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072: Marriage Episode: Jeff & Cheryl Scruggs with Gerard & Jeannie Long

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We don’t get to do this very often on Thriving Beyond Belief, but when we do it’s one of my absolute favorite things! COUPLES INTERVIEW!! Today, we bring back Gerard and Jeannie Long to the podcast, along with my husband Jeff, to specifically talk about thriving in marriage. It is an episode you absolutely do not want to miss.

The amazing thing about talking with Gerard and Judy about marriage is that they have walked through some of the lowest valleys in life. Jeff and I’s story also takes us through some valleys, so it is wonderful to talk with a couple who can truly say that the Lord saved their marriage. And not only did the marriage survive- He has made it THRIVE. It is a testament to the Lord that the four of us could discuss what we have gone through, only to see victory on the other side because of who Jesus is. He is an advocate for marriage and wants our marriages to be walking testaments of His presence in our lives.

I had each person answer the question of what it means to thrive in marriage, and the responses are so beautiful. I love how Jeff shares the difference between our first marriage and our second and the secret to what has truly made our marriage thrive. Gerard talks about the purpose of marriage and that is is for others to see the Lord through our union. By having a God-centered marriage, the world can see how life is done differently in Christ.

We touch heavily on the subject of forgiveness. For both of our stories, there has been a lot of hurt and a long season of healing. The four of us dive in to what that forgiveness can look like for our spouses, what it truly means for a man to lead out in the marriage, and how we are called to forgive because the Lord first forgave us. This discussion is so beautifully interwoven with Scripture and reminders of being Christ-like in the toughest of times.

I love how Gerard and Jeannie answer some questions on what the toughest aspect of being a husband or wife is for them, how culture has warped what true, biblical masculinity and femininity are, and how our examples of Christ-like marriages can break those lies down.

What a refreshing time it was with this beautiful couple, using their voices for good and bringing us back to the center of what we are called to in every aspect of our lives: bringing glory to our God in heaven.

Tune In

 

Social Media Links

Instagram: @awakeningtogod

Websitewww.awakeningtogod.org

Facebook: @awakeningtogod

Twitter: @atg_ministries

 

 

 

 

069: Gerard and Jeannie Long

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Today I have two very special people with me on Thriving Beyond Belief, Gerard and Jeannie Long! The Longs have an incredible story of walking through the highest of mountain tops and the lowest of valleys. They speak so authentically about knowing the Lord in the good times and learning to lean into faithfulness during the hardest times.

We discuss suffering and what comes from the redemption of the most difficult situations. We learn to be heavenly-minded when walking through things that seem unbearable. Gerard speaks about how God’s plan for each of us is to redeem us, restore us, and have us triumph. We also speak about coming back from the darkness into the light in terms of our faith after incredible hardship.

One of the main themes of this episode is the power of God in a Christ-centered marriage. We see Gerard being a covering for Jeannie and truly leaning on the Lord so Jeannie could lean on Gerard. We talk about the supernatural strength of the Lord to help glorify the marriage to get through and THRIVE in every season.

The Longs could not emphasize more the power the prayer, the incredible presence of God in unusual places, and glimmers of hope that lead to rays of light in your life. We talk about how in the deepest sorrow, God embraced them and they felt that God was truly enough.

From hardship leads to true community. There is blessing in that we are never alone, and that what we walk through will one day comfort and encourage others. Also, the path He has set before us is what He has equipped us to handle. We may not ever understand the “why”, but that is when we look at the Lord and trust that He does understand the “why”.

This episode will have you clinging more to the Lord. It will challenge and embolden your faith. You will be blessed by these few moments today.

 

Tune In

 

Social Media Links

Instagram: @awakeningtogod

Websitewww.awakeningtogod.org

Facebook: @awakeningtogod

Twitter: @atg_ministries

 

048: Jessica Honegger

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Thank you for joining us today on Thriving Beyond Belief! I am so happy to have Jessica Honegger with me today on the podcast. The central word of this podcast resonates with Jessica, as the company she founded, Noonday Collection, centers around helping others thrive. In her new book, Imperfect Courage, she shares so much about her journey!

