Archives for Chelsey

Life Together

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13

God calls us into community with one another and through that, He builds strong bonds of friendship that, for me, have blossomed into sisterhood. In January of this year, a few gals I knew from various avenues of life; a few Junior League friends, a mom I met through my son’s friendships, a life-long friend, and a friend from work, came together in hopes of learning a little more about Jesus. Over the past eight months, we have studied, shared our hearts, cried, laughed and prayed together. We have watched as the Holy Spirit has entered into our sacred space (my living room) and, in a very short time, has transformed our hearts, our minds and our lives. This band of characters, this village of mine has evolved like a great story.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

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Rest for the Moment


As I gazed at myself in the bathroom mirror Monday morning, I thought, “There is not enough eye cream in the world to get rid of these tired eyes!” They were squinty and dark, the normal spark lost somewhere behind the events of the past three weeks. They have been filled to the rim with terrific and glorious events, but if I am honest, really hard and emotional ones as well. Moments that made me want to cry in amazement and others that made me want to cry because of a broken heart.

Two emergency room visits (one for me and one for my husband), our daughter’s wedding, then moving her and her family to a new home in southern Iowa, a summer camp program and baseball for our youngest, difficult situations at work, launching a new program, deadlines and requests, a volunteer picnic, and welcoming a U.S. Senator to the center for a visit. Not to mention the weight I carry for those in my life struggling with their own events and battles. Whew!
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The Ticket


I love to share the story of me and my husband’s very first Valentine’s Day as a couple. When Don and I were first dating, country music was a big part of who we were. We’d spend time in the car singing our hearts out to Rascal Flatts or dancing in the park to My Maria by Brooks & Dunn. Just thinking about those days make my heart happy. So, on our first Valentine’s Day, I was giddy at the thought of surprising him with tickets to the Brooks & Dunn Red Dirt Road Concert and the memories we’d have of the evening together.

When the day of the concert finally arrived, we were both so excited. Not once did we consider where our seats might be. But when we got there and the usher stopped at the steep staircase directing, “All the way up,” I looked up and realized the limitations of my checkbook. The only seats I could afford were a trek up to the second to last row of the stadium. I felt bad, my special gift felt minimized and not so special anymore. However, Don was encouraging and joyful. Just happy to be with me.
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Ministry Update


This is the text for a speech given at the 2017 Bridgehaven Fundraising Gala.

Let us open with the scripture from Mark 1 16-18:

Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Imagine for me if you will…a sweet young girl who lives next door. You’ve known her for years; her parents moved to the neighborhood when she was three. You’ve seen her grow and blossom into a young woman. But recently you’ve noticed a change. She walks, head down, just wandering. The sparkle in her eye and the spring in her step is gone. You wonder, for a moment, ‘What’s going on?’ You’ve seen a young man coming and going from the house and again you say to yourself, “Mind your own business.” This morning you’re headed out to run an errand, you’re rushing out the door but notice someone sitting on the stoop next door. It’s her. You wonder, “Is she crying?” You are torn. “Do I mind my own business or go to her.” The Lord prompts you, “Go to her, she needs someone.” As you walk up, she notices you and begins to dry and hide her eyes from view. But you know and she knows…everything is NOT ok.
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Lay Down Your Burdens, Love Awaits

Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

I’ve recently been embraced by a wonderful community of Jesus-loving women. These women come to my house every week. We enjoy scripture together, sharing our lives together and growing in Christ’s love together. We have quickly created a bond of safety, trust and sisterhood.

This year, during Lent, we decided to journey together through a release of baggage or burdens that we are carrying. Each of us were given a rock to carry with us throughout the 40 days of Lent. The rock represented the weight, obstruction, accommodation and presence of the burdens in our everyday lives. The idea is to be able to name your burden, identify how it affects your life, your relationships with those around you and ultimately your relationship with Jesus. For me, I had done this powerful activity during a retreat a few years ago and laid a very heavy burden at the cross. It was freeing and allowed me to fall deeper into God’s perfect love for me. This time, however, I wasn’t sure. There was no one big, heavy burden taunting me or holding back; or so I thought.
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Longing for Unity Among My Community

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:3-6

This scripture from Ephesians 4 is one we frequently use to describe how the Bridgehaven team is inspired to work together. It has quickly become one of my favorites. Not because we do it well 100% of the time, but because when our little community becomes one in the Lord there is the hope of peace.

I am so grateful that our Lord intends us to live in community with one another. He doesn’t intend for his children to live in isolation from each other. So many people feel alone, or that they don’t belong. We’ve all experienced times of our lives that we think no one will understand or no one will accept us. That is a lie. Jesus says, ‘You do belong. Keep coming. Keep coming.’ The truth is, God already knows your brokenness and loves you anyway.
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A Godly Marriage

A Godly marriageFebruary! The season of love, romance and all things pink and red! (Ohhh, how I love all things pink, I really do!) This sweet season of giddiness, googly-eyes and constant hand-holding means one thing; Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

Honestly, I’m not the mushy type anymore, but I used to be. Now, there’s just not a lot of opportunity for mush. Between rushing from here to there, managing a busy family schedule not only diminishes the time available for the lovey stuff but doesn’t necessarily leave you in the snugly mood. But when Valentine’s Day comes around each year, those butterflies in my heart are awoken and ready to profess my love to my love.
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It’s a Wonderful Life


Like most women, there’s really nothing like a Christmas movie on a blustery snowy night to put you in the mood to snuggle up in your flannel jammies & slippers and begin knitting that scarf you’ve been putting off for the last few weeks. Last week, It’s a Wonderful Life fit the bill for me and my family. I hadn’t watched the movie in quite a few years. Honestly, my husband and I don’t get a lot of TV time with an eight year old in the house and if we do get the chance this time of year, I coerce him in to watching my favorite Christmas movie, White Christmas! He loves it, I’m sure.

