Calling for Backup

Womanhood can be a lonely place. Alone in our insecure thoughts, feeling the pressure to keep up, the daily grind of meeting others’ needs weighing us down. Jesus understands these feelings more than we may think.

When I read through Scripture, I see Jesus constantly walking into people’s needs. He’s always in a crowd who want to learn or be healed, teaching His 12 disciples, or transforming lives one-on-one from the inside out. He’s forever surrounded by people and constantly giving of Himself. 

Sometimes I feel like that. Do you?

There’s work, kids, spouse, friends, church, parties, holidays, laundry, dishes, meals…repeat. Today’s verse tells us that when Jesus, fully God, but fully man, was getting tapped out, He purposefully withdrew from people to the “lonely places” and prayed. 

“But He would withdraw to desolate places and pray” Luke 5:16 ESV

Why? Because it was there that He was recharged by the Father. Even Jesus needed the quiet, where it was just Him and His Father, so that He had everything He needed to keep going, keep serving, and keep loving. 

I wonder what He prayed about. I imagine there was probably thanksgiving, requests, and surrender–an opening of His Spirit to be filled up for the rest of the journey.

I need that too. My soul requires recharge by retreating from people and going to a quiet place to talk to God in prayer. I used to think it was weakness to ask God for help, but after practicing prayer, it has become like breathing. Necessary and life-giving.

Sometimes it’s in the dark of the morning before the kids wake up and the chaos of daily life begins. I ask God for help and energy before I get out of the covers. Other times I recharge with prayer when I’m up against something big that I can’t navigate on my own, I go to my room, shut the door, and talk to God trusting He can handle it if I give it to Him. Because…

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

You guys, prayer is a weapon against the darkness. We have divine power to take down every worry, lie, fear, EVERYTHING, because we’re asking the Lord of EVERYTHING to step in on our behalf.

So when I don’t make time to talk to God, to give Him my stress, and to be reminded of His goodness, I get weary. I start to think it’s all on me, and frustration rises. I end up hurting the people I want to serve because I haven’t allowed God to fill me when I’m running low. 

Are you often running on autopilot digging deeper and deeper into your personal limited reserve of energy? Or are you coming to Jesus each day to be refueled by His awesome power? I humbly recommend finding a special place in your home, away from others, in which to retreat when stress is rising.  He wants to be included in your life and fill you up with His love daily.

 

**Here’s how to GET MORE free truth bombs right to your inbox and join the Glory Be movement. You matter to me! 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!

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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

 

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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.

Glory Be

This world is both not enough and too much. The hardships are crushing. And the chasing can’t satisfy the real desires of my heart. To be known, loved, and completely secure. We want the impossible: wholeness in a broken world. But Glory Be to Jesus who offers the impossible. Glory Be to the One who covers our past, strengthens our present, and holds our future secure. Glory Be that we can find everything we need in Him. Glory Be that He is our hope and our freedom.

I used to think the purpose of faith was to make me into a better version of myself. I was super wrong. Really, faith is about knowing and being known by a God whose love outlasts and overpowers every darkness. I mean, can you comprehend it?!

Psalm 57 outlines just that, a broken man praising the God whose love is bigger than his problems.

“I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” Psalm 57:9-11 ESV

When nothing else makes sense, when walking through the unknown, when up against giants, we are Easter people who get to say Glory Be.

We get to proclaim that our God is victorious and therefore so are we. The more we truly believe that, the more power we find and proclaim God’s glory over the earth. Because of Him, we are more than conquerors living in a place that wants to break us.

 

The only qualification to share in the victory is faith in the Faithful One.

Glory Be.

I wonder where you’ve seen Jesus show up in your valleys of real pain and frustration that almost broke you. Where you’ve seen His love shine brighter than the darkness. Each one of you reading this has a story, one entangled with joy and pain, brokenness and restoration. Each one of us has a choice: we can glorify or condemn our circumstances that shift with time, or we can point to Jesus, the great I Am, the One who will never leave and never lose, and say Glory Be. Thank you for sticking this life out with me!

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Shifting our perspective changes everything. When we tuck all our moments in Jesus, we trade our uncertainty for His sovereignty, fear for trust, shame for grace, and brokenness for wholeness.

