Busy women need big faith this fall

The blessing and hardship of womanhood is that we don’t live for ourselves. Literally while I write this I have been interrupted by kids needing water, a cowboy outfit, and a hug for a stubbed toe. Gah! Our bodies were created to care for new life. Our hearts to love others first. Our minds to think of their needs. But without a strong faith, caring for our families turns into stress and anxiety. I’ve felt that weight of trying to be enough for everyone around me only to waking up depleted and defeated. That’s why I need to gear up for this fall. Do you?

Work, school, activities, church, meals, nursing sick kids. We need divine help. And we need to take care of ourselves and our needs so we can best serve our people.

SO! I thought I’d challenge myself to do one thing each month to grow in faith. One thing for me to take a breath with Jesus, to get back on track when so many other things pull me off sanity’s rails. And since I’m doing it, I thought I’d invite you along with me. Because chances are, you need this toScreenshot (2)o.

I found the PERFECT book for us to read (or listen to if you’re not a reader). It’s called Rhythms of Renewal: trading stress and anxiety for a life of peace and purpose by Rebekah Lyons.

 

So here’s the plan:

  1. Get your copy at the link above (IT’s on SALE).
  2. JOIN the group I created for us on Facebook by August 25 to *discuss at your own pace, *belong to community of faithful and encouraging women, and *grow personally with the Lord through prayer prompts and devotionals and life challenges. (@glorybeblog on Facebook, click more, groups, and join monthly faith Screenshot (1)challenge)

 

 

 

 

 

I always have grand hopes of leading or attending in-person Bible studies, but the truth is I can’t commit to leaving my family one night a week. IT’S SO HARD to find time to squeeze in community.

So if you are feeling anxious about the world and want a deeper faith… but are super busy, or shy, or don’t want to chance bringing germs home to your family this fall… THIS IS MADE FOR YOU.  

This isn’t going to be flashy. I don’t promise to be a perfect leader. But I’ll show up and care for you as you show up for yourself. It’s going to be honest conversation for women who need refreshing.  

As I’m inviting you, invite a friend who needs a fresh start this fall to read this book with us and dive deep into faith.

In Him,

Andrea Chatelain

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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.

 

 

Moving from Solo to Solidarity in Rona Time

Just call me Mrs.Turtle. I tend to go into my shell when stressed. Other times busyness claims my focus and I forget about others. Anybody else? Without realizing it, I disconnect from people, stop reaching out, and can vanish into my little bubble of me and my family. But in doing so, I don’t receive tangible loving encouragement from others and I don’t have opportunity to give that love away either. So what do we do? How do we consciously move from solo living to solidarity in Rona times?

I asked God that very question. Lord how can I do better and serve my people well right now? And the easiest plan came to mind.

I need to CHALLENGE myself and others to simply check in.

So let me ask you, dear reader, how are you? What are you worried about? How have you been dealing with this stressful season? Are you totally turtle-tucked in? Or do you feel like people have been checking in on you?

I have up and down days. Anxiety on Monday, peace on Tuesday, who knows on Wednesday. Depends on what’s going on and how well I’m trusting Jesus with it all. Have I read my Bible that day, have I prayed, have I talked to someone who cares, have I exercised, did I eat well? It all plays a part in my emotional well-being.

I wonder who in your life, your community, needs YOU to reach out of your bubble and check in on THEM?

As I read through the book of Job recently I noticed how alone he was in his suffering and how dark that hole became. Literally to the point of wishing the day he was born would be stricken from the calendar.

Let’s not let our friends get to that point of isolation. Let’s push in with a text, a message, a hug, a dropped off coffee. Loving others doesn’t have to look extravagant, but it does require intentional thought on others instead of self.

Loving others doesn’t have to look extravagant, but it does require intentional thought on others instead of self.

I’m guilty of thinking waaaaaaaaay to much of myself lately. So I would like to propose a challenge for anyone who wants to make a little splash of love next week.

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Each day we’ll check in on one person we know. Might be a long lost friend. Might be someone we know suffers from depression/anxiety. Might be a neighbor. I promise you’ll end up feeling better as a result and your heart will grow as your bubble opens up.

