Signs of Life: An Interview with Stephanie Lobdell

Millions of people struggle with depression and anxiety, yet the church has been slow to begin talking openly about mental health. Today’s podcast guest, Stephanie Lobdell, shares candidly about her struggles with depression and anxiety and about her life in ministry. She has learned much about healthy vulnerability and describes how she’s watched the Lord bring resurrection to many areas of her life.

Stephanie Lobdell, campus pastor at MVNU and author of Signs of Life

In this conversation, Stephanie describes what depression has felt like for her and also how an important conversation in college encouraged her towards finding grace in the midst of a mental health diagnosis. We also talk about image, ministry, and what it looks like for Stephanie to rest well. Of course, there is also a healthy dose of talk about the Enneagram.

If you enjoy today’s podcast episode and want to hear more from Stephanie, check our her book, Signs of Life: Resurrecting Hope Out of Ordinary Losses. You can also learn more about her life and ministry at her website: stephanielobdell.com

What resonated with you from today’s conversation? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page.

May you be encouraged on your journey with Jesus.

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Sunlight Burning at Midnight: an Interview with Jess Ronne

It was my joy to get to talk to Jess Ronne in this podcast episode about her memoir, Sunlight Burning at Midnight. Jess is a wife, a mother of 8 children, a non-profit founder, and an author. She has experienced more heartache and struggle in the last 15 years than some people will experience their whole lives, yet her story is full of faith, grace, and hope.

Jess Ronne, also known as Jess+The Mess

In this podcast episode, Jess shares pieces of her faith journey: from experiencing a difficult pregnancy, to having a child with special needs, to walking with her husband through terminal brain cancer. She is candid in talking about her grief and the way she wrestled with her faith through those seasons. She also talks about the joy and hope of finding a new love.

Jess honestly shares about the real and ever-present challenges of raising a child with profound special needs. Now, more than ever, she is learning the importance of having community: family, friends, and a church body to stand alongside their family during both the good and the hard times. However, she explains that finding community is especially challenging for special-needs parents, as it is often a very isolating journey.

Jess Ronne, pictured with her family

I came away from this conversation both challenged and encouraged, and I hope that you do too. If something from this podcast episode resonates with you, please leave a comment below or join the conversation on PRN’s facebook page. If you’d like to learn more about Jess Ronne, you can read her blog and learn more about her non-profit, The Lucas Project, at her website: www.jessplusthemess.com.

May you be encouraged on your journey with Jesus.

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Following the Call: An Interview with Ann Miller

Today’s guest, Mrs. Ann Miller, is someone I really admire. She and her husband have an extensive history of ministry: from pastoring, to mission work, to teaching, to working with international university students. It was my joy in this interview not only to hear about some of Ann’s unique life experiences but also to hear about what the Lord has taught her along the way.

Ann Miller: wife, mother, grandmother, Bible Study teacher, and retired missionary and French teacher

In this interview, we talk about everything from French cuisine to Scripture. Although it’s hard to summarize a lifetime of experiences in a podcast episode, Ann discusses the beginning of their church ministry in Alabama, becoming a missionary in France, and transitioning back to life and ministry in the U.S.

What I love most about Ann is her authenticity and boldness, and these qualities come shining through in our conversation. She is honest about how uncomfortable some parts of ministry have been, but she’s equally honest about how the Lord used those experiences and discomfort to prepare her for what lay ahead. After listening to this interview, my hope is that you will come away encouraged and emboldened in your own faith.

What resonated with you from this podcast episode? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below, or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page.

May you be encouraged on your journey with Jesus!

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Let’s Talk About Stress

If you feel like you are under a lot of stress, you’re not alone. Stress is a normal part of life on earth, but it definitely gets a bad rap. For years, we’ve been warned to avoid it at all costs. We’ve been told about the negative health effects it causes. Still, if surveyed, most of us would say we have a significant stress load in our lives. So, if we can’t eliminate it, how can we better manage it? I explore this question in today’s podcast episode.

In this episode, I talk about all things stress: from how the fight or flight response affects our brains and bodies, to research about our interpretations of stress, to the role support and community play, to practical ways to manage stress in our lives. Best of all, this podcast ends with a self-calming exercise, so you should feel relaxed by the end of the podcast.

During this episode, I reference a fantastic Ted Talk by Kelly McGonigal entitled, How to Make Stress Your Friend. In it, she talks about a study in which thousands of people were surveyed about their interpretations of stress. If you find the information in this podcast intriguing and want to learn more, you may want to check out Kelly McGonigal’s book, The Upside of Stress.

