Ask Us Anything! Winter 2021 Edition

Janet Aucoin December 31, 2021

Introducing our very first Joyful Journey Q&A episode! Janet and Jocelyn answer listener questions, from how to spend time with the Lord while raising small children, to the difference between godly grief and self-pity. We pray that as you listen, you find yourself encouraged and strengthened to choose truth and to choose joy on your journey as a woman of God.

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Episode Transcript


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Janet: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.

Alexandra: I just want to make it as totally simple and no-brainer as possible for ladies to see that the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.

Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.

Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy. Typically, I’ll be joined by either Jocelyn or Alexandra, but for our first full episode listen as all three of us discuss the topic of joy.

Janet: Hello, welcome back. And today, Jocelyn and I are going to do something a little bit different.

Jocelyn: How exciting.

Janet: We're changing it up a little, and we're doing our first Q and A. many of you, responded to the question on Instagram with some of your questions. So we're going to just jump right in here and see how many we can answer. I have no idea how this will work. We're just going to give it a try.

Jocelyn: This is going to be great. Let's do it.

Janet: First one, says it's for Janet. What advice do you have for young pastors wives with small children? That would be why that one's for me, Jocelyn.

Jocelyn: I can't wait to hear this because actually I have a question about this myself.

Janet: What did your involvement look like in your local church during that season of your life?

Jocelyn: Great question.

Janet: The first thing I guess I would want to say is, I don't know that it's much different from advice to any wife with small children.

Jocelyn: Right, I mean, it's not special because you're a pastor.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Other than you have more responsibilities.

Janet: Maybe, but my husband does, you know, so I don't have to. And I think that that's really important. And I do know that there are... I am blessed to be in an environment where I never felt pressured by the staff that you're supposed to be doing everything.

Jocelyn: That's nice.

Janet: I want it to be doing everything cause I love it, but I never felt like I had to, but I do know that there are women who are, whose husbands are serving in places and that's the pressure they feel. So my first thing would be talk with your husband and just because you're feeling that pressure doesn't mean you need to give into that.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So most of my serving was at home. And I love to be involved. So I found ways to serve from there. I know for me, Monday nights, my husband was always out really late. And so on Monday nights, the kids would go to bed and the college kids would come over and we'd do a Bible study at my house.

Jocelyn: Oh, that's neat.

Janet: So I loved doing that college kids could come over during the day and they could help me with whatever it was I was doing. And my kids, loved having them around. So one of my major ways that I served during that season was freeing my husband to minister so that he could know the kids were well cared for that we were supporting him, that he didn't have to feel pulled in every direction. And that. A gift that I could give him. But like all moms have littles. I did want to do something. And so it was getting creative, trading off childcare with another mom, meeting people at McDonald's so that I could chat while the kids were in the play area. So we did that mcDonald's play place a lot or the Chick-fil-A play place. So I tried to do things around my life as a family.

Jocelyn: We had the benefit in our church of you not being the only pastor's wife. And so that's one of the blessings of being in a church where there's other pastors and other pastor's wives is not everyone was coming to you as the only wife of leadership. And so that's something that so grateful for, I think it would be different for a wife in a small church like that, that pressure would be so big. It would be, I feel like...

Janet: And for a variety of reasons, one is you may be one of the few people that your husband trusts when it comes to women's things. Especially if he's new. He doesn't know. So he's going to want you involved. And so that's where I... talk with your husband, because if that's a priority together, figure it out. It's not like you figure that out together with your husband, figure that out. And what you may find is that your husband says you don't need to feel that pressure, even if the pressure is there. You don't need to feel that.

Jocelyn: I feel like that's the advice of so much about parenting is that it needs to be a team decision. You guys are a team and so much about parenting feels like you're figuring it out on your own.

Janet: Right. Good. So here's another one. a young woman I'm counseling seems to think she's doing well enough by just sitting in the pew and having casual Bible studies and chats with her friends. She doesn't understand the importance of actually getting involved in a specific ministry of her local church. And she just straight up admitted that even though I counseled her to find a ministry she's just too busy and hasn't thought about it. How can I teach women the importance of digging deep into local church ministries?

Jocelyn: That's a great question because, it is very easy to have a consumeristic mentality in church where I go to church on Sunday and I consume something that's being hand fed to me or like chewed up for me. And so that's kind of, I think that's probably pretty common, experience. And if you took some time to read scripture, like, especially in Ephesians, I really love using Ephesians four because it starts out by talking about how the unity of the body of believers is so important. But the gifts that God gives the individual believers we're given. In order to do the works of service so that the body of Christ could be built up.

Janet: To be a blessing to the church.

Jocelyn: Right, and our pastor talks all the time about the job of the staff of the church is equipping the saints to do the work of the Lord.

Janet: Which is Ephesians says that.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: Just that.

Jocelyn: It's the work of the church is for the people to be using their gifts to serve the body of believers. that's not why you pay a pastor to go do all the work. The pastor is there to lead the congregation and the congregation is there to seek good works that need to be done. Like Titus talks about. Like we're supposed to be really looking hard for ways to be involved.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: And people who have needs that we can meet. And looking for our place in our church. it's our family that we're loving and supporting by being involved.

Janet: So one practical then when she says, how can I teach women that importance is studying the book of Ephesians together.

Jocelyn: I think so. Yeah.

Janet: If you can read chapters one to three and not come away. Humbly amazed, grateful, and awed at what God's already done for you. Then you need to read it again. And then chapter four is what our response should be.

Jocelyn: So now what?

Janet: And now it's all about how do I use whatever God's given me for the benefit of his people and the others. It also made me think about going back to one of our earliest episodes on purpose. I just find myself thinking. Does she really understand why she's even here?

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: You know, is she here so that she can understand enough about God to make her life easier? Or is she here to build God's kingdom and represent him and his values? Who is she representing? And if I know that his plan is through the church. So if I'm fitting God into my life, instead of fitting my life into God's. There's probably a confusion of your purpose.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And then that might be better than just trying to tell her to get involved. Right. Is thinking through, does she understand our purpose? Has she read through Ephesians to understand what the scriptures do say about that? And as she really learns her own heart issues, a by-product should be loving more with Jesus loves, valuing what he values, including his church.