From helping women get jobs, celebrating the family unit, and being a creative outlet, Noonday Collection helps others use their gifts for the Lord and helping others be all they were created to be. Jessica shares with us what thriving means to her, and it is evident in how she lives her life.

Jessica shares her life with her husband and three children in Texas. She shares how the adoption of her third child helped launch all that she does today.

While speaking on her own story, Jessica discusses how the purpose of her life came after years of what seemed like random avenues. We discuss the fact that the path to success is not a linear path, and to never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. The Lord weaves together our story and brings all things together, if we are willing to trust Him on the “faith walk”. If we lean into Him when the path does not seem clear, He is faithful to the promise He gave each of us.

Choosing anxiety, cynicism, and disappointment is the easy path in life. But to choose love, purpose, and vulnerability takes hustle and hard work. Those things require effort. To choose peace is an active decision and requires time spent with the Lord.

There are so many sweet nuggets of truth in this episode about what true courage is (which is the topic of her new book, Imperfect Courage), what true surrender is, how to trust the Lord when He tells us who He is, and how to embrace the waiting periods He has us in. Remember that in the seasons of waiting, He invites you to wait WITH Him. It’s not a stagnant state, but rather an active time with the Lord.

She encourages women that we can be excellent in all of our roles. Excellence is not mutually exclusive and it is a plot of the enemy to think we can’t be a good wife, mom, CEO, etc. God has created us all with unique passions, and He will be faithful to let us succeed in all of our roles.

I can’t wait for you to listen in on this episode today. So grab a cup of coffee, put in your earbuds, and enjoy!

Tune In

Social Media Links

Instagram: @jessicahonegger

Website: www.jessicahonegger.com

Podcast: The Going Scared Podcast

Noonday Collection: Shop Noonday

BUY her Book: Imperfect Courage

Facebook: @jessicahoneggerofficial

 Twitter: @jessicahonegger

 

037: Shannon Stewart Ratliff

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Shannon Stewart Ratliff joins me today on Thriving Beyond Belief! Shannon was a contestant on America’s Next Top Model. Stewart was the runner up on the 1st Cycle of America’s Next Top Model and appeared on the All-Star edition of the show, placing sixth as a finalist. She was also first runner-up in the Miss Ohio USA pageant in 2005, and a semi-finalist in that pageant in 2006.She went from super model to role model after giving up a career in modeling when the cost was too high. Shannon has been married for 10 years and currently living in North Carolina.

It is so great chatting with Shannon as we talk about some similarities in our pasts, the Lord being the Great Restorer, and what it means to thrive.

To thrive, according to Shannon, is living out the purpose and calling the Lord has given you in life. Even though life can be difficult, you can still live out the purpose He has for you in the hard seasons. Thriving is being a vessel for Him!

Shannon discusses her modeling career and her decision to bravely say “no” to a compromising shoot situation. She reminds us that the Lord is going to give you a dream that’s honorable to Him. He will give you an honorable path to the dreams He has stored in your heart.

We talk about Shannon’s new love for writing, and how the Lord can use her story to help others. She encourages everyone to share their story, because it leads to healing and can help those who are not able to talk about their story yet.

And we discuss different aspects of marriage like communication, quality time, and the importance of taking away how to put the Lord first even in marriage.

I hope you enjoy listening to Shannon Ratliff today on Thriving Beyond Belief!

 

Social Media Links

Instagram: @shannonstewartratliff

Twitter: @shannonstewart1

Facebook:  @shannonstewartmodel

Websites:

www.shannonstewartmodel.com/blog

 www.shannonstewartmodel.com

 

036: Tara-Leigh Cobble

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On the podcast today, I am chatting with an incredible lady, Tara-Leigh Cobble, who I first met at a retreat about a year ago. Tara-Leigh has a quick wit, engaging presence on stage as a musician, and a passion to help others learn to love the Lord and God’s word more each day. Check this link out: mydgroup.org/thrivingbeyondbelief too! Tara-Leigh knew she wanted to study who God was and take the focus off of herself, so she began a ministry called D Group.  In 9 years, the ministry has reached an international level and thousands of people have engaged in this “Crossfit of Bible Studies.”

