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.

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

The Forgiven Forgive

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

Your gal pal,

Andrea

**Did that resonate with your soul?! Here’s how to GET MORE free truth bombs right to your inbox. You matter to me! Find your voice in the conversation.

AndreaWeb47

 

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

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals on Crosswalk

Done Freaking Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s how it plays out in everyday life…

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

people-1492052_1920

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.

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

A Christmas interview with Alexandra Kuykendall

Let’s face it, our actual Christmas doesn’t always mimic a Hallmark movie. Expectations, finances, hope, joy, sorrow, and where Jesus meets us in it all. Alexandra Kuykendall shared some practical and soulful insights during a video interview centered on her book, “Loving my Actual Christmas”.

I hope this Christmas interview blesses you as it did me as we prepare our hearts for the season…knowing that no matter our circumstances, Jesus is with us and is our source of all we need at Christmas and all year long.

 

*Visit Alex online for more Christmas insights

 

Your outfit, bitterness or grace

What are you wearing today? Does it look good on you? In times of betrayal, I’m tempted to put on the ugliest outfit of all — bitterness– and then I read my favorite verse…

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.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).

“…And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony,” (Colossians 3:14 ESV).

We are scandalously loved by Christ. And so when there is chaos around us, we as God’s people, are entrusted to extend that undeserved love to others. Because God first loved us when we were a hot mess.

Believe me, I know, it’s hard.

If you have been lied to or betrayed this is the last thing you want to do. It doesn’t mean that you say it’s all OK. It doesn’t mean that you don’t ask God for justice. But it DOES mean that you hand it over to God, completely. You hand over the outfit you were going to put on of judgment, anger, and bitterness, and you exchange it for a lighter more beautiful outfit of compassion, kindness, patience, and forgiveness.

 

blur-1850082_1920

This wardrobe switch is as much for you as it is for the person who wronged you. Because these clothes feel better on your soul. They feel healing and warm and peaceful.

I don’t know what outfits are in your closet, or why they are there. I’m sure there are very valid reasons. But I pray that you and I can fold them up and give them to Jesus today as we come to him in prayer. And ask Him to help us choose to clothe ourselves in love, grace, and thankfulness so we can experience His peace.

 

Journal reflections:

book-bindings-3176776_1920What relationships are strained in your life because of sin or betrayal? Have you forgiven that person yet? What feelings would you have to give to Jesus to exchange for an outfit of grace and love towards that person? Knowing God loves you, write a prayer asking God to heal your heart and work out good in others lives.

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 .

 

Fighting Fear

I’ve seen it a few times now. A huge ugly hawk floating through the air looking for something to eat. Then out of nowhere, a little bird climbs high. She gets above the menacing hawk, looks down, and dives straight into it– pecking at the hawk’s back. She does it again and again as many times as it takes to drive the predator away. She seems so fearless.

I stand there in the middle of the street looking up and silently rooting for the little bird– marveling at her courage to take on a beast five times her size. And I smile when the hawk gives up and flies away.IMG_3737

I want to be that little bird.

There have been times in my life that I was simply unprepared for scary events. I felt completely out of control and afraid. The threat was real. The fear was justified.

But that’s not how God wants us to live.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV).

As we face the unknown we have to face it knowing that we are not alone in it. We have His Spirit. You have the strength of GOD in you! And that means that we do not have to be afraid.

We may be small, but there is nothing that can scare our God. 

Sometimes we let fear feel more real than God’s power.

Sometimes we let fear feel more real than God’s power. Alone, we see the scary hawk and size it up. We know it’s bigger than us, so we assume it will overtake us. That it’s too big for us to conquer. But that is a lie.

As we climb higher and see the situation through God’s power we can see the truth. There is no health problem too big, no person too messed up, and no situation too far gone with the help of God. Our God is not afraid of the things we see as five times bigger than us. And so with His help, we climb high through prayer and attack fear.

With God we see the scary hawk’s weak spot. We start pecking from above at the enemy’s fear tactics with truth.

We start pecking from above at the enemy’s fear tactics with truth.

We pray. Telling God the truth that we are scared. We tell Him every fear, every what if, every possible troubling thought.

Peck. Peck. Peck.

We ask Him to remind us of His truth. That He loves us and we are His. (Ephesians 1:4-5) That He is with us no matter the outcome. That we have His power and strength within us through His Spirit to conquer anything. Anything. Because nothing can undo the love of God. Nothing. (Romans 8:18-37)

Peck. Peck. Peck.

We ask for His wisdom and power and help and ask Him to be with us– no matter what. And we believe in the truth that God hears us when we ask big things. (1 John 5:13-14) And that He cares about the outcome. He is right there with us as we peck away at all our fears.

Peck. Peck. Peck.

And slowly as we keep pecking away at our fears with God’s truths written on our hearts through His word, we drive away our fear and replace it with His peace.

Most importantly, when we see the big hawk give up and fly away, we remember to praise God for His love and endurance through the battle and for answering our call for help. And we tell everyone we know about how God showed up for us so that more little birds can be strong.

So be strong, little bird.