*I’ll give IDEAS AND ACCOUNTABILITY Monday through Friday July 6-10.

*SCRIPTURE and DEVOTIONALS to encourage you on your adventure of reconnecting and renewing relationships.

*And PRAYER prompts for your week.

But ultimately this is between you and Jesus. Whoever He puts on your mind is your mission. Together we can be the instruments of love to a lonely and isolated world. AND we’ll also invite others into our bubbles to combat our own loneliness and isolation! It’s a win-win!

Sound good?

If you haven’t yet, follow my facebook OR instagram @glorybeblog for instructions for next week. Excited to see how this challenge moves God’s people to intentionally connect and strengthen each other! 

💗Andrea

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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.

Conquering Fear of Rejection & Stepping into Courage

My friend Jennifer boldly describes tender and hard areas that can keep us silent…unless we conquer our fear of rejection and step into courage. Read how in today’s guest blog.

 

By Jennifer Slattery

For a long time, fear of rejection was my greatest foe. It hindered my relationships with others, my effectiveness, and my peace. Worse, it kept me from fully surrendering to Christ. I was far from the confident, courageous ambassador Christ created me to be. Upon first glance, this might not seem like such a bad thing. After all, I have yet to meet a woman who in some way doesn’t struggle with such insecurities. The problem arises when we place our desire to please others above our desire to please God—the author of life and hope. 

This almost always results in disobedience. Worse, it hinders my proclamation of grace and thus the very role God created me for. In fact, when I allow my insecurities to enslave me, I’ve slipped into a role reversal. I become self-obsessed and make Jennifer Slattery, rather than Christ, the center of my world. 

Here’s what I’ve found: the more I focus on myself, the more miserable and insecure I become. Always. But when I focus on others? When I truly love them? That’s freeing. And healing and empowering. 

The other night, I watched my daughter share a really difficult and vulnerable story to a room full of high school students. And while she’s not normally nervous speaking in front of crowds, I’m sure a part of her would’ve much rather stayed home. She might even have wrestled with whether or not to talk about this thing, but her love for the young girls growing up in today’s hyper-sexual culture propelled her. 

You see, her freshman year in high school, she was sexually assaulted. This experience scared, mortified, and shamed her and was made all the more painful by her confusion. Prior to this, she’d been homeschooled then attended a small private school. She’d had limited access to movies and television. Therefore, her experience with males had always been positive. I don’t think she’d ever seen a woman objectified before—not until that happened to her. 

She didn’t tell her father and I about this experience for a long time, for years, actually. Instead, she buried it deep in her heart, feeling dirty and ashamed. This impacted her relationships with others, especially boys, even those who weren’t like the ones who had treated her so horridly. Often, that’s what happens when others hurt us. Unless we learn to feel and grieve and heal with Christ, those wounds begin to fester, impacting our perceptions and interactions. Our pasts can create an ongoing fear that others will hurt, use, or reject us. And so, we erect barriers around our hearts and then wonder why we feel so alone. 

We begin to form labels like: I’m not good enough. I’m tarnished. I’m worthless. I’m discarded. I’m rejected. 

Those labels effect everything. They keep us in bondage. I don’t know how true this was for my daughter, but regardless of how she might or might not have felt, she acted courageously. Why? Because she knew those precious teens sitting, row by row, in front of her, needed to hear her story. And so, she told it.

She shifted her focus off of herself and onto Christ and every youth in the audience. With her eyes on God, her fear of rejection lost its power. 

Self-obsession is a ravenous beast that will hold us in bondage. It will trigger our insecurities, feed our deceptions, distort our perceptions, and deaden our impact. To break free, we need first recognize how deeply loved we are, not for anything we have or haven’t done but because of who Christ is. God is love and therefore we are loved. But we also need to love God and others more than we love ourselves. We need to practice being other’s focused. Because love, breathed in and then out, truly does have the power to break every chain, our fears of rejection included. 

 

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Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Hometown Healing and numerous other titles, writes for iBelieve and Bible Study Tools, devotions for Guideposts and the Quiet Hour, and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team help women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. Visit her online to find out more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event, and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE to learn of her future appearances, projects, and releases.

