Accepting God’s Good plans When Life Doesn’t Go Our Way

Anyone else feel like all plans are in the trash and instead uncertainty looms all around? I can so relate with my guest blogger today, Barbara Shippy from Simquily Magazine. She’s gone through hard seasons of discouragement and came out the other side to share her wisdom with us. I thank her for writing to us in vulnerability, courage, and faith.

 

Accepting God’s Good plans When Life Doesn’t Go Our Way

By Barbara Shippy

I am an only child with a love and deep appreciation of big families (my mom is one of seven, and my dad is one of six), and my husband is one of four children. So when we were engaged and would dream about what our future family would look like, it didn’t come as a surprise to either of us that we both said we would love to have a big family of our own—like six kids kind of big.

We got married, and three years went by. Then four. All the while, we had moved four different times, and our last move landed us in a tiny one bedroom apartment seven hours away from our families for a job that had my husband on the road for eight months out of the year. Life was not exactly going according to plan. . . . Well, my plans at least.

It wasn’t long before holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, which were ever only about celebrating my wonderful parents, had suddenly become painful reminders of the fact that we were not parents. Infant baptisms and the weekly invitation for children to join pastor up front for children’s message made my eyes pool with tears. Seeing parents in the store raise their voices at and yank on their rowdy children made me indignant. Happy announcements from friends and cousins who were expecting caused the awful green monster of jealousy to rise up like a beast that threatened to consume the joy I truly had for them.

And then there was that question we like to ask in our culture: So when are you two going to have kids? It got to the point where I would have to walk away and let my husband answer—not because I was frustrated at the person asking, but because our go-to answer of “Whenever the good Lord gives us one” was becoming increasingly difficult to say. After four years, my heart was starting doubt what my head knew to be true: that the good Lord truly is good and that His plan for my life, for my marriage, is truly the best plan there is.

I knew the Scripture verses particularly applicable to our situation:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8–9

But this is what hit me like a ton of bricks:

“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3

Had children become an idol in my life? How could something so biblical, a command even from God to be fruitful and multiply on the earth, be an idol?

The truth of the matter, though, was that children had become an idol in my life. And it was a sobering realization that slowly (very slowly) began to change the way I looked at our situation.

By God’s grace, I began to realize the value of surrender. Of surrendering what I wanted our life to look like to God’s plan for our life. Of surrendering my fears of what the future might not hold in store for us to God’s good and amazing gifts He had bestowed on us already. Of surrendering my fear of the unknown to God’s all-knowing ways, and surrendering my design for the future to God’s greater plan.

The tears didn’t necessarily go away—and neither did all the doubt that God truly knew better than I did. But what we didn’t have became less and less consuming, which made room for what was most important: faith in Jesus Christ and His Word, which has eternal significance. The constant struggle, however, is that in this world, it is so easy to lose sight of the eternal as we relentlessly pursue the temporal.

Surrender is simple in theory, but it’s certainly not easy. It was, and continues to be, a journey that requires God’s mercy and help to let go of control.

For me, surrender happens through honest conversations with God (He can take it!), fellow Christians who will walk the journey with me, pastoral counsel, and most of all a Bible that is read often—because “faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

A few years later, God, in His timing, blessed us with a miracle—a beautiful baby who is now an incredibly busy and fearless toddler. Among many things, I’ve learned that the journey I began years ago, of learning to surrender my will to God’s, was just the beginning. Now, as a mother, my fears and doubts have not gone away, they’ve just changed. And they still have the potential of becoming idols. So while my journey to motherhood was full of valleys and peaks, it was one that taught me great lessons about God’s patience, His love, His timing, the goodness of His plans, and the importance of surrendering my will to His.

“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’” Matthew 6:9–10

Barbara Shippy is a wife, mother, and the editor of Simquily.com. An online magazine for the simple and quiet life, Simquily aims to encourage readers to approach daily life with a renewed sense of determination and joy. Formerly a book editor at a Christian publishing house, Barbara enjoys the opportunity Simquily offers to remain the world of words while navigating life as a stay-at-home mom.

 

Did this piece spark a thought? Share below or on Facebook, or Instagram. Until next time, sending you and yours love, blessings, and prayers for health and peace.

**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.

A New Magazine: Simquily

There’s a new online magazine out there called Simquily.com, and it’s fabulous! “Instead of reacting and doing damage control when chaos hits, did you know you can preemptively claim your day’s tranquility?” Read more from the article I contributed called Finding Solace in the Chaos of Everyday Life to this month’s issue.

There’s a plethora of great writers to check out.  I hope this issue helps you find a slice of calm in your home this season!

-Andrea

 

Share with me your tips below or on Facebook, or Instagram PLEASE! Until next time, sending you and yours love, blessings, and prayers for health and peace.