If something in this podcast episode resonates with you, please leave a comment below the shownotes or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page.

May you be encouraged on your journey with Jesus.

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This Too Shall Last: An Interview with K. J. Ramsey

I have been a fan of K. J. Ramsey for quite some time, so it was a delight to speak with her on this podcast episode. She is a therapist, speaker, and author, who writes eloquently about suffering. K. J. is no stranger to pain in her own life, living with an autoimmune disease called ankylosing spondylitis. In her writing and speaking, K.J. uses facts about interpersonal neurobiology and the truths of Scripture to encourage others towards curiosity and courage in the midst of suffering.

K.J. Ramsey, author of This Too Shall Last: Finding Grace When Suffering Lingers

During our conversation, K.J. shares how her own pain has forced her to reckon with how suffering is a part of every Christian’s story. She believes Scripture encourages us towards a model of interdependence. Pain, both physical and emotional, leads us toward self-protection, but healing is found in relationship. K. J. explains, “The invitation in our pain is to take some deep breaths, reintegrate, and acknowledge that there perhaps are people who can meet us where we’re at, including Jesus Christ.”

Her new book, This Too Shall Last: Finding Grace When Suffering Lingers, is scheduled to be released in May, but is available for preorder now. If you’d like to learn more about K. J., visit her website, KJRamsey.com. There you can peruse the articles she’s written and learn more about her book. K. J. actually just released her own podcast series, This Too Shall Last, where she interviews guests about their experiences of suffering.

If something you heard on today’s podcast episode resonated with you, please share it with a friend, drop a comment below, or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page.

May you be encouraged on your journey with Jesus.

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Seeing God’s Hand: An Interview with Lisa Monson

It was an honor to sit with my friend, Lisa Monson, as she recounted the incredible hardships and provisions of her faith journey through battling lymphoma. Now, seven years later, Lisa can look back and see God’s hand evident all along the way.

Lisa is a licensed counselor, and owns her own practice, Renewal Counseling.

I so appreciated Lisa’s authenticity about not only her physical struggles but also the emotional and spiritual aspects of battling cancer. She shared that, through her journey, she has learned that God uses the broken things in our lives. As a licensed counselor, Lisa feels that the trials she has experienced help her better relate to her clients who are going through trials of their own.

When asked about a favorite Scripture passage, Lisa shared that her favorite verse is:

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12 NIV

During our conversation, Lisa talked about how, after her own health crisis, and after a close friend’s death, she began to be more interested in heaven. Not only did she search the Scriptures, but she also found Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven, to be a helpful resource for better understanding the promises of eternity.

I came away so encouraged by this conversation, and I hope that you did too. If something you heard on this podcast episode resonated with you, please comment below or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page.

May you be encouraged on your journey with Jesus.

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In Want + Plenty: An Interview with Meredith McDaniel

It was my privilege to sit with Meredith McDaniel and talk about the faith journey that led her to write her first book, titled In Want + Plenty. Meredith is a licensed professional counselor and owns her own private practice, Milk + Honey Counseling. We met each other over a decade ago, and it has been a joy to see what the Lord is doing in her life.

Meredith McDaniel, licensed professional counselor and author of In Want + Plenty

In this podcast episode, Meredith shares how, through experiencing a season of unease and transition, the Lord began teaching her through the story of Exodus about the joy of finding “manna” in her every day moments. She began to look for His provision in seasons of discontent as well as in seasons where there was abundance. Meredith explains that she feels called through her writing and counseling to help others “taste of the land of milk and honey here on earth.”

In Want + Plenty will be available January 20, 2020 anywhere books are sold

During this episode, Meredith shared that through Emily P. Freeman, she became one of the first members of HopeWriters. She believes that hope*writers has been integral to being able to write in a way that she could not only be supported, but keep her “soul intact” in the process.

Meredith’s book, In Want + Plenty: Waking Up to God’s Provision in a Land of Longing, is now available. To learn more about Meredith’s book and ministry, visit her website: https://www.meredithmcdaniel.com/.

During our chat, Meredith talked about ways she is trying to focus on prioritizing her marriage and family relationships. One of the ways she is currently fostering intentional time with her children each week is by using a new resource she loves, called Imaginative Prayer.

