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Jennifer Slattery Christian Blog and Commentary

Jennifer Slattery

Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.

As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event  and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE  and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.


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Jesus routinely elevated, honored, and welcomed those society pushed to the fringe or rejected outright. Can you imagine the emotional healing He must’ve brought to those individuals? The message of love and grace that He sent them?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched one young woman in particular experience a similar journey. For years, most of her church experience, actually, she was told that she was too much—too loud and intimidating, too intense, too dominant.  

That no man would want to marry a woman “smarter” than him. These were the messages sent by those in her faith community.  

“I felt like they were talking about all of me,” she said, “instead of a particular character trait. So, I tried to be quieter and tone myself down when I met new people and was in group settings. But that wasn’t who I was and I always ended up being ‘loud and opinionated,’ and so I left the interactions feeing like I’d failed and that everyone probably thought I was annoying.”

The place designed to help her thrive as a confident daughter of Christ became a stifling, lonely environment that led to increased insecurity. She quickly realized, she didn’t fit into people’s preconceived ideas of biblical womanhood. To her, this meant she didn’t fit in the church.

To put it simply, she attends church despite the church.

Praise God she’s now in a safe place where she’s learning to heal. And perhaps most importantly, where she can voice her thoughts, her doubts, and even her pain without fear. A place where she’s beginning to come alive, as God intended—to live fully as the strong yet loving, determined yet teachable woman He created her to be. It’s such a beautiful thing to see.

I thought of her journey, and the stories I’ve heard from numerous women over the years, as I read Luke 8:1-3. Scripture tells us, shortly after a “sinful woman” anointed Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:36-50), “Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with Him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means” (NIV).

These once sick and sinful ladies joined Jesus and His male disciples. This would’ve been unheard of during that time. To travel with, and therefore learn from, a Rabbi? That was something women didn’t do. And yet, Jesus welcomed them close and invited them to play a vital—and public—role in His ministry.

I imagine a lot of people misunderstood their actions. Shouldn’t they be home raising children, or helping someone else raise children? What could they possibly need religious teaching for? Why would Jesus even allow such a thing? Or waste His time on them for that matter?

And yet, God recorded their devotion in Scripture, I believe to tell all women everywhere: you’re invited.

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When others push us out, God says we’re invited.

When others misjudge and discount us, God says we’re invited.

When others tell us we don’t fit, we’re not enough or too much, God says we. Are. Invited.

For those, like my friend, who walked into church despite the church—you are invited. And loved. Valued, and in Christ, empowered, and called. God has a plan for you. He didn’t place that spark in your soul, that passion and unique insight, simply to bench you. He’s chosen you to play a unique and vitally important role in advancing His kingdom.

I’m sure for some of you this post stirred up something. Honestly, that’s precisely why I didn’t want to write on this passage. In fact, I sat and stared at it for some time this morning, thinking of all the ways I could avoid it. But again, my husband’s words of wisdom propelled me forward: “If that’s the passage you’re on,” and it is, as we’ve been following Scripture chronologically, “then I’d say you need to write on it.”

And so I did. Knowing some of my readers might not like what I have to say. But also knowing for others, this post might help initiate healing. I’d love to know your thoughts. When have you “gone to church despite the church” and how did Jesus meet you there?

Share your thoughts in the comments below or connect with Jennifer on Facebook and Instagram.

Additional Resources:

How to Heal When You’ve been Hurt by the Church by Cortni Marrazzo

Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.

As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event  and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE  and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.


(The following was taken from "In Christ: A Journey Through Ephesians"––the 12 day Bible reading plan I wrote for Wholly Loved Ministries. Find the full plan HERE; watch the video HERE.)

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This Mother's and Father's Day ... how does one honor a dishonorable parent? Or perhaps to phrase it differently, how can they honor Christ in a way that is healthy and safe? 

