Form a deeper connection with God, more empathic connection with other Moms, and more intentional connection with your child.
Yes, well we are. Okay. Welcome to the Connected Mom Podcast where we have real conversations helping you to connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms, and more intentionally with your child. And this is the first time my co-host and I, I'm Becky Harling by the way, your host, and my co-host is actually...
Right here with me. Right. Hey, Sarah. Right here. Hey, and it's super appropriate because we're talking about your new book and it's a girlfriend gathering series. Right? Yes. This is right. Not trying to be corny, but this is perfect because we're actually having our own girlfriend gathering. Yes, we are. And it's just so fun. And so the girlfriend gathering series is a new series of very short books that
I, the first one just released Sarah, and they're designed so that girlfriends can gather in small groups either for a girlfriend retreat or for a really short four week Bible study. But the object is for them to get real. I love it. I love it. Okay. So the title of this newest book that released this week, which is awesome, we want you to check it out, is called Rooted Joy.
rooted joy. I don't know if we've talked about the fact that joy is one of my favorite words. It's like one of those words that my family will give me things that say joy on them because it's one of my favorite words. Yeah, I'm really excited. I mean, so good. So I always love to ask our guests and so you're you're my guest for today. Okay, perfect. What inspired you to write rooted joy? Where'd this all start? Okay, so it started in 2019 before the pandemic.
Some friends of mine, we gathered in Colorado Springs. It was fall, we saw the leaves, and we had such a great weekend together. It was like our own little girlfriend gathering, and we cried together, we prayed together, we laughed together, we shared what God was doing in our lives, we read scripture over each other, we prayed over each other. Then the pandemic hit, and then I was thinking, you know what, I bet some women are kind of tired of
big conferences. Conferences are great. However, they were looking, I feel, they, I thought, well, I think women are looking for deeper connections with each other. And so I came up with this idea, what if I developed some material that girls could do on a weekend together or as a force.
four week short Bible study. So the first one is built around joy, because I'm like, okay, coming off the pandemic, anxiety's on the rise, loneliness is on the rise. We all need a little more joy in our lives, right? And as I studied joy, I realized that joy is really relational in nature. And so this was perfect. So this first one, Rooted Joy.
is grounded in the book of Philippians. It's very short and yet it's designed for friends, not just mere acquaintances. It's designed for friends to go deeper in what it means to live a joy-filled life. That's so good. Yeah, because like you said, maybe a few days ago was the stadium events. I mean, they're special in their own regard. I'm sure as a speaker, that's super fun to speak at such a big event. But the reality is, I think...
getting a little more relational might be the goal now, right? Yes. It's really special. So that said, why is joy relational? Okay. So Sarah, this is so cool. So I did some research into the scientific nature of joy and it actually, there's a joy center in your brain. It's the right frontal lobe. I think I have that correct.
Okay. And so when you have a baby, which obviously this is the Connected Mom podcast, so all of our listeners have either had babies biologically or they've adopted children. When you look at that precious little one and they make eye contact with you, there's joy that happens in them when somebody looks happy to see them.
So like, and the amazing thing about this is even if you didn't have secure attachment in infancy, that part of your brain continues to develop. So like when my grandkids come over to the house, I look happy to see them. What am I doing? I'm building their joy center. And so joy is really relational. And so you can't really have deep.
joy and live in isolation because our hearts and our brains and our entire being was created for deep connection with God and deep connection with others because we're created in the image of a relational God. Yeah, where is that in scripture? I think I can guess, but where do we find that in scripture? Well, in Genesis, God says, let us, and I love that, let us make
man in our image. So the Trinity is God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. And so they're in eternal relationship with each other. There's divine joy there. That's like the center for joy in the Trinity. And then we are created in the image of a relational God. And so we need deep connection with God and we need deep connection with others. I love that. So
Becky Harling (05:36.630)
We know in our culture, loneliness is on the rise. I don't know if that's an after effect of the pandemic or if we've always just kind of been there, but I think you had found a newer article talking about that really sad statistic. This is like crazy, because I just found this this morning actually. The Surgeon General just came out with a report, our epidemic of loneliness and isolation in 2023.
