Unexpected with Hannah Love

That Sounds Fun Network

Have you ever spent much time thinking about the events that led you to where you are? Have you ever noticed that some of the most unexpected moments are very ones that God used in the biggest ways? Not only did I notice this theme in my own life but I also saw it all over the Bible. From Moses and Gideon, to David and Esther and Nehemiah, God seemed to call the most unqualified people to do the most unexpected things. As you listen to stories, I hope you gain a new perspective of how God loves us enough to call us to the things we couldn't have imagine for ourselves. This is Unexpected. read less

Episode 37: Gifts of Influence (Government & Religion)
Jan 16 2023
Episode 37: Gifts of Influence (Government & Religion)
Hello everyone! We are well on our way to winding down this series on the gifts of influence. If you are just jumping in, this entire concept is based around the seven mountains of influence. My hope is that this series will be a tool for identifying your own special gifts and reflecting on where God has placed each of you (and why)! So far, we have covered these areas of gifting: Media, Arts & Entertainment, Business, Family, and Education. Today, I thought I would wrap it all up with the two most difficult mountains for me to write about. Government and Religion. (And for different reasons). In the arena of government, I truly have no personal references from which to pull! However, what I DO have is an understanding of HOW Christianity shaped the democracy on which this great country was founded. It would take a mountain of books to fit all of the words, speeches, and references over the years of key political figures who acknowledge the Christian foundation on which this nation was built. Interestingly enough, though, even as I researched this topic, it would appear many current day articles are doing their best to re-write history. Painting the picture that our origins have been mistranslated. This only seems to confirm what generals.org was referencing. It doesn’t take a scholar to notice the lengths to which current day lawmakers and representatives are going to to erase God from everything! Which leads me to my next point…this is exactly the reason it is SO important today for those of you gifted in this sphere to step into your roles! Those adept at debating, speaking, lawmaking, and generally, those comfortable in leadership as a representative of a community! YOU are the ones who will turn the tide. Stand your ground. Remember your foundations. Seek justice, restore order, and encourage a nation to get back to the morals and values it was founded in! Again, I can’t give a personal testimony about the impacts of Christianity in government, but I do know it’s how we, as a nation, began. I also know, it is up to those gifted in this arena to keep fighting the fight. Especially if we want to see differences being made at national and worldwide levels. And last, we have the final arena I’m covering today…religion. Like government, it is also a bit hard to touch on. Ironically, it has been made tricky because of the very spirit of religion within the Church. In many ways, churches and institutions have replace the fundamentals (I.e. faith being based on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ).. and have instead focused on religious practices and traditions. This is a dangerous place to be… In fact, I found a quote that sums it up nicely. “Faithless action is acting on your own outside of God’s direction, grace, and ability.” - hopefaithprayer.com After all, Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us “For by grace you have been saved by faith. Nothing you did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the love gift from God that brought us to Christ! So no one will ever be able to boast, for salvation is never a reward for good works or human striving.” Today, I hope you’ll listen in and catch some highlights from both of these spheres of influence in government & religion. I pray no matter what arena or mountain of influence you find yourself in…you’ll examine your heart motive. The ‘why’ behind it all. Are you using your gifts to glorify or to gain personal success? Have you asked God how to use your gifts and when to use them and where? He gave them to YOU for a reason, sweet friend. Now, I challenge you to ask Him about the why’s. When you find it, He’ll open the right doors, and close the wrong ones. He’ll set you on the path to where He’s been calling you all along…
Episode 36: Gifts of Influence (Education)
Jan 9 2023
Episode 36: Gifts of Influence (Education)
Welcome back and Happy New Year! I hope you’ve all had an amazing Christmas and a happy and healthy start to 2023! Even though the season of “Gift-giving” is technically over, I’m happy to report that this entire series on gifts is one that could and should be carried throughout the whole year! Especially as each and every one of you will be taking your own set of unique gifts out into the world this year! You’ll be influencing lives…being salt and light to all you meet. So, If you’re still with us in this series, I’m back today and ready to dive into the mountain of influence of…. Education! Technically, I feel like we all play a part in this sphere. And even if we haven’t been educators ourselves, we have certainly all benefitted from those who are. If you think about it, most of us have been to school in some capacity or have learned a skill or trade by watching someone else teach by example. One of the reasons I feel education is such a vital sphere of influence is because it plays a big role in supplementing what the family does. In other words, these are the ones who (outside of family) come into direct contact with people one on one. They get to develop impactful relationships beyond those immediate family connections. Teachers, educators, mentors, counselors, nurses… (and really anyone in the medical community, too) would all be examples of those falling into the Education gifting. Yes, much of what they do is education based..but the other half of that equation is applying that knowledge or those skills and using them to pour into the lives of people young and old. These are the ones who have the opportunity to reinforce values and ideas taught within the home and even church. These are the ones who love by teaching, encouraging, serving, and healing. They share their knowledge and pour out in tangible ways. After today’s episode, I pray you’ll reflect on those who have gone before you to teach, instruct, correct, and ultimately…to love you well. I pray you’ll recognize within yourselves the same talents and giftings cultivated by those who poured into you. If your gifts of influence are in the world of education, you’re a special one. And many of you need that reminder today, as a new year dawns. Go and serve. Teach, knowing you are making more of an impact than you could imagine. God has equipped you for a time such as this.
