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The Forgiven Forgive

This month is all about patience. Turns out I don’t have a lot of patience when I’ve been hurt. Anyone else? This is a super helpful way to process being hurt and how to heal… Jump over to WhollyLoved Ministries and read my thoughts on how The Forgiven Forgive…

Your gal pal,

Andrea

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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.

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals on Crosswalk

Done Freaking Out

Anxiety is a beast. It used to control my emotions and hijack my peace. I replayed past mistakes wondering if I was really forgiven. I was frozen in the present afraid of the day. And fretting over the future. Would it all work out? Figuring out anxiety with people wasn’t helping. I needed a divine intervention.

Listen to what our BFF Jesus says to you and me about peace…

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  John 14:27

Jesus can offer so much more than well meaning friends or family when we are losing it. He doesn’t pat us on the back and say it’ll all be ok. He promises that it’s ok because He is in it with us. Knowing that God is present in every fear, every unsteady situation, every moment of uncertainty gives me peace.

Knowing that God is present in every fear, every unsteady situation, every moment of uncertainty gives me peace. 

How? Through God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. We know anxiety is real even though we can’t see it because we can feel its weight. But I know my God’s Holy Spirit is real even though I can’t see Him because I can feel His peace.

As I’ve chosen to be disciplined in giving hard moments and freak outs to God through prayer and trust, I’ve experienced divine peace. I now have assurance over my past, present, and future that no one can mess with.

Here’s how it plays out in everyday life…

THE PAST… When I start to replay negative thoughts about past screw ups, sin, or hurts, I talk to God about it. I tell Him in prayer everything I think about and ask Him to guide my thoughts to truth. And He does. The Holy Spirit reminds me of truth I’ve read in the Bible that I’m forgiven, that grace is a free gift and cannot be earned, and that God has redeemed my hurts for His glory as I reach out to others in love.

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THE PRESENT… Jesus help me I’m passing a semi with my van full of kids. Lord show me how to get through this day. Father watch over those that I love. Jesus heal my stomach because I can’t be sick today. Those are real prayers I have said this week. Be real with God. With everything. Hand all your stresses over to the one who can actually do something about them. And then trust that He hears and cares.

THE FUTURE… There is no way to prepare for what’s coming down the pike and that is an anxious person’s nightmare. The future can’t be controlled or known or prepared for. It’s unknown to us. But it’s not a surprise to God. So when I feel a freak out coming on about the future, mine, my kids, what am I doing with my life, am I really going to heaven when I die?? All the questions. I am thankful for the time I’ve spent reading truth in Scripture because it reminds me that God is in control when I’m not. He has a history of taking care of His people in the strangest ways. HE had a plan to save us before the world was even formed. So surely He has a good plan for my life and yours if we follow His lead.

Listen, I still STRUGGLE with anxiety, but now I don’t battle alone. I fight human anxiety with divine peace. That’s my prayer for you too. That you would let God in when you feel suffocating worry. Prepare your mind for battle by reading truth in your Bible. And fight back with the words of assurance He reminds you of through His Holy Spirit as you come near to Him. Jesus says in today’s verse that He gives us peace. The question is will we take it? 

 

**Join the afruitfulwoman.com community this year and receive free devotionals and messages from Andrea when you sign up for her Email Friends list.  And Find your voice in the conversation on FaceBook.

AndreaWeb47

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.

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals on crosswalk.com

Tell your kids… EVEN IF

There was a commotion outside. It seemed like my son had made a big mistake and things were heated. He was all alone in a hard moment and my mama bear instinct was to bring him in, cover him in a hug, and get the truth. There I learned the power of saying EVEN IF.

Turns out after talking it out with his friend, my son was innocent and it was an accident. But my heart still ached for my kid. When others were calling him guilty, it broke his spirit.

It made me think of all the times we’re called out and shamed instead of covered in grace. And how quickly we lose our joy when that happens. All the times I should’ve covered others instead of speaking fast out of anger.

My mind fast-forwarded to him at 25 when he really does mess up big time. What if he loses a job? What if he cheats on a test? What if he thinks he’s beyond the grace and love of Jesus because others make him feel that way? But that’s people, not God. God doesn’t shame us. He absorbs our shame.

God doesn’t shame us. He absorbs our shame.

