Everyone is a Counselor- Live Episode Q&A

Janet Aucoin February 24, 2023

Our hosts, Janet & Jocelyn, had a unique opportunity to record a special live episode at our church’s Biblical Counseling Training Conference in Lafayette, Indiana. In addition to discussing how everyone is a counselor, Janet and Jocelyn answer audience questions submitted online and in-person. We enjoyed meeting many of our listeners and we hope this can be a blessing to those who weren’t able to attend live. For more information about the Biblical Training Conference, follow this link: faithlafayette.org/BCTC.

Visit the Joyful Journey website to sign up for our newsletter, view a transcript, and search previous episodes.

Emails us with questions or comments at joyfuljourneyquestions@outlook.com

Facebook, Instagram

Donate to Joyful Journey Podcast

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.


Episode Transcript



Gospel Primer - Milton Vincent

Valley of Vision


Restoration Men’s Ministry


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

Janet: I just want to make it as totally simple 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.

Janet: Okay, welcome to our first live recording for our podcast, which has had no glitches at all. Right, Jocelyn, it's been perfect so far.

Jocelyn: Yes, it's been great.

Janet: But I am Janet here with Jocelyn.

Jocelyn: Hey friends.

Janet: And we are excited to have the privilege to record this live. We are doing a special themed episode during the middle of our biblical counseling training conference that's happening at our church here in Lafayette, Indiana. But our theme is everyone is a counselor. So for tonight, this is not about, are you a formal counselor? It's that everyone's a counselor. Anytime I'm asked about the possibility of training in biblical counseling, I say everyone should take the next step to get better equipped to help and disciple and encourage other people around them. Because think about it ladies. How often do you give your opinion or advice on a subject.

Jocelyn: All the time.

Janet: Even when you're not asked. Am I right? ? Yeah. Who waits for that? You wouldn't get to say anything. So you're informally counseling and we all wanna grow to help people look more like Jesus. So if you're gonna give your thoughts, you might as well get more equipped to give thoughts that are gonna help people look more like Jesus. So for tonight, we're gonna have a Q&A time, not about how to be a formal counselor, but just how to help other women. Some of you have already given us questions in advance and we'll answer those throughout the next hour, but we're also gonna take questions from the floor. And to get us started, we have Tiffany.

Guest: My question is, can establishing boundaries coexist with Hesed?

Janet: All the listeners are going Hesed? Okay, if you've been listening to our podcast for a while, you'll know what she's talking about because we did two episodes on Hesed, which is, really understanding biblical love. Do you wanna take a stab at that or do you want me to?

Jocelyn: No, you go for it. You're good.

Janet: Oh, yeah.

Jocelyn: You talked about it today.

Janet: So, boundaries, I would say biblical love, Hesed, has the same boundaries that Jesus had and if he was willing to go to the cross for it. I'm just not sure what boundaries I'm gonna have, but sometimes when we ask that question, what we really mean is if I just keep loving what if they're taking advantage of me? What if they're manipulating me? What if they're, well then that's not loving. We just had a session today on, we all have to battle being manipulative, right? If someone is manipulating me, it is not, Hesed love to just unconditionally be good with that.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: That's not loving them. So no, I don't believe there's boundaries to love. If I understand that love makes it easy for the other person to do right, then that's gonna mean the best way to love them might be a confrontation.

Jocelyn: And you're also saying what's wise in this situation. So it's not like, is this a boundary I'm not willing to cross, but is this thing that I'm being asked to do or that I'm considering, would it be wise for me to do that thing? Because not everything is wise.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Okay. I'm gonna ask you answer. Okay. Okay. All right. We have a question from the floor. How do the principles of women not counseling men apply to non-church events like leading a Bible study where men attend?

Janet: And that's an excellent question. I wouldn't think so much about rules as roles. Oh, funny. I didn't mean for that sound like that, but that really sounded like I meant that, but I didn't mean for that to sound cool. But, and I think that's important. So the first thing I would say is talk to your pastor because you want to be under whatever he would like. So talk to your pastor. Then to think through, my role is to encourage leadership from the godly men around me. I want that, but I'll have to think through, is that really spiritual authority to lead a Bible study? Is it that it's sin or is it an opportunity though to encourage male leadership? So, I'll give you an example. I worked at Purdue. I was single, and I was talking to some of the ladies I worked with, they were willing to come to my house to do an outreach bible study talking about how they could come to know Jesus. Then they let me know, two of them said they were gonna bring their husbands. Well, that's awesome. I'm not ready to say it would've been sin for me to lead it, but I preferred that they be able to see a man leading that. So I'm not here to say, so what's the rule? It's just, here's an opportunity. So Brent and I were dating and I said, Hey, what do you think? So he came and he led it and I helped, whatever. And it was actually a fun thing to do when you're dating someone is to lead a Bible study where he's getting to tell people I work with about Jesus. That was actually just pretty cool. But I'm not ready to say that was sin if I had done it. I just think I want to encourage male leadership. I want the men coming to have an opportunity to see a godly man leading. So if I had checked and there were zero godly men that I knew, would I have said, your husbands may not come hear the gospel cuz I'm a woman. I probably wouldn't have said that, but I'm gonna look for a way because I wanna encourage male leadership. I don't know that there's always a rule, but my heart's desire is to encourage male leadership and I wanted those men to have that. So I looked for a way to provide that. I dunno. Is there anything you'd add to that?