Episode 35: Gifts of Influence (Family)
Dec 19 2022
Episode 35: Gifts of Influence (Family)
Welcome back! If you’ve been following along, you’ll know we have been covering some of the areas of influence we have in this world. This whole series is based on the natural giftings God has given us all… not only our giftings but also on the AREAS of influence that God has placed us in. My hope is that by using the concept of the Seven Mountains of Influence, you’ll have a kind of tool for identifying your mountain or mountains of influence and be encouraged! Once you’re able identify your gifts… you’ll be more confident about your place in the body of Christ AND you’ll be able to be more intentional about using your gifts where you are! Now, since many of my episodes actually touch on the importance of foundations (both laid for us by our parents and that we lay for our own children), I thought I would pivot to touch on another aspect of Family, today. Because of all of the giftings, FAMILY falls into a special category. I personally feel like family life is like an external GIFT from God. While the other gifts we will cover have more to do with internal gifts that God has given each of us uniquely… the family, (as I see it) is more external because it isn’t a gift from within our own abilities… instead it is a gift of multiplication beyond ourselves. Think about it… family multiples your joy, your capacity, and your ability to view God the way He views you…as His children! It’s like the granddaddy of all the gifts. It is so deep and rich and impactful and purposeful. Not only in your own life but in the lives of your children and ultimately, on the world. After listening to today’s episode, my prayer is that you’ll see family for what it is. A gift. Not only a gift but the most direct place of impact and ministry that you could have in your life. There are many other gifts… and you’ll have time to explore them throughout your life. But the gift of family is one worth prioritizing. I’m praying God uses these words and this reminder to encourage you today and the place you hold in the lives of children (yours or even those whom you pour into). Your place in their lives cannot be replaced or replicated. So love them well. And allow God to grant fullness and joy as you walk out His design. Purpose is waiting… Thank you to our partners! Awana: Visit TalkAboutDiscipleship.com and use code HANNAH to try Talk About for FREE. Abide: Download Abide Sleep and Pray Meditation today and text my promo code UNEXPECTED to 22433 today to get 25% off!
Episode 34: Gifts of Influence (Business)
Dec 12 2022
Episode 34: Gifts of Influence (Business)
Hello! And welcome back. If you have been following along, you’ll know that over the last two weeks, we have been covering the seven mountains of influence. My hope is that you’ll be able to use this series as a tool for identifying your mountain or mountains of influence and be encouraged! Once you’re able identify your gifts, you’ll be able to be more intentional about using them where you are! Every person has God-given gifts. And because of these, every person is equipped to play a unique part in the body of Christ. Did you know the the Bible says this about gifts… Proverbs 18:16 “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.” KJV Another version says: “A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.” NIV Not only are gifts a blessing to the one who posses them, but they are a potential catalyst to bless the whole world. Talents have the potential to bring you before great men, set you on a stage, make you stand out, reach the masses, and maybe even bring financial blessing. So, what are yours? And what will you do with them when you discover God gave them to YOU, for a time such as this? Today we will be tackling the giant mountain of Business. On its face, business sounds a bit boring. BUT pulling back the curtain on it, I think this area can be one of the most exciting. Especially for creative people who thrive on new ideas. Idea people become entrepreneurs. And entrepreneurs are… well, they are business people! On today’s episode, I’ll share the story of a renowned Christian businessman named RG LeTourneau. His life is transformed once he realized God doesn’t necessarily need another preacher, but needs people in business, too! And while we may not all be large scale business owners, corporate moguls, or even the leading role in someone else's company, we all have a beginning. A start. A calling. Giftings that can take us to the next level..and the next, and the next.. of whatever business you’re passionate about. Perhaps you’re an idea person. So? Come up with great ideas! Learn to delegate the logistics of them. Understand your strengths AND your weaknesses.. then designate those who are more capable of executing (if that isn’t your strong suit)! Again, God doesn’t give gifts for no reason.. and as Bob Goff says, “God also doesn’t compare what He creates”. So don’t look around at all those who have done incredible things and be discouraged. Instead, learn from them what you can, and incorporate your own personal skillsets where you are! The most beautiful part is that you (and many others) can prosper with purpose. Once you understand your work can be a type of ministry to God. You’ll touch lives where you are. You’ll reach those who may never be reached otherwise. Just by living and working in your area of business with integrity and Christian principles. The world won’t be able to ignore the fruit that comes from your labor. So today, I pray this reminder finds you where you are and reminds you of exactly that. God doesn’t need everyone to be preachers. He needs businessmen (and women), too. Just like He needs all manor of people to act as the body of Christ in the world.. Bringing light to the darkness of this world… Thank you to our sponsors!  Thistle Farms: Go to ThistleFarms.org and enter the code unexpected to receive 15% off your order!  Awana: Visit TalkAboutDiscipleship.com and use code HANNAH to try Talk About for FREE.