Jocelyn: And he loves the bride. He loves the church.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: He came and gave his life to redeem the church for himself, so to redeem a bride for himself. So I was also thinking to Titus two, where it talks about you have older women who are investing in younger women with the goal that the younger women are then going to invest in other younger women. So it's not like a chain that ends with you. It's a never ending investment of relationship where your life is being poured into. You're learning these beautiful theological truths, seeing how they apply. And then you take that beauty and you hand it to someone else. It's not really like if that's what the Bible says, you can't just be a consumer.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: You can't just be happy that you're absorbing. Once you learn this cool stuff, you got to share it with other people.

Janet: But if you haven't been doing that. That can seem like less fun than being a consumer, but the reality is it's far more satisfying. So if I were counseling her part of her homework, in addition to the teaching we'd be doing is she'd get some homework where she would get the opportunity to taste and see that God's way is better.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Let's get her involved doing what she was designed for and be able to taste that's actually more satisfying than saying when have I served enough and then I can do what I want for me.

Jocelyn: Yeah. It reminds me of John 13:17, that you are blessed when you do the things that you know, you should do. Like how do you want to be happy? How are you happy serving is what God says is going to make you happy. So it seems like it's going to make you happy to just sit there and absorb it all and to have, you know, lovely feelings, but you're going to experience joy deepest when you're doing something with it. Obeying. Yep.

Janet: What you were designed for. Yeah. Good. All right. Next question. How can I navigate my relationship with my parents as an adult? Especially when I'm a believer and my parents are not.

Jocelyn: That's hard.

Janet: How do I honor my parents and the Lord when my parents do not seek to honor the Lord?

Jocelyn: That's a great question.

Janet: Yeah. My first thought was I feel like there's a whole lot behind this and I don't know that I really know the actual question.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Like this could mean so many different things.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: Is there a control thing already going on with your parents? Maybe not. But

Jocelyn: Or are they encouraging you to do something that's not biblical? So there, there could be several things going on. Obviously if your parents are encouraging you to do something that is opposed to scripture, then you would have to respectfully decline in obeying that thing.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: But you could still honor your parents as you had discussions about it. And so if they're encouraging you to marry that nice guy next door, who is not a believer, then you would have to respectfully say your biblical reasons why you couldn't, but that, conversation would be collegial.

Janet: It would not very honorable.

Jocelyn: Yeah. It wouldn't be ugly and bitter and full of hate.

Janet: On my side, at least.

Jocelyn: Exactly right.

Janet: And that's all I can do.

Jocelyn: You can't control what happens on the other side of that conversation.

Janet: Right. I think part of what you're saying is honoring does not equal obeying.

Jocelyn: No, not always.

Janet: And I think that's got to be, and especially as an adult child, at some point, I'm not under their authority. So that's a whole nother question, but if we just make that assumption, you're not under their authority honoring does not equal obeying.

Jocelyn: It's also really important to be thinking about how can I serve my parents as they get older and honor them by taking care of them. And everyone knows as people age, their ability to do stuff is going to get more limited.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And so staying involved in that way would be a way to show honor, because the scriptures teach us to take care of our parents and to be faithful to our family. Also, I think, remembering that the relationship that you retain with them, we'll give you gospel moments. And so as you continue to work on your relationship, there may be opportunities that you can share the gospel. If you stay involved with them, that won't be available, if you don't stay involved in their life to some degree

Janet: Yep, and on a practical level, then, if someone is listening and thinking, yeah, but they don't want to be taken care of the way I think is best. So realizing as much as possible honoring even how they would like to be taken care of, but it may not be possible. But the heart of, I want to honor them, but my goal is not, I will do whatever they want. My goal is I have biblical priorities. And within that, I want to love them toward righteousness and then finding ways to honor and involve them in ways that do honor the Lord. Like for me, my dad was not a follower of Christ and, there were things I did not look to him for. I didn't look to him and say, even how do I make a decision about a job? Because my dad's priorities, because he loved me, were I want her to have a lot of money, so I'll know she's safe and secure. And that was because of his love for me. My priorities were different. So wouldn't have been very loving to ask his thoughts and then totally disregard them. But when I was buying a house, I called my dad because my dad is wise and my dad makes good financial decisions. And it was a way that I could involve him and let him know that I respected and honored him in a way that was honorable. So that gets more complicated because he complicates everything. Talk to your pastor, talk to a friend, get help. But those were some of the principles I would say.

Jocelyn: Yeah, I think those are great ideas. Next question. How do you submit to your boss when he isn't leading well, or has you in a position where decisions have to be made without his okay. Trying to determine the best way to approach him with my concerns. What do you think, Janet?

Janet: My very first thought is I have so many questions right now. Like I'm not sure exactly, because the specifics can change everything. But what I would say first of all is, what is the heart I'm bringing into it? Do I have a heart that really desires to follow and submit to my boss? Do I have a heart that wants his good, that wants his success? Or do I have a heart that believes I know better than my boss and therefore I'm totally frustrated by everything he does. So I've got to do that. I don't know the relationship that she has with her boss. If this is someone who would allow her praying for ways to share her ideas and thoughts, even about how we might be able to organize things differently in a way that he would know: she's on his team, she wants him to succeed. He doesn't need to be threatened. She's for him.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: If she can't

Jocelyn: You can definitely tell that in a situation like, are we on the same team or are they vying for my position?

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And your attitude is going to be so clear. Like, do you really just want him to have success? Or do you want him out of the way for your success?

Janet: Right. Or to get him to do what you just want.

Jocelyn: Right. Because you think that it's obviously smarter.

