Sunday, February 6

What's Got You Chained Up?

I hope you're all having a restful Sunday.
I want to share a video, an outfit and a few thoughts too.

Please Chime in. I'd love to hear your heart on the issue.

 I am Wearing: Pants: Gap, Sweater: TJ maxx, Scarf: express, Shoes: Mervins like 8 years ago (seriously)

Something has been on my mind for weeks now. Something that seems to be haunting me, nagging at me, tormenting me, irritating me even. A story that makes my eyes fill with water and gives me a lump in my throat when I read it. I've read it over and over recently and still the same results. I'm haunted with what God did. He broke chains and set captives free! He's been nagging at me recently asking me what chains are binding me-holding me captive to a freedom-less life. I've got just as much junk as the next person. BUT, I want to see God do a miracle in my marriage, in my finances, in my ability to parent my children, & in my relationships. I look at my junk & my sin as shackles. So this story really gives me encouragement. 

Acts 16:25-34 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and  every one's bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said,  “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them  the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he a was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

There are so many things that I love about this section of scripture. I love that Paul & Silas were simply doing what felt natural to them. They were singing to the Lord together and rejoicing as they sat in a cold dark jail cell. The picture in my head of them pouring their hearts out to God wrecks me. I imagine they were so hungry that their stomachs were growling just as loudly as they sang. They stunk, they had dried blood from being beaten for healing folks and telling them about Jesus. They had no idea when they'd get to see day light again. They just sat there, and sang, and reflected on God's goodness in the midst of their despair. I love it. I also love that the Lord created a miracle in not just making the earth quake, BUT breaking every single shackle on every single prisoner. The earth quake really isn't the miracle, earth quakes happen a lot. The miracle is that every prisoner was set free. The chains falling to the ground were not just a physical-literal thing, it was also a spiritual thing and a metaphor for how Jesus breaks our chains and sets us free!

I also love the part when the prison guard brings Paul & Silas to his home and cleans their wounds. It made me reflect upon the festering wounds that I've had which God has cleaned for me. The prison guard was SO changed by what he had experienced that he wanted to share it with his whole family. 

What's been so irritating, haunting and NAGGING to me is that God wants me to search my heart and bring to Him the things that are holding me captive. Simply doing this, I fear is going to bring to light things in me that I don't want to face or change. I'm struggling with this. So my question is, 
what's got you chained up? What area of your life do you need to see God moving the most?

I want to open up the comment section of this post for comments & prayer requests too. If you need prayer, I want to  pray for you & so would the readers of this blog. Feel free to leave them anonymously if you want to get personal. Feel free to leave a comment of encouragement in response to a prayer request if you want to lift someone else up. Please share what God is teaching you or a way that he's answered a prayer lately. 

There is something special about woman who cheer one another on and pray on behalf of 
each other when we're too weak to pray. 

{I'm gunna go finish off that jar of jalapenos in the fridge.}

ps. I love you guys.


  1. Wow! So uplifting girl! Just last week in Bible class I taught my Kinder kids about the Power of Prayer. We took it back to how hated Peter was by the King, and locked him up, chained him, and had 17 guards around. And God followed through, his chains fell off, the guarded gate just open, and God and got him out. Teaching it in the innocence of a 5 year old is incredible! And trying to explain to them that each prayer is answered, sometimes with a Yes, sometimes with a no, and sometimes a "maybe later, or I have something even better up my sleeve" I need continual prayer about my husband job, and for him to get results back from the police department in Tx. Right now we trust God on where he wants us to be, its just waiting to find out. We would like to have our family grow, but want to know where we will be first. <3

  2. Enjoy those jalapenos, beautiful sister.
    What has got me chained up?

    My tongue, ironically enough. I'm sick of it being unbridled. I'm sick of saying foolish things and things that hurt people and being selfish with my words and thoughts. My tongue is the nastiest part of me. Besides my sinful heart, of course.

    Skype soon, Chels. I miss you.

  3. YES! Me too. Here is something from a post a write a few weeks back.
    Talk about Christian Freedom. Do not be confused with the freedom you and I know of. The one our world teaches us today. The freedom to do what we want. That kind of freedom is not free, not to me. If we have the freedom to spend as much as our credit will allow us to. The dept comes with heaviness and anxiety. Is that freedom? If we have the freedom to over eat and we end up unhealthy. Is this freedom?
    I once read Christian freedom is doing Gods will for your life. His plan for you. With that you are Free. This is Freedom.
    Mothers Rule of Life is a Great Read on this.

