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The Best Podcasts for Coaches’ Wives

The Best Podcasts for Coaches’ Wives

The best podcasts for coaches' wives

Do you love podcasts as much as I do? One of the best parts about working from home is that I don’t have to worry about bothering a co-worker in an adjacent office space. Whether I’m in my home office, out for a walk, or running errands I’m more likely to listen to a podcast than the radio and the same 5 songs on repeat. Recently there have been so many new podcasts produced by coaches’ wives for coaches’ wives coming out that I thought it was time to help get the word out about all these amazing women! I’m also including my favorite one that’s all sports.

Here are The Best Podcasts for Coaches’ Wives

The Coach's Wife Podcast with Kayla Fox

Kayla Fox is the owner of Fly Fox Apparel recently launched The Coach’s Wife Podcast. Kayla’s description for her podcast is: Here, we talk about everything from what it’s really like being married to a coach, how we deal with critical fans, the ministry of the coaching family, and everything in between. I’m your host, Kayla Fox, wife of a high school football coach and founder of The Fly Fox Apparel, a coach’s wife boutique. Whether you’re on your way to team dinner or picking up the slack at home while Coach is at work, huddle up and rest assured: you can find joy + community as a coach’s wife and it can all start right here.

Listen to my recent interview with Kayla on Episode 16 here!

Kayla is truly living in her sweet spot with her podcast. She is doing an amazing job of uplifting other women AND letting her heart shine. I’m lucky enough to say I know Kayla “in real life” and her heart is genuine. She truly believes that this crazy life we live is a ministry and every episode points coaches’ wives to God at some point. What I love most is that she’s covering everyday topics like eating healthy, staying out of debt, and having an amazing marriage in addition to the coaching life.

The Coach's Wife Chronicles Podcast

Cochea Long is probably the most honest coach’s wife out there right now but her podcast is a must listen to in my opinion. I’m SO thankful for her voice. The Coach’s Wife Chronicles is a podcast produced by a D1 basketball coach’s wife who has a passion for the game, the life, and her husband’s players. She understands the behind the scenes challenges of our life and in the last few months, she has been incredibly transparent in ways that are necessary. If you only listen to one podcast download The Wife Beside You immediately.

Check out Cochea’s social media take over on Friday Night Wives

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll sit down for the premiere episode of their new podcast ‘Flying Coach With Steve Kerr & Pete Carroll,’ in which they offer up their unique perspectives as championship-level coaches in the NBA and NFL. Recent guests have included Brene Brown, Doc Rivers, and Greg Popovich and they have dove into politics, COVID-19, and George Floyd.

Athletic Spouse Talk Podcast

Being a coach’s wife can make life a little more exciting at times. This can be good or bad depending on the situation. Join us as we discuss the challenges and achievements we experience while being A Coaches Wife.

Athletic Spouses Talk is a podcast from Maria Harris, founder of the National Association for Athletic Spouses.

Maria was so kind to reach out and interview me about my book a few weeks back. You can catch that podcast interview here.

More than a Season with Ashley and Brittany Podcast

Ashley and Brittany give listeners an inside perspective on what life is like supporting a coach. They describe their podcast as “Authentic, behind the scenes, look at what the support system experiences but no one discusses.” And so far I will say this is absolutely true. Their podcasts are courageous, honest, and offer a true perspective of the coaching life.

They are tackling the tough subjects like wrestling with giving up a dream job to move across the country for your guy or standing next to him at a college event where everyone assumes you’re simply there only in a supporting role.

If you’re entering the college coaching world this is an especially helpful podcast to listen to, and don’t forget to follow these two on Instagram as well!

That’s my round up of the best podcasts for coaches’ wives! With this list you’ll get your fill of hot topics, encouraging words and honest behind the scenes truth. What did I miss? Tag your favorite podcast for coaches’ wives!

Podcast Interview: The Coach’s Wife Podcast

Podcast Interview: The Coach’s Wife Podcast

The Coach's Wife Podcast Interview

I’m so excited to share today’s podcast interview with you! Kayla and I hung out this past winter with some amazing women when we put on the Pursue Coaches’ Wives retreat in partnership with Illini Land FCA. I love her heart for coaches’ wives and the way she sees the opportunities football brings for ministry to the team, the community, and to other wives.