I’ve encountered numerous women who’ve been deeply wounded, by the very ones who were supposed to keep them safe. And now they’re struggling with confusion, especially in relation to God’s command in Ephesians 6:1-3 which states, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise—so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on earth.”

First, for those who wince from the sting of past hurts when you hear those words, I want to say, I’m sorry.  To those who’ve experienced physical, sexual, or emotional trauma, know that God did not intend nor will He ever condone abuse. He saw you in your pain then, and He sees you in your pain now. 

His heart is for you, always. Ephesians 1, which we’ve already read, says, in Christ, you’re chosen, redeemed, and lavished with love and grace. When past hurts rise up and create confusion, we must start there. We must remember Who’s leading us—our loving and faithful Father who gave us His precious Son so that we might live. That’s His heart for us, always, that we might live. Really live.

For those raised by loving parents, I want to say, praise God. Literally, do that—praise God. That’s a precious gift not everyone enjoys. So cherish them, see the good in them, and find ways to let them know how precious they are, even in their imperfections, because we all know we all need Jesus, am I right? 

Make sure to show some grace to your brothers and sisters who didn’t have what you did. Understand they’ll wrestle with this Ephesians passage, and give them space to do that. God’s big enough to speak to their hurts and confusion and to lead them closer to Him, to healing, and freedom. That’s one way you can honor them as the deeply loved children of God they are–by giving them space to heal.

Second, let’s unpack this passage a bit. We’re to honor and obey our parents “in the Lord.” This means our actions are in obedience to Him and out of love for Him first and foremost. If our parents ask us to do something that doesn’t align with God’s will, then we choose Christ, each time. If He asks us to set healthy boundaries, to go to counseling, to have hard conversations—we obey. But even then, we’re to love. Like Jesus, we’re to love those who are lovable and those who aren’t. 

Love is a choice, not an emotion. It’s a choice to choose kindness and gentleness and self-control. To speak words that build up rather than tear down. But love also must always coexist with truth, which means when the relationship isn’t healthy, we don’t pretend that it is. But even then, even when it's hard to say the right things, we do so in love. 

And we’re to honor all people—parents, neighbors, friends, bosses. But honoring doesn’t mean accepting abuse or abandoning healthy boundaries. We know that can’t be because Christ calls us to peace, and biblical peace speaks of wholeness, of “rightness” and health. So, how can we honor dishonorable parents in a way that is healthy? 

The Greek word our Bible translates as honor means recognizing one’s value, and we know that all humans were created by God, in His image, which means all life has value. We show honor when we view and treat others as someone created in the image of God. 

I don’t know how God will call you to walk that out. You may show honor from a distance or up close. God might lead you to seek healing and restoration or to step away. Sometimes that can be the most God-honoring action to take. But He’ll show you the healthiest and most honoring response for every situation, so seek Him first. Seek His comfort when you’re hurting and His guidance when you're confused. And most importantly, trust His heart as you learn to live wholly loved. 

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Make sure to connect with Jennifer on Facebook, Instagram, and visit her website to learn more about her, her writing, and her speaking.

Check out Jennifer's latest video-based Bible reading plan, released by Wholly Loved Ministries in partnership with YouVersion, HERE.

And make sure to sign up for her 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). 

Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.

As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event  and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE  and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.


Guest post by Kristen Terrette (First seen on WhollyLoved.com)

Many joke of 2020 was the worst. 

But it was January 2021.

I lived through the nastiest month ever. No lie. No exaggeration. I’ve had bad months or seasons before, where a part of my life was in disarray or reeling from tragedy or loss. But January 2021 had tentacles that spread and infected all areas. Grief over my sister’s death. Surprising marriage problems. Brokenness over the loss of relationships. Severe financial strain. Parenting hardships magnified. Dealing with a no-win situation that left more pain and heartache in its wake. Career sorrow. Small business owner sufferings. Family members in hurting circumstances. Oh, and I had Covid-19. 

