Posted in advice, Beatitudes, christian living, depression and anxiety, divorce, grief, mental health, military, service, and veterans, motherhood, parenting, Podcast Show Notes, prayer, recovery, relationships, spiritual practices

Comfort in the Mourning: Beatitude #2

If we are born into this world we will, at some point, experience the exquisite pang of loss. We will weep for what was and mourn what will never be again. This world, it seems is the perfect training ground for grief and sadness.

But Jesus, in his sermon on the mount, as found in Matthew chapter 5, tells his followers, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

He doesn’t elaborate on this point, or frankly, any of the points he’s making in this exact moment of his discourse. He leaves it plain and simple. Essentially what he’s saying is, “The people who mourn will be happier than those that don’t because they’ll be comforted.”

Well, that seems odd, doesn’t it? Because like I said, if life teaches us anything, it’s that we’re all going to mourn at some point. So, what makes this statement so poignant?

This week, Brandy explores this brief beatitude by looking further into Jesus’ own suffering, the mission he was prophetically called to when he stepped into humankind as a man, and the mission of his second coming.

We’ll be looking at Matthew 5:5, John 11:32-38a, Isaiah 61:1-3, and 2 Corinthians 1:3.

The fact is, we are not alone in our suffering and grief. We have a God who can relate to our pain and has stepped into it with us.

Listen to this week’s episode to find out how well he can relate to us and what he promises us as our future with him unfurls.

Listen to the full episode here

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Special thanks to James Swanson and James Page for their contribution to our theme song, The Long Road Home, written by Brandy J. Goebel. Copyright 2018.

This episode was recorded, edited, and produced at 4G’s Studios in Sandy, Oregon, home of Bigfoot…. We have a hotel to prove it. 2019. All rights reserved.

Posted in advice, christian living, divorce, friendship, identity, Marriage and Dating, mental health, Podcast Show Notes, prayer, recovery, relationships

Show Notes – “Affair Prevention: Guard Your Marriage”

As a follow up to last week’s discussion wherein Matt and I shared what it looked like for us to recover after an affair, it seemed only fitting to also share with you some things we have learned that made our marriage vulnerable in the first place.

It is our desire to equip and encourage married couples to not only stay faithful but to thrive while doing so. It’s true that God’s grace and power are big enough to heal a marriage, but wouldn’t it be better to just avoid that crisis in the first place?

Listen to the full episode here!

Some common pitfalls that any marriage may stumble into:
* Pornography and an indulgent fantasy life
* Unrealistic expectations from your spouse
* Comparing your spouse to an idealized version
* Believing it could never happen in your marriage…every marriage is vulnerable!

Some practical steps to keep your marriage protected (this is NOT an exhaustive list!):
* Guard yourself against pornography and sexual triggers
* To “spice up” your sex life, look to Christian resources (a few links below)
* Understand that the person you marry isn’t a project; they may ever change (and               if you’re hoping they will, it might not be time to marry them, just yet)
* See your marriage as a team effort; you’re working toward the same goal. Act like               it.
* Tend to your own pasture…the grass is never greener. Trust me.

These are some of the things we talked about in this episode. Of course, we didn’t cover ideas about finding shared hobbies or interests, or how to effectively listen to your spouse or any one of a hundred other ways you can foster a loving relationship. Those, I’m sure will be covered in future episodes.

Christian resources:
//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=roadhome-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1589975383&asins=1589975383&linkId=19026be85507a6566e457d86dc28429f&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>No More Headaches

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=roadhome-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0785264671&asins=0785264671&linkId=08541fcbc3cbf187e8db40bc2a132114&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>A Celebration of Sex

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=roadhome-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0307444945&asins=0307444945&linkId=42d9346345ac7e8c70fe2364700dc927&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Intimate Issues

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=roadhome-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0800725840&asins=0800725840&linkId=fb42df6d3565da55f972b8e2ea88a87d&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>The Language of Sex

There are so many more resources available for the Christian couple. Whether you’ve got questions you’re uncomfortable asking anyone else, you want some ideas for how to put the spark back in your marriage or you simply want to know how to make your spouse feel more loved, there is a myriad of books out there.

