Conquering Fear of Rejection & Stepping into Courage

My friend Jennifer boldly describes tender and hard areas that can keep us silent…unless we conquer our fear of rejection and step into courage. Read how in today’s guest blog.

 

By Jennifer Slattery

For a long time, fear of rejection was my greatest foe. It hindered my relationships with others, my effectiveness, and my peace. Worse, it kept me from fully surrendering to Christ. I was far from the confident, courageous ambassador Christ created me to be. Upon first glance, this might not seem like such a bad thing. After all, I have yet to meet a woman who in some way doesn’t struggle with such insecurities. The problem arises when we place our desire to please others above our desire to please God—the author of life and hope. 

This almost always results in disobedience. Worse, it hinders my proclamation of grace and thus the very role God created me for. In fact, when I allow my insecurities to enslave me, I’ve slipped into a role reversal. I become self-obsessed and make Jennifer Slattery, rather than Christ, the center of my world. 

Here’s what I’ve found: the more I focus on myself, the more miserable and insecure I become. Always. But when I focus on others? When I truly love them? That’s freeing. And healing and empowering. 

The other night, I watched my daughter share a really difficult and vulnerable story to a room full of high school students. And while she’s not normally nervous speaking in front of crowds, I’m sure a part of her would’ve much rather stayed home. She might even have wrestled with whether or not to talk about this thing, but her love for the young girls growing up in today’s hyper-sexual culture propelled her. 

You see, her freshman year in high school, she was sexually assaulted. This experience scared, mortified, and shamed her and was made all the more painful by her confusion. Prior to this, she’d been homeschooled then attended a small private school. She’d had limited access to movies and television. Therefore, her experience with males had always been positive. I don’t think she’d ever seen a woman objectified before—not until that happened to her. 

She didn’t tell her father and I about this experience for a long time, for years, actually. Instead, she buried it deep in her heart, feeling dirty and ashamed. This impacted her relationships with others, especially boys, even those who weren’t like the ones who had treated her so horridly. Often, that’s what happens when others hurt us. Unless we learn to feel and grieve and heal with Christ, those wounds begin to fester, impacting our perceptions and interactions. Our pasts can create an ongoing fear that others will hurt, use, or reject us. And so, we erect barriers around our hearts and then wonder why we feel so alone. 

We begin to form labels like: I’m not good enough. I’m tarnished. I’m worthless. I’m discarded. I’m rejected. 

Those labels effect everything. They keep us in bondage. I don’t know how true this was for my daughter, but regardless of how she might or might not have felt, she acted courageously. Why? Because she knew those precious teens sitting, row by row, in front of her, needed to hear her story. And so, she told it.

She shifted her focus off of herself and onto Christ and every youth in the audience. With her eyes on God, her fear of rejection lost its power. 

Self-obsession is a ravenous beast that will hold us in bondage. It will trigger our insecurities, feed our deceptions, distort our perceptions, and deaden our impact. To break free, we need first recognize how deeply loved we are, not for anything we have or haven’t done but because of who Christ is. God is love and therefore we are loved. But we also need to love God and others more than we love ourselves. We need to practice being other’s focused. Because love, breathed in and then out, truly does have the power to break every chain, our fears of rejection included. 

 

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Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Hometown Healing and numerous other titles, writes for iBelieve and Bible Study Tools, devotions for Guideposts and the Quiet Hour, and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team help women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. Visit her online to find out more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event, and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE to learn of her future appearances, projects, and releases.

 

In her 12-part podcast series titled Faith Over Fear, she helps listeners battle many of the Faith-Over-Fear-1400x1400anxieties and fears that often assault us, sharing practical tools and timeless truths that, when applied, can help us live our Christ-won place of victory. Find these episodes on Life Audio, her correlating Bible reading plan Faith Over Fear on the YouVersion Bible app, free printable calendars to her Faith Over Fear 10 week challenge, and her private Facebook group you can link arms and find encouragement from other warriors steadily advancing toward freedom. 

 

Comment below, on Facebook, or Instagram.

**Here’s how to GET MORE free encouragement from me right to your inbox! Join the Glory-Be sisterhood. You matter to me! I’m so glad to walk in faith with you.

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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.

Grow in faith with Andrea’s video Devotionals on Our Daily Bread! And more with WhollyLoved Ministries on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk.  

