Idol of the heart

I didn’t watch much of the winter Olympics on TV recently, but there was one story on Yahoo Sports that grabbed my attention.

Heidi Kloser, 21, is one of the top skiers in the world. She’s at her first Olympics, but for her, they’re already over before they even began. Kloser was skiing a practice run on the moguls when she wreckedand tore both ACL and MCL and fractured her femur, and she’s out for the rest of the competition.

What got me though is what was shared further on in the story when it quoted what her Dad wrote on Facebook: When she was in the ambulance she asked her Mom and I if she was still an Olympian…we said of course she is!

The moment she had trained for had arrived and when an injury took her down, she instantly questioned who she was. I think of my walk with Christ and how I have at times found myself out of commission, sometimes from my own bad choices or just from life getting the best of me. And just like Heidi the Olympian, I have questioned who I am.

Am I still a daughter of the King? 

Like Heidi’s Dad, my Heavenly Father said to me…

Of course you are! 

Last week, my girlfriend Jennifer Lee asked me to read her first book, Love Idol releasing April 1st. I couldn’t type my “yes!” back to her fast enough. But then reality hit. See, Jennifer’s book “will help you dismantle what’s separating you from true connection with God and experience the astonishing freedom of a life lived in authentic love.”

In the introduction she explains what a Love Idol is:

I can almost hear your question. The…what idol? Love Idol? How can love be an idol? Love was God’s idea. We were created in God’s image, and God is love! Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “These three remain: faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love.” Yet we take God’s “greatest” and contort it into an idol. We twist our desire for approval into a false god. Instead of resting in the love and approval of an unseen God, we chase after the temporary pleasures of human validation. Whatever rules our hearts become our lord.

I hate admitting this, but I have a Love Idol. God wants me to let go if it, but I don’t want to. My flesh is wrestling and God isn’t budging. He wants all of me. Every time I begin to loosen my grip I hear lies whispered straight from the pit of hell, “If you let this go, then what? This is what you know.” So I hold on and the result of holding on to this idol is the vicious cycle of questioning who I am in Christ.

Today I received a package from Jennifer that included a beautiful necklace made by our girlfriend,  Kashoan over at Krafty Kash. 

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The word on the necklace is preapproved. Jennifer’s hope in her heart is that those who read her book will smash their Love Idols while claiming their preapproved status in Christ.

I’m ready to smash my Love Idol. Ready to change the course of my legacy. I just have to. I love God too much not to. And honestly, a relationship with a Love Idol leaves you exhausted and empty.

It’s time to consistently believe that I am a preapproved daughter of the King.

Blessings,

Lelia

To begin smashing your own Love Idols, join us on the Facebook page, The Love Idol Movement.

Visit Jennifer at http://jenniferdukeslee.com

Like Kashoan’s Facebook page Krafty Kash and get your own necklace.

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Despite Our Fears

FEAR

The enemy of confidence.

The silent killer of courage.

The little red devil on the shoulder of belief.

Sometimes things happen in our lifetime that make us afraid to try again. They cause us to be afraid and no matter how hard we try to place our trust in the Savior’s lap, there is a part of us still holding hands with fear. Fear has a power all of its own if we let it.

I’m writing this from the Hilton hotel lobby about a mile from the prison our son is in. We are waiting to go to his parole hearing and this is a much better lobby than the prison one and they have a Starbucks.

Today’s hearing determines when he gets out. Three out of the five board members have to approve his release to parole.

Fear tried to park itself in the driveway of my heart this week, but God showed up in a tow truck and hauled his behind away.

I strongly believe what is about to happen is because God has approved it. Not today, but before our son ever made his appearance in this world 19 years ago. Last weekend my girlfriend said this at a conference and it stuck with me… What God is doing now was already in the works years ago.~ Deidra Riggs

God did some amazing things leading up to today to remind us…Do not fear.

So we’re taking God at His Word. A God known for His faithfulness because He alone knows where our son needs to be.

