The Working Motherhood Podcast #266

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In the midst of launching my new podcast Feathers, I came in contact with Dr. Portia Jackson who hosts the Working Motherhood podcast. This podcast is a daily (!) podcast about working moms. I’m so excited to share an episode we recorded together about my journey as a working mother.

In this episode, we chat about adoption, going back to work after maternity leave, people pleasing and letting go of mommy guilt.

You can listen on iTunes or Stitcher or hop over and listen directly on WorkingMotherhood.com.

If you’re here from WorkingMotherhood.com, I’d also love to connect with you on our Facebook page.

 

The Working Motherhood Podcast #266 is a post from: Amy J. Bennett

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Feathers: Coming March 10th!

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Guys. Let me tell you what is happening with this podcast. As it turns out, I L.O.V.E. podcasting. Like, I wish I had an interview every single day with someone.

God has totally shown up (surprise!) and given me words to say and given the guests words to say and so far it’s been nothing but a blast to talk to these ladies.

I was trying to compare it with writing to someone and said I felt like writing can be a very draining exercise. I love it, but you have to be filled up to be poured out into the words. With podcasting, it’s been so life-giving. Of course, the main focus is the guest’s story so I mostly get to sit back and listen to just how awesome our God is. I get to chat with some amazing friends and I leave feeling so lifted up (maybe like soaring on wings?). Who knew??

Now, it hasn’t come without its frustration. And surprisingly, all of it has been on the technical side. My recording software failed ONCE AGAIN and a second interview was lost. There might have been tears after that one. No worries, though, I have switched software and hope that I fixed that issue. There’s lots of technical and logistical issues to work through and I just really wasn’t expecting the amount of behind the scenes work as this requires.

Isn’t that funny? The thing I thought was going to be hard is downright fun and yet the part I thought would be a breeze is driving me crazy!

I was listening to another podcast about podcasting (follow that?) and they made such a good point. Every single thing about this podcast can be changed after it launches. I don’t have to wait until it’s perfect (which of course I’ve been doing). If you end up hating the intro, I can change it. If you end up hating the format, I can change it. If the artwork doesn’t make sense anymore, I can change it. I can change anything at any time I want. And for some reason, that gave me the freedom to let these things go.

All that to say, I’ve decided to lock down a release date. Whatever I have, even if it’s not perfect is going out the door on MARCH 10th.

On that date, you’ll be able to listen right here on the site or it should be available on iTunes, if not shortly after.

Two weeks. You’re going to hear some awesome stories of women who love the Lord and have trusted Him with so many parts of their lives. Our God is so faithful and I just know you are going to be so encouraged.

Two weeks. TWO WEEKS!

Feathers: Coming March 10th! is a post from: Amy J. Bennett

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A Call to See and Pray: My Response to ISIS

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Last week while life plunged forward–the podcast, work, sports, ice and late-starts to school. All the while, my heart lay heavy with Christians around the world over the 21. I have to confess, though, that I only read the headlines and stepped into a few related posts like Ann Voskamp’s. And then I read Michele’s post. In it, she shares what the Lord said to her after asking Him what He thought of the beheadings and other blatant sin.

Where have you been? I looked for ones who would stand in the gap. While I searched, you slept. While you slept, I wept as they cried.

My people, why have you slept so soundly, and remained deaf to the cries?

I know my Shepherd’s voice and it was there in those words. I was convicted for my slumbered state.

I printed out the post and I committed to begin this awakening process. I read the post over and over and began to pray to see what it would look like.

See

The first call I felt was to see.

I had purposely avoided the details. Never looked past the headlines, unwilling to step into that world. I wanted safe and clean and not dirty and evil.

The words from Seth Godin I heard all those years ago from Catalyst still echo in my mind. We need more people that aren’t afraid of emotional labor. Galatians says it’s like this: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” I was unwilling to bear the burden of their pain.

And so, I began clicking through and searching out. What was really going on? And then, of course, the emotions began.

What atrocities. What evil. How could this be happening?

And the thing was, it wasn’t just to them, it was personal. As someone who identifies as part of the People of the Cross, it was really personal.

And so, of course, my next question after I began to see is what do I do? What can I, a suburban mom in South Carolina who identifies as a person of the cross, do?

Pray

And then the words from a marriage conference of all things came to mind–when someone wrongs you, you must not just forgive, but bless that person. That is the way to true freedom.

Luke 6 says it like this:

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

And I wondered what it looked like to bless someone who beheaded your brothers in Christ. What could I possibly bless them with? Was I blessing the evil acts they were clearly a part of?

Then I thought the only thing they could possibly be blessed by was Jesus. Jesus is the only thing that would have the power to transform an evil like that. You can’t self-care your way out of that lifestyle. You have to be transformed. 2 Corinthians tells us it’s not just possible, it’s what Jesus is all about:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

And so, that’s what I want them blessed with. Jesus.

And then I clicked through another headline and listened to the response of a mother of one of the beheaded. And she already knows the truth. She says

I will ask God to open their eyes and ask him in our house because he helped us enter the Kingdom of God! Dear, with this good spirit, I ask you to pray for the ISIS members. Dear God, please open their eyes to be saved and to quit their ignorance. and the wrong teachings they were taught.

