Moving Through Devastating Disappointments

My talented writer friend from Belfast, Northern Ireland shares POWERFUL and PERSONAL words about moving with Jesus through life’s hardest curveballs. I’m so thankful for this wisdom wakeup call…


Moving Through Devastating Disappointments

By Paula Halliday


Curveballs don’t come with warning signs. Believe me. I know. Because five years ago, one flew in my direction and instantly knocked me off my feet. No-one ever warned me it was coming. No-one told me to brace for impact, or to run and take cover. No, it came hard. It came fast. And it came from absolutely nowhere. 

I wonder if you, too, have ever experienced a moment in life like this? One moment that threw your  world off balance and caught you completely off guard. The uninvited problem. The unplanned detour. The uneasy conversation. The unfulfilled dream. The unwanted news. Yes, one very unexpected moment tossed towards a very unsuspecting you. 

Truth be told, the injuries I sustained were not obvious. I guess, broken hearts are much harder to see than broken bones. For hidden behind a freshly-painted smile and a rehearsed “I’m fine”, was a woman, crippled by a serious diagnosis.

Disappointment. 

Why did God allow this to happen to me? Why did He not divert this curveball from coming my direction? My expectations of what God could-have-done, should-have-done, were in pieces, and so was my heart. My daily conversations with Him ended. You know, kind of like I was giving God the silent treatment. And my Bible gathered dust in my bottom drawer for days. I drew a large question mark over God’s good plans for my life, and I drew away from Him. 

Disappointment can do that. It creates distance between us and God, if we allow. I know this was true for me. In fact, this was true for Mary too. 

In Luke 10:39 we read how Mary loved to sit at Jesus’ feet. The Greek word used here for the verb ‘to sit’ is para kathezomai, which means ‘to sit closely beside’ [kathezomai means ‘to sit down’, para means ‘to be close beside’]. But notice where Mary sits when her brother, Lazarus, unexpectedly dies, and Jesus arrives four days after her brother’s burial. 

‘So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house.’ (John 11:20 ESV, emphasis mine). 

The Greek word used here for ‘to sit’ is kathezomai. Did you notice the prefix ‘para’ is missing? You see, Mary, too, had sustained injuries from a curveball crisis. Jesus didn’t do what she expected. He didn’t even come when she asked. And Mary’s response? No longer did she choose to sit close beside Jesus. Instead, disappointment drove Mary to distance herself from Jesus.  

Oh, how I so deeply relate. Can you?

When disappointment disrupts our day, it’s easy to wonder why God ever allowed it to happen and wander away from Him. Yes, I’ve been there. Remember the banished Bible in my bottom drawer?  But I refuse to stay there. Friend, we cannot choose our circumstances, but we can choose our response to them. So what if instead of allowing disappointment to drag us further away from God, we allowed disappointment to draw us closer to God? 

Of course, it is not wrong to take time, to sit, to grieve, to process any disappointment you may experience as you journey through life. But remember this; you do not have to sit alone. We may never be able to make sense of our circumstances, but we can sense His presence in all circumstances. And with proximity comes His perspective. With closeness comes clarity. With intimacy comes insight. With nearness comes new revelation. Today, I choose in advance to para kathezomai; to sit closely beside the Lord in all circumstances. And I pray you will too. 

Paula Halliday is a thirty-something year old speech therapist from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is a self-confessed foodie and tea-drinking addict with a passion for both written and spoken words. Paula loves nothing more than a great adventure. Her favourite one being; to live each day with Jesus.

Although surrounded by incredible family and friends, Paula has found unexpected beauty in singleness in this season of life. In the near future, she hopes to publish her first book which aims to encourage other single Jesus girls to do the same. Connect with Paula on Instagram

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If you read this far that means we’re two peas in a pod. Jot your email down to GET this month’s from ME to YOU freebie…and so I can connect with you more! We’re in this together!

Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.

Grow in faith with Andrea’s video Devotionals on Our Daily BreadOr follow her on Facebook/Instagram.

The Blessing of a Good Mother-in-Law

All I ever heard about mothers-in-law was negative. Even saying the title MIL makes eyes roll and annoying stories flow. Newly married, I braced myself. I imagined at some point there’d be a line of me versus her like the movies portray. But instead of proving movies right, she proved Scripture right. My MIL is my Naomi. And I would follow her wherever she goes. So this is my ode to good MILs who’ve adopted their daughters-in-law as their own. Thank you for loving us well.