Becky Harling (06:06.462)
And it's an advisory document on the healing effects of social connection and community. And so our government is realizing, hey, people are more disconnected than ever, which is kind of ironic because we have so many people trying to connect on social media, but that's not doing it for us. In fact, a lot of the reports say the more time you spend on social media, the more time
the lonelier you are. It's really kind of shocking. It is shocking. And I think they're saying that with the young people too, especially. Oh, totally. Yeah. Like it's just completely changing the cultural dynamic with loneliness, even though kids are more connected than ever. Yeah. Yeah. And so we need friends. And as women, we need our girlfriends because our girlfriends become this...
pride around us. They cheer us on in our mothering. They cheer us on in our marriages. They cheer us on in our walk with God. And so in this book, Rooted Joy, it's a short study of the book of Philippians because Paul was good friends with the Philippian believers. He loved them. And so it's a great model for friendship.
Becky Harling (07:29.742)
right? Strengthens friendships. So showing up with humbleness. So imagine that a group of gals decides that they're getting together. What does that look like?
to show up with humbleness. Yeah, it looks like showing up with an open heart, you're not going to put walls up because you think you're going to be heard. You're showing up with an open heart to listen and hear your girlfriends. You know, sometimes I've been in groups, you probably have been too Sarah, where one person, perhaps they're a little older and they decide that...
They're the expert, right? Oh, let me tell you. Yeah. Like there's nothing worse for young moms than them saying, coming to a girlfriend gathering, saying, oh, I didn't get a lot of sleep last night because the baby was up all night crying. And then some older moms saying, oh, let me tell you about sleep training. You can feel the collective groan in the room. And so- And retraction of the other people. Yes. Yeah. I'm not going to be-
vulnerable now. Yeah. And so to show up humble means we're going to invite the feelings and the opinions of others in the group. We're not going to step in trying to be the expert. We're not going to step in to try to correct people's feelings. We're just going to let them be them, but we're going to listen empathically. And that's what humility is about. And you know what's interesting about Jesus?
Philippians two is all about the humility of Jesus, right? So Jesus knew who he was and because of that, he was able to walk in humility. And I think that that is a really powerful example for us as moms, because I think a lot of times what happens with moms is they compare themselves to other moms, like, oh wow, she has her act altogether.
her kids behave, my kids are going off the wall at dinner time, her kids got into Harvard, my kids didn't even make it out of high school. I mean, there's all this comparison. But the thing about Jesus is he never compared himself to God the Father. He said, I and the Father are one. However, Jesus knew what his role was within the Trinity. He knew what his calling was. And so he was able to walk that out in your journey and in my journey to
to show up humbly in friendship means I know who I am. I know what God's called me to be. I'm not gonna try to be Sarah. I'm not gonna try to be a cool rock star friend that I might have. I'm just gonna be content to be Becky and then I can give myself to you in friendship and just learn more about you and enjoy you. And it's beautiful when that happens. So true, so true. So you also write about how
Becky Harling (10:21.238)
being vulnerable is so important, but that can sometimes, I may have been part of a few of these groups where it can, and I might have been the guilty party, where it can lead to a little grumbling and complaining, right? And I mean, I can think of a scripture that tells us not to grumble and complain, but why is it different? Why is being vulnerable different than complaining?
Yeah, and so I think complaining, you're just griping. I love that word, griping. You're just kind of griping about the weather, right? Yes. I mean, you're saying, oh, I'm so sick of this cold weather. And we've all done that, so there's no guilt here. Yeah.
that you could be complaining about your marriage. I mean, you could be saying, oh, my husband never or my husband always. Those are complaining words. You're griping, right? Right. Vulnerability is where you are vulnerably saying you're opening yourself to the group. You're saying, hey, I need prayer and encouragement in this area because I don't honestly know if I'm doing this right. I don't know if I'm living this out. I need…
prayer. And so you're making yourself vulnerable to say, I have a problem. But you're not just griping and complaining about everything out there. And if you fall into the habit of griping and complaining all the time, really it's not a draw to people, right? So people don't necessarily want to be your friend because whenever they're around you, they feel sad after they leave. They're like, oh, that was a Debbie Downer, right? So you don't want that.