Jocelyn: I was thinking this is a church event, so it's not exactly the question, but the thing that I was thinking of was a story that I heard about two single missionary ladies who were moving into a new area where there was no male leadership. And so they led a lot of the church meetings until male leadership rose up from their church and then they handed it over to them. So that is a church event, but it's kind of the same, like

Janet: same idea.

Jocelyn: Same idea. Like the opportunity and the need was there. So they served in the opportunity until a man was available to take over that leadership.

Janet: and then happily did that. You know, and I love that they're gonna encourage that leadership.

Jocelyn: And like, if you have the opportunity to share the gospel, are you gonna say, no, sorry, there's no guys around here to do it. Like,

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Share the gospel and then when a man is in the position to be able to do that leadership thing, then part of our supporting the leadership of men is saying, and now it's time for me to gracefully step out.

Janet: Excellent.

Jocelyn: Cool.

Janet: Okay. Anybody have a question from the floor that is willing to walk up to this mic?

Guest: Hi, my name is Becca and I'm from Valparaiso, indiana. My question for you is, what would be at least one piece of counsel you would give to a young lady getting ready to go to college?

Jocelyn: Is it a Christian college or a public college?

Janet: Christian college.

Jocelyn: Okay. You wanna go or...

Janet: Oh, go ahead.

Jocelyn: Okay. I love talking to young girls. My number one piece of advice would be to love the Lord more than anything else. And to live to honor him no matter what major you're in, no matter what clubs you're in, no matter who your friends are, because if that's your ultimate goal, then it doesn't matter what problem comes up, you'll already have your first solution. The other one is do not go to Christian College for your Mrs. That is not a good reason to go to college. If God introduces you to a Godly man while you're there, then explore the opportunities. But if you're going to go spend $20,000 a year or more at a Christian college, It should be because you're going to get equipped to do the job that you believe God made you good at, and that you are uniquely suited to serve and to bring his goodness into the world that no one else may be able to the way that you can. So refine your skills and abilities and then go get them trained so you can be an agent of bringing God's goodness into the world. And then don't forget the ultimate mission, while you're getting equipped to do your specific job, within that ultimate mission. We're to represent a good and glorious God to a world that he placed us in at this exact moment, for this exact time.

Janet: Yeah. So let me add just some practical, because my husband and I were over the college ministry at Purdue for 10 years. So some of the things I would encourage you to think about, plan now that you will prioritize worship and whatever it takes to deepen your relationship with the Lord. There are so many opportunities at any college, Christian or public that will keep you so busy that you are not prioritizing the main thing. I will also say this, most of the freshmen really battled loneliness, and they made their goal to not be lonely instead of to run to Jesus. So if I make my goal to not be lonely, I'll end up doing a lot of things later I'll be surprised I did. But I was willing to do it because I was lonely. So I have to decide up front my goal is not, I don't wanna be lonely. I have to fit in. I have to... what I need is Jesus. And then I can do some of these other things as well. But, sadly in our ministry, certainly not across the board, frequently college became the time when they, got to make decisions for themselves. That's not sad. That's good. And what they decided is, I've always gone to church. Now I just need to figure it out for myself. And then when their junior year, when they tanked and were in a really bad place, we got 'em. And I'm grateful, happy to have them as juniors and happy to counsel them and help 'em. But boy, I would've loved for them to not have gotten where they got as a junior. By not being so excited that they were out from under their parents. That they didn't have to love Jesus until they were juniors.

Jocelyn: I don't know how to make that transition better from like finishing out youth group to beginning college. But in my, mind, as we've prepped our daughters for that, it has been to believe that that transition is seamless. There are zero breaks between high school youth group and whatever you're gonna do next. So we really talked it up as they were getting to the end of their senior year. Like, Ooh, what ministry are you gonna choose to be a part of? What small group do you wanna go to? So it was super exciting to find their next thing, like their next grownup ABF that they chose all by themself. Because we don't want there to ever be this wrong belief that it's right to take a break. We were meant to live out our life in the life of the local church. There are no breaks from local church.

Janet: That's excellent. Reminds me of our family when we went on vacation. Karis knows this, but her dad would say vacation is loving Jesus in a new location. It's not you're week off. And moving to college is not off. It's just loving Jesus in a new location.

Jocelyn: With new different people.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: New people to love.

Janet: All right. Let me ask you this question.

Jocelyn: Okay. Go for it.

Janet: Could you speak to the difficulty of being a strong woman among weak men?

Jocelyn: Why did you have to ask it that way? Okay.

Janet: Do tell.

