Are you bogged down in the pain of some of your most important relationships, feeling like a failure in what matters most to you? Today’s episode has four key concepts that can truly change everything. You’ll not only see things differently, but you’ll have new hope for better things to come. Processing last week’s interview with Lily Taylor, author of Unconfined: Lessons from Prison and the Journey of Being Set Free, Cheri and Amy are on a relational-realizations roll. You don’t want to miss this one!

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Your Turn:

  • In all honesty, which category do you fall into today– Embittered or Redeemed?
  • How has believing that you’re responsible for other’s choices and outcomes kept you stuck?
  • How does shifting your focus to your own relationship with God help?

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Episode #252 Transcript

Featured Guest — Lily Taylor

Lily Taylor is the chief legal officer for a national company and is a frequent speaker and lecturer on legal topics dealing with complex business transactions. But even attorneys cannot always save their loved ones from the consequences of their mistakes.

She wrote Unconfined to shed light on the personal tragedy of incarceration experienced by over 2 million Americans and showcase the redemptive power of God’s love even in the darkest circumstances.

When Lily is not enjoying the peaceful beauty of the beach near her Padre Island home, she enjoys teaching bible study and encouraging young people to study law. Connect with her via the Unconfined website, Facebook, and Instagram.

Transcript — scroll to read here (or download above)

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Grit ‘n’ Grace — The Podcast

Episode #252: 4 Insights that Will Dramatically Improve Your Painful Relationships

 

Amy Carroll
So, Cheri, how do you respond to podcasters and communicators that just seem so happy clappy all the time?

Cheri Gregory
Well, am I allowed to say that they make me –

Amy Carroll
This is such a hypothetical.

(Both laugh)

Cheri Gregory
I was gonna ask, “Am I allowed to say they made me want to barf?” And then I was like, “Well, this is my own podcast.” But then I realized that’s not psychologically correct. Nobody can make me do anything, remember. So the responsible way to phrase this is that when I encounter toxic positivity, I go searching for a bottle of ipecac.

Amy Carroll
Well, it was so interesting to me – and I don’t think we got this in the recording, but when Lily was talking to us before we recorded, she confessed that she wasn’t sure she fit on Grit’N’Grace. She had listened to a couple I guess of our happier, lighter episodes. And she was like, “I don’t know if my story really fits here.” You know, so.

Cheri Gregory
Oh, that was fascinating. And here’s the thin:g I know that our friends who are listening love it when we giggle and laugh and get silly together. And we also get the most emails and direct messages when we tackle the tough topics.

Amy Carroll
Sure, sure. Well I am beyond glad, I am so grateful that she did pick us. She had a message that the day’s recording – we recorded it months ago – it was for me that day. And I have been chomping at the bit to share it with our friends and listeners ever since. I’ve been talking to my real life friends about. “I can’t wait ’til it comes out. I’ll send you the link. I can’t wait ‘til it comes out.” So anybody who missed listening to Lily, make sure that you go back and listen, pause and listen to it now, and then come back to us.

Cheri Gregory
Absolutely. Well, and as so often happens with these topics, this one – as I was preparing for our convo today, it stomped all over my toes and bit me in the butt simultaneously. How about you?

Amy Carroll
(Laughing) Wow, that’s rough.

Cheri Gregory
(Laughing) It’s like having a wild animal loose in the studio.

Amy Carroll
The picture that is just cracking my whole head up. Yeah, it was absolutely amazing. And doing the prep, yes, all of the wild animal-ness.

Cheri Gregory
Well, this is Cheri Gregory –

Amy Carroll
– and I’m Amy Carroll –

Cheri Gregory
– and you’re listening to Grit’N’Grace: The Podcast that equips you to lose who you’re not, love who you are, and live your one life well.

Amy Carroll
Today we’re processing our conversation that we had with Lily Taylor, author of Unconfined: Lessons from Prison and the Journey of Being Set Free. Lily is the chief legal officer for a national company and is a frequent speaker and lecturer on legal topics dealing with complex business transactions. But even attorneys cannot always save their loved ones from the consequences of their mistakes. When Lily is not enjoying the peaceful beauty of the beach near her Padre Island home, she enjoys teaching Bible study and encouraging young people to study law.

Cheri Gregory
Lily Taylor’s oldest son Stephen learned as a young teenager that he could make good money selling drugs, and he traded a bright future for eight and a half years in prison.

Amy Carroll
When a chance encounter with a well-dressed guest at a party in Austin, Texas results in Stephen becoming a mule for a drug cartel, he takes a devastating detour from a well planned life.