How Gardens Deepen Faith

I bet you didn’t know that your back yard is the PERFECT place for you and your family to grow deeper in faith. Spring is a time of hope and a warming of our souls and our bodies. It’s also a time we plant dead looking seeds, in faith, believing they will grow into strong plants bearing a good harvest. We plant because we know life comes from burying that dead seed. That representation of hope is just one that points to the gospel as we put our hands in the dirt.

Some of the most famous parables, or teaching stories, Jesus spoke were about farming. So when you grow up in the city it’s hard to understand to the core what He was saying. As my kids and I have worked our backyard organic garden the last six years it’s deepened our understanding of some of these stories.

Jesus used a planting analogy when trying to explain why He would die on the cross for us.

He told His disciples “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him,” John 12:24-26 ESV.

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Do you hear that? Jesus, in perfect faith and hope, planted His life in the ground knowing He’d be raised up again by the Father because it was the only way to make our dead hearts alive again in Christ. His one seed of obedience grew into the faithful Christian family of today all over the globe and in the Heavens.

You, my friend, are part of the fruit God bears on the earth when you have faith in Christ.

But it doesn’t stop there! As we follow Jesus, like He said in the above passage, we get to bear a rich harvest too. As we put our life seed in the ground of this generation, laying down our lives and plans and following His, we grow a miracle crop in the people around us with Jesus.

So when I’m in the garden, I can’t help but see the Bible in action. I see dead seeds coming alive. I see weeds being pulled from external forces just like our sin is pulled out by the Lord. There’s thorns growing up with my raspberries reminding me that there are blessings and hardships in life as I poke my finger looking for the good. And there’s a harvest after the plant grows for a season from tough rain and storms.

I mean, if that doesn’t make you want to have a garden, I don’t know what will! Experiment with some dirt and seeds and see what you and God can grow in your backyard and in your heart this spring! Feel free to ask questions below if you need help getting started!

Comment below, on Facebook, or Instagram.

**Here’s how to GET MORE free encouragement from me right to your inbox! Join the Glory-Be sisterhood. You matter to me! I’m so glad to walk in faith with you.

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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’s devotionals with WhollyLoved Ministries on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk. Soon to come from Andrea… Video Devotionals on Our Daily Bread!

Why Your Jesus Friend Keeps Inviting You To Church

He kept inviting me to church and it got annoying. Yes, I was curious, always trying to better myself, but church was for rule-followers and old people. Right? I never did attend his church, perhaps out of fear. But as I watched the way he lived, the way he loved harder, gave more freely, forgave richly, and genuinely cared for people, I was hooked. I wanted to know more about this way of life that seemed to flow so naturally from my friend. So I church shopped. 

Some were full of old people and I didn’t feel I belonged. Others were too big, some too small. I felt like Goldilocks until I found one that preached the gospel of Jesus boldly. The message was simple and loving, yet convicting. The people were kind. It was a soft landing, a home, a family, I never knew I needed. 

Then I understood. Turns out church wasn’t about church. It was about meeting with Jesus! 

I realized my friend invited me multiple times in the past, not to get me in a pew, but because he wanted to share the treasure he’d found in God with me.

He had seen first hand the forgiveness, love, grace, acceptance, healing, restoration that comes with relationship with Jesus. He sweetly thought I was important enough to share that goldmine. Now? I’m so thankful for his quiet, patient invitations that led me to seek God for myself. 

We read the intensity of Jesus’s disciples, their hunger to share the good news of Salvation with all people, their willingness to be persecuted to give away the best gift they could share. Why? It brought the joy to bring others into God’s family. 

“… that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our[a] joy may be complete.” 1 John 1:3-4ESV

Do you hear that? They have a coveted fellowship, an intimate community, with the Heavenly Father because of Jesus. Jesus gave His Father’s love to this ragtag community, and as they experience just how good their spirits feel wrapped up in His love, they can’t hold it in. Their joy is complete only as they give that same love away, inviting others into God’s family. 

Maybe your church-loving friend is annoying. OR it’s very possible that they keep asking you to church because they too are welled up with the Father’s love. They can’t help but invite you into the family that has changed their life. You are important to them and they want you to experience a love that surpasses anything in this world. They want to see you walking in freedom that you’ve never imagined.

