Community, Faith, Relationships, Spiritual Life

You Belong HERE!

November 18, 2015

Well, girls, somehow we made it. We are already at the end of our Community series and hello, Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK! Maybe it’s because I am getting older, but time is flying by so fast that I feel like I was just wearing shorts and soaking up the sun, but thank the Lord I don’t sweat every time I dry my hair… Count your blessings, right?! 😉 Ok, so I want to be really honest with you. This was a difficult series to write. A lot more difficult than I realized, and I think I can say this is true for all the writers. Some of us are trying to find our own community or are having constant change in community. And, we are still trying to navigate with you what community really is and means, what good and healthy community looks like. I know we (AGLM writers) say this often, or at least we think this often, but we are not “the professionals”. We are not here to give you our wisdom as the master Jedi’s to you as our young padawans (sorry, I’ve been going through the Star Wars series, eeek #nerdstatus). But we are here because

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Community, Faith, God, Relationships

Let’s Talk About Boys

November 11, 2015

FINALLY…. BOYS. This might be the post that you have been waiting for all this time. What is a community series without talking about boys?! This is not Top 10 Ways to Attract a Perfect Mate or How to Find a Godly Man or even How Nina Met Brendon (YET!). There are countless resources for believers on the topics of marriage and dating relationships, but what about plain ole’ male-female friendships? Not only do I believe that it’s possible to be “just friends” with a guy, but I believe God designed that kind of friendship to grow us in a unique way. Aside from overgeneralized stereotypes, guys just operate differently than we do- in communication, in emotions, in probably more ways than we can understand.  Whether or not you are in a relationship, the only way that a friendship with a dude will work is mutual respect. Talking about community with guys is simply just that… community with guys. Pretty sure half the planet is the male gender, so it will serve us well to learn how to be in healthy relationships with dudes. Let’s leave out the romantic intentions, the let’s-just-be-friends-but-just-kidding-I-actually-want-you-to-like-me, because let’s be real, we’ve all been there. WHO’S WITH

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Big Fake Boobs Are My Signature Look

November 4, 2015
At a murder mystery dinner where I played a crazy cat lady. I won an award that night for best character because, yeah, I am just that good.

So, we’ve been at this whole community thing for a while now. We’ve shared the good, the bad, the ugly…but what about the fun? I mean, what’s the good of having friends if you can’t laugh with/at them amiright?!?!?! If I’ve learned anything over my thirty three years of life it’s that the best of friends are the ones that make you giggle so hard you pee yourself and then turn right around and giggle at you for peeing yourself. I think it’s appropriate that in the middle of this great and important topic of community we take a moment to remember the moments that make community awesome. So, I thought it would only be fitting for me to bless you with some of the all star moments in my friendships history. I’ll start with…boobs. 1. Boobs Are Best: Being built like a middle school boy in the chest department always gave me a bit of an obsession with large breasts. You know, grass is greener on the other side kind of thing. Luckily in high school I had friends just as flat as me and just as willing to explore and exploit the humor in taking a girl with no

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Community, Faith, God, Identity, Relationships, Spiritual Life

I’m the Only One

October 28, 2015
kels (134 of 165)

I was in high school. I just got my heart broken by the guy I “thought” I was in love with. My mom was going through intensive chemotherapy to fight breast cancer. If I did go to anyone to talk about my problems, it would be her…but there’s something that doesn’t quite feel right when you’re venting about your little problems to a loved one who is fighting for her life. (I know now, though, that my mom would never want me to think that way). I was on a traveling team for volleyball and gone almost every weekend. Naturally that meant I missed church, small group, and hanging out with any friends I had at school quite often. And lastly, I would straight up tell you that I wanted to live in any other country than America. Since I was a little girl I wanted to be a missionary and my heart always seemed to be somewhere else…in a hut or tribe that I had never even been to. I felt depressed because, well, I was stuck in high school doing “worthless high school things” and thought there was no one else like me. Flash forward to a conversation

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Community, Family, Relationships

Realer than Real

October 21, 2015
kels (75 of 165)

So far in our series, as we’ve talked about different types of communities, they’ve all ultimately involved a choice. To be in community, or not to be in community…that is the question. Community generally requires a certain amount of pursuit on our part. We have to be willing to actively seek relationship with others. And if we’re not, we can easily pull away, seclude ourselves and try to do life alone. Even when we do choose to be in community, we can fake our way through it. We can go through the motions, spending time with people and having conversations, the whole time wearing masks that allow us to be who we want them to see and keep everything else hidden. We have to choose whether or not to be real with others. But what about the community we don’t get to choose? What about the people we live with, the ones who see us at our best and our worst, whether we like it or not? The ones we can’t really avoid? Families. Roommates. Home can be it’s own community. Sometimes just walking in the door is all the effort we have to make. These are the people who

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Community, Faith, Forgiveness, Identity, Redemption, Relationships


