Thanksgiving prayer for you

I want to take a moment and wrap us up in prayer today as we travel, gather, or stay put because Thanksgiving can be filled with both joy and sorrow…

Jesus thank you for each one of my readers. Thank you for all that you are doing in our lives that you are in control and working things out that we can’t even fathom. Father would you be so near today and comfort those who are hurting and missing their loved ones. Wrap them up in your love and comfort. Jesus glue families back together again today in your peace if they are struggling. And fill us with your never-ending joy. Help us to remain thankful after Thanksgiving. That we would recognize your blessings and praise you for them all year long. And no matter where we are in faith, just starting out or well seasoned, help us trust in you more each day and know you more so we can experience the life you came to give us. Thank you Jesus for loving us when we feel unlovable and help us really grasp that love so we can move it forward to others in our lives. In Jesus name. Amen!

With love,

Andrea Chatelain

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 .

 

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.

Treasuring up Christmas

I love Christmastime so much I don’t want to let it go. So many things about this season make life a little sweeter and love a little louder. I want to take it with me into the snows of January and the rains of April and the sunburns of July. Mary did too.

In Luke chapter two Mary has completed the journey to Bethlehem riding nine months pregnant on a donkey. I could just stop there. Sh has given birth in a barn, wrapped her homeless baby and son of God in cloths, and laid him in a food trough for the animals.

And yet….

A star shone bright in the sky. Shepherds came running to see the new king, validating all that she had been through. Saying yes, an angel told us, “…Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has ben born to you; he is Christ the Lord…” (Luke 2:10-11 NIV).

What do we do with that great news? We have two options. We can stand amazed and a little bewildered at such a truth for our lives, or we can ponder our God and the goodness he’s given us all the days of our life.

“and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:18-19 NIV).

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:18-19 NIV).

I mean after all the sweet girl had been through, Mary sat there and reflected not wanting to miss a moment– taking a mental snapshot of the ridiculous grace of God that she got to be part of the story.

Now it’s our turn.

The angels said that night was for all people. It was for you and me as much as it was for Mary. It’s our turn to sit silent with the Lord Jesus who has come into our lives. It is our time to turn all our sorrows and struggles into divine goodness with Jesus.

We get to treasure Jesus up and ponder all His goodness all year round. Praise the Lord!

It’s our moment to chose to live in thankfulness for our undeserved redemption and love from God. We get to live praising him for coming to bring us back to life and for the people he has given us to be a light of love til we can see him face to face.

I pray that every day of the year is like Christmas in our hearts. I hope we treasure up the sweet faces sitting at our tables today. Storing up all the joy of these special Christmas moments and thanking God for his amazing mercy and friendship. Joy to the world!

Merry Christmas sweet friends!

Finding lost Thankfulness

When I was growing up, we would travel 3 hours to Norfolk a couple times a year to see my great Aunt Dorothy. Some things she did have stuck with me for a lifetime — she let us have bubble baths every night, try on her fancy earrings, and eat hot dogs for breakfast. Years later, one tiny memory about her helped me find my lost thankfulness. Whenever we ate she would give thanks and pray…

“Come Lord Jesus be our guest and let these gifts to us be blessed…

Now that’s where my sister and I would stop. But Great Aunt Dorothy would continue the prayer with words we didn’t know…

“Oh give thanks unto the Lord for he is GOOD and his mercy endures forever. Amen.”

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My sister and I always thought it was a funny way to end the prayer, and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized she was quoting a psalm.

Psalm 100 titled “A psalm. For giving thanks.”says,

“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.

Worship the Lord with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his,

we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise;

give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;

his faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100 NIV emphasis mine)

The thing is, scripture is not to be read only when times are good. This psalm is not true only when my circumstances are hunky dory. Sometimes the sweetest joy and thankfulness in my life has come during or after deep pain and loss because my joy is not surface level– it is God’s joy digging deep into my broken heart.

Sometimes the sweetest joy and thankfulness in my life has come during or after deep pain and loss because my joy is not surface level– it is God’s joy digging deep into my broken heart. 

Last year at this time I was driving once a week to visit my sweet Grandma Irene Johnson in her hospice room. Her husband, children and grand children had decked her room out with so many photos and plants and Christmas decorations you could almost pretend we were meeting in her living room. Still, I had to pump myself up to get there. To face the reality that she was slipping away and I couldn’t keep her here much longer.

It’s hard to be thankful when that’s your reality during the holidays. Most of us have had pain creep in stealing memories and time from family. But God is so good to step into our pain and comfort our hearts.

On the way from Gretna to Bellevue I listened to my favorite gospel song with my hands in the air, begging God to show up in our few precious moments. And on the way home I would do the same. Hands up praising him, tears down my hot red cheeks, thanking him for blessing our time. 

I thanked Him for the chance He gave my oldest son to read one of His first books to her.

I thanked Him for the silliness and joy my two littles provided to make her smile.

I thanked Him for the chance to ask her questions and and talk about flowers.

And I thanked Him for one more hug. One more afternoon. One more goodbye.

I found that praising God came easy in those moments when I was uncertain and not in control, and I found my thankfulness and comfort and peace and even joy in the wisdom of scripture like Psalm 100.

That season gave me a new appreciation that ‘the Lord is God’ in hard moments and ‘we are His’.

That season gave me a new appreciation that ‘the Lord is God’ in hard moments and ‘we are His’. That not even death can take us from him. That He is always good no matter what and that His love and faithfulness go on past this life and these struggles.  Mostly I was thankful that I got to know Jesus’ love and comfort more and that He was simply with me in my pain.

This Thanksgiving, a year later, is still sprinkled with a mixture of sadness and thankfulness. Life goes on living, but a piece of my heart is in the ground with her. Still, I will put my hands up the rest of my life, praising the Lord who is our God, thankful that He is good, and that His love breaks through to the other side of eternity.