Or if you’ve never been invited, consider this your invitation. Come and see for yourself that Jesus is good. I’m telling you are welcome in God’s family no matter what. God is good and He meets each of us where we are and loves us forward.

And if you are that annoying friend. Keep loving. Keep inviting. Keep serving even when you don’t see traction. God is working invisibly in people’s hearts because of your humble kindness. Love God, love others, leave the rest to Him.

Q:What keeps you from going to church? Or what do you love about your church? How can we be a people that radically open our arms to those who feel excluded like the disciples did for the gentiles? Comment below, on Facebook, or Instagram.

Featured Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

**Here’s how to GET MORE free encouragement from me right to your inbox! Join the Glory-Be sisterhood. You matter to me! I’m so glad to walk in faith with you.

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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 with WL on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk. Soon to come from Andrea! Video Devotionals on Our Daily Bread!

Equipping your Anxious Kid to Overcome

I see you. I know how helpless you feel as you watch your kid unravel in worry and fear. I know the loneliness that comes when other parents seem to have it so easy. When simple things turn into big issues real fast. Then you aren’t sure how to turn the day back around. It’s hard. But it’s a lot easier when you aren’t caring for your anxious child alone. Practically how can you help your kid? And what role does faith have in caring for anxious kids?

I’m not a psychologist, but I’m a mom on the front lines. One of my kids is just like me. She has anxiety. But at first, I thought her daily “big emotions” were a behavior problem. I tried to contain the fits and outbursts. But then I realized the root of the problem ran deeper to her core. She wasn’t just throwing tantrums, she was fighting the mental illness of anxiety. And I realized it’s my job to equip her with tools to overcome. Here’s some ideas to get you started…

1.Diffuse YOUR anxiety and MODEL well

Many of us caring for anxious kids suffer from anxiety ourselves. I’ve noticed as my daughter spirals, my heart races, it’s hard to breathe, I fear losing control, and I easily go into freak out mode trying to control the situation. Wrong.

You and I need a plan to check our feelings at the door when caring for others. Explaining your process of combating anxiety is the first step. Tell your kid, “I’m feeling anxious so I need to….” For example, I tell my daughter to wait because I need to take some deep breaths, and I need to step away to a quiet room for a minute to calm down. She sees my healthy process of dealing with anxiety. Meanwhile, I ask God in prayer to help me see the situation through His patient and loving lens. So model your strategies and pray. (*side note, you may need counseling to cope with caring for your child. The healthier you are, the more you can help your kid)

2. Treat the Physical & get over judgment

Equip your kid with tools they can learn and implement when you’re not there– ones that will last through adulthood. Some ideas are therapy, essential oils, chiropractic care, physical therapy, yoga, meditation/quietness, diet change, stepping away to a safe environment. Be willing to try any healthy avenue you think could help your child because no two children are the same. Your kid may need therapy and oils while another may need more sleep and medicine. Don’t let others’ comments deter you from pursuing the best plan for your kid.

3. Model Spiritual tools

Each person has a body, spirit, and soul. So we can’t ignore that our kids suffering from mental illness need divine help as well as physical. Empower your child through Scripture and prayer. When kids feel powerless, they need to be reminded they have a powerful God. In meltdowns you can remind them they have a God who will never leave them when they are fearful, upset, or anxious. The seed of truth planted in hard moments will last a lifetime.

Pick three verses to focus on. They should be short and easy to memorize. My favorite verses I say to my daughter as she takes deep breaths and squeezes my thumbs in her room to calm down:

Matthew 6:34 , Joshua 1:9, 2 Timothy 1:7

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Photo by Aswin on Unsplash

3. Listen Well

Last night my daughter told me, “I get mad and yell because you don’t listen to all I want to say.” Gulp. Sometimes my fix-it mind wants to hear part of her story and then make it all better. But that’s not what she needs. Kids with anxiety need a trusted adult who can sit with them in the hard and listen well. Not only does it bring to light their unseen anxiety, it also helps us understand the heart of the issue. As you listen, tune your ears for the core problem. Is it fear, loss of control, fear of failure, insignificance or feeling unloved? As we diagnose the real issue, we can guide the conversation back to truth.