Meet the characters…

Naomi: A faithful woman of God who lost both sons and husband to a famine in ancient times. A good mother-in-law.

Ruth: Naomi’s daughter-in-law who came from a different people group yet followed her MIL and wanted to fully belong with Naomi. A good daughter-in-law.

If you read the book of Ruth through the lens of a MIL/DIL relationship, there’s so much to learn. It dashes the worldly view of this relationship and honors it with what the Lord meant it to be.

Here’s some lessons I’m storing up for when I’m a MIL someday…

Lesson #1 Good MILs are humble

I notice parallels from Ruth and Naomi’s relationship and mine with my MIL. Naomi was made humble out of her circumstances. I imagine she faced relational loneliness as her two sons married women of a foreign land. I wonder what it was like for her to humbly accept her sons choices and let those women become important to her sons while she faded a bit. And then as things didn’t work out, her sons and husband died and she was left alone. (Ruth 1)

My MIL may not have LOST her two sons like Naomi did to famine (Ruth 1:4-5), but she definitely lost her title as “Most important woman” in their lives when her two sons married. She moved aside so their wives could be their #1 and naturally lost some relationship with her children because of it. I think it’s important for us to empathize with our MILs and how humbling that would be. I wonder now how that must’ve felt for her after dedicating her life to her children. Lonely? Hard? Confusing? And yet she became smaller so I could become more. She befriended me and accepted change gracefully.

I want to be a MIL who’s humble when it’s hard like that someday.

#2 Good MILs seek the BEST for their DILs

As we read on in Ruth’s story we find Naomi ready to leave Moab and journey back to Bethlehem to find food (Ruth 1:6-14). Without a man in her life she had nothing to offer her DILs. So as the DILs start following their MIL to her homeland, “Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands?”” (Ruth 1:11).

What does this mean? It means Naomi wanted the BEST for her DILs even if it meant the worst for herself (being completely alone). She championed her DILs.

My MIL has championed me in too many ways to count. She gets excited for what I’m excited for. She reads all my writing and tells me I’m awesome. She watches my kids. She listens when I have a hard day. She seeks my best in small and big ways because she loves me.

I want to be a MIL who encourages like that someday.

#3 Good MILs ADOPT their DILs

As Naomi leaves, Ruth begs to stay with her and Naomi accepts her even though they’re no longer tied relationally by marriage. “But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God “”(Ruth 1:16).

Naomi didn’t have to say yes. BUT she CHOSE to enter deep family relationship with her DIL even when the relationship was technically done after her son died. This is a picture of the kind of love God intended for MIL and DIL. Not one of duty but of adoption.

This has taught me so much. The relationship takes two. It takes a DIL who WANTS to have a good relationship with her MIL. And it takes a MIL who accepts and adopts her DIL as her own not because she’s her son’s wife, but because she loves her as a daughter.

I’m so thankful my MIL has ACCEPTED, LOVED and CHAMPIONED her daughters-in-law. I’ve become her daughter. Not because I needed another mom, but because God gave me another person to love me on this earth. I’m so thankful He did. Like any relationship, it’s work to grow together, but I know she has adopted me as her own.

I want to be a mother-in-law who loves her daughter-in-law like that someday.

I know not everyone has an amazing relationship with their MIL. If you don’t, I’m praying for you today for healing and peace because our God is a god of peace. And if you do, tell her you cherish her today!

Lord I pray for all the Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law who are embarking on a journey together. Protect their relationship. Grow them in unity. Teach them how to celebrate one another. We thank you Father for giving us another person to love. In Jesus Name. Amen.

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If you read this far that means we’re two peas in a pod. Jot your email down to GET this month’s from ME to YOU freebie…and so I can connect with you more! We’re in this together!

Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.

Grow in faith with Andrea’s video Devotionals on Our Daily BreadOr follow her on Facebook/Instagram.

Foster Care: Birth Parents & The Gospel

Scrolling Instagram I found a funny, passionate, child advocate who posted all the questions NOT to ask a foster mom. But she’s answering a big one for us today. “How do you handle the complicated relationship with birth parents?” So thankful for her willingness to share her story…


Foster Care: Birth Parents & The Gospel

By Lindsay Veitz


Foster care.  Rarely do two little words incite such a big emotional response.  Feelings that run the gamete from joy to anger to sadness, and everything in between.  It is one of the most difficult roads a family can choose to go down, but the joy that comes with raising children and seeing them thrive in a healthy environment, is one of the most fulfilling things in the world.   