Janet: When I was working, I was a director working for a vice-president and I was in human resources and I can remember conversations that we would have, and I wanted him to succeed and he would tell me about something he wanted to do. And there were times I didn't think it was best. Well, he paid me for a brain and it would not be very loving to not give him my thoughts.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: I didn't do it publicly, but when it was just he and I would tell him, here's why I don't think it's a great idea. Here's what I know you want to accomplish. Here's what I think here's all my thoughts. Sometimes he said, I hear you let's do it differently. Sometimes he said, I know that's what you think. This is really what I think is best and it's what we're going to do. And now my job is to make that happen in

Jocelyn: any way possible. Yeah, to be on his team.

Janet: Cause I'm on his team. You know, so understanding that, and knowing that if you're trying to do that and honoring the Lord in how you love him, even if your boss ends up upset with you, that doesn't necessarily mean you were wrong.

Jocelyn: I also thought about a conversation you and I had years ago and on a similar topic, but it was as it pertained to marriage. Because I was asking, I don't know what my husband would want me to do. And you were like, have you asked him? The part of this question was how do I approach him with my concerns? And I think that would be the response is have you asked him? Have you asked your boss, if you have a concern, how would he like you to communicate that to him?

Janet: That's an excellent point.

Jocelyn: Because he probably, I know you made it but if he, I mean, like you said, he's paying you for your brain. He's wanting you to be a part of the team. And so I would just ask when I have a concern or when I see a warning sign or when something seems troubling...

Janet: Or when I have an idea of something, a better way.

Jocelyn: Yeah, yeah. How would you want me to bring that to you? Because I had one boss that, would really want to know all of my ideas ahead of time before we were in a meeting. And I didn't know that until that boss shared it with me. So that boss didn't like to be surprised. So that was an important thing to know, like if we're going to be on the same team, then you let me in on your ideas before we're in front of other people. Cause that threw the person off. So I think ask the boss how he would like you to communicate with him, and what does he imagine you being on his team? Looking like, and it's a little challenging, as I was thinking through this question, like there's some ways where this would be really hard. Like if your boss was asking you to do illegal things or immoral things, then you can't submit to that situation.

Janet: That's right.

Jocelyn: And my kids were actually in a situation that was very challenging because we were teaching them like go in and be hard workers, go in there and support your boss. Love your boss, want your bosses success. And so it became this situation where then the boss started taking advantage of them. And also it became a somewhat toxic environment becuase they were going out of their way for the success of their boss, but their boss was leaving them in an unsafe situation. And so I think in, a lot of cases, you really need to have somebody else that can know the specifics of the situation and can advise you, if you're married, then I think you should be talking about situations with your husband.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: Your deacon is probably available for counsel like this, or even asking for a short period of counseling from your pastor where you can say, here's the situation. Here's what I understand my boss is wanting from me. Here's what I'm understanding of scripture. Can you advise me, like shepherd me in this situation so many times we think we have to figure this out ourself.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: We really need the input of other people who can just hear what's going on and say, yeah, from my expertise or my experience, probably this is something to consider.

Janet: That's very wise because it could be anything from my perspective, it looks like I'm just trying to help my boss. And he's always mad at me and I don't know what to do. And then I share it with someone and they say, is that the way you said it. Well, that sounds like you think, you know, better than your boss.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: Oh, so I might be part of the problem.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: Or I might have unrealistic expectations. I went to our pastor years ago when I was single with a job situation and I was so angry because something was happening at work that really was wrong. They weren't asking me to do anything about it. But I saw it and it really made me angry and I wanted to quit my job. I just I'm like, how can I work for a place that does... is around this stuff. So I went to my pastor and shared all that and I said, so when is it okay to just say, I'm done? And he said, after you've done all this within your power to solve the problem. So you've seen that. Have you gone to all those people? Have you talked to them? And I'm like...

Jocelyn: Oh, should I?

Janet: Here's what I said. Well, if I do all that, I probably won't need to leave, to which he smiled and said, I know, I know. I was like, oh, I get it now. So it doesn't mean I might not need to leave later.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: But in my situation it was what's happening really is bullying. I don't even know another word for it. It was horrible. And I knew about it and it was, I can't, I'm not in control of it, but I do have an influence, use it, do what I can to solve problems. And know that I'm not responsible for what they do, but I can still shine for Christ.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: So, but I needed that outside perspective. I was about to quit.

Jocelyn: And that what you just said brings up this point too, is sometimes. We don't see our own faults and we don't see our own idolatry.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: And when we can talk about it with somebody else, they'll say, wow, I hear this thing coming out of your mouth, which makes me concerned that maybe there's, you know, whatever pride or laziness or stubbornness or whatever.

Janet: So let's deal with that first.

Jocelyn: Yeah, let's deal with the log in your own eye before you try to deal with the speck in somebody else's eye. Yeah, it's a difficult situation. I think you would need a lot more information to be able to advise this person really well. And that's why you need other believers to help you think through situations.

Janet: Okay. How about this one singleness in the church? Why does it seem harder to be single in the church than in the regular world?

Jocelyn: What a great question.

Janet: Yeah. What do you think Jocelyn?

Jocelyn: Well, I'll start off from a feminist perspective. As a reformed feminist came to the Lord, realized the error of my ways. I think the world is set up to embrace singleness. And embrace...

Janet: for all the wrong reasons.

Jocelyn: Yeah, I would say embrace it because that lets you live to your fullest potential. You're not weighted down by a family. You're not being told what to do by a husband. And so singleness in the world is really applauded in my opinion. because. You went to school, you invested in a degree. Now you're getting a job that pays you a lot of money. You're buying all the things that you want. You only live one time, so you might as well make it worth it. And so singleness is the status quo. And I think, when you come into church, no one would ever encourage you in a biblical church to be a self centered, you only live once, kind of a person.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: that's the opposite of what the scripture teaches us. And so the scripture teaches us that God made us for himself and he redeemed us using Jesus's death on the cross to make it possible. And now he wants us to live for him. And his way of thinking about the world and that is very self-sacrificial. Jesus Christ gave his life up and we are supposed to model our life after that same example. And we're also taught, starting in Genesis through the whole entire Bible that we're supposed to be generationally replicating our faith because God wants the whole earth to be full of his glory. And so that is the requirement for that is that you're married and that children come out of that marriage. So the Bible...