Practice silence as you sit with or hug your child. I know dinner is on the stove and basketball practice is in ten minutes, but they are more important. Don’t try to hurry the process. Listen well. Hear the real fear. And gently guide the conversation back to truth. Sometimes the act of being silent and steadfast reminds my daughter she’s not alone and she’s able to work her way out just by me sitting quietly with her.

#4 Bask in Grace

You are an amazing parent. The fact that you clicked on this blog and want to empower your anxious kid shows it. I want to remind you that God promises to finish the work He starts in each of us. Especially our anxious kids. As we are faithful to equip, empower, and embrace them, Jesus is doing so even more. He hears our prayers. He sees our need. And He will give grace for each day however we need it as we surrender our kids to Him in prayer. God hand picked you to guide this child and He’s planted sufficient power within you through His Holy Spirit to do it.

I hope this post makes you feel less alone and more excited as you put into practice some new ideas. I want you to feel empowered as you do what’s best for your anxious child physically and spiritually. And I send you a virtual high-five and hug from one caregiving parent to another.

Featured Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

Find your voice in the conversation. Q: What helps your kid overcome anxiety or panic attacks? Help other caregivers with your ideas by commenting below or on Facebook or Instagram. 

 

**Here’s how to GET MORE free encouragement from me right to your inbox! Join the Glory-Be sisterhood. You matter to me! I’m so glad to walk in faith with you.

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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 with WL on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk. Soon to come from Andrea! Video Devotionals on Our Daily Bread!

Caregivers of Kids with Invisible Illnesses

I’m so thankful my fellow writer, Jessica Brodie, wrote this piece for Glory-Be today. It validates the invisible struggle so many of us are fighting for our kids. I pray it encourages you today. -Andrea

 

Caregivers of Kids with Invisible Illnesses

By Jessica Brodie

I have a child with mental illness—debilitating anxiety and depression that at times impacts not just her but the harmony of the entire house. 

I’m no stranger to these issues, for mental illness runs in my family. Just as some families have a genetic predisposition to diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, several of my family members struggle with chemical imbalances in the brain.

But it wasn’t until 18 months ago, when I attended a mental health symposium, that I fully began to equate mental illness with physical illness. Prior to that, while I knew it was “real” and “important,” I somehow got the message that mental struggles weren’t “as bad.” 

I heard some hard truths at that symposium. One came from United Methodist pastor Dr. Robin Dease, who noted, “Just like cancer, mental illness is a disease that requires treatment.” And Zenethia Brown, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Mid-Carolina, delivered another hard truth, stating, “We treat ailments of the body different from ailments of the mind.”

“We treat ailments of the body different from ailments of the mind.” – Zenethia Brown

Those statements were game-changers for me, illuminating the bias and misunderstanding I had about mental illness and driving new awareness and compassion within my soul. I’ve always been supportive of people with mental illness, but this newfound knowledge ignited a zeal within me to stand up and speak out as a passionate advocate for mental health awareness—both in my family and for all people. 

Yet I must have carried residual bias within me, for two days ago, I was scrolling through Twitter when I came across a statement from a friend that hit hard.

Deborah L. Alten (known on Twitter as @gtargirl), posted, “Some #caregivers take care of their aging parents, some take care of children, and some bravely shoulder the responsibility of caring for loved ones who battle #mentalillness.” 

Her words made me stop and stare at the screen. Me? A caregiver?

Me? A caregiver?

And yet that’s who I was, only I hadn’t ever realized that.

See, I’d always thought of “caregiver” as someone who tends a parent with dementia or cares for a spouse with cancer—some physical need. Until I read Deborah’s words, I’d never thought otherwise. 

And that’s the bias and misunderstanding still hanging on, for the truth is that mental illness is as much of a malady as physical illness. 

Jesus said He came not for the well, for “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Mark 2:17 NIV).

And as we see throughout Scripture, He didn’t only heal illnesses in the body. Though He did heal His share of lepers, the blind, and those with serious fevers, He also healed illness in the mind and soul. 

Jesus healed every part of broken people — including their mind.

One example is in the Mark 5, where Jesus called demons out of a man so tortured he was living among the tombs, and He restored the man to his senses (Mark 5:1-20). 

Another is in the example of the four friends who lowered their paralyzed friend through the roof, from the Gospel of Luke. In the passage, the men knew Jesus was healing the sick but they could not get access. So these men got innovative.