If you aren’t apart of her private Facebook group The Huddle you’re missing out!

Check out my podcast interview with Kayla here! 16: Discovering Your Calling as a Coach’s Wife with Beth Walker

A few show notes:

Connect with Kayla and check out The Fly Fox Apparel here

Tim Keller

Almond Horns My favorite date night cookie!

Book Info (preorder links available soon!)

Share Four Somethings July 2020

Share Four Somethings July 2020

share four somethings

I can hardly believe it’s already the end of July 2020. We’re halfway through the most insane year of my lifetime and if there was ever a year to rush through it is this one. Yet I have so many things coming up in the next 6 weeks I want to make sure to slow down and savor and enjoy them all! Have you ever participated in Heather’s monthly link up Share Four Somethings before? If not, there’s no time like the present to join us!

Something Loved

This month I loved hopping on Zoom to chat with my friend Anne Rulo about Pursuing Your Calling in Difficult Seasons. Anne is a fellow coach’s wife and is SO insightful when it comes to how we process stress internally and externally. It was great to dive into Scripture with her, laugh, and talk about ways to re-frame challenging times in positive ways.

Beth and Anne Chat

Something Read

David French wrote an interesting article The Case for Religious Liberty Is More Compelling than the Case for Christian Power

The longer the American culture war persists, the more convinced I am that the distinction between religious power and religious liberty is the key to understanding the incredible angst felt by so many white American Christians.  White Christians feel this angst even in spite of a string of court victories that have secured religious liberty from state interference to a degree that’s unprecedented in American constitutional history. And the difference between power and liberty explains why many other American religious communities do not feel similar anxiety and thus make dramatically different political choices from their white Evangelical friends.  Simply put, religious liberty is increasing even as white Christian religious power is decreasing. 

I’m finding more centrist voices speaking out and distancing themselves from the craziness of what some might call a “holy war.” It’s refreshing to hear logic from more conservative voices again. (Oh, and if you don’t think French is conservative or a centrist that says more about how far you’ve swung right than where he sits.)

Something Treasured

This month we were able to sit outside at a restaurant for the first time since March. It felt halfway normal to have a breakfast date with my favorite coach. We wore our masks inside to order and when our food was delivered, but the food service at the middle eastern restaurant and grocery in town was impeccable and I was thrilled to support a locally owned business and have a real date. Now, if I could only figure out what was in that omelet besides an insane amount of butter…

Something Ahead

Next month is going to embracing our new normal without fear. We’ll be maneuvering through school, football season, and a book launch through a pandemic. I have no idea what any of it looks like and yet I’m hopeful for all of it. Hopeful that we’ll figure things out as a team, that we will continue to prioritize healthy choices, and that we will find something to be grateful for each day.

There are so many things in this season that I can’t control, but God is bigger than all of it, and I’m striving to rest in his strength rather than mine.

For more Share For Something link ups head over the Heather Gerwing’s blog and see what other people are saying!

Samson and the Fruit of the Spirit

Samson and the Fruit of the Spirit

Samson and the Fruit of the Spirit and Pursuing Your Calling
twitter screenshots

I came across a Twitter thread recently that made me chuckle. It was one of those times I was reminded that we may hear information many times, but until we experience it we won’t comprehend what we’ve heard.

Raymond Chang asked, “What if young people are leaving so called gospel-centered churches, NOT because they are drawn away by the world, but because they are not drawn in by the preaching of a diluted gospel message that has nothing meaningful to say to the brokenness we see in the world? Jesus shines when he not only heals us as individuals but also as communities and the whole world.”

To which David Kinneman, President of Barna Research Group replied, “We’ve done a decade’s worth of research and this, in essence, (is) the central finding of You Lost Me and especially Faith for Exiles.”

Both men are correct, which was affirmed by the thousands of tweets in response to Chang’s question as well as Barna Research Group’s decade of research. 

Yet centuries before Kinneman’s project launched, Christians growth was slowed by those in the Church who weren’t rooted in God’s truth.  In Galatians 5 Paul reminds a group of new believers that they need to filter who is influencing them. 