Janet: Or spiritual replication if that's

Jocelyn: exactly.

Janet: You're very involved in that.

Jocelyn: Right. So the Bible is going to teach a lot about marriage as the standard, because God says that that is the standard where families are made, and he's also going to teach us how marriages should work and how families should work and how parenting should work. So there's a lot of scripture that's devoted to generational replication of our faith.

Janet: Yeah. And I think, we're in a culture that is tearing down marriage, so our churches are rightly upholding it.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: But what I'm hearing you say, which I think is really interesting. If I am... I don't believe singles are more self-centered than married people and we're all made of the same stuff. But if I am married and selfish and I walk into church, I can be pretty comfortable. I know who I'm going to sit with because, you know, they made a lifetime commitment to me. They kind of have to sit with me.

Jocelyn: And we rode together.

Janet: Yes. I walk in with somebody. I walk out with somebody. I can be totally selfish the whole morning and it might not be as obvious. When I'm single and I'm selfish, and I walk in and go, who am I supposed to sit with? I have to look for my friends. Maybe they're here. Maybe they're not. Where do I actually belong? When the focus is on me, it will be much more obvious that I feel different.

Jocelyn: It'll be painful quicker. I think. Yeah.

Janet: Yes. But it won't be because you're more sinful. But yeah, I do think, it is a severe mercy from God to help you see your heart. Because I know Paul extolled the blessings of singleness, but for the purpose of being able to focus on the service of the Lord and think about, if you go into church, focus on the service of the Lord, you got a whole family of people there, but if you go into the church focused on where do I fit? What's going to happen to me? Where do I belong? Who's going to talk to me? Walking in alone is very lonely and it makes me think about, so what's different at work. Well, at work, everybody walks in alone. Number one, and..

Jocelyn: You're really not supposed to bring your family to work.

Janet: They don't encourage it.

Jocelyn: Frowned upon that.

Janet: And you're all focused on your work.

Jocelyn: Yeah. You're there for a reason.

Janet: What do I have in common with someone that I only met at work that we work for the same company and that whether we get mad at the boss together, whether we laud the company together, whether we hate the company together, that's what we have in common. It's almost like you're on mission and that's what bonds you. And you're like, well, how come I feel? Well, when you're at church, are you on mission. Do you realize this is now your people that you are on mission with to reach the world for Christ? Cause if I walk in on mission, there all around me, but if I walk in thinking about me, it is going to be very hard.

Jocelyn: Yeah. I think there's a lot of ways that single people can find a place to belong in the church, but I think it's really going to depend on them having the right purpose in mind that matches God's and then the right mission when they go into church. Single people and married people are just people. All of them are going to have heart issues that are evident when they read scripture, don't honor God. And so theoretically, all of us are supposed to be at church for the same reason to learn the knowledge of God, to see ways to apply it to our life, and then to live it out radically with the people around us. And so I just think that the culture of the world is set up to really push the goals of single people more than it pushes the goals of married people. So possibly that's why it seems a little harder to be single in the church.

Janet: Yeah. Yeah.

Jocelyn: All right. Next question. How should I mentor younger people and encourage older people as a younger person?

Janet: Well, I think Jocelyn, first of all, didn't you do a whole episode on this?

Jocelyn: Yeah, I was thinking about that Titus two talks about this a lot.

Janet: Yes. So the Investing in Others episode. So first of all, listen to that, but I'm going to just think about, so on a practical level, what could that look like? Cause maybe that's what the question is really about is what would that look like? I already know. I want it. So if I am fairly young myself, And then I want to mentor someone even younger. Sometimes what we think is, I mean, I don't have a ton of life experience yet, so don't pretend you do.

Jocelyn: And they may not like if I'm only a teenager, people younger than me may not have a ton of questions yet.

Janet: Right, or care what I think.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: But I can model. I can invest. I can say we did this. my daughter probably remembers this, but when she was younger, we had upper high school girls that we believed were living for the Lord. And we'd give them a gift card for ice cream and say, take my daughter out.

Jocelyn: Oh, how fun.

Janet: So just go and talk. And they're like, why should we talk about it? Like, I don't care.

Jocelyn: Ice Cream.

Janet: I don't care, but just let her know what God's doing in your.

Jocelyn: Cool.

Janet: You know, and so I know a couple of different times where we did that, not to make a lifetime mentoring relationship, but really if you're wanting to minister to someone younger model for them, the joy of serving the joy of living for the Lord, that there is something better. Building that relationship so that one day, if they do have questions, they'll know they can ask you.

Jocelyn: There's somebody there, yeah.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: Yeah. Especially like our little kids when our kids were younger, the high school kids were so cool.

Janet: Oh yeah.

Jocelyn: And so now that my kids are high school and college age, one of the things that we try to encourage our kids to do, we serve in children's ministry. And one of the ways that they mentor younger people is just to radically love the little kids.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And really, really want to know about their life. So hear about their week, care about what they're learning in school, or hear stories about their little brothers and sisters, but just say, Hey you little kid, I want you to know that I'm a college kid. And I'm in church and I think church is cool.

Janet: And I love you.

Jocelyn: Yes. I love you. And I want you to think that church is cool too, for the rest of your life. So we've been working really hard in our little kids' classes that our family works in. Just to be a sense of community, to the young kids that we dream of them having for the rest of their life in church, but we start showing them what that would look like as very little kids. We love them so radically and we want them to feel so welcome and so happy and so excited to be in a Sunday school class where we talk about Jesus and all sorts of cool stuff from the Bible. And we get really excited when they learn their verses and tell us how they applied stuff. But it's like for those little kids, they don't have big questions yet about deep theology, but I hope one day when they get a little older and they do have questions that they'll remember that there was a teacher in my kindergarten class who loved Jesus and was kind of crazy about him. And I'm going to look for her and ask her. So there's already a connection there.