“When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered (their friend) on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven’” (Luke 5:19-20 NIV).

Immediately, the Pharisees were outraged—who is this man who says he’s like God and can forgive sins? 

But Jesus knew what they were thinking. He asked, “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.’ So he said to the paralyzed man, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat, and go home.’ Immediately (the man) stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on, and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed” (Luke 5:23-26 NIV).

Jesus knew sick meant sick—whether that is being unwell in the body, the mind, or the soul. 

As He said to the Samaritan woman at the well in the Gospel of John, “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14 NIV).

His living water heals us all no matter our infirmity, whether our thirst is from a physical or an emotional need.

Our friends and family battling mental health issues need us to step in like Jesus did. Fierce women model so well how to care for those with physical diseases everyday. Let’s adopt the same intensity as we rally for our people battling invisible illnesses too.

Q: How are you caring for those with mental illness? What’s the hardest part? What gets you through it?

Find your voice in the conversation on Facebook or Instagram

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Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden. She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism, and a member of the Wholly Loved Ministries team. Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at http://jessicabrodie.com.

**Here’s how to GET MORE free encouragement from me right to your inbox! Join the Glory-Be sisterhood, you matter to me, and I’m so grateful you let me serve you:)

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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 with WL on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk

You can DO this! Here’s how…

My daughter may need eye surgery and it totally freaks me out. I’m going to have to have “the you know what talk” with my son soon and I don’t even want to think about it. Deadlines are looming. Changes are coming. Anxiety much?! Life seems to be more than I can handle most days, but I don’t want to miss the good because I’m focused on the hard. You’ve got a mountain to move too, or everyday hills that are exhausting. But you and I can do this. Here’s how…

Number 1? Give up.

Yep that’s right. Give up everything, but not to just anyone. Hand it over to God. How? Pray with real words of your real stress and ask for what you really need. No fluffy christian words, no chapel required. Just go to a quiet space in your house and let it all out to Jesus telling Him all your fears and stresses and asking Him to do something about it.

Jesus tells us in Mathew 21:21-22 that if we have faith and don’t doubt, that we can move mountains. That our prayers have power to do the impossible, not because we’re awesome, but that the awesome God is listening and ready to move on our behalf.

 

2? Remember your why.

When I feel like giving up I have to remember why I’m doing what I’m doing. And usually it comes back to the fact that I want to love my people. Why will I push on through anxiety and have hard talks and make scary appointments, and write vulnerable things? Because I love my people and I want them to thrive. And that means that sometimes (most times) I have to take the uncomfortable so they can be loved and cared for. Who do you love? What do they need? How can you sacrifice your comfort for their best? Remember your why.

 

3? Rally your people

Last week I let others in when I told my fears to them. And they showed up. Friends texted reminding me they’re here. My sweet cousin came over and helped me learn new ways to help my daughter’s eye issues. It was a big reminder that OTHERS CARE, but they can’t show it if they don’t know it. (hear me laughing at my cheesy rhyme, but it’s true!)

Turns out God doesn’t require or advise you to do life alone. Scripture tells you to come to Him when you’re burdened. Which means you’re never alone in the hard. Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs, He surrounded Himself with 12 close friends and let crowds gather to join His movement of love. You need people too. You need friends and family to step in when you’re tired and weak. To encourage you when you don’t think you have what it takes. To share their wisdom when you have none. Let. Safe. People. In. You will be stronger for it.

Yes, the things God calls you to do are often beyond your capacity. If we trudge along alone, anxiety will wage war on our minds. BUT there’s peace and power as you surrender the scary to Jesus in prayer. There’s courage in remembering your why is bigger than your fear. And there’s support waiting as your invite others into your journey knowing God gave you people to be tangible representatives of His love when you can’t see His face.

 

Find your voice in the conversation on Facebook or Instagram. P.S. Jesus is so incredible! I’m so excited for you as you get to know the One who wants to be your EVERYTHING!

Q: What scares you? What are you avoiding that God’s asking you to do, but it seems too big for you? Who has God already given you as support that you can invite in. Have conversations with God and safe people this week to empower you forward in the face of anxiety.

featured Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash

**Here’s how to GET MORE free encouragement from me right to your inbox! Join the Glory-Be sisterhood, you matter to me, and I’m so grateful you let me serve you:)

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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 with WL on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk

What do I have to offer?