To see Christian books only and not be worried about being bombarded with potential triggers or porn, check out Christian Book Distributors.

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NOTE: This week’s transcript will likely be out late. I will do my best to have it available as quickly as possible.

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Posted in christian living, depression and anxiety, divorce, friendship, grief, identity, Marriage and Dating, mental health, parenting, Podcast Show Notes, recovery, relationships

Show Notes – “Coming Out: I Had An Affair”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery;’
but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
– Matthew 5:27-28

Adultery. 

Not a very pretty word is it? But there it is. In black and white. You can sugar-coat it and call it something different, but it’s all the same ugly sin.

This week, we dive headlong into our own journey of adultery and the grace and redemption that God provided. Eight years have passed since the news came out that shook our world to its core.

We invite you to step into this conversation with us because we hear, on a near daily basis of so many other marriages that are struggling with their own battles of infidelity. We want to bring hope and encouragement to those of you currently walking this path and in next week’s episode, we want to provide some common pitfalls to avoid or overcome that oftentimes lead to an affair.

Listen to the full episode here

If you are struggling in your own marriage, please listen. Please reach out. To us. A pastor. A counselor. There is grace. There is healing. There is a new beginning available to you and your marriage. You are not alone.

Read the full transcript here

Here are the links to many of the tools I used in my own recovery process:

“Breaking Free” Beth Moore
“When Godly People do Ungodly Things” Beth Moore
“David: A Man After God’s Own Heart” Beth Moore
“The Genesis Process”

Previous episodes can be found here on Google Play!

We can also be found in Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes), Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify and pretty much any podcast app. Please share with your friends, neighbors, people you love, and people you love to hate because everybody needs a little encouragement and grace.

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Alright…Love God. Love People. Pray hard.

 

Posted in advice, christian living, depression and anxiety, identity, mental health, Podcast Show Notes, recovery

Show Notes: Episode 10 “Reasons For Hope”

Here it is! We promised you that we’d bring you some hope after last week’s talk about depression and anxiety and we did it!

This episode was actually recorded a few weeks ago, so there’s no Road Trip Fun Facts…er Corner….er Station. It’s just us delving into today’s topic. Take a listen and hopefully, it will strengthen your own resources for the dark days that plague us all.

Also…I, Brandy, got a little bit carried away looking up a verse (which I never found) but sure made a lot of noise trying. So….sorry for that.

Listen to Episode 10 here!

Matt’s Reasons:

1. The evidence of God in Creation.
Here are a couple of good resources to explore, though not necessarily the ones that Matt used:
Dr. William Lane Craig – YouTube
The Case For A Creator; Lee Strobel. Zondervan Publishing; Grand Rapids, MI

2. The prophecies that declared Christ.
* Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
* Isaiah 35:5-6 “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.”

For additional prophecies: 
Jews For Jesus
Jesus Film

Read the TRANSCRIPT here!

Brandy’s Reasons:

1. Evidence of God’s faithfulness through recovery classes and Bible Studies. I don’t remember the exact order of these studies, but these Beth Moore studies were particularly healing for me and opened me up for a whole new relationship with God. I’ve done other studies by her as well and have learned so much in all of them. I highly recommend any of her studies.

When Godly People Do Ungodly Things
Believing God
David
Breaking Free
The Genesis Process: Book 1
The Genesis Process: Book 2

2. The passage that God gave to me before I even knew it was scripture was Psalm 40:1-3.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined His ear to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.”

 

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

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Posted in advice, christian living, depression and anxiety, friendship, grief, Marriage and Dating, mental health, recovery, relationships

Picture (Im)perfect

It was a quiet conversation.

The two of us sat across the dining room table from one another, working on a jigsaw puzzle of a tiger lurking in the trees. Our voices were calm. We even laughed a little bit as we shared memories of our dating years and talked about where our relationship was currently: broken and on the edge of divorce.

