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084: Mike & Jennifer Foster

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Marriage Episode:

You know it’s going to be a fun episode when we have my husband, Jeff, on the episode with me! We had the pleasure of interviewing Mike and Jennifer Foster on this week’s Thriving Beyond Belief.

We absolutely love what the Fosters are about. They are about simple, organic means of continuing to date your spouse in marriage. Married with 2 children, the Fosters journey has not always been easy, but they talk about how they have navigated the marriage journey together and how their relationship is stronger than ever!

We cover everything from good communication, seasons of the unknown, their story, how to date intentionally, and more. This episode is such an uplifting and practical look at how we can further believe in and fight for our marriage and our spouse.

One of my favorite topics we discuss in this episode is how fear can radically impact our marriage relationship. Mike and Jennifer talk about how fear erodes the qualities in marriage we long for: trust, communication, peace, etc. Marriage is worth fighting for and we need to be vulnerable enough to push past the fear to get to a truthful conversation. Those truthful conversations lead to healing and our spouse’s true intentions are made clear. Not having those meaningful conversations leads to disconnection. Let fear be the push towards conversation instead of being the reason to deter conversation!

Jeff and I’s first marriage is a classic example of what happens when couples do not communicate well and do not have Jesus at the center of the relationship. But through coming to personal relationships with the Lord and learning what a healthy marriage truly is, we learned, as Jeff so wisely said, that  we are to learn that each other’s voices and our own voices are important in the marriage. We are equal in voice in the marriage. We are equal in what we bring to the marriage.

Mike and Jennifer share their own story and realizing that they had fallen into a state of not really “seeing” one another. They had fallen into busy schedules and routines and just surviving. Can anyone else relate to this? But one day, through open and honest conversation, they realized they wanted their marriage to Thrive! This led to a stronger marriage than ever and even led to their current ministry to other couples.

Touch, communication and balance with schedules, and intentional date nights are keys Mike says that help with a healthy marriage. There are so many wonderful nuggets of wisdom in this episode that I can’t wait for you to listen along!

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Highlights:

  • They are about simple, organic means of continuing to date your spouse in marriage.
  • Mike and Jennifer share their own story and realizing that they had fallen into a state of not really “seeing” one another. They had fallen into busy schedules and routines and just surviving.
  • We cover everything from good communication, seasons of the unknown, their story, how to date intentionally, and more.

Related Links:

075: Debra Fileta

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I welcome Debra Fileta to this week’s episode of Thriving Beyond Belief!

Debra is a wife, mother of three, and a licensed professional counselor, specifically dealing with relationship-focused issues. She also has written two books, Choosing Marriage, and True Love Dates!

Debra has such insight on working on relationships in a healthy and balanced way. There are so many issues that we discuss in relationships, specifically within the Christian culture. Just because you are a believer in Jesus doesn’t mean you will naturally be good at certain relationships. Just like anything in life, we need to put in time and effort and practice to make any relationship work.

For Debra’s definition of thriving in relationships, she says that “relationships don’t exist for us to just get through them. We are meant to thrive in all of our relationships and let them be testimonies in our lives.”
She speaks with such wisdom about what the goal of relationships are. The end goal is not happiness, and Debra dives into this to explain what our focus in relationships should be. We talk about the fact that healthy relationships are made up of healthy individuals and discuss the steps to take for yourself that will in turn help improve your relationships.

Debra brings up an amazing point: we see that Jesus had to go through the lowest of the low to get to the point of resurrection. We need to know that we may have to go through the dark season of exposing all of our issues in a relationship to get to where Jesus can resurrect it. Counseling is such a tool in this area. There is such an importance in counseling and learning to fight the stigma that counseling is for issues that have already arisen. But our culture needs to let counseling be something that helps us maintain health in our lives, whether in relationships or not.

Let’s not believe that passivity and selflessness are the same thing. Let conflict be a place to learn and discuss and be vulnerable. Discussing hard things isn’t just saying what you think. It is about digging deeper and wondering what the root of the conflict is. That is what leads to true healing.

All of Debra’s links

I can’t wait for you to tune in and listen today!

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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.

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Social Media Links

Instagram: @awakeningtogod

Websitewww.awakeningtogod.org

Facebook: @awakeningtogod

Twitter: @atg_ministries

 

 

 

 

070: Judy Pogue

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I am thrilled to have Judy Pogue on this week’s episode of Thriving Beyond Belief! From thriving at any age to princesses, to world missions, we discuss a gamut of amazing topics today.