What do I have to offer? That question arose after I spoke reminding local women that they’re chosen, called, and adored by God. But insecurity sets in and we worry we don’t have what it takes to do the big things God asks of us. We feel insignificant against the backdrop of those already living the call we’re entering. But if we don’t step in, a great loss occurs. What do you have to give that others don’t? You have the key to freedom for another person written in your story!

Did you know that we’re all just a bunch of busted up, broken down, sinful people? You just don’t always see everyone’s junk. Or you see them post-transformation, after they’ve started following Jesus, the only One who can make pure beauty out of our imperfection. Truth is none of us have much to offer on our own.

And really, our communities don’t need more fakers with puffed up chests acting like they have life all figured out. They need you and me to tell our real stories and show how Jesus has stepped in and redeemed our hard, forgiven our sin, and restored our hearts bringing about change in our lives.

Here’s what it looks like:

Our story + Jesus’s grace = the key to someone else’s freedom.

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Photos by Christin Hume on Unsplash, cropped for use

Were you an angry mom who wanted peace in her house and the only way you found it was praying and following God’s prompting? Tell people. You aren’t the only one struggling with that.

Were you addicted to alcohol in the suburbs and Jesus showed you grace and real freedom as you came near to Him? Tell your story. There are more stuck in that same cycle who need someone to relate to.

Did God help you grieve? Did He heal your marriage after adultery? Did He pull you out of depression and anxiety??

For the love please tell people! Because someone else is hurting and you could give them hope as you point to Jesus’s love in the storm.

But Insecurity is the enemy’s favorite tactic to keep our stories silent.

Satan, the one at work to hurt God’s people, keeps us stuck in fear because the longer we’re stagnant and keeping our stories to ourselves, the longer others feel alone in their hard and the easier it is for him to beat them up with shame and guilt. 

What do you have to offer?

Freedom. As you’re bold and take others under your wing, sharing how God loved you and loves them too.

You can’t control their outcome, or if they validate your story, or even care. But you can obey as God calls you to go and tell of His goodness to broken people just like you.

So no matter if it’s listening and encouraging a friend or co-worker, or starting a blog, or a women’s group at your church or in your neighborhood… YOU have the most important thing to offer. Freedom and healing in Christ.

 

Find your voice in the conversation on Facebook. P.S. Jesus is so incredible! I’m so excited for you as you get to know the One who wants to be your EVERYTHING!

**Here’s how to GET MORE free encouragement from me right to your inbox! Join the Glory-Be sisterhood, you matter to me, and I’m so grateful you let me serve you:)

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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 with WL on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk

 

Pushing Forward in 2020

2020 is beckoning us to desire newness, goodness, and success. The problem? It’s not completely up to us. Our days, successes, and plans are held together by our Creator, yet we often kill ourselves trying. We strive as if our hustle alone is the driving force of our dreams. But Scripture shows if we invite God into our plans, we thrive in an unexpected way.

2019 felt like a race to be more. 

I did all the things. I mothered, taught, wrote, taught some more, volunteered, published, served…fed the dog. You name it, I did it. And I’m tired. Still I felt like I was constantly behind because someone was always farther than me. Social media showed writers were meeting goals I wasn’t, mothers were making the meals I didn’t, business people earning while I stayed home… go go go!

Life seemed a competition. 

I love social media. How enjoyable that we can connect and encourage so easily? Need a recipe for gluten-free muffins? Bam! Instagram’s got you covered! But living online covered me in insecure thoughts. I tried to live up to everyone else’s best instead of the beauty that God had for me. I let others’ actions determine mine instead of adopting God’s will for my life. The result? I lost my inner peace.

Turns out, Scripture asserts that when we surrender our deeds to the Lord, mental contentment follows.

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 ESV.

What does this really mean? The original Hebrew translates that when we roll our actions to Yahweh, our THOUGHTS will be FIRM. 

Think of your plans as a great boulder. We can either break ourselves trying to roll them forward alone, or we can roll them over to Jesus and give them to Him trusting that if He pushes them forward it’s His will. And if He keeps them still, that’s for our best. 