So I hugged him and changed all those “what ifs” to “even ifs”.

Right there in the kitchen, I hugged his sad little self, and said…. “I need you to know that someday you really are going to mess up, and you need to know that your mom and dad and God will love you still. We will love you even if you crash the car. Even if you cheat an lose your job. Even if your family has problems. Even if… Even if…”

The heaviness was lifted and his joy returned. He was able to move on because he knew our love was secure.

During this month when I ponder the fruit of the Spirit, joy, that we have in Christ a certain verse has pounded on my soul.

10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. (psalm 103:10-13)

God doesn’t repay us for our sins. He covers them in grace as we confess them.

God doesn’t repay us for our sins. He covers them in grace as we confess them.

The truth is the opposite of what we think. His love is steadfast and higher than we can fathom. His grace goes beyond our mistakes. So much so that He’s removed our sins and thrown them away. He is compassionate and forgives us EVEN IF we mess up big-time. He loves us even if others don’t.

That’s why we are joyful. Because no matter what, we have a Dad who’s got our back. Who will never leave and will always love and cover us in His grace as we come and tell Him the truth. So tell your kids EVEN IF, but also tell yourself. God loves me…even if…

 

**Join the afruitfulwoman.com community this year and receive free devotionals and messages from Andrea when you sign up for her Email Friends list.  And Find your voice in the conversation on FaceBook.

AndreaWeb47

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.

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals on crosswalk.com

Is Your Joy Safe?

I have my joy back! It feels like cool water after a long drought. See, I thought I lost it awhile back. It felt stolen. But now my joy is safe, and I want you to lock yours up too.

One of the fruit we receive from God’s Holy Spirit is JOY (Galatians 5:22). I wanted joy, but it seemed foreign. I had gone through seasons of infertility, miscarriages, traumatic loss, and life changes on my own and I was so stinkin’ tired. (I see you. I know you’ve been there too.) I wasn’t a very loving mom or wife. And I was probably a fun sucker of a friend.

Truth is, My joy had been tucked into my hopes, dreams, plans, people, family, my life…all the temporary and fickle things of this world. The things that can be taken. So when some of them WERE taken, my joy left for good with them.

Is that ringing a bell with you? I wonder where you’ve placed the majority of your joy– a husband, a child, a job, a plan — and then poof, it’s gone. And you’re left empty and lost. That’s where I was.

Then Jesus came for me.

I felt urgency to lean on Him. To get to know Him through the Bible and talk to Him in prayer. I learned of His constant love, grace, and PRESENCE in the hard through His Holy Spirit. I started believing in my heart  the truth I’d known in my head for so long. That in Him I am not alone, I’m loved, completely forgiven, and empowered. I have what I need for any situation because I have God’s Spirit within me and His Spirit is complete.

I have what I need for any situation because I have God’s Spirit within me.

We read proof of the power of God’s joy when apostle Paul, chained up for his faith, wrote “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice.” Philippians 4:4 ESV

What we lose in our English translation, though, is that the word “rejoice” is directly tied to the Greek word for “grace”. Rejoice literally means to experience, delight, or be conscious of God’s grace. It’s mind-blowing and completely counter-cultural. It means, we can only truly rejoice if we are conscious and delighting in all the ways God is pouring out undeserved, unrelenting grace.

Joy is all about knowing God’s grace!

That’s why Paul could sing praises in a jail cell. Because no amount of bars could keep God’s grace and love away from him! Do you feel that?? Do you believe the same is true for you and I? No amount of problems, failures, addictions, bad days, — nothing– can keep God’s grace from you. I woke up today and praised God for loving me and forgiving me — for being my dad who will never leave no matter how much I stink at life. God will never leave us, so neither will our joy! That’s why we can rejoice everyday, even in the hard. Because no matter the crap storm we’re in, WE’VE GOT an IMMOVABLE GOD.

God will never leave us, so neither will our joy!

Where we hide our joy determines how easily it can be taken. People and situations threaten to steal our heart’s joy, but God keeps it forever safe. Take some quiet moments today to reflect on God’s grace towards you. That’s where your joy has been waiting for you.

 

**Join the afruitfulwoman.com community this year and receive free devotionals and messages from Andrea when you sign up for her Email Friends list.  And Find your voice in the conversation on FaceBook.