My flesh wants justice. My flesh wants them punished. And yet, the Spirit in me wants them redeemed. The mother of one of these wants them redeemed. This is the true way to stop this violence. They need an encounter with the Savior.

And then I ran into an article from John Piper, and he addresses this very thing and not only does he agree with a blessing, he gave me words to do so. Words and prayers I didn’t really know how to form. They are in the form of the Lords’ prayer:

  • Father, grant that my enemy — my colleague who snubs me, my wife who belittles me, my child who disrespects me, the ISIS member who wants to kill me — grant that they would come to hallow your name. Grant that they would treasure you above all, and reverence you, and admire you more than anything.
  • Father, grant that my enemy would come under the saving, purifying sway of your kingly rule and that you would exert your kingly power to make my enemy your own loyal subject.
  • Grant, Father, that my enemy would love to do your will the way the angels do it in heaven with all their might, and without reservation, and with the purest motives, and with great joy.
  • Grant, Father, that my enemy would have all the physical resources of food and clothing and shelter and education and health-care and transportation that he needs to fulfill your calling on his life.
  • And forgive my enemy his sins, as you bring him to repentance, and make him a forgiving person, and protect him from overpowering temptations, and from the destructive power of the devil.

Salvation, forgiveness, love, resources, protection from temptations. It is the blessing I was looking for.

I heard someone say it and I agree–I’m also praying for a Saul to be raised up. A man that is persecuting the church who encounters a great light and is transformed into a Paul. A man who can help transform his people for the sake of the gospel.

And so, I am seeing and I am praying. And I want you alongside me doing the same.

Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. Matthew 18:19-20

 

A Call to See and Pray: My Response to ISIS is a post from: Amy J. Bennett

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Feathers, Fear, IF:Gathering and Where I’ve Been

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Well, hello there, friends. Begging grace for announcing I’m moving forward with a podcast and then falling off the face of the blogosphere. If you missed me, you might have guessed that I’ve been busy plugging away at the podcast and if so, you’d be a little right.

But I have a confession to make.

After I posted the last post with the name, artwork and intro, I became paralyzed with fear. In fact, I think the Lord prompted me to write about it then just so I couldn’t back out since I told you about it. I became overwhelmed with doubt and questions. Who was going to listen anyway? Who would sign up to do it? Lord, you do know I’m terrible at conversation, right? Why me, Lord, I’m very sure you have the wrong person! I even doubted the original call. The Serpent’s words from the garden echoed in my mind, “Did God really say….” In fact, I told several people that had I not announced it, I would have talked myself right out of it.

I spent the week after my last post in St. Louis, Missouri on a business trip. I had had lots of thoughts of being able to work on the podcast in the evenings at the hotel after work before all this fear hit me. While I was there, I couldn’t even open my laptop to work on it. I needed to get my schedule in order and send some emails out at the very least, but I just couldn’t. And worse, I felt like God kept me from writing too. It was like everything was suspended so we could see whether I was going to be obedient or not.

That Thursday after I got back, I sat in tears in front of our small group and asked for prayer. It felt so silly to be so emotional and fearful of a podcast, but I was. I was so scared.

Isn’t it like God that he would test me with a call to be obedient in faith in the midst of creating a podcast about faith? I was truly having to live out what I was going to preach one more time. God had asked me to do something that seemed scary and I was going to have to decide one more time if I trusted Him or not.

Then IF:Gathering happened that weekend. And man, God was all over me the whole weekend about that podcast–and not in a condemning, pushy way. The whole weekend was centered around faith and each speaker preached a section about Joshua leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. I felt like He lifted that Spirit of Fear and I was so encouraged to take my next steps of faith. And what I realized is even though I really am not qualified and there are many more people that could do a better job, God is calling me. And even though the questions were still there, my job is to offer what little bit of faith I have and it’s enough. I don’t have to have perfect faith that lacks any doubt to be obedient.

I left the weekend so emboldened to move forward. That Sunday I did all the work I had planned while I had been out of town and within a few days had several interviews scheduled.

Then, of course, the first interview the next Tuesday flopped. The sound was off and the software failed to record my guest’s audio. I felt a little like I had lost a battle in the war. I walked away so disheartened. And yet. I still felt so much peace about it and ready to move forward.

I’ve since had two more interviews and guys, I’m beginning to see the true power of these stories. I really thought the faith stories were going to be about people with great faith and how to follow in their footsteps, but truly what they are about is a great God who is faithful and is able to direct our next steps. He is so trustworthy and cares about us so much. Our vision and thoughts are so different than His. Great faith comes from knowing Him more, not understanding the circumstance more. The more we understand His character, the more we can say yes to His calling. And the more we hear these stories, the more we will understand His character.

And so, I’m so excited to see where this goes. And yes, I will probably return to my closet-recording-studio to interview and edit away for another few weeks. I’m really hoping to launch in the first week or so of March.