  4. I will be praying for you girl. Thanks for sharing! It's SO frustrating when stuff is just hanging and you're waiting for God to answer prayer or point you in a specific direction. We went through that earlier this year when we were deciding on moving to Austin. I hate the waiting game.

    Something that we need prayer for is our finances. We've got student loans and credit card debt that weighs so heavy on us. At the end of the month after all of the bills are paid, we have little to go towards gas, food and extra stuff (thank God for my mother in law who helps us with groceries from time to time. and for my photography jobs which help us out a lot.) It just puts a strain on us. We're so happy that Dustin has a great job when the economy is so bad, but we're reaping our bad money habits that we started early in our marriage. Now we're paying for it!

    Also, I need prayer for Conrad's (and our other children's) vision. We have a rare eye disease in our family that has left both of my brothers blind in the last few years. There is no cure for it and it comes on very sudden. It happens generally in males in their 20's but can happen to females also. I fear that he might go blind like my brothers have. I'm planning on blogging about my brothers and this disease in the near future. If you could cover Conrad in prayer, I would appreciate it. Both of my brothers have a good attitude about their condition and I know it's not a death sentance but the possibility is there for it to happen.

  5. Whoa....It is unreal how close to home this is for me. Earlier this week I was in Ps. 139. You know, where it talks about how God knows us and made us. How we can't hide from God or escape his precence. It talks about God searching our hearts, knowing us and pointing out things that offend him. (not even thinking of the verse) This morning in worship I had this picture of my heart with all these doors in it, they were shut and locked. The doors were areas of sin and brokeness that I try to keep God out of (knowingly and unknowingly!). Then, all the doors were opened. Then I saw my heart with no doors. What I felt like he was saying to me was "I see your heart as one whole thing, not something with lots of rooms that are locking me out. I see it all. I don't compartmentalize your areas of darkness, in me there is no darkness and you can't hide from me. I know you, love you, and I made you. I made your heart. I want your heart." All I need to do is ask him to point out the things that offend him and repent so I can walk in freedom. To be honest, while at church I downplayed what the Lord showed me. I only remembered it after I read what you wrote and it all hit me. Thanks for sharing and obeying that nagging feeling. :)

  6. Chelsea, we have been there with the financial stress. My husband was laid off when I was six months pregnant, but God provided more abundantly than I could have ever imagined. I pray that He will do the same for you and your family.

    I can't believe you included this text today; this was part of the sermon at my church this morning about actively seeking God after He calls you. What do we do once He removes the chains?

    I am always so encouraged by your blog. Thank you so much for your openness.

  7. I don't know why, but God breaks me in pregnancy, over and over again. It's like He uses the time that He's building my baby to do the same in me spiritually. [I also believe that the baby goes through this with me, making it's heart grow close to Him before it's even born]

    My chains are in hate and judgement.
    That sounds awful, because it is, but I deal with my hatred and judgement of people mostly every day. My neighbors, people I used to love, my family. It's never a matter of "Ugh, I just wish they would die!" but always a matter of me festering over conversations we've had, conversations I wish we had, what I think their children will be like "raised with such and such parents" Being at home with a toddler all day makes my verbal conversations very scarce, but the dialog I carry on thoughout the day scares me sometimes.
    The Lord started breaking me of this a few months ago, making me take every thought captive, and learn to LOVE, FORGIVE, and pray with a desirable heart, not a petty one. My prayers for other people stopped being "Dear Lord, please make so and so stop being such a bitch so that all the other people she knows don't become bitches too" and started being "Lord, help me stop being such a bitch and learn to pray for so and so so that I may please you and learn what kind of friendship I need to have with her."

    I hope what you're going through is tough, wrecking, and drag-out unpleasant, because it feels freaking amazing coming out on the other side ;]

  8. you are just sooo sweet <3 reading your blog always makes me smile. youre a breathe of fresh air chelsea. lots of love always <3 im sending all my love to you and to each of your readers..

  9. I have been thinking about these two verses a lot this week. I know they are true, I just have to acknowledge it before I can overcome them. Like you said, "I fear [it] is going to bring to light things in me that I don't want to face or change."

    {Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.}

    {And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.}

    Oh the list of my chains is so long right now...For the past few weeks, I have been wallowing in depression and having zero patience with my kids. They are good kids and it's not fair for me to be so grumpy and impatient with them. They just want to feel secure and loved and what am I teaching them when I am so harsh? Today in church I was praying about this, time to work on these weaknesses.