Cheri Gregory
Unconfined chronicles the true story of Stephen’s arrest and incarceration for nonviolent drug crime.

Amy Carroll
Readers will get a glimpse at what it’s really like to go to federal prison in America, understand the emotions and experiences of family members who love someone in prison, and see how God can still work in the most unthinkable circumstances.

Cheri Gregory
Unconfined tells the first hand account through the eyes of Stephen and Skip, and shares the transformational power of faith to overcome anger, grief, and loss.

Amy Carroll
Unconfined sheds light on the personal tragedy of incarceration experienced by over 2 million Americans, and showcases the redemptive power of God’s love even in the darkest circumstances

Cheri Gregory
Alright. Well, let us start, as we do in a convo, with lose who you’re not. And I was so struck by one of – I was struck by many of Lily’s statements, like this whole convo is going to be me going ‘Wow,’ reeling from statements she made that struck me. But this one, she said “I came to believe that God did not call me to produce godly children.” And some my lose who you’re not statement is this: ‘You’re not called to produce godly children.’ And then I’m adding or a godly marriage or any other so-called godly result.

Amy Carroll
Okay, this was worth the price of admission. This is the quote from Lily that my soul needed that blew my doors off that led me into greater freedom. Unpack all of it for us, Cheri.

Cheri Gregory
Well, I will unpack it for how it hit me and then I will – well, we will want to hear it from you as well.

So you know, the first thing that really came to me is ‘You’re not responsible for the outcomes of other people’s lives.’ And even as you see my lips moving, you need to know I don’t believe a word I just said. Like, I know them to be true, but. And so here’s a couple of other statements. And I’ve even put them in the notes as bullet points. And I know these to be true, but I really don’t believe them when it comes to living out my life. You’re not responsible for other people’s choices, you’re not responsible for the consequences of other people’s choices. And I’m like, I am 54 years old, and I am still I’m still bumping up and wrestling with these things that technically, logically, I know them to be true.

But when it comes to living them out, and one of the things I realized as I was preparing for this conversation is I spent so much money and then time on parenting books, and marriage books and other books on you know, resolving your differences in difficult relationships, because everything we’re talking about today can go beyond children or marriage to any seemingly impossible relationship. And here’s the thing, and these are all Christian books. Okay, let’s be clear, I made sure we had a Berean Bookstore where I grew up and when we were first married, but most of them left me feeling way worse than when I started and I started out feeling insecure and inept. And so for me to read these resources and end up feeling worse. And for for me personally, what I now realize is so many of these so-called Christian books offered formulas, they were very much a if you do A, B, and C, you will get X, Y, and Z and then the flip side was made very clear if you don’t get XYZ you did not ABC well enough. And so lack of results is due to lack of effort on your part. Just try harder, work the formula harder and here’s the thing –

Amy Carroll
So, so damaging.

Cheri Gregory.
It’s incredibly damaging.

Amy Carroll
Terrible message. A our Christian culture is steeped in it. Okay, keep going. I’m a rage thinking about – I’m part of something that – there was something published recently that was steeped in this formulaic, especially for parents and I couldn’t stay silent. I could not stay silent because it is just so damaging. And I’ve bought into it. I’m like you, Cheri, we’re reforming perfectionist, so we bought into it. If we do ABC, then we will get the result that we want. And it’s just not true. Keep going. Sorry.

Cheri Gregory
No, no, I’ll take all the affirmation and I love your passion for this. Here’s the thing – and we’ve talked about this, we’ve touched on this on this this podcast in the past, we have a neurodiverse family. Like Daniel is on the autism spectrum, we’ve got ADHD, we’ve got anxiety, we’ve got depression, we have mental health, we have all sorts of physiological and biological and then you bring in things like epigenetics.

And the books that I read when our kids were younger, when we were newly married, didn’t allow for any of that. And a lot of what I read and thought was true, actually doesn’t work for the actual family that I’m in, it didn’t work for the actual children. It didn’t work for me as a mom. It didn’t work for Daniel as a father. And that was never acknowledged. It was very much the recipe, the cookie cutter approach. And so in many cases, those books and those formulas not only weren’t a fit, they were directly harmful. And so again, I always came away feeling like I needed to try harder, that we needed to try harder. We, in other words, you know, the people I was trying to help, aka meddle with, they needed to get with the program better.

I mean, how many times did I leave those books sitting out on the coffee table or the kitchen table hoping that other people in the family would look and go, oh, my, you know, my mother, my wife, you know, somebody is reading this book, I should pick up on the vibe I should get with the program. They never picked up the hint. But here’s the thing. I tried harder and harder to produce the right results. And the noun form of the word produce is a verb, the noun form is product, and a child is not a product. A marriage is not a product, a spouse is not a product. Any person is not a product. And so I’m going to reiterate, ‘God doesn’t call you to produce results.’ He calls us to engage authentically in relationships, starting with a relationship with Him. So that’s my lose who you’re not.

