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.

 

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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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Why We Avoid Jesus

I didn’t think I needed Jesus. So it took me 26 years to truly believe in Him. Every day since a battle has warred in my mind. Will I entrust my past, present and future to Jesus? Or try to make it on my own? We’ve all avoided God, perhaps because of one major faith question. If I surrender my life to Christ, what will He do with it? Is He for my good or against my desires?

I had a plan for my life. Finish school. Get married. Have babies. Have fun. I made most of what I wanted happen until I couldn’t. Our first baby almost died in childbirth–he’s a straight up miracle–but it left me traumatized and depressed. I climbed partially out of that pit only to slide back in from multiple miscarriages.

My plan was NOT working out. My ideas about life were shattered. I didn’t know how to deal with emotional pain. So I tried to patch up the holes myself. Shopping? Wine? Work? Ovulation kits? But nothing brought back joy. Nothing healed my hurts. Only numbed and distracted.

…nothing brought back joy. Nothing healed my hurts. Only numbed and distracted.

I read stories in the Bible about people coming to Jesus. Those who were exhausted, hurt, sick, mourning. I read how He took them in, validated their humanity and spoke tenderly into their pain. He healed the whole person, inside and out. I needed that. Maybe you do, too. (see Matthew 8-9)

I believe those are the questions we must ask ourselves. Do we need Jesus? Do we need forgiveness for our wrongs? Validation of our hurts? And wise counsel for today? Is life with Jesus better than life alone in this world?

The Bible passage below answers that question.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-20 ESV)

Some of my dreams and treasures on earth have been stolen, trampled on, or thwarted. Perhaps yours too. When nothing else could fill my void, bring me back to life, listen to my needs at midnight, understand my hurt, Jesus became my best friend. I needed Him and He showed up and became a lasting treasure to me. One that will never leave or disappoint me.

So the answer to my biggest faith question? Life has proven to be better than I ever imagined as I journey with Jesus.

Things, dreams, people, careers, houses, nor earthly desires, are guaranteed or imperishable.  Jesus is the only treasure that doesn’t wear out. He holds our comfort, healing, forgiveness, rest, joy, peace, love, and eternity secure for us as we do life leaning in close to Him through prayer and trusting His leadership.

Jesus is the only treasure that doesn’t wear out.

His devotion will not fade. His friendship will not get boring. His forgiveness will not run out. A life with Jesus is not about giving up, it’s about getting a new love and purpose. Becoming part of something bigger than yourself. Becoming a new you that you can’t even dream up.

Unfortunately there are also stories in the Bible of people turning away from Jesus out of fear–worried about their schedule, their money, their status. They didn’t think they needed Jesus. So they walked away unhappy. (see Matthew 19:16-22)

Take a moment and inventory what keeps you from coming near to Jesus. Can it offer you the same security, love, grace, acceptance, and joy that knowing Christ can? How would it change your life to let go of what’s keeping you weighted down? I pray you and I have the courage to let go of the temporary things of this world we think are important and grab ahold of God’s powerful love and friendship.

 

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

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

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

How to Change for Good

What is it that you really want this New Year? Social media will be lit up with all sorts of changes to be a new you. How you can have a rockin’ body or 4 steps to a more successful you. Looking back, there’s only one decision that transformed my life. And it’s the one we tend to avoid. Get to know Jesus.

Look. I know it sounds more logical that if we alter our bodies or eating habits we will feel better about life. But I’ve tried all sorts of diets and none can repair the things that really matter…my marriage, my family, my sinful heart. Only Jesus.

I’ve tried all sorts of diets and none can repair the things that really matter…my marriage, my family, my sinful heart. Only Jesus.

Of course, take care of yourself. Make healthy choices and enjoy the life He gave you. But let’s be honest, a beautiful body doesn’t mean as much if the soul is still unhealthy. So if you’re like me, wrestling with wanting to live bigger and better, wanting to see extraordinary things happen in your ordinary life, there’s only one way. You have to tap into God’s supernatural power, and it’s easier than you think.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV emphasis mine).

If you’ve been laboring for a better version of you, stop. Come to Jesus and take a break.

That’s what I’m going to do this New Year. I’m trusting Him to transform me from the inside out as I spend time with Him in prayer, learning by reading bits of my Bible each day, and following where He leads my days and life. It’s not an overnight fix, it’s a new way to live that gives energy instead of taking.

