Chelsea Cote is a Type A twenty-something residing in Charlotte, NC. A non-profit development director by day, Chelsea loves Jesus, fashion, her family (including her giant cat Liam), decorating, art in all its forms, gummy candy, thrifting, liquid eyeliner, and watching The West Wing and Friends reruns. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and read all of her thoughts on faith, fashion and everything in between at www.bloomingbranchblog.com.
You guys, I'm really excited about this. A couple of months ago, my friend Sarah contacted me about a really cool new idea designed to unite bloggers through worship and creativity on her blog, LIVE IT OUT! The Stone Collective is a community making much of Jesus as we create art, photography, prose, poems or music that commemorate the wonderful things God does in our life. Based on the passage in 1 Samuel 7:12-14, each month we will collect Ebenezer Stones as a regular practice in the art of worship via our creativity. I've never been one to paint or dance or do anything really in terms of worship. The idea of syncing my creativity and my feelings about the Lord is a little intimidating to me for some reason, which is all the more reason that i was excited to jump into this project head-first. If my creativity is a gift from the Lord and everything I do, in essence, should glorify Him, why wouldn't i want to use it to create as a response to His extraordinary blessings? I also love the idea of using my blog to commemorate blessings that the Lord has poured out on me monthly. I don't journal on the regular, so what an extraordinary way to recognize His blessings, be thankful and remember His goodness throughout the year.
I'll admit, I've been wracking my brain trying to decide what to do for my first-ever Ebenezer Stone, but the past two months have been ones of immense blessing in my life. So much so that I can't stay silent. which is why I'm so thrilled to have this opportunity to join Sarah and all of our blogger friends in this special kick-off...
One of my favorite images in the Bible is that of a branch connected to The Vine. Jesus uses so much imagery surrounding nature and branches to describe our relationship with Him. In addition, I am consistently distracted by branches in nature. particularly in winter when they are bare. They are dead in our eyes, yet exquisite and very much alive inside, waiting for the right time to bloom again. But as much as one branch is beautiful, I am generally overwhelmed by the branches on large, mature trees. It's these that captivate me the most. It's in the simple beauty of the branches that the whole tree becomes majestic, in the infinite overlap and difficulty finding where one branch begins and another ends that they all grow together.
I've realized lately that as much as I use Christ's branch imagery to guide my own life, most vines in nature produce more than one branch. and, once again, it's their collective parts that makes the vine resplendent. A tree with one branch wouldn't really be very magnificent, even if that branch flourished alone. In short, community has not been something i've realized I needed as much as i did, and in the past few months, the Lord has abundantly blessed me with friends that have made me realize how much our life is meant to be lived alongside others. It's in our shared lives that Christ is the most visible to us and those around us. I've been so overwhelmed by this reality lately and so incredibly thankful for the extraordinary friendships and community that the Lord has given me. It's a reminder to me of how much He loves me, how much He loves others, and how much He is glorified through genuine relationships and genuine community.
I love this picture above, my Ebenezer Stone for February, which I actually took on Broad Street in Southern Pines, NC (interestingly, where I met Sarah and a place that truly represents family and community for me). It perfectly captures the many branches that make up the vine and how despite their individuality, they are all connected, all strengthened by one another, and all a part of a magnificent whole.
And now that i've talked all about community, want to join in on The Stone Collective? Create your own stone and link up to LIVE IT OUT! blog. #TheStoneCollective. You can also see all of the others bloggers that are participating there - check them out!