Amy Carroll
Okay, some of our listeners are squirming right now. I know they are. I know they are because they’re like, ‘But some of those books have really good stuff in them.’ So hold on, buckle up, like we’re gonna get there. But Cheri, I want to regress just a minute and talk about years ago, you sent me a blog post and maybe you can tell me who it was, is she talked about a glass of lemonade with a mouse turd in it. Who was that?

Cheri Gregory
That was Natalie Hoffman of Flying Free.

Amy Carroll
So this picture has like, captured my imagination. So what we want to make clear is we’re not saying that there aren’t some good things in those books, right. They’re glasses of lemonade. The mouse turd in it is that if you do the things in the book, that you will automatically get this product, right. That’s the mouse turd in it. So the question that Natalie asked was, would you drink a glass of lemonade with a mouse turd in it? No. So what it is, is it’s that one untruth that spoils the whole batch. So in case you were squirming, just wanted to clarify, because I just know how my brain works. And I figure a few listeners might be thinking, hey.

Cheri Gregory
I’m sure that every listener who was squirming is now feeling so much better because they heard you say the word ‘turd’ over and over again.

(Both laugh)

Amy Carroll
It’s very normative in my life now. And with my southern accent!

Cheri Gregory
Maybe be squirming for a completely different reason.

Amy Carroll
If y’all are giggling, that’s all right. Giggle on, sisters.

Cheri Gregory
Thank you so much, because that is an important caveat.

So what’s your you’re not statement?

Amy Carroll
You’re not an irredeemable failure. And it’s an ancillary to what you’re talking about that when we don’t get the products we want. We feel like a failure and irredeemably so. Okay, so I bought the book. I read the book. It’s great. As she said, it’s very different. It is written as almost like a fictional narrative, even though it is the story. But all I know is I want Lily back. Because I have a lot of questions after reading the book because we got the after version of Lily. We, I guess, I don’t know. Do you know how many years had passed between the end of this, when her son gets out of prison, and now, for her?

Cheri Gregory
I don’t know.

Amy Carroll
Okay. So what I didn’t realize when we talked to Lily, and I’m guessing that most of our listeners – I mean, she’s talking about how she loves to teach Bible study and stuff that was not her life when she was going through all of this. She’s very honest. And I don’t think she was dishonest with us. I think she was trying to give us a snapshot. But she’s very honest about her before version in her book. So she and the dad were divorced. I don’t think she mentioned that in the interview. I don’t think that she was very attached to her son, I think she was pursuing her career; her ex-husband was doing most of the parenting I think at the time. And she’s very honest, that she didn’t handle the whole prison thing well, that she really didn’t know how to handle it and withdrew. So there were pieces that I didn’t get from our interview from her.

So there was a before Lily, and it’s not – she paints herself very honestly, and it’s not a real pretty picture. And then we got to see, though, the glorious after Lily. And so all of that reminds me of two things. So number one, when we share our story, I didn’t mean for this to rhyme, but God always gets glory. It is so true, right? Well, we share our befores, then God gets glory for our afters. Every time I speak to a group of women, whether it’s here on Grit’N’Grace, or, you know, to an audience live, I’m always aware of how many secrets there are in the room. Always. Because we just know, right?

And I just want to say to our friends that are listening, your story is so important, your before is so important, because your after, now even if you don’t feel it, it is glorious, and it brings God glory. So story is important. Transparency has a purpose. We’re not talking, as you’ve heard Cheri and I talk about this, we’re not talking about bleeding all over everybody. We’re talking about God’s purpose and plan and how he brought you to this place which Lily described for us so well.

And then the second thing is this. So the first one is how important story is. The second one is pain has a purpose if we will lean into it. Pain is refining, and pain is redeeming. And you know, Lily, obviously, I mean hearing her interview and having this concept of ‘Oh, she’s such a churchy girl,’ but then she wasn’t. And she tells about that in the book. It actually brought more glory to God for me, because she had obviously leaned into the pain, let God do the work, and it had refined her so beautifully. And then her story of God’s redeeming is just, it’s amazing, it’s luminous. So I love that. So I am excited about Lily.