Janet: And I think even...

Jocelyn: In the event that they have questions.

Janet: Yes, and I think even more sorry to tell you this Jocelyn, but even more than you, the fact that your college age daughter was like that may have even more of an impact on them.

Jocelyn: Oh, yeah.

Janet: So for this younger person, yeah, you can have a huge impact just by loving them. You don't have to have all the answers. You don't have to feel like you're going to counsel them, but you showing them that loving Jesus is cool. When we were in the college ministry, we loved having the college kids over and I love for my kids to be around them and see here were kids who don't need to come over and they chose to come over on a Sunday night. And we'd all sit around the living room and we'd talk about questions they have about Jesus and laugh a lot. I think that that was really important for my kids. They were discipling my children.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And they didn't know it. They still talk about, we had college kids live with us and one of them. My daughter and I were just talking about this recently, loved to play board games and got permission from us first, but he went to each of the kids' bedrooms after they were in bed, knocked on the door and said, get up, we're going to play a board game. They still talk about that. How fun was that.

Jocelyn: That's so funny.

Janet: And they remember that and like, that's so cool. I got to get out of bed after I was supposed to be in bed.

Jocelyn: So special.

Janet: And I got to go play a board game with these college guys, and it was silly and fun and it was meaningful.

Jocelyn: Yeah, I also think, one of the ways to mentor younger people, I alluded to this earlier, but is to serve in the church in children's ministries.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And especially, I think in youth group, most youth groups have small groups within the youth group and I have just experienced that they're always at a shortage for small group leaders, because it's a lot of commitment. It's like every Sunday and every Wednesday for an entire school year. It is a big commitment. But I think one of the ways to mentor younger people is to serve in the areas where they need servants.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: They need supervision and relationships are going to form out of that.

Janet: So how about somebody older?

Jocelyn: Yeah. Well, I think just looking for ways to get to know someone as a person, not just a older person, quote unquote, but they're a person and they had a family, they had a past, they had probably a career. One of the ways that my daughters and I have done is what we call Tuesday lunches. Although now it's Wednesday lunches. Once a week we invite somebody over for lunch and we just got to know them. We got to know so many people and almost all of them were probably retired or close to retirement. Just, we got to hear their salvation story. We got to hear what they thought was cool, what interests they have.

Janet: I love that.

Jocelyn: It was so fun. So we would make a super simple lunch. The point was the people. And my kids got to learn how to have conversational skills, which is important when you're trying to, you know, be in a relationship with someone, you have to be able to carry a conversation.

Janet: If you're going to disciple, you have to be able to do that.

Jocelyn: You have to be able to ask questions. But I think just also hanging out with people who are older than you in their setting will help you to see. What their life looks like and what they might need. And a lot of older people need people that have fit bodies that can do stuff for them.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And you're not going to really know that unless you're hanging out with them in the setting that they would call home. So I think getting to know them in that, setting would at least give you a window. But I also just think ask, like, what are things that encourage you? What are things that make you happy? Or what gives you joy? If you know what gives them joy, then you can provide joy through that means.

Janet: Right. And sometimes it's not necessarily senior saints older, but older than you. If you're a younger person. I think also offering to watch their children for them.

Jocelyn: Oh, that's a great idea.

Janet: Offer to be a mommy's helper. Not only are you helping with the kids, you're watching her as a mom and how she's interacting and you're being discipled while you're being a blessing.

Jocelyn: Great idea.

Janet: Or maybe just go help them manage their home. Maybe I still remember, a young adult, she was an adult, had her own job, but, came up to me and said, I would really like to just assist you are there any ways I could help you?

Jocelyn: Oh my word.

Janet: I know.

Jocelyn: Give me four of them. I would love that.

Janet: I know. And I was like, are you kidding me? First, let me get back up off the floor. And then yes. So I think there are lots of ways.

Jocelyn: Yeah, lots of ways.

Janet: How about this one. This one she called tips for tough conversations. How do I know when to talk and when I should just listen?

Jocelyn: I love this question. I was a communication major in college and I love communication. I love thinking about it. I also love to talk. when I first heard this question, I thought, well, my biggest advice is we probably need to talk way less than we do, and we need to listen way more than we do, at least for me, like ...

Janet: Most of us.

Jocelyn: I get nervous in conversations. So when I'm nervous, I'm like, okay, what if there's a silence? And like, how do we keep the conversation going? So I think of a million things to talk about so that there's never silence, which is so dumb because sometimes silence is necessary.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: And I was talking because I didn't want to be uncomfortable. And so for me, I need to learn to listen more to see what's going on in the conversation. And I probably need to ask better questions. I think sometimes I'm good at declarative sentences and I'm less good at asking a question and then just being cool with silence.

Janet: While they think about it.

Jocelyn: Like I ask a question and I give them adequate time to ponder that question without then talking and filling the silence.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: So I think questions and, you're gonna know when it's time to talk. When there is no other response from that person, like, let them have the freedom to say all the things that they need to say cause you may be the only person that has given them that honor.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: It's one of the things I learned in counseling training is like, you might get someone that comes in for counseling and talks a lot. And one of the things that you might have to consider is you may be the only person in their life that ever listens to them and hears them out completely.

Janet: Yeah. So I love that heart and I think, and again, this is one of those where it all depends on what you're really asking, because if someone is coming to me and they just want me to listen while they complain and gossip.

Jocelyn: That's totally different.

Janet: Over and over and over. I have a very different responsibility than someone who's hurting and I want to love them. So I have to listen first to know which it is.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: You can't assume. I have to ask really good questions. And then if I believe. It would really be helpful for me to steer them a different direction, or I think they're starting to go down a path of self pity and I really want to help them instead of just jumping into teaching mode. One of the things my husband taught me, that's been very helpful is ask permission. If somebody is sharing, don't assume they want to be taught. But I am going to believe the best that they don't want to gossip.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: So if they want to gossip, they're going to have to prove it to me. Cause I'm going to assume they don't want to gossip. But I can't assume they ready to be taught. So they may just need to think it through and they'll come to it themselves. They may just want to be able to share with me and then we cry together cause it's really sad. but if I'm hearing them and then there's something that I believe would be helpful. I find that if I say that's really hard or whatever, let them know that I heard them. Would it be okay with you, for me to share some things that I think might be helpful? The minute that I've respected them enough to ask.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And they allow it. They're going to hear me. They're going to be open. Right. Yeah. And it changes how I say it because I'm not trying to get at them.