Jocelyn: Yes, well, I would say, let's start by acknowledging that role reversals are a consequence of the fall. So if we can just start there, it won't be so like we can say that question. And really be prideful when we're saying it like, I am a strong woman and these ridiculous, weak men. What's wrong with them? But if we remember that a consequence of the fall is that women are gonna desire the position of men and men are not gonna do their job, then it's less like revolutionary. We're doing the consequence of the fall. So within that, obviously we don't stay there. So how do we, understanding that this is a result of the curse, also encourage guys to not live in that place and women to not steamroll the poor guys. So I think one way that we can do that as strong women is to encourage the strengths of the men that are in our sphere of influence. I at one moment needed a book called the God Empowered Wife. I was talking to Amy and she like slid it across the desk and she was like, maybe you should read this. The tagline was, how strong women can help their husbands become Godly leaders. And I was like, yeah, I'm gonna read it. And so in the book, she talked about a lot of stuff, but one of the things that has stuck with me all these years later is the author said to create moments of leadership. And so strong women like probably everyone would say I'm a strong woman. Like they say, here's a problem, I'm gonna solve it cuz I've got stuff to do. And so here's a problem. I think of the potential solutions. I'd choose the solution and we move forward. And then my poor husband is in the background like, what are we doing? And I'm like, I already steamed ahead. And so moments of leadership are where you say, here is a problem that I've identified while you were at work, or you know, this evening while you were doing something. And instead of me just solving it, I handed it to you and said, Hey babe, you're the leader of our family. Our daughter needs to make a decision about this. How do you lead us? So instead of me just saying, I've already thought through all the possibilities and I've come up with a solution, I say, here is a moment of leadership and I love you and I hand it to you and I say, lead us oh valiant leader. So I think one of the ways that we can speak to the difficulty of strong women is like our tendency is to just take over. And that's not a great thing. Even though our culture says it's awesome, that's a product of the fall. And so we don't wanna steam roll over situations where we just come up with solutions. We wanna offer men opportunity to do their job.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Let them lead.

Janet: You know, in working with, I spoke to a high school group seniors at one point about something, and of course the girls were discussing how the guys just don't step up and they don't do anything and then we have to everything. And I'm like, you know, first of all, do you ever stop talking long enough for them to actually say something? Right? We think more quickly, many of us. that doesn't make us smarter or better. Just faster.

Jocelyn: And often when I think quick and talk fast, like I lose the best solutions.

Janet: Oh.

Jocelyn: Because I didn't think about it.

Janet: I spent the first five years of my marriage thinking that I was kindly waiting for my husband to catch up. And what I realized is, oh, he was actually thinking that whole time and his answers were far better.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: I made a decision and moved on and I'm like, hurry up. And then he'd come up with one. I'm like, never thought of that. Mostly cuz I wasn't thinking I was on to the next thing. So slowing down. And so I told the girls, you know when there's a big group of you and someone's trying to make a decision and they're like, the guys never do. So well, first of all leave space for them to do it. And then when one of them has the nerve to stick his neck out there and make a suggestion, don't tell him why yours is better because that's what I'm watching. I'm watching they finally, cuz it's difficult to step up and lead when people are gonna shoot at you.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So we get upset with them for that leading, and then they say, well, let's try this. Well, that will never work. Even if you're right, that's totally unhelpful. So to say, Hey, thanks for that idea. Do you think we could try this too? Like there's ways to use, your strength should be a blessing to men. If your strength is not a blessing to men, that is not biblical strength. I don't know what it is, but it's not biblical strength. But we think it is. We're just strong. And so they'll have to what? No, biblical strength is a blessing to the men around them. that means my heart is I'm gonna encourage their leadership if they took a step up. I thank them. Thanks for being willing to step out there and can I help you, while you're out there.

Jocelyn: Awesome. Okay. Somebody from the floor. Go for it.

Guest: My name is Joy and I'm from Tennessee. And my question is, what practical tools do you have for counseling yourself?

Jocelyn: Okay. One thing that I learned from Janet actually is that I should be reading more than I am because I'm like, I read the Bible and that is adequate. That's what I have time for. And she was like, you know what? We really are surrounded by great resources. We should be reading them. And so I did. That was several years ago that you said that, but...

Janet: I don't remember that.

Jocelyn: Yeah. But it stuck with me like getting good thoughts in our head takes discipline.

Janet: That are not mine.

Jocelyn: Right. Getting good thoughts about a topic takes discipline and I have to decide to do it. So at the time you were like, I just make it a point to read a certain number of pages in a good book every year. And so by having someone's ideas outside of mine, I can think through something outside of the normal way that I think through it. And also like our sermons are designed to make us think about where we're falling short. And so generally, a sermon in our church is filled with ways where we're not measuring up and see ways that we need to confess and repent and then live it out practically. And in our, like a church like ours, like we're all on the same topic pretty much either one week or the next week. And so all of us are kind of in the same zone. And so we're practicing learning in that topic.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: So, I think it filters down through like our small groups and mom to mom and FCI classes, bible studies, like we're all have the same background stuff in our mind that helps us to think where we might need to make some changes.

Janet: Yeah, I think the more you know yourself. Because I think about, okay, how do I counsel myself cuz I do. A part of it is I need to have the right input, Gospel Primer, Valley of Vision. I need words outside my own that challenge my own thinking cuz I actually think I'm right, right? So until it's challenged, who thinks something thinking, I don't believe I believe this. No, we think what we think until it's challenged. So I need the outside input. So I think that's part of it. For me, I now know my own heart disposition. I know where I tend to sin. I know what I tend to long for. And I could even tell you the list of sentences that will go through my head when I'm living outta that idolatry. And if you know that, it's kind of hard to get away with it. So when I think to myself, nobody even appreciates what I do around here. I can't go very long before I go, oh my word that's actually written down on one of my red flags of things that means I'm back in my idolatry. No I'm not and then the battle begins. So it's a little harder to hide from my own sin when I've been honest. For me, writing it down something sounds really reasonable till you write it down. I was really mad at my husband for something. I'm sure it was very legitimate and I have no idea what it was, but here's what I had to write down. I was like, what am I thinking right now? And here is literally what I wrote down. When my husband doesn't agree with me, he doesn't love me. Cuz I was hurt and feeling like he didn't care about me all because he didn't see something the way I did. But when you write that down, even you know that that's ridiculous. Because are there times I don't agree with him and don't you tell me I don't love him. So I was like, oh my word. I actually believe that. So if I write it down, I have to deal with it. For me it's slowing down. I can stay busy doing good things. Writing podcasts, I can stay busy. But if I slow down, prayer's really important because it slows me down. I have a long prayer that I pray a section of each day. Cuz if I pray too much, I don't think. I just pray. So I pray this little section of their words every day and that's really helped me because it's slow and then I have time to figure out what's coming up in my heart and deal with it.