 

In her 12-part podcast series titled Faith Over Fear, she helps listeners battle many of the Faith-Over-Fear-1400x1400anxieties and fears that often assault us, sharing practical tools and timeless truths that, when applied, can help us live our Christ-won place of victory. Find these episodes on Life Audio, her correlating Bible reading plan Faith Over Fear on the YouVersion Bible app, free printable calendars to her Faith Over Fear 10 week challenge, and her private Facebook group you can link arms and find encouragement from other warriors steadily advancing toward freedom. 

 

Comment below, 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.

Grow in faith with Andrea’s video Devotionals on Our Daily Bread! And more with WhollyLoved Ministries on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk.  

How Gardens Deepen Faith

I bet you didn’t know that your back yard is the PERFECT place for you and your family to grow deeper in faith. Spring is a time of hope and a warming of our souls and our bodies. It’s also a time we plant dead looking seeds, in faith, believing they will grow into strong plants bearing a good harvest. We plant because we know life comes from burying that dead seed. That representation of hope is just one that points to the gospel as we put our hands in the dirt.

Some of the most famous parables, or teaching stories, Jesus spoke were about farming. So when you grow up in the city it’s hard to understand to the core what He was saying. As my kids and I have worked our backyard organic garden the last six years it’s deepened our understanding of some of these stories.

Jesus used a planting analogy when trying to explain why He would die on the cross for us.

He told His disciples “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him,” John 12:24-26 ESV.

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Do you hear that? Jesus, in perfect faith and hope, planted His life in the ground knowing He’d be raised up again by the Father because it was the only way to make our dead hearts alive again in Christ. His one seed of obedience grew into the faithful Christian family of today all over the globe and in the Heavens.

You, my friend, are part of the fruit God bears on the earth when you have faith in Christ.

But it doesn’t stop there! As we follow Jesus, like He said in the above passage, we get to bear a rich harvest too. As we put our life seed in the ground of this generation, laying down our lives and plans and following His, we grow a miracle crop in the people around us with Jesus.

So when I’m in the garden, I can’t help but see the Bible in action. I see dead seeds coming alive. I see weeds being pulled from external forces just like our sin is pulled out by the Lord. There’s thorns growing up with my raspberries reminding me that there are blessings and hardships in life as I poke my finger looking for the good. And there’s a harvest after the plant grows for a season from tough rain and storms.

I mean, if that doesn’t make you want to have a garden, I don’t know what will! Experiment with some dirt and seeds and see what you and God can grow in your backyard and in your heart this spring! Feel free to ask questions below if you need help getting started!

Comment below, 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’s devotionals with WhollyLoved Ministries on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk. Soon to come from Andrea… Video Devotionals on Our Daily Bread!

Pushing Forward in 2020

2020 is beckoning us to desire newness, goodness, and success. The problem? It’s not completely up to us. Our days, successes, and plans are held together by our Creator, yet we often kill ourselves trying. We strive as if our hustle alone is the driving force of our dreams. But Scripture shows if we invite God into our plans, we thrive in an unexpected way.

2019 felt like a race to be more. 

I did all the things. I mothered, taught, wrote, taught some more, volunteered, published, served…fed the dog. You name it, I did it. And I’m tired. Still I felt like I was constantly behind because someone was always farther than me. Social media showed writers were meeting goals I wasn’t, mothers were making the meals I didn’t, business people earning while I stayed home… go go go!

Life seemed a competition. 

I love social media. How enjoyable that we can connect and encourage so easily? Need a recipe for gluten-free muffins? Bam! Instagram’s got you covered! But living online covered me in insecure thoughts. I tried to live up to everyone else’s best instead of the beauty that God had for me. I let others’ actions determine mine instead of adopting God’s will for my life. The result? I lost my inner peace.

Turns out, Scripture asserts that when we surrender our deeds to the Lord, mental contentment follows.

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 ESV.

What does this really mean? The original Hebrew translates that when we roll our actions to Yahweh, our THOUGHTS will be FIRM. 

