By His Grace
Spark Now Summit Christian Podcast Conference

Spark Now Summit Christian Podcast Conference

A Recap of the Spark Now Summit

by Baylee Dunn

In the midst of a contentious season filled with strife, division, and unrest, the Spark Now Summit brought me hope, joy, and affirmation in my call as a Christian communicator. This event was just what my heart needed. If you missed it, here is a recap. 

We started the conference with an anointed worship by Amber Rhoads, the Worship Pastor at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. She led us into the presence of the Lord so beautifully. This was the perfect start to a day filled with fellowship and learning. 

Kelly Buckner, a visual branding consultant with BeeBold Consulting, shared her tips for being clear, being visual, and being consistent with our branding strategies. She encouraged Spark Now attendees to represent the Kingdom well by putting forth excellence in all that we do and say. She reminded us to be bold in the message that we, as communicators, put out into the world and to take the responsibility of stewarding our brands seriously. 

Charity Ellis gave attendees a beautiful depiction of surrendering our lives to Jesus. She reminded us of the importance of bowing before our creator, and how, in doing this, we are making an exchange of power –  exchanging our worries for His peace, our fear for His faith, our weakness for His strength, our chaos for His order, and so much more. She also commissioned us to live our lives in a posture of bowing in submission to the King. 

Sunny Gault presented the message, “Podcasting is the New Pulpit.” This message propelled listeners to take a stand against the enemy by believing the Bible and standing in truth. Podcasters have the opportunity to spread the gospel to the entire world via our podcasts. As Sunny said, “it’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about Jesus.” So, let’s stand on the truth of God’s word and continue on the path that God has placed us. 

Matt Sommerfield gave us the three ways to win on social media: know your brand, know your customer, and know your plan. These three strategies might seem simplistic at first, but applying them is necessary in order to succeed in the digital space. We must build trust with our customers and our listeners so that we can serve them well. 

Tonya Kubo gave Spark attendees insight into the three most common mistakes that podcasters make when utilizing Facebook to promote their shows. She provided us with the inspiration that our messages are too important not to be heard and gave us the strategies to ensure that our voices reach the masses. 

Todd Cochrane, the CEO of Blubrry, shared helpful information regarding the state of the podcast industry and told us what we can expect as we enter into 2021 in regards to podcasting platforms, tech consolidation, podcast indexing,  and the trends of the industry. 

Mike McDonald of the Bible Project presented on the Power of Storytelling. He showed us that being vulnerable is the key to connecting with others who may be struggling in similar ways to us. Mike also pointed to the importance of starting with empathy in our interviews. 

September McCarthy, Kate Battistelli, and Jamie Erickson of the Mom to Mom Podcast shared insight into podcasting with multiple co-hosts. They shared tips for being strategic in this endeavor as well as their unique experiences with motherhood across generations. 

Last, but certainly not least, Misty Phillip, the founder of the Spark Christian Podcast Conference and the Spark Now Summit presented the three ways to market a book using a podcast. She commissioned us in our calling as Christian communicators and urged us to continue on in the journey. She reminded attendees that we are anointed and appointed for a time such as this. 

The information, insight, and inspiration that I gained from this event will be something that I carry with me for years to come. I am grateful for the ways that I have seen the Lord working in my own life and in the lives of the others who attended the Spark Now Summit. The event was just what I needed to refuel and refocus on the mission that the Lord has placed before me. Because of Spark, I am better equipped to serve those whom the Lord puts in my path and to spread the gospel to all the nations. 

For a limited time, you can gain access to all of the Spark Now Summit recordings and to our private Facebook group. Grab your tickets now: Spark Now Summit Sessions

What people are saying about the Spark Now Summit!