Episode 33: Gifts of Influence (Arts and Entertainment)
Dec 5 2022
Episode 33: Gifts of Influence (Arts and Entertainment)
Welcome back to our Gifts of Influence series! Here during the holidays madness, I thought it would be a great time to reflect on the gifts God has given each of us! Using the Seven Mountains of Influence as a tool, my hope is that you’ll all be able to identify your mountain or mountains of influence and how you can can be intentional about using them where you are! Every person has God-given gifts. And because of these gifts, every person is equipped to play a part in the body of Christ. Just as a little refresher, I’ll name the seven Mountains of Influence that inspired this series. They are Media, Education, Family, Business, Arts & Entertainment, Religion, and Government. Today, we’ll be covering a big one: Arts & Entertainment. According to generals.org : “In this mountain we find some of the most influential forces shaping our society. Music, filmmaking, television, social media, and the performing arts drive the cultural tastes, values, and standards of a nation’s citizens, particularly its youth. With a heavy reliance on the strong appeal of sex, drugs and alcohol, the arts and entertainment industries wield significant influence. The body of Christ needs powerful righteous men and women who are not afraid to take their God-given talent into the arts and entertainment arenas. People ready to further His purposes, while impacting those who are lost in darkness and would not otherwise be interested in any kind of Christian message in traditional forms.” I love that last bit… “impacting those who are lost in darkness and would not otherwise be interested in any kind of Christian message in traditional forms.” I personally believe this is why Arts & Entertainment is one of the most important arenas (at least for younger generations)… It’s the place that holds the most potential for bringing God’s presence into the lives of those who may not experience it any other way. It’s the mountain that touches those who often run from or simply have no interest in God. They prefer, rather, to be engulfed in world; pop-culture, relevant hot-topics, and the lifestyles of the famous. It makes sense that this is the mountain where we can most deeply effect the lives of the coming generations. This particular sphere of influence is one that gets to take the world stage more often than many of the others. After all, entertainment belongs on a platform. It’s crucial, then, for those who possess these gifts to understand their role in it. It’s tricky, too. Because if you’re really really extraordinary at what you do… chances are, the world will elevate you. I’ve noticed that many who posses God-given gifts in the arts & entertainment sphere are the very ones who ‘make it’ in the secular world. I’m not saying this is bad thing. On the contrary, the bigger the audience, the greater the opportunity to share the Gospel. However, the other side of that coin is that many other things can come with a certain level of success: fame, money, pride… and ultimately any major form of distraction the world could throw at a person. This is why I said it can get tricky. Unless you have a solid foundation AND continue to fix your eyes on Jesus above all else, it can be easy to get lost in it all. I say this not to discourage any of you from stepping fully into this sphere of influence, but rather to remind you how you got there in the first place and, ultimately, as a reminder of why you’re there, too! To bring light into dark places. Matthew 5:14 reminds us: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”. And that is exactly what your life will be like on the mountain of Arts & Entertainment… Thank you to our sponsors!  Awana: Visit TalkAboutdiscipleship.com and use code HANNAH to start your two free months. Abide: Download Abide Sleep and Pray Meditation today and text my promo code UNEXPECTED to 22433 today to get 25% off!
Episode 32: Gifts of Influence (Media)
Nov 21 2022
Episode 32: Gifts of Influence (Media)
As overwhelming as this season can become, I thought it would fun to turn the stress of shopping and gifting into something more positive. The gifts I’m talking about are ones we can offer the world all the time, just by living out the talents God has given each of us! Whether we realize it or not, we all have really special things to offer the kingdom of God. As the fire began to burn more deeply in me to DO something for God, I began to evaluate what I could even bring to the table. To be very honest…initially, I felt like there weren’t many job-openings in God’s kingdom for a stay-at-home-mom. Sadly, I feel like this is something many Christians can relate to. We let little lies settle in like “Who am I to do that?” Or “Im just a _____, I could never do what they do…” It’s like we get stuck thinking the only quote-unquote qualified people who really make a difference are preachers or evangelist…and that’s just not the case! Today, I wanted to share a concept I learned about a few years ago that helped change my perspective on this. And…since it helped me, I figured…chances are good this could help someone else, too! You may or may not have heard about this concept before. It’s called the Seven Mountains of Influence. In essence, these are the seven facets of society that have the MOST influence. The exciting part is that we ALL fall into one (or several) of these categories. Now, I’m a very practical thinker so having categories to look at immediately made me feel like I DID have a space to make a difference. So, without further adieu, want to hear what they are?? They are: Government, Education, Family, Business, Arts & Entertainment, Media, and Religion. I mean…its genius! And so simple. Of course we all have a place. Of course we ALL have a role to play. We are, after all, the body of Christ. We can’t all be preachers! And while God does give us a list of special giftings in the Bible, known as the Grace-Gifts of Christ: Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers..(see Ephesians 4:11), chances are, we aren’t going to feel like we fall into one of those categories. I’ll jump into those gifts another time, because they are wonderful and worth learning about. But again, words like apostle and prophet and preacher are a bit intimidating. I prefer to look for the more practical ways our gifts can serve. And that is exactly why the seven mountains of influence was such an eye opener for me. It gave me a jumping off point. It allowed me to ask myself what group (or groups) I fell into. And then, I could review even more closely the things I brought in those areas that were unique to me. For example. I knew I was a stay at home mom and felt very much that my fist sphere of influence was the Family. But beyond that, I knew God had given me a gift for writing, art, and photography. I also saw God had given me a platform on social media (because of my husband, who’s career is on a world stage). The more I mulled it over, I thought, well… I can influence my family for Christ AND I can use arts/entertainment to encourage others in the media sphere. In a weird way, it was like using a key to crack the code of how to use the natural Gifts God gave me. Not just how to use them but where to use them, too! With allll of this in mind, my hope is that this series equips you to look at your own gifts to see how and where you can live for Him…influencing the Kingdom in ways only You can! After all, it is the season for gifts! So, lets start right off the bat today with a big one: Media… Thank you to our sponsors! Awana: Try one FREE month with promo code: HANNAH on TalkAboutDiscipleship.com. Thistle Farms: ThistleFarms.org created a special code–unexpected–that will give you 15% off when you enter it at checkout.