Jocelyn: You're not going to be all lectury.

Janet: I think you're gossiping, but there are times when people do want to gossip. And so I've decided if you're talking to me, Jocelyn, I'm going to assume that you don't want to gossip, which means if I'm not already part of the problem you are asking me to be now part of the solution.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So I'm going to assume that, so I'm going to be saying, so how is it you're going to go to them and ask about that? Oh, you weren't going to, well, you're going to now. And after you've done that, let me know how it went and I'll check in with them too, to make sure that there's nothing still. You do that two or three times people stop coming to you.

Jocelyn: People stop gossiping to you cause you're a kill joy.

Janet: Exactly, so I do that as well, but, and you were mentioning earlier about someone who is just going through a really painful season. Share with us about that.

Jocelyn: Yeah, I was thinking on this question, you know, sometimes life is just really hard. And as I mentioned, like, you might be the only person that's really listens to that person. This might be only context that they have to express their thoughts. And when life is just really hard, it's almost like some people feel like unwilling to be honest with how difficult things are. And so a friend of mine was sharing that last year when COVID was very difficult they worked in a school setting. It was just, it was terrible. Every single day was terrible. They didn't know how many teachers they would have or how many students or if they were going to be virtual. And my friend said, I just had to talk to my pastor because I needed help. And I told him what was going on. He said, Hey, can I talk to you? And the pastor said, lament away. I'm open to hearing what's going on. And my friend was able to pour out his heart in honesty and be really, really vulnerable with how difficult things were. And my pastor was able to say, let's go to God and lament together. Like we're going to do what the Psalms teach us to do. We're going to cry out to God. We're going to say, come into my moment of sorrow and move. Move in this situation, release me, figure this out. Talking about the depth of how hard it is, and then you land on this really good place of trust with God. You don't start there, you land there and lament.

Janet: And he didn't need teaching so much as he just needed someone to lament with him.

Jocelyn: He needed someone that would allow him the freedom to be vulnerable. So...

Janet: So and the other thing...

Jocelyn: I think you need lots of wisdom in the middle of that conversation too, because you're not going to know exactly what's going on.

Janet: It makes me think of something that Amy Baker had said once when we were having one of our counselor lunches with someone who was sharing some hard things and maybe not going the right direction with it. And so then we tell them, you know, go to God with that. But if you've never done that, like this friend probably knew how just needed encouragement.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And Amy said, you know, one of the things you can do for them is stop right then and you do it.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Let them see what that looks like when you can really be honest with God and say, God as she's talking to me. So what you've done is move it to the Lord. Show them they can be that honest with God, because that's what God wants. And you've discouraged it from going other gossipy places because we've gone to the Lord.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: And I love that.

Jocelyn: That's happened a couple of times in counseling for me, where I'm working through a situation that's just horrendous. And I don't know how to go forward. Can't imagine how they know how to go forward. And so I just lament to God publicly and show what it would look like for it to happen.

Janet: Love it. Good.

Jocelyn: Good. Alrighty. Okay. Here's another question. Why do other religions appear so much more devoted?

Janet: I think that's, I think that's great. And I think part of the answer is in the word appear, first of all. But I think it's for, I'll be interested in your thoughts too, but I think it's for a variety of reasons. One is all other religions have to do some kind of outward devotion to earn their way to heaven.

Jocelyn: Right. They're totally works based.

Janet: Yes. So I have to. And contrast that with God did all the work for us. But when I think about that, if I truly understand that, it should lead to not just an appearance of devotion. I should actually be far more devoted. Because are you kidding me? After all he's done for me? So I think, we don't always see that though.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Because I think there's a real shallow understanding of salvation.

Jocelyn: And I think with other religions, we see a lot of actions that are repeated. So in several different religious thoughts, you would do an action over and over and over and over.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: So it appears that doing that action is what makes them devoted. But just because they do the action doesn't mean that their heart is devoted to God.

Janet: That's right.

Jocelyn: It means that they can set a timer on their watch and do the thing when they're supposed to do it, or they can respond the way that they've been taught to respond. And another thing to think about in other religions is that the god in every other religion is very angry and needs to be appeased.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And in our faith, the one true God is filled with overflowing love and wants us to enjoy it. And so our God is teaching us about himself and then welcoming us into relationship with him. And as we get to know that deeper and deeper, like you said, my response over the last decades of following Jesus, have been more and more and more devoted every day as a response to that love.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: And so I'm not getting up and following some like legalistic list of things that I have to do because I'm a devoted Christian. I get up and think.

Janet: My heart is devoted.

Jocelyn: You are mine and I am yours. And what's this day together going to look like. And so I think my actions maybe would appear much less ritualistic and more spur of the moment. Cause I don't know what someone is going to need until that person crosses my path. But I'm prayerfully hopeful that my response would be to sacrificially serve them.

Janet: Yeah, so if you haven't listened to the podcast on Hesed, if we understand the love we've been given, it doesn't make sense that we wouldn't have a greater devotion. But I think on the front end, especially as a baby believer, if you think about other religions, they tap into your selfishness. I don't want God mad at me, therefore I do these things.

Jocelyn: Yeah, keep him happy.

Janet: And in Christianity that same selfishness means I don't have to now because he did it.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: So, actually a baby believer and the most devoted of the other religions are pretty similar. It's only as we grow and understanding really the love of God that will grow in a deeper devotion that's actually true.

Jocelyn: Definitely check out that Hesed episode.

Janet: All right. How about this one? Let me ask you this. Jocelyn, how can I know the balance between godly grief and throwing a pity party for ourselves and not accepting what God is giving us?