You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.  I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is. But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:7-26 NASB

Paul asks a direct question framed by three truths. The question is; Who hindered you from obeying the truth? The three truths are ones we can apply in any situation where we’ve veered off course ourselves.

Three Truths From Galatians 5:

  1. You were running well. The church was growing and faithfully following God
  2. This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. When they fell into legalism and found themselves clinging to man’s law above God’s law (read Galatians 5:1-6 for details) it wasn’t directed by God.
  3. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. This is a warning and a reminder. It only takes a small doubt or mistruth to cause a whole lot of trouble.

When it comes to these three truths there is an Old Testament story that stands out as a warning of what happens when we don’t pursue God with our whole heart. More than that, Samson also teaches us that our callings can take an unexpected twist and we can still fulfill them for God’s glory.

Samson’s Story

Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, so that the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years. There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children. Then the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son. Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing. For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, “A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. But he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”

Judges 13:1-7

Laws for Nazarites

In Numbers we learn more about the Nazarites. These were people set apart for a special calling by God. They

Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,  “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When a man or woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to dedicate himself to the Lord, he shall abstain from wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar, whether made from wine or strong drink, nor shall he drink any grape juice nor eat fresh or dried grapes. All the days of his separation he shall not eat anything that is produced by the grape vine, from the seeds even to the skin. ‘All the days of his vow of separation no razor shall pass over his head. He shall be holy until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the Lord; he shall let the locks of hair on his head grow long. ‘All the days of his separation to the Lord he shall not go near to a dead person. He shall not make himself unclean for his father or for his mother, for his brother or for his sister, when they die, because his separation to God is on his head. All the days of his separation he is holy to the Lord.

Numbers 6:1-8

These were very specific rules, and they may not make sense, but God had his reasons. What we know is that they were distinguishable physically because they didn’t cut their hair and internally in the that they ate differently than typical Israelites. Samson was a special man, set apart by God, for God’s glory.  We learn in Judges 13:24 his parents obeyed God, and the next time we read about Samson he is of marrying age and we learn he’s not interested following all the rules associated with being a Nazarite. 

Even though Samson breaks some of the laws associated with being a Nazarite such as eating honey from the carcass of an animal Samson doesn’t lose his strength. In Judges 14:5-6 it says, “Then Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came as far as the vineyards of Timnah; and behold, a young lion came roaring toward him. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.” God protected Samson even though he was hanging out with woman he wasn’t supposed to be with, in a location he wasn’t supposed to be present.

That same strength comes after he eats the honey. Judges 14:19 says, “Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle.” 

In his book, The Comeback Louie Giglio notes, “Outwardly, God’s favor is on Samson and God still uses him-this is a mysterious thing.  Internally, a hurricane is brewing. Both of the outward and inward scenes of Samsons’ life are happening at the same time.”

This is important for us to remember in light of Galatians 5. God gave Samson a special gift and a specific calling on his life for a reason. Even in Samson’s darker moments, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and protected him to keep him alive so he could fulfill his future calling. This isn’t an endorsement of Samson’s behavior.

I’m going to more through much of Samson’s story, however, I encourage you to read the whole thing for yourself. Samson fell in love with Delilah and eventually, he tells her that his strength comes from his hair. She cuts off his hair while he sleeps and in Judges 16:20-24 we read of Samson’s fate. 

She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.  Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison.  However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it was shaved off. Now the lords of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice, for they said,

“Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hands.”

 When the people saw him, they praised their god, for they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hands, Even the destroyer of our country, Who has slain many of us.”

Judges 16:20-24

This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you

Spiritual fruit contains the seeds required to reproduce even more fruit.  Man-made (seedless watermelon) or artificial fruit is lifeless and cannot reproduce.  However, for seeds to spread, the fruit must die.

Giglio writes “Samson was so focused on the external use of God’s power that he missed out on the internal exercise of God’s power. He was always thinking about what God would do to someone else.  He never stopped to think that he had an internal situation that could bring all his plans to a screeching halt.  He never said, “God, as much as I’ve needed your power to kill the Enemy, I need your power to fix me.  It’s not enough that power goes out from me; I need the power of God to work in me.”

