Tell your kids… EVEN IF

There was a commotion outside. It seemed like my son had made a big mistake and things were heated. He was all alone in a hard moment and my mama bear instinct was to bring him in, cover him in a hug, and get the truth. There I learned the power of saying EVEN IF.

Turns out after talking it out with his friend, my son was innocent and it was an accident. But my heart still ached for my kid. When others were calling him guilty, it broke his spirit.

It made me think of all the times we’re called out and shamed instead of covered in grace. And how quickly we lose our joy when that happens. All the times I should’ve covered others instead of speaking fast out of anger.

My mind fast-forwarded to him at 25 when he really does mess up big time. What if he loses a job? What if he cheats on a test? What if he thinks he’s beyond the grace and love of Jesus because others make him feel that way? But that’s people, not God. God doesn’t shame us. He absorbs our shame.

God doesn’t shame us. He absorbs our shame.

So I hugged him and changed all those “what ifs” to “even ifs”.

Right there in the kitchen, I hugged his sad little self, and said…. “I need you to know that someday you really are going to mess up, and you need to know that your mom and dad and God will love you still. We will love you even if you crash the car. Even if you cheat an lose your job. Even if your family has problems. Even if… Even if…”

The heaviness was lifted and his joy returned. He was able to move on because he knew our love was secure.

During this month when I ponder the fruit of the Spirit, joy, that we have in Christ a certain verse has pounded on my soul.

10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. (psalm 103:10-13)

God doesn’t repay us for our sins. He covers them in grace as we confess them.

God doesn’t repay us for our sins. He covers them in grace as we confess them.

The truth is the opposite of what we think. His love is steadfast and higher than we can fathom. His grace goes beyond our mistakes. So much so that He’s removed our sins and thrown them away. He is compassionate and forgives us EVEN IF we mess up big-time. He loves us even if others don’t.

That’s why we are joyful. Because no matter what, we have a Dad who’s got our back. Who will never leave and will always love and cover us in His grace as we come and tell Him the truth. So tell your kids EVEN IF, but also tell yourself. God loves me…even if…


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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

Measuring Your Impact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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,


Overcoming the Bewitching Hour

I have two bewitching hours. You know, the hours that you are just done with the day? First is suppertime when children are running crazy, hanging on my leg, dog is barking, “mom I’m hungry!!!”, and the noodles overflow. If we survive that,  bedtime is a minefield of emotions. One is crying because her head hurts, one is crying because he doesn’t want the princess cup, and one is moving like a sloth.

Lord help me finish strong.

I prayed at night when I had already let my impatience show. Then I remembered the verse I had read earlier in the day, Colossians 3:12-15.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another, … And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:12-15 ESV).

Bear with your people in compassion and patience. Forgive. Love. Let Christ rule your heart even in your bewitching hour. And be thankful.

Let Christ rule your heart even in your bewitching hour. And be thankful.

It was all so good. So perfectly what I needed. But that last line, “And be thankful” was the most important. It was the way to turn my selfish attitude into a serving heart.

As I tucked in my children, I looked at them and smiled. I soaked up their sweet little voices. I didn’t mind the need for extra dreams on their forehead or more snuggles instead of sleep. Jesus helped me finish strong by ruling my heart and creating thankfulness.

And today He reminded me again. As I sat down to read Mark 6:30-34 the disciples have put in a long day of healing, they are tired and hungry. When they list off all they’ve accomplished to Jesus, his response in verse 31 is “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (NIV).

When we are tired. Jesus wants us to come to him, in a quiet place, and He will give us what we need to keep going.denim-1839955_1920

Still while Jesus, in compassion, desired to meet the needs of 5,000, the disciples grumbled… Wouldn’t it be easier just to send them away? We’re tired! It’s late! We’ve done a lot today! Sound familiar? Those are the same thoughts that run through my mind at my bewitching hours.