AndreaWeb47

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.

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals on crosswalk.com

A Pep Talk for the Soul

I waver back and forth. I wonder why and how. I doubt the truth in front of my face. Where we stand on the assurance of God’s love is a battle of the mind. Like so many in the Bible, we sometimes have to give our souls a pep talk. We have to choose to believe in God’s love and forgiveness when our feelings say different.

David, a psalmist and king on the run, wrote Psalm 25. And it struck me with force today because it hits close to home. It’s for rebels and doubters. It’s a pep talk for the soul to trust in God’s love.

Let me translate Psalm 25 how it resonates with me…

” To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust…” Psalm 25  (emphasis mine)

(Jesus, I don’t know about all this, but I trust in you. I surrender even though I’m scared)

“…Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach mefor you are the God of my salvation…people-2602616_1920.jpg

(Jesus I don’t know what I’m doing. I need your help. You say you are all knowing and all powerful so be that and teach me with YOUR wisdom. Lead my life because I tend to make a mess of things)

“…Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast lovefor they have been from of old.Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me…

(Lord you’ve seen it all. They say you are all about mercy, grace, and love. Help me believe that because sometimes I doubt. Help me believe that you forgive all my mistakes and sins. Help me believe you love me, the real me, despite all my junk.)

They say you are all about mercy, grace, and love. Help me believe that because sometimes I doubt.

“…Good and upright is the Lord;therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness…

(Jesus you are who you say you are. You are good and loving. I know that in my core. You will do what you say you will do. You are faithful even when I’m not. I know you will direct my ways. I know you will lead me my whole life even when I don’t deserve it. You ARE the God who loves me and is for me. And I AM important to you and tucked into your grace.)

You ARE the God who loves me and is for me. And I AM important to you and tucked into your grace.

If you’ve ever been a rebel or a made a big mistake or felt far from God…take heart. You are in good company here. Jesus didn’t come for the perfect, He came for those who know they need a Savior. Those of us who know we don’t have it all together. But as our faith and trust in God’s love grows, He will lead our rebel hearts in a new way– a better way. Because of Jesus, we aren’t who we used to be. Each day when we wake up and step into His grace we are a new creation in Christ, a new and more awesome version of ourselves as we follow Him.

So as we close this month focusing on God’s love, sink deep into truth. You are loved. You are forgiven. You are worth everything to God despite your track record. You have a new track record– righteousness in Christ– because He loves you and rescued you when you couldn’t rescue yourself. You. Are. Loved. Let that truth be who you are.

You. Are. Loved. Let that truth be who you are.  

 

**Join the afruitfulwoman.com community this year and receive free devotionals and messages from Andrea when you sign up for her Email Friends list.  And Find your voice in the conversation on FaceBook.

AndreaWeb47

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.

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals on crosswalk.com

We’ve Got Love Backwards

Jesus called it the greatest commandment. The apostle John dedicated multiple letters to the theme. “Love God. Love others.” Sounds easy, but we muddy the waters adding ourselves into the equation. Raise your hand if you’re excited to love the person who annoys you most! Nobody? Shocker. Truth is we’ve got love backwards.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8 ESV emphasis mine).

Let me translate…

Hey you! You dearly loved kid of God! God loves you. (I know, I don’t know why either. We’ve done nothing to deserve it. Just go with it.) Every ounce of love in you is from GOD. So extend the love you’ve been given to those around you. Keep it going. Because it’s not about you. God is love. And you’ve been tucked into that space of His forgiveness and grace for no other reason except He made you and loves you despite all your junk. If you’ve accepted that crazy love deep into your soul, unleash it on the world around you. Because God. Is. Love.

He made you and loves you despite all your junk.

But why is it so hard to accept God’s love?! Maybe because we aren’t opening ourselves up to it.

I was afraid to read my Bible for years–thought it was all about fire and hell. Then I cracked it open and couldn’t turn a page in the New Testament without reading how much God loves me. I realized Jesus didn’t come from Heaven to earth to tell us we’re awful, He came to tell us we’re loved. He came to be proof of God’s love so that we could then walk in love instead of insecurity.

Jesus didn’t come from Heaven to earth to tell us we’re awful, He came to tell us we’re loved.

