I'm not sure where to begin with Chelsey. I took these photographs several weeks ago, and I've had this post put together for days. But the words...oh, the words have been escaping me. How do you condense a 15+ year friendship into a few paragraphs for a blog post? I guess that you just can't. But I do want to give you a peek into the sweet, loving, always-growing, grace-filled, kindred soul of my dear best friend.
I met Chelsey my freshman year of high school in Bakersfield, California. My family had just moved to California and I started my first day of high school without as much as an acquaintance. Within a few days, God gave me Chelsey. She was the most unabashedly gregarious person I had ever met. Add to that our shared faith and common interests in music, literature, and swimming--it didn't take long for our friendship to flourish. By senior year, we were best friends. We went separate ways after high school and, with the exception of summers during college, have never really lived near one another again. But our friendship has remained through all of the distance, and I couldn't be more grateful!
Chelsey is a marathon runner, a song-writer, a kick-butt barista, a world traveler, an amazing wife, a body image ambassador...I could go on. She is the kind of girl that pulls you in. She wears everything on her sleeve, is always up for an adventure, and considers no topic off limits. Oh, the stories I have with this girl! Driving through our hometown's popular teen hang-out spot screaming at the top of our lungs from a Jeep convertible tops the list. But more significant than Chelsey's infectious personality is her intimate relationship with Jesus. I don't talk about my faith much on this blog, but I really can't talk about Chelsey without sharing our faith. This girl has faced her fair share of sorrows, but her story is beautiful. It's a story of her persistent, humble, and strong faith. But more so, it's a story of God's relentless, lavish, and indelible grace.
Well, Chelsey just came out for a visit last month and it was perfect. While she was here, we stole away one evening to capture a few photographs. They are some of my favorites that I've ever taken--not because of the externals necessarily (though I am proud of them), but because they showcase Chelsey as she is--beautifully confident and at peace with the woman God made her to be. I love you, Chelsey!