  Our foster care journey isn’t any more unique than anyone else’s, it was long and emotional, but we expected that going in.  What we didn’t expect (and probably should have) was the way the Lord used foster care to allow my husband and I to bring the love of Jesus to a set of very broken and lost parents. 

  One of the questions I get asked so frequently is, “How did you handle meeting and conversing with your daughters biological parents? I don’t think I could handle being in a room with parents who have harmed their child”.  The answer, for me, is so multi faceted.  We knew when we became foster parents that dealing with birth parents are a huge aspect of foster care.  Most children start out having visitation with family.  This doesn’t always happen, as with cases of abandonment or where parental rights have already been terminated.  But for most cases, you will have parental visitation.

  We said from the beginning that we were going to treat birth parents with dignity and respect, without approving of their behaviors and actions.  We would use any interactions we had with them to be a support to their recovery, to be kind to them, and to show them that there was a God who loved them.  Knowing that, as 1 Timothy 1:15 says, “Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am the worst”, that we were no better than birth parents.  It is only because of God’s grace in our lives that we are not where they are.

  This was put into action once we took in our daughter.  Within a week we had visitation with birth dad.  I won’t lie-it was one of the most awkward encounters of my life.  Here I am, walking in and leaving with a child that he had just helped bring into the world three short weeks ago.  That first visit was rough.  He was very protective of our daughter, telling us how to care for her and that he was going to get her back “very soon”.  He didn’t think we would be able to care for his baby girl like he could.  We swallowed our pride and supported him, made sure he knew we were on his side, and told him we would be praying he would have the strength to finish his recovery program.

  The next visit included birth mom as well.  At first she wanted nothing to do with me, and told me she knew how to take care of her own baby.  Again, I said nothing in response and instead asked how recovery was going, and reassured her we had no plans to take her baby from her.  This eased her a little and she began sharing details of her life, which had been anything but safe and secure.  Both of our daughters birth parents have experienced abuse and neglect from their parents, both had no guidance or support growing up, and both came from a long line of addicts.  Their story completely broke my heart.  The cards had been stacked against them from the start. 

  Visits continued for a few months, and during that time we were really able to get to know them, and gain trust and respect from them.  My husband was able to share the Gospel with birth dad at one visit, and birth mom and I prayed together during multiple visits.  Although we already knew we wanted to adopt our daughter, I was able to tell them, without lying, that we supported them and hoped they would be able to regain custody.  I also want to emphasize that not once did we condone their actions that had harmed our child, but rather spoke about the negative consequences of their behavior in love.  We expressed our disapproval of their lifestyle, but we didn’t shame them for it.

We spoke about the negative consequences of their behavior in love — expressed our disapproval of their lifestyle, but we didn’t shame them for it.

  Birth mom told me during one visit that the foster parents they had dealt with previously (with their son, while he was in foster care) were extremely rude and disrespectful to them.  That they wouldn’t even look them in the eye or speak directly with them.  With tears in her eyes she said, “I already felt bad enough, and they made me feel like I was even worse than worthless”.  She expressed how thankful she was for the way my husband and I had treated both her and birth dad, and that she knew we must believe what we talked about since we acted so different.

  I don’t tell you this to toot our own horn, or because we are such great examples of how to deal with birth parents.  Not at all.  Visitation was one of the hardest things to do every week.  I tell you this to stress the importance of being Jesus to broken people.  If Jesus treated me the way I felt like treating her birth parents on most days, then I would be in for a world of hurt.  I’m not better than her because I’m a good person, because I’m not an addict, or because I’m not a criminal.  Far from it.  I’m not better than her at all-in fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that God himself had to come to this Earth and die for my ugly, sinful, rebellious heart, and I chose to believe it years ago, I would in the same place as her.

  The last interaction we had was right before our daughter’s adoption.  She was incarcerated, and I went to the jail to visit her.  She was in disbelief when she saw me-she said I was the only visitor she had had in weeks.  I caught her up on what our daughter was doing, and showed her pictures.  She said how grateful she was that we had her daughter, and thanked me multiple times for taking care of her.  It was a sweet visit.  The last thing she said to me, with tears pouring down her face, was “Thank you for caring about me.  Thank you for praying.  I’m sorry I failed her.  Please tell her how much I love her and that I think about her all the time”.  