Episode 29: The Story of Sarah
Oct 31 2022
Episode 29: The Story of Sarah
I really prayed on what story to share today. As I prayed, I kept feeling pulled to the story of Sarah. As soon as God told me who, I knew exactly what I was to share about her. It’s not just any part of her story, but a part that nobody talks about. So as I went back to refresh myself on the details, all I could think was…. Sarah lived through things many women have lived through. Shame, confusion, and (very likely) a sense of inadequacy. Before I jump right into her story, I’ll piece in a little of my own. I think it’s important to understanding why I read Sarah’s story and saw things in it that might be overlooked by others. Let me explain… I’ve made reference (in past episodes) to a season of my life that was full of heaviness. Though I don’t like to dwell, I do like to hold onto the reminder that that season grew me in important ways. Along with that growth, though, came a lot of wounding. Some of the wounds were consequences of my own actions, but some were also out of my control. I think that’s a hard truth many people live with today. The understanding that we could have made better choices or avoided situations that ultimately hurt us. But I also think there can be a lot of confusion around circumstances out of our control.. and that nagging notion that maybe, just maybe, there was something we could have done to avoid those life-impacting wounds. For me, a choice I made was to be in a relationship with someone I knew wasn’t right for me. Before long, I felt isolated and trapped in an abusive situation. I didn’t know how to escape. It felt far from my own control. It went on for years before I found the courage to remove myself. And before I started doing a lot of healing work with the Lord, that season held a lot of shame. There was grief, and anger, and resentment, but mostly, there was a heavy sense of shame that I let it happen or even let it continue. Now, because I DO have firsthand experience, I can say with all sincerity that those feelings of guilt, shame, or inadequacy are ones that satan loves to wield against us. If we let him. Thankfully, for me, God led me out of that season. Like coming out of a black tunnel by following a pinprick of light that got bigger as I drew closer to it… He pulled me out of it with a knowing that He wanted more for me. I’m so grateful for that. And I’m grateful for those who prayed over my heart during that time. And even though I was able to come out of it with renewed strength in Christ, I can also see how people could hold onto those wounds for years. Grasping in the dark for the ‘why’. Wrestling with feelings of worthlessness. Unknowingly letting the enemy keep them in the dark, whispering “you did this to yourself” or “nobody will love someone as broken as you”. I could see how the enemy would do his best to use every one of these lies against someone to keep them from their calling. I’m not saying I didn’t wrestle with these thoughts on occasion, but what I did have was a foundation on the one true God. He was the one wrapping me in light and whispering the truth of who HE said I was to combat the lies… So today, I wanted to do the same for anyone out there who has yet to escape the darkness of their own past. I hope and pray the story of Sarah will be just the reminder you need.. As I reflect on her life and the way God chose her and used her anyway, I’m reminded how much more He can use those of us who have also felt trapped by the past. By feelings the enemy brings up over and over again to try to keep you from answering God’s call. So today, I want to encourage you. God’s grace cover’s shame, and His love redeems and restores your story. Surrender those wounds to him and walk in the freedom He offers…. Thank you to our sponsors!  Talk About from Awana: Try one FREE month with promo code: HANNAH on TalkAboutDiscipleship.com. The Chosen: For more information, visit TheChosenTickets.com.