    Chelsea, on the financial stress issue...have you heard of Dave Ramsey? I have started listening to him recently and am getting ready to read his book and start his plan. My sister Rachel has raved about it and my parents just started his course. I have heard nothing but glowing things about his philosophy on budgeting / financial / marriage
    from a Christian perspective.

  10. Such a powerful post! You seem so faithful and I believe you will be blessed by it. My shackles are of selfishness. I need to give more!


    p.s. It's the last day to enter in my Valentines Day Decor Giveaway. Stop by when you can!

  11. Amazing + Uplifting + Inspirational.

    Love this. Thank you for sharing the story and the verses. God is GOOD.

    & p.s. you look pretty amazing in those awesome yellow pants. :)

  12. You're truly someone I look forward to reading, you're so inspiration and I can say I've learned a lot from your posts.

    Some of the things chaining me up right now are my emotions. I have been taking any and everything personally and I'm truly looking for the strength to get past it, it hasn't been easy.

    This post is truly what I have been looking for. :]

  13. Right now...I could use prayer for the faith to believe again that I will be a wife and mother. Approaching 30 is a scary thing when I thought I'd be those by now, and it's a battle (every day, sometimes hourly) to believe again. Deep down I do, but I would love prayer. It takes a lot to look past the arguments and see God's heart sometimes. Our pastor talked about raising our level of expectancy today, and it was a very timely word. God is a good God and He loves to bless us...why would we expect less? Well, those arguments...but again He calls us to believe He is with us and for us. So, that is the BIG prayer on my chain.

  14. Hey, I am a regular reader and comment fairly often too- but I feel like I need to go anon here for this one. I feel like a wuss for doing that but I don't want to risk my readers (the family ones) from unfounded heartache.

    I was raped when I was 14 and again by a group of men when I was 20. For years I have been able to push all of this aside and work on my marriage and my husband. I have focused everything into his problems and my raising my daughter. But lately, via flashbacks and nightmares, I am having to face the fear and ramifications of the past. I am tied down by men who don't have any power over me anymore. I am tied down by my insecurities about my body because of these experiences. I am tied down by the bad habits I have used to push these feelings down for the past years. I need to be set free.

    Thank you for the reminder that God does big things and I am not worthless to him.

    Also, were super poor too- did you tax return help you guys at all? Being poor with a baby is where it is at for us!

  15. Cute outfit!!! This is such a powerful and yet amazing post. Everyday it is a fight for us Christians to undo our shackles of everyday life. Looking to God is the took me a very long time to realize this. To be able to give it ALL to Him who does great things. But what a blessing when those shackles are lifted up from us! Praying for you sweet friend <3

  16. you guys have no idea how MUCH you bless me. Just reading your comments and praying over each one has lifted me up. Jessica, thank you for your reminders of what the bibles promises are to us. I will cover you in prayer and pray against your depression and that god would give you a refreshed perspective and heart towards your kids so you can be patient. Last week my struggle was the fact that I was feeling so numb towards everything. I wasn't "feeling" anything towards anything. Blame it on hormones, but I asked god to refresh my heart and make me sensitive to others again.

    Annonymous. I have to share with you that I've struggled with the same issue-not being able to let the past go and being haunted by it or certain situations. I know that Jesus died for the sins that I've commited, that his blood makes me white and snow, it makes me blameless in his eyes, he sees me as precious and adores me. I know this, but the past can have a way of haunting us. That's when we have to take those thoughts captive and KNOW that satan loves to bring us back to dark places and make us believe that Jesus hasn't yet redeemed us so we can "pay" for us sin again and again and beat ourselves up for it.

    When I find myself "paying for my sin" and going back to the past, I have to rebuke those thoughts and go right back to what the bible says Jesus did for me and meditate on it. His blood makes your body (and mind) white as snow! This has been a really hard thing for me to learn. Grace is not easy to accept, especially when you're RIGHT in the middle of the hurt and pain and you DON'T FEEL like you're experiencing redemption yet, you're just experiencing pain. I pray Jesus takes that pain away.

    I will cover you in prayer sister and print your comment out to put it in my pocket. Your story puts tears in my eyes. I wish I could hug you right now! People always say time heals all wounds and i think that's a load of crap. Talking about the issue, putting the issue before God, dealing with the issue, facing it, seeking counsel. You're doing the right thing!

  17. Anon:
    You are in my prayers today. I don't know you, but I love you, deeply. In Jesus's righteous name, your chains will be set free! I pray that your dreams and thoughts are no longer haunted by your past, and I pray for protection over your daughter. That she'll know of these awful tragedies in this world, but never have to face them. Blessed are you to bear fruit after being violated in such away! I love you.