“I went into Spark expecting to gain helpful advice to grow my podcast. I wasn’t expecting revival. Your opening address really spoke to my heart. Thank you for all you do to help other podcasters.”- Sharon Wilharm host of All God’s Women

“Spark is one of the best virtual events I have experienced as an attendee, and I have attended  A LOT this year!” – Tonya Kubo 

Grab your tickets now: Spark Now Summit Sessions

Raise Your Voice, Share His Mission, Spread His Truth: 3 Reasons to Attend the Spark Now Summit

Raise Your Voice, Share His Mission, Spread His Truth: 3 Reasons to Attend the Spark Now Summit

Raise Your Voice, Share His Mission, Spread His Truth: 3 Reasons to Attend the Spark Now Summit

by Baylee Dunn

I am a person who is inspired by the power of a story. For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading books and writing stories of my own. Earlier this year, before attending the Spark Christian Podcast Conference, I was not familiar with the way that stories are shared through podcasting. After the conference, though, it became evident to me that those who are called to Christian podcasting are gifted communicators with unique stories to tell. Each one of these stories has the potential to ignite a spark within the Kingdom of God. The words of Christian communicators bring life and light into darkness. They spread hope and point others to the love of Jesus. 

I believe that the Spark Now Summit is exactly the event that Christian communicators need to help us share God’s mission, spread His truth, and raise our voices for the Kingdom. Here are three simple reasons why you should consider attending. 

Spark Now will equip you to raise your voice for what matters. 

The times that we are living in today are chaotic, divisive, and troubling. But, as Christians, we have hope in the promises of God. We know that Jesus will return one day and gather with Him all who believe in His name. While we do not know the time at which this will occur, we are commissioned to make disciples while here on Earth. This is not a commissioning that we can sit idly with. Instead, it is one that we actively engage in, seeking opportunities to share the hope that we so desperately hold on too. While the speakers at the Spark Now Summit will be teaching from their varying fields of expertise, they all have one thing in common: they want to see you raise your voice now. They want to see you speak up for the things of the Kingdom. And, at Spark, you will be equipped, empowered, and encouraged to do just that. 

Spark Now will empower you to spread His truth.

The Spark Media team believes that your story has kingdom significance. At the Spark Now Summit, you will learn to leverage the gifts that the Lord has given you to speak truth into the lives of those in your own circle of influence. Whether you are a newly emerging Christian communicator or a seasoned veteran with experience in the industry, Spark has a message for you. From social media branding to interview skills, to working with multiple hosts, and the power of storytelling, attendees are guaranteed to walk away empowered to share the messages that the Lord has given them. 

Spark Now will encourage you to share in His mission. 

Friend, the Spark Now Summit was founded with you in mind. Misty and the Spark Media team have a desire to see you chase after Jesus and all that He has in store for you. Walking in the way of His truth, surrendering to His will for your life, and carrying the message of the gospel to all people are things that we, at Spark media, have a heart for. You are in the middle of God’s mission field, right where you are at. And, you have the gift, the opportunity, and the responsibility to share in the work of the Lord. So, raise your voice now, share His mission now, spread His truth now, SPARK Now! 

The Spark Speaker lineup includes Misty Phillip, Kate Battistelli, September McCarthy, and Jamie Erickson of the Mom to Mom podcast, Mike McDonald of The Bible Project, Sunny Gault of Independent Podcast Network Rebecca Dotson George of Do The Thing Movement, Matt Sommerfield of Sommerfield Productions Kelly Buckner of Bee Bold Consulting, Dorothy Strouhal, and Charity Ellis.

I hope that this post encouraged you. I am so excited about the Spark Now Summit! For those interested in speaking with a literary agent, Blythe Daniel and Stephanie Alton of the Blythe Daniel Agency will be taking literary appointments virtually. These can be added to the purchase of a ticket for an additional fee. 

The event will occur virtually on November 6th, 2020, and early bird ticket sales continue through October 23, 2020. Purchase your ticket today before the prices increase! 

For more information about the Spark Now Summit, visit www.sparkchristianpodcastconference.com

Grace for the Grieving: Three Lessons from Loss 

Grace for the Grieving: Three Lessons from Loss 

Grace for the Grieving: Three Lessons from Loss 

by Baylee Dunn

I remember it as if it were yesterday, though it has been several months since God called my grandfather home after a long, hard-fought battle with stage four cancer. It felt like the world around me was crumbling as I got the news. “Baylee, Popa passed away tonight.” I lay still on the brown leather couch in our living room, clinching a blanket with both hands, praying that I was in a dream. 