Episode 28: Salt and Light
Oct 24 2022
Episode 28: Salt and Light
If you’ve listened to many of these episodes, you’ll probably have noticed that I mention salt and light…a lot. They are familiar references within the church. Well, I knew this, and you probably know this, too. But a few years ago I went on a deep dive because I really wanted to see why these elements are referenced SO much in the Bible. It must have been a Holy Spirit prompting because I was amazed by what I discovered. I think you will be, too. Not only are salt and light beautiful visuals, but they are incredibly practical. Not just practical but, surprisingly, common. God has taken very common elements and given them deep, rich symbolism. It just goes to show God’s intentionality. He’s in every tiny detail! Before I get too ahead of myself, I’ll read one of the most famous passages about salt and light. Even though the entire Bible is full of references to both, this particular bit is more than a reference and more of an outright example of how we are to live and be. The qualities of these elements are a direct parallel of what our lives should look like when living for Christ. The speaker here is Jesus. And the context is that He is giving his most famous sermon on the mount. He began with the “The Beatitudes”… and follows immediately with Matthew 5:13-16 about salt and light. Though they are mentioned back to back, I’m going to try to break up the verses in this episode so we can really focus on each element… I really believe that once we grasp how pivotal Light is as a part of God’s nature, the more deeply we will understand our role as His children who bring His light into the world. Too often, we underestimate, the impact our little lights can make in the world. So today, I wanted to remind you just how important it can be. Let me tell you about a single flame. Studies find that in complete darkness, the human eye can see a single flame from well over a mile away. (Some even say up to miles and miles if you’re like me and need binoculars to see anything)! That, to me, is a powerful reminder. So when you start to feel that you are only one person and your flame is quite small, remember that it could be your little light that others are being drawn to. From miles around. It could be yours that makes the difference. They may be the most common of elements, but God loves using the ordinary in unexpected ways. After all, aren’t the most familiar things to us the ones we deem inadequate for monumental tasks? Nothing is too inadequate for God to use. So the next time you read about salt or light.. or you hear a reference to them.. I hope you’ll remember how richly God designed those elements. And how richly you can display them to the world. And I’ll end with one more neat little fact: in Biblical times, it was common to put salt on the wick of a lamp to increase its brightness. What a beautiful metaphor for how our lives should be. Adding flavor to the body of Christ. Preserving truths and increasing brightness. And that is my prayer today. I ask God to let our lives be like salt in a generation that needs Truth more than ever. And I pray that all who hear these words are encouraged to be salt and light in your own homes and communities. Bringing purity, truth, and wisdom to every encounter and every life you meet along the way…bringing about a thirst in others for the Lord! Light your flames, sweet friends, and shine brilliantly - for Him. Thank you to our sponsors!  Cru: Text BIBLES to 71326 or visit give.cru.org/Unexpected. BetterHelp: Visit BetterHelp.com/unexpected today to get 10% off your first month
Episode 27: Unexpected Answers to Earnest Prayers
Oct 17 2022
Episode 27: Unexpected Answers to Earnest Prayers
I heard it said once that there is no such thing as an original artist or creator. God is, after all, the one who created everything we know and use and see. Therefore, we are only re-creators of what He has already made… notes into melodies, colors into paintings, landscapes into photographs, words into poems… In a sense, we are only capturing a single variation of His his endless masterpiece; creation. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that God is equally as creative in His answering of prayers. I should clarify, too, that when I talk about prayer, I am talking about earnest and fervent prayer. Not just some passing request tossed up like penny in a wishing well. God isn’t a personal genie or a slot machine of gambling to meet your needs. Prayer is a beautiful part of the relationship we share with God. It is the line of communication by which we talk to Him, worship Him, thank Him, confess to Him, and truly, to petition for His increasing presence in our lives. What many people don’t realize is that we can and should ask God how He wants us to pray. Many have likely never considered asking what He wants to say to us in our prayer time! It is a relationship like any other, involving two sides of communication. How surprised people would be if they only began asking God to speak to them rather than sending up a laundry list of their own personal needs! God desires intimacy with all of his children. And prayer is where it begins. I suppose I was well into my adult years before I realized much of what I just shared. I mostly went to God when I was heartbroken enough to ask for His comfort. Otherwise I was praying for loved ones. But the idea of a two-way relationship was never really on my radar. I grew up in church and even knew the Lord’s prayer by heart. But it wasn’t until my relationship deepened that God began revealing more and more about who He was and what a daily relationship with Him could look like. In many ways, its just as simple as I tell my children it is… you just talk to God. Any time, any place. And here’s another discovery I made. The Lord’s Prayer? The one I mentioned knowing by heart (and often even praying aloud with my team after ballgames)? That prayer is actually known as the model for prayer. I’m sure at some point, I had heard this but had never made the connection until I began to earnestly study the Bible. Jesus actually gives us this prayer as an example of how to effectively pray! Starting with Matthew 6:5, I”ll read the whole passage including an extra line or two through verse 15 The entire prayer can be broken down by line. But the verse that sticks out most powerfully to me is verse 10.. You may be most familiar with the version that says: Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Now, in years’ past, I’d never never given this line much thought. What’s incredible though, is that it means that our most effective prayers are the ones that come into alignment with God’s will in heaven. In other words, God has a will and a design for us down here on earth. He has plans and purpose. Our job is to come into agreement with what those things are. When we pray God’s heart, it brings heaven to earth. How beautiful is that?! We play a part in God’s plans. We get to partner with Him to bring about His kingdom here. Like I said earlier, God is the ultimate creator of all and has infinite ways of answering earnest prayers. He loves to use the unexpected, I think, because it expresses not only His sovereignty, but also His creative nature. If you don’t believe me, just let me give you one of many examples of God’s answering in my life. On today’s episode, I share a story in hopes of encouraging you that there are real answers to earnest prayers. Thank you to our sponsors! Abide: Download Abide Sleep and Pray Meditation today by texting my promo code UNEXPECTED to 22433 today to get 25% off! Awana: Try one FREE month with promo code: HANNAH on TalkAboutDiscipleship.com.
