Chains that don’t chafe…

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by Carol G. Stratton          

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.


Philippians 1:12-14 NIV


Chains are chains for one reason—they keep one object tied to another. We understand their usefulness with inanimate objects whether it means securing bicycles to a hitching post or keeping a gate locked at night. But when we feel bound to our circumstances, imaginary chains become a point of frustration. Perhaps one spouse is tied to selling a house while the other has to move ahead to start a new job or a married couple has been called to the mission field and they need to sell their house to help fund their ministry. Maybe we feel imprisoned in an area we don’t like but because of situations with family and jobs, we are not free to leave.


When writing how his imprisonment had given him opportunities to share his faith, the Apostle Paul refused to fight his chains. History tells us that every four hours Paul was chained to a new prison guard and many became believers. The Bible tells us that as a result of what happened to Paul, the gospel was advanced.


Seeing our life chains as a way to anchor us to God, helps us stop chaffing against them. Those miserable, weighty iron links that seem to hold us down might be necessary to make us stop and do something we might not have done otherwise. When we are stuck in one place with few options, God often does his finest work. Being pinned to one place gives us time to think about our lives, to pray more, to communicate with others in our current community, and spend quality time worshiping our Lord.


God might even have a special project for us that we wouldn’t have seen while flitting around in our previous life. A few years ago my husband and I found ourselves unemployed while trying to sell our house. Fourteen months of showing a house in a down market seemed like an eternity when we wanted to move on, but I have a 70,000 word novel to show for my time of house arrest.


Are you bound to your present circumstances? God may have you anchored for a reason. Look around you. Is there someone God wants you to befriend in order to share the good news? Release from anxiety often comes when we respond to our current situation while looking for opportunities to make good out of it.


When we quit fighting our chains, we may find a greater purpose in wearing them.


CarolStrattonSMTaken from the book Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community Wherever You’re Transplanted to be available from  or Christian book stores,


Carol is available to talk to women’s groups and writing groups. You may contact her at or through her website:  .

“Carol Stratton has chosen to write to a topic that is addressed in few other

places: clinging to faith during times of change. The fresh daily format and

encouraging, biblical insights will encourage anyone who is struggling

through the idea of moving to a new location, as well as uplifting those who

are joyfully anticipating a move.”— Darla Knoth, Leadership Development/

Content Coordinator, National Women’s Department, Assemblies of God.

“After twenty-two moves, Carol Stratton is a relocation expert with a heart for

the newcomer. Carol’s warm and witty stories, based on personal experiences,

offer hope and encouragement to anyone faced with a move.” — Florence

Littauer, International Author and Speaker, Founder of CLASSeminar


“Having moved fourteen times, I find Carol’s devotional book both encouragingChanging Zip Codes-v2 (1)

and inspiring for anyone relocating. Filled with biblical principles, it keeps

the reader focused on Christ during the upheaval of change that comes with

moving. Her hands-on experience with relocating adds humor and warmth

that will capture the heart of anyone who goes through the transition and

adjustment of a move.” — Susan Miller, Founder and President of Just

Moved Ministry and author of After the Boxes are Unpacked

“Using wit, humor, and entertaining facts (even about Zip Codes), Carol

Stratton provides helpful tips, insight, and cheerleading for those who are

facing the “big move.” She proves that God is everywhere, even among

new neighbors, new coworkers, and new church members. Let her words

encourage you.”— Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, author The Power of Positive


“Knowing Carol, I realize her faith in God helped her trust me to help with

their move. Carol has experienced many moves and knows the ins and outs.

Enjoy her tips, words, and insights.” — Mary Jane O’Brien, Top Realtor for

F.C. Tucker Company, Inc.

8 Carol G. Stratton

“Carol Stratton lives what she teaches us in Changing Zip Codes. I have

watched her life with admiration for many years. Her devotional is helpful

for anyone in any situation any day of the week. I look forward to each page

as Carol makes moving almost fun. She challenges us in so many practical

ways and shows us how to serve God and find community where we’re

transplanted.” — Muriel Cook, retired missionary, international speaker,

counselor and author of Kitchen Table Counseling

Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community Wherever You’re Transplanted

is for movers or anyone struggling with major life transitions. While using

scripture and real stories from her twenty-two moves, Author Carol Stratton

motivates readers with encouragement, humor, and practical wisdom,

reminding them that God is always at the other end of the moving van’s

trip. This upbeat 40-day devotional would make an excellent gift for anyone

relocating.” — Michelle Medlock Adams, award-winning author of more

than 50 books and inspirational speaker (

“Carol Stratton has written not only a meaningful and valuable devotional

for those who are moving to a new location, but I see it also being very

valuable for those moving into new life stages such as: the youngest child

going off to school, empty nest, divorce, retirement, etc. Changing Zip Codes

will be the perfect gift to bless many women, from the young to the young at

heart, at any age in any stage of life.” — Mitzi Beach ASID CAPS, www., “Designing life for the second half


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