Instead, it was a reality. A man whom I loved with every ounce of my being had breathed his last and ascended into Heaven. Grief rushed in like roaring floodwaters on that dark March night. Tears rushed down my face in a torrential downpour. My body shook violently as I sobbed. Thoughts came spiraling through my mind. “He’s going to miss my college graduation. He will not be there to dance at my wedding one day. I will never hear him sing “Happy Birthday” with the passion and style of Elvis Presley again.” 

So much loss… 

At that moment, I could not imagine a world without him in it. To be honest, I still have a hard time with each passing milestone. Though my grandfather is in Heaven, my heart aches for him here on Earth. It is an ache that I know will not easily fade. I will carry it with me through each of my days. There will be sorrow, there will be sadness, but with God, I will move toward gladness. 

Three lessons that I have learned from my season of grief

Here are three lessons that I have learned from my season of grief. I pray that my words encourage you to cling to the Lord, even when it is hard. If you are grieving today, know that there is grace for you in that sacred space, friend. May the Lord hold you close, draw you near, and remind you that even in suffering, He is still here. 

  1. In times of sorrow, the Lord may feel distant. However, He is ever-present. 

The Bible tells us that the Lord is close to the broken-hearted. With His nearness, comes the peace that only he can provide. He will hold you, dry your tears, and give gentle reminders that He is still here. 

  1. Where there is deep grief, there is great love. 

When experiencing loss, it can sometimes feel as if the sadness is impossible to release. It runs deep. If ever you find yourself deep in grief, remember that the Lord will sustain you. You are loved in this space, too. 

  1. Where there is hurt, there is a healer. No grief is too big for God’s grace to cover. 

One of the most comforting promises to cling to during a season of grief is that which is found in Revelation 21:4-5. I pray that this passage encourages you to focus on the Lord during hardship. He will heal your hurt and hold you upright. 

“4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 

Be blessed, friends! 

Baylee Dunn

If you enjoyed this post, I would appreciate your shares on social media. Also, I love mentoring Baylee and having her guest post for me. She is such a joy! Speaking of joy, you may also enjoy my recent By His Grace podcast with the author of Joykeeper: 6 Truths that Change Everything You Thought You Knew About Joy, Suzanne Eller. Check out the episode Joy in Jesus.

Much Love, Misty

How to Take Risks with God

How to Take Risks with God

How to Take Risks with God

by Alexandra Kaval

Do you have a big idea or dream that God has planted in your heart?

Do you also have BIG fears or doubts that go along with that dream? I absolutely know what that’s like. One of the biggest risks in my life was leaving my comfortable corporate job to pursue Christian coaching full time. To the outside world, this didn’t make any sense. I was bringing in close to a six-figure salary. The job provided flexible hours. It wasn’t demanding. I had a team that I liked working with and they liked me back. There was great growth potential at the company.

… But God.

Friend, when we get quiet and listen to Him, we’re given insight into a plan that is much more beautiful than our own. Maybe you feel unsettled but also frustrated by that emotion since so much is going well in your life. 

I feel you. I was in that same exact place.

Patiently through that unrest may be one of the wisest things you do. Yes- it may look like taking a risk. And yes – it may look unconventional or different from what the world might lead you to do. But, there is so much joy (and Jesus!) waiting to be found in that exact place.

Taking Risks with God

Taking Risks with God

Here are 3 tips for you if you’re considering taking a risk with (and for!) God:

Create your own definition of success. Get clear on what He is calling you to. 

As the founder of She Works His Way Michelle Myers has said, “We have an audience of one to please.” And that’s God! Not our coworkers, our parents, or our friends. Consider what God is calling you to and let that be your main priority. Let His perspective drive your opinion more so than that of others.

Be consistent and keep showing up each day with your eyes set on His plan.

Cultivate community. Sharing your big thing with others will help propel you forward.

(Although consider waiting to share until you’ve gotten some clarity on what His plan looks like! Andy Stanley’s book Visioneering explains how it may be wise not share too much too early in the process.) But once He’s given you vision, talking through your big thing aloud breathes LIFE into that thing. It can be so incredibly energizing to share it with others and create a support network along the way. Plus, doing so adds another level of accountability. Your people are going to ask for updates on your progress and timing and that’s a good thing!