Jocelyn: I also think it's helpful for my spouse to know my idolatry. Like just the other day at conference, I went home from conference and I was like so upset about something and I just said to Brian what I was upset about and I was like, it's so embarrassing, I cannot believe that I want to sin in that way. He's like, yep, how can I help you? I was like, Ugh. Just listening and knowing that, you know, is help enough, like it's just helpful to be able to be real with someone who will take it as it is, not judge you for it, but also not let you get away with it. So it's not, I mean, I guess it's not self counsel because there's somebody else involved, but me being honest with myself, so it comes out of my mouth to him is helpful in me killing it.

Janet: Excellent.

Jocelyn: Okay. This one's for Janet. How do we make sense of commands to not have authority over men when raising our boys? Does this apply here? Should raising male children look different than raising female children? And would that depend on the age of our kids? And what about things like youth ministry?

Janet: I'm like, there's like a lot there. Okay.

Jocelyn: You can condense it into the thoughts.

Janet: So first of all, children obey your parents. It doesn't say male children obey male parent. Children obey your parents. So, yes, I had authority over my boy. I don't now, but I did have authority over my boy I don't think that in any way the fact that, and quite frankly, I don't know, maybe this will be controversial, but, I don't believe that the scriptures say men have authority over women. What I see is husbands have authority over wives. I see pastors have authority over their male and female congregation. I don't see men have authority over women. So, I don't even see it that way. But, do I raise male children different as far as the need to respect and obey your parents? No. But any opportunity that I have to encourage biblical manhood in my boy, we needed to do. And hear me, biblical manhood not cultural, does he wanna firearm and hunt? I mean, I don't care if he wants to do that, but I also don't care if he doesn't. So that wasn't my goal is to make an American machismo, whatever. It was, biblical manhood, and here's what I believe is important there, protecting the weak, using his strength to bless others. So I did look for opportunities for that. I know, Josh is a year and a half older than my daughter Karis. And I think that he knew his job was to protect her. And when they were little, she was three, he was four. I was watching them play in the water at park, and I'm watching from a distance and they're in different places playing. And I see another little boy come up to Karis and push her outta the way. And she looked at him and I was like, what is she gonna do? ? She toddles over to Josh and points and Josh is playing and he went, He got up and went over there and I thought, I have no idea what's gonna happen now. My four year old is like on the hunt, I don't even know. So I see him go over there and he's, and then the little boy pushes Karis and Josh took him down. And I was like, all right. Now here's what I didn't say. You shouldn't have done that. So I said, tell me what you were thinking. You tried to use your words. I watched you and ultimately you protected your sister, and my dad, who didn't even know the Lord, but he's sitting next to me and don't you get upset with him for that. Don't you get upset with him for that. And I'm like, I'm not upset. I'm actually going, yes. But I couldn't do that either. It's like, you don't always have to use your hands. But he used his hands on my daughter and Josh used his hands on him. I was good with it. So we encouraged that. He let me know of another little girl playing somewhere. And he came down and she was getting bullied. And I said, what did you do? And he said, I pushed him over. I went, okay. And then she comes running down saying, he's my hero. He's my hero. I was like, okay, well that's probably a little... okay. But he was first grade by then. We're a lot older, so you know, he was, I'm sure, ready. So we encouraged, you look at the weak around you. You look at those that are more vulnerable and your job is to be protective. So we encouraged that and praised that. Use your strength to bless others. I want my son mowing the grass for the elderly. I want him helping them carry things. I want him to notice. So if he doesn't notice, he's a kid, I would say, Hey Josh, why don't you go over there? Do you see what she's carrying? Why don't you help her with that? Even if she's capable, you could still offer to help her with that. So I didn't do the same thing with Karis. We did different things. So in that respect, it was different. Wherever we can encourage the beauty of biblical manhood and womanhood, even from the time they're little that would be one thing that I did that was different between boys and girls, but respect, Hey, they both cleaned the house. They both needed to obey their parents. and now he's my pastor but he's still my boy. I try not to use that, but that doesn't change.

Jocelyn: Okay. From the floor.

Guest: My name is Mandy from Mount Pleasant Mills, and my question is how after a long day of counseling and you come home to your family, do you transition just, I wanna say emotionally and not carry the burdens of your counselee? And then through the week when those burdens of your counselee are weighing on your hearts, how do you care for your soul in processing that biblically.

Janet: And realize even the people listening, they may be going, well, I'm not a formal counselor, but we've all had those times when we've had a heavy conversation with somebody and then we come home to our family. How do we transition when all that's swirling through our heads and how do we deal with the heaviness throughout the week? You have any particular thoughts?

