truth that we will live forever with Jesus.
When bad things happen, Jesus is right by your side, crying with you. Use that time to cling to Him.
When good things happen, praise Him for the good in your life because that's where it comes from and know that this life isn't promised to be paradise, that's later...the best is yet to come.
Here is the link to the audio of the sermon...check it out! It's much better than my summary.
Reading plan:
Today: Isaiah 5-8
Tuesday: Isaiah 9-12
Wednesday: Isaiah 13-17
Thursday: Isaiah 18-22
Friday: Isaiah 23-27
Saturday: Isaiah 28-30
post signature

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I heard a whisper in the dark...

If you've been following my blog and know my story, you know that I'm still on this journey called Lyme Disease treatment. It's definitely been a long one and at times very difficult, but there have been many times where God has whispered into my heart and reminded me that He is here for me. Another common reminder from Him has been to use this time to grow. Let me tell you, I have grown in so many ways since the beginning of this ride, but there is always more growth to be had.
The verse, "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10) has always been a challenge for me. It doesn't necessarily mean to stand still like a statue, but rather to let go and relax. It's been very difficult for me to spend this time taking care of my body and not being able to work, especially since I just graduated from college. I was ready to hit the ground running and start the new phase of my life, but my diagnosis ruined that.
I have to constantly remind myself that it's okay that I'm not working and that it's not a reflection on me, but simply a unique situation in which my health comes first (it really always should). I have to let go, relax, and trust that through this time there is continued growth and healing.
A couple nights ago I was talking to my boyfriend on the phone and I was sharing all the great news of the day. I felt so loved, so supported and very grateful. Although I felt really bad physically, my heart was swelling with love. (Side note- because insurance only pays for a month of IV antibiotics we have to raise money to pay for the following months, as well as other medicine and medical bills. It's been almost 2 years and we feel forced to ask for help.) That day a few people donated on gofundme and we had great news about the possibility of a benefit, so of course, I was thrilled. My heart simply wanted to praise God because once again, I knew that He does provide and He is good.
Fast forward about 30 minutes...the pain that I was experiencing was intense. It wasn't in one place, but all over my body. In fact, it brought tears to my eyes. That doesn't happen often, but when it does my mind races to places that aren't so happy. Thoughts of anger, disappointment, confusion and sadness. You see, Lyme Disease treatment is a lot like have to get worse before you get better. When the bacteria is being killed off, toxins are released which causes temporary exaggerated symptoms, also known as the Herxheimer reaction. So most of the time when I am feeling really bad, I remind myself "It's okay, the bugs are being killed!", but there are other times when I say, "Enough is enough!" This was one of those times.
It's crazy how I can be so happy to the point of tears and then all of the sudden those tears turn sour. Maybe it was the Devil trying to take away my praise or maybe it was simply the consequence of this aggressive Lyme treatment. Either way, I didn't like it.
In the midst of all this pain, there was a stirring in my soul and I heard a whisper in my heart. The whisper comforted me, stopped my tears, and I knew that God was there. He was holding me and wiping away my tears. I always know that God is with me, but there are sometimes where His presence is magnified. Just like there are times when I hear His voice audibly, but most of the times I don't. That night, the stirring of my soul pushed me to write and I realized that God was whispering to me in the dark...
"You sweep over me like an ocean wave.
Overwhelmed by your power and refreshed by your provision, You prove to me that the world isn't all bad and that You are constantly moving to bring about Your glory for You are good. I lift my hands in the awe of the way You move."
"Although it doesn't make sense...
Although it hurts...
It doesn't stop You from loving me and me from loving You.
You speak through the disappointment...
You speak through the pain...
To remind me that I'm not alone.
Nothing can separate me from Your love...
Not trials, not pain, not disappointment...
You continually love me through it all."
I say all of this to say, that even in the darkness and even through the pain, God continues to move...continues to woo us...continues to show us that He is there for us, to comfort us along the way.
Have you ever been in a rough situation where God clearly spoke to you? Or maybe where you simply felt His presence?
I'd love to hear about your experience :)
post signature

Monday, September 9, 2013

Is my life of value?

