The Sum of Many Parts – My Friend Chelsea
There’s a lot of talk in many circles, both Christian and otherwise, that we were not made to be alone. “No man is an island” is something that came out of my pastor’s mouth many times when I was in high school. The more I study Scripture and the more I live on this crazy planet, the more I am convinced this is true. We need people in our lives, and not just so we can use them as rungs on our ladder to “success”. We need people to encourage and who will also encourage us when we’re down. We need to love and be loved, to serve and be served. We need, in a word, friends.
A few months ago when I started writing, one friend in particular was very encouraging to me. I joked with her that one day I would write a post about her. I don’t think she believed me, but today is that day. This will be the first post of many where I showcase one of my friends, who they are to me, and how they have helped shape me into the person I am.
I met Chelsea a couple summers ago while helping lead a houseboat trip to Lake Shasta with the church where I was interning. Sonshine, the ministry we partnered with, assigned each boat two leaders from their program along with the leaders we brought. Chelsea was assigned to the girl’s boat, and it was amazing how quickly she bonded with our girls. She was a shining example of what it looks like to serve others before oneself. She loved those girls in a matter of minutes, and if that was the only interaction Chelsea and I had my life would have been better for it.
That summer, however, was not the only time our paths would cross.
After my time interning I took a job as a full time youth and music pastor. I still was close with my former boss, Dan (another friend who has had a profound impact on who I am today), so when it came time to pick that year’s interns I was lucky enough to be part of the conversation. It was only a mild surprise when I was told that Chelsea had applied to be an intern that year, and even less of a surprise when Dan told me that she was selected. She was an amazing intern for the church, and I could go on and on about how she loved the youth of the church that summer. What really impacted me, though, was that she took the time to care for me. You see, just a few weeks before she arrived I was informed that I would be leaving the church I had served at for the past nine months.
I was crushed. I felt betrayed. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work in ministry ever again, but Dan swooped on my newfound availability and made sure I didn’t forsake my calling. I worked side by side with Dan and Chelsea for about two months that summer, and there was not a day that went by where I was not encouraged by Chelsea. She pushed me to try new music, stay out a little later, and generally be more fun. She showed me the love of Jesus in ways I didn’t know I needed. There were many late night conversations over In-N-Out (the greatest burger chain in the US of A for those of who you don’t live on the West Coast) where I opened up about my desires to teach, to write music, to blog, and to be more open and radical about my faith. In a few instances, she was the first person to hear these thoughts and desires, and not once did she laugh or scoff. Instead she would look across the table with her perceiving gaze, her calm and gentle confidence, and she would tell me that not only were my dreams valid and attainable, but that she believed I was destined for ever greater things. That’s the kind of person Chelsea is, and I count myself blessed to be considered a friend.
How do you even respond to that kind of support and encouragement?
You find the courage to start trusting in Jesus. You take a step, even if it’s just a baby step, toward your dreams. You purchase a web domain and start a blog, even if you’re afraid it’s going to suck and no one will ever read it.
Then you write a post about a friend who has never done anything else but believe that you are perfect just how God made you, that He will bring you to a place where you will find perfect love and peace in life, and hope that others will be inspired to be that friend in the lives of others.