We were less than 3 years into our marriage.

High school sweethearts, we’d met through our drama department our Junior year when Matt’s family relocated to our little town. We’d noticed each other immediately. His shaggy, bleach blond hair and dimpled cheeks shone like a beacon home for me.

It wasn’t until a year later that we’d begun dating and then, only after our friends Jimmy and Joy forced us to have a face-to-face conversation about how we liked each other instead of simply telling everyone else. It proved to be an off-again-on-again kind of relationship for a few years, but once we decided that we meant it when we said, ‘I love you,’ it stuck and wedding preparations were soon underway.

On June 24, 1995, before friends, family, God and one homeless lady who joined the festivities, we gave our vows and celebrated the start of our lives together. We danced, we toasted, we tossed the bouquet and garter. A week later, we loaded all my earthly possessions into the bed of a truck and the trailer we towed behind and drove the 12 hours to our first home together in Ogden, Utah.

wedding photo Matt and Brandy(Matt and I, exhausted from all the photos we took after the ceremony.
June 24, 1995. Welches, Oregon)

Pulling in well after dark, it was hard for me to really see what our new town looked like, but walking through the door of our little house-turned-tri-plex, I was overjoyed. It had great charm and it was OURS! Unpacking and decorating was a thrill. As a kid, I’d only ever lived in three homes and two of those were before I was 5, so I’d never known what it was like to actually move. It felt a little bit like playing house.

Our first 2 years in Ogden were full of college for Matt and work for me. We had little to no money but learned how to make the most of instant mashed potatoes, Kool-Aid, and pancakes. When time allowed, we’d pack a picnic basket and head to a local park. When time was tight or the weather didn’t cooperate, picnics happened on our living room floor. By working at the college’s theater, which also had touring companies coming through, we had the opportunity to see and be a part of some wonderful shows and performances, including Ballet West, Christopher Parkening, and Sundance Film Festival.

Matt and Brandy hiking(Me and Matt hiking in Ogden, Utah. circa 1996.)

It all seemed pretty good. We had our friends, we had our little nest. We had each other.
But lurking underneath was a dissatisfaction growing inside me.

Growing up, what I wanted most in life was to be a wife and mom. Here I was, on the path. Step 1: Get Married. Check. Step 2: Have babies. Not happening.

I’d wanted to get pregnant from the beginning. Matt wanted to wait until he was done with school. Tension was growing, while my belly was not. Health issues from earlier had me worried that fertility might be a problem. Meanwhile, I was seeing people everywhere both getting pregnant and also having abortions. It was heart-wrenching.

Then my world came crashing down in the most unexpected way. My dad, at the age of 48, died of a massive heart attack. He’d been my rock. We shared a love of oldies music, fly fishing and ‘puttering’. And suddenly, in the blink of an eye, everything changed.

Dad and I painting trailer(Me and my dad painting the trailer that carried all my belongings to
my new home and life with Matt. 1995)

The week or so that followed is a blur. Matt and I went back to Oregon, we buried and memorialized my dad. My mom, brother and I sat silently together, numb and unsure. Eventually, though, the regular flow of life had to return to normal. Matt returned to Utah, where he was chin-deep in school and work. I stayed behind with my mom, unwilling to leave her side.

Life was untethered and I didn’t know how we were going to survive.

When I finally returned to Utah – I’m not even sure how long I’d been gone – I was restless and anxious. I jumped everytime the phone rang. I couldn’t concentrate. I hated to hear about anyone else’s struggles or problems because it all seemed so petty. I lost any compassion I’d had. And I was angry at Matt.

He hadn’t ‘performed’ the way I wanted him to in the wake of my dad’s death. He shed few tears and in my mind, felt distant and emotionally unavailable. What I then saw as a character flaw, I now know to be a strength. Even though I wanted Matt to mourn with me, what I needed most was for him to be strong and hold me up. He did both. But he did them quietly. I was too lost in my own chaos to even recognize what was happening around me.