This year the movie took on a new and deeper meaning for me. As most of you know, the story follows Mr. George Bailey as his journey and actions to help others move him further and further away from the dreams he holds for himself. George experiences great success in terms of being a hard-working, big-hearted and talented man. He finds an adorable woman who loves him dearly, they marry and have children. George continues to battle feelings of inadequacy and failure to make his dreams come to fruition while he’s deeply immersed in a community of people that love him. But as in many cases, the demons he battles makes it hard for him to see how wonderful his life truly is.
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What About Tomorrow?

untitled-designWell, today’s the day. It’s finally here and while many are relieved that after today there will be no more ads and the decision will be made, I am questioning our future now more than ever. What will tomorrow look like? How will one side or the other respond if their candidate is not chosen? How can I look some of my Facebook friends in the eye again after their messages hurt my heart so much? What is our nation turning into?

Honestly, I refuse to blame it on politics or the presidential candidates, for these two individuals are a direct reflection of what our society has become. We live in a culture that sees only what we want to see, what will satisfy our current desires. We are an unforgiving people. We are quick to an opinion or a judgment without thinking about how it affects those around us.

This election is the buildup of years and years of allowing the wrong things to get our time and attention. We’ve lived a life believing the lie that everything that sounds good, looks good, and feels good, IS good. We’ve been told to be successful, you have to watch out for #1, while cheating, lying and stomping on others to get there. We’ve allowed all of this yuck into our workplaces, homes, schools and relationships. Shamefully, we’ve turned a blind eye to so many wrong doings and injustices.

For all this, I am guilty.

But no more. No longer will I allow pride to rule in my heart over kindness and the respect of others. Pride is killing our nation and we are the only ones who can stop it for the sake of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. One of my favorite scriptures is playing over and over again in my heart this morning;

“Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3

Take this into every situation. Where there is conflict or unity, these words will heal and help us all to share in life’s journey together. Take it to the voting booth today, start now.

No one person will fix this mess, only God can. So I ask you all, after today, whether your candidate wins or loses; be kind, selfless and respectful. After today, what we have seen played out over the past few months will most likely continue in some shape or form. But we don’t have to buy into it. If we choose kindness, selflessness and respect from this day forth, we just might save our nation. We have to answer the Jesus’ calling. He does not say to love ourselves; what we do, say and feel. No, He says, “Love they neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Matthew 12:31)

So…

  • Instead of questioning your neighbor’s motives, go seek to understand them better. Ask them why they feel the way they do. Share your heart and encourage them to share theirs.
  • Instead of making a statement and telling the world what you think and feel, be humble and ask the Lord to reveal the time and place for your message to unfold and to whom it will serve the most good.
  • Instead of blasting out wrongs and rights, be encouraging and uplifting.

This route is the hardest route. This route takes self-control, patience and love. But what do ya say…let’s give it a try?

Live Loved My Friends,

Bridgehaven: Chelsey

Chelsey McDill

Executive Director

We Survived the Flood

2016 Cedar Rapids Flood

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

On September 22nd, our staff shared reflections of God’s faithfulness in our morning prayer time. Little did we know how that day would unfold. Just five hours later, I would be hovering over my computer listening to our mayor share a message that I hoped never to hear again in my lifetime. Both locations, Bridgehaven Pregnancy Support Center and Treasures Quality Resale Shoppe, were just inside the projected flood zone and decisions had to be made.

We chose to evacuate both locations but it had to be done quickly. So many people came. I am still blown away by the love, persistence and determination of those who showed up to help. If you were standing in the middle of the center on Friday afternoon, you would have experienced a whirlwind of people rushing past you with hands full of items and furniture on its way to our second floor. You would have seen people from all over; young people from Kennedy and Xavier High Schools, faithful volunteers who know our ministry inside and out, new volunteers who were just getting to know us and even people right off the street who were just walking by and decided to jump in and help. We had approximately 130 people over a two-day period between both buildings working with us to protect our ministry.

God is so good! Cedar Rapids was spared! He gets all the glory for uniting our ministry through a very difficult experience. Everyone played a role, from helping hands-on with the efforts, to praying every day that Bridgehaven and the city of Cedar Rapids would be spared and protected. Thank you to all who played a part and are yet to play a part in our recovery as we continue to put things back together.

We experienced the joy in knowing that our hope was in Him because we knew the miracles He performed for Bridgehaven in 2008. We were patient through our time of waiting to see what the flood waters would do. And we will continue to be faithful with our prayers of thanksgiving and worship to our all-powerful, all-knowing and faithful Lord God!
Bridgehaven: Chelsey

Chelsey McDill

Executive Director