The small act of being kind and sharing Jesus made them feel loved and less alone. And isn’t that the whole point of Christianity?

-Lindsay Veitz

  During this season of dealing with birth parents, I didn’t do anything special.  I was just kind to someone.  But the small act of being kind and sharing Jesus made them feel loved and less alone.  And isn’t that the whole point of Christianity?  Not rules and regulations, but letting people who are broken and hurting know that the God of the universe loves them and cares for them.  

  This is our call as foster parents.  Going into a dark place of abuse, neglect, drugs, prostitution, and so much more and filling it with the light and love of the Lord.     

  Pray for kids in foster care.  Pray for the foster parents bringing them in.  Pray for birth parents.  The Lord hears us.  This is at the heart of answering the cry of the orphan-bringing them to the feet of Jesus and letting Him to do more for them than we could have ever dreamed.

Lindsay is an avid advocate for children in the foster care system.  She is a former foster mom, and an adoptive mom.  She has worked in the foster care system in various capacities for over ten years, and is well versed in trauma informed care.  Lindsay currently runs a mentor program for teens in foster care.  She loves talking to people about foster care, and how you can get involved.  If you would like more information, or have any questions, you can find her on Instagram at @life_with_lindsayv

Thanks for stopping by! Connect more below!

If you read this far that means we’re two peas in a pod. Jot your email down to GET this month’s from ME to YOU freebie…and so I can connect with you more! We’re in this together!

Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.

Grow in faith with Andrea’s video Devotionals on Our Daily BreadOr follow her on Facebook/Instagram.

Turning Pain into Power

I know what it’s like to hold your new baby and feel nothing because of postpartum depression and trauma. I know what it’s like to second guess everything you say and do out of fear and insecurity. And what it’s like to worry about my kids issues and try to hold broken relationships together unsuccessfully. I know failure. I know sin. I know pain. No more or less than you. But Friends, I tell you this because I know you often feel like you’re the only one going through that “thing”. But you’re not. We’re ALL messed up and we ALL need Jesus–and each other.

It’s uncomfortable to tell our weaknesses, especially in the Christian community where often we hide our hard. But I want to tell you, God greatly desires to HEAL and USE all your pain and weaknesses. I’ve learned living through hard things with Jesus is your greatest asset in God’s kingdom.

Do you know I started this blog out of hurt?

As I got to know Jesus through reading Scripture and he started healing my heart in lots of ways, and I couldn’t keep the good news of His love to myself. I pictured you searching for answers like I did.(God are you real? Do you care? Do you see me? Can you even do anything about this “thing”??) And needing a safe space to work out thoughts like I did. And my empathy for you outweighed my desire to look awesome. 

That’s why I do this. That’s why I’m here. And I wanted to renew my reason “why” today just so you know the heart behind this space. Every Christian is being built, it’s a process, I’m still learning and growing and healing just like you. But God has used all my pain and weaknesses for your strength as I speak freely of my brokenness and His goodness.

And I bet someone needs you to be that for them.

I bet you are a well of empathy too. You’ve lived through some hard stuff too. And because of that, you see others’ pain better. It sinks into you and God prompts you to reach out because you can’t stand to leave someone in that space alone.

That is you doing God’s work. It’s you allowing the Lord to redeem your weakness to be someone else’s strength. Revealing your hard for someone else’s good is brave and beautiful. It takes vulnerability, compassion and faith.

I recently attended the IF:gathering online event and listened to Pastor Mike Todd speak on being an anchor for others. That sometimes people need us to be an anchor they can hold onto before than can hold onto Jesus. Oh man, it struck my heart.

Who in your life is reaching out their hand and needs an anchor? Who is where you were and needs you to say, “I know, I’ve been there, let me hold onto you while you weather this storm.” Only Jesus can heal our inner wounds, but the body of Christ, You and I, can give to others what we’ve received from God.

Let’s allow God to transform our pain into power. Let’s give away whatever goodness we’ve receive from God in the hard. And be a little anchor of hope and love in our homes and communities.

Whether you’re a new believer, a veteran Jesus lover, a mom, a wife, a friend, or simply a person getting through the ups and downs of life–may you find healing and strength in Jesus and may He embolden you to care for others with the same care He’s shown you. Amen.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too(2 Corinth 1:3-5).

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If you read this far that means we’re two peas in a pod. Jot your email down to GET this month’s from ME to YOU freebie…and so I can connect with you more! We’re in this together!

Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.

Grow in faith with Andrea’s video Devotionals on Our Daily BreadOr follow her on Facebook/Instagram.

Why Don’t We Pray About It?

I know my problems are real, but often I wonder if my prayers are. Am I praying “right” and does God care? I’m so honored to host author Elisa Morgan (MOPS President Emerita) on such a tender topic. Her words are just what I needed lately. Read on for a fresh perspective on your prayer-life. -Andrea


Why Don’t we Pray About it?

by Elisa Morgan

I lie awake in the night and worry. Driving on errands, my mind darts between the obstacles in my day, searching for a smoother path. Knee-deep in a conversation, I reach for a handhold out from what seems like a ditch of disconnection.

Why don’t I pray about what’s in my heart and on my plate?

Author Paul Miller commiserates, “Our inability to pray comes from the Fall. Evil has marred the image. We want to talk to God but can’t. The friction of our desire to pray, combined with our badly damaged prayer antennae, leads to constant frustration. It’s as if we’ve had a stroke.” (1)

Oh so true! There are moments I experience a kind of spiritual aphasia before God. I send commands to my being to express my desires to God and my yieldedness to his will but then my mouth won’t move. I form some words, slingshot them toward God but before I’ve even finished my release, I’ve forgotten my prayer posture and my mind slips toward something else.

James writes of the trouble such a condition can bring, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2).

Sometimes I’m a doubter, “like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).  James goes on to say that such a person “should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (verse 7).

In other moments I conclude that I’m too selfish to experience God’s response to my prayers as James, again, warns, “When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3).

At the center of all my struggles, I’m not sure my babbling before God actually counts as praying.

“Perhaps prayer doesn’t have to begin with an “Our Father” and end with an “Amen” to be a prayer.”

Elisa Morgan

Okay, settle down, Elisa. The psalms are filled with examples of David and other pilgrims crying out to God in everyday emotion. Perhaps prayer doesn’t have to begin with an “Our Father” and end with an “Amen” to be prayer. Theologian Richard Foster offers such hope as he writes, “Countless people, you see, pray far more than they know. Often they have such a ‘stained-glass’ image of prayer that they fail to recognize what they are experiencing as prayer and so condemn themselves for not praying.” (2)

Whew. Whether bent-kneed and patterned or simply stream of conscious rumbling, my prayers are just that: prayers.

I’m pretty sure you relate here. Why don’t we pray more about more things that really matter to us? Why don’t we take advantage of the heart relationship of prayer that God provides for us? Like me, have you been making prayer harder than it has to be? Harder than God means it to be?

For Jesus, prayer was an unending, uninterrupted conversation with the rest of himself. And for us, prayer can be the same: conversation with the God who formed us in our mother’s wombs, who knows the number of hairs on our heads, who hears a word before it is formed on our tongues and who longs to give us what we need before we even ask.

Why would we do anything but pray about it?

Before a word is on my tongue, you Lord, know it completely. Psalm 139:4

Notes:

1. Paul Miller, “The Hardest Place in the World to Pray,” April 11, 2017, http://thedisciplemaker.org/the-hardest-place-in-the-world-to-pray/

2. Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), xi-xii.

***

Elisa Morgan (MDiv) was named by Christianity Today as one of the top fifty women influencing today’s church and culture. She has authored over twenty-five books including The Beauty of Broken, Hello, Beauty Full, She Did What She Could and her most recent release, When We Pray Like Jesus. For twenty years, Elisa served as CEO of MOPS International and now is President Emerita. She speaks internationally, writes for Our Daily Bread Devotional and co-hosts Discover the Word radio and the podcast God Hears Her for Our Daily Bread Ministries.

You can find out more about Elisa, book her to speak at your event and sign up for her blog, Really, which reaches thousands at www.elisamorgan.com. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram (@elisamorganauthor) and on Twitter (@elisa_morgan).  

With her husband of forty-one years, Evan, she has two grown children and two grandchildren who live near her in Denver, Colorado. Coach, her Rottie-wannabe, takes her on walks daily. 

Originally published on the Really blog at www.elisamorgan.com. Used by permission of Elisa Morgan. 

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If you read this far that means we’re two peas in a pod. Jot your email down to GET this month’s from ME to YOU freebie…and so I can connect with you more! We’re in this together!

Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.