Hey everyone!
I hope you all had a great weekend :)
Yesterday, I was able to make it to church, thankfully!
I haven't been able to go much lately due to traveling and just feeling really crappy.
I wasn't feeling real good yesterday, but I was determined to at least try.
I'm glad I did because it was a great reminder for me.
Although I'm not materialistic, but because I am human, I think it is always good to be reminded that "stuff" is not going to last even after I die.
When the day comes when our Father calls me home, He isn't going to tell me, "Okay Chels, you've got an hour to pack your bags before you come with Me. Grab whatever means the most to you. We've got plenty of room for it all."
I don't have the option to grab my beloved Curious George stuffed animal or my favorite earrings or my framed college diploma that I worked so hard for or even the few bucks stuffed in my wallet.
All the "stuff" that I have accumulated will lose its value to me.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-21, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Here are a few points from Pastor McCallon:
~"Leave life better than we received it.
~When we lie to get something we want, we will lie to keep it...that's not what God intended.
~The only value that can never be devalued comes from Jesus Christ.
~Live for what lasts.
~Do what is right because it is right, not what you get out of it.
~Act on what you believe."
As hair turns gray and skin wrinkles up, the only thing that matters is Christ in you.
 It is the only thing that will last.
Loving like Jesus is what will last for eternity.
So when we start to worry about a promotion or stress over throwing an amazing party or finding money to buy the newest, fastest car, let's ask ourselves...
"Will this last? Will the value be devalued one day? Will it further Christ's Kingdom?"
What is amazing about these questions is that I think it can save us from a lot of worry, time, and heartache.
Another post about "stuff", check it out here!
Reading for the week:
Today: Proverbs 30-31
Tuesday: Ecclesiastes 1-4
Wednesday: Ecc 5-8
Thursday Ecc 9-12
Friday: Solomon
Saturday: Isaiah 1-4 
post signature


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Following in Your Footsteps: With Your Help

The last post in the series, I talked about how living a life following in Christ's footsteps can be difficult. Wouldn't you agree?
 I mean that is a tall order to live like Christ, right?

In my opinion, my answer to that question would be a simple, "yes".
Jesus is perfect, while I, on the other hand, have never been perfect one day in my life. So how am I expected to follow in Christ's footsteps?

Thankfully, I don't think God expects me to be perfect.
In fact, He has sent us a helper. Did you know that?
We call that helper, the Holy Spirit.

God knows that we can't do this on our own. Because He is so loving, He wanted to help us out, so God has sent Himself in the form of the Holy Spirit.

John 14:16-18 says, "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."

This should offer us confidence and comfort to know that the Holy Spirit is with guide us, to comfort us, and to love us. Stepping out of our houses and into the world would normally cause us anxiety, but knowing that God has sent us a Helper should motivate us to go out and walk in Christ's light.

How gracious and loving it is, that Jesus would not leave us out on our own to live in a chaotic world, but to be by our side every minute of the day.
I don't know about you, but I often forget this truth.

Rachel Held Evans says in her book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood (which I will talk about later ;), "The same applies to faith. One need not to be a saint, or even a mother, to become a bearer of God. One needs only to obey. The divine resides in all of us, but it is our choice to magnify it or to diminish it, to ignore it or to surrender to its lead."

 I think I would be a better follower of Christ if I woke up every morning and said, "Christ in me, give me the tools and the confidence to live out your love today. May I align my life with Your characteristics so that people will come to know You. Help me to hear Your voice, feel Your love, and see Your will. I can only do this with Your help. Amen."
 Readings for the week:
Monday: Proverbs 13-15
Tuesday: Proverbs 16-18
Wednesday: Proverbs 19-21
Thursday: Proverbs 22-23
Friday: Proverbs 24-26
Saturday: Proverbs 27-29
post signature