Fixing to Remain

Well so long twenty fourteen. 

What a year. 

A year of God giving and taking away. 

A year in which I learned that I am pre-approved in Christ and that I Want God.

As a writer it was a quiet year. After our son came home from prison in the spring, I took time away from writing and speaking. When I was ready to write again, my laptop and tablet broke. The few times I did write was on my daughters laptop which was difficult to borrow due to her school schedule, so I just stopped. And I think that was what God had planned for me all along. Stop and learn from and about Him. 

Earlier in 2014, I decided to get a tattoo on my wrist as a reminder to stay the course with Christ. I often write on my hand when I want to remember something important and was ready to commit to a permanent reminder. It was months before God let me know my word was to be REMAIN. He chose that word because I don’t remain in Him. I easily get sidetracked and walk away from my True Love and as He tells us in John 15, He will remain in us if we remain in Him. In November I sat for 3 hours in a busy shop waiting for a tattoo that took the artist all of 5 minutes to scrawl into my skin. I loved it and like a newly engaged woman can’t stop looking at her finger, my eyes were constantly drawn to my wrist. 

But here is what I learned very quickly from my eternal one word.

The newness wears off. 

I could return to Justin at Iron Brush every Saturday morning and have him keep adding reminders up to my elbow to help me stay focused, but if my eyes are not fixed on Christ then once the ink dries all I’d be left with is nothing but a sleeve of meaningless words. 

David understood this. Psalm 141:8 But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD

Solomon encouraged us. Proverbs 4:25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.

Paul tells us where to look. 2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. 

Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith


Bottom line is that where my gaze is fixed is what will consume me and I want it to be Jesus. My tattoo can serve to remind me of my desire to remain in Jesus, but if my eyes are not anchored on Christ then my wrist is just a canvas displaying Justin’s work.  

In all my years of following Jesus Christ, I know from experience that looking away from Him is not worth it. May 2015 be a year of fixed gaze on my Savior so that in Him I will remain. 

Oh, and I’m writing this post from my new iPad. A few days before Christmas I received a delivery from Amazon. I would later find out that 20 of my girlfriends in ministry secretly came together to bless me with a tool to write again along with the sweetest note of encouragement. I still don’t know who was all involved, but their gift made me feel so loved and believed in. I love when Jesus uses us to let others know He sees us and has plans for our lives. 

I’m ready to fix my eyes and remain in Him.

And write because He wants me to. 



If you’re interested in having Lelia join you at your next women’s event, go HERE for her schedule or join her in March. Click on the picture for details. 


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Whatever it Takes…I Want God


20140920_091336-1Saturday morning my daughters volleyball game was at a high school and this sign was posted on the window of the coaches office. So often life can take its toll on us. It can wipe us out with tragedies, divorce, financial burdens, job loss and sometimes death. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when the unexpected makes a crash landing into my life my automatic response isn’t to run to Jesus. I can tell others in a trial what to do and Who to lean on, but sometimes I am quick to take my eyes off of Jesus.

Satan is relentless in his role as the prince of darkness. He has a three-part mission goal: kill, steal and destroy. We’re told to be alert to his madness. We have to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to stay focused on Jesus.


~To read the Bible daily

~To have and keep a fixed gaze on Jesus.

~To draw near to Jesus before, during and after the storms of life.

~To not let Satan take any ground of your heart.

I want God and I need to let God do WHATEVER IT TAKES to keep me on the path of righteousness.

Our moving away from God causes our eyes to be blinded to the things He is doing. Our minds feel entitled to the things He will do. Our hearts are calloused to the things He has already done. It leaves us vacant and waffling and so grossly unfulfilled yet engrossed in the life of our flesh that it takes an act of God to point us back in the right direction.  ~Lisa Whittle


Proverbs 4:25 Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.



The winner of the I Want God book is beautifuldreamer

 CONGRATS!  Please go here and send me your mailing address! Thank you!

If you want to order your own copy of I Want God you can do so by clicking on the book cover.







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I Want God (Giveaway)

Well hello.

This is the first time I’ve written on my blog since March. A lot has happened in 6 months. Good stuff. Hard stuff. God stuff.

My last post was about a book I read called “Love Idol” by my friend Jennifer. That book messed me up. In a good way. It drew me closer to Christ through it. And now, 6 months later God is messing with me again.

He often uses people and books to gently knock me upside my head. To make me realize, That life you’re trying to live without Me as the center is not worth it. Follow. Me.

And so here I am, with Lisa Whittle’s latest book, I Want God in my lap. I have known Lisa since 2008, and I can tell you that this author is authentic and bold. Little in physical form, but huge in her faith. She will not be kept quiet about Jesus. She’s an author who writes out of obedience and one whose words challenge her readers in their own walk with God.

So I opened the book and began to read. untitled

The introduction is full of boldness and I began to get a little nervous. Because no matter how much I know change is needed, sometimes I just don’t like it when God does alterations in my life. So, I told myself, “maybe you don’t need Lisa’s help on wanting God.”

But truth be told, I do and I know I do. I need to learn what God wants to teach me through this book and so I keep turning the pages and I read stuff like this…

The “more” God gives is really about loss and less and the willingness to do without and yes the joy in that.

To have Him, we must want Him–more than the friends, the wealth, the applause, the acceptance, the comfort. There can be nothing–even our own life– that we want more. We can’t want our life and want God at the same time. 

We cannot want God with conditions.

When we want God more than anything, we forgo our control of what life looks like. We must be ready for popularity lost. Comfort interrupted. Reason tossed away. Self disregard. Sin exposed.

Wanting God births such untamed things.

This is just from the intro and chapter one people.

At the end of each chapter Lisa has a section titled REVIVAL where she takes you deeper. Then there are questions that helps you grow even more. I’m not going to lie to you. This book is work. It’s not some cheesy self-help 30-step manuscript where Lisa tells you what to do and like magic, God becomes your number one want. This book is a tool. She shares, teaches and guides. And she does it in a way that you can’t read it without a highlighter, Kleenex and a noticeable change in your relationship with God.

I love Lisa’s words here:
The relationship between us and God is not one we get to customize. When we minimize or shy away from our relationship with Him to be popular with other people, we reject Truth. God did not go to the cross for us and die in His perfection so that we may live without responsibility. He saves us. We accept that or not. If we accept the gift He gets to come first. The end.

I want God. I do. I’m tired of getting in His way.

Today I’m starting the #GiveGod7Days challenge with Lisa and many others. I hope you will too. You can go HERE to join us. It will be worth it.


Lisa’s book is released October 1st and you can go here to pre-order a copy for yourself.

ALSO…we’re giving away a copy here! If you want to have your name in the drawing then leave a comment and the winner will be announced Friday. Hit the share buttons on the bottom and let your friends know because this book is one you will want everyone you know to have.

I Want God.

We have to be tired of our usual life. ~Lisa Whittle 




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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. 


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.



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

Visit Jennifer at

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

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Despite Our Fears


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.



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.


The Chealey family

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(un)Happy New Year!


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.



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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


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.


, 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




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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.  


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. 🙂



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.

IMG_8953373192572 IMG_8972216836703

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.


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!



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