**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.

5 ways to Gracefully Quarantine

On a scale of loving your mandated home-time, to get me the heck out of here, how are you my friend? Not gonna lie, we’ve had ups and downs. Music parties and meltdowns. Banana bread smiles and bedtime tantrums. But surprisingly, more often than not, we’re faring well with our solitary life. As I ponder how to support you and your family, I thought I’d share some rhythms that are keeping us sane.

Hello Jesus! We need you!

I start each day with 30 minutes of alone time with my Bible or prayer. I don’t share this because I’m awesome, but because He is my only shot at sanity. With God on my heart and mind, I feel more peaceful, powerful, and in control because I’ve been reminded that HE’S in control. Parenting and stressful moments don’t feel as overwhelming, this virus doesn’t seem as scary, and life feels joyful as I begin my day reading things like Psalm 23.

Make a daily schedule

I am not type A, not at all, but I realized if we don’t have a schedule, we soon have chaos. Ours is very simple:

Wake up by 8am, breakfast and PBS while mom does devotional, school time (family read aloud, math, writing/spelling), daily walk/downstairs playtime,  Lunch (kids help clean up time), chore time, Science experiment (today we made a tornado in a pop bottle, we’ve also done volcanoes, and food coloring experiments basically as a throwback to my childhood ha!) here’s a good website for ideas… http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/experiments.html  Then we do one hour of quiet time and wing it the rest of the day with games/baking etc.

My kids are actually thriving and have started to memorize the schedule. They’ll tell me what time it is and what’s next. Now hear me well, I stink at schedules! So if you’re just holding it together with movies and cookies, I get it. But I’ve tried total freedom and this schedule, and it is hands down working better for us to have a rhythm to each day. Praying you find yours!

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Be still

Halfway through your day find a space away from your family to practice solitude. May sound weird to practice solitude in a quarantine, BUT you’re around your family all day and you need a break from them so you can regroup with God and continue to serve them well.

ONE HOUR once a day, I send each kid to a different space with at least 3 activities to do (books, water colors, toy animals, ANYTHING) and I go to my space WITH NO PHONE. I read, write, nap, garden, or any other thing that brings me peace and joy. If it’s a hard day I read my Bible again or pray.

Try one new thing each day

I think this is important because it breaks up the monotony of seclusion. I’ve been baking A LOT. I’m sure I’ll regret it come swimsuit season, but who cares. I’ve been reading new recipes and getting excited about trying them. Try my new fav banana bread.

I’ve planted new seeds in little pots (if you don’t have any, use an old peanutbutter jar or any plastic/glass jar, dig up some dirt, save and dry a seed or two from a veggie you eat like a pepper, plant and water it, and see it grow!)

Who knows what I’ll do tomorrow LOL. I have a whole tub of yarn begging to become a scarf.

Creatively Reach OUT

It’s easy to think you can’t help others if you’re homebound, but it’s quite the opposite. I was reminded while reading through the book of Acts just how often the Apostle Paul was imprisoned or arrested and still had great impact. Some ideas for you and me?

*Write one letter a day or each week to people you love to make them smile. #ilovemail

*Write big notes of scripture or hope on a big paper each week and tape it to your window so passersby can read your message.

*Video chat your family once a week to check on them.

*Send $ to your local food banks and have your kids write an encouraging note along with it.

I mean, possibilities are endless and you will feel better as you reach out to help others.

I’d love to hear how you and your family are weathering social distancing. What recipes are you baking? What Bible verses are you clinging to? What websites are you using? Help a sister out!

Share with me your tips below or on Facebook, or Instagram PLEASE! Until next time, sending you and yours love, blessings, and prayers for health and peace.

**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.

 

 

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

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!

 

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

 

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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.

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 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.

The beauty of the Ugly Cry

Yep, I snorted. Inhale. Snort. Cry. Snort. Mascara smudged my cheeks and I was all the feelings at once. I ugly cried today for me and all the women around me who can’t make time stand still. Life why do you go so fast? Why do babies become bigs, and bigs become teenagers, and teenagers move out somewhere between never-ending days and lightening-fast years? 

Change can feel both sweet and soul crushing. Terrifying and exciting. Natural and counter productive. For the best and painful. All at the same time. 

That’s the beauty of the ugly cry. It releases all those emotions without a word. Just maybe a snort.

I wonder what has made you break down lately? What have you had no words to describe? What ending have you mourned or what beginning have you celebrated?

Today I walked the school hallways with a huge smile. I could’ve won an Academy award with my brave face for my daughter.

“You’re going to have SO MUCH FUN!” 

Then I dropped her off in her room and the girl who clung to me last year in Kindergarten shooed me away in 1st grade — too big for selfies with mom with everyone watching. It’s a jolt that means she’s big now. And my mind jumps ahead to the someday of when she will be bigger than big. Someday she’ll be grown. And I will miss her.