He goes on to say, “Strangely, God was still using Samson even during Samson’s low points.  The man still operated in some of the gifting and empowering and calling that God had placed upon his life even while battling this internal hurricane.”

And here’s the thing…if this could happen with Samson, then it most certainly can happen with us. It’s possible that we are faking the fruit of the Spirit outwardly.  We might have everyone around us fooled…but we haven’t fooled God.

God has a bigger plan, and He will use any situation He pleases to for His glory. He will use any situation for his glory.

I think we need to consider with the fruit of the Spirit and abiding in Christ is that this is an active process that takes attention, surrender, and sometimes guidance.  As sisters in Christ, we need to encourage each other to further develop the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives and extend grace to each other along the way.  Growth doesn’t happen overnight, and it requires pruning and tending. Above all, we must remember that if we don’t stay focused on God’s truth we are all capable of allowing false influence to lead us astray. Jesus reminded the disciples of this just before his death.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.  You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.  Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

John 15:1-11

There are significant contrasts in how Samson and Jesus lived their lives on earth. Yet they both started out making intentional choices inwardly and outwardly to glorify God. Both sacrificed their lives in the end for those they loved. Both deaths fulfilled prophecies from angels, and both men lived out their specific callings from God.

Unfortunately, for much of Samson’s adult life, he used his gifts from God to get his own way, rather than to glorify God. We don’t need Nazarites anymore. Jesus’s death and resurrection created a path for us all to be equally able to be indwelt with the Holy Spirit and to use our gifts to glorify God through our individual callings.

Similarly to Samson though we have the choice to act in a way that outwardly shows one aspect of our character while inwardly a hurricane brews. We can choose to abide in God, seeking to allow our inward and outward characteristics match. We can choose to honor God in our life or in our death. When we do this we will find ourselves naturally reflecting the Fruit of the Spirit. We will also find that we’ll instinctually love our neighbor as ourselves because we will be reflecting the same sacrificial love Jesus and the disciples lived out daily.

Finally, we will be speaking truth to others and multiplying the Church rather than aiding to its rapid decline when we choose to align our inward and outward characteristics and to pursue our calling in a way that intentionally glorifies God rather than ourselves. Even if that calling seems like has nothing to do with the Church, when you partner with God, you have the opportunity to reflect the love of Christ everywhere you are in any situation.

Whether you’re considering the concept of what attracts people to the church for the first time today, ten years ago or at some other point, today, we have the gift of more than a hypothesis to build a conversation around. Kinneman’s data confirms the question Chang posted on Twitter. Together they are helping to amplify the truth. We can choose to believe the responses of those who are leaving the church or ignore their words and determine for ourselves why reality is what it is, it’s up to you.

If you aren’t sure which way to go, I encourage you to consider Galatians 5 and to read the story of Samson. Ultimately, whatever your calling is, as we partner with Jesus the best way to ensure we are speaking truthfully about him is to stay as close to him as possible. It’s also the best way to ensure we’re hearing him correctly.

This article was originally posted February 8, 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and freshness 7/2020

Pursuing Your Calling in Difficult Seasons

Pursuing Your Calling in Difficult Seasons

clarify your calling

We are a difficult season as coaching families right now. Every day we wake up to discover that new states are suspending fall athletics, school districts are considering not paying coaching stipends, or another coach or coach’s wife is battling COVID-19. The only thing we can rely on right now is that every day we will have to adjust to something new.

But here’s the good news. God is not surprised by the events of 2020! More than that, he is bigger than all of this confusion and concern. When we don’t know what to pray we can look in the Bible at those who have walked in difficult seasons before us and learn from them. Theologians consider Pauls’s letter to the Church in Rome “the most complete compendium of Christian doctrine. Romans has been called “The Constitution of Christianity,” “The Christian Manifesto,” and “The Cathedral of the Christian Faith.”

Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (emphasis mine)

As encouraging as this passage in Romans is, I love this conversation in Exodus between Moses and God even more. Moses was not afraid to hold back his thoughts with God. This courage developed as their relationship strengthened, but we can learn from Moses and be just as bold in our conversations with God.