Cheri Gregory
We may need to tap her and see if we can bring her back. So I love your not statement. So mine was ‘You’re not called to produce godly children or godly marriage or any other so-called godly result.’ And yours is ‘You’re not an irredeemable failure.’ And I just want to linger with our friends right there. Because as women, we often dwell on our failures. And we have regrets. And we self-recrimination. And this is not how God sees us at all. So for whoever needs to hear it, again, you’re not an irredeemable failure.

Amy Carroll
And I think sometimes people don’t tell their stories because I feel like it would cast God in a bad light.

Cheri Gregory
Oh, yeah.

Amy Carroll
But it is actually the opposite.

And Cheri, tell us how to love who we are.

Cheri Gregory
Okay, so I’m going to keep building on that statement from Lily, because hers was a two-parter, she said “I came to believe that God did not call me to produce godly children, God called me to model a godly light.” And so I was gonna say you are called to model a godly life, but I have a problem with the word model, because my brother used to call me a model sister. And then he would say, but remember, a model is a cheap imitation of the real thing. So I don’t really like the word model very much. But all joking aside, when I feel like I have to model something, I can become super performance oriented, which means trying to be on my best behavior, but generally only when I think I’ve been watched. And really the best way to model something is to live it.

So my love who you are statement is ‘You are called to live a godly life.’ You’re not called to produce godly children, you are not called to produce a godly marriage, you are not called to produce any other so called godly result, you are called to live a godly life.

And so another statement from Lilly that just smacked me was ‘You have to work on you while you’re waiting on them.’ And, you know, that really hit me hard for a couple reasons. One, it’s so easy for us as women to put our lives on hold, and to live for everyone else. I was talking with a friend recently, she’s kind of like the air traffic control for her home. There’s a lot of special needs. And then there’s a lot of weather related disasters this winter. So there’s added ongoing challenges. And then she was wondering why she’s just kind of accepted that her lot in life is to be miserable. And she’s been wondering why she settled for just feeling misery.

And I told her I couldn’t speak for her. But for me, you know, it’s really hard to imagine being happy when anyone I care about is unhappy. It feels really, really disloyal. Like how dare you be happy when you know Annemarie has a migraine? Or how dare you feel joy when you know that Daniel’s anxiety is spiking because the computer systems have gone down?

And I shared this diagram with you yesterday. It comes from Adam Grant, and it’s got three squares, the biggest one says people we try to please and then within that square over to a corner is a much smaller one. I’d say it’s like 1/16 of the size. It says people we actually can please. And then there’s really tiny square that’s like 1/16 of that one. And it says people we should focus on pleasing. Now, let’s be clear, we’re not supposed to really please people. We’re supposed to please God. Okay, but taking all of that aside, I shared it with another friend yesterday. And I said, ‘What’s your gut reaction to this?’ And she looked at the big square that says people we try to please and she’s like, look at all that wasted time.

Amy Carroll
Mmm, yes. And I liked his asterisk on there!

Cheri Gregory
Oh yes, the little asterisk says that people we should focus on pleasing includes ourselves. And you know, let me say he did credit that this was drawn by Liz Fosslien, want to give full credit where it’s due. So anyways, that really hit me that we already as women have this habit of trying to live for others, and spread ourselves super thin, instead of focusing in on what God is, is calling us to we go big and wide rather than the narrowing our focus.

And part of it is because we do care we care about about others. But for me, at least, it ended up with me being highly distracted from what God actually called me to do. So she said, ‘You have to work on you while you’re waiting on them.’ And then she also said, ‘You have to be intentional about finding joy. And we have to be pouring some goodness into our heart.’ And I felt like these were these three were all really, really related. And for that concept, you have to work on you while you’re waiting on them. I got to thinking I used to think I was doing that. But really, it wasn’t working on myself. It was ‘I’m working on myself because all the books say that if I change the relationship will change and then they will have to change.’ And so it was really little more than manipulation dressed up in self improvement clothing.

Amy Carroll
Oh, ow. Why’d you have to go and say that to us, Cheri?

Cheri Gregory
I’m sorry, it did occur to me late last night and I wrote it on my notepad because I’m like this hurts I need to share it.

Amy Carroll
Make everybody else miserable with you!

Cheri Gregory
Well, of course, that’s what I do best. But you know, even something like I’m working on me, the only thing I want to point out is that can easily morph into something else. And again, the the mouse turd in that lemonade for me was the if you change, they will end up having no choice to change. And first of all, that’s not necessarily true. And second of all, that’s not the motives here. And so I have an analogy – I don’t know if I’ve ever showed, have I ever showed the board I broke years ago.

Amy Carroll
No.

Cheri Gregory
Alright, so I was in direct sales –

Amy Carroll
Y’all, she’s literally holding it up. Okay.