Episode 26: Rejection
Oct 10 2022
Episode 26: Rejection
Rejection. We have all felt it. It seems to be an inescapable offshoot of humanity’s brokenness. And while each of us will have had different experiences with it, it’s there and it will eventually leave its mark. And because every person does experience rejection, I truly believe the enemy strikes us here more than any other place. Why? Because experiencing enough rejection can kill a calling. And satan would love nothing more than to pile it on early and often. The easiest time to kill something, after all, is in its infancy… Rejection begins in childhood. And it can take on so many forms. For some, there may be a form of rejection within the family, (even if you had a wonderful childhood, rejection can sneak in unbeknownst simply based off of circumstances beyond your control). For example: many grow up in a single parent household.. and those children may absorb that absence as rejection. For others, it could be parents with work schedules that keep them away more often than home. Again, these aren’t unusual circumstances! Its typical to have working parents, (and I’ll add that it’s great for kids to see a hard work ethic). However, the enemy loves to slide into these absences and start planting that seed where he can… rejection. Maybe the parents don’t make all of the ballgames or school functions…and deep down, that child begins to believe they aren’t a priority. See how sneaky this can be? And how early it begins! Some may have grown up with parents who place a lot of emphasis on performance. These children may develop a sense of striving for fear of rejection. Then, at some point, our children will enter into the big old world. As a mom of a brand new kindergartener, I have never been more painfully aware of all of the ways my little boy can feel the sting of rejection. From childhood on, rejection goes with you and grows with you. From family and school, it graduates into college, relationships, and working life experiences. A heart full of rejection can wreak lifelong havoc. I guess I wanted to share a few of my own experiences to remind those listening that truly, nobody is exempt from encountering rejection. But in the midst of it, I also hope to share some lessons God has revealed to me through it. The very first thing He reminded me of was that I wasn’t alone in experiencing rejection. In fact… Jesus is the very picture of one who was rejected by many. Did you know that Jesus humbled himself to take on human flesh and be born a man in this world so that he could experience what we experience? There is nothing we experience today that Jesus didn’t take on flesh to experience and then defeat (when he went to the cross). Now, I’m not saying this to compare my rejection to Jesus, AT ALL. No. What I am saying is God knew that humanity couldn’t fully relate to Him unless He gave us an example. Unless He came in human form to experience what humanity experiences. And that’s what He did in Jesus. Jesus is God - made flesh. He came to live as a man, but unlike man, He was perfect and lived perfectly. And despite being perfect, He STILL felt the stings of a very broken world. I believe God knew there would be comfort in that. In understanding Jesus loved us enough to come to earth so that His children would know that “He, too felt these things we feel…”. On today’s episode, I’ll read Luke 4:16-30 to share one of many times Jesus is rejected. I’ll also point out a few lessons we can learn from how he responds.. Today, I pray everyone under the sound of my voice asks God to bring healing in any areas of rejection. I pray that hearts will soften. I pray that striving will cease. And I pray you’ll take back what the enemy has tried to steal, kill, and destroy from your life. I ask God to replace those experiences… bring restoration, life, and joy abundant! In Jesus’ precious name, I pray…Amen. Thank you to our sponsor, Cru! Text BIBLES to 71326 or visit give.cru.org/Unexpected.
Episode 25: Conservative Parenting (Pt. 2 with Catherine Nail & Erica Bankston)
Oct 3 2022
Episode 25: Conservative Parenting (Pt. 2 with Catherine Nail & Erica Bankston)
Parenting. In this day and age, fewer things can seem as intimidating. And the last time I checked, kiddos don’t come with manuals! What we do have, however, is God’s word as a guide. And what we also have is parents who have gone before us to share wisdom and experience (so we don’t have to learn it ALL the hard way). Today’s episode is a continuation of my conversation with Erica Bankston and Catherine Nail. We discuss conservative parenting, answer questions, and sprinkle in a few tips (and a lot of laughs) along the way! Though none of us claim to be experts, we each bring our own set of experiences and skill sets to the table to tackle this intimidating topic. Catherine Nail is a wife and mother of 3 beautiful children (a set of whom are twins)! She has a background in childhood education, owns and operates an event planning business, and (most impressively to me) navigates a packed schedule with her almost seven year old twins and 18 month old daughter. Erica Bankston is a wife and mother of three as well! Ranging from 12 and 11 year old girls, to a 5 year old little cowboy, Erica can speak to ages and stages I have yet to enter into! She co-owns a brokerage, runs and operates a marketing team, and still manages to mom SO hard with her three precious kiddos. In this part 2 episode, we continue to cover some often-asked questions by parents in the thick of it. Each of us deeply believe in a foundation built on a Biblical World view. My prayer is that this conversation is full of gracious truth, wisdom, and encouragement to those navigating parenting in such a divisive climate. So, sit down with us, put on your walking shoes, or buckle up in your car as we launch into topics many seem too afraid to touch in a cancel culture world! Thank you to our sponsor! Talk About™ – the family discipleship subscription from Awana. Try one FREE month with promo code: HANNAH on TalkAboutDiscipleship.com.