But that's not the same as being vulnerable. Being vulnerable says, hey, Sarah, I am really having a struggle doing whatever. Could you be praying with me about that? You know, I recently had a friend open up about her marriage and just said, hey, would you pray with me about that? Of course I will, because we've all had struggles in our marriage, right? So she's not griping and complaining. She's saying, hey, let's enter into this together.
Becky Harling (12:30.558)
Yeah. See that I don't have my act all together and I really need you in the friendship. That's awesome. Yeah, because I can imagine the griping if you're the person listening, you're just kind of almost like you're either disagreeing with them or you're almost encouraging, oh yeah, Becky, your husband is a terrible guy or whatever. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But when we are vulnerable, the friend taking in that's listening is able to do something and that's pray with you. Yes. Or just have an empathetic.
ear and not just, I think griping just is like the beginning of a lot of bad things. Like it's the gossip and it's the, you know, all the junk that we want to stay away from. So that's really good. I hadn't thought about that. Those are different. So, so good. So good. So I don't know where it is. So you have to tell me where Paul writes that knowing Christ was his one thing. One thing. Yeah. It's in Philippians 3 10 where Paul says,
I want to know Christ, the fellowship of his sufferings and the power of his resurrection. It's not like he's saying, oh, I want to suffer. That's not what he's saying. He's saying, I want Christ to be the center of my life so that everything else flows out of that. And then if I do suffer, I know I'm entering into the fellowship of Christ's suffering and there's comfort in that.
Right. And so it, and honestly, a lot of times we don't experience the power of the resurrection unless we're going through suffering. So there is that, but Paul made Christ the center of his life and every other relationship flowed out of that. So in your life and mine, I like to think of these as concentric circles. That tiny circle in the middle is Christ and I'm going to put the priority there to know Christ.
to know him as deeply as I can. And then the next circle out would be my husband and my kids and my grandkids, right, my family. And then the next circle out would be my really close friends. And the next circle out would be maybe my acquaintances or work friends or whatever. But everything flows out of that center. So your relationship with Christ informs all those other relationships. Cool, I like that. So how do you think we encourage our friends to
Becky Harling (14:49.266)
live for that one thing without maybe going to preachy like, well, you know, Becky, as long as you're living out of that one thing, you know, I know, right. Cause I feel like I have several years of experience of these women's groups. Not thinking of anyone specifically, but you know, you're being honest. Yeah. I like that. And vulnerable. I mean, I think we don't.
ever want to preach at somebody that never goes well. And we don't ever want to scold anybody because I've never met a single person that has changed because they've gotten scolded. Right. So what we want to do is how we encourage our friends to walk closely with Jesus is we assure them that we're in it with them. There you go. Right. And so like if you're having a problem with one of your kids, you know, I can text you and say, Hey, Sarah, I'm praying for you tonight. Or
God really brought you to my mind this morning and I'm praying specifically for you. How can I pray more specifically? We're asking them questions. We're saying, how can I come alongside of you? If you have a friend that can't make it to church, you can say, hey, how can I come alongside of you in that? Could you use a ride? If you have a friend who's ready to tear her hair out with her kids, you could say, can I bring you a meal or can I take your kids to the...
park so that you can get a nap. So we're coming, we want to show our friends that we're in the journey with them, but we're not going to preach at them. We're not going to use words like should. Well, you should read your Bible more, Sarah. You should pray more. Should is a scolding word. So drop that out of your friendship vocabulary. I like that. I like that. That's good. So you have talked...
a lot, well, you've written a lot about your struggle with anxiety and how you've been able to overcome that. And I know it's a lifelong thing many people deal with, right? But in this book, you outline a plan for peace. So let's talk about what that looks like. Yeah. And so we need a plan for peace because here's the thing, the statistics like the loneliness report tell us that anxiety, fear, and depression are all on the rise. It's not going to go away anytime soon.