Detoxing the Soul

In high school I ate chips, candy, and a pop for lunch and didn’t think twice. Now I eat my veggies and drink hot tea like it’s my job. Even though my taste buds have matured and my body has grown strong, I still felt the need to detox. So before my 34th birthday I chugged purple liquid filled with antioxidents in an effort to clear my body of hidden toxins. And I couldn’t help but think, I wish I could drink a magic potion to detox my soul, too.

The toxins

No matter how careful we are, our bodies take in toxins every day from our environment — the air, our food, impure water. Likewise, our souls absorb toxins everyday. Even though we war against them, they attack our soul in the form of bitterness, jealousy, comparison, unforgiveness, greed… sin.

I don’t know about you, but I have had 33 imperfect years to build up gunk. I’ve tried to clear it all out by myself, but that doesn’t work because sin can get deep in our hearts. We need something stronger than our striving to penetrate to the core.

The Antioxident

In order to detox the body, you have to stop eating harmful foods. During that time of rest, you fill your body with things like blueberries, rasperries, and purple carrot that have antioxidents. These powerhouse foods find hidden impurities and cleanse you from the inside out.

He helps us identify and deal with our life toxins not to look better on the outside, but so we truly are healed on the inside.

Our soul antioxident is the Holy Spirit. He helps us identify and deal with our life toxins not to look better on the outside, but so we truly are healed on the inside. But first we have to stop eating the junk. We turn away from our broken ways and rest in the grace of God. We invite his Spirit to search our hearts and minds for impurities and change us from the inside out. This takes some guts. It takes desire for something bigger than ourselves. But it’s worth it.

New Cravings

When you clear out toxins, you start to crave different things. As crazy as it sounds, instead of sugar you want an apple, instead of chips you want real potatos. You crave what you were made to crave — life giving food.

Same is true for our souls. When the Holy Spirit helps us clear out the soul toxins we start to crave more of His goodness. We want to see mercy and love instead of our agenda. We have tasted freedom and love and desire more of it.

When the Holy Spirit helps us clear out the soul toxins we start to crave more of His goodness.

1 Peter 2:1-3 NIV puts it this way, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

Let the Holy Spirit it to do his work so our life taste buds change. It will require endurance and obedience, but the journey of detoxing the soul will change your life from the inside out.

 

Journal reflection…book-bindings-3176776_1920

What is God telling you to give up? What life junk needs to go to make room for God’s work in your life?

Spend time in prayer asking God to reveal and flush out the impurities in your heart and replace them with His goodness.

Silencing past regrets

Everyone has a sinful past. If you are living and breathing I would put money on the fact that you’ve said or done something you regretted. Something you wish you could erase. I know I have. Even though we are forgiven in Christ, sometimes it’s hard to let go of who we were before we started following God.

Recently, I wrote about the Proverbs 31 woman who is a beautiful picture of what a life can look like when God is at the center of every decision and every moment. But there’s another woman who is just as important to recognize.

She’s the Luke 7 woman.

We read her story in Luke 7:36-49. She’s the woman that led a sinful life and is weeping at Jesus’ feet, wiping and kissing his feet because she wants to let go of her sinful past and feel free. Instead of hiding her sin or staying in it, she seeks the Lord and lays her sin and regret right there for Him to take away so she can feel loved and whole again.

Instead of hiding her sin or staying in it, she seeks the Lord and lays her sin and regret right there for Him to take away so she can feel loved and whole again. 

She believes that this Jesus guy who everyone is talking about really is the Messiah, the one capable of wiping away everything and giving an undeserving person like her a new start.

And he does. Just like that at the end of the story, Jesus tells her that her sins have been forgiven.

“Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace,” Luke 7:50 NIV.

I wonder what this woman went on to do with the peace and forgiveness she was granted by the Savior of the world. Maybe people still treated her poorly because of her past, but she was able to walk with new pride anyway knowing that their opinion no longer mattered to her heart. She was right with God and no one could take that.

She was right with God and no one could take that. 

I wonder if she looked around her town for other broken women and told them the good news — that the grace Christ gave her could be theirs too if they believed and loved the Lord.

I wonder if her new excitement for life in Christ naturally prompted her to extended her faith and peace with the strength of the Proverbs 31 woman.

I bet in her new life she detested the sin that once owned her and instead gave every ounce of herself for the work of the Lord because she knew He was good and worth it.

Do you know the Luke 7 woman? If we have trusted Jesus as our Savior, she is us. She is me and you.

I’ve been that woman. The one who doesn’t know why on earth God would think I’m anything worth loving or forgiving, but so thankful He does. I wake up everyday the Luke 7 woman, wanting to be more like God and less like me, hoping in faith that I can start over again with a clean slate and live this life for such an incredible God. I love the fact that it’s possible to start over no matter what we’ve done or left undone if we find forgiveness at its ultimate source — Jesus.

I love the fact that it’s possible to start over no matter what we’ve done or left undone if we find forgiveness at its ultimate source — Jesus. 

I think we have to be the Luke 7 girl before we can be the Proverbs 31 woman. We have to accept God’s crazy love and forgiveness knowing we are imperfect and he is perfection before we can start living out love and forgiveness and peace to others.

Don’t let past sin haunt you anymore. Do business with Jesus today praying and laying the old you at His feet. Let’s trade in our regret for His peace and joy and love today. Let’s live free to be something completely new and lovely in Christ.