When we push our plans over to God, inviting Him into our hopes and dreams, we allow His power to work in our circumstances and His peace to rule our minds. Our thought life is firm and peaceful knowing God’s got this and we can relax! Isn’t that awesome?!

For me, rolling my plans to Jesus means praying through my hopes and desires. Asking God to lead my family, friendships, and profession where HE wants them to go. Then I keep stepping forward as doors open. I work where He prompts me to and I let the rest be for someone else contented in my mind that that’s  not where God wants me. I know peace will follow as I let go of what’s not for me and I press in more to the places God wants me to be. 

Do you feel me? What dream are you trying to push forward? Where do you feel discontented? What is it you want for your life and for your loved ones? Take your plans off your shoulders and roll all your desires over to Jesus, trusting Him to determine your best for 2020.

Featured Photo by AJ Yorio on Unsplash

Find your voice in the conversation on Facebook. P.S. Jesus is so incredible! I’m so excited for you as you get to know the One who wants to be your EVERYTHING!

**Here’s how to GET MORE free encouragement from me right to your inbox! Join the Glory-Be sisterhood, you matter to me, and I’m so grateful you let me serve you:)

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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 with WL on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk

 

Holiday Devo Cover Front

IT’S HERE! Intentional Holidays is the perfect devotional to keep you focused on Jesus this holiday season. It was so fun to write for this devo with such a talented and grace-filled group of women. We hope this brings you rest and rejoicing through the often chaotic seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Order yours on Amazon asap!

 

Humbly Serving out of Love for Christ – Guest blog by Jennifer Slattery

My pride can get in the way of my love—to others and to Christ. Though I long to be one who continually gives of herself, without expecting anything in return or caring how I’m perceived, too often my insecurities overshadow my obedience.

I lead my church’s single moms group, and like most ministries, we have a budget we must adhere to. I want to stretch every dime, which means seeking out bargains, making use of what we have, and when necessary, returning the surplus.

I don’t know why or where this arose, but I have a strange anxiety when it comes to returns. Standing in that line with my receipt in one hand, my bag of unused items in the other, I feel nervous and judged. I worry that the cashier will think I stole the items or that I’m being petty in bringing them back, especially when my bags of unused product contain things like $2 bags of flour. I suspect my jumbled emotions come, in part, from a time when, decades ago, I had shoplifted, and sometimes I can still wear that false identity.

Granted, I often receive a few raised brows and some huffs and eyerolls from the clerk. I’m sure they’ve encountered countless shoppers like me—some who really have hot-fingered the items and others who fight with them over every penny. So I get it. This past Monday, standing in a long, slowly moving return line, I understand the tension, but I also understood my why. I knew I could later use every dollar I spared to bless, in some way, the women I served.

Considering this, perhaps I should’ve stood taller. After all, serving others, however we do so, is a noble, eternally-glorious act. But I didn’t. Instead, I wanted to shrink inside myself. To explain to the others in line and the woman who gave me my refund why I was there and why I brought back so many—five bags worth—of baking supplies.

Though this may seem a silly, perhaps even inconsequential example, in giving voice to unwarranted shame, I robbed myself of a precious, holy moment. Of an opportunity, in some small way—granted, very small way—to experience the joy of humility with my Savior. The One who endured ridicule and emptied Himself completely, for me.

So often, it’s not the big sacrifices that most hinder my love, but those small yet important choices to either protect myself and my image or surrender all I am to reveal God’s grace.

In John chapter twelve, we learn of a woman so overwhelmed with love for her Savior, she entered a room full of men to anoint the soon-to-be crucified king. Scripture tells us: Mary took about a pint[ of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume (John 12:3, NIV).

She used two very precious things, items that would’ve created a startling picture of love, to all in the room. First, she poured her expensive perfume, which may have been her dowry, upon Christ. Then, she lowered her hair, something dignified women would never do in that culture, and used it, her “glory”, to wipe dirty and smelly feet.

In other words, she brought the best of herself to the lowest possible state in humble praise and adoration. And yes, people scoffed, and I imagine some were speechless. But Christ was pleased.

“Leave her alone,” He told the scoffers. “She’s done this for Me” (paraphrase, John 12:7-8).

When we bring all of ourselves and humbly bow at His feet, whether that means picking up trash after church, returning bags of cheap flour, or tenderly washing the feet of the homeless, God is pleased. And to the scoffers, to those who raise eyebrows, misunderstand, or perhaps question our motives, He says, “Leave her alone. She does this for Me.”