I found this conversation to be so encouraging. If you know someone who would also be encouraged by it, please share! If something about this conversation resonated with you, I’d love to hear about it. Comment below, or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page.

May you be encouraged on your journey with Jesus.

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Heart Cries of Every Teen (Replay): An Interview with Jackie Perry, LPCS

Last spring, I was privileged to interview my friend and colleague, Jackie Perry, LPCS, about her journey of writing her first book, Heart Cries of Every Teen: Eight Core Desires That Demand Attention. Well, now we have something to celebrate, because her book has now been published. In honor of the occasion, I am reposting this podcast interview.

Jackie E. Perry is a Licensed Professional Counselor and author of Heart Cries of Every Teen.

Originally a two-part interview, for this throwback episode, I have combined the two parts into one full episode. In this interview, Jackie shares about her faith journey of becoming an author, as well as her heart for counseling teens. Jackie’s book, Heart Cries of Every Teen, is now available on Amazon, and is receiving excellent reviews. If you have an adolescent in your life, this book will be tremendously helpful and encouraging to you.

Heart Cries of Every Teen helps to encourage and equip parents of teens.

If something about this episode resonated with you, please comment below or on PRN’s Facebook page. Additionally, if you know someone who would be encouraged by listening to this podcast, please feel free to share it.

May you be encouraged on your journey with Jesus.

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Dressember: An Interview with Amy Morgan and Meredith Loss

There are some issues of social justice that feel so big, it can be overwhelming to think about how one person can make a difference. Human trafficking is certainly one of those issues. In this podcast episode, I was honored to interview two of my friends, Amy Morgan and Meredith Loss, to talk about how through participating in Dressember they are using fashion to help raise awareness of human trafficking.

My two podcast guests, Meredith Loss and Amy Morgan

Along with thousands of other Dressember participants, they have chosen to wear a dress each day of December in order to raise awareness and funds to help in the war against human trafficking. During this episode, they both share how they got involved with Dressember, how they logistically do the challenge for a month, and how others can get involved.

This conversation was a lot of fun because Meredith and Amy are real-life friends. We talked about everything from Dressember, to “thrifting”, to what we’re currently reading. Amy and Meredith also shared their favorite Scripture passages and who inspires them.

If, after listening to this podcast, you are interested in learning more about Dressember, you can visit the website for the Dressember Foundation. During our conversation, Amy also mentioned a Ted Talk by Blythe Hill, Dressember’s founder, that covers more about the motivation for and passion behind the movement: How a Dress Can Change the World.

If something about this podcast episode resonated with you, please comment below or on PRN’s Facebook page. I hope it inspires you to know that everyone can do something to help change the world and spread light in dark places.

May you be encouraged on your journey with Jesus.

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Valleys of Sorrow, Rivers of Joy: An Interview with Gina Carr, Part 2

In the second part of my conversation with Gina Carr, she continues her story of returning from Mozambique and beginning to put down roots in a new town. She explains how, due to caring for an ailing parent, she lacked the capacity to look for friends but how the Lord provided the community they needed.

Gina shares openly about the seasons of loss her family has experienced over the past few years: from losing a parent, to suffering a miscarriage. Walking through seasons of loss, Gina explains how she has “mined treasures” in her relationship with the Lord. Psalm 139 is near to her heart because she has learned that, whether she is at the top or the bottom, He is there with her.

During the podcast episode, Gina mentions two books that have ministered to her over the past few years. Through the book, Hinds Feet on High Places, the Lord encouraged her to take emotional risks, using this quote: “Love and pain go together, for a time at least. If you would know love, you must know pain too.”

Then, after experiencing a miscarriage, Gina says that the book Grace Like Scarlett, by Adriel Booker, ministered to her soul. She quotes a line from the book, “Grief commands our attention.” Gina says this quote sums up how she felt in the months after her loss. She spent time sitting in her grief, journaling, praying, reading, and crying through the pain. Through grieving, she learned that “it’s okay to feel disoriented with the Lord. He’s not disoriented with you.”

Even as Gina talks about her seasons of sorrow, glimpses of hope and joy are found throughout her story. Now, as a foster parent, Gina is experiencing love and joy through the gift of caring for a baby girl that has come into their home.

There is so much about this conversation to love, and it encouraged and challenged me tremendously. If something about Gina’s story resonates with you, comment below or on PRN’s Facebook page. Please share it with others who you feel would be inspired as well.

May you be encouraged on your journey with Jesus.

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