Judy Pogue is a wife, mother, international missionary, and now an author. She has such a deep love for the Lord and amazing wisdom to share. She presses deep into who God has created her to be and feels blessed to be in the season she is in. I love the way Judy describes thriving: she says it is “running with arms open to the future”. I think this perfectly encompasses Psalm 31 when the psalmist describes a Godly woman as someone “who laughs at the fear of the future”.

Thriving is running wildly toward the future because you know it is in the Lord’s hands. And the Lord wants us to thrive at every stage of our lives. He is not surprised by the season we are in, whether that is motherhood, singleness, a job that seems so difficult, the loss of a parent, etc. Because He is not surprised by our season, He has fully equipped us and is walking with us through those seasons. Judy speaks on a young woman who feels called to being missional, but is in the middle of raising young children. Judy reminded and encouraged this woman that she IS being missional! She is right where the Lord wants her and is being missional in her home with her children. She referred to Scripture that states we go in and out of seasons, and this woman’s time of being missional outside of her home will come. But we are to see where we are at as our mission.

We speak for a while on the importance of mentorship and how different generations help others walk along life. This is what community is. Those that are older have such an opportunity to meet with the younger to let them know they are not alone in what they are walking through. And the younger generation has an opportunity to see what a Godly woman looks like as she walks through certain stages of life. I am so thrilled that we were able to discuss Judy’s book, Awaken Sleeping Beauty. I could not love this book more and what it entails. Judy expands on her inspiration for this book, who she hopes to reach with its message, and all of the different angles this story takes. Judy has such wisdom on discussing what all the Lord has taught her through marriage and motherhood. She discusses real issues that happen in marriage and learning to find value in the titles “wife” and “mother” in a world telling us those titles are not enough. We discuss believing in who your spouse is. Lay the groundwork of prayer in the difficult years that will yield fruit in the good years. This is an episode you won’t want to miss. So grab a comfy chair or put in your earbuds on a walk and enjoy this week of Thriving Beyond Belief!

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Social Media Links

Instagram: @AwakenWithJudyPogue

Website: www.judypogue.com

Facebook: Awaken with Judy Pogue

Awakening Conference Feb 22, 2019 Dallas: http://www.judypogue.com/index.php

Twitter: @AwakenwithJudyP

Book: Awaken Sleeping Beauty

 

 

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.

 

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Social Media Links

Instagram: @awakeningtogod

Websitewww.awakeningtogod.org

Facebook: @awakeningtogod

Twitter: @atg_ministries

 

059: LIVE Thriving Beyond Belief Podcast Event with Cheryl Scruggs and her daughters Lauren Scruggs Kennedy & Brittany Scruggs Morgan

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I am extremely excited for this Thriving Beyond Belief episode because it is the taping of our Thriving Beyond Belief live podcast event from Oct 18th! It was such an amazing night and we are so thankful for everyone who was able to come out. For those who couldn’t make it, we wanted to bring the entire event to you in your living room, kitchen, car or wherever you listen to podcasts!

We had such a fun time the other night, and that was exactly what the night was for: to have fun and give some tidbits of wisdom about how to THRIVE in your life.

On this episode, I had the pleasure of speaking to the room about what THRIVING truly is. I break down my story and all that the Lord has taught me. We talk salvation, marriage, redemption, love, and healing. With five points spelling out Thrive, I use the word to speak on what is needed for a life that is chasing after Jesus and making him known in every area of your life.

Then I interviewed my two sweet daughters, Brittany Scruggs Morgan and Lauren Scruggs Kennedy, and then one of my dear friends, Brenda Bogart interviewed my daughters and me! We talked about so many things that I can’t count them all!

We experience so many different distractions and forces in our lives today, that we have to be disciplined and conscious of making the Lord a priority in our lives. We must take captive our lives and not let them get swept up in the current of this world. We must strive to daily make choices that lead us closer to the Lord.

I am so excited and humbled to be able to share this wonderful night with you, and I pray this episode brings you joy, insight, and a new perspective of Jesus. I can’t wait for you to hear! Enjoy!