Jocelyn: My first one was, I'm super grateful for a 40 minute drive because I drive 40 minutes from my house to counseling and 40 minutes back. And so I counsel on Mondays in the evening. So I go in at the end of a day. So I leave my house at four 15 at the end of that day, after my husband is home, I've gotten supper and stuff, leave to go counsel, and then I'd come home at nine or something. And so I have that 40 minute drive, to prep my heart to get there. Right now I listen to first Peter on the way in cuz it's the assignment from our pastor. So I listen to First Peter on the way in, and then on the way home I have a, him playlist that I listen to. But I also speak to myself on that drive. Like I'm not gonna try to hyper control counseling tonight because I have no idea what's about to go down. My only goal is to honor God and glorify him, and not to have every answer. I'm just gonna love these ladies and serve Jesus tonight. And then on the way home I speak to myself and say, I just got done serving people's needs for three hours and I'm gonna go home and serve more needs because it's my joy to do so. I have everything I need from the Lord. I don't need them to not need me. One of my most hated things is to be pounced on the second I walk in the door. And if I tell myself I should get to be able to walk into my door, not be pounced on, then I get mad whenever I walk in the door and I get pounced on. And it is my joy to represent Jesus to my family. And he never was like, dude, get outta my face. Like he was always ready to give more. He never had limits to his love and out of the waterfall of his love. We are capable of loving others. I do have to say there have been times when counseling is super difficult, especially when it has involved sexual abuse. That times with my husband were difficult and I just talked to my husband about it. And also like when things are weighing heavy on my heart in the middle of the week, I just pray for those situations. And if I need to talk to somebody, I talk to somebody. I just am a huge advocate for never, ever counseling by yourself. I almost only ever counsel as a team either like me with trainees or me with Janet, or me with another counselor. I just don't think it's, maybe cuz I'm getting older and I'm starting to forget lots, like I just think it's better with other people. And one of the benefits of that is when it's tough there's someone to talk to. And there have been times that Janet and I have just called each other and been like, I just need to talk about stuff. I need to have someone that understands all of the ramifications, all the implications, and I just need to be able to say what's going on. So I had to, even counseling should happen in community.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: To the extent that it could be done well without compromising confidentiality and things like that.

Janet: Right. Yeah, I agree. I think knowing your own limits. So I need to not arrogantly, think I can handle more than I can. So if something is more than I should be doing and it's too many sessions or it's too many people, then I need to be able to humbly acknowledge that. I have a tendency to believe I can do more than I can. And the people who pay for that is my family, because I think that they can't tell that I'm being short with them. I think I'm hiding it until my husband says, you all right ? I'm like, yeah, I'm fine. Why do you ask ? And I'll say that. He goes, yeah, that's how you've been talking all night. Oh, I didn't realize that. And he said, normally there's a reason. And I'm like, no, I'm fine. And then we sit there for a few minutes and I go and he's like, that's what I thought. Okay. So, it would be more loving to him if I recognized it and even just came home and said, I'm having a hard time. I think part of it is I need to be willing to carry the weight. Ultimately Jesus is carrying it, but it's okay that I'm aware and that it's heavy and it's more reasons to talk to the Lord when we talk to each other about things like that. In general, it's a lot of reminding each other of the theology of but God's the one who let it happen. It's not your job to change it. If it were best for them, that that didn't happen, cuz when you're involved in some that are just so painfully hard what you, there's this, I feel bad that they have to live in that. And then be able to go, it's good that you hurt with them, but God didn't make a mistake.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: That's right. That's right. I can trust God with them. I don't need to bear the weight of getting them out of that. So having somebody that can remind me of truth when I'm hurting. And that isn't gonna feel sorry for me, but that's gonna give me the hope of truth. My husband is my main one, her husband is her main one. But we have the privilege of being able to do that with each other as well.

Jocelyn: Right. And also, this isn't, maybe not the exact question that was asked, but I also have learned in the super duper hard way to not accept new responsibilities without talking to my husband first about it.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And also like, not twisting it to make sure it seems like less than it is. Like, cuz you know, we can. Saying like, here's the scoop, here's what's actually going on. What do you think about me taking this on? And then if he's like, I don't know, like listening to him, he doesn't have to come right out and say, I forbid it for me to be able to listen to the heart behind his comments and say, this is probably not wise and you're probably not the only counselor. Like our church is, we are privileged.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: To be in a church filled with counselors and we don't have to say yes to everything that comes along. Maybe other churches would have a tougher time with that.

Janet: Feel more of that weight. But allowing your husband to lead you in that way? Brent sees my limits before I see them.

Jocelyn: And even our pastors...

Janet: and he pays for it when I don't see it.

Jocelyn: True. Even our pastors are super wonderful though when like they present a need that's at hand, they ask us are you capable of adding that to your load right now? And so we don't have to say yes?

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: I want to say yes all the time because I love counseling, but we don't have to say yes.

Janet: And we love people and it's hard to say no. But again, theology. If it is not best for me to do it, then it's not best for them to have me.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Like God is not choosing. God is way bigger than that. He's got a different plan, even if I don't know what it is.

Jocelyn: And biblical priorities are so essential, like it's so essential to know the bullseye: God first, my spouse next, my family, like my church family, my unsaved friends. Like I think about that bullseye all the time. It helps me to prioritize all the wonderful decisions that I'd love to say yes to.

Janet: Good. Okay. All right. Jocelyn, does the Bible have anything to say about allowing ourselves to be hypnotized, for example, to stop a bad habit like smoking?

Jocelyn: Well, I appreciate this question because habits are hard to change, and sometimes it's tempting to think like, Ooh, cool. what tools could I use to make this a little bit easier?

Janet: Could be hypnotized to love Jesus better? Wow.