Episode 24: Conservative Parenting (Pt. 1 with Catherine Nail & Erica Bankston)
Sep 26 2022
Episode 24: Conservative Parenting (Pt. 1 with Catherine Nail & Erica Bankston)
Parenting. In this day and age, fewer things can seem as intimidating. And the last time I checked, kiddos don’t come with manuals! What we do have, however, is God’s word as a guide. And what we also have is parents who have gone before us to share wisdom and experience (so we don’t have to learn it ALL the hard way). On today’s episode, I sit down with Erica Bankston and Catherine Nail to discuss conservative parenting, answer questions, and sprinkle in a few tips (and laughs) along the way! Though none of us claim to be experts, we each bring our own set of experiences and skill sets to the table.. Catherine Nail is a wife and mother of 3 beautiful children (a set of whom are twins)! She has a background in childhood education, owns and operates an event planning business, and (most impressively to me) navigates a packed schedule with her almost seven year old twins and 18 month old daughter. Erica Bankston is a wife and mother of three as well! Ranging from 12 and 11 year old girls, to a 5 year old little cowboy, Erica can speak to ages and stages I have yet to enter into! She co-owns a brokerage, runs and operates a marketing team, and still manages to mom SO hard with her three precious kiddos. In this part 1 episode, we tiptoe into the waters of some often-asked questions by parents in the thick of it. Each of us deeply believe in a foundation built on a Biblical World view. My prayer is that this conversation is full of gracious truth, wisdom, and encouragement to those navigating parenting in such a divisive climate. So, sit down with us, put on your walking shoes, or buckle up in your car as we launch into topics many seem too afraid to touch in a cancel culture world! Thank you to our sponsors: Cru: Text BIBLES to 71326 to help now or visit give.cru.org/Unexpected!  BetterHelp: Visit BetterHelp.com/UNEXPECTED today to get 10% off your first month.
Episode 23: You Need Rest
Sep 19 2022
Episode 23: You Need Rest
Over the years, I’ve written out many reflective moments, (oftentimes as captions on social media). It is, after all, a timestamp of thoughts and images. So, occasionally, I’ll go back. I’ll read through and remember. Sometimes, I go back and am even encouraged by the very words I forgot I’d written. Going back to re-read the other day, I noticed a theme: Rest. As I have been feeling the call to rest, recently, I’m certain that this is no coincident but rather, a gentle reminder from God. And since I love to speak to personal topics, I can also see how God might be asking me to share with Y’all some of what He has shown me on the subject. It’s obvious God has to remind me over and over to take rest! And, as any of you multitasking folks out there may know, that can feel like a really hard, really selfish thing to do. Especially if you are a primary caregiver or provider for your family!! I mean, who has time, right? Even as I’m writing this, I can hear myself saying to Shay over the years, “I don’t have time to be sick. There’s too much to do!”. But the ironic part is, we WILL become sick if we don’t allow ourselves this practice. Even if we are able to stay physically well, our soul’s need rest. And a second takeaway is this: God models this for us on the 7th day (by making time for it). After He made creation, He rested. And, I daresay, God didn’t actually need the rest because He is God! No, I believe He shared this with us as an example of what He knew we ourselves would need. In fact, the Bible even tells us in Mark 2:27: “The Sabbath was made for the sake of people, and not people for the Sabbath.” Can you believe that? Honestly, the first time I read that, I couldn’t believe it was so clearly recorded for us! God knew we would be busy. He knew we would strive. He knew we would try to control and create and work towards infinite “next steps” in life! That’s why He gave us this principal. Not only to save us from ourselves, but to bring us back to Him. That is and will only ever be the place we find rest for our souls. In God. Countless verses speak of it. Matthew 11:28 may be one of the most famous of them: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” It is not just a physical stillness, but a discipline of stilling your spirit long enough to hear what He wants to say to you. Read His word. Give Him time. Make the time. And He’ll give it back. As much as it sounds like an oxymoron, making time for God is how our very lives become filled! Rest is a gift. One that God desires for all of His children. It isn’t just a luxury or a long sleep. It’s a stillness you’re giving to Him. This is your invitation. I didn’t want to go another day without stepping back into this space and encouraging everyone who hears this... allow time for rest. And give God the time. Because He will give it back. In ways you couldn’t dream of, He will pour into your life for your asking, your seeking, and your knocking. Rest, sweet friends. Let God answer. Let Him multiply the very joy you thought you lost because you are too tired to find it on your own. If you’ll indulge me during our time today, I’ll share a couple of pieces I have written through the years on the subject of rest. I’ll begin with this: Thank you to our sponsor, Awana! Try one FREE month with promo code: HANNAH on TalkAboutDiscipleship.com
Episode 21: When the Bible Comes to Life, So Do You
Sep 5 2022
Episode 21: When the Bible Comes to Life, So Do You
I grew up loving to read. Now, part of this could be because my mom was a teacher. And another part of this could be because our generation wasn’t technically a part of the technology age until we were in our teens. Tablets, smartphones, and streaming apps weren’t a part of my childhood (thankfully)! Anyway, I grew up lovinnnng books. I could read for hours on end. It was like stepping into the pages and traveling to different worlds with new friends. In high school (and even into college) I got into reading romance novels. Who doesn’t love stories of unlikely romance and handsome heroes?! Anyway, there did come a point when I began to feel convicted about reading them. I still loved the plot lines and thrill of romance, but I was beginning to ache for stories that had something deeper. Perhaps in parallel with my own life, I was wanting to read about women who were pursued by men who had hearts for God. It was around this time I discovered one of my favorite authors: Francine Rivers. As I made it my mission to read every book she had written, I began to notice two different types of stories she wrote. Half of them were completely