Welcome to Episode 32 of the Heart Lessons Podcast! My special guest today is author coach/writer/speaker Shelley Hitz. Today Shelley shares her story which includes some really painful elements including processing the tragic loss of her grandmother, past sexual abuse, and a pornography addiction that lasted for two years. Although there is great pain in her story, what ultimately shines through is the redemption and restoration that we can find in Christ. Shelley is using her painful past and what she has overcome to encourage others in similar places. I know you will find such hope in Shelley's story.
**Just a note that this might not be the most family friendly episode. If my five-year-old was in the car with me I might consider listening at a different time. This episode is so wonderful and definitely worth the listen, but considering some of the words and stories Shelley shares, you might not want little ears to hear.
Today's episode of Heart Lessons features Lindsey Nobles, COO/Strategist for IF. Lindsey and I chat about IF and all the wonderful things she get to do through that ministry. She shares about her trips to Israel and how life-changing those have been. We also chat about her personal testimony and how she realized she needed to move from a cultural Christianity to one that really made a difference in how she lived her life. Lindsey is also a wonderful spokeswoman for singles in the church and we talk about what it's like to be single in the church and practical ways those of us who are married with kids can be intentional about inviting single people into our lives and our family relationships. My conversation with Lindsey was rich and eye-opening and I think you'll find that to be true for you as well.
On today's episode of Heart Lessons (Episode 30 ... what?!) my special guest is Emily Chapman Richards, oldest daughter of singer-songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman and bestselling author Mary Beth Chapman. We chat about what it was like growing up in her home with her father being who he was, the origins of her passion for adoption and orphan care. Emily also shares what it was like to lose her youngest sister just months before she got married. We talk about her time living in Ireland and how that impacted her in a big way for pursuing a more dialed down pace of life and embracing time for rest and relationships even in the middle of a busy day. Emily's heart lesson is just so perfect, she shares a verse that reflects how, when our anchor is firm and secure in the deep calm of Jesus, it doesn't really matter what the storm is like on the surface. I love that insight and I know you are going to love hearing from Emily.
Granny panties, Costco, and keeping your eyes on your own fishbowl ...
Today's episode features author and speaker Nicole Unice. I had the opportunity to talk face to face with Nicole late this past summer and it was such an encouraging experience for me. Today we chat about Nicole's book, She's Got Issues, about the six core issues that seem to plague women from the time they are teenagers. I ask specific questions about comparison as it relates to social media, control and when to know if we've crossed the line, and what happens when our deepest fears become our realities. This episode is a bit shorter than the average Heart Lessons podcast but it is so dense with amazing truths. Listen and be encouraged and then let me know what part touched you the most, what Heart Lesson you were able to come away with. I know there are so, so many.
My guest for this episode of Heart Lessons is Katie Moormann. I was able to connect with Katie through a mutual friend and I'm so glad I did. Katie has three children and her middle daughter, June, has special needs - a combination of autism and cerebral palsy but no official genetic diagnosis yet. We talk about what it's like to have a seven year old with special needs and how Katie handles her emotions when life feels frustrating and overwhelming. We talk about self-care and being intentional about spending time with her other children and husband. She shares practical ways to support and show love to her and her family. Katie also gives us gracious words to say to those we might encounter at Target or the playground who have children with special needs. I feel so privileged to share Katie's story with you and I know you will be challenged to find contentment and embrace the life God has given you, no matter what it looks like.
Mary Hairston joins me for episode twenty-seven of the Heart Lessons Podcast. Mary is a wife, mama, and a gifted artist who uses her talents to illustrate the scriptures that encourage her everyday. We talk about the years before she became a mother - growing up as a pastor's kid, living overseas, and teaching ESL - we chat about her decision to stay at home with their first baby and how Marydean Draws was born. We also chat about her creative process, her goals to encourage others, and what it looks like to be a work at home mom. And of course she shares her heart lesson which is a challenge for us all to evaluate what we think we need in life. Mary has such a sweet spirit and her drawings are winsome and uplifting. I know you are going to fall in love with her just as I have.
Carmex, chocolate cake, and the Little Blue Truck ...
I'm so excited to introduce you to my guest for today's show. Today you will be hearing from Sarah Bragg of the Surviving Sarah podcast, which I know I've mentioned a time or two before. Today Sarah is sharing her story of her struggle with body image which started when she was just nine years old with an offhand (albeit rude) remark from a girl she barely knew and turned into a ten year struggle over her appearance. I think this episode is going to be such a great resource for young women who might also be battling with body image and for parents of these young girls who are trying to help their daughters through the struggle. But it's also a great resource for any Christian woman who is struggling to be content with who God made her to be, whether it is appearance or personality or stage of life. The truths Sarah shares are sure to help you see that your worth is infinitely tied to the fact that the God of the universe created you and calls you by name for something special in His kingdom.