But Jesus modeled what to do. He took the little food the disciples had, gave thanks and was able to feed 5,000 people with it.

Jesus is the same Son of God now as He was then. And that moment was for us, too.

When we come to Jesus in our grumbling, if we listen, He can redirect our hearts to compassion and thankfulness. Only Jesus can take the little we have left and multiply it to meet the needs of others.

Only Jesus can take the little we have left and multiply it to meet the needs of others.

Truth is I can’t conquer the day alone. Only with Jesus we are able to claim and live out Colossians 3:12-15. He enables us to clothe ourselves with compassion and patience and bear with each other in love, and make our hard moments sweet…

And make our hearts thankful.



Let’s be REAL…

sunset-401541_1920What are your bewitching hours? Where do you need Jesus to multiply the little you have left into enough patience, love, and mercy for the people around you? At work? At home? With friends or family?

Join A Fruitful Woman community on FB and see what others are saying! Or come to an upcoming WhollyLoved conference .


Public Teachers do God’s work

The leader of the pack was in my public school homeroom. When he wasn’t there he was most likely in in-school suspension. But after weeks and months of standing at my door giving high-fives, smiles, and compliments to students, I had gained his trust. He was in my room asking me to pray. Could a public teacher do God’s work?

“Miss C. you’re Christian, can you pray for me? I think my girlfriend is pregnant.”

How did he know I was Christian? I didn’t tell the class. I wore a cross necklace sometimes but this was public school. I couldn’t say anything about my faith. Right?

Feeling like someone would bust into my room and fire me for praying, I did it anyway. I prayed over his future, over his choices, and spoke truth of God’s love. I couldn’t help but cry. Thankful that I could pray with this one, but wished I could tell each one that God loves them more than anything.

I was thankful I could pray with this one, but wished I could tell each one that God loves them more than anything. 

But Jesus said “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35 NIV).

Sometimes I felt like there was a gag in my mouth working in public school. Where I worked, some of the kids were more street smart than I was. But really they were just kids. Kids who needed love– a love big enough to fill in some of the hurt.

I learned quickly that showing the love of Jesus doesn’t have to be with words, or explicit gospel teaching. It truly is about showing. Our loving actions in everyday small ways opens doors for Christ to do big work in people’s hearts.

Our loving actions in everyday small ways opens doors for Christ to do big work in people’s hearts. 

John affirms this saying, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth”(1 John 3:18 NIV).

Some students accidentally called me ‘mom’. Some were in foster care, some homeless, some pregnant, others from loving families. Still they were mine from 7:20-3:10. It was my responsibility to grow their minds and prepare them for the next level.

But in order to do that I had to show them I loved them like my own kid.

It was hard for me to let my oldest son go to kindergarten. And truly it doesn’t really get much easier. My heart hurts a little when he waves on the bus, and I still miss him during the day when he’s not at the table for lunch. But I know how much his teacher loves him as I loved my students. For eight hours a day, Luke is her kid, too.

So I want to say, “Thank you!!” teachers of every level and every school for loving our kids this year. You did God’s work in your classrooms and your love for our kids is one more piece of evidence showing Jesus on this earth.

See you in the fall.


I was sitting on a bench at the park with a mom-friend having my only adult conversation of the day. Our kids were climbing the tornado slide and shooting hoops independently while we sat and took a break from mothering. Another mom sat across the park from us… in the sand, digging, laughing, and playing with her kids. Soon she got up, put her little boy on her shoulders while pushing a stroller up a hill.

We sat there watching her amazing mom efforts from our cozy restful bench, and I felt a little humbled by her obvious mothering prowess.

“You’re my hero!” I said to the woman who seemed to have more energy than me and my friend combined.

“Oh, I just finally have a day off to be with my kids! Gotta soak it up.” she said waiving off my compliment.

That little moment reminded me that there is no place for comparison in mothering. We are all struggling either inwardly or externally to be the best mom for our kids. And we are all amazing.  For some of us that means taking a break on the bench for sanity, and for some it means being present and playing in the sand.