Also… taking a leap can at times feel lonely. Having a support network in place to build you up will help to balance that out.

And, you may even serve as an encouragement and inspiration to others in ways greater than you may ever know.

Collaborating with a coach can be transformational as well. As a Christian coach, my job is to help get you from where you are to where God wants you to be. We help you to focus on what matters most and let go of the rest. We’ll make sense of all the ideas rolling around in your brain and create a plan of action so that you can make progress on what matters most. Plus, you’re empowered to break through the fears, doubts, and hesitations that hold you back. You’ll be equipped to make progress more quickly and powerfully than ever before.

  • Connect with scripture.
  • There is nothing quite like God’s truth.
  • When you take a leap, it’s important to both launch from and land on solid ground!
  • And what can help you to do that well? None other than God’s word. 
  • Dig in and see what He has to say. He will undoubtedly speak to you.

Here are some of my favorite scriptures to provide strength during challenging times:

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

We must remain connected to Him at all times to be fruitful. Once we stray, the value of what we produce drastically changes.

His power is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

When feelings of perfectionism or inadequacy creep up, it’s oftentimes because we’re operating out of our own strength instead of His.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Access His mighty power and allow Him to work through you in order to experience the best results possible.

One other quick tip– I’d also encourage you to journal your ‘God winks’ and celebrations along your journey. God is with you and before you every step of the way. Recognizing how He is showing up may be one of the sweetest blessings.

Sister- I am so excited for you as you embark on this adventure! Stand firm in the truth that He can do more than we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). I pray that you’ll allow Him to take on more of a leading role in your life- you won’t regret it.

And remember… “The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.”  – Corrie ten Boom

Want more? 

If you have a similar story and are feeling led to pursue your side hustle full time, you may want to check out Grace Space Christian Coaching’s eBookSide Hustle Success: How to Finally Take the Leap & Live your Dream. I share the scoop on what went well, what I wish I knew, and what I would’ve loved to do differently as I transitioned from my corporate job to pursue my side business full time. Here are the topics that are covered if you want a peek:

  • What I Learned from the First Year of My Side Hustle 
  • What I Didn’t Expect from My Side Hustle 
  • Best Boss in the Whole World 
  • The God Winks on My Journey from Corporate to Coach 
  • 10 Things to Do Before You Leave Your 9-5 
  • BONUS: Bye to the Big ‘But’

Friend, don’t miss out on one of the greatest adventures you & He can go on together. He’s got you in the palm of His hand.

Alexandra Kaval is a certified professional life coach for purpose-driven Christian women who crave more and founder of Grace Space Christian Coaching. She partners with women who are feeling scattered and stuck. Through their work together, her clients transform from overwhelmed to overjoyed. They experience a deep sense of focus & intentionality, rooted in their identity in Christ, with a path for the season ahead. After working with Alexandra, you’ll be freed up to live your purpose and prioritize what matters most, all while more fully loving God, yourself, and others. 

All it Takes is a SPARK!

All it Takes is a SPARK!

All it Takes is a SPARK: 3 Lessons from the Spark Christian Podcast Conference 

by Bayle Dunn

We are amid a global pandemic. Those words still feel strange to say, although it has been six months since the first Covid-19 cases in the United States. During this unprecedented time, I, like many of you, have been searching for encouragement, digging deep into my Bible, and trying to cultivate community in new ways. When I heard that my friend and mentor, Misty Phillip, was hosting the Spark Christian Podcast Conference at the Podfest Global Media Summit, I was extremely excited for many reasons. 

My Thoughts: 

First, I knew that Podfest is traditionally a secular conference, one that is open to all, but with no previous faith track. When I think of the people who have impacted my personal faith the most, I think of those who have unashamedly shared their hearts with me and helped me to see the Lord and His purposes more clearly. Misty Phillip is one of those people. So, I was ecstatic that the Lord was going to use her in this capacity.