Recently, our friend from church wished his son a happy birthday on Facebook. His son was born after he and his beautiful wife Miki lost their precious baby daughter. This is what he wrote and I asked him at church last night if I could share this:

After our daughter returned to her Creator, He created for us another child for us to love and care for, despite our fears. ~Vern Montgomery

Despite our fears…I love that. God knows that we’re going to be afraid at times and yet in His tender-hearted way He will bless us in our hardest of days. Despite Vern and Miki’s fears of loss, He kept growing their family and they trust Him.

I started this post while at the Hilton and had to pause to attend the hearing.

All five board members approved his release. He will be on parole for over a year after his release and immediately the fear of him violating parole invaded my mind. Despite our fears He has blessed us with a release date.

In April, I will cook for my son for the first time in a year and already FEAR is on my front porch ringing the doorbell trying to get in. I think I’ll open the door and let Aaron’s dog out with the command, get him Kane! and just soak in the decision God made today regarding our son’s future.

Whatever you may have that is causing you to have fear, remember that despite our fears, God wants to bless and love on us.

Let Him.

Blessings,

 

We are overwhelmed with the prayers, support and love that has been shown to our family. Thank you so much. For everything. To God be the glory.

Love,

The Chealey family

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(un)Happy New Year!

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The 3 most popular words heard and said this time of year.

Resolutions are written.

Gym memberships are purchased.

New beginnings have begun.

Hope for a happy and prosperous year is in the air.

But what if the next 300 plus days are anything but happy?

What if heartache awaits you in 2014?

Hard stuff happens to God-seekers all the time.

Loss of…life, jobs, dreams.

Broken…hearts, vows and plans.

Christ centered homes become the biggest messes in their neighborhood.

Princes and princesses of God become Prodigals.

But it’s in the unhappy moments where discovery occurs.

Where the Names of God you’ve read about gets personal with you.

When the 23rd Psalm is lived instead of recited.

It’s where victory straight from the throne room snuffs out the devil.

It’s where your pain becomes bearable only to Jesus.

It’s where your hopelessness parks you on bended knee at your Savior’s feet.

It’s where a life can become completely surrendered to God and leave the devil breathless.

2013 filled my heart with ache, but my God.

My God conquered when I had no fight in me.

My God has given and taken away.

My God has blessed in the middle of bad.

And it’s because of Him I’m still standing.

It’s because of Him my family is still together.

It’s because of Him my son is seeking Jesus from his prison cell.

It’s because of Him I trust.

He stamps the trials with worth.

So whether your 2014 is met with happiness or heartache choose to lean into your God.

Praise Him in advance for what He has planned and trust Him like never before.

For this God of ours proves and out does Himself to a believing heart with no hesitation. And in the unhappy your heart will leak with unexplainable joy only He can provide.

Blessings,

Lelia

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Christmas Interrupted

Today I am guest posting on my friend Caryn’s blog. This was such a tough post for me to write that I threw out the first draft and considered backing out of writing this post.

After a week of tears and prayers and encouragement from Caryn, God gave me the words. This post is very special to me as God guides us through this season that is all about Him.

Oh…and there’s a GIVEAWAY! My dear friend Renee Swope is giving a signed copy of her new book, “A Confident Heart Devotional”. A perfect way to start off 2014 would be with her 60 day devotion.

To be entered for a chance to win, click on Renee’s book and it will take you to Caryn’s beautiful blog, State of the Heart Living. 

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Comparing our Christmas

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Last night my husband and I watched a movie that was on TV. There was a line the male character said that caused this writer to grab her phone and type his quote into her notes so I wouldn’t forget it.

“You are a woman to love.”

We are in the midst of a season that if a poll was taken would show that it is the most time women compare themselves to other women.

We can be hard on ourselves for the silliest things.

We spend hours decorating our home for the holidays and love it. Until we scroll through Facebook and see a picture of her home that looks like a spread from Better Homes & Gardens and suddenly we think our home looks like an ad for the Dollar store.

We receive a Christmas letter from the Family of the Year. The family that undoubtedly just lived through 12 months of perfection. Perfect vacations, perfect kids, an all around perfect life and we reflect on all the things that happened in our last 365 days. And without even meaning to, we downsize all the good God did in our life.

We see others participating in Advent, attending Christmas Eve service and having such a Christ centered Christmas that even the angels are impressed. While we can only produce a picture of our crying kids sitting on the lap of a mall Santa.

