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.

When we forget to abide

I promise in the end this will be hopeful. But the beginning isn’t. I share because I wonder how many of us started off strong and then bad days became hard weeks. And hard weeks rolled into ‘when is this going to end.’ So here’s the truth about why it was getting so hard. I stopped abiding in God. And He told me so.

I wake up and I know exactly how the day will go. I know when the power struggle will start with the kids. I think about it before it even happens. I know that math will set my daughter off. That the internet won’t work on my son’s computer. I know that the littlest will play with his animals while I don’t have time to read him a story because school, laundry, endless dishes, deadlines.

I know I’ll feel trapped and unseen all day. And I know I will at some point want to get away from it all as my bad attitude gets the best of me.

So. That’s what forgetting to abide in Christ looks like in my life. And I’m so thankful to wake up joyful again today. Here’s how.

Last night I got a message from a loved one. She encouraged me to read Psalm 91. But before I did I angrily asked God why it’s been so hard. Lovingly, but truthfully He revealed that in all the social distancing, I’d decided to distance myself from Him. Not on purpose. But in disbelief that He is the One true powerful God.

Lovingly, but truthfully He revealed that in all the social distancing, I’d decided to distance myself from Him. 

I stopped reading my Bible and started sleeping in.

I stopped praying and starting running my mouth when frustrated.

I stopped trusting and started depending on my limited wisdom and power.

Yep. That’s who you’re following here! The girl who just stopped! But I think it’s important for you to know. That when you follow a person you’re following someone flawed. And all that person can do is point you to the flawless Jesus. Amen?

So as I read my Bible God was able to speak to my soul and comfort me. I soaked in the fact that I’m not alone. That my faith is real. That God has a proven track record of saving His people. And that when we distance ourselves from God, life is a lot harder internally than when we spend time with Him. You want God’s help? Make time for Him. Pray. Read. Be still and quiet before the Lord. Get up early. Stay up late. Do what you have to do because it’s what you need.

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Reading this morning in Psalm 13 and the Psalmist might as well be me. Starts off asking…

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:1-2 ESV)

Truth is our God never forgets us. But it can feel that way when we stop abiding. When we choose to distance ourselves from Him. But the end it like waking up remembering the truth that God doesn’t move away from us. He is steadfast even when we waver.

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.” (Psalm 13:5-6 ESV)

Trust in His steadfast love again today. RE-joice. RE-new your faith. You get a RE-do as you come near to your Jesus. Today gets to be today and yesterday is in the past. And because of that you and I and all who call on the name of the Lord get to sing. Today let’s replace sadness with singing, bravely CHOOSING to rejoice in the Lord even when our circumstances may be the same.

-Andrea

How are you doing? Comment 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!

Calling for Backup

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

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

Sometimes I feel like that. Do you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals with WL on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk

 

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

Stripping Titles & Finding Identity

What if all our self-made identities were stripped away? Would we still be enough? Down with pneumonia I felt absolutely worthless for two weeks. I couldn’t cook, parent my kids, write, teach, or even plan a birthday party for my 5 year old. I was just Andrea with nothing to be proud of, feeling weak and useless. Then, in the middle of my misery, it hit me; if every identity I’d created was wiped away, would God still love me?

Of course in my head I knew the answer. Scripture tells us that we are beloved children of God, redeemed by Christ as a free gift. But sometimes my heart wants to earn love. I think to myself if I’m a good enough writer, mother, wife, or teacher, I will deserve God’s love and can feel good about accepting it. 

But that’s the opposite of the gospel.

We can cling to this truth when we are afraid we’re not enough.

And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Mark 1:11 ESV

The reason we have nothing to prove and can stand secure in God’s love when we have absolutely nothing to give is evident in today’s verse. Our Dad in heaven is completely, 100%, pleased with Jesus, and we are tucked in Him. So we have nothing to prove. He is our identity. And He’s always enough so we can quit trying to be. 

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When we mess up, His perfection covers us. When we are weak, Jesus’s strength abounds. When we have nothing to give, His sacrifice on the cross prevails. God is well pleased with us because we have faith in His Son, not because we are innately awesome. 

God is well pleased with us because we have faith in His Son, not because we are innately awesome. 

In a culture that beckons us to make a splash and find our worth in what we do, let’s be confident that our identity is solely based on our faith in Christ. The Father is well pleased with Jesus, and sees nothing but good when He looks on us through the light of Christ. No more striving, no more comparing, just resting confidently that we are enough because of Jesus.