Secondly, I knew that at a conference so large, there were going to be people who believed differently than we, as Christians, do. So, I knew that the Spark conference had a purpose. That is, to shine the light of Jesus in a way that it may resonate with those who have not yet met Him. I wholeheartedly believe that the Spark Pod Con did this so well. 

Three Lessons from Spark:

Spark Pod Con

If you missed it, here are three lessons that I learned from my time there! 

At the conference, I heard from so many incredible speakers – each one inspiring me to continue sharing the message of the hope that is found in Jesus with those who are close in proximity and those who are across the country. As someone who doesn’t yet have a podcast, these messages sparked a desire in me to start one.

Lesson #1

This brings me to lesson number one: we are all digital apostles. When Jonathan Roumie said this, I knew that it would stick with me for a while. The truth is, friends, that in the age of social media, there are people in the secular world looking to us, as followers of Jesus, for hope.

Let’s be imitators of Christ, walking in the way of His word and shining His light so brightly that others cannot miss Him!

Lesson #2

The second lesson that I learned from Spark comes from Anne Watson, who said, “do your thing in your way!” As a recent college graduate, this was so encouraging to hear. God made us all with unique talents and abilities so that we may glorify Him in all that we do. When we do things in our own ways, we are more apt to serve the kingdom well. 

Lesson #3

The third lesson that I learned from the Spark Pod Con comes from Connie Albers, who said, “with disruption, comes innovation.” Right now, we are all living in a world that is somewhat turned upside down. The thing about this is, though, that we, as Christians, have a choice to make. We can allow this disruption to derail us and knock us off of the path that the Lord has placed us on.  Or, we can view this time in history as a chance to be innovative about how we spread God’s message to the unreached. 

Y’all, Spark was incredible! It is an event that I do not want you to miss out on! For more information go to Spark Pod Con

PS: So, I am going to let you all in on a little secret – Misty’s Rocket Podcast Community is remaining open for THIS WEEK ONLY! If you join, you will have access to all 11 of the sessions from Spark in the Rocket Library! How awesome is that?! You will also learn and grow through coaching and training, networking within the community, weekly Masterclasses, and Mastermind sessions for accountability and growth.

So, hurry on over to www.rocketpodcast.co and join today! 

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus 

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus 

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus: My Biggest Takeaway from the Book of Colossians 

by Baylee Dunn

On December 30th, 1998, I entered the world under the most bizarre of circumstances. I had an anoxic stroke, losing all of the blood flow and oxygenation to my brain. This stroke resulted in a condition known as Optic Nerve Atrophy. In non-medical terms, this means that I have no peripheral vision, limited depth perception, difficulty in color perception, and a hard time with visual processing. Basically, my brain and my eyes do not like to communicate with one another. Therefore, since they are at odds, my physical vision is deeply affected. 

For a long while, I viewed this difference in my physical abilities as a hindrance, a struggle that was all too real. As a child, it took me quite a while to realize that I was created any differently than my peers. As a teenager, I concluded that I was, indeed, different than those around me in terms of my visual abilities. As a result, I spent some time angry – angry at the circumstances, angry at myself for being unable to change them, and angry at God for creating what I then perceived to be a broken thing.

Why me, Lord?” I would wonder aloud. “How am I supposed to function when I cannot see anything to the left or to the right without turning my head?”

I would question, almost daily. 

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

That is until I came across this passage of scripture, Colossians 3:2-4, which reads,

“2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” 

When I read this passage, I understood that perhaps, my physical eyesight would never have to be perfect to see and experience the glory of the Lord. I realized that what I once viewed as my greatest hindrance was actually the greatest way to inform others of the goodness of God. It is in our broken places that the Lord’s love and His light shine the brightest through us. 

Friend, I want to encourage you today to take your struggle to the Lord – whatever it may be. Lay it down at his feet. He loves you, He cares for your every need, and He is holding you close to His heart. In Him, your broken pieces are made whole and your darkness is exposed to light. The chains that are holding you down will break if you only say His name. Set your eyes on Heaven. It is truly the best view. 