 

Tara-Leigh was a musician and speaker for many years, but found the best way to optimize how she served the Lord, was in writing, speaking, and teaching God’s word.   She encourages women to read John:15, which talks about abiding in Christ. Yes, life is crushing, but there is a sweetness as we feel Christ’s nearness and learn to lean on and abide in Him.

 

Tara-Leigh talks about single life and the various challenges and joys that come with this season of life. For her personally, Tara-Leigh tries not to let her feet hit the ground in the morning without hitting play on her YouVersion Bible App.  Incredibly, she points out that it is possible to read the bible through in a year by listening for only 12 minutes a day! She also encourages women to ask God for help when they need it, and to not be afraid of engaging in a personal relationship with Him.

 

The past few years have presented several challenges for Tara-Leigh.  She lost her sister to cancer, had two open heart surgeries, but in these challenges found the grace to know God will always show-up, provide, and take care of every detail.

I truly enjoyed my time talking with this incredibly strong woman.

Relax and join me in my interview with Tara-Leigh Cobble.

 

 

Social Media Links

Instagram: @mydgroup / @taraleighcobble

Twitter: @mydgroup / @taraleighcobble

Facebook:  facebook.com/ilovemydgroup

Website: mydgroup.org / taraleighcobble.com

D-Group Thriving Beyond Belief Page

 

 

035: Jessica Youngblood

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The sweet Jessica Youngblood joins me on Thriving Beyond Belief today! Jessica is a wife of 15 years, mother of 4, and author of “Worth the pain: My Journey from Meth to Ministry”. I had such a wonderful time talking with her and we hope her story resonates with you!

Jessica tells us all about her journey and the many attempts she made to satisfy what only Jesus can satisfy. From teenage pregnancy to dealing with addiction, Jessica talks through her journey to find Christ. She talks about her amazing moment of realizing she needed Jesus, but how we as believers are then to work out our faith. Our God is too good a God to leave us where we are and we are to let Him renew our minds and transform our lives!

Jessica describes thriving as living in freedom from your past and truly enjoying the present to its fullest; to share the light you have experienced from Jesus with those that are still in darkness.

We discuss different aspects of marriage, the joys of parenting, and how crucial balance and boundaries are to all relationships in your life.

So pull up a chair, put in your earbuds on the treadmill, or turn up the dial in your car and join us on Thriving Beyond Belief today!

 

 

Social Media Links

Instagram: @jessica__youngblood and @worththepainbook

Twitter: @WTP_Book

Facebook: @JessicaMYoungblood and @worththepainbook

Website: www.worththepainbook.com

 

034: Matt & Lauren Chandler

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Today’s podcast is so special to me because Jeff and I had the pleasure of interviewing our pastor and his wife on the podcast today: Matt and Lauren Chandler!

Matt Chandler is the lead pastor of The Village Church in North Texas. He and Lauren have three children and have had the blessing of being married for almost 20 years! Matt and Lauren have been able to write many books over the years, but we discuss in particular Matt’s book A Mingling of Souls, as it relates to love, marriage, sex, and dating.

Matt and Lauren talk to us about some amazing truths they have learned along the way while in marriage, growing their family, and even through incredible hardship. They give such wisdom and insight on the deeper issues that we all deal with and what to truly seek in order to work on marriage, family, and with the world.

They also give great advice to both men and women on things that each sex needs to diligently work at either because it does not come naturally or because culture has told us that men have particular roles and women have particular roles. The mandate of the Gospel, however, extends to everyone. So we discuss how to live in the freedom of the Gospel to be exactly who the Lord created and intended us to be.

We hope you enjoy this refreshing time of talking with dear friends and learning what we can from both our stories and other’s!