To reassure you, it's not a sin. Paul says be anxious for nothing. However, he doesn't mean that in the way we would interpret that in English. What he means by that is don't stay in the anxiety. In fact, if you look at the Greek there, it means don't continually be anxious. For us to not continually be anxious, we have to have a plan. The plan that I suggest in the book is to process first. You kind of have to stop and think, okay.
I am feeling tense or I'm feeling anxious and process what is that about? Is it because I feel overwhelmed? Is it because I have circumstances that are beyond my control? Am I grieving maybe? There could be a whole host of reasons why you're feeling anxious. So process first. Then pour out your heart in prayer. Paul says this. He says that we're to...
pour out our hearts in prayer, and then give thanks for everything. And so when we pour out our hearts in prayer, you know, a lot of times people think of prayer as I'm gonna put in my requests and I'm gonna get what I want from God. But prayer is so much more than that. It's a conversation. It's a place where we can pour out our hearts authentically before the Lord and say, Lord, I'm just a mess today. My anxiety is off the charts. And then,
From there, from pouring out our heart to the Lord, we shift our focus to praise. So I like to say, you know, turn your panic into praise. Because it switches something in your brain. You're now focused not on the problem, you're focused on the problem solver and you're praising him for who he is. Can you give us a real life example of a time? I mean, you probably have to narrow them down. Yeah, I could probably give you hundreds of examples, but you know. We need a real world one.
Becky Harling (18:58.430)
Yeah, I remember when my daughter was in college and she was, we were across the country living in California. She was in college in upstate New York. Wow. So coast to coast. Coast to coast. Yeah. It was the first time we were separated that far. But anyway, she was driving home to college from a friend's house in Rochester, about an hour and a half away. And her car broke down on this lonely back.
country road. So she went to a house, knocked on the door. Thankfully, there was an older woman there who said, oh honey, come in for tea and invited her in for tea, let her use her phone and she was able to call, you know, roadside service. Anyway, I heard about all this, but that night in bed, my mind went ballistic.
You know, I went to all the what ifs. Could have been an ax murderer that she went to their house. It could have been a trafficker. It could have been this. It could have been that. I mean, my mind was just going crazy. I knew I had to get a grip. So first I was like, Lord, honestly, authentically, my mind is spinning with all the what ifs. You know, I'm going to this could have happened, this could have happened. I need to stop that. So I pour out all my anxiety on you. I just lift up.
my daughter before you, I lift up her car before you, I lift up the need that we probably need to get her a cell phone. I mean, this was back a few years ago, she didn't even have a cell phone. And then I switched my mind to praise. Lord, I thank you that she's safe. I thank you that you are almighty and you surrounded that car. You are the blessed controller of all things and you controlled that car. You are compassionate and you love Beth anymore than I do. And so as I...
praised God, I was able to fall back to sleep. Yeah. Yeah. That's good. And it does tend to hit us at night a lot of times. Oh, it does. Yeah. You know, when we're most vulnerable because we're so tired. Yeah. And there's something about the darkness. I mean, I think that Satan uses that to just target those of us that have anxiety and everything seems worse at night. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So then coming back to the girlfriend.
side of things. How do friendships help us with their anxiety in that peace plan? They're so essential. And so like, you've got to know who your people are. You've got to know who your prayer people are and people, your friends who you can be honest and authentic with. So like just last week, I texted a friend, Hey, I am struggling with anxiety today. I'm looking at my to do list, which seems like
country mile long. I need prayer for peace. You know, a couple of weeks ago before that, she had texted me, hey, Bec, I need really peace. I just am going through a lot of anxiety coupled with self-doubt and I have to get up and do this big thing at work. I need prayer. So she texted me, your girlfriends, your true girlfriends, aren't going to give you advice in that moment?
they are gonna listen and they're gonna say, you know what, it's my joy to pray for you because next time it might be me who's struggling with anxiety. And so our friends come alongside of us. You know, I think of that story in Luke, I think it's in Luke five where the man is a paralytic, you know, and his friends come alongside of him.
and they want to bring them to Jesus, they can't fit him in the house. So what do they do? They dig through the roof. I mean, we might've been annoyed, you know, oh dang, now I gotta pay for a new roof first. But anyway, they drop him literally in front of Jesus. And then, you know, Jesus forgives the man, but then he also heals the man. We need to be stretcher bearers for our friends and bring them to Jesus. That's good. That's good. Bring him whatever it takes. Yeah. Maybe.