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Social Media Links

Instagram:

@cherylscruggs

@brittanymorgan

 @laurenscruggs

Website:

www.thrivingbeyondbelief.com

www.hopeformarriages.com

www.laurenscruggskennedy.com

Facebook:

@cherylscruggs

@brittanyscruggsmorgan

@laurenscruggskennedy

Books:

I Do Again by Jeff & Cheryl Scruggs

Still LoLo by The Scruggs Family

Your Beautiful Heart by Lauren Scruggs Kennedy

 

 

 

057: Megan Michelson

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I am so thrilled to have Megan Michelson with me on Thriving Beyond Belief today!

Megan is involved in a ministry with Mary Flow Ridley called The Birds and the Bees. It began as a message geared towards parents having intentional conversations with their children about sexuality. It turned into a ministry that helps parents strategically talk with their children several times throughout childhood and adolescence about sex without a fearful approach.

I love that Megan discusses that having these conversations as loving authorities in our children’s lives is so important. The world is constantly shouting about these topics at children from a younger age, and rather than cowering away from it, parents should be the Godly truth resonating back.

We discuss finding the balance between seeing sex as something that is dirty and not discussed until marriage to the way the world works, which is that sexual intimacy is a consumerist activity. Mary goes into biblical truth that intimacy is a beautiful thing that God intentionally made, but is set with boundaries. We can find freedom in the boundaries, seeing that God is wanting the best for each of us, and that is why there are rules set in place for us.

Mary gives some practical tips to finding your voice about these conversations you want to have with your children, including some guidelines for ages for these talks. She also goes over how to handle hurdles that may come from being intentional about these discussions and some boundaries you can set with them.

Why Megan loves being a part of this ministry is because she feels passionately about equipping and empowering parents to help their children have a healthy understanding of sex. This is a continual part of our lives, and thus it needs to be an important topic in our homes. The Birds and the Bees ministry is set up to be something that helps these conversations not be so uncomfortable. These talks can no longer be taboo because the world is feeding children so many lies about sex. She also talks about the fact that these discussions will also help spouses communicate. Megan finally talks about that if sex is a hard topic because of your past or because your marriage is at a particular hard place, seek help. Reach out and see if there is someone who can professionally talk with you in a biblical way that will help mend this area of your life.

I absolutely loved having Megan on today, and hope you take away valuable insight from this episode. You won’t want to miss it!

 

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Social Media Links

Instagram: @birds_bees

Website: www.birds-bees.com

Facebook:

 

 

 

Lisa Bevere

055: Lisa Bevere

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I have Lisa Bevere with me today on Thriving Beyond Belief today, and I am so excited for this episode!

Lisa has been a long-time advocate for women, helping them to find freedom in their identity and purpose in the Lord. She is an author and just put out a new book, Adamant. We dive in to what Lisa discusses in her book today.

First, we talk about what thriving is to Lisa. Lisa explains that too many people in Christianity think that they just need to survive. Rather, Christianity is about serving the Lord in every area in our lives. And with that, we are living how God intended us to live, which leads to a thriving life.

When discussing Lisa’s newest book, Adamant, we focus on the topic of culture. The culture that is coming at us saying that everyone’s opinions are their truths. But she reminds us that God’s Word is THE truth, and that our stories are seen by God and are important, but to never replace that with truth. She defines how to live in Christ.

The world is so desperate to heal and find satisfaction through sinful means, which means the world is desperate for a Savior. Lisa discusses the danger of normalizing our behavior rather than imagining that God can discipline us in love to make us who He intended us to be. “Our truth should be like a rock, not a river.”

Any issues we have, whether it’s our marriage, our family, our work life, our friendships, stem from not having Jesus at the center. We even discuss the social media and how we are to take caution when being immersed with so many opinions around us that have no legitimate grounding. So we spend some time truly discussing our responsibility of being in the Word ourselves, daily, in order to decipher what truth really is.

Finally, Lisa and I talk about her marriage and family. We talk about how Lisa and her husband have learned over the years how to dream together. We talk about how to be good apologizers and repenters, and how your marriage is a daily model for your children. Our lives are walking testimonies to others, and so let us be advocates for our spouses.

May our lives be a testament to others that life with the Lord is one that is empowered, satisfying, and full of love. I hope you find some time today to listen to this amazing episode. You won’t want to miss it!

 

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Social Media Links

Instagram: @lisabevere

Website: LisaBevere.com and MessengerInternational.org

Facebook: @LisaBevere.page

Twitter: @LisaBevere

Lisa’s Books: Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

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!

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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

 

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