Moses had Honest Conversations with God

Exodus 33:12-18 Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’  If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.  How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

I was so thankful to spend an incredibly encouraging hour talking with my friend Anne Rulo about these Bible passages as well as why we both believe that it’s possible to pursue your calling even in difficult seasons.

Curious to know more about Lessons from the Sidelines? Check out my Media Kit here. And stay tuned. A preorder link will be live soon!

Meet Tia Reid Barlow

Meet Tia Reid Barlow

I connected with Tia when she generously invited me to promote our upcoming Pursue coaches’ wives retreat in her Facebook group. It feels so rare these days that women will go out of their way to elevate each other, however, Tia is consistent in her ministry publicly and privately. It’s my joy to celebrate her today in my monthly feature post Wives Who Thrive.

I hope you will find inspiration in Tia’s story as she draws a distinction between deciding to pursue a job in the traditional sense and a calling from God. The passion to see women reach their full potential in their personal and spiritual lives is something else Tia and I share!

Meet Tia Reid Barlow

Tia is a social media influencer, blogger, and speaker. She is a football coach’s wife of 16 years. Tia writes and shares words of encouragement, exhortation, and ministry devotions in her social media communities on Facebook: His Coaches’ Wives and His Elect Ladies. Tia is a platform speaker. She is sought out by women’s ministries and conference hosts in the gospel community.

Tia Reid Barlow

Tell me about your career

I am a fixture of inspiration and hope for those in the gospel community. Serving as an example to coaches’ wives, women in ministry and the Body of Christ. I use my social media platforms, private online communities, and blog to edify, build and encourage believers. I am a public speaker, sought out by women’s ministry groups and conference hosts in the gospel community. It is my mission to see women reach their full potential in their personal and spiritual lives.

What part of your career are you most passionate about and why?

I am fueled by a passion to see spiritual growth in coaches’ wives and women in the gospel community. I am unashamed to use my life as a teaching mechanism through storytelling and in your face messages. I have been given a divine calling to exhort, encourage, and empower my listeners.

Why did you choose your niche?

The necessity to serve coaches’ wives and women in the gospel community was a result of a burden laid upon me by God. Before the foundations of the world, I believe God decided I would be a coach’s wife. He has shown me through dreams and visions how much influence He has given me with this community of women. There is an irresistible impulse in my spirit to help women in the gospel community see and walk in their callings. I didn’t choose this work. This burden happened to me by God acting upon me by His Holy Spirit.

When you dreamed of the ideal career where your strengths, passions, gifts, and talents would connect did you think you would be doing what you are doing? How are things the same/different? 

When I begin to step out in faith and embrace this work I imagined I would spend more time on speaking platforms and in pulpits. I assumed this was the best way to engage my listeners. As I considered how to gather coaches’ wives and women of the faith the Lord inspired me to simply go where they are. I knew this meant social media. This led me to use my public social media pages and create private online communities where I could share devotionals, spiritual encouragement and spiritual exhortations. I see this method as an enlarged tent enabling me to reach a broader audience.

What is your best advice for someone wanting to pursue a career in your field?

Search your inner compulsion. There will be a consciousness within your own spirit, an awareness or a kind of pressure to share the gospel message with others. Affirmation of this work is divine.

Do you have any tips to share about balancing work and the rest of life? 

Strive for a realistic schedule and remain fluid. God has called you to this work. He is responsible for the content you will be sharing.

Is there anything else you would like to share? 

The scripture verse I live by: Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

Connect with Tia:

Facebook

Instagram

Facebook Group for Coaches’ Wives

Tia’s Website

If you have any questions about the calling Tia has described I encourage you to join her Facebook group and ask questions. I know she will be happy to help you clarify your calling and develop a discerning ear for God’s voice.

Are you Interested in a Monthly Spotlight Feature?

Are you interested in having a featured post on Wives Who Thrive? Fill out the linked Google Doc for a chance to have a feature on this monthly post. Interested in learning more about this monthly spotlight? Check out this invitation post.

A Purposeful Life

A Purposeful Life

a purposeful life

Studying Beth Moore’s Bible Study on Esther I found myself wrestling with a challenging question. In Esther Chapter 4 Mordecai calls Esther to do more than sitting silently. Faced with the king’s edict drawing nearer Mordecai realizes that his niece is sitting in a position of influence. He sees the bigger picture and asks her to tell King Xerxes (her husband) the truth about Haman’s manipulation and what it will mean for Esther. 

