I am so glad that you are here and following along. I am extending an internet sized hug from my screen to yours. Welcome! As you might know, my name is Chelsie. I am married to Robbie of seven years and we currently live in Asheville, NC with our two rambunctious boys, Makai and Josiah.
I want to share our back story with you and how we wounded up in Asheville, NC. It’s a story of faith and fear. I hope our story encourages you to live boldly, take risks, and trust God with the unknowns. And that our story encourages you more importantly- to bloom where you are planted.
We were asked to be a part of a vision to plant a church in Asheville, NC almost four years ago. We were visiting long time friends in California when they surprised us with their vision and desire to plant a church and they wanted us to be a part of it. Initially we thought our friends were crazy because they knew Robbie currently had a great paying job as a young adult (college) pastor. This still didn’t stop them from asking. We told them that we wouldn’t make a decision without visiting the city.
We got around to visiting on July 4th weekend of 2013 and it rained the whole time. LAME right? It didn’t stop us from falling in love with this place, rain and all. We fell in love with Asheville’s unique culture, the open-mindedness, the weirdness, the creativity and art plastered on every building, and of course, the mountains.
We loved everything about this city but we struggled with the calling of this vision; what it asked of us. We wanted to say yes and we felt in our hearts God was telling us to go but FEAR gripped us. It’s quite like the time we said “yes” to bringing our youngest into our family through adoption. It was in fact-A FEARFUL YES. It was a risk full of unknowns but we couldn’t shy away from an amazing opportunity to be a part of something bigger then ourselves.
God was telling us to GO and to say yes. Little did we know that “yes” meant that we were going to say “no” to very important things in our lives.
Some of the “no’s” for us looked like moving away from an amazing church that my husband worked at, leaving a paid salary, having to raise his salary for three years, and saying no to living in close proximity to family and friends. We were saying “no” to comfort, and “yes” to starting over in a new city plus starting a church from the ground up.
We were so scared but the RISK was worth taking. It was and has been quite the transition. What made the transition easier was that fellow staff, friends, and even some family felt the desire to move here too. They fell in love with the vision and sacrificed so much to come. We have not been alone in this journey and it has made a world of difference!
Fast forward to now and we have been in Asheville for a little over a year and so much has taken place since then. If you asked me today if I like church planting, I would respond like one of my favorite authors wrote, “Do you want the long answer or the short answer?”. The short answer is yes, I love church planting. It has greatly changed our lives. There has been immense beauty in the demands and pressure of church planting. Watching something blossom from the ground up and seeing it slowly succeed is so rewarding.
The long answer would be yes, but it’s so much harder then we (I) expected. Everything we do is “church”. Dinner with friends, hosting, getting to know people, play dates, early mornings/late evenings, and serving in and outside of church.
God shows us in scripture how to be the “church” to the world. And if I’m honest, this is a tough task. Both my husband and I have done self-examination through this process and it’s tough. This journey is exhausting. This new rhythm of life has taught me so much personally about myself, how ugly my heart can be and then realizing I still have so much growing up to do. My faith is being refined every day as I learn through trial and error to joyfully and willingly serve my city.
Getting to know people in this city who don’t believe the same things as we do is an amazing thing to witness. You can definitely develop an appreciation for people that live differently then you do. I strive to get out of the church walls on a consistent basis.
It’s crucial because the world is full of different beliefs systems, cultures, and life styles and you gain a better understanding of people’s stories or why they are the way are when you get to know them. Not everyone will agree with what we believe and that’s okay. It doesn’t change our love for them and better yet God’s love for them.
Church planting has opened my eyes to this and our calling has been an adventure. I see God reveal himself time and time again in the little, beautiful moments in and outside of our small (growing) church.
This is our backstory. I want to continue to live my Life Planted Here to the fullest and bloom where I am planted on a daily basis. I hope the same for you wherever you are at! It’s never to late!
Thank you for going on this journey with me.
8 thoughts on “Our Back Story”
I love this so much. You’re one of the best parts of being here!
Thank you so much Maribeth. I adore you!
Love your writing! I’m so glad you’re sharing here – it’s super encouraging, and I know so many will connect with what you are putting out here!
Thank you Sarah. I’m so grateful for you. I just think you are such an inspiration. You clearly have a gifting and it encourages people (like myself) to chase after what we both love to do.
Love reading more about ya’ll’s journey! And it really is encouraging to see how God has and is working. A good reminder that though it may not be easy, it is always worth it to say yes to God. Love that you are writing again!
You are so lovely Hannah. Thank you for always encouraging me. You are the best.
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