” In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:9-11 ESV)

Loving is hard when you’ve got the wrong source.

So often I make it all about me and try to love others from my own strength. But it leaves me shallow. I care for those who treat me well; I don’t naturally want to love those who hurt me, gossip about me, or abandon me. We weren’t made to be the source. We need divine help to love hard people. Jesus loves them and can show us the right way to love in all situations.

We need divine help to love hard people.

Here’s how I’ve done this in an elementary way. I continue consuming as much Scripture and study materials I can that affirm God’s acceptance of me. And I pray, Jesus help me believe I’m loved by you when I feel unlovable. Show me how to love others the way you love me. Give me opportunities to love well, and the courage to live it out…. 

“No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (1John 4:12 ESV).

That makes me smile. No one has ever seen God, but the more we live in His love the more we start to see rays of Him in place of us. We’ve had it backwards. We aren’t the source of love and we can’t do the hard work of loving well without God. Abide in God’s love. It’s not luke warm. It’s bubbling over and stirring inside if we choose to believe in it.

 

**Join the afruitfulwoman.com community this year and receive free devotionals and messages from Andrea when you sign up for her Email Friends list.  And Find your voice in the conversation on FaceBook.

AndreaWeb47

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.

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals on crosswalk.com

Back from the Dead

I bet you never knew I was dead. Cold to the touch. My heart stopped beating. They wrapped me in grave clothes and prepared for life without me. But then I came back. It was a miracle. There were witnesses and still some people don’t believe in the one who warmed my blood and breathed my soul back into this body. What say you?

I imagine that’s how Lazarus told and retold his story. Strangely, my faith story is similar. Jesus is still in the business of restoring lives.

In John chapter 11 we learn Jesus brought a friend, dead and rotting for four days, back to life in front of many Jews. But before He did it, Jesus made them wait.

cross-1480482_1920.jpg“But when Jesus heard (Lazarus was sick) He said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.”

Isn’t that fascinating.

Mary and Martha were freaking out that their brother was going to die and Jesus was calm knowing that He had the power to even change a death sentence. He could’ve healed Lazarus in an instant, Mary and Martha would’ve had their brother back. But they would’ve missed seeing the power and glory of God. Instead, Jesus strengthened faith of generations through their story proving the impossible is possible for those who believe in Him.

It seems backwards, that the verse says Jesus loved them so He did nothing about their pain right away. But in His perfect timing, when the people couldn’t solve the problem on their own, He breathed life back into a hopeless situation. Sounding familiar? It does for me.

I wasn’t physically dead, but emotionally done.

I’ve given up and gone through the motions when it all seemed too much. I wondered where God was and why He wasn’t fixing things right then. But looking back, the pain I endured had purpose. He allowed me to go through the darkness so I could search for His light. So I would trade the world for His abundant life.

He allowed me to go through the darkness so I could search for His light. So I would trade the world for His abundant life.

Every Christian is Lazarus. God raised us from spiritually dead. When we surrendered and believed in Jesus and that the Holy Spirit lives and breathes within us, we came back to life– a new life.

God can raise us from negative to positive, despair to joy, hopeless to faithful, broken to empowered, victim to conqueror, and sinner to beloved child of God.

So as we end this month of reflecting on ABIDING in God, remember that we’re not the answer to our struggles–Jesus is. Our hope is not in our striving, but trusting our God is loving, sovereign, and with us.

 

**Join the afruitfulwoman.com community this year and receive free devotionals and messages from Andrea when you sign up for her Email Friends list.  And Find your voice in the conversation on FaceBook.

AndreaWeb47

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.

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals on crosswalk.com

How to Live out God’s Character

Goals, pressure, perfection, progress—it’s easy to get sucked into believing we’re the cause of success and growth. But real change happens as God gives us grace to be like Christ according to our willingness to walk with a second place mentality. Transformation happens when we accept His will over self-will, and consider the needs of others above ours. Our culture has it backwards, truth is, Humility—not striving— is the root to bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”(1 Peter 5:5 ESV)

Living like Jesus isn’t impossible. We don’t have to struggle to be more like Jesus any more than a branch has to struggle to bear fruit. Instead, we focus on walking in humility, and the Spirit of God will automatically produce the fruit. Humility keeps us resting in God like a branch rests in the vine. We can learn to walk in this virtue in a practical manner daily; through every choice we surrender to God.