October 14, 2015

It may come as a shocker to you, but I am a hard friend to love. I’ll let you all take a moment to gasp a little at that thought. 😉 But seriously, I’m not always the easy friend in a group of people. Naturally a little stand-offish and pretty opinionated, oftentimes I can come across as rude and unapproachable. My filter isn’t always very strong and sometimes even my most loving and gracious “encouragement” can come across as more of a lecture than a pep-talk. Know the type? Yeah, that’s me. We’ve all got someone in our lives who’s “that friend.” The exhausting one. The Debbie-downer. The one who it feels more like work than a joy to to be around. The one who if you didn’t think it would be a total jerk move to do, you’d totally unfriend and unfollow them on social media. We all have them, and in truth, we might even be that friend ourselves. What do we do when someone is difficult to love? Is every friendship worth the work? I know we don’t have to be friends with everyone, but how do we handle relationships with people who God has put in

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Community, Faith, Forgiveness, Redemption, Relationships

Why the Church Is Messed Up

October 6, 2015

While you get ready in the morning, in the car, cooking, or in your waiting today, I hope you will listen. I pray you will listen with an open mind as I know that some of you have been really hurt by the church and some have misconceptions about the church. My desire is that you will understand what God intended the church to be, that it is FILLED with sinners, and that it is a beautiful gift that God has given us to understand more of forgiveness, love, and encouragement with one another.

Community, Faith, Family, God

As we face transitions

September 30, 2015
fair traveler with vintage suitcase at the station

fair traveler with vintage suitcase at the station I want to take a second before this post to say, I have missed you ladies!  This summer held All. The. Things.  The first week of June my older sister had her third baby, making me the happiest aunt to three you ever did see.  Immediately after, I was forehead deep in sports camp and vacation bible school and sleep-away camp and “water olympics”… all the joys of working in full-time Children’s Ministry.  Then, in August, my sister and brother-in- law filed for divorce.  There have been so many tears and late nights as my family figures out what comes next.  We are living in the “just take the next right step” season, and if I’m being honest… it’s not my favorite.   I haven’t written about it, in fact, I haven’t written about anything lately.  So while I am so excited to get back into this blog, I am also nervous.  Sharing about community hits close to home.  Community has both kept me near the cross and discouraged me tremendously the past few months.   I hope you will find grace in these words, and if you’re

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Community, Faith, God, Identity, Relationships, Spiritual Life, Theology

Community In Us

September 23, 2015

This morning, the sunrise was radical. The way the clouds stretched across the dark sky felt like the red velvet curtain in a theater was about to bust open. The surface waters of the Atlantic reflected every speck of light that began to break over the horizon.   I could see it all. The land stirring with dawn’s creatures under my feet. The waters full of life only feet away. The sky full of stars that seemed to be so close.   Dolphins searching, birds in formation, my family close, track of turles that had come up the beach where their mother’s had laid their eggs decades earlier- community was all around.   God created community. God loves community. God is community.   When we are unsure of what community looks like for ourselves, we have the perfect example in God Himself- God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.   God is the perfect image of community, and you may have heard the radical grace in Genesis 1:27, “So God created mankind in his own image…” Right from the start, we see that we are created BY community FOR community.   So we can’t talk about

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Community, Faith, Relationships

Real vs. Virtual Community

September 16, 2015
aglmvirtual (1 of 1)-2

When I was a kid the most “virtual” of a community you could have was to have a pen pal from another city that your mom probably set up or some school project paired you up with. You would write hand written letters back and forth, maybe add some crayon coloring or if you were real high tech like I was…you got on KidPix and added stamps, the original “emoticons”, to really get your emotion behind the letter across. I was part of the generation (which makes me feel old) that first experienced “virtual community”.   I was just hitting my preteen years when you could start signing up for a Hotmail email account and email your friends you met at camp instead of sending post cards through snail mail. I was in the generation that began chatting online using our very creatively made up AIM screen-names. I was in the generation that began texting…although none of us were allowed to because it cost our parents ten cents a text. My generation was the beginning of something that on one hand held great advances in society, but on the hand other brought on some challenges and stumbling blocks that have hinder

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Community, God, Relationships, Spiritual Life

Worth Fighting For

September 9, 2015
IMG_5479 copy

“Hi, my name is Chelsea and I’m a people-loving, complete-opposite-of-shy, social butterfly and expert conversationalist.” A year ago, that big mouthful is exactly how I would have described myself. I’d call myself an extreme extrovert who can talk for days and make friends with strangers. I would have confidently stated that large crowds don’t intimidate me, and new people and places are what make me come alive. And I fully believed this to be true. That is, while I was living in my comfort zone and community was handed to me. I grew up in a small town, small church, small school…everyone knew everyone, and friends were always easy to find and close by. As I moved on to college and then working with a ministry, my community was chosen for me – roommates, classmates, co-workers. You see, I’ve never known what lonely feels like. Community was easy for me. It was something I never had to work for or be intentional about. It was always just there. At my disposal. Someone else cultivated community for me and I was just a pawn with a success story. Then I moved. All by myself. To a brand new city. Where I

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