Grow in faith with Andrea’s video Devotionals on Our Daily BreadOr follow her on Facebook/Instagram.

Keeping Your Heart Door Cracked Open in Messy Relationships

Your friend royally hurt your feelings. Their words stung deep. There was no ‘I’m sorry’, no acknowledgement of wrongdoing. So what do you do? Many of us take the easy way out in conflict. We talk to others about the problem instead of confronting the person who hurt us. Perhaps we think it’ll make things worse, maybe we’re just plain scared. But Jesus gave us instructions on how to handle messy relationships.

He said in Matthew 18:17, If your friend sins against you go straight to that person. Then if he still doesn’t make it right, take another person along and try again. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church, and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a  tax collector.

But here’s the catch. How did Jesus treat the outsiders and tax collectors? He ate supper with them! He showed them kindness. He treated them with dignity and love when others scoffed.

Jesus never slammed a relational door shut. He always left it cracked open for anyone who decided they wanted forgiveness and reconciliation.

andrea chatelain

Jesus never slammed a relational door shut. He always left it cracked open for anyone who decided they wanted forgiveness and reconciliation.

So what does that mean for us? How do we love those who hurt us and created conflict? We follow Jesus’s lead. We try multiple times to make peace. If they decide not to change, we have the right to distance ourselves. But we leave the door cracked open in our hearts.

If they come back and ask for forgiveness? Forgive. Doesn’t mean you are best friends. Doesn’t mean you devote your life to them. But you freely offer the most important gift you have to share–God’s grace.

Because that’s what Jesus did for you.

Application Questions: Who have you had a hard time forgiving? Even if reconciliation isn’t possible right now, how can you leave your heart open to forgive?

(originally featured as an ODB daily devotional)

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Hi Friend!! Connect with me below!

If you read this far that means we’re two peas in a pod. Jot your email down to GET this month’s from ME to YOU freebie…and so I can connect with you more! We’re in this together!

Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.

Grow in faith with Andrea’s video Devotionals on Our Daily BreadOr follow her on Facebook/Instagram.

Beating Fatigue in Long Seasons

Winter in cold climates can feel suffocating. The snow falls endlessly, tree limbs threaten to break at the weight of the season, and all signs of life go into hiding. You know the heaviness of hard seasons too. (Hello Covid a year later! plus all other life stressors) It’s easy to pile up years of hurt, rejection, and disappointment without clearing a path for joy. But that’s exactly the antidote you need when life’s too much. You need the warmth of joy to melt some of the cold, to beat fatigue.

I see you doing all the things. Packing endless lunches, zooming til your eyeballs turn red, trying to have that conversation YET AGAIN. There will always be struggle. But there will always be JOY. Even if you don’t feel it. Even if it seems lost. Joy cannot be lost. It’s held and given out in Jesus. You with me??

There will always be struggle. But there will always be JOY.

Andrea Chatelain

Israel’s King Solomon knew and wrote about a gamete of emotions in the book of Ecclesiastes. He experimented and documented thoughts of pleasures and toils, the highs and lows of life that are endlessly twisted together. In the end though, he said “I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life…” Ecclesiastes 8:15 ESV.

We need joy, God-given joy, to go with us and hold onto us through the turmoil–COVID, career lows, family drama, motherhood. So how do we fight fatigue? We snuggle up to the source of Joy. Jesus himself keeps alive in us what the world’s weight tries to suffocate. As we walk through long days with God, treading on His sweet stepping stones of joy, life will melt into spring.

So diligently seek joy in the Lord even if it doesn’t make sense. Need ideas??

  • Pray and ask God to renew in you a joyful Spirit (he knows how you’re feeling anyway).
  • Set reminders on your phone to think of three things you’re thankful for.
  • Spend 10 minutes a day in the Bible to set your thoughts on God’s goodness (if you don’t know where to start I recommend first5app or @shereadstruth).
  • Go to lunch/coffee with a friend or CALL someone once a week to check in (You’re made for community).  
  • Wake up and repeat “I EXPECT God to do GOOD things today because HE is good.”

Don’t let yourself grow cold and bitter. Instead warm yourself up next to Jesus. What struggles seem too much lately? What comfort, peace, and joy has God offered to help you through?

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If you read this far that means we’re two peas in a pod. Jot your email down to GET this month’s from ME to YOU freebie…and so I can connect with you more! We’re in this together!

Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.

Grow in faith with Andrea’s video Devotionals on Our Daily BreadOr follow her on Facebook/Instagram.

