What a joy it is to share this conversation with you, friends! Today’s podcast guest, Sharon Tedford, is an absolute delight. (And so is her British accent!) She is a worship leader, author, artist, and podcast host. It was so fun to talk with Sharon about her award-winning podcast, God in the Ordinary, and her journey into the podcasting world.
Sharon has the gift of encouragement, and I have no doubt you will come away from this podcast feeling refreshed. During our conversation she shares how the Lord led her family from living in the U.K. across the Atlantic to starting a life in Texas. As Sharon says, change does not come easily for her, but through such a dramatic move the Lord began a work in her that continues to this day. She also shares how the Lord has used Isaiah 61 in her life and her ministry, which she aptly named 61 Things.
If you’d like to learn more about Sharon and check out her music, writing, and podcast, please visit her website: 61-things.com. As discussed in the podcast, Sharon is kindly offering listeners of the Pause Renew Next Podcast a free copy of one of her watercolour paintings which you can find on her website. The passcode to receive your free copy is: podcast.
If you enjoyed this podcast, or something from this episode resonated with you, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment under today’s show notes, or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page. You can also follow Pause Renew Next on Instagram: @pauserenewnext.
Anyone who has walked with the Lord long enough knows what it’s like to experience a season of waiting on Him. Today’s guest, Jennifer Alvarado, talks about what the Lord has been doing in her over the past year during a time of waiting. Jennifer started a blog called In the Waiting, where she writes about her thoughts, feelings, and what she is learning in this season.
Jennifer is a singer, a songwriter, a worship leader, and also works at a women’s non-profit ministry. She is a busy woman, and I’m so glad we had a chance to sit down together and chat. We talked about her journey into singing and songwriting, her favorite musical artists, and the importance of good song lyrics! Over the past summer, Jennifer participated in a 100-day-challenge on social media where she released a video singing a different song each day for 100 days. We talk about how this challenge has helped her move through some fears and insecurities. Jennifer is a talented musician, and you can find her music on almost any streaming service. You can also find her on Instagram at the handle, i_am_jema, or on Facebook at Jennifer Alvarado music.
During our conversation, Jennifer shares about what it looks like for her to slow down and spend time with the Lord. We talk about prayer, soul care, Scripture, and relationships. I loved this conversation with Jennifer and so appreciate her willingness to share her story on the podcast.
If something you heard on today’s podcast episode resonated with you, please comment below, or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page. If you enjoyed today’s podcast episode, please share it with a friend!
Although we couldn’t meet in the same room due to social distancing, I absolutely loved this conversation with my friend, Bethany Guthrie. In this episode, we talk about everything from chickens, to music, to parenting a child on the autism spectrum. I appreciate Bethany’s fresh and honest perspective about both worship and parenting, and I came away from this conversation encouraged. I think you will too.
Bethany grew up with a love of music and can play many instruments. In this interview, we discuss some of the music that has been influential in her life. She talks about how music engages all of her senses and how playing the piano has not only helped her express her emotions but also helps with managing anxiety. Bethany explains that at one point in her life performing was a way to show off, but, after becoming a Christian, playing music became a way for her to worship and show who God is.
Bethany also shares in this episode about her experience of parenting a son with autism. She talks about walking through the diagnosis process and explains not only some of the signs of autism but also some of the unique gifts that her son brings to the world. Although she hasn’t always liked the phrase, “it takes a village,” Bethany says that, when it comes to raising a child on the autism spectrum, it really does take a village. She has found speech and occupational therapy to be incredibly helpful for her son and explains that having a brother has been one of the most helpful therapeutic interventions for him.
If something about this conversation resonates with you, please share this podcast episode or comment below today’s show notes. You can also join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page.
I am a big picture idealist. Reality and details drag me down. This makes it difficult for me to muddle through mundane tasks and focus on seemingly meaningless work, such as loading the dishwasher, folding laundry, or cleaning the bathroom sink. Sure, I know those tasks need to be done, but they just feel like drudgery. Contrast that with comforting someone who is hurting, recording a podcast, or getting together for a Bible study. These options feel much more meaningful to me and worthy of my time and attention.
There is a lie that our culture believes, and often I struggle not to believe it myself: follow your dreams and passions, for this will bring you happiness. Although there is much to be said for working hard for your dreams and knowing what you are passionate about, these things do not guarantee happiness. What about all of the moments spent doing the hard things? Or moments that seem insignificant altogether? Sometimes worship happens in the mundane moments. These moments too can bring joy, but they are not always accompanied by an emotional high.
For example, a few years ago, I remember enjoying a sweet moment of worship while driving down the road. Overcome with emotion, I lifted my hand and belted out the words to a worship song. Oh, my heart swelled with love for God. It was at that exact moment, that a child called to me from the backseat.
“What do you need?!! I was worshiping!,” came my impatient reply.
Wow. I felt convicted on the spot. What message was I sending my child? Would Jesus have said that? No way. He was willing to be available and to meet the needs of others even when it felt mundane. Even when he probably would have rather been communing with His Father. In fact, it seems to me that much of His worship was humbling himself and serving, in obedience to His Father. Obedience and service can be acts of worship too.
Obedience. Servitude. Those are not words that bring up heartwarming emotions, yet with these elements God brought His Kingdom to earth.
In this season of life, I am learning that each moment, each action, each inaction, can be an act of worship. Reluctantly, I’m reminded that servitude can be a piece of that too. Motherhood for instance, is the largest act of servitude I have ever before experienced. Much of it is filled with mundane tasks – reading the same book, brushing the same little teeth, filling the same dishwasher over and over and over and over. These tasks must be done. The question is, with which attitude will I complete them? My natural attitude is to do them begrudgingly, but I have the option to do them with humility instead, as an act of love to my family and God.
Of this, I will need to be reminded minute by minute. (No really, each minute.) Every moment has an opportunity to help build His Kingdom here on earth. Every moment counts…even the mundane ones.
Pause: Take a moment to quiet your spirit. Take a deep belly breath and exhale. When you feel settled, read Philippians 2:1-11. What do you take away from this passage about servitude, humility, obedience, and worship?
Renew: In what areas do worship and service come easily for you? Which parts of life feel more like drudgery? Ask the Lord to change your attitude and see those acts with a fresh perspective.
Next: Over the coming week, be aware of your attitude towards the people and tasks in your life. Find moments to give thanks for each, and consider how each might glorify God and benefit His Kingdom.