Esther was afraid. Speaking up could cause conflict. It is against the law. It could cost her life and still not make a difference for the Jewish people.  She expresses her fear to Mordecai, and her uncle reminds her that fear shouldn’t be the dictator of her decisions for some very important reasons.

Esther 4:12-14 says:

“When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: ‘Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?’”

Beth Moore succinctly reminded us during the study  “We can refuse to walk in obedience to God or cower in fear from our calling and He will undoubtedly still accomplish His agenda. As for us, however, we will pass up the fulfillment of our own entire life, purpose, and we, and perhaps even ‘our father’s family’ will miss a mighty work.”

I’ve spent a lot of time studying the concept of how God creates us all with an intentional calling. It’s our choice as to whether we take steps to recognize that calling on our lives and how we can thrive the sweet spot of the unique opportunities God places in front of each of us.
 
In my book that releases later this summer, I spend several chapters exploring how to discover, develop, and live out your calling in practical ways. Calling can be defined in many ways. I define calling as the non-negotiable thing placed in you by God to glorify him. We begin to understand our calling by understanding and discovering the gifts given to us by God. These gifts are listed in Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 and 28-30, and Ephesians 4:11.

When we understand that our calling is a gift from God we will live a purposeful life as we live in the sweet spot of our calling. This may mean that we pursue a career or we step up and speak out and raise awareness that leads to change and helps us develop new relationships and build authority and trust with people in our community. Investing in people, loving them well, and reflecting biblical values is always beneficial to God’s kingdom. But it isn’t always a natural first choice. 

Esther wasn’t thrilled with the path God placed her on, however, Mordecai was right. Her silence wasn’t a guarantee that King Xerxes would spare her life. Now, I know we are not all in a position (thankfully) where we are putting our lives at risk. However, I believe God calls us all to do something that will feel life-altering at some point. We will come against a wall, physical or metaphorical, and we may think the task is impossible, and really not fun.
 
Beth Moore reminds us, “Beloved, in the times of greatest struggle when you make the God-ward decision over convenience, earthly comfort, or carnal pleasure you too have come to a critical moment in the fulfillment of your destiny. A defining moment. A war is being waged over your head in the unseen realm, and a great cloud of witnesses is cheering you on. You have no idea what’s at stake.” 
 
We are not called to a life of comfort and ease as Christians. I think that most people understand that Christians shouldn’t expect a life of ease. We’re reminded all through Scripture that a life following Christ will have challenges, but that those trials have a purpose. Carol and Gene Kent are living out this challenge every day. They have turned beauty to ashes by looking at what could be considered divine disappointment into divine surprise.
 
 
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
 
When we live out our calling in partnership with God we will make an impact because we will be doing what our Creator intended for us to do when he created us. But it’s important to remember that God is bigger than our decisions. He doesn’t need us to complete his purposes. Acts17:24-25 says, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”
 
Just like Esther, we may be in a situation where we don’t like the choices in front of us, but that doesn’t mean that walking through a challenging obstacle int he short term won’t bring us long term joy and peace! More than that, when we embrace our calling we have the opportunity to flourish in partnership with God.
 
Have you ever stopped to consider that the purpose of your calling could have a generational impact? Could your choice to engage with the people in front of you in a meaningful way have a Kingdom impact? Could choosing God’s way may be more about living a purposeful life than we admit? What are some ways that you are intentionally living a purposeful life?
 
If your curious to learn more about how to God has uniquely created each of us I encourage you to preorder a copy of Lessons from the Sidelines (available soon!)
Divine Surprise or Divine Disappointment

Divine Surprise or Divine Disappointment

Divine Surprise or Divine Disappointment

I’ve incorporated Carol Kent’s teaching on mentoring for as long as I can remember. Her focus on the actions of Jesus, practical examples, and loving approach to relational mentoring is a natural fit for my personality. Before I first read Becoming a Woman of Influence relational mentoring, I’d understood Master Plan of Evangelism to be the modern day roadmap for loving people well. Both authors focus on studying the words and actions of Jesus and how he invested in his 12 disciples during the three years he spent with them, healing people, and preaching. Eleven of the men went on to have an exponential impact on the world as they intentionally invested in people the same way Jesus invested in them. Mentoring and discipleship remains one of the most effective ways to grow deeper in relationship with Christ today. When we understand these simple principles we can also impact present and future generations for God’s Kingdom.