It’s not magic. It’s not wishful thinking. It’s hard-fought faith in the One True God who never changes and always keeps His promises.

So that’s why I’m changing the name of this blog to glory-be.org. This is our new banner to wave. Glory Be is both a faith statement that God’s love is trustworthy no matter what. And it’s a battle cry for His glory, goodness, and light to be spread like wildfire wherever we go.

It means, Glory be that Jesus is in control when we’re not. That He is enough when we’re spent. That He was perfect since we’re often train wrecks. He’s completely stable in our mood swings. Our Father is a good dad when we need help; He’s the perfect listener when we’re sad. Glory be that He cares about every little thing we’re worried about when no one else does. He is our sanity, salvation, and everything we don’t even know we need.

Let’s throw off pretense that we’ve got it all figured out and give glory to the One who really does. It’s liberating. Our Glory Be shout is all we really have to give back to a God who loves us without abandon. Are you with me?!

Praise to the Father whose love has no bounds, and whose grace is overflowing. Jesus, may Your Glory Be made known to the ends of the earth through people humble enough to raise a Glory Be!

 

**Here’s how to GET MORE free truth bombs right to your inbox and join the Glory Be movement. You matter to me! Find your voice in the conversation on Facebook. P.S. Jesus is so fun! I’m so excited for you as you get to know the One who wants to be your EVERYTHING!

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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

 

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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.

 

 

 

You’re doing it all right, mom

500 decisions a day. I read somewhere that’s how many little choices a teacher makes and why they’re so tired. Motherhood is a whole lotta teaching. And even more second-guessing. I guarantee that you wondered, regretted, feared, or worried last week, if not today, that your way of momming was wrong. Me too. I heard some wise words to help us snap out of our self mom-shaming.

My friend said, “We’re all on the same page, but we use different fonts.”

Oh man, for a writer, that was golden.

I imagine the curly font moms dressing their girls in fluffy matching dresses, when my kids’ socks don’t match. What about the Times New Roman? Steady and unshakable. Do they ever yell? There’s bold font moms who enroll theirs in EVERYTHING at age 2, and skinny font moms whose idea of organized activity is a family walk. There’s organic Helvetica, much different from drink-from-the-hose Arial. And how ’bout car-pool Courier vs. take-the-bus Geneva.

I could go on. But you get it. It’s ridiculous that we walk around comparing our motherhood. This is the job God gave us, the kids He paired perfectly with you and me. Because God knew my kids didn’t need you and yours don’t need me.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:10 ESV

Walk confidently, sweet mama. Each individual motherhood is a divine appointment, a good work set out before time was created. For us to love a few people deeply the way only we can.

That’s why as we run around trying to be another woman’s version of the perfect mom we get it all wrong. Because we ARE the perfect mom — for our kids. But how practically do we mother our best? We accept God’s love to our core, write our identity as chosen on our soul, and love out of that place of wholeness.

What’s keeping you from claiming that you’re an awesome mom? In what areas do you still believe you’re parenting all wrong? Let’s be bold. Walk lighter knowing you are rocking this, just by being you. (Thanks Mr. Rogers). Read your Bible often to remind yourself that you’re loved abundantly. Then pour out of that reservoir, not someone else’s.

 

**Here’s how to GET MORE free truth bombs right to your inbox. You matter to me! 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 with WL on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk

 

Devo promo DWe’re 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.

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.

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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

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.

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 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

 

 

 

Jesus Works in the Waiting

It’s impossible. At least it feels that way. That thing that you can’t budge or change sits like a 10 ton boulder in your way. We tend to try to move it anyway, pushing with all our strength, not moving an inch. When we’re tired, Jesus gently gives us another option.

Wait patiently.

Let’s be honest, that’s hard and it’s also not what we like to do. We like to DO, GO, Get ‘er done! in the Midwest. So waiting often seems lazy instead of the right choice.

Here’s what we find in Scripture. God’s people are faced with some real enemies, they are scared, and probably feeling a bit lost, but Habakkuk prays…

“I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently... Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LordI will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength...” (Habakkuk 3: 16-19 NIV) emphasis mine.