 

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

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Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals with WL on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk

 

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

Godly Disagreement Action Plan

Do you love being criticized? No? Me neither. It’s so hard to remain patient with others when we disagree or feel attacked. I need an action plan because conflict is bound to come and I want to be prepared. My first instinct when someone criticizes me is often to defend myself — the I’m right, you’re wrong syndrome. But that mentality rarely leads to peace or resolution. So how does God want us to deal with conflict? Here’s my action plan…

1.Pray for wisdom

God’s desire for His church is that we’re one. (John 17:11) That doesn’t mean we won’t disagree, but that when we do, we commit to disagree in love for the pursuit of God’s kingdom. James 3:17 says God’s wisdom is “…first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” If God is navigating the problem through our prayer, we will work through our problem with peace and mercy listening to each others reasons and then will end with good fruit–stronger than before. I want that!!

2.Pursue Truth about the person

As Christ followers we can’t be about being right, we have to be about seeking truth. So some questions I plan to ask myself at the onset of disagreements are: Does this person have my best interest at heart? If so, I can take what they say knowing they are speaking in love. If not, I can let it roll off and not engage. What do I know about the person that would make them have a different opinion than me? This is a biggie because it helps us view her in grace-filled way honoring that person’s past and hurts.

3. Pursue humility in your actions

If I have to go through an uncomfortable situation, I might as well learn something from it. Recently in a conflict I had to ask myself, is there anything I can do differently next time? The answer was yes. I needed to be more careful with my words.

One strategy I will implement in future relational problems to show loving patience will be to wait 24 hours to respond. In the age of quick responses, we need to be people who carefully consider our words and be patient in our responses by waiting for Godly wisdom before we open our mouths. That is hard for me. I’m a words person. I want to fire off quickly. So humility is going to be my bestie.

Will this plan help me persuade someone I’m right? Maybe not. But they will enable me to leave a disagreement knowing I surrendered it to God and loved my neighbor in patience. We can’t control the outcome, but we can control our part in the process.

What conflict have you endured lately? How could you have worked through the disagreement in a more God honoring way? What steps would you add to your action plan?

 

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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

The Forgiven Forgive

This month is all about patience. Turns out I don’t have a lot of patience when I’ve been hurt. Anyone else? This is a super helpful way to process being hurt and how to heal… Jump over to WhollyLoved Ministries and read my thoughts on how The Forgiven Forgive…

Your gal pal,

Andrea

**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.

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

Done Freaking Out

Anxiety is a beast. It used to control my emotions and hijack my peace. I replayed past mistakes wondering if I was really forgiven. I was frozen in the present afraid of the day. And fretting over the future. Would it all work out? Figuring out anxiety with people wasn’t helping. I needed a divine intervention.

Listen to what our BFF Jesus says to you and me about peace…

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  John 14:27

Jesus can offer so much more than well meaning friends or family when we are losing it. He doesn’t pat us on the back and say it’ll all be ok. He promises that it’s ok because He is in it with us. Knowing that God is present in every fear, every unsteady situation, every moment of uncertainty gives me peace.

Knowing that God is present in every fear, every unsteady situation, every moment of uncertainty gives me peace. 

How? Through God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. We know anxiety is real even though we can’t see it because we can feel its weight. But I know my God’s Holy Spirit is real even though I can’t see Him because I can feel His peace.

As I’ve chosen to be disciplined in giving hard moments and freak outs to God through prayer and trust, I’ve experienced divine peace. I now have assurance over my past, present, and future that no one can mess with.

Here’s how it plays out in everyday life…

THE PAST… When I start to replay negative thoughts about past screw ups, sin, or hurts, I talk to God about it. I tell Him in prayer everything I think about and ask Him to guide my thoughts to truth. And He does. The Holy Spirit reminds me of truth I’ve read in the Bible that I’m forgiven, that grace is a free gift and cannot be earned, and that God has redeemed my hurts for His glory as I reach out to others in love.

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THE PRESENT… Jesus help me I’m passing a semi with my van full of kids. Lord show me how to get through this day. Father watch over those that I love. Jesus heal my stomach because I can’t be sick today. Those are real prayers I have said this week. Be real with God. With everything. Hand all your stresses over to the one who can actually do something about them. And then trust that He hears and cares.

THE FUTURE… There is no way to prepare for what’s coming down the pike and that is an anxious person’s nightmare. The future can’t be controlled or known or prepared for. It’s unknown to us. But it’s not a surprise to God. So when I feel a freak out coming on about the future, mine, my kids, what am I doing with my life, am I really going to heaven when I die?? All the questions. I am thankful for the time I’ve spent reading truth in Scripture because it reminds me that God is in control when I’m not. He has a history of taking care of His people in the strangest ways. HE had a plan to save us before the world was even formed. So surely He has a good plan for my life and yours if we follow His lead.

Listen, I still STRUGGLE with anxiety, but now I don’t battle alone. I fight human anxiety with divine peace. That’s my prayer for you too. That you would let God in when you feel suffocating worry. Prepare your mind for battle by reading truth in your Bible. And fight back with the words of assurance He reminds you of through His Holy Spirit as you come near to Him. Jesus says in today’s verse that He gives us peace. The question is will we take it? 

 

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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