Jocelyn: So my first thought was, it freaks me out to give up control of your mind to someone else because you don't know what that person is gonna say. I don't understand how hypnotism works, but theoretically, your mind is under the control of someone else. And so I would not want my mind to be controlled by anyone because the scripture tells us that we're supposed to be controlled only by the Holy Spirit. I have hard enough time not getting in the Holy Spirit's way. I don't wanna open it up for possibly evil influence. The other thing I was thinking was, is that God commands us to battle through tough stuff and that there's value in the battle and not just easy solutions where I don't have to think about something tough anymore. So, I'm not gonna assume the worst, but I'm saying, I can see how this could possibly be a shortcut to sanctification, a shortcut to hard work, a shortcut to killing my idolatrous issues So, I'm also commanded to think and so when I'm hypnotized, I'm not thinking. So decisions that I make as a result of that would not be born out of me bringing my brain under the control of the word of God and the Holy Spirit of God. And I ran this question by my husband. He's like, well, also, it's not trusting in Jesus for deliverance. It's trusting in a method. So like what you trusted to get you to stop doing that thing was Jesus plus something. And we don't...

Janet: He's a wise man.

Jocelyn: He is a wise man. . I love him. But I thought that was wise. Like we're not commanded to give up control to something else to get the job done. We're supposed to submit ourself to God's system of sanctification. And that is hard work.

Janet: Yeah. Really to think about if my goal is to look like Jesus, that means the ultimate goal is not to stop that bad habit. And being willing to do anything just to stop that bad habit means apparently the goal wasn't, I'm gonna use this process to help me look like Jesus. It was, I just wanna stop the habit.

Jocelyn: And often it's, you wanna stop it so you don't have to think about it anymore. And if you're not thinking about the battle that you're fighting against, then you're often not clinging to Jesus. You just went back to your easy life. You're like, simple life. Anything from the floor?

Guest: I'm Jennifer from Kalamazoo, Michigan. And as a pastor's wife and family, often we feel like, and we've commented that ministry as a family business, and with all of us participating, what boundaries do you recommend so that ministry concerns don't dominate your whole family life?

Janet: I'll take that.

Jocelyn: Yeah, please do.

Janet: Because that's my family. We are, my husband is a pastor. I am involved in ministry, but the only one, not at this point, paid by the church. My daughter's part of our ministry and my son is our worship pastor. Yeah, when we have family dinners, it's tempting that we have church counseling sessions with enchilada. I was just talking to my son about this and he's like, I see our home as somewhere where I can just talk about all that and get help, and I'm like, on the one hand that's good. On the other hand. So, we are really working at, when we get together, just how is everybody doing? And talk about other things and it will feel unnatural because really what everybody in the whole place is involved in is this stuff at church. But it's good, it's not like we don't wanna talk about any of that, but we have to intentionally choose. We're not gonna have that be what we talk about primarily right now. And then let's talk about times when we will. Like, I love that if they wanna talk things through, they're gonna talk to us. Well, yay. But maybe not every enchilada dinner. But even just with my husband and I, we're both so involved here that every conversation can be about that. I do think intentionally deciding and, we've now been married long enough, we can do this without the added drama of hurting each other's whatever's feelings all the time. But to be able to say, I don't think this is a good time to talk about that. It's like, okay. And then we need to talk about something else, or let's go do something else. Or let's, and not, and then we can talk about it. I have learned, we went through this season cuz there were people in our home. We would go to bed, get in bed, and then look at each other and say, how was your day? Which means we're gonna talk about the church cuz that's what our day was. And then I can't sleep. So it was like, I'm thinking after like nine or 10, we should not talk about any of that stuff. So learning unless we need to. Or if it's, and so one of the things I told him this year, I said, you know what I think will help me when we get in bed, I want you to say to me, what's one way you saw the goodness of God today, Janet?

Jocelyn: Oh, that's cool.

Janet: Because I need to be thinking about that because he is showing me good things. But I get in bed and I'm thinking about all the other stuff and I haven't been able to talk to Brent today.. And then we're both like, okay, well I'm relaxed. So, but it's been really helpful. I can still talk about a little bit the day, but from the perspective of how did I see the goodness of God. And we pray together and be able to say whatever those weights are, let's together take them to the Lord and then we can do other thing. We watch baking shows. It's really hard to get dramatically involved in a baking show?

Jocelyn: Do you then go bake? Is it just for entertainment?

Janet: We talk about baking.

Jocelyn: Look at Karis, no.

Janet: You know what we did once? You don't even know it, but it was bad. I know. It tasted bad. It did. we thought we could make, it was like a, it was bad, but we're learning the words.

Jocelyn: And you're learning the cooking words.

Janet: We're really good. Yeah, we're really good at saying this has layers of flavor, because they all say that. We'll have dinner and I'll say, oh, I see the layers of flavor in here. I don't even know what that means but I'm sure I'm getting it.

Jocelyn: We watched baking shows when I first retired from Vision of Hope and when I was home with the kids when they were littler. And one time Shelby said to me, this crust is not quite flaky enough. And I was like, you're done. No more cooking shows for you. You got food on your plate, you should be happy. This is a tough crust mom. Okay. What can you say or how can you help someone who's struggling with idolatry of her husband and is avoiding or appeasing?