A New Way to Lent

So what is it that you gave up for lent? TV? Social media? (that’s me!) Sugar? What if I told you God’s not concerned at all with what you ‘give up’ and totally watching your thankfulness? You might squirm a bit like me, but then realize it’s pretty awesome news.

In the Old Testament (Leviticus) you can read about life before Jesus. How God’s people had to burn up their crops and livestock daily as sacrifices for their sin, guilt… and fellowship with God. I’m pretty sure you don’t have a continual barbeque to the Lord happening on your back porch. Neither do I.

Now we take that last part for granted. Without Jesus’s atonement for your daily sin, you’d still be burning up the best of your summer garden produce or the first bag of groceries you bring home from the store. It’d be a daily reminder you are far from God and something needs to be done to make the relationship right. How awful does that sound??

Instead we go through our day without ever sacrificing because Jesus is the sacrifice needed to restore your relationship with the Father. And what does He want? Not your ‘have to’ offerings or ‘have to give ups’–but your ‘get to’ attitude.

In Psalm 50 God tells His people, look it’s good that you’re trying to make it right day in and day out, but let’s be clear, I don’t need your stuff. You’re not giving me anything that isn’t already mine–the whole world and everything in it to be exact belong to me. So what do I want? Thanksgiving.

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me

Psalm 50:23

Literally the best thing you have to offer God is your attitude. Your thankful praise. Your ‘get to’ instead of ‘have-to’. Your eyes looking up to the actual provider of everything you have and will ever need and acknowledging that everything is His and He’s been generous to you.

It’s a complete mental shift for me. I always want to DO something to show God I love Him. And the good news is He’s done it all. He’s given all. He just wants to gather up my heart and yours and hear you say, Father you’re pretty awesome. Thank you for everything.

So what does that mean for Lent? It means you can still find ways to seek God and practice sacrificial living. But practice THANKSGIVING more than anything. Keep a gratitude journal. Set alarms on your phone 3 times a day to remember to focus on all God has done for YOU. Serve out of the overflow. And model all of this to your kids so they see you in awe of your Father through Lent.

A prayer to get you started….Thank You God for all that you are and all you provide. Including your Son who was the only sacrifice that could fill in the gap between us and heaven. You are so generous and good. I praise you! Amen.

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If you read this far that means we’re two peas in a pod. Jot your email down to GET this month’s from ME to YOU freebie…and so I can connect with you more! We’re in this together!

Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.

Grow in faith with Andrea’s video Devotionals on Our Daily BreadOr follow her on Facebook/Instagram.

Confidence Boost for SAHMs transitioning to Working Mom

So you’ve been home with your kids. Maybe working part-time, maybe not. You sent your last baby to school and now what? You feel like you’re graduating college again. You know you’re qualified to do many things, but you’re also shaking in your boots thinking about interviewing. It’s a huge life choice that affects the whole family! Thoughts swirl. What is it that you want to do? Which way is the right way? Gah! I have good news for you today. You can do this!

I’m there with you. I’m in the space of qualified and feeling unqualified. That uncomfortable place of ‘I once was something different and motherhood shaped me into a new person’. My goals have changed, what I think is important has changed. The way I want to spend my precious time has changed. And it’s ok.

Change is coming for you if you’re a mom.

We have to make peace with that. Right when you get the hang of taking care of littles, they decide to be big. And you’re left packing their onesies into a tub in the basement just in case you want to look the ‘Allstar’ or ‘Momma’s Bestie’ 2T someday. Cue cry.

And let’s be real, the working world doesn’t accept “raised my kids” as qualification on your resume. It can be a daunting and humbling process to reinvent yourself. It can make you feel unprofessional to talk to the HR gatekeeper when you haven’t had adult conversation in months. But let me tell you, wherever you are in the process, God has a plan for you and His success doesn’t depend on how qualified or unqualified you feel.

God has a plan for you and His success doesn’t depend on how qualified or unqualified you feel.

Andrea Chatelain

Let me share with you a verse that empowered me as I interviewed for a position. Job said to the Lord, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted,” (Job 42:2 ESV).

Now God has a sense of humor using a verse from “Job” to encourage us when we are job hunting. But the truth here is serious. Job in his weakness says he knows GOD can do all things and that HIS purpose can’t be thwarted.

