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Jennifer Slattery Christian Blog and Commentary

Jennifer Slattery

Author and speaker Jennifer Slattery has addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation and her love for seeing others embrace freedom in Christ is evident in each of her six contemporary novels and on her devotional blog, JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com She has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As Founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit with Jennifer on Facebook at JenSlatte.


2002 started as a guilt-ridden Christmas but resulted in one our family will always cherish.

A month before the holidays, we feared our daughter would suffer the consequences of our bad choices. After years of careless spending, we’d depleted our savings and maxed out our credit cards. We knew we needed to make drastic changes but feared doing so would hurt her.

What if our poor behavior robbed her of Christmas?

Yet we could no longer ignore God’s prodding, not without becoming willfully disobedient. He wanted first place in our hearts and asked us to purge those things, like materialism, that had occupied His rightful place.

And so, that November, we cut up our cards, tossed out our catalogs, and I set about making our daughter hand-made gifts.

A couple weeks later, my husband arrived home with a large, plastic garbage bag filled with stuffed animals—all with their tags still on. Through this, God provided the perfect gifts for our stuffed-animal loving daughter. But He did much more than that. He showed her that He sees her, loves her, and can provide for her through the most unexpected means.

As we sought to honor God with our spending, we experienced numerous miracles. Free plane tickets that allowed us to visit family when schedules prevented driving. Upgraded vehicle rentals when the economy car never would’ve been enough. Grocery sales when milk and veggies ran low.

For nearly a year, He helped us stretch every penny, so that we had neither too little nor too much. Here’s the interesting part—those miracles didn’t continue, at least, not to the same extent, once we had our finances managed. I’m convinced that’s because we no longer needed them. God continued to show up in our lives, but rarely in such obvious, material ways.

Honestly, I believe His purpose extended far beyond our financial blessings. With each stuffed animal and rental car upgrade, He taught us to trust in Him. He shifted our focus off our efforts and planning and onto Him, the One who held our future and our family in His hands.

God used our lack that Christmas and unexpected blessings to point us to the greatest gift of all, one that would outlast the season--Christ Himself.

Some 3,500 years ago, God brought the Israelites on a similar journey. After centuries of oppression in a pagan land, He liberated them from slavery then led them on a forty-year trek through the wilderness. With every step, God taught this emerging nation to trust in Him for protection and provision. Their role was simple—surrender and obey. He took care of everything else.

Scripture tells us, each morning, He rained down cracker-like wafers from the sky, giving each family exactly what they needed for that day. Here's the part I found cool: once they entered the fertile territory He’d long promised, the wafers stopped coming. Abruptly.

From that moment on, Scripture says, they ate the produce of the land. Daily, they discovered, they had more than enough. They saw, in a tangible way, God alone had the power to meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Each day, through difficulties and blessings, He leads us through similar lessons. When life hits hard or provisions abound, it’s easy to focus on all the material objects that bring pleasure and security, but with every need and gift, God is pointing us to something greater—Himself.

I don't know if God will provide for you in the same way that He did for us, but I do know He will always and only do what is for your best. We tend to focus on our immediate needs and desires, but God knows where true fulfillment and peace are found--in Him. Our relationship with Christ is a gift that will bring joy long after we've packed up our tinsel and decorations. 

Let's talk about this! Are finances tight this Christmas? How might focusing on God, your provider, help reduce your anxiety and give you peace? How has past difficulties increased your trust in Him? Share your thoughts and examples with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another.

For those who are local, fun news! Wholly Loved Ministries has announced their first live Bible study, written by myself, Susan Aken, Dena Dyer, and Cheri Cowell. Join me at Wildewood Christian Church in Papillion where I'll be teaching live.

Location: 2081, 1255 Royal Dr, Papillion, NE 68046

Dates: Jan. 15th-March 5th (with Feb. 12th off)

Times: Tuesday evenings from 6:30pm-8pm

Can't make it to the winter study but want to join us? No problem! I'll be presenting the study again at an Omaha church starting in March. (Details pending.)

Becoming His Princess: A 7-week Study on the Life of Sarah

Do you ever feel insignificant or unseen? As if what you do or even who you are isn’t quite good enough? Does your confidence level vary based on who you’re around and what their bank account or how accomplishment list looks like compared to yours? If so, this study, based on the life of Sarah, a woman from the Old Testament Scriptures, is for you.

For seven weeks, we’ll follow her uncertain and at times terrifying journey from the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur to the land promised to her and her husband, and ultimately, the place of rest God beckons each of us toward. He met her in the middle of her pain, shame, and all her striving and rewrote her story—through grace. A grace bigger than her greatest failures and that proved sufficient for all her insufficiencies.

As we read about her experiences, we’ll learn to center our identity in Christ, recognize His power and presence through our most challenging circumstances, find rest from our striving, and live daily in His grace.

Want our team to come to you? Contact me HERE. 

Before you go, make sure to sign up for my free quarterly newsletter to receive short stories, recipes, devotions, and more! You can subscribe HERE. As a thank you, subscribers receive a free, 36-lesson study based on 1 Timothy (ebook, with a link to download sent in a separate email). And watch out for Wholly Loved Ministries' upcoming Biblestudy on the life of Sarah (from Genesis)! You can find out more HERE.  Visit Wholly Loved Ministries online HERE. 

(This is taken from Wholly Loved's devotional titled Drawing Near: 365 Daily Devotions For Deeper Intimacy With Christ, coming soon.)

“She gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2:7

It was ten AM Saturday. I was in my jammies, feeling unwell and debating whether or not to return to bed. My husband, on the other hand, had been up for hours, ready to tackle everything on his to-do list.