Janet: And I think what they had on there, she recognizes it. How can I help her grow out of that? And we've talked about it here at the conference. It just came out on the podcast. So this could have come from either of those. What do we do? And that's an excellent question because it's natural when you're around it's like, I'm living with this man. He is ungodly. Appeasing and avoiding makes life easier short term, but I believe it is very selfish. So she sees that and wants to change that. Number one, I would have her praying daily for his soul, not his behavior, his soul. I want to care about what God cares about and God cares about his soul. So it's not, could he please stop doing whatever? Though, she can lament and talk to the Lord about all of that. But I want a growing, I care about his soul. So I can't do that, but I can beg God, help me care about his soul. If there's a habit of ungodliness, then I think we should be prepared for the fact that it's gonna happen again. And if she's not used to walking toward that with loving truth for the good of his soul, it's gonna be awkward. And she'll probably not say things right. I'd write it out. Write out what you're gonna say. Even if you have to walk up to him with the note card and say, hi, honey , I love you. Just do it. Do it. And to say, I wrote this out because I didn't think I would say it well, but this is where my heart is. Would you allow me to read this to you? Like it's not wrong to be formal like that, but it is wrong to not love your husband. So whatever it takes to help her begin those habits, and we do that. We'll write it out. I'll have her read it to him. But I think it's crucial to be praying for his soul, and praying that you would not make it about you because what's coming up outta you is not Jesus.

Jocelyn: And the biggest point of your marriage for you, your biggest point in your marriage is to honor the Lord. And if you keep that in your mind as your goal, then you can't avoid and honor the Lord, you can't appease and honor the Lord.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: You can have hard conversations and honor the Lord. So it's really like what is your personal goal inside of that marriage? Excellent. Go ahead.

Guest: I'm Leslie Lasano from Culp Pepper, Virginia, and I have the question, what do you do when you're in a church where you are the counselor, where majority of the counselee are from your church? You go to church on a Sunday and at times they swarm and you know that God has called you to other relationships and there just isn't... they're just on you.

Jocelyn: Great question.

Janet: Yeah. I'll pray for you. Oh.

Jocelyn: Well, the first thought that comes to my mind is it might be time for an honest conversation with your counselee. And how one of the ways they can love you is to allow you to love the members of your church that you are not counseling, and to allow you the freedom to not have to have conversations on Sundays that revolve around them. I would say part of it is being honest with what the trend that you're noticing and kindly request that they keep their counseling conversations within the confines of your counseling relationship and allow you the freedom to love other people and also clarify that you expect that of them too. That church time, like around service times is about you looking for other people to love and serve. And if they're just swarming to you because you're familiar and easy, then they're missing out on opportunities to connect with people in the congregation.

Janet: Yeah. So on one hand, because I wanna also broaden that beyond being a counselor, there are those people in your life that you're helping. And so when they see you, you're the safe place, and you want to be that, and so then they gravitate to you. So it may even be helping them with how could you be serving on Sunday. What are things you can do and letting them know this will be the time that we have to talk about that Sunday morning is not the time that we're able to talk about that if they're counselees, it would become part of their homework, is tell me who you sat next to and who you got to know and three things you found out about 'em.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: My daughter knows that she's had to do that since she was like three when every time she got outta Sunday school, who did you meet? Three things about 'em so that they get in the habit of doing that because for some of them they've not done that. and so we just wanna help them. But I think if we don't communicate, we end up frustrated.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And that's not fair to them cuz we haven't said anything, but we're frustrated. So I do think it's a conversation. Yeah. I agree. How do you respond to a person who's seeking biblical advice? But when she finds it, she responds that doesn't make me happy. I deserve to be happy after all I've been through.

Jocelyn: Well, I can certainly resonate with wanting to be happy, and I can certainly resonate with feeling sad about all that someone has been through. But the theology inside of my head that I prepped myself with as I answer her is to remember that her greatest happiness is gonna come from living God's way. And her deepest sadness is gonna come from doing whatever she wants. And so I'm gonna formulate that in a sentence that is pleasing to her ear to hear, not, you know, I'm not gonna be a jerk about it, but I hope not. But it's also really helpful to also remember total depravity and what I actually deserve. So total depravity of man says that we are thoroughly wicked, we're diseased to our core. We're not as bad as we could be. Thank goodness for God's grace that he holds us back from being as wicked as we could be. But we are totally depraved, which means we deserve God's wrath and Jesus had to suffer to pay for my sin. And so there's really nothing good that I deserve other than what I do deserve, which is an eternity in hell. And the fact that I don't have to pay that is nothing but grace and kindness from God. And so I also wanna help her understand that happiness is less than joy, and joy is possible despite your circumstances. Happiness is things are chill right now, so I don't have anything boiling up causing me grief. John 13:17 says, now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them. And I want God's blessing on her life and blessing comes from doing the right thing. And so she probably just has some really faulty theology, probably some bad theology of suffering, and I probably need to walk through that with her a little bit. But don't we all just wanna be happy and not have to work hard at doing the right thing. So, I can resonate.

Janet: Yeah, one of my first thoughts was, and because I don't know the context, obviously, if they're seeking biblical advice, maybe you're not really seeking biblical advice. So that would be something we would need to clarify. Are you asking what do the scriptures say or are you asking what can you tell me that I think will make me happy, even though ultimately I believe the scriptures do make you happy or joyful, or however you wanna say that. But, a lot of questions there.

Jocelyn: Clarification for the purpose of that relationship would probably be necessary at some point. Like, it's not really biblical counseling. If you don't wanna take biblical advice, like then you're just wasting each other's time and both of you're gonna end up frustrated.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: You wanna take one more from them, from the floor?