So maybe your plans won’t work the way you’d hoped. But as you step out embracing new seasons of life, know that GOD has a plan. HE can do all things even when you feel lost. And HIS plans and purposes can’t be thwarted. So you just have to be brave enough to follow his lead.

Go confidently friend! It’s a bittersweet transition. But God has big plans for you.

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Hi Friend!! Connect with me below!

If you read this far that means we’re two peas in a pod. Jot your email down to GET this month’s from ME to YOU freebie…and so I can connect with you more! We’re in this together!

Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.

Grow in faith with Andrea’s video Devotionals on Our Daily BreadOr follow her on Facebook/Instagram.

3 Ways to advance Pro LIFE under a Pro CHOICE Administration

There’s much to celebrate right now, but also much work to be done on many justice fronts. Readers have voiced hopelessness and frustration to me rooted in the topic everyone has an opinion on –abortion. It’s a horrible reality we shouldn’t look away from. But often the Christian gaze is fixed on the effect instead of the cause. And when we yell at the end result, it doesn’t help change those struggling in the middle. So how can we as pro-life Christians, lead the way to change while living under a pro-choice administration? I hope this shows you how much power you’ll always have…

YOUR MOUTH WORKS FOR CHANGE WHERE YOUR FEET MAY NEVER GO:

“And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:7-8

Every woman who has felt abortion was the best option matters to Jesus.

He saw her whole life, the way men abused and used her. The poverty or pain that led her there. The judgmental stares and unmerciful attitudes. The true enemy whispering lies of insecurity and fear in her heart. Her youth and no trusted adults to guide her. Her identity in everything other than His love. And few or no prayers for her. And I believe Jesus has intense mercy, love, and grief for each woman.

We want justice for babies, but it starts with justice for their mothers. And justice for their mothers starts with daily repentant prayer that we haven’t shown up for her in ways Jesus has asked us to love the outcast in Scripture. Me included. But that stops now. God invites us to partner with Him in prayer and His work powerfully moves in people’s hearts we may never personally know. Can you imagine if we all prayed for abortion vulnerable women for 30 days?!

*ACTION PLAN: Commit to 30 DAYS OF PRAYER for ABORTION VULNERABLE WOMEN. (see below) I’ve made it easy with prompts, you do the work believing your mouth is powerful in prayer.

GOD CAN USE YOUR RESOURCES FOR CHANGE:


“And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42 ESV

The people on the front lines of love and justice need money to support vulnerable women. I’ve volunteered at low income housing projects for women, helping teach them how to peel carrots for freezer meals and sitting in awe of their stories during Bible study. These are Jesus’s people and they need support. And the people working with them need support and funds.

There are problems galore in the system, but there are lights of hope in individual stories of healing. God is working with or without us, but from the Scripture above, it seems He’d like us to be all in. If we truly are passionate about the issue of abortion beyond simply our opinion, why not invest in the solution?

*Action plan: Search for women’s shelters and pro-adoption clinics in your city. Give boldly to these projects this year as God instructs. If there are none, perhaps you are who God wants to use to start one! Here’s one doing great things in my community…Assure Women’s Center.

YOUR TIME IS POWERFUL:

“Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:36-37 ESV

Can you mentor young girls so they have a trusted adult before they even hit puberty? Can you sit with a young woman at a Christian pregnancy center while she waits for her ultrasound appointment so she’s not so afraid? Can you spend time having important conversations with your children about how to be a friend to the friendless? Can you volunteer at women’s shelters so they can have a break from motherhood and attend Bible study? There’s always SOMETHING you can DO! And that’s powerful.

When the problem seems so much bigger than one person’s abilities, I always remember I personally can help ONE PERSON. I struggle with getting out of my comfort zone and heck we’re in a pandemic. My initial response is to make excuses as to why I can’t. But, if God’s put it on our hearts then obedience brings fruit, not failure.

ACTION PLAN: Choose one of the above mentioned ideas to spend your time serving the invisible in your community.

Friends, we are only powerless if we are loveless. May you and I love in action and deeds, flowing Jesus’s mercy and love at all times, through all generations, so we may see God’s work lighting up our communities. AMEN!

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Hi Friend!! Connect with me below!

If you read this far that means we’re two peas in a pod. Jot your email down to GET this month’s from ME to YOU freebie…and so I can connect with you more! We’re in this together!

Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.

Grow in faith with Andrea’s video Devotionals on Our Daily BreadOr follow her on Facebook/Instagram.

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