Think of your plans as a great boulder. We can either break ourselves trying to roll them forward alone, or we can roll them over to Jesus and give them to Him trusting that if He pushes them forward it’s His will. And if He keeps them still, that’s for our best. 

When we push our plans over to God, inviting Him into our hopes and dreams, we allow His power to work in our circumstances and His peace to rule our minds. Our thought life is firm and peaceful knowing God’s got this and we can relax! Isn’t that awesome?!

For me, rolling my plans to Jesus means praying through my hopes and desires. Asking God to lead my family, friendships, and profession where HE wants them to go. Then I keep stepping forward as doors open. I work where He prompts me to and I let the rest be for someone else contented in my mind that that’s  not where God wants me. I know peace will follow as I let go of what’s not for me and I press in more to the places God wants me to be. 

Do you feel me? What dream are you trying to push forward? Where do you feel discontented? What is it you want for your life and for your loved ones? Take your plans off your shoulders and roll all your desires over to Jesus, trusting Him to determine your best for 2020.

Featured Photo by AJ Yorio on Unsplash

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!

 

Reclaiming Redemption

Today’s post over at WhollyLoved Ministries is a MUST READ. It’s all about reclaiming our redemption. What does it mean to be redeemed? And what power awaits when we do?! Join me over at WhollyLoved for this powerful blog.

 

**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.

 

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?

 

**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

How to Live out God’s Character

Goals, pressure, perfection, progress—it’s easy to get sucked into believing we’re the cause of success and growth. But real change happens as God gives us grace to be like Christ according to our willingness to walk with a second place mentality. Transformation happens when we accept His will over self-will, and consider the needs of others above ours. Our culture has it backwards, truth is, Humility—not striving— is the root to bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”(1 Peter 5:5 ESV)

Living like Jesus isn’t impossible. We don’t have to struggle to be more like Jesus any more than a branch has to struggle to bear fruit. Instead, we focus on walking in humility, and the Spirit of God will automatically produce the fruit. Humility keeps us resting in God like a branch rests in the vine. We can learn to walk in this virtue in a practical manner daily; through every choice we surrender to God.

When I was a teenager and a new believer in Christ, the Lord led me to apply this in the most simplistic ways. Whenever my friends and I went out for a drive we’d fight to see who’d ride shotgun. To practice humility, I began to volunteer to sit in the backseat, which was considered the less prominent position within the pack. Through this practice I soon discovered that God’s favor to the humble protects them like a shield (Psalm 5:12).

On one occasion three of us were sitting in the back of the bed of my cousin’s truck. After making a stop, my friend jumped into the back of the truck where I had been sitting. My initial impulse was to insist that he move. But instead, I submitted to the Lord’s prompting to humble myself. A few minutes later a vehicle t-boned the exact spot where I was previously sitting. The friend who took my seat was injured in the accident. In fact, I was the only one who walked away without a scratch. Thankfully no one was seriously injured, but God taught me to trust His voice because He protects those who walk in humility.

So why don’t we choose humility over pride?

Perhaps because some equate it to weakness. On the contrary, we’ll have a strength we never before possessed to seek justice and to stand with the helpless when we follow God. He will help our thoughts shift to prioritize others, and will give us opportunities to practice putting the needs of others ahead of ours.

We’ll have a strength we never before possessed to seek justice and to stand with the helpless when we follow God.

Humbling ourselves is a good defense to combat the enemy of self-will. Pride in the heart hinders the grace of God like a dam backing the flow of water. The humble in heart have a constant source of living water providing growth in any conditions.

Our choice to be humble matters. Proverbs 11:30 says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.”

Sometimes the people we share life with and pray for are not thirsting to know God because we are not manifesting the life of Jesus in our lives. But the more we allow Christ to live through us and our actions, we’ll bear the fruit of His presence, and they will begin to sense and desire the peace, joy, and love He offers. They’ll ask questions about our faith which is a sign that God is drawing them to Himself.

Let’s ask God to make us wise soul-winners by bearing fruit that comes from walking humbly with Him. “Teach us O Lord, to walk in submission to Your Word and to clothe ourselves in the garment of a servant toward others.”      