Be Blessed, 

Baylee

Colossians 3:2-4

Colossians 3:2-4

Wow! Isn’t Baylee amazing? I am so grateful to have her on my team!! You will be hearing from her here regularly. She has a lot of wisdom for a young woman, and I love that I get to mentor her.

Have subscribed to the By His Grace Podcast?

By His Grace Podcast

By His Grace Podcast

For more encouragement be sure to subscribe to the By His Grace podcast. Subscribe here Check out this fun recent episode I did with my friend Stephanie Pletka on living your best life! Listen here.

The Struggle is Real: But so is God

The Struggle is Real: But so is God

If you are struggling with all that is happening in our world today friend, be sure to check out my Bible study The Struggle is Real: But so is God.

Grab a copy today at Amazon!

Much Love,
Misty

Beauty in the Broken

Beauty in the Broken

Beauty in the Broken

By Jodi Rosser

Each broken piece showed me.  Each crack and sliver revealed to me.  I was completely broken and crushed just like this clay pot.

There is something powerful about doing something physically for how you feel emotionally.

As I purposefully smashed this piece of pottery with a hammer, I remember my heart being shattered into a million pieces just months before.  My entire world had been turned upside down by one word: divorce.

Maybe your one word is different.  Maybe it is cancer or miscarriage.  Perhaps it is infertility or addiction.  As I looked at the pile of pieces on the floor, I did not think this clay pot could be salvaged.  It was broken beyond repair.

Have you ever felt like that?  As you look at the broken pieces of your life, you just cannot see how anything good can come from it.  You honestly have lost all hope.

Hope is an important ingredient as you look at your broken pieces.

Maybe you don’t see hope as you stare at another negative pregnancy test.  Maybe you don’t see hope as you are raising your kids as a single parent. Maybe you don’t see hope as you drive to another chemo appointment. 

I know I did not see hope as I stared at the shattered pieces in my hands.  As I began to glue the broken pieces back together and place a candle inside of the clay pot, I was surprised by what I saw.  The light captivated me.  It was shining brilliantly through the slivers and cracks in my clay pot.  

What if God’s light shined the brightest through our cracks and broken places? Click To Tweet

MistyPhillip.com

What if God’s light shined the brightest through our cracks and broken places?

You see, a pot with no cracks, chips, or broken places does not allow much light through it.  However, if a pot has many cracks and broken places but still shines brightly for Jesus despite those circumstances, then that is a beautiful thing.

Could our brokenness actually help us to be a stronger light?

Friends, what if we changed our view on brokenness?  I want to encourage you today to see the beauty in the broken!

  • I see beauty in a woman who perseveres in the middle of her brokenness.
  • I see beauty when God is faithful to guide and comfort a broken heart.
  • I see beauty when a broken story is shared with another hurting heart and it unleashes hope.

Just like this piece of pottery, your cracks and broken pieces are beautiful when placed in the hands of Jesus. 

Jesus is the one who gives us Hope. Click To Tweet

Jesus is the one who gives us Hope.

If you feel like your brokenness has disqualified you, let me encourage you today with this truth: your brokenness qualifies you even more.  Your broken story is the very ingredient God can use to help another heart.

Who better to help someone through an addiction then someone who has experienced freedom from addiction? Who better to comfort someone grieving the loss of a loved one then someone who has experienced comfort during their loss? Who better to offer hope to someone who is walking through a divorce then someone who has walked that same path?

We spread hope when we honestly share our broken stories!  As we come along side others and walk through the pain, we can encourage and offer support to those grieving and hurting.

As we share God’s faithfulness in our broken story, it will unleash hope into their broken story.

I don’t know about you, but I want to unleash hope!  Hope that our brokenness has a purpose. Hope that God can use our broken story to encourage another hurting heart. Hope that God can turn my tears into my testimony!

Can you see it? The brilliant light shining through your cracks and slivers.  The reminder of God’s faithfulness.  The hope spreading through your broken story.  

Friends, I pray we can remember the beauty in the broken. 

Jodi Rosser is a writer and speaks to a steadily growing audience through her podcast, Depth, and her blog, Heartbreak to Strength. Having walked through multiple heartbreaks (divorce, miscarriage, and cancer), Jodi now inspires women to find hope, joy, and purpose through their unexpected storms. She lights up the most when she shares her testimony using her cracked clay pot, a visual reminder that God shines brightest through our broken places. She lives with her two teenage boys and a giant black lab in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.