When I was a teenager and a new believer in Christ, the Lord led me to apply this in the most simplistic ways. Whenever my friends and I went out for a drive we’d fight to see who’d ride shotgun. To practice humility, I began to volunteer to sit in the backseat, which was considered the less prominent position within the pack. Through this practice I soon discovered that God’s favor to the humble protects them like a shield (Psalm 5:12).

On one occasion three of us were sitting in the back of the bed of my cousin’s truck. After making a stop, my friend jumped into the back of the truck where I had been sitting. My initial impulse was to insist that he move. But instead, I submitted to the Lord’s prompting to humble myself. A few minutes later a vehicle t-boned the exact spot where I was previously sitting. The friend who took my seat was injured in the accident. In fact, I was the only one who walked away without a scratch. Thankfully no one was seriously injured, but God taught me to trust His voice because He protects those who walk in humility.

So why don’t we choose humility over pride?

Perhaps because some equate it to weakness. On the contrary, we’ll have a strength we never before possessed to seek justice and to stand with the helpless when we follow God. He will help our thoughts shift to prioritize others, and will give us opportunities to practice putting the needs of others ahead of ours.

We’ll have a strength we never before possessed to seek justice and to stand with the helpless when we follow God.

Humbling ourselves is a good defense to combat the enemy of self-will. Pride in the heart hinders the grace of God like a dam backing the flow of water. The humble in heart have a constant source of living water providing growth in any conditions.

Our choice to be humble matters. Proverbs 11:30 says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.”

Sometimes the people we share life with and pray for are not thirsting to know God because we are not manifesting the life of Jesus in our lives. But the more we allow Christ to live through us and our actions, we’ll bear the fruit of His presence, and they will begin to sense and desire the peace, joy, and love He offers. They’ll ask questions about our faith which is a sign that God is drawing them to Himself.

Let’s ask God to make us wise soul-winners by bearing fruit that comes from walking humbly with Him. “Teach us O Lord, to walk in submission to Your Word and to clothe ourselves in the garment of a servant toward others.”      

What practical way can you walk in humility?

 

matt romano headshot - croppedMatthew J. Romano (today’s guest blogger) is an ordained deacon of Christ Church New Jersey. He has been walking with the Lord for over 25 years. His passion is sharing Christ with the lost and teaching believers to walk passionately with the Lord. He currently serves the body of Christ as a deacon, altar ministry to pray for the needs of God’s people, life group leader, guest teacher and speaker of the Word of God, and as a certified teacher in the School of Prayer. He is the author of “The Call: An Invitation to Revival and Transformation” and “The Call: A Study Guide to Revival and Transformation.” Connect with Matt more online. 

 

**Join the afruitfulwoman.com community this year and receive free devotionals and messages from Andrea when you sign up for her Email Friends list.  And Find your voice in the conversation on FaceBook.

AndreaWeb47

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.

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals on crosswalk.com

Why We Avoid Jesus

I didn’t think I needed Jesus. So it took me 26 years to truly believe in Him. Every day since a battle has warred in my mind. Will I entrust my past, present and future to Jesus? Or try to make it on my own? We’ve all avoided God, perhaps because of one major faith question. If I surrender my life to Christ, what will He do with it? Is He for my good or against my desires?

I had a plan for my life. Finish school. Get married. Have babies. Have fun. I made most of what I wanted happen until I couldn’t. Our first baby almost died in childbirth–he’s a straight up miracle–but it left me traumatized and depressed. I climbed partially out of that pit only to slide back in from multiple miscarriages.

My plan was NOT working out. My ideas about life were shattered. I didn’t know how to deal with emotional pain. So I tried to patch up the holes myself. Shopping? Wine? Work? Ovulation kits? But nothing brought back joy. Nothing healed my hurts. Only numbed and distracted.

…nothing brought back joy. Nothing healed my hurts. Only numbed and distracted.

I read stories in the Bible about people coming to Jesus. Those who were exhausted, hurt, sick, mourning. I read how He took them in, validated their humanity and spoke tenderly into their pain. He healed the whole person, inside and out. I needed that. Maybe you do, too. (see Matthew 8-9)

I believe those are the questions we must ask ourselves. Do we need Jesus? Do we need forgiveness for our wrongs? Validation of our hurts? And wise counsel for today? Is life with Jesus better than life alone in this world?