 

We compare the 5 minutes it took to pick out our bakery purchased goodies to her hours of Betty Crocker baking beauty in her Christmas apron.

We compare

our on-line purchased gifts to all of her completed Pinterest projects that were hand-made with nothing but love.

Suddenly

, we’re not good enough decorators, bakers and gift-givers. Our comparisons make Jesus’ birth an after thought and on New Years Day our resolution is next year Jesus will be the reason for the season.

 

If not careful, our comparisons can become so great that it’s not the CEO’s of big stores keeping Christ out of Christmas, it’s us. 

Jesus doesn’t want us to create our own personal hell of not measuring up. He wants you to know that He came to this earth because you are a woman to love

You are a woman who He’s not comparing to any of His other creation. He loves you as is. And more than He wants you to have a life that is Christmas letter worthy, He wants you to endure the messed up months of your year with Him. He wants you to have more than a Christ centered season, He wants you to have a God focused year.

 

So, starting today, let’s put down our comparison measuring stick because in this world of bigger and better, we will never arrive. Instead, wrap yourself in the truth that our Savior thinks that you are a woman to love

Blessings,

Lelia

 

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I’m a Mean Girl

I’ve always been glad that I haven’t been able to relate to being an intentional “mean girl” toward other women. And then, this week on Thanksgiving, the mean girl in me came out. Not toward any of my girlfriends, but to my husband.

While in my kitchen surrounded by countertops holding the makings of green bean casserole and cornbread, I was saying unkind things under my breath about my husband. Quiet enough for the grandkids not to hear, but loud enough for Jesus to hear when they were still a thought. He responded to me with four words.

You’re a Mean Girl.  

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I was upset with my husband, and I let him know it.  Through my tone of voice, in my words never to be found in the Bible, in my slamming of doors, and even by way of the looks I put in an arrow and shot his way. I made the meanest of all girls look like she was wearing a halo while I donned her Diva crown.

Jesus saying I was being a Mean Girl made me realize that even when I get upset with my husband, pleasing God with my thoughts, words and actions must override trying to prove I’m right and he is wrong. I need to respect Him by respecting him. 

•A Mean Girl causes her husband to want to live on the corner of the roof instead of in the house sitting in front of the TV, remote in hand in a comfy chair. {Proverbs 21:9}

*A Wise Woman brings her husband good, not harm. {Proverbs 31:11}

•A Mean Girl speaks reckless words instead of healing ones. {Proverbs 12:18}

*A Wise Woman has faithful instruction on her tongue. {Proverbs 31:26}

•A Mean Girl isn’t patient and doesn’t overlook an offense. {Proverbs 19:11}

*A Wise Woman fears the Lord {Proverbs 31:30}

I want my husband to see Jesus in my face, not the scowl of a Mean Girl. Thankful to the Lord for showing me on Thanksgiving Day what is pleasing in His sight.

If you drive by our house and notice Gene sitting on the corner of our roof, feel free to stop by and slap the Mean Girl out of me. In love, of course, but slap hard. :)

Blessings,

Lelia

Please ignore the ads…they’re going away soon! :)

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Thanks be to God

 

Last week I flew to Texas for four days to attend a writer’s retreat. My airfare was a gift

from someone who believes in me as a writer. Someone who wanted me to get me away from my normal to learn from other writers.

I had heard good things about the retreat site that’s hidden on the Frio River in a canyon. I also knew that the High Calling, who was putting on the retreat is a group you can trust with your dreams.

Hours before my girlfriends, Deidra and Helen, picked me up to go to the airport, doubt mocked me with lies that I wouldn’t fit in with this group of amazing, deep thinking writers. Doubt straight from the enemy. Doubt I silenced with Scripture.

By the time they pulled in my driveway, my confidence was back in God

The hour-long car ride to the airport was filled with rich conversation between the three of us and I knew I was getting a taste of what lied ahead for me.

There were six of us picked up at the San Antonio airport by our fellow dreamer, Tina, and after a 2 hour drive, we arrived at Laity Lodge. We had to drive through a river into the canyon and that’s when I realized that no pre-trip description of this place could have prepared my heart for such beauty.