Here are some things you can pray about in the meantime:

  • Pray this verse with me: God has not given me a Spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. 1 Timothy 1:7
  • Pray that I search out the right people to interview
  • Pray that the right people will answer the call
  • Pray that our conversations are God-honoring and rightly give Him the glory for what He’s done
  • Pray that the technical tasks and logistics of launching this will be completed

Thanks so much, friends.

Feathers, Fear, IF:Gathering and Where I’ve Been is a post from: Amy J. Bennett

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The Podcast: The Name, Art and Intro

Alright, guys. I finally have enough of the bones of this podcast to start sharing. It probably feels like it’s not much, but believe me when I say a lot of work has gone into getting this far. Today, I want to share the name, the iTunes artwork and the introductory audio clip.

The Name

Let’s start with the name since it came first. I had a very long list of possible podcast names. You guys helped me come up with some. We were batting around ideas around feathers, a cloud of witnesses, and faith. I think I had a list of about 20.

And at this point I was just begging God for a name. I was like, God, if you want me to do this, you’re going to have to give me a name for it! And, of course, He did.

One day I was scrolling through Twitter and saw that Tsh has launched a new eCourse about living more intentionally against mainstream culture and it’s simply called Upstream. I love Tsh and her whole goal in life is to live simply and I realized that’s exactly what we needed to do with this podcast.

The night before, my friend Bette suggested that I record several of them using the different names and see which one fit better.

I pulled out my iPhone’s voice recorder that afternoon and recorded a 12 second snippet introduction (at the end of the post) testing out simply “Feathers.” And then it was like love at first. I knew the podcast would simply be called Feathers.

And just to make it a little more clear that we’re not talking about chicken feathers or something, we’ve added the tag line “Faith in Flight”. Maybe it doesn’t totally make sense what the whole thing is about, but if I’m scrolling through iTunes in the Christianity section and see Faith in Flight as a subtitle, I’m going to have a pretty good clue and probably be interested enough to check out the longer description.

So, guys, meet Feathers. I feel like I’ve named a child.

The Artwork

After I had a name and subtitle, I decided to test out a few pieces of artwork for iTunes. I put something together just as a sample for the designer to know what I liked. I used the feathers from the TrueCotton print. The designer and I spent over a week going back and forth and all sorts of really cute ideas, but nothing really clicked.

Every single time, everyone I showed kept going back to the artwork with the watercolor feathers. But then there was the issue of licensing. Arin over at TrueCotton was so gracious and we were able to work something out. I’m ecstatic to be using her feathers.

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Isn’t it pretty? I really do just love it. I’m pretty sure it breaks all sort of “expert Podcasting” rules about artwork, but it’s meaningful, and pretty and I think will do an excellent job of representing the podcast for us.

The Intro Clip

I’ve also recorded the first intro podcast where I share the initial feathers story. Frankly, it was awful trying to record that. I share an intro about myself and then share the feather story. Many of you have followed over the last months, but I’d never really told the whole thing from start to finish in person. I basically had to sum up the entire story in less than 15 minutes! I must have taken 20 different takes trying to get it all right. I now am crystal clear on why I probably shouldn’t do a weekly podcast of just me talking to you. I was literally banging my head on the microphone at one point asking God to help me say it all right. He did indeed do that and the first episode is complete.

I thought I’d let you guys get a tiny peek at the intro to the episode:


 

Next Steps

So, now that I have a visual and the introductory episode to hand to some folks explaining it a bit, I feel like I can begin the interview process. The goal is to launch with the intro episode and 2 more interview episodes. And then there’s all the business of getting hosting and submitting to iTunes and well, I’ll spare you guys the technical details. In any case, it’s still going to be a few weeks at least. I don’t have a launch date yet.

I’m getting excited (and nervous) as the time goes, though. I keep running into different things just confirming the need to hear these stories. We truly need to hear how God is active and trustworthy and faithful. There’s so much theology being discussed on the Internet and things we should and shouldn’t believe and I’m just so ready to hear how God has actually decided to work in people’s lives. It’s the irrefutable evidence from a witness that can not be shaken. I ran into these words from Christine Caine and love them so much.

We’re surrounded by such great a cloud of witnesses in heaven. Tag, we’re it. We’ve got the baton of faith right now. But my legacy is not how big a ministry Chris Caine builds or how many people she speaks to, but it’s how effective I am in handing over the baton of faith and making sure I don’t hold onto some things longer than I should—that I don’t drop some things in the middle of the exchange zone.

In Christianity, nobody wins until everybody crosses the line.

We talk so much about personal faith, personal salvation, and all those things are critical, but I think it’s so important that we understand that we’re part of an eternal relay and we’re responsible for handing over the baton of faith to our generation.

I want Feathers to be part of that handing over the baton. I want it to encourage your faith so you can experience God’s faithfulness more and join him where He’s at work.

 

Alright, so, I feel like we’re having a podcast baby and you just got to see the first ultrasound. Er, or something like that! In any case, you’ll get to meet ‘er in live and in iTunes soon!

The Podcast: The Name, Art and Intro is a post from: Amy J. Bennett

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