Although I’ve never met Carol, her dedication to mentoring others well has had a significant influence on my life. Carol understood her calling included mentoring women. She lived out her calling investing in women, but Carol also saw that part of her ministry included writing and speaking. Her efforts afforded others the opportunity to learn from her and repeat what God was teaching her about discipleship.

I was sharing with a friend in 2004 how much I’d loved Carol’s book and the way I’d implemented her mentoring ideas. We were looking for something to read together and I wondered if she’d ever written anything else. A look of surprise crossed Peggy’s face. She encouraged me to look up Carol’s story and it’s then that I learned this woman I admire so much was walking through a deeply painful season.

On October 24, 1999, Gene and Carol Kent’s only child, Jason P. Kent, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Jason was an Annapolis Naval Academy graduate with an exemplary record, and a source of pride and joy to his parents, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Carol Kent wrote in her second book, When I Lay My Isaac Down. “It’s discovering that the cup of sorrow is also the cup of joy as we engage ourselves in understanding the upside-down nature of the cross. By sharing my story, I can give people the opportunity to find hope, and it’s a helpful way for me to process my own grief.”

I am fairly certain that when Carol began to pursue a ministry as a writer and speaker she didn’t envision that it would include taking out loans to pay for lawyers, uprooting her life, and moving to Florida to be near her son after his prison sentencing was finalized. Carol shares, “While God would never condone what my son did, His mercy and grace abound. Our eyes are open to a whole new world–the prison system. We now see needs we weren’t aware of before, and doors are opening to help some of the neediest people in our society.

As Carol and her husband Gene visited their son in prison they realized that God was calling them to establish Speak Up for Hope. Their non-profit is to provide hope to inmates and their families through encouragement, education, and counseling. The ministry goals for Speak Up for Hope are specific and focused on offering hope and healing for the whole family. This has allowed their son Jason to serve his fellow inmates as well.

While Carol’s story reveals a very specific 180-degree shift in her understanding of her calling, the truth is that her original calling never ended. Carol is still writing, speaking, and mentoring people. She now divides her time between two ministries with a similar calling. Carol spends time and energy on both Speak Up for Hope and Speak Up Conference. She also speaks at conferences on subjects such as faith, mercy, and divine surprises.

Carol didn’t shift from one ministry to the other without making intentional choices. Gene and Carol choose to face the future with hope, joy and faith. Carol says, “God can take a situation like ours and redeem it for His purposes. Our vision is to help inmates and their families adjust to their new normal.”

Carol isn’t the only person whose found themselves pursuing their calling only to be thrown a surprise in the middle of the path.

Ruth was happily married with her whole future ahead of her one day and before she knew it she was childless, and a young widow following her mother-in-law Naomi to an unknown land where she would spend her days picking extra wheat in the fields of Boaz.

Joseph was checking on his brothers at the request of his father (Genesis 37) and the next thing he knew he was being sold as a slave to Midianite merchants. It would be years before he would see the dream God gave him as a young boy where his brothers were bowing to him come to fruition. In between Joseph would be imprisoned, falsely accused, and then rise to power in the Egyptian government.

The disciples spent three years with Jesus learning from him and helping him to develop a ministry. They would see their calling to follow Jesus turn upside down with his death by crucifixion. And then again they would find themselves in awe of another miracle as Jesus stood before them alive.

Jesus understands that our callings aren’t easy. He invites us to step into the challenging spaces because it is in those seasons that we grow closer to him. But it’s always our choice. We can see the difficult situations we experience as divine surprises or divine disappointments. Either way, Jesus is present with us as we pursue our calling.

I hope you can see from the people I’ve highlighted today that by embracing the totality of our calling we have the opportunity to partner with Jesus in unexpected ways and flourish in our daily lives even when we encounter challenging situations.