fiction (still with underlying Godly themes). The other half were based around Biblical characters that we know today. This was, perhaps, the first time I began seeing the Bible as a book full of real people. I know that sounds silly, as I am a firm believer in the Inerrant truth of the Bible. But the fact remained, up to that point, I had often read the stories in Sunday school without really thinking beyond the words on the pages. They were just, well, stories! But then, I began reading a series called “A Lineage Of Grace”. In it were the stories of five women in the Bible (some of whom I’ve had episodes on). Each woman was a part of the lineage of Jesus. What was so beautiful about these stories, though, was the skillful way Francine Rivers transported you into their lives. It was riveting and eye opening. But most importantly, what it did was give me a new lens through which to read the Bible. It feels like a roundabout way of saying this, but until my early to mid twenties, I didn’t exactly look forward to reading the Bible. And I was a reader! But this.. this beautiful perspective, brought by Francine Rivers, was a lightbulb moment for the reader in me. It made me want to start over reading the Bible. This time, more slowly. This time, I wanted to read it as if I were there. Thus began my journey into the Word of God. Over the years, I’ve been asked how to study the Bible. How to read the Bible. Where do you start? And as much as I’d love to point to resources and study guides, I have to say, for me, it started with this new perspective. Understanding these were real people and these events really happened… they weren’t just Sunday school cartoon characters. Now, that being said, I will say there are practical steps to take. But before I read a single page, the first major step I took was changing the way I thought about the Bible and the people in it. I suppose this was on my heart today because I know that the Bible is the one thing that holds all of the wisdom we’ll ever need in this world. We live in a tumultuous time. We live in a time that many consider new, educated, and more ‘enlightened’ than ancient days. But sweet friends, there is nothing new under the sun. There is nothing that exists now that God didn’t already know would exist. Humanity is as broken today as it was then. And until Jesus returns, true peace will never be known by the world. In the meantime, though, what we can do is equip ourselves with the Word. It will show us truth, expose our rebellion, and correct us in our mistakes so we can live God’s way. This is basis on which we are to live, as Christians. This is what prepares us to go out and be salt and light. Thank you to our sponsor, LifeMark movie! Learn more about it and get your tickets at LifeMarkMovie.com.
Episode 18: Bold Prayers & Humble Beginnings (Nehemiah’s Story)
Aug 15 2022
Episode 18: Bold Prayers & Humble Beginnings (Nehemiah’s Story)
Have you ever felt like your position isn’t exactly an impressive one? Maybe your title at work or role at home or within your family has left you feeling…less than. Less than chosen, less than worthy, less than capable, less than seen, or even less than qualified for a ‘more important’ role? If so, I have just the story for you, today! This happens to be one of my favorites because, well, of course, because God shows us once again how He loves to use the most unexpected people to do His greatest works! This is the story of Nehemiah. But, before we get there, I’d love to give you a quick little Bible history. Many of us are familiar with the great exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt. It is the story of Moses, the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the Ten Commandments and so much more. Even if you aren’t familiar with the Bible, you’ve likely seen the cinematic version on tv around Easter. However, did you know that there is a second great exodus story in the Bible? I delved into studying this last year and was amazed that I had rarely heard mention of this era of the Bible. Hold tight and I’ll drop in a bit of context and then pull in a few passages to shape the scene for you. It really is a fascinating time! (Ezra-Nehemiah) Here’s my wonderful cliff notes version to get us up to speed: Israel had fallen into rebellion once again. For years, God sent prophets to warn the people and declare God’s wrath if they did not repent and turn from their unrighteousness. They refused to listen. Eventually, God promises the total destruction of Israel, scattering the people and turning them into exiles of other lands. But, God also promises that once His wrath has been assuaged, He will bring back a remnant to rebuild Jerusalem. Just as God promised, Jerusalem was destroyed and the people were carried off to serve as exiles under the king of Babylon. (This is, in fact, where we get the book of Daniel along the stories of Shadrach, Meschac, and Abednego. They were all captives taken from the land of Israel). And this brings us up to where we are going in scripture today! After 70 years in captivity, to fulfill prophecy, God moves king Cyrus’s heart (the Babylonian king at the time) to release back the remnant of Jerusalem. All who felt the call to go back to their homeland were permitted to do so. Not only that, but he sent orders out to all the land that they should send supplies and materials and anything else they may need for their journey. Along with the first group to go back was a priest from the tribe of Levi named Ezra. He goes back with the mission of building back the temple so the Jewish people can resume their traditional rituals and worship. Ezra’s story is full of fascinating detail, but today, I’m going to highlight another main character of interest. This man’s name was Nehemiah. Roughly 13 years after Ezra left Babylon to begin rebuilding the temple, a man named Hanani arrives in the city of Susa (part of Babylon) with other men who had been in Judah (Israel). Nehimiah began questioning the men about what they had seen. He asked about Jerusalem and the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile. And so, it is here that I’ll pick up reading in Nehemiah 1… All those centuries ago, I doubt Nehemiah, the humble servant, ever dreamed that he would be leading a mission to build back the walls and fulfill prophecy. So, today, I hope you’ll be encouraged. I hope you’ll hear this message and remember how God could use you, too. Pray bold prayers. Ask God to use you and work through you. You may just be surprised at the courage that bubbles up in unexpected places to launch you into something you could never have imagined for yourself.. Thank you to our partner, Cru! https://bit.ly/UnexpectedCRU