Jocelyn: Wow. What an interesting question, because you may not know this about me, but my nickname growing up was bossy Jossy.

Janet: No way! Oh, my word. Can I start using it? I love it.

Jocelyn: No! And the result was. If I did not get what I bossed people around to, to try to get, I would pout about it. So I was a world-class pouter and it was like, just with so much part of my personality. I just didn't even realize it wasn't okay until I got married. Like, until I inserted myself into...

Janet: I'm sure Brian wanted to make you aware of that.

Jocelyn: Into a new relationship. And I was like, oh, this isn't normal. So, I have had to learn a good deal about this. And I would say the difference between grief and a pity party is that grief is an acknowledgement and an expression of my deep sadness, about a situation.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: And, and how it is not right and I think. Christians, for example, have a view of death that no other religion can have. We mourn more greatly for death than any other religion, because we know more acutely that this isn't the way that God designed the world to work.

Janet: That's right. It's a result of sin.

Jocelyn: And death should make us sadder than any other person, even though we grieve with hope.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Like we get it, we get that there's a different day coming and if that person was in Christ, they're going to be resurrected and given a new glorified body. But grief is an acknowledgement of the depth of sadness about how wrong a situation is in God's economy. A pity party is saying, I cannot believe I have to go through this. Like this is about new unfair.

Janet: Yeah, it's about you.

Jocelyn: Yeah. It's totally devoted to me pouting that I didn't get the thing that I was confident was going to make me happy. So the difference between godly grief and throwing a pity party is saying, God, I trust your way as what is best and I trust in your character. And if this is what you allowed, I will see it as a thing from your good hand, even if I would have preferred it not to happen. And I will walk confidently forward in your better plan...

Janet: while I cry in lament.

Jocelyn: While I cry and lament and be real and honest and authentic with God, I think a pity party never, ever points your face toward Jesus. A pity party.

Janet: Except to blame him.

Jocelyn: Well, except to blame him cast. Shadow on his character.

Janet: Yeah, and I think it could be the biggest difference in godly grief. There is no blight on God's character and in a pity party, God messed up.

Jocelyn: Yeah. And in godly grief. You're saying. You are good. God, nothing you do is anything but good. And so help me to see this really tragically painful...

Janet: Help me to trust you

Jocelyn: Circumstance without doubting your goodness or trying to understand you through this circumstance.

Janet: Love it. So that kind of leads into this other question that we were given. Unpack for me, the phrases, leave it in God's hands, leave it at Jesus's feet. What does that actually mean?

Jocelyn: Oh, a) I need more information and b) I hate cliches. Because we're not just robots. We're not just a bunch of same people. We have our own story. We have our own thing that we're going through. And so, first of all, if you're going to try to comfort someone or motivate someone probably needs to be very personal and practical. But beside from that, it's probably talking about someone who's struggling with something hard, and maybe wanting to control the situation or really, really wanting something and struggling with trusting.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: And so I'll talk about the trusting. Do you want to talk about the control?

Janet: Sure.

Jocelyn: Okay. I'll give an example. My husband and I are getting ready to celebrate our 25th anniversary next week.

Janet: Well just leave it at Jesus' feet.

Jocelyn: Here's what I'm worried about. We have so many people in my family who have already bought plane tickets. They're headed here. We have hotels, we have spent thousands of dollars prepping a marvelous reunion, and I really want it to happen. And so what I find myself doing all day long as being like, how can I control this situation and make sure no one gets COVID between now and then, and we have to cancel everything.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: So we are taking smart precautions. Like we're wearing our masks and social distancing cause that's wise. At the same time, I can't then spend the rest of my day obsessing about every possible way that something could ruin it. So what I have been doing is begging God, please, God be gracious to us. We really want to celebrate together. It's a really huge thing. It's a once in a lifetime event and God redeemed our marriage and we should celebrate that. Who would have thought that we would have lasted 25 years when we got married. We were Idiotic teenagers, not obeying Jesus in any way. So we want to celebrate and we want to celebrate all that we have to be thankful for it, but you know what? We can celebrate all that we have to be thankful for. Even if a reunion never happens and our party has to get canceled. So on the one hand, I'm begging God, please graciously give us this thing that we want so bad. And on the other hand, we're saying. And we leave it in your hands because we trust you.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: We trust that your good plan is better than our good plan. And if you've decided a different plan, then we will see that as better. And we won't judge your character through our circumstances that are what we don't prefer. And then I go right back to begging God, please, please, please. Don't cancel it. Please don't let someone get sick. Please don't let our situation get messed up. Please let us have it. So I think learning how to say I trust you and I begged for gracious things that I don't deserve at the same time.

Janet: And then I have an open hand.

Jocelyn: It's totally fine. I have an open hand what you decide, but you want to hear from me and I really want it to happen.

Janet: And if that's what they mean by leave it at Jesus's feet, which is, don't worry about it instead trust.

Jocelyn: Actively trust.

Janet: Yes. Yes. That's not a wrong sentence, but a lot of times when we make it a cliche, it loses its meaning.

Jocelyn: We don't know what it means.

Janet: Right. So it would be better to use more words and use biblical words because I'm not aware of a passage that says leave it at Jesus' feet.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So what about leaving it in God's hands? which, you know, we kind of did both in the last question as well, but God's hands versus my hands.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: So when I hear that, maybe what they are thinking is what I'm seeing in you is not trusting and wanting to control. So I'm telling you stop trying to put it in your hands, Janet, and leave it in God's hands. But what does that even mean?

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: You know, I have a precious friend right now going through some very difficult things and she made the statement to me. I have surrendered my will to God's. That's great. And here's what I said to her. What does that mean? And she said, I knew you'd asked me that.

Jocelyn: Yeah, what next? What does that look like?

Janet: Yeah. So, what's that mean you're going to do? Because it sounds, leave it in God's hand, leave it at Jesus's feet, surrender, sound all, very passive. So the temptation is if I've done it, then I sit and wait.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Now what? Cause I'm not going to try to control. So now what, well now I do God's will.