You can connect with Jodi on her website: https://jodirosser.com

Facebook and Instagram @jodi.rosser.  To listen to her Depth Podcast, please click on the following link: https://link.chtbl.com/vZzTid7o

Losing Us: When Motherhood Becomes an Idol

Losing Us: When Motherhood Becomes an Idol

Losing Us: When Motherhood Becomes an Idol

by September McCarthy

No one told me that I could have such lonely, silent times in my marriage. What happened to the days that seemed so bright and beautiful and filled with such promise? 

My loneliness, the disagreements, and even the love we had shared together seemed to slowly fade into busy lives caring for children. Lives filled with exhaustion, short fuses, and a weariness that would cause us both to ignore the problem or give up altogether. After we said “I do,” life happened, and children took up residence in the cracks of every inch of our life.

I had become the mother.

He had become the father.

And we had lost us.

I had become the mother. He had become the father. And we had lost us. Click To Tweet

Were we falling “out of love and living off the leftovers or crumbs at the end of long work and parenting days? 

We were a mess. The routine had become a steady rhythm of care for our family, with less and less focus on our first love. We moved into comfortable places of doing our jobs, avoiding the tough places and giving our first-fruits to the children before us. I wish someone had come alongside us to lovingly tell us that parenting is not a priority over marriage. 

You cannot really “fall out of love.” You just need to figure out when you began loving something else more.

We had let go of the cord of love that held us together. We watched it uncoil to the ground in a loose pile. The pull and strain of life, babies, financial stress, and marriage can shear away at the strands of love you have with your spouse until there seems to be nothing left to hold onto.

It happens slowly.

When our focus is only on motherhood, you can and will sideline your spouse. 

So, how do we find our way back to our first love?

Remember, you were created to “do this,” together. 

When my husband and I changed our perspective and focus, we became a team. If there is one word to clearly define the instrument of this change together, our restart, it is this: humility.

True love apologizes.

True love shares the wins, and mourns the losses together,

True love saves the best for the other.

True love puts the other first.

True love listens and learns.

True love remembers that parenting is a season.

True love fights for the other, not against.

True love sees the needs.

True love is available.

True love never stops talking.

True love knows change can be good.

True love learns to love the new you.

True love wins.

Seeing the pattern of our parenting priority over our marriage is the first step closer to that truest of love we can show our spouses. Click To Tweet

Seeing the pattern of our parenting priority over our marriage is the first step closer to that truest of love we can show our spouses.

Knowing there is a way to overcome the patterns of sidelining our spouses is the second cord of hope you can hold onto. 

Living the truth of scripture and its promises for a life full of love will bring the unity God promises.

Perhaps this is you. Are you seeing the slow-moving patterns you are becoming comfortable with that leave you feeling distant, discouraged, and disheartened with motherhood or marriage?  I encourage you to hold onto your first love. Re-discover the new you together. Ask the Lord for humility and remembrance as you slowly practice new life-giving habits of love investment into your spouse that you perhaps had let go of.

Your spouse is worth it. 

September McCarthy

Bio:

September is a wife, mom to 10, author, and speaker. September co-hosts the Mom to Mom generational podcast with Kate Battistelli and Jamie Erickson. September is also the author of {Why} Motherhood Matters and the founder of September & Co., an Etsy shop for whole-family Biblically based and hands-on learning for every family. September lives a rural life, with her growing family, chickens, gardening, shelves overflowing with books, and a project always on the horizon. Her family is her #1 priority and her heart is always at home. She believes in new mercies every day and fresh grace on everyone she meets.

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Five Ways to Help When Your Friend Goes Through Loss

Five Ways to Help When Your Friend Goes Through Loss

There is an unspoken bond between mother’s who have buried their babies. I felt an instant connection to my guest, Sara R. Ward this week.This kind of bond can only be forged when you have walked through the Valley of the shadow of death and cling to the hope of Jesus because nothing else in life makes any sense.  When you allow God to heal your wounds so you can help another grieving mother know she too will get through this loss. You begin to understand the exchange of beauty for ashes.