In today's episode of Heart Lessons you will hear from author, speaker, and podcaster Annie F. Downs. We talk about the books she's written and about her latest book that just released this spring, Looking for Lovely. Annie shares her journey of how she got to be where she is now which included dozens of rejections from publishers, she talks about what it means to cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit and that it has little to do with decibels, and how we can wait well in our waiting seasons. I know you will love hearing from Annie.
For Episode 24 of Heart Lessons I'm so excited to introduce you to Bonnie Nichols of Moms in Prayer International. Moms in Prayer International has a goal that every school in the world would be covered in prayer and I am just so awestruck that the Lord would orchestrate this interview to air just as so many of us around the country are in back-to-school mode and presented with a new school year for our kiddos. I know that Bonnie's words will challenge you to be more intentional about praying for your children and your child's school. But even if you don't have children in school I think Bonnie's passion for prayer will challenge and encourage you to "step up your game" when it comes to your prayer life. She has so many practical tips for building a great habit of prayer and I know you will come away with something great after listening today.
Essential oils, Justin Timberlake, and a for real blast from the past ...
In today's episode of the Heart Lessons Podcast you'll hear from Becky McCoy. Becky is a blogger, writer, and fellow podcaster whose mission is to encourage people to live bravely and authentically in life, especially during life's trials. As you listen to her story you'll find that Becky is certainly qualified to speak to this as she has faced her share of adversity. Becky experienced the loss of her husband Keith to cancer when she was eight months pregnant with their daughter. She talks about what life has been like as she rebuilds her new normal after Keith's passing, what her grief journey has been like, and what is has meant for her to live bravely and authentically. If you are going through a difficult time right now I know Becky's words will be a great source of encouragement for you.
My very special guest on today's episode of Heart Lessons is my son, Micah. A few weeks ago I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts in the car and he piped up from the back, "Mom, can I be a guest on your podcast sometime?" How could I say no to such a sweet request? So today I'm chatting with Micah. We answer the questions you all submitted including what he loves about being a big brother, what he's looking forward to about Kindergarten, and what animal he would like to be. True to podcast form, Micah even shares a heart lesson of his own. I hope you enjoy my conversation with my sweet guy and the additional little sound bytes from my other little cutie.
My guest on episode twenty-one of the Heart Lessons podcast is Kami Lingren who blogs at Living Grace: Finding Life in the Desert, where she shares her experience battling chronic illness. On today's podcast Kami shares about her journey with Lyme Disease, from diagnosis, to treatment plans, to what it looks like to live with this disease, and the hardest part of living with Lyme. She also shares practical tips on how to support a loved one struggling with chronic illness. Her heart lesson is taken straight from the life of Jesus when He walked this earth and I know the reality of it will touch your heart just like it did for me. Kami exudes sweetness and grace and I can't wait for you to hear all she has to share.
In this Mini Episode of Heart Lessons I just wanted to share some thoughts on recent events.
My guest on today's episode of Heart Lessons is Kelly Gerken from Sufficient Grace ministries. Kelly shares about her own experience with infant loss – losing two baby daughters to twin to twin transfusion syndrome and a baby son to Potter’s Syndrome. She also talks about the birth of Sufficient Grace Ministries – how it started with her trying to minister to a friend after losing her baby and asking herself the question, “What would I have wanted someone to give to me?” Since then Sufficient Grace has grown to offer not only these “Dreams of You” memory books, but also Comfort Bears, perinatal hospice services, doula services, and even trainings for medical staff to better equip them to support a family walking through infant loss. Kelly’s story personifies the character and hope that develops from persevering through a hard time and has so much truth to speak about God’s daily sufficient grace.
Joining me for Episode 19 of Heart lessons are Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler from the Risen Motherhood Podcast. We talk about this ministry they’ve started where their focus is all about how the gospel message intersects with every aspect of a mom’s life. Their podcast touches on all sorts of topics: breastfeeding, self-care, the struggle with comparison, and much more. If you’ve never listened you totally should – you will not be sad that you did. We also chat a bit about their personal motherhood challenges and how they are still able to find joy even when circumstances might present challenges. And of course they share their heart lesson – how God is leading them in motherhood and in their ministry. I know the truths shared in this episode will give purpose to your everyday, whether you're mothering in the trenches or in the mundanity of a 9-5, we all have purpose in light of eternity.