We are all struggling either inwardly or externally to be the best mom for our kids. And we are all amazing. 

I’ve been on both sides of the mom coin. I’ve been a full-time working mom who misses her kid so much she doesn’t want to go anywhere on the weekends because she wants to soak in every moment with those little snuggle bugs. And I’ve been a stay at home mom who plays all day long and needs her little snuggle bugs to play independently at the park because she’s needs an adult moment.

No matter what way you do it, mothering is the best, hardest, most rewarding, and most emotionally challenging role in a woman’s life. It is full of tender moments that are only experienced between you and your child. And it is full of worry, self-doubt, and fear that you are doing it all wrong or not doing it as well as the next mom.

No matter what way you do it, mothering is the best, hardest, most rewarding, and most emotionally challenging role in a woman’s life.

Here’s some of what I want to say to all my mom friends out there… 

To my pre-moms who are are trying to get pregnant and struggling or who are pregnant and are hyper worried. You are already a good mom because you already love your someday baby and are already wishing and hoping and praying for it’s future. The pregnancy journey can be lonely and long, but God is there to listen to every worry, fear,  or doubt. You will be amazing!

To my SAHMoms of littles who are just plain exhausted. Keep going. Your love and snuggles and never-ending days will be short-lived, but you will smile when you look back on these days and your kids will remember all that you do. Take care of your heart so you can take care of your littles. Know that for you and your life, you are the only person God wanted to take care of those littles which means less of yourself and more of son-2935723_1920them right now. But it’s worth it and you are simply amazing.

To my working mom friends who are equally exhausted. You are loving your kids just as much and you are building confidence in their little hearts as they see you rockin’ it at whatever you do. I remember when my mom finished college in my teen years with high marks and got her first job at a bank. I had never been more proud of her in my life and I told everyone about her accomplishments. She has been my biggest cheerleader in school, and a listening ear for all my dreams in life– no matter how crazy they are. Working moms, you are simply amazing.

To my moms of teens who are just plain lost in the world of adolescence and are hanging on to motherhood by prayers and God’s wisdom. We are here with you to listen and pray and encourage you. Please remember the lessons you learn on this journey and pass them down to us moms of littles. We will need your help soon! You are our role models. Stay strong. You are amazing!


To my single mom friends. You are stronger than anyone I know. You do it all. Often times with no recognition or help. You are master jugglers of work, school, kids, and emotions. You are so strong that sometimes it’s hard for you to accept help and support. But we are with you. We are for you. We are amazed by you as you lead your people in love.

To my moms of kids that face big challenges— kids who suffer from physical illnesses,  learning struggles, mental, emotional, or social battles. It’s just plain harder. I wish I could take some of your burden and lighten your worry load. But the only thing I know is that our God is bigger and stronger than anything that our kids will face. When you feel out of control, He is in control. Let God be God of every moment that feels too big or too much, and let yourself just be you, amazing and wonderful you.

And to my grandmas and mother-in-laws out there. Simply where would we be without you??? We are so thankful for all the meals, hugs, help, love, and wisdom you have filled us with. You tell us we can do it and we believe you. You lift us up when we feel like we have nothing else. You bring coffee and smiles and sanity to our lives. You invest your time in your grandkids when you could be off doing your own thing. You make this mothering business so much lighter and remind us to keep focused on what’s important. You are simply amazing.

I have so much love for all you moms out there. In a world that tells you you are not enough, I just wanted to tell you that you are amazing.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Enduring Motherhood

It’s 5:45AM and I’m wiping puke off the toilet. He didn’t quite get there. Two hours before his sister was up scared needing a 5th tuck in. Two hours after puke, his little brother wants to watch Lion Guard. And I am defeated before the day begins. I’m not sure I have the endurance for this day, but I have a choice to make.