Within a few months, I got pregnant and soon thereafter, miscarried.

Devastation. Again.

I was at a complete loss. I didn’t want to be in Utah anymore. I wanted to be with my family and friends back home. I wanted my dad and my baby and I wanted my husband to do more than he was capable of doing for me.

So there we sat. A jigsaw puzzle between us. One thousand pieces of a perfectly destroyed image. And it was our task to put those pieces together, to recreate the picture on the front of the box, the picture that looked so seamless and perfect.

We worked for hours and as we worked, we talked. We reminisced about the day we first met. We laughed about our awkward beginning. We recalled our first kiss and so many kisses after. We talked about our fears and our hurts, our disappointments. We talked at length about the possibility of divorce.

As we talked, the pieces in our fingers began to come together. The edges were formed and soon, the inside picture grew, little by little.

We talked about how much we’d grown up with each other in the 10 years since we’d met. How we’d shared so much of ourselves with each other that we’d never shared with anyone else. We’d already invested so much of ourselves into one another, the thought of having to start over with someone else seemed daunting, at best. After all, despite the struggles we’d endured, we were best friends. We loved each other.

We always would.

Before we knew it, the final piece of the puzzle was set in place revealing not a seamless image, but a complete image. Where the pieces had been cut, there were crevasses as they joined together. It wasn’t smooth as a photograph. But it was whole. And together. What sat between us was a picture, not of a tiger stalking its prey, but a picture of how two separate people with their own brokenness can come together and form a beautiful union.

We weren’t perfect, but we were together.

 

[Wedding photos by Eileen Hunt]

Posted in advice, christian living, depression and anxiety, divorce, Finances, friendship, Marriage and Dating, mental health, parenting, Podcast Show Notes, recovery, relationships

Show Notes: Ep. 7 – What’s Love Got to do with it?: A Look at Divorce

This week we take a look at divorce in America. Who’s doing it and why? Because, seriously…marriage is hard work and it’s important to know some pitfalls before you take the plunge.

Listen to Episode 7
While it’s a pretty stat-heavy show, it’s also got lots of commentary and conversation surrounding those numbers.

Read the full transcript here

These statistics come from the following sources:
http://www.healthway.com; “The Most Common Reasons Marriages Fail According to Divorce Lawyers”; Sager, Jeanne; Sept. 20, 2017

http://www.wf-lawyers.com/divorce-statistics-and-facts/ Wilkinson and Finkbeiner Family Law Attorneys, California
* During the average marriage vows (approx. 2 minutes), 9 divorces happen.
* One divorce in America every 13 seconds = 277 every hour or 6,646 every day or 46,523 every week or 2,419,196 every year
* On average, every divorce cost American taxpayers $30,000 in government assistance
* 50% of all marriages end in divorce or separation
* The divorce rate is declining slightly, but the rate of marriage is is declining even more
* Every re-marriage increases your chance of divorce by no less than 10%
* The years of marriage that are at greatest risk for divorce are years 1, 5-8, and 20-25.
From a recent national study (as quoted by Wilkinson and Finkbeiner) the 8 top reasons people cite for getting divorced are:
1 – Lack of commitment (73%)
2 – They argue too much (56%) – arguing about money at least once a week can increase your chances of divorce by as much as 30%
3 – Infidelity (56%) – addiction to pornography was cited as a major contributing factor
4 – Married too young (46%) – loss of virginity before the age of 18 increases your chances of divorce. Likewise, couples who live together before marriage increase their odds of divorce by as much as 40%.
5 – Unrealistic expectations (45%)
6 – Lack of equality in the relationship (44%)
7 – Lack of marriage preparation (41%)
8 – Abuse (25%)

“Every unrealistic expectation is a resentment waiting to happen.”
– Father Richard Rohr
Heuertz, Christopher L. The Scared Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2017

Buy ‘The Sacred Enneagram’ here

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Intro and Outro Music: “The Long Road Home” Written by Brandy J. Goebel, Arrangement by James Swanson, Performed by James Page; copyright 2018