 

Social Media Links

 

033: Nancy Houston

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I am so excited to have Nancy Houston with me today on Thriving Beyond Belief! We talk about a topic that is necessary in our culture today and one that is good for our hearts. We discuss intimacy within marriage!

Nancy shares her story with us and how she has gotten to where she is today. Nancy’s book Love and Sex was released in February, which is the Christian guide to healthy intimacy. She wrote the book for those 18 and older to try and help others find their pathway to healthy intimacy. She is also a certified sex therapist who devotes her time to helping couples restore their relationships, seek healing and help, and to fully enjoy marriage the way God intended it to be.

Nancy had some beautiful things to say regarding her past and dealing with abuse. She reminds us that in Scripture, God shares that He is not ashamed of us or what has happened to us, but He wants to meet us and reconstruct from the ruins of our past. She also shares that we must recognize the need for healing. She discusses coming from a place to self-hatred to seeking outside help that helped reinforce that her past was not her fault and that your past is not your fault. We see that through His Word, the Lord wants to meet us in the midst of our hurt and be our great Healer.

Nancy’s definition of thriving is facing our negative realities and walk through them to experience the LIFE on the other side. We have to leave our Egypt to reach our promised land. It doesn’t mean it is an easy journey, but it is a worthy one. Our God wants us to thrive in this way in all areas of our life- including our sex life with our spouse!

Nancy reminds us that God specifically designed us with a purpose. He is not ashamed of sexuality because He designed us to be sexual beings that gain attachment and closeness within the bond of marriage through intimacy. He desires that your intimate life is enjoyable and strengthens the marriage! We as a Christian culture need to remember to connect our spirituality with our sexuality. Often we don’t believe they are connected. But, in fact, they are stronger when they are connected.

We discuss at length those that are currently dealing with a disconnect in their marriage. Nancy discusses the scientific reasoning behind our need for attachment within marriage, what leads to breaks in the attachment, and how we can work through better communication to repair the disconnect. She encourages couples to learn to tell your spouse what you need instead of keeping score against them. Rather than blame your spouse, ask for what you feel you are lacking. She also encourages those that have tried everything and their spouse is unwilling to change to keep seeking help. Continue to pray over your marriage and tap into resources to find that intimacy again.

We end with talking about how sex in marriage was not created to be an obligation to either party, but to be a beautiful and pleasurable experience. Nancy talks through Scripture that beautifully portrays what intimacy in marriage looks like for both people, male and female.

Join me today as we gain wisdom in being healthy in every way in our marriages.

 

Social Media Links

 

032: Paige Greene

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Please welcome Paige Greene to the Thriving Beyond Belief podcast today! I had the pleasure of meeting Paige through our pastor, Matt Chandler, a couple of years ago after she wrote an incredible article titled I Regret my Divorce”. Paige gets vulnerable and real with us about divorce on the podcast today. She discusses what can come from unbiblical divorce in a refreshing way that we in the Christian community truly need to hear.

Paige currently works for Lifeway, as she helps with their events and is able to minister to women all over the country. She is also pursuing her Master’s degree in counseling.

Paige defines thriving as walking with the Lord every day and laying down all that distracts in that time. (She is an extrovert and a communicator, so the phone has to stay away in that time- I can so relate to that!) She believes it is abiding in the Lord in the present. For so long, she focused on what her future would look like instead of being thankful for today (how many of us can relate to that?), and now sees that joy comes from gratitude to the Lord for the day we have been given.

Paige feels a burden to share her story, especially with young marriages, in this culture today. She discusses how divorce did not solve the problems she thought it would, and even prays that one day she will be able to be reconciled with her ex-husband. She gives Biblical wisdom to the weight divorce truly brings.

Remember that the enemy is out to steal, kill, and destroy. He wants our culture to believe that the minute you are unhappy in your marriage, divorce is the only solution that can bring freedom. Paige shares that once the papers have been signed, the promise of “freedom” doesn’t hold up to what you thought it would be. She emphasizes so wonderfully that divorce is far more serious to God than our culture makes it seem.