I’ll miss her notes spelled wrong. Her little shoes. Her mismatched clothes and ponytail wisps. I’ll miss her scooter zipping and her coloring table. I’ll miss brushing her teeth. 

Cue ugly cry.

I want to give you permission to be what you need to be when life shifts under your feet. When it moves a little fast or throws you off. 

If you’re a wreck at the end of summer break, preschool graduation, senior prom pictures, or the last or first day of anything in life…. You’re not alone. Change is hard. Even if it’s good. It’s still hard. Embrace your beautiful ugly cry. Let out all the snorts. Life deserves it for going so fast.

 

**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.

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

 

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.

Setting Expectations for the Best Summer EVER

I’m like Chevy Chase in the movie Vacation. In my mind, summer equals kids home, laughing and frolicking through the sprinklers with popsicles that are never sticky. They’ll be grateful for the trips to the zoo, cabin, and pool. No one will complain. But then reality kicks in, kids are kids, my patience dries up, and like Sparky from the movie, I have a mommy meltdown and need some Tylenol.

Not. This. Summer. I’m learning people aren’t my problem, my heart’s expectations are.

What’s the thing that sets you off? Or rather, who drives you crazy? Maybe the person who’s always late, or the friend who never shows, slow traffic, bad manners… the list of pet peevs goes on. You feel your patience waning and your frustration rising.

One of mine is when I put effort in and it’s not appreciated.

I cook an awesome meal like a FoodNetwork star, set the table with floral placemats and use my pretty dishes. I EXPECT my kids to eat in glorious silence because they can’t believe how yummy it all is. Turns out that’s not a realistic expectation. Instead the opposite happens. I have to count out bites, 5  more!, and then threaten no dessert. The fun is gone because my attitude goes south with unmet expectations.

Whatever the struggle is, whoever it is, the root of impatience is in us. What we store up in our hearts comes out in our actions and words. Sometimes in the form of impatience.

Luke 6:45 says “…for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

If I store up frustration with others, frustration comes out. If I harbor resentment, bitterness comes out. If I hoard disappointment from unmet expectations or shattered plans, impatience rears up.

Like right now. My expectation is that I can sit in peace and type a blog while my three kids are at home. You can bet that was unmet. One came in with a wookie costume on, another was screaming he needed help on the potty, and the third was chanting Hi-Ho-Let’s go! Enter impatience. I feel it swelling. Can’t I just do what I want to do when I want to do it! gah!

Nope.

The only expectation I have this summer is that I expect we will all need Jesus.

BUT I don’t have to let my unmet expectations today or this summer get my goat. I can EXPECT others to need Jesus just as much as I do and love them starting with my thoughts.

If we store up good as we surrender our thought life to the Holy Spirit, patience and grace will flow out of our hearts naturally. If we store up thankfulness for the sunshine and giggles, if we seek out joy in the hard, and bury positive thoughts about our people in our hearts instead of annoyance, if we decide others are more important than ourselves and our agenda….patience won’t be so hard. It will flow out of the love we’ve stored up.

People will push all the buttons possible. But although you can’t control others, you can control your thoughts towards them.

So  let me validate you this summer as we end the month on patience. People will push all the buttons possible. But remember although you can’t control others, you can control your thoughts towards others. Make a pact with yourself (I will too) to believe the best of others and store up loving thoughts towards your kids, spouse, friends, neighbors, coworkers, even when it’s hard. Jesus loves them dearly and sometimes we can reflect His love best through humble patience.

**Practical action step: I’m declaring June = JUST JESUS JUNE! I’m doing a social media office-620822_1920fast with a friend. Why? Because social media makes me feel yucky sometimes. I leave sites having wasted time and comparing myself to others while neglecting important duties. You?

The fact that I’m nervous about giving it up for a month is my clue that I need to give it up to gain more peace and be more present…which I’m hoping will also impact my level of patience. No more “just a sec!” when someone is calling my name. ARE YOU IN?! Is God calling you to put down the phone and look up at your life?? Join me for a day, week, or the whole month of June for a SOCIAL MEDIA FAST. Jot down in the comments or in a journal how social media makes you feel now. And then update when your fast is over telling me what you learned. Let’s do this!

Here’s how I feel presently while using social media… distracted, pulled 10 different ways, always connected, impatient, everyone’s doing it better, I need to up my game, looking for cute moments to post instead of just enjoying moments. ugh.

I can’t wait to update you in July because I’m counting on a heart change by cutting out the noise:) Also, I’m replacing with a study by Priscilla Shirer on “Gideon”. Input=output. Input God’s word = output love. What are you reading???

 

**Did that resonate with your soul?! 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.

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