Don't take apart somebody's roof though, because that could create other issues for you. Yeah, you know, it can. Well, I do think last week, one of my kids had a medical scan, I guess you'd say.
And I had a lot of friends praying for me. And I was thinking that for me, the peace plan almost worked backwards in the sense that I knew people were praying for me. And that actually helped me process the anxiety, which is cool. Like it doesn't have to be linear. Like, oh, it starts. But I think that was neat because several would say, hey, I've been praying. Like, how are you doing? And I really wanted to be honest. And it made me stop and kind of go, well.
I know the Lord has it, but what am I feeling too? So it was a cool thing to experience it a little bit in reverse too. I love that because we do need to process. And sometimes as moms, we're so caught up in taking care of everybody else that we don't stop and say, okay, but what am I feeling? What's going on in my heart and what needs attention here? Yeah. And that's what a good friend can really pull out for you. For sure. Okay. So fun feature in Rooted Joy.
is that you have included some girlfriend activities. Yes. I think I need to get my husband on board with several of these, so. It won't be as much fun if you do it with him though. But maybe one of them will be. You mean get him on board with you doing them. With doing it, yes, yes. We're a team. I mean he has his guy stuff, so I gotta get my. And there are fun moments for you in your marriage.
obviously. However, this girlfriend gathering, I do suggest activities. And you know, I asked some moms of all different ages what they like to do for fun. So I got these suggestions from a bunch of people. So, you know, you could, on the one day, there are several activities, I think, on each session, but one of them is to go for a hike with your girlfriends.
And just spend your time talking about how good the Lord is and finding his beauty in creation. And then the one on humility was fun because, you know, Jesus, the example is that he washed the feet of the disciples. Now, I know some of you are creeped out by feet. So I'm not asking you to wash out with, I'm not asking you to wash each other's feet, but go for a pedicure together, you know? Now we're talking. Right. And remember, okay.
Jesus calls us to be humble and what does this look like? You know, and just enjoy that time. You know, I know there's near us, painting with a twist. You could go to painting with a twist and all have a girlfriend time there where you're painting what you've learned about God. There's so many different things. One of the things, one of the suggestions in the book is to build a joy box.
for another friend. And I love this. I got this idea from my daughter-in-law actually because she had her friends do it. And so they chose a family, another friend of theirs, who had just been feeling kind of down, you know, not necessarily any big life circumstance, but just kind of feeling the pressures of life.
And so they put in a candle, they put in some coffee, some chocolate. You got to give your girlfriends chocolate, right? They put in some coloring books and crayons for her kids. I think they put in movie tickets for them. Just fun things. They built this box and then as girlfriends, they went and delivered it. And that can bring so much joy to you, but also to the other person. So you're giving joy away. Oh, those are fun. Cool.
Yeah. So anything that maybe brings you joy and reminds you about what you're learning about. Yes. Thank God. That's awesome. I like that. So speaking of that with the girlfriends, in the back of the book, there's a devotional. So talk to us about how you imagined that working with- So I imagine these girlfriends gathering, like maybe for a girlfriend retreat, which I absolutely think is a fabulous idea. You know, if you can get your-
husbands to watch the kiddos get away for a Friday, Saturday and come back Sunday at lunch after church, you know? And so there's each of the girlfriend gatherings have four sessions. So they're pretty short. You also can download 10 minute videos. We'll put the link for that in the show notes. For each of the days? Yes. There's a 10 minute video for each of the four sessions. Okay. And-
But then at the end of the book, I included as an extra, a seven-day devotional plan. Because my thought process was, as girlfriends, you could all do it each individually, but you could keep a text thread going of what you're learning as you're, you know, and how you're experiencing God. Because it's not really, the devotionals are not really about learning, they're more about experiencing God's presence.