 

I have friends who are up against some hard things right now. Friends who are in the waiting period of lots of things.  I also am trying to navigate the future by faith. What if we declared the same as Habakkuk over our insecurities, health problems, lost dreams, immovable problems? Today let’s do that together, praying truth over our uncertainties…

Jesus, Even when I’m scared. I will wait patiently because I know You are working behind the scene. Though I don’t see any evidence of what I want happening, I will trust that You are doing something about the situation when it’s out of my control. In the meantime, I am going to keep my joy and be thankful that my God is working it out for me — You, Lord are my only strength. I’ve got faith You can move this mountain and Your plan for me is good.

Though I don’t see any evidence of what I want happening, I will trust that You are doing something about the situation when it’s out of my control.

Trust that waiting may be what God is asking of you. That He may want to make something beautiful in the time you spend trusting in His power instead of your own.

 

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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.

 

 

Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Happiness — see joy

Recent quotes from a well known speaker have raised red flags on my truthometer — particularly one that read “If you’re not happy, that’s on you.” It was like a carrot baiting readers to start striving for happiness. Truth is, happiness is a cheap, man-made, temporary version of what we really want. I looked up happiness in the index of my Bible and there was NOT A SINGLE ENTRY, instead it read, “happiness — see joy.”

I laughed. My truthometer was right.

Sirens were going off in my spirit for a reason. I’ve lived through some really unhappy seasons that led to growth and strength. They led me to a stronger faith in Jesus.

Social media is a plague that is spreading the idol of happiness. Truth is, we can spend our whole lives chasing, changing, and reaching for happiness and it will flit in and out leaving us frustrated and unfulfilled.

Believing that happiness is all on us, urges happiness forward into first priority in our lives and grants ourselves reign over it. Both of which are false. Not once did Jesus seek His own happiness. His joy was in doing the work His Father sent Him to do. And most times that was messy and hard. And we are His followers.

Not once did Jesus seek His own happiness. His joy was in doing the work His Father sent Him to do. And most times that was messy and hard. And we are His followers.

“If you’re not happy, it’s on you” may be a clever and catchy post, but living by that motto we lose sight of other things that are more important than our instant gratification of happiness.

The idol of happiness says, leave the marriage find another, you’ll be happier with that other one. Quit the job, there’s not enough money, you’ll be happier if you have more money. Motherhood is too exhausting, have a glass of wine, you’ll be happier if you go out more. Quit the friendship because it’s too hard, you’ll be happier without her. Move, keep moving, because a bigger house will make you happy. Until it doesn’t anymore.

Being happy is a blessing until it becomes our goal. There’s always something better, and then something better than that. Happier is out there somewhere. And it makes us feel less than because we can’t grasp it every moment of every day.

But joy, JOY is found by anyone, anywhere, anytime in Christ. It is God’s desire for His people for us to be filled to the brim with joy because that comes from God, not from man, and therefore doesn’t depend on our circumstances, our choices, or our striving. It’s a gift we experience as we do life with Jesus.

JOY is found by anyone, anywhere, anytime in Christ. It’s a gift we experience as we do life with Jesus.

As I looked joy up in my Bible’s index, here’s what I found…

Joy comes from the Spirit of God, it is not “on us.”

We find joy in worshiping God, in recognizing God is God and we are not.

There’s joy that we are saved, that we can give all our junk to Christ and be forgiven.

Joy in suffering because we are not alone in it because our God is with us.

Joy in servanthood! Serving people gives us joy!  

Joy is found always, in all circumstances. When we live with Christ.

Let’s not limit ourselves to finding our own happiness.  Let’s take the overflowing gift of JOY God’s Spirit offers instead. And let’s not be afraid of hard seasons. We need Jesus to flood our days with His joy even when it’s hard, because sometimes the hard leads to something good.

So we have a choice to make as followers of Jesus these days. We can listen to the loudest megaphone telling us what we want to hear, like that we can make our own happiness, or we can seek truth by reading our Bibles for ourselves. One leads to folly, the other safeguards our life.

 

 

*If you are in a physically or emotionally abusive relationship please seek help. That is not a matter of a lack of happiness, that is abuse and abuse is NEVER condoned by God.