I couldn’t eat, sleep, or even function in day-to-day tasks. I cried constantly. I lived in a state of sadness. If something good did happen, I wouldn’t have even noticed. I was participating in 21 days of prayer and fasting. I was on my knees relentlessly pleading to God for help. And yet, I was stuck in my gloom, not able to get out of the muck and mire of the world. I had certainly lost my joy, and I felt unseen by God. 

And I finally called it what it was—depression.

It was almost as if admitting my struggle to God and others—my husband and dear, godly, safe friends—He opened the way for healing to begin.  A few months since that dark time and every single prayer has been answered—in big and small ways. But when I tell you, miracles have happened, I mean it. I’m talking an unexpected doctor’s visit leading to physical healing I didn’t know I needed, surprise encounters leaving buds of reconciliation and restoration in relationships, and a personal connection that could catapult my career.

I knew in order to get out of the depression I was stuck in, I had to take steps of obedience, which meant being open to what He sent my way.

So, I prayed. Constantly. Fervently. Even when I felt like I couldn’t, I confessed my inability to God and sat quietly with Him. I listened to worship music and sang. I called upon Romans 8:26, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” 

And then…

I said yes and sought therapy. My husband and I started and are still in Christian counseling, for growth and healing in our marriage, but also individually for our own spiritual and emotional health. 

I said yes to a surprise doctor’s visit and sought advice and care for my physical depression symptoms. 

I said yes to corporate prayer over me. I had three important women in my life offer to help break some enemy strongholds in certain areas. I said, “Yes, please!” This prayer time was life-giving and chain-breaking.

I’m not in a perfect state of health, but I’m so much better. My awful January winter season is turning into a beautiful spring. Looking back, I see it happened when I humbled myself before the Lord and others, exposed my fragility and vulnerability, and admitted I was sick. Confessing my sickness released the power the devil had over me. He loves secrecy and bringing my depression into the open exposed him. I even had someone flinch and say, “I heard you and your husband are in therapy.” It was said like she felt sorry for me, but it freed me to answer with, “Yes, we are. And it’s been awesome for us.”

I’m no counselor but these steps did wonders. God sees you just as He saw me. And He will send help. Are you stuck in a winter season? First, pray. Then be open to what and who God sends your way. God sees you just as He saw me. And He will send help.

Do you have an example of God meeting you in your vulnerable state?

Get to Know Kristen

Kristen's passionate about storytelling and helping people take their next steps in their relationship with Jesus. She lives forty-five minutes outside of Atlanta, GA. where she served as a Children's Ministry Director for many years. With the support of her husband and two children, she now stays home writing fiction and non-fiction. She also serves on the women’s leadership team at her local church and writes for Crosswalk, Sharing Our Stories Blog, and Wholly Loved Ministries. You can check out her latest articles as well as her latest Young Adult novel, See You Monday, at www.kristenterrette.com.

 

Find out about her latest release, See You Monday:

Senior year. The homestretch.

Honor student, Grace Warner, had it easy. Popularity, friends, attention from her crush, even a soccer scholarship offer—if only she can figure out her senior project to graduate on time. Getting approval to write about someone’s life-changing event, Grace recruits her sassy grandma as her mentor who can’t wait to tell the crazy story from her childhood.

Events in the early sixties are words in history books to Grace, but her grandma lived them. She witnessed the civil rights movement in full swing, desegregation becoming a reality in her southern town, Martin Luther King, Jr. moving the country with his iconic speech, and the country coming to a halt when President Kennedy was assassinated.

Grace loves finding out her family history but didn't know the project would have her noticing hardships and prejudices at her school she hadn’t before. When the homecoming court is announced and new kid, Jacob Horton, is nominated as a colossal prank, it brings Grace to a choice, much like her grandmother years before her. God is about to use her in a miracle if she chooses correctly. If she fails, a life could be lost.

Buy it HERE.

Visit Jennifer Slattery on her website, Facebook, and follow her On Instagram.

 

 

Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.

As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event  and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE  and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.


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