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. 

Queue 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.

 

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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.

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? 

 

**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

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.

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

Jesus Works in the Waiting

It’s impossible. At least it feels that way. That thing that you can’t budge or change sits like a 10 ton boulder in your way. We tend to try to move it anyway, pushing with all our strength, not moving an inch. When we’re tired, Jesus gently gives us another option.

Wait patiently.

Let’s be honest, that’s hard and it’s also not what we like to do. We like to DO, GO, Get ‘er done! in the Midwest. So waiting often seems lazy instead of the right choice.

Here’s what we find in Scripture. God’s people are faced with some real enemies, they are scared, and probably feeling a bit lost, but Habakkuk prays…

“I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently... Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LordI will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength...” (Habakkuk 3: 16-19 NIV) emphasis mine.

 

I have friends who are up against some hard things right now. Friends who are in the waiting period of lots of things.  I also am trying to navigate the future by faith. What if we declared the same as Habakkuk over our insecurities, health problems, lost dreams, immovable problems? Today let’s do that together, praying truth over our uncertainties…

Jesus, Even when I’m scared. I will wait patiently because I know You are working behind the scene. Though I don’t see any evidence of what I want happening, I will trust that You are doing something about the situation when it’s out of my control. In the meantime, I am going to keep my joy and be thankful that my God is working it out for me — You, Lord are my only strength. I’ve got faith You can move this mountain and Your plan for me is good.

Though I don’t see any evidence of what I want happening, I will trust that You are doing something about the situation when it’s out of my control.

Trust that waiting may be what God is asking of you. That He may want to make something beautiful in the time you spend trusting in His power instead of your own.

 

**Get more free encouraging messages and devotionals from Andrea when you sign up for her Email Friends list.

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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.

 

 

Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Have Courage, Kindergarten Mama

In the course of a summer day, my 8-year-old cried because he lost his favorite rock, my 5-year-old practiced princess dancing in her Cinderella dress, and my 3-year-old snuggled his beloved blue blanket. Mothering littles is full of these sweet  moments. But I fear no matter how hard I try to press the invisible pause button, an unstoppable change is coming. And I’m going to need to borrow some courage.

The first day of kindergarten is this week for kid #2. She stretches her arms out wide to show me how nervous she is and then wider to show me how excited. Truth is she’s doing better than me. I’m way more nervous than excited. She’s my sweet babe and I don’t know how I will fare without her. Cue tears as I type.

Mamas are you with me? No doubt am I beyond proud of the independent and quirky girl she’s becoming. So. Stinkin’. Proud. But it’s still hard send her off after having invested 5 years of my 24/7 life to making sure she’s, well, everything…

Hungry? Here’s your red apple not yellow cut into lots of pieces with peanut butter on the side. Tired? Let’s snuggle with your star blanket with the tattered corner. Wanna go outside? Scoot bike to the park, babies in the stroller, or chalk on the sidewalk. Hurt? Kiss, hug, Bandaid from the bathroom drawer. And now it’s just…going to be different.

We watched a Cinderella movie tonight that we quoted afterward in princess voices, “Have courage and be kind.” And it made me break in two because it is too perfect for where we are. I pray that all our sweet babes have courage on all their first days this fall. And I pray that they would remember all that we have taught them, that kindness and love matters more than their reading level or state testing score.

And I pray for us moms as we grow our littles into bigs. That we would have courage to embrace all the changes and find new favorite things about every season of motherhood. And I pray that we would be kind to ourselves as we send our kids out into the world. That’s big and we may need some space, good friends, or Kleenex to process for awhile.

And if you are someone who has been through this season of motherhood and can look back empathetically and encourage a fellow mom along. Please do. We need to know it’s all going to be OK.

Pray for my heart this week…and send chocolate,

Andrea

The Most Dangerous Fear

I made my kid throw a boot at a spider because I was afraid to go near it. I hate ferris wheels for fear I will fall out. And tornado sirens make me stop in my tracks. All of us are afraid of something. But I’m guessing if I asked you your biggest fear, you wouldn’t automatically respond, “People!” even though it’s the most dangerous fear there is…..

Read more over at WhollyLoved today. We’re talking living past our fear and into a bold life with Christ! Who doesn’t want that?? Be bold and brave today ladies!