Joining me for Episode 18 of Heart Lessons is photographer, author, former missionary, and recovering perfectionist, Miah Oren. In her new book, The Reluctant Missionary, Miah talks about her experience teaching English oversees and the struggles and challenges she faced there. She talks about how she felt like God set her up to fail because she was placed in the worst school with a very distrustful staff and hundreds of students she felt she was unable to reach effectively. She returned home two years later depressed and angry with God. It wasn’t until she reconnected with a fellow English teacher back home in Dallas that she learned that she really had been used by God in the very best way. You won’t want to miss that redeeming part of her story. For any of you out there struggling with feeling like you've failed God and there is no way He can pick up the pieces you've left behind, Miah's story will move your heart to see otherwise.
Thanks for joining me for the special Father's Day episode of Heart Lessons. Today you'll be hearing from three of my favorite dads - my dad Pete, my father-in-law Dave, and my husband Josh. These men are all wonderful and deeply in tune with the Lord's leading in their lives and in their fatherhood journeys. I'm so grateful to have them in my life, influencing me and influencing my kids. They speak much truth about fatherhood - how it changed them and motivated them to be better men. They offer great advice to new dads and of course, share the heart lessons that carry them through their own stage of being a dad. Happy Father's Day to these wonderful guys ... I love you all <3
Joining me today on Heart Lessons is my friend, Pami Clark. She goes to the same church as some of my family in Pennsylvania and reached out to me a few years ago to let me know she was praying for me during my journey with Evie.
Since then I have been blessed with the details of her story and her faith through the difficult road the Lord has her on.
About five years ago, Pami suffered a massive stroke that severely impacted her physical and cognitive abilities. Since then she has had about 12 strokes (maybe more), and doctors predict this will continue for the rest of her life.
But Pami's testimony remains strong. She has such a tender heart and talks about all the good that has happened as a result of her strokes. She also shares a unique and challenging perspective of what it means to live every day knowing it might be your last.
I'm so grateful Pami was willing to share her heart with me and I know you will be too.
Joining me today on Heart Lessons is Lauren Casper. She is an amazing wife, mom, and writer but to me personally, she is an amazing friend. In the few years Lauren and I lived near each other, we both walked through some really hard things - life-changing diagnoses (like autism), losses, and other big life transitions. While we never would have wished to know the pain like we did, we were glad to have each other. I love Lauren so much and her friendship means so much to me. I know you'll love her too and be challenged to be an even better friend.
Today on the Heart Lessons podcast you will hear from my friend, Molly Timan. Molly and her husband faithfully serve in the children's ministry at their church, but they also have a huge heart for foster care. Molly talks about her experiences as a foster mom and all the ways she has grown from these experiences. She also shares openly about the hardest parts of this journey, including what it was like to give back the first foster child they cared for and how she worked through the pain of realizing they couldn't adequately meet the needs of another child they were caring for. And Molly's heart lesson is one I'm sure we all need to hear - less of me, more of Christ. Listen and be encouraged and maybe, if the Lord leads, be brave enough to start your own journey in foster care.
*Just a note, there were some moments while we were recording that the recorder and microphone picked up random radio signals that were unable to be fixed in the editing process. If you would, please overlook that technical error. Thank you!
Because of Holly's challenging words on surrender, I thought it might be appropriate to read the entire chapter of "Submission" from Nancy Guthrie's book, "Holding Onto Hope". This excerpt from her book is sure to give you a different perspective on submission (surrender) to God's will, despite hardship. Even when life circumstances are difficult, we can trust God, that He has a great purpose in mind, and rest there. I hope you enjoy this midweek mini episode of Heart Lessons.
*I misspoke early in the episode and said "die at death" instead of "die at birth". Please forgive me.
In episode thirteen of the Heart Lessons podcast, you will hear from my friend, Holly Colonna. Even though I went to youth group with her husband and attend the same church as her sweet in-laws, I didn't actually connect with Holly until a little over a year ago, when she and her husband received some worrisome news about their first baby in their twenty week ultrasound. At the time, it wasn't 100% certain that baby Benjamin's condition was fatal, but Holly and I were still able to connect over just having to get through those months of uncertainty.
Sadly, baby Benjamin did pass away at two-and-a-half months. As you can imagine, losing her sweet baby boy has been so incredibly heartbreaking for Holly. She speaks so candidly about her journey with him, and shares all the parts - the sweet moments as well as the deeply painful ones. She also shares her heart lesson about the discipline - the choice - to surrender to the Lord's will. She speaks so much perspective-changing truth in those few moments, you definitely won't want to miss it.