So it can keep the conversation going. Because again, it's to help you connect. We need to go deeper in connection. Absolutely. I feel like that's what our podcast is about. So perfect. You think? The Connected Mom podcast. The Connected Mom. And I like this because I don't think we've done as many podcasts about connecting.
Yes. Yes. And that is part of what we're passionate about. It is. It's huge. And it's necessary. You need your friends in the motherhood journey because it's a long journey. You know? Yeah. Totally. So I'm going to turn the table usually for guests. We ask them where we can find you, where are you hanging out online these days and where they can get the book.
Yeah. So you can get the book anywhere that Christian books are sold. So you can get it from, you know, Christian book distributors. You can get it in most Christian bookstores. If they're not carrying it, just ask them to carry it and get it on Amazon. I mean, you can get it all the places. And then where can you find me? You can find me on Facebook, Facebook, Becky Harling, speaker, author, Instagram, at Becky Harling. I'm starting to do a little more on Instagram. So that's a fun place to connect.
You can find me on LinkedIn, you can find me on Twitter, but the main thing is to connect with me on my website because I send out a Monday morning devotional. It lands in your inbox and it usually comes right out of whatever God's teaching me. So go to beckyharling.com, register for the free gift that's up, that gets downloaded to you and then you start getting my devotional. So I'd love to have you do that. Nice.
And that's, it's like the written form of stuff we talk about on our podcast quite a bit. So, well, thank you for writing this. I think we were going to do a little challenge because as we were recording this, I was thinking about how perfect it would be for the summer. And then I already had a few girlfriends in mind. I thought maybe we could gather around rooted joy. Yeah, it is the-
perfect study for the summer. So you can do it in four weeks. You can, you know, set aside for Mondays or for Saturdays or whatever, or you can go away for weekends. There's two ways to do it. But I do want to challenge you. We would love here at the Connected Mom podcast to have 25 moms commit that they're going to gather some girlfriends and do this this summer. And then we want to hear from you. So if you gather a group of friends to do Rooted Joy,
And if we hear from you, we're going to send you a prize. Now everybody likes prizes. Yes. So don't let us down. You can connect with me at becky at beckyharling.com. You can say, Hey, I did rooted joy and here's what we experienced. And I'll send you a prize. Where can they connect with you, Sarah? Oh, well, same thing. I love Instagram probably the most. So I have a unique last name, Sarah dot wildman.
We used to say wild woman and we changed it. Well, you are kind of wild. Yeah, I'm kind of wild. So usually I'm tagged on those connected bomb spots. Okay. Okay. But yeah. So what do you think about praying for our listeners? I would love to do that. Just thinking about maybe, you know, as the summer approaches and maybe thinking for that how they can get connected with God and somebody else. Yeah. Gals this summer.
I'm thinking about a lot of you out there and it might be that as I was telling you the statistics on loneliness, you were thinking, wow, that's me. I'm really feeling lonely. I walk into church, there's lots of people, but I don't feel connected. Or I see people in the school bus line, but I don't feel connected. So I just want to pray for you specifically that you can connect with some good friends.
and that together you can grow deeper in your connection with God. So let me pray. Lord Jesus, thank you for these mamas that are listening. Lord, we know that some of them are in hard places and in the midst of work, chaos of raising kids and marriage, they maybe are not getting a lot of time to connect. And maybe some of them are single moms and they're feeling really lonely because they just feel like they go to work all day and then they're taking care of their kiddos at night.
Lord, would you meet each one where she's at? Would you show her how to find her people, her good friends? Would you encourage her to take initiative to start a girlfriend gathering so that she feels like she is surrounded with people who have her back? In Jesus' name, amen. Amen. Hey friends, thanks for listening today to the Connected Mom podcast. Again, I'm Becky Harling, here with my cohost, Sarah Wildman.
And we will catch you again next week for another episode where we'll have another real conversation helping you to connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms and more intentionally with your child.