It’s not an overnight fix, it’s a new way to live that gives energy instead of taking.

Jesus doesn’t require anything but you. You don’t have to be awesome. You don’t have to try to be anything, because you are already His. You are loved and valued by the Savior of the world and that is enough. He has a purpose for you if you put down your striving and dare to follow.

So yes, I will probably do some yoga this year and eat more veggies, but that’s not what will change me. Be bold with me this New Year as this group of believers decides to take Jesus at His word. That when we come to Him we will find rest for our burdens and that He truly wants us to learn His ways because His ways fight for real transformation.

So the question is, do you want more from Jesus? He’s ready when you are.

 

 

**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 watch Andrea’s Jesus and Jammies devotional videos 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

 

 

 

I love Jesus but…

I love Jesus, but I cuss a little. I just about died laughing when I read the sign my friend gave me for my writing desk. Then she told me why she bought it for me– because even if we love Jesus we have to remind ourselves daily of some important truths.

Like how Jesus never required perfection.

Most of the people Jesus chose to reveal himself to were very far from perfect

In fact most of the people Jesus chose to reveal himself to were very far from perfect, and less than glamorous. Instead of the righteous Pharisees, His friends started out as social outcasts, murderers, prostitutes, low class fisherman — anyone who wanted more out of life than striving for an invisible goal of perfection.

Because Jesus is our perfection. And we get to breath in a sigh of relief knowing our job is not to prove how good we are, but to live in the grace He won on the cross everyday.

I have been memorizing and resting in Ephesians 2:4-5 lately. Paul writes, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

And He pursued us in our darkest moment, not in our shiniest.

I don’t think we can remind ourselves enough of these truths. God is rich in mercy, not stingy. He has great love for you and me, not just enough to squeak by. And He pursued us in our darkest moment, not in our shiniest.IMG_4918

So we live loved by Jesus and knowing that his grace covers the battles we lost. Claiming that He won’t give up on us, but will keep fighting alongside us until we are filled with his love and mercy. And that is what will make us new and whole.

I don’t know about you, but that is good news for me.

 

 

Advent: Hope that won’t let go

I’ve hoped in a lot of things in my life. Hoped for a loving husband, a good job, healthy kids, and a purposed life. But in moments of loneliness, stress, illness, or failure I have only one hope that matters…I hope that God won’t let go. I hope in Him and His power that somehow He can hold it all together when I surely cannot.

This first week of Advent is all about hope. Here at afruitfulwoman.com I have 2 days of hope coming at ya. Welcome to day ONE!

Where we land on the time stamp of the universe means that we have the privilege of getting to know Christ through the New Testament scriptures and placing our hope in truth. We hope in the fact that scripture tells us our sin is cleansed on the cross, that our present struggles are battled with the help of the Holy Spirit, and that our Father’s love never runs out.  

Week 1, Day 1: We have hope because in Christ our Salvation is secure.

Open your bible to Romans chapter 8 and see what God has to say to you about hope.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering….in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1-4 NIV emphasis mine).

I’m going to stop right there.

That’s what our hope is all about. We. Hope. In. JESUS!

We trust that he was victorious on the cross and that He has not forgotten about us, He knows our every moment and is with us and will come again to bring us home. We have hope because Jesus cannot let go of us. We are too precious. Even when we are trying our hardest to let go of him, His grip of love is stronger than anything in this world.

“We do NOT hope in ourselves or our efforts or how many awesome things we do on this planet. We hope in the one who sets us free from sin and death — Jesus.” 

So we do NOT hope in ourselves or our efforts or how many awesome things we do on this planet. We hope in the one who sets us free from sin and death because we could not do it ourselves. And we hope in the fact that righteousness has been FULLY met in us when we trust our lives to Jesus because HE is fully righteous and good.

Anybody got goosebumps? We hope in His power and mercy. Not in our efforts. We are free from trying to be perfect. He’s got this when we don’t. And at least for me, that is good news.

Rest in that today, that your future is secure in Christ no matter what. You can’t shake off your salvation. It is already done. We are free! Now we get the honor of doing life with God. And we can sure put our hope in a life lived with Christ.

More on the Hope you can take to the bank coming on Advent: Hope Day Two….