What practical way can you walk in humility?

 

matt romano headshot - croppedMatthew J. Romano (today’s guest blogger) is an ordained deacon of Christ Church New Jersey. He has been walking with the Lord for over 25 years. His passion is sharing Christ with the lost and teaching believers to walk passionately with the Lord. He currently serves the body of Christ as a deacon, altar ministry to pray for the needs of God’s people, life group leader, guest teacher and speaker of the Word of God, and as a certified teacher in the School of Prayer. He is the author of “The Call: An Invitation to Revival and Transformation” and “The Call: A Study Guide to Revival and Transformation.” Connect with Matt more online. 

 

**Join the afruitfulwoman.com community this year and receive free devotionals and messages from Andrea when you sign up for her Email Friends list.  And Find your voice in the conversation on FaceBook.

AndreaWeb47

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

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals on crosswalk.com

Fearing Forward with Jesus

Heart pounding. Dry mouth. Hands shaking. Words fumbling. Anxiety at its finest. The first time I spoke in front of an audience about God was a total flop by earthly standards. I rushed  through as fast as possible so I didn’t have to stand up there alone for one more second. I had let fear take over and drive me into failure. Or so I thought.

I went home and cried.

Why did God call me to write, speak, and encourage others in His name if I couldn’t physically do it? Didn’t He know  I wasn’t capable of this? Didn’t He know I’m comfortable hiding right here in front of my computer?

He did know that, but He also knew I needed to learn an important lesson before moving forward. That none of this– the failures nor the wins– are about what I am capable of alone. It’s about Jesus working with me for my good and the good of others as we step forward in faith.   

It’s about Jesus working with me for my good and the good of others as we step forward in faith.   

After seeing their beloved Jesus die on a cross, I imagine His followers were confused and afraid. Maybe they even felt abandoned in the faith they were once so sure of. Jesus, knowing every one of their fears, showed Himself to His disciples to encourage their faith and to instruct them.

Some followers believed when they saw Jesus, others needed help believing.

“And when they saw Him they worshiped Him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:17-20 esv).

When faced with fear, followers of Christ have a choice to make — will we doubt His presence? Or believe Jesus is truly with us in the struggle? What we choose determines if we can overcome our fears.

Many times I’ve doubted in my life. I’ve believed I was alone in parenting struggles, marriage lows, job crises, health scares — and most recently the first time I stood in front of an audience. Somehow I got the idea that God was here for the overall picture but not the day to day ugly. Wrong.

I poured over Matthew 28:17-20 thinking about how Jesus tells to go out boldly in his name. It struck me that before Jesus asks His disciples to go, He tells them all authority in heaven and on earth belongs to Him. This is important, not just because it allows us to trust that we have a powerful God, but because of the words that follow.

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” If Jesus is with us, that means His power is too.

If Jesus is with us, that means His power is too.

As a language teacher I know words cannot be translated perfectly. I wanted to know exactly what that meant that “I am” would be “with” us “always”. So I looked up the original Greek to better understand these important words of our Savior.

Here’s the gist….

The word here for “I am” is “ego eimi” which is the same name Jesus refers to himself when He says “I am the way” in John 14:6. Interestingly, the Greek word for “with” in this passage is an active with. It’s a “with” that means Jesus is working in us, not just standing by watching as we labor solo . Lastly, “always” means each and every part of the total. Each moment that makes up our entire lives. Not just the pretty ones.

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Putting this all together, Jesus promises to work with us every time He calls us to step out of our comfort zones.

Knowing this breaks down my fear when I step out in faith. Believing Jesus is working behind the scenes every time I put myself out there in obedience grows my confidence and propels me forward.  

We’re not alone, but when we feel as if we are, let’s remember Jesus’ promise. The great I am will be working with us in every moment, always.  

 

book-bindings-3176776_1920Let’s connect! How have you seen the great I AM at work in your everyday life? Comment below or on FaceBook and read more about overcoming fear with Jesus over at www.Whollyloved.com.

Or better yet, attend an upcoming Bold and Brave conference!

-Andrea