Janet: Sure.

Guest: Hi, I'm Janelle from Cincinnati, Ohio, and my question is, what are some of the most helpful things you've found when working with wives or ladies whose husbands or fathers use scripture wrongly to oppress and manipulate them?

Janet: Honestly, the best thing is to really understand that scripture. You cannot be manipulated with scripture if you know what it truly says. So I had a sweet friend I got the privilege of walking with and she had a family member that had used Ephesians 5, 25 to 32 role of husband and wife in ways that were not biblical. And she was preparing for marriage and we were talking about different things and she was like, yeah, I can't, I don't use that passage and I'm like I didn't know we had that option because you know how many passages I'm just gonna stop using. Who knew? I didn't know we could do that. Okay. and then she told me why. We had a sweet conversation about it and I said, well, what does it actually mean? Because we're all in agreement that that wasn't good. What does it mean? Let's study it. But she was afraid of it. I get that. But as we study it, and study what it really means. Cuz I'm like, this is such a beautiful passage that if you can't benefit from this, that's sad. So it's not a matter of what you mean, you can't, you know, I mean, I was joking with her about be nice if we could all just pick different ones, but really, it's beautiful. And it takes the power out of the lie when you know the truth. So instead of it just being, we can't do this, let's study it. Like there's nothing you're gonna find when you really understand scripture, that's gonna allow a man to oppress you with it. Then I have somebody else that was in a difficult situation and our pastor was involved as well. And she's being told things that cause you to think things that are not true. And so it confuses everything. And the pastor looked at her and he said, when he says those things, you need to immediately say, but that's not true. Like if you know it's not true, you just need, even if you can't say it out loud, you're thinking that's not true. But how is she gonna know that she's gotta know what is true. So if I know what it really means when somebody uses it wrong, I can go, that's not true.

Jocelyn: I also think that every woman in that position needs to know that their husband or father can never stop them from seeking shepherding from their pastor.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: That was so helpful for me to learn that. Like there's no situation where my husband can say, I can't go seek shepherding about that. So we have access to our pastors for our souls. I don't have to have my husband's permission to speak to him when I need help in a situation.

Janet: Yeah. Yep. And that's the position our pastors have taken. Do we wanna take one more from the floor?

Guest: Hi, my name is Vivian Melendez, and the question that I have is, what advice would you give to a parent that just found out that their first daughter who went away for college has been a relationship with the same, sex person.

Jocelyn: Well, I would need to know some more information.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Because there's not quite enough data like I would need to know is the daughter a believer? Is she not a believer? Cuz the way you would handle that is a little bit different. But I know that all sorts of sexuality issues are in the culture on the table right now, but we know that there is one biblical definition of godly sexuality and that's the standard. And so anything outside of that standard, in my opinion, is handled in a similar way. God tells us the standard and deviating from that standard is sin. So it may be culturally acceptable to be girl on girl, guy on guy, you know, multiple groups of people. But that's not God's standard. And it will, not living God's way will always bring hurt. It will always bring pain. So I don't know all the details, but I wouldn't necessarily make it a giant deal that it's a same sex relationship. It's an ungodly sexual relationship period. And so I would confront it that way. Like we're called to a standard of biblical sexuality and this isn't the standard.

Janet: Yeah. So a lot of it, like you said, we don't know, I don't know the relationship between them. I don't know if the daughter's asking for help. What I do know is that we're commanded to love. So now that this mom knows that, if the daughter knows that she knows, is the daughter experiencing Hesed from her mom? Undeserved? Cuz isn't it always. I had the privilege of counseling someone years ago who came young adult, same sex attraction and I didn't know her. She was from the community. And so she came in and that was her presenting. She wanted to talk about that. I didn't even know if she knew the Lord. But she was there because she had Christian family members who were very upset that she had this. And I said, would it be okay with you if we don't talk about that right now? Like, there's other things I'd like to talk about. I promise you we will. Like, I'm not afraid of it and I'm happy to talk about it. But right now there's just some other things I think are a whole lot more important. So could we just like table that? And she looked at me and she said, you're the first Christian who said that wasn't the most important thing about me. That's pathetic. That is not the most important thing about her. And I said, well, it isn't. So will you allow me? So we spent several weeks on a variety of other things. She made a profession of faith. We started talking about her purpose and it was like, okay, now we can talk about how do any sexual desires fit in with my purpose? And she looked at me and she goes, I really couldn't understand why you didn't wanna talk about it, but I get it now. So it's not the most important thing. I don't know where this girl is spiritually. Is she walking in rebellion? Is she waiting to see what her Christian mom's gonna do with this information? So it's sin, but so are a whole lot of other things. This is not a different category. But she is in a society that's encouraging it now. And that's sad.

Jocelyn: Sad and confusing, like,

Janet: Very confusing.

Jocelyn: Our kids in a really difficult spot right now? Because all sorts of really ungodly sexual habits are getting started in the vein of exploration and discovery. Then sex is a sin that affects your physical body in ways that other sins don't quite, so, it's difficult.

Janet: Okay, we are out of time. I'm sorry we didn't get, we got to most of the questions on here, but sorry we didn't get to anybody's question, but thanks for doing this with us. This is fun.

Jocelyn: This has been super fun.

To keep from missing any future episodes, please sign up for our newsletter on our webpage joyfuljourneypod.com. 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 joyfuljourneyquestions@outlook.com. 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.