Pursue: 6 months Reflection

Pursue: 6 months Reflection

One Word 2020 Pursue

John 10:1-6 (NIV) says, “‘Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.’ Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.”

There are very few milestones in my life where I can reflect back and identify I clearly heard God’s voice. Just like the sheep, I know my Shephard’s voice. For me, God’s voice is a thought in my head that comes with a sense of peace and an understanding that God is guiding me and it’s my choice to follow him or carve out my own path. Peace comes when I pursue God.

Six Months Focusing on Pursue

When God gave me Pursue as my Word for 2020 I didn’t realize how important the choice to intentionally stay present and focused on this word would become. In January Pursue was focused on pouring care and preparation into the Pursue Coaches’ Wives retreat in partnership with Illini Land FCA. I’m so thankful we weren’t able to have the retreat when we originally wanted to as it would have likely been canceled. God went before us and gave us an amazing weekend with wonderful coaches’ wives.

In February Pursue drove me to reflect on past Bible study methods. Adoration, Inductive study through Priscilla Shirer’s 5 P’s and choosing a study for Lent to acknowledge the 40 days leading up to Easter all prompted me to pursue God in different ways.

In March my one word Pursue helped me identify the need to look to leaders who would shore up a strong foundation in challenging times. Matthew 7:15-20 (NASB) says, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.”

In April focusing on the word pursue kept me focused on loving my neighbor and consistent in my integrity. Even when others who follow Jesus and say they are prolife were publicly announcing that the time to protect all lives was over and hat it was time to get the country back to work, and that we needed to begin to accept death was going to happen and just move on I was focused on Jesus’ words rather than man’s.

In May when I helplessly watched hate choke the life out of a man the word I’d put into pursuing God all the months before kept me moving forward one step at a time. As I watched those I love internally process, mourn, and lament in necessary ways I was able to fill a gap and Be a Voice for the Voiceless and call others to as well.

In June my understanding of the word Pursue allowed me to mourn and lament with God. I knew God wept with us as we watched the injustice unfolding before our eyes. I knew God ached as we heard the lies once again to justify and minimize the bad behavior of the powerful. I knew God saw all his children and loved us all, longing for all of us to unify and reflect his actions and words. God’s call for unity, care for the weakest of humanity, generosity, truth, kindness, gentleness, and all the other fruit of the Spirit has never changed and never will.

I’m so thankful God goes before us and prepares us for challenging seasons. We may not always know why God is asking us to do something, however, our Good Shepard loves us and he is always intentional to care for us the best way possible. While we likely will prefer that God would remove difficult seasons he loves us too much to allow us to remain complacent.

I have no idea what the next month holds as I continue to focus on my one word Pursue and how it applies to my relationship with God, however, I do know that I will be better off for it in the end, even if I shed more tears.

With-passion-I-pursue-and-cling-to-you.-Because-I-feel-your-grip-on-my-life-I-keep-my-soul-close-to-your-heart.
Loving Our Global Neighbor and Next Door Neighbor

Loving Our Global Neighbor and Next Door Neighbor

I’m writing over at The Glorious Table today! Here’s a preview

A year ago, we made an unplanned local move. It was stressful, but we knew that in the long run, there would be a lot of benefits to our new rental house. We had to make such a quick decision that we didn’t even have time to think about our new neighbors; however since we’d lived in a cul-de-sac for two-and-a-half years without anyone speaking to us already, I didn’t have high expectations for our new neighborhood.

Imagine my surprise when, on moving day, three of our new neighbors came out to meet us before we’d even unpacked our first carload. More than that, during the month leading up to our busiest season, our neighbors brought us cookies, gave us contact information for the least expensive companies for trash and internet, and helped us figure out where our boys would have to get the bus for school.

Our neighbors helped us adjust to our surroundings quickly. They helped make a house feel like a home. They loved in effortless ways, but it meant a lot to us because of our previous experiences just a half-mile away.

Evangelicals have clashed over the modern definition of what it means to love your neighbor. Many otherwise loving people have spent significant energy attempting to will others to agree to their narrow biblical viewpoint of loving your neighbor. The circular arguing has splintered relationships, opened old wounds, and even caused some to question whether they are welcome within the church walls.

Read the rest over at The Glorious Table

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