Will I grumble through the day? Or will I endure with grace and love following Jesus through the landmines.

And a verse comes to my mind.

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young,” (Isaiah 40:11 NIV).

I stood in my bathroom, one of the only places I can lock the door for a moment and pray those words back to him. Jesus you say you gently lead mothers and I need you to do that today. I need you because I can’t do this day well without you. 

There is something so sacred and precious about the fact that our God sees us mothers and carries us close to his heart. He knows the humble and sometimes exhausting job we have to do. He sees our day and He honors it in his Word saying that He will gently lead us.

Gently. There’s no shove into perfection. No jab when we get it wrong. No guilt-trip that we’re not enough. No. Jesus is an opposite dose of everything the world around us is handing out. He gathers us to himself, carries us close, and gently leads when we surrender our day to him.

Jesus is an opposite dose of everything the world around us is handing out.

I think of you, friend, and what battles you face today. Whether it’s a whole bunch of little moments needing your attention, or a seemingly impossible giant ahead of you. At some point we all will have a day when we stretch ourselves to meet the needs of the people we care for. I pray that you remember Isaiah 40:11 on that day.

That God cares about all the little and big battles. He sees you and is with you especially when it’s hard. He tucks us in close and helps us endure.


book-bindings-3176776_1920Journal reflections:

When have you felt God carrying you in the past?

In what circumstances do you need God to gently lead you today?

Read Isaiah 40:11 again. What hits you? What soothes you? What is God saying to you?



Scriptures 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. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Mamaship: Surviving Motherhood

It’s 3 degrees out and my best friend’s car pulls up to my snowy sidewalk. There he waits for the bus everyday without freezing his face off. And I survive motherhood a little better because I don’t have to wake up my two slumbering littles. It may seem like a small insignificant act of kindness, but it’s one of my favorite acts of Mamaship.

We need to create a new word to reflect the friends we find during young motherhood. It’s not simply friendship. It goes deeper. It’s that friend who loves your kids like her own. It’s a friendship that helps you survive motherhood. It’s mamaship.

Mothering littles tested my sanity, my faith, and my ability to put one foot in front of the other.

Mamaship has been one of the biggest blessings in my life the last three years. During that time I went from having one toddler to having three. Mothering littles tested my sanity, my faith, and my ability to put one foot in front of the other. It sanctifies the heart in countless ways, but for me motherhood erased pride and showed me how to humbly accept help.

I didn’t always have mamaship. But we moved to this new neighborhood when I needed it most. I had quit my job, didn’t have work friends anymore, my family was all over the map, and my sportswriter husband worked all week and then covered games on the weekend. And I was a little afraid to let people into my chaos because I feared they would see I wasn’t a great mother or homemaker.

So my choice was to be alone in motherhood, or to let a few people in to see that I didn’t have it all together hoping they wouldn’t judge me. I decided to take a chance.

I would take walks around the neighborhood and talk to any mom outside on a sunny day. And slowly over cups of tea, afternoon snacks, halloween dinners, and morning winter playdates, God blessed me with more mamaship than I had ever thought possible.

God blessed me with more mamaship than I had ever thought possible.

Together we have shared in each other’s losses, been ears to motherhood insecurities, cheerleaders for new dreams, and second pairs of hands when life is crazy.

It reminds me of Pauls words to the Philippians. “I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles” (Philippians 4:13-14 emphasis mine).

Young moms, the best thing you can do for yourself is find other moms in your season who can share in your troubles and share in your delights. It takes vulnerability and a sprinkle of divine help, but I pray that you find mamaship.

Motherhood is a team sport and we need others to love our kids when our tank is empty. And on cold winter days when influenza is getting the best of you… you will thank God for mamaship as your bestie picks up your kid and takes him to the bus stop.

**Who are your mamaship friends? You know, the ones who just make motherhood better? Share this with them today thanking them for the strength– and coffee — they have loaned you.