Please welcome Sara R Ward to By His Grace this week.


Five Ways to Help When Your Friend Goes Through Loss

by Sara R. Ward

Recently, a woman I knew lost her husband to cancer. Toward the end of his life, he was in a great deal of pain, and she didn’t want him to suffer any more. 

A few months after her husband died, I talked to the woman again. The grief was in that early, raw time, and she admitted she was struggling. 

“I knew grief would be hard,” she said, “but I didn’t know it would be this hard.”

I sat there in silence. This woman had been prepared. Her husband was a pastor. She knew where he was spending eternity, but her response encapsulated the grief experience: we know grief and loss are difficult, but we don’t know how hard until we experience it ourselves. 

When I lost my son in 2012,  I sat in a grief group with other mourners who were broken from the loss of their loved ones. 

The first time I attended the support group, I dreaded even mentioning the name of my son who had passed away. 

When the time came for me to introduce myself I said, “My name is Sara, and I lost my son Silas.” Even as I said it, my voice broke and the tears started falling.

Saying his name scratched open my wounded heart, but I knew these people understood. They passed the tissue box and they didn’t try to fix my grief. Finally, I had found a community who understood that it was okay to not be okay. In those support group meetings, I learned a lot about what it meant to show up for people in their heartache.

I was starting to understand why the Jews had their own tradition for grief, a process called sitting shiva for someone after they lost a loved one. For seven days after a Jewish funeral, the grief-stricken family sits together and mourns. No work is done. The friends who visit during a shiva call come in quietly. 

Tradition says the usual small talk is usually replaced by silence or allowing the mourner to open the conversation. Their job is to be present, to sit in the quiet, or listen to the mourners.

The tradition of sitting shiva is a good example of how we can provide help. You can’t fix the grief, but you can show up and make yourself available. Choosing to be present in grief is an incredible gift. Click To Tweet

If you’re looking for other ways you can help, choose something that makes life easier for the family who has suffered loss. Food is an obvious choice, but there are other tasks that can be just as helpful.

One neighbor offered to do our laundry after Silas died. At first, I balked at the idea of passing on our dirty clothes. But she wanted to bless us this way and I knew I needed help. It was just so hard to accept it.

“You take away someone’s blessing when you reject help,” a friend once told us. “Because it blesses them as much as it does you.”

When the neighbor returned, laundry folded in neat piles, a wave of relief washed over me. She had blessed me with a simple act, and in return, doing this kindness gave her something in return.

We all need community, but it’s especially vital when our world crumbles. When our community shows up and offers what they can to ease the burden, it gives us a sense that we are not alone.

Together, we will get through this.

Ways you can help a friend in need:

  1. Show up. Be present and available. Don’t shrink from the hard stuff.
  2. Offer to take something off their plate: cooking, cleaning, laundry, lawn mowing, childcare,  The list is endless. If you can’t do it yourself, send a gift card covering the expense if possible. Make life easier for them in some small way.
  3. Don’t show up only during the week of a major event, but continue to reach out months afterward when the phone calls stop.
  4. Pray for them regularly. This may be the most overlooked act and yet, one of the most important.
  5. Affirm what they are feeling. Listening is one of the greatest gifts you can offer to a friend going through heartache.

About the author

Sara R. Ward is the author of the book, Made for Hope: Discovering Unexpected Gifts in Brokenness. She is a wife and mom to three children, including a son who passed away from Leigh’s disease in 2012. She writes about grief, child loss, adoption, and faith on sararward.com. She is a writer for adoption.com and has been published on the Today Show Parenting Team, Focus on the Family and Homeschooling Today.

Receive free grief resources at sararward.com

Facebook: @sararwardauthor

Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest: @sararward


For more encouragement please listen to my conversation with Sara and share it with it with a friend.You

Sara Ward: Tender Loss of a Child

Thanks so much for visiting today! You may also like Choosing Joy in Grief and From Grief to Grace.

Much love,

 

 

Misty Phillip

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