  18. I just found your blog the other day and I was so delighted to see that you love Jesus! I followed you b/c your blog looked so cute and now...bonus! I really liked your post about being set free from things. My prayer request is my husband and I are in an intense season of suffering. We are struggling with infertility but on top of that we are trying to plant a church and that has proven to be THE hardest thing we've ever done. These two things combined (along with other life stuff) has made us feel so bound. We often feel abandoned by God (even though we know better). We've been begging God to speak to us and do something in our circumstances, but he seems to be silent right now. I've read quotes like "sometimes darkness follows great vision" and we just have to press on and keep seeking Him. But we are just so tired ya know? We are ready for a fresh word from Him and to see him to great things in our family and in our new church. Come Lord!

  19. Chelsea,
    I think this is an amazing post. It's so refreshing to see your posts recently, and especially because I don't come across many blog entries sharing their faith.

    I'm still alive! Thanks for checking up on me. I haven't gone into labor just yet. I'm really hoping it's this week since my best friend from California will be visiting and it'll be wonderful to have her with me when my water breaks..hehehe.

    But back to your question, what's got me chained up.. hmm.. there's a few things I can think of, lack of patience, my need to be in control... especially so now that I'm just so ready to have this baby and I want it now in my terms. Not to mention these hormones. Argh. I don't want to go on a rant here, but yeah so those are my top two.

    Please pray that I have a healthy drug-free labor!

  20. Amy, I totally know how hard it is when you feel like you've been in a desert for far to long and you can't hear God's voice and you feel so lonely.

    I was there with God right before I had Conrad. I felt like I had no direction in life, I didn't know what my "purpose" was, I felt really alone and it seemed to last forever. I was knee deep in depression and self pity and I couldn't get out. I had a friend who would pray for me almost daily on the phone and she kept reminding me that the desert would pass eventually, she reminded me to keep pressing into the Lord even when I feel nothing-when I can't hear Him, keep seeking Him.

    I am praying that God lights your hearts on fire together again to continue the race that he's set out for you both, no matter how hard or confusing it is. I pray for your womb that you would bare children-or that God would satisfy that desire in you in some form (adoption or that fertility methods would work in Jesus name!) ;) I pray with great expectation that God is going to do a mighty work in your ministry and your marriage and the future family that you guys will have!

    Be blessed sister. These days are hard, but I wouldn't know him as intimately without being able to look back at what he's done in those hard times. I pray that your heart is encouraged today and that you get to have a really sweet time alone with God. I pray that he speaks loudly to you and comforts both of you.

    Thanks for your kind words! <3 I look forward to reading your blog!

  21. Sisilia, I think I'm just really needing a cute baby fix so I've been stalking your blog waiting for that little pea to come on out already!!! ;)

    I am praying for a drug free, wonderful, worshipful, amazing labor! I CAN'T wait to hear how it goes! You're going to do great!

    Big hugs!

  22. Chelsea,

    Thank you so much. You have no idea. I pray God blesses you richly for being so sweet to pray for people like this. Go girl! :)

  23. My friend mae is taking prayer requests also over at her blog!

    **I think she should share her testimony with you all. It's quite inspiring. Anyway. Go read her blog as well. I left her a comment but wanted to share part of it here.

    Mae, I was in worship last wednesday at my womans bible study and god was bringing this picture in my head of chains falling off and He kept saying, let them fall, watch them fall, there are more, search your heart! Let them go, watch them fall! And as I let go and continued to worship, i was thinking about my chains and my sin and was agreeing with God to not allow them to bind me anymore (my selfishness, holding onto the past-going back to the past and dwelling on it, being overly critical of my friends and family, being hateful, having gossip on my lips instead of edifying others, being resentful when people dont measure up...dwelling on how broke we are instead of handing it over to God and asking him for a miracle in our finances and being obedient to him with money. Doubting God. the list goes on.) Anyway. It was like a ton of bricks were lifted off of my shoulders and I got to experience a kind of worship and sweetness with Him that i hadn't in a long time. He is so good and faithful.

    Bless you sister. Love you lots. Thank you for praying for me and others. It is an encouragement to me. Just getting this dialog out there to lift one another up is so vital.


  24. First, your outfit is inspiring.
    Second, I agree. I am grateful to God everyday. Thanks for speaking up.

  25. cute blog! i'm new to it...just looking around and saying hey! i love those yellow pants...i want them!!! :)