BioPhotoJennifer Slattery is a writer and national speaker who has addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and other writers across the nation. She maintains a devotional blog found at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud and on Crosswalk. She has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Love Ministries, she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Contact her HERE to book her for your next women’s event.

Hometown Healing:

She’s home again, but not for long…
Unless this cowboy recaptures her heart

Returning home with a baby in tow, Paige Cordell’s determined her stay is only temporary. But to earn enough money to leave, she needs a job—and her only option is working at her first love’s dinner theater. With attraction once again unfurling between her and Jed Gilbertson, can the man who once broke her heart convince her to stay for good?

Buy it HERE.

 

Find your voice in the conversation on Facebook. P.S. Jesus is so incredible! I’m so excited for you as you get to know the One who wants to be your EVERYTHING!

**Here’s how to GET MORE free encouragement from me right to your inbox! Join the Glory-Be sisterhood, you matter to me, and I’m so grateful you let me serve you:)

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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 with WL on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk

 

Holiday Devo Cover Front

IT’S HERE! Intentional Holidays is the perfect devotional to keep you focused on Jesus this holiday season. It was so fun to write for this devo with such a talented and grace-filled group of women. We hope this brings you rest and rejoicing through the often chaotic seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Order yours on Amazon asap!

 

Fleeting Or Forever

Wedding season occupied my 20s. Divorces shake my 30s. It’s rocking homes in my neighborhood, friends, people I love. I bet you’ve witnessed the falling of relationships you were sure of, too. If we must endure the hurt of the fleeting, what can we learn from it? Where is the forever we long for?

Truth? We have the hope of forever, but we often put our faith in fleeting things and people.

My confession? I do this all the time and it continues to backfire. And I’m tired of it.

The only sure thing in life is…Facebook. Um, wait, no. Maybe Insta? Nope. I put my hope in them daily for approval, but they are like rabid raccoons someone let loose in my house. Putting my hope in my platform to make dreams come true left me totally deflated and hopeless. Some days everyone likes you, they think you’re witty and wise, and the next day–crickets! Fans and dreams cannot be my hope.

How about my family? My husband and kids? They can be my hope. Wrong again! When I put the weight of my identity and all my needs on them, their faults become unbearable, they can’t meet my every need and vice versa, and our relationships suffer. They cannot be the source of my hope. The best we can do for each other is build one another up on the true rock.

I could list 10 other things I’ve put my trust in…my ability to control, my body, my work ethic…but they only disappoint and distract from the only One worthy of my faith.

In Jesus, our hope is secure. He is forever everything good, unchangeable love, enduring relationship, abundantly for me and you.

Read Psalm 121. It’s short and so important. It was ringing in my head this morning as I thought of you and wondered what God wanted me to say. Where does my help come from? Jesus. Where does my everything come from? Jesus. He is our hope and He alone can handle our need. He never slumbers. He is constant in a world of chaos.

I don’t want to give my precious hope to the cheap attractions of the world anymore, or heap my need for a Savior on people who were not meant to be Jesus. Let’s stop making sandcastles, and build on solid rock. He is the forever we crave and He is enough to fill every part of our deepest need when people and things cannot.

How is God asking you to raise your eyes to Him instead of the world? What do you need to let go of in order to do so? Trade in the fleeting and let Jesus be your eternal hope. He’s up to the task.

Find your voice in the conversation on Facebook. P.S. Jesus is so incredible! I’m so excited for you as you get to know the One who wants to be your EVERYTHING!

**Here’s how to GET MORE free encouragement from me right to your inbox! Join the Glory-Be sisterhood, you matter to me, and I’m so grateful you let me serve you:)

cropped-andreaweb24

 

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 with WL on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk

 

Holiday Devo Cover Front

IT’S HERE! Intentional Holidays is the perfect devotional to keep you focused on Jesus this holiday season. It was so fun to write for this devo with such a talented and grace-filled group of women. We hope this brings you rest and rejoicing through the often chaotic seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Order yours on Amazon asap!

 

 

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We made this for YOU! Grab your copy of our newly released 90-day devotional HERE. It’s full of life changing truth that points to the One who sees you, knows you, and loves you.

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