Paige shares her heart in the most beautiful way about how to truly seek the Lord if you are thinking divorce is your only option. She discusses her own story and how when she came to the conclusion that divorce was the only avenue to bring freedom and happiness for her, that she was completely self-focused. She shares that we must “feed our spirit, not our flesh”. She encourages us to understand that God is a God of kept covenants. The thought of divorce doesn’t please Him because He knows the consequences of it; He knows what broken covenants lead to.

We discuss going to the Lord and asking Him how He feels about the possibility of divorce. If you seek His will and His word, you will not miss His answer to you. Remember that if you don’t feel a certain way, you must stand up in obedience. If you don’t feel that marriage should ever be difficult or sacrificial, you must let your obedience take over. Don’t let your feelings dictate how you treat your spouse or your marriage. Some days may be truly hard, but God will bless your commitment.

Paige ends with some amazing encouragement. For those that have gotten divorced, she reminds us that God hates divorce, but loves you. The two are not mutually exclusive. He will always take care of His children, and Paige saw it first hand when walking through her own divorce. BECAUSE He loves you, He hates divorce. She advises to read through Psalm 51 and wait for the Lord.

I am so thankful to know Paige, and I hope this talk today is eye-opening, encouraging, and makes you see the Lord in a new way.

Grab a cup of coffee and come join us today on Thriving Beyond Belief!

 

Social Media Links

Instagram – @paigegreene4

Twitter – @paigegreene and @LifeWayWomen

Facebook – Paige Clayton Greene

Websites – www.lifeway.com/women

 

031: Mike Foster

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I am so excited to have Mike Foster with us on the podcast today! I believe that it is important for this mainly woman-centric podcast to have some male perspective on life, marriage, and how to thrive. So let’s welcome his wonderful perspective today!

Mike is an author, speaker, and therapist. He has his own podcast, “Fun Therapy”, which dives into people’s stories, but with a smile. Each episode is somewhat of a therapy session with different individuals. Mike, along with his wife, Jennifer, published “Five Dates” this year. “Five Dates” is a workbook for couples to help work through connection in marriage. Mike also has a book, “People of the Second Chance”, which is a powerful book on his own life journey.

We begin the podcast diving into what Mike does and how what he does now was shaped by his story and the things that happened in his past. Because of his own personal struggles in inadequacy, shame, fear, and perfectionism, Mike now wants to walk with others through those feelings and help them work towards freedom. He talks about wanting to help people see God’s goodness in the midst of their storm.

Mike defines thriving as dwelling in being exactly who God has created us to be. Often we walk around trying to be a “version” of ourselves, which inevitably leads to failure and exhaustion. Instead, the Lord wants us to align our lives with the gifts, strengths, and visions He has created us to have. Mike also believes we cannot truly be thriving without being in true, vulnerable community with others. We are created to be in community.

Mike shares some wonderful perspective on the roles men play in life and marriage, and how the world can twist what God’s calling on men’s lives truly is supposed to be. He speaks on the prejudices our culture puts on men, the distorted picture of masculinity today in our western society, and says what “being a man” is versus what God’s word says men are. The core needs of men and women are the same, but the avenue to get to those core needs is different.

We even discuss on the podcast a healthy view of sex within the bonds of marriage and what true intimacy is. He discusses that this is an area of marriage that needs to be stewarded and that it is an issue that affects every area of marriage.

We end with how wives can help husbands in their roles as men in the relationship. We discuss how wives can be encouragers, affirmers, and a safe place for their husbands to come and tap into their feelings. Mike wisely shares that couples need to first work on togetherness before they can ever think about discussing the larger issues within their relationship.

You will not want to miss this podcast. Grab a cup of coffee and come join us today on Thriving Beyond Belief!

 

Social Media Links

Instagram@mikefoster2000

Twitter- @mikefoster

Facebookiammikefoster

Websites

www.mikefoster.tv,

http://www.secondchance.org/,

RescueAcademy.com

 

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