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I felt like I just walked into a painting by the Ultimate Artist.

Pulling my suitcase down the gravel path to my room I felt like I was home for a family reunion. I felt a belonging, cheered on and loved.

To sum up my time at Laity Lodge I would compare it to Thanksgiving.

Whenever we go to my Grandparents home for a family gathering, my Grandpa refuses to allow you to leave without your arms full of leftovers. You’d arrive with one side dish and leave with meals for days. He makes you feel loved.

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That’s how I feel.

Loved, thankful, looked out for, blessed beyond measure and full. Full of God’s goodness and provision. What I brought to the table doesn’t compare to what I took home.

Thank You Jesus. You didn’t have to send me to Laity Lodge, but I’m so thankful You did and I’m forever grateful and changed within.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 Blessings,

Lelia

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Telling His Story

Today, I have the privilege of being a featured Storyteller on my girlfriend and new book author, Jennifer Lee’s blog in her Tell His Story series. Click the picture to read “Keep Him”.

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little faith in a BIG God

Have you ever been nudged by God to believe Him, but when you look at the situation of impossibility sitting in your lap, you politely decline? I have. I’d love to tell you it was years ago that I had unbelief in the Almighty One, but it’s been more recent then that. It’s been today.

When I recall the miraculous moments in my life, it’s ridiculous to me how easily I dismiss His credentials and suddenly convince myself that He’s not capable for this particular job.

This summer we had a company tell us that if we didn’t fix our basement walls soon we would lose the foundation of our home. The impossibility was that the job would cost over $6,400.00. We had less than $20.00 in our savings account as of the end of August. The job was scheduled for November and then they bumped it up to the end of September.

We prayed little and tried problem-solving a lot, only to come to the frustrating conclusion that we had to take out a loan. That’s when the God who claims that nothing is impossible with Him proved the truth of that statement. Money began to come in to our life in weird ways. For example, a check we were expecting was double the amount. This happened time and time again over the next few weeks and by the time Thrasher Basement arrived to fix our broken walls, God had squashed the master-mind plan of the Chealey’s to borrow and provided all of the money needed for a job that requires full payment upon completion.

At the end of the day, Gene wrote Thrasher out a check. For the full amount.

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So why when I receive an email this morning regarding an opportunity for writing that I’ve been praying about do I instantly grab the hands of doubt because of finances? Why would I not remember “the basement miracle” that had Gene and I praising and in a state if awe? I need to believe versus doubt. God is capable of the opportunity before me and I have to believe that if this is His plans for me that He will provide.

The human part of me looks at the calendar and savings account as the opportunity nears and says, “impossible” while the Jesus seeker in me walks around my basement, running my hands along the repaired paid-in-full walls and says, “I believe.”

Blessings,

Lelia

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Cheering for freedom

After our weekly visit with our son, I rush to my car and drive to the side of the prison, hoping for one last view of him until the next visit as he walks into his unit. Gene thinks I’m silly and dramatic, but it’s a Momma thing. Every time I have tried for the last look I have missed seeing him, until this past Saturday.

imageI was with my sister and Aaron’s girlfriend, and when we saw him, I honked my horn and yelled, we love you, Aaron! His eyes were probably rolling as he waved, but I was too far away to notice.

When I see him again in 7 days, he will more than likely agree with his Dad and call it silly and dramatic, but I know my boy…he secretly loved my form of encouragement and I’m okay with him never admitting it.

Sunday night I led the “Surrendering the Secret” Bible study for post-abort women. I sat with women who have each held their secret of shame for years. 40 years total between them that they were held prisoner by this secret. I shared this picture of my son and told them that as I am doing for him, I will be cheering them on as I stand on free ground waiting for the day they walk out of their prison.

When people in our lives are not walking in God’s freedom in all areas of their life, we need to be there for them. We need to cheer them on as they seek their healing, peace and freedom. We do this by praying for them and encouraging them. Somedays they may roll their eyes, but don’t stop being their cheerleader. Keep honking and yelling “I love you!”

No matter what kind of past or present we have, God has freedom only He can give waiting for us, because as Psalm 146:7 tells us, “The Lord sets prisoners free”.

Cheering you on,

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