5 Ways to Love Others this Holiday Season without breaking your budget

It was a total surprise. I stooped down to check my mailbox cubby at work a few days ago and there was a little card and a Christmas decoration. Immediately I smiled and ripped open the envelope. “Thanks for all your instruction.” No name. Just a sweet little card and a hand made decoration to brighten my holiday season. And my heart was full.

Two aspects about this gesture stood out.

1. It was so simple and inexpensive, yet had the same effect on my spirit that a big gift would.

2. The person stayed anonymous and therefore cared more about the giving than the credit, which made me feel extremely special.

We’re entering the most generous time of the year. We want to serve and give because our hearts are reflecting the love we feel from the season that celebrates Christ’s gift of His presence in the world. Christmas season makes me feel more alive and joyful, so I want to give that feeling away, but so often feel I don’t have the money or ideas of how to do so. But my student’s little gift got me thinking outside the box. (pun intended ha!)

So here’s a few ways we can bring others joy this season without spending a lot.

1.Buy a box of candy canes ($1 at Walmart right ow!) and decorate them like Rudolf or tie a hand written message/Bible verse and give them to your cashier, waitress, anyone who serves you this season. OR be anonymous and put them on co-workers desks.

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2.Don’t you love getting mail that’s not a bill?! So do your neighbors:) Get Christmas stationary (mine was $10 for a hundred sheets at Hobby Lobby) and stickers or a stamp. Make homemade Christmas notes with a personalized message for each of your neighbors. You could write 3 reasons you appreciate about your neighbor and choose if you want to sign your name or make it a mystery note.

3. This season is about inviting people in to the best gift of all. God’s love. Be bold and invite someone who may be lonely this season to church, dinner at your house, or a coffee date. You get to be love to others with your invitations. Even if they decline, they know you care.

 

4. Ding Dong Ditch. If you’re a baker, whip up some of your favorite cookies,(if not, just christmas-cookies-2975570_1920buy some cheap ones at the store) wrap them up on paper plates and drop them off on random porches.  Knock on the door and move to the next house. OR if you’re bold, stay and hand the cookies face to face, and get to know your neighbors better. People are made for community and so many of us are living in isolation. Cookies and a smile go a long way.

5. Connect, Reconnect, and Converse. Make a list of 10 people you love and don’t talk to often. Call, text, Face-time, or get together with one each week for the rest of the year! This costs ZERO dollars and means SO much. It ends your year with people you love, and begins the new year helping you and your people feel connected.

I could go on, but you get the gist. Be creative, be connected, be bold, and be love to those around you in silly and serious ways this season. Have fun being a bearer of joy and care!

 

**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

 

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.

 

 

Loving my Actual Christmas

I’m in HOLIDAY mode! But let’s face it, our actual holidays don’t always mimic Hallmark movies. Expectations, finances, hope, joy, sorrow, and where Jesus meets us in it all. Alexandra Kuykendall shared some practical and soulful insights during a video interview last season centered on her book, “Loving my Actual Christmas”. I HIGHLY recommend this book. It’s full of grace and wisdom to help you navigate the holidays.

I hope this Christmas interview blesses you as it did me as we prepare our hearts for the season…knowing that no matter our circumstances, Jesus is with us and is our source of all we need at Christmas and all year long.

 

*Visit Alex online for more Christmas insights

**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

 

Devo promo D

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.

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.

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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

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