Jocelyn: Get busy. Yeah.

Janet: I've surrendered to God's will it's what would God have me do?

Jocelyn: In that situation?

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: So maybe better than just leave it in God's hands is if I know the situation, don't try to control what is God's. Don't try to be God, but what does it look like for you to be faithful...

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: in honoring God, in valuing what God values, in loving what God loves, and lamenting what needs to be lamented. What does it look like now for you to respond in a way that honors the Lord, instead of trying to be God.

Jocelyn: There's so many situations that applies to, like, I can think of like a mom with grown-up kids whose kids are not living for the Lord. Well, they have a lot of work they can do to passionately love that child passionately be involved in their life, continue building that relationship, serving them, but also refraining from lecturing them every time they're together.

Janet: Because the results are in God's hands. They really are.

Jocelyn: Right, God is in charge and she can trust that God will control that situation better than her controlling it might possibly turn out some good results that she was hoping for.

Janet: Yeah. So it makes me think of Psalm 131 I quiet my soul because I trust in the Lord. And all of that is very active.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: I choose to quiet my soul. I trust in the Lord. I am busy, loving my child with a quiet soul. Not clamoring after make a decision, make a decision. That's leaving it in God's hands, I suppose. All right. Let me ask you this one. How do I find time to build intimacy with the Lord when my hands are full of littles? And I love this, she said, anytime I do have, I spend it prepping for teaching or prepping for discipling others. And she, it was cute, she said, if I get up early, it's like, they sense it and they get up. Jocelyn, you who work in mom to mom? What she do?

Jocelyn: I love mom-to-mom. My little group of friends is all moms with toddlers. And so, this is their life. Like they want to be intimate with the Lord, but they're tired. They were nursing all night long. They changed a million diapers the day before, like, you know, life is full. And I think in moments like that, it, I think it starts in your head. You're thinking, what is the point of my life? What was I put here on earth for? Why did God redeem me through Jesus's death on the cross, back to relationship with him? And then what does it look like for me and God to have a relationship in this context today?

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: So when I'm changing diapers today, what does that look like when I'm teaching my children their school or taking my kids to school? What does that look like? So I think just because of the context, when your hands are full of littles, you probably have a lot less time. So intimacy might look more like stolen moments than hours and hours of study.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Like you might be able to do when you were a single person, but stolen moments can build intimacy just like hours of deep study. And so you're reading scripture in whatever chunk of time you can find. You're memorizing scripture throughout the other activities of your day with littles, you can also get them involved in memorizing with you. I love to use music in my worship of God and my intimacy with the Lord. Good music. I mean, you have to be discerning not all of it is biblically accurate. But there are some really great artists that have really great music that is very biblical. And it makes my mind think about appropriate things when I'm washing the thousandth plate or folding the hundredth towel. Like I'm thinking about something other than uhh, can I believe I'm folding the same towel again and so...

Janet: When I want it to be in the Bible right now.

Jocelyn: When I want to be doing important things. I also think that you learn a lot about God as a father when you are a parent. And so you don't want to miss those moments that you would otherwise not really understand well, because you don't think parental thoughts when you're not a parent. But, I think that intimacy needs to be grabbed when it can and seen as the ribbon that runs through your day, not just the one activity that you do...

Janet: The big chunk.

Jocelyn: On a schedule. When it is supposed to happen.

Janet: I'm talking with, at one point a mom of littles who loves to study the word and then suddenly that was very difficult. and as we were talking and she was asking me for ideas, she said, one of the things I'm realizing is if I can't have an entire hour, I do nothing cause I feel like it's not worth it.

Jocelyn: Oh, it's not worth it. Yeah, that's hard.

Janet: I hear Elizabeth George in my head, something is always better than nothing. And then my husband helped me because we talked about that when I had littles. Like I don't really, and he said, you know, instead of trying to get your 10 minutes every day let's schedule, so that once a week you can have a chunk.

Jocelyn: Oh, that's so cool.

Janet: Figure out. You know we had to figure that out and then meditate on it the rest of the week. He said to me, So what do you think about when you're vacuuming? I'm like I don't know.

Jocelyn: Vacuuming.

Janet: Yeah. But I could meditate.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: What did I learn about that? And what was I thinking? I can put notes. So, because it is helpful to have time where I have more than five minutes. So I would say get creative, find another mom. Trade-off.

Jocelyn: Share, yeah. Job share.

Janet: Say, even if you can't do it well, maybe we can't do it every week. Okay. Every other, whatever, something is better than nothing.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And just because you tried and then your kids started throwing up, so you couldn't do the swap. Don't quit. Keep trying.

Jocelyn: Yeah, just because it's not perfect. Doesn't mean you shouldn't keep doing it.

Janet: Yeah. Get creative. So I would say you need it, fight for it, but don't assume it has to look the way you think it should. I should look.

Jocelyn: And don't have some definition of perfect.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Perfect is doing it. Not doing it according to some standard that you've set.

Janet: Yep. So getting creative, hopefully that's helpful. Well, thank you, Jocelyn. This has been a lot of fun. Yeah. I got to, most of the ones that came in if you are listening to this and we didn't get to your question, we have saved them. We plan to do these maybe a couple of times a year or so. so we'll be doing it again and we'll save it. But in the meantime, thanks for joining us. And I hope that you'll join us again for our next episode.

To keep from missing any future episodes, please sign up for our newsletter on our webpage From there you can also subscribe to this podcast on Apple, Google, or Spotify. You can also visit us on our Facebook page or Instagram at Joyful Journey Podcast. If you have questions or comments for us, you can email us at Joyful Journey Podcast is a ministry of Faith Bible Seminary. All proceeds go to offset costs of this podcast and toward scholarships for women to receive their MABC through Faith Bible Seminary.

Host Janet and her husband, Brent, also speak at a variety of conferences as a way to raise money for the seminary. If you want to look at what they offer or book them for a conference, go to their website.

Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.