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.

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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.

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.

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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

 

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.

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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

 

Which mom are you?

You may be a boy  mom if you’ve heard, “Mom! I’m done! And it looks like a snake!”

Or a girl mom if you’ve yelled, “We don’t have time to brush your hair, just get in the car!”

You may be a SAHMom if you put on a jacket to drive kids to school because no one will know you aren’t wearing a bra. Or if you signed them all up for summer art camp, basketball camp, college for kids and dance camp because #operationkeepyoursanity.

You may be a mom in waiting who wishes she bought stock in FirstResponse. (been there!)

Or an empty nester who finally gets the spring break to Hawaii she planned 20 years ago. (Someday! Fingers crossed!)

You may be a mom of babies if the first question your spouse asks in the morning is “How did you sleep?” And you get excited to say you had a REM cycle!

You may be a dog mom if you enter the room, see something brown out of the corner of your eye, and automatically gasp. Phew, just a Lincoln Log.

You’re a cat mom if you go furniture shopping for your new house, but only come home with a new cat tree. Or if you’ve reassured the person pet sitting for you that Snickers didn’t escape, “He just doesn’t like people.” (cat moms I will never understand you. LOL)

You may be a Harry Potter mom if your most expensive decor in the living room is HP legos and you’ve instructed all children visitors they may not touch them. #don’tlosethepieces!

Or a Midwest mom when your kid asks if they need a coat, and you respond “Just a jacket, you’ll probably have indoor recess anyway.”

You’re a preschool mom if you met your new besties waiting in the pick up line. “How old is yours? 22 months?! Mine too!”

Or a mom of BIGS if your kid says they’re sick and your first question is “How sick?”

You may be a lunch packing mom if you’re excited for hamburger day because you can take a break. Or a hot lunch mom if you’ve gotten the email… You owe $4.13, your account is empty.”

You may be an allergy mom if you know the difference between a U or D.E.

Or a picky eaters mom if you’re excited he ate 2 chicken nuggets.

No matter what kind of mom you are, have been, or will be… I just wanted to make you smile and say GOOD JOB YOU! The honor of motherhood is so important even when you feel so insignificant. The lunch you make, the bottom you wipe, the hug you give, the lessons you teach– God gave you that job, He sees your work, and said, says, and will say… well done.

Happy Mother’s Day!

**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.

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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

 

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…

 

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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

Measuring Your Impact

“What do you do?” I heard that question twenty times at an awards banquet for my journalist husband. They were experts at their craft and I was a full-time mom, beginning blogger, part-time teacher. Nothing felt impressive about my life in this circle. Measuring my impact against theirs made me insecure, but the true measurement of our impact is not found on a plaque.

Read for yourself what Scripture says about  how early followers of Jesus measured their impact…

“Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:1-3, ESV).

When our faith is in Jesus, we don’t need the approval of people. We no longer need likes on Facebook or medals for a job well done. When we start living for Jesus, our impact is written on the hearts of people we love, serve, and do life.

When we start living for Jesus, our impact is written on the hearts of people we love, serve, and do life.  

We don’t love well because we want to gain anything from it. We don’t mother well because we need an awards banquet. Or work with integrity and grit for a plaque. We don’t listen to friends’ problems over coffee or bring people meals for accolades. We love, serve, forgive, encourage, and empower anyone God puts in our path because He gave us both the work to do and the faith in which to complete it.

The people around us are our plaques as they walk around with the love we have stamped on their hearts. They are the real work God cares about.

So I wonder if, like me, sometimes you aren’t sure if your work matters. Maybe you sit in a cubicle, maybe you are a network marketer, a stay-at-home mom, or you wear suits to the office everyday. Wherever you are, your real job is to love and serve the people around you well.

Wherever you are, your real job is to love and serve the people around you well.

That job is harder than any other because people are messy. We are imperfect and make a ton of mistakes a day that require patience, peace, gentleness, kindness, and self-control even when undeserved.

But we keep at this important work because God gave us those people at our office, our neighborhood, and in our home.

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart” (2 Corinthians 4:1, ESV).

Don’t lose heart. That is God’s desire for us. Keep loving, forgiving, enduring, serving, encouraging, and uplifting. God gave you those people for a reason. Because your love shows them a bit of Jesus in this selfish world. Don’t. Lose. Heart. Your impact matters.