The Bible passage below answers that question.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-20 ESV)

Some of my dreams and treasures on earth have been stolen, trampled on, or thwarted. Perhaps yours too. When nothing else could fill my void, bring me back to life, listen to my needs at midnight, understand my hurt, Jesus became my best friend. I needed Him and He showed up and became a lasting treasure to me. One that will never leave or disappoint me.

So the answer to my biggest faith question? Life has proven to be better than I ever imagined as I journey with Jesus.

Things, dreams, people, careers, houses, nor earthly desires, are guaranteed or imperishable.  Jesus is the only treasure that doesn’t wear out. He holds our comfort, healing, forgiveness, rest, joy, peace, love, and eternity secure for us as we do life leaning in close to Him through prayer and trusting His leadership.

Jesus is the only treasure that doesn’t wear out.

His devotion will not fade. His friendship will not get boring. His forgiveness will not run out. A life with Jesus is not about giving up, it’s about getting a new love and purpose. Becoming part of something bigger than yourself. Becoming a new you that you can’t even dream up.

Unfortunately there are also stories in the Bible of people turning away from Jesus out of fear–worried about their schedule, their money, their status. They didn’t think they needed Jesus. So they walked away unhappy. (see Matthew 19:16-22)

Take a moment and inventory what keeps you from coming near to Jesus. Can it offer you the same security, love, grace, acceptance, and joy that knowing Christ can? How would it change your life to let go of what’s keeping you weighted down? I pray you and I have the courage to let go of the temporary things of this world we think are important and grab ahold of God’s powerful love and friendship.

 

**Join the afruitfulwoman.com community this year and receive free devotionals and messages from Andrea when you sign up for her Email Friends list.  And Find your voice in the conversation on FaceBook.

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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.

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals on crosswalk.com

How to Change for Good

What is it that you really want this New Year? Social media will be lit up with all sorts of changes to be a new you. How you can have a rockin’ body or 4 steps to a more successful you. Looking back, there’s only one decision that transformed my life. And it’s the one we tend to avoid. Get to know Jesus.

Look. I know it sounds more logical that if we alter our bodies or eating habits we will feel better about life. But I’ve tried all sorts of diets and none can repair the things that really matter…my marriage, my family, my sinful heart. Only Jesus.

I’ve tried all sorts of diets and none can repair the things that really matter…my marriage, my family, my sinful heart. Only Jesus.

Of course, take care of yourself. Make healthy choices and enjoy the life He gave you. But let’s be honest, a beautiful body doesn’t mean as much if the soul is still unhealthy. So if you’re like me, wrestling with wanting to live bigger and better, wanting to see extraordinary things happen in your ordinary life, there’s only one way. You have to tap into God’s supernatural power, and it’s easier than you think.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV emphasis mine).

If you’ve been laboring for a better version of you, stop. Come to Jesus and take a break.

That’s what I’m going to do this New Year. I’m trusting Him to transform me from the inside out as I spend time with Him in prayer, learning by reading bits of my Bible each day, and following where He leads my days and life. It’s not an overnight fix, it’s a new way to live that gives energy instead of taking.

It’s not an overnight fix, it’s a new way to live that gives energy instead of taking.

Jesus doesn’t require anything but you. You don’t have to be awesome. You don’t have to try to be anything, because you are already His. You are loved and valued by the Savior of the world and that is enough. He has a purpose for you if you put down your striving and dare to follow.

So yes, I will probably do some yoga this year and eat more veggies, but that’s not what will change me. Be bold with me this New Year as this group of believers decides to take Jesus at His word. That when we come to Him we will find rest for our burdens and that He truly wants us to learn His ways because His ways fight for real transformation.

So the question is, do you want more from Jesus? He’s ready when you are.

 

 

**Join the afruitfulwoman.com community this year and receive free devotionals and messages from Andrea when you sign up for her Email Friends list.  And watch Andrea’s Jesus and Jammies devotional videos and find your voice in the conversation on FaceBook.

AndreaWeb47

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.

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals on crosswalk.com