He darted in and out of the living room, upstairs and down. He soon lugged our boxed, fake Christmas tree purchased the year before upstairs.

Inside, he found an unpleasant surprise. Face contorted, he held up a mass of tree limbs conglomerated by wiry netting gunk. Though we didn’t know what it was, that tree needed a replacement, and he was determined to buy one.

Forty-five minutes later, he returned from shopping with a four foot, pre-lit Christmas tree, which he promptly displayed near our window. Satisfied, he resumed his frantic pace, adding tinsel here and angels there. Mid-decorating, he stepped back to survey the mantel. “You think the nativity scene is good?” he asked.

Without looking, I reply, “Yep. It’s fine.” I paused. “Do you have baby Jesus?”

“No. I can’t find Him.”

No baby Jesus?

“Nope. I can’t find Jesus.”

God used this scenario to convict me of my cluttered heart. I had become like the innkeepers in Bethlehem, so busy with the hustle and bustle occurring all around me, I’d nearly missed the most important treasure of all—Jesus. Though I sang Christmas carols and acknowledged His birthday, I hadn’t truly made room for Him in my heart or in my home. I was giving Him leftovers—making Him fit, rather than giving Him the place of honor.

In our rushed, over-scheduled culture, it’s easy to allow parties and gift-giving to dominate our minds and hearts, if we let them. But Jesus invites us to celebrate on a deeper level, with Him. That’s where the joy and peace of the season are found.

Let's talk about this! What are some ways you plan to deepen your celebration of Christ's birth this Christmas? What are some intentional ways we can all slow down to make more room for Him in our hearts and our days? Share your thoughts, examples, and stories with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another! And keep an eye out for Wholly Loved's upcoming devotional and soon to be released Bible study! (Find out more HERE and HERE.

Before you go, make sure to sign up for my free quarterly newsletter to receive short stories, recipes, devotions, and more! You can subscribe HERE. As a thank you, subscribers receive a free, 36-lesson study based on 1 Timothy (ebook, with a link to download sent in a separate email). And watch out for Wholly Loved Ministries' upcoming Biblestudy on the life of Sarah (from Genesis)! You can find out more HERE.  Visit Wholly Loved Ministries online HERE. 

(The following was taken from Developing a Life of Love and Faith: A Bible Study Based on 1 Timothy, pictured below.)

It brings out the ugly in me. It makes me fight to be right, to elevate myself, and seek temporary fillers like accolades and admiration that feed my pride but fail to feed my soul. This thing lurking within my heart causes me to avoid difficult conversations and engage in those I shouldn’t.

But worst of all, it distorts Christ in me.

Love is the root of this nasty, unity-destroying behavior. Self-love.

I’ve lived the truth of 1 Corinthians 8:1: “Knowledge puffs up while love builds up” (NIV).

Puffs up, like an inflated balloon or a puffer fish with its cheeks swelled and spikes protruding—seeking to elevate myself at the expense of others. But love, pure love, agape love, the kind that flows from God, doesn’t focus on self at all.

About ten years ago, I began to ask some hard questions regarding my faith and the credibility of the Bible. I wanted to know—was Jonah really swallowed by a big fish? Was there really a worldwide flood? Did Lot’s wife really turn into a pillar of salt?

Those questions led to an in-depth study I soon wanted to share with others. My motives were pure and stemmed from my love for God and His Word. The results were beautiful. Each week, I’d meet with a group of women while volunteers taught our little ones arts and crafts.

Until Sue* arrived and quickly turned argumentative. I took her challenge as an invitation and, puffed up with “knowledge”, accepted. Like the elders who were creating such division in Ephesus, I stopped focusing on making God known and instead focused on making myself look good and smart. Before long, the pleasant, Christ-centered discussion among a handful of moms turned into a tense battle over words.

No longer was I focused on God, others, and the truth. Instead, I wanted to win the argument. My self-love, my pride, pulled me in when I should’ve walked away, and I allowed the woman to dominate and divert the focus of the conversation.

Though I wasn’t blasphemous like the elders Paul spoke about in 1 Timothy 1:3-6, I became like them when I veered from the love that comes from Christ.

I’ve erred in the other direction also, when, remaining silent, I watched a young lady become enslaved in legalism and drift further and further from Christ.

She’s since abandoned the faith entirely.

I had numerous opportunities to speak, as Paul urged Timothy to do, but I chose to walk away.Out of fear that the woman would become angry and our relationship would crumble. In other words, out of self-protection. Self-love.

Truth and love, real love, are intertwined. Scripture tells us God has entrusted us with the gospel. This saving truth has the power to set man free—from sin, self-destruction, emptiness, death. With each word, we’re either pointing others to our Savior and an eternity with Him, or we’re getting in the way.

And how do we know which is which? We do a heart check and ask God to cleanse us from everything within not motivated by the love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith (1 Tim. 1:5 NLT).

May we, regularly, pray David’s words in Psalm 19:12-14:

“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer” (NLT).

Let’s talk about this! Can you relate to either of my stories? When has fear (self-love) caused you to walk away from a conversation you knew God was calling you to engage in? Can you relate to the converse? When has your pride motivated you to elevate yourself and fight to be right? What are some ways we can guard against this?

*Name changed to protect privacy.

Before you go, make sure to sign up for my free quarterly newsletter to receive short stories, recipes, devotions, and more! You can subscribe HERE. As a thank you, subscribers receive a free, 36-lesson study based on 1 Timothy (ebook, with a link to download sent in a separate email). And watch out for Wholly Loved Ministries' upcoming Biblestudy on the life of Sarah (from Genesis)! You can find out more HERE.  Visit Wholly Loved Ministries online HERE. 

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