Cheri Gregory
Yes, I’m, I’m holding a board that I actually broke with my own bare hands. So you know, I used to be in direct sales. And so it was one year I went to the convention, I was a sales director. And so I went early. And it turned out, we were going to have this big rah rah exercise, we’re going to break through our limitations and you know, all the women in management, we’re going to do this board breaking exercise. And, you know, the perfectionist in me was like, I’m gonna be the only woman here who can’t break her board. How can I run? How can I hide? Can I stay in the bathroom stall with my feet up on the toilet for the next three hours?

But because I was a sales director, I was gonna be one of the ones holding the board. And that mean, I was fine with that. I’m like, I can hold the board while other women failed to break their board. So that works for me. No, I’m kidding. No, I wanted them to break through. I just didn’t want to be the failure. So then here’s the thing. When they taught us how to hold the board, and so literally would hold the board out, you know, at arm’s length. And then as the woman would come up and you know, get prepared, and there was a spot she was supposed to stand, I was to remind her, ‘Don’t aim for the board, aim for my face.’

And what I discovered after about the third person was that I could tell who was going to break the board and who wasn’t. Like I could sense the woman who was aiming for the board versus the woman who was aiming for my face. The woman who aimed for the board would stop short. Like it’s a last split second, she would just go thunk against the board. And first of all, that hurt her. But it also hurt me because I was thinking, yep, I was taking a brunt. Like when somebody did that full follow through, like the BAM, like they were gonna smash my nose. And let’s be clear, they were too far away for that. But when they really took that seriously, and they were staring at my face, they weren’t even looking at that board. They were staring at my face, they just gave it everything. They’ve got complete momentum, complete follow through, that board would fall in two pieces. It would fly out into space and my shoulders felt nothing.

It was amazing experience. But here’s the other thing is the women who hit the board, and I would say ‘You were focusing on the board. You stopped short.’ They were like ‘No, I wasn’t. No, I wasn’t. No, I wasn’t.’ They were positive that they had given it everything and that they were doing the full follow through. And so this analogy only partially works. Let’s be clear, okay. But to live a godly life, we have to focus on God. Not the board.

And that’s what I feel like I spent so much of my life doing, and I feel like that’s how I applied the books I read. I’m not here to blame the authors. But I kept hitting the board, hitting the board, hitting the board, and experiencing all that pain. When we focus on the uncooperative people, the difficult relationships, the impossible circumstances, we’re going to end up stopping short and slamming into them super duper hard. And the thing that I have been thinking about over the last week here ever since I dug up – and let’s be clear, I am ridiculously proud of this board. Because here’s what ended up happening after I was the board holder for about 30 women. I, you know, I was the one who was going to hide a bathroom stall to avoid doing it. I went and found me a board holder. And you want to guess how many attempts this took me?

Amy Carroll
One?

Cheri Gregory
Yeah, I had felt it. I had the visceral experience of the difference between somebody who stopped short and slammed into the board versus somebody who did what I told them, which was look at me, and went all the way through. And so I am experimenting with this idea that there’s a momentum to surrender. There’s a momentum that says I will not stop until I get to God. Oh, and you know how you always say that you want to bring your happy to God?

Amy Carroll
Yes.

Cheri Gregory
It occurred to me this morning, but I think there’s a part of me that has felt I needed to bring happy relationships to God. Kind of a ‘Look, God, look! You made a good choice entrusting these people to me. See how well they’re doing?’

Amy Carroll
We’re done. We’re done. Everybody, see you later.

Cheri Gregory
Wrapping back around,

Amy Carroll
Wow. Ugh.

Cheri Gregory
God doesn’t call us to produce results. He calls us to engage authentically in relationships, starting with our relationship with Him. Okay, it’s your turn. Amy. Passing the mic over to you.

Amy Carroll
Thanks a lot. I got nothing. Next time I’m going first. Oh my gosh. I can’t wait for this to come out so I can really listen to that section again. That was so good. There were so many things spot on for me too.

So okay, ‘You are called to walk into redemption.’ This kind of goes back to, you know, that glass of lemonade with the mouse turd. And it wasn’t that there wasn’t anything good in it, right, there are good things, and when we walk through these painful things, we always have a choice. It’s not a grit your teeth and make the choices. Will you lean into the momentum of surrender? Gosh, girl, oh my gosh, or will you fight it? Right? Will you fight the pain? So I came up with the two people – and it’s funny to me because I’ve been thinking about this since my 30s. It really does seem like around your 50s, particularly, that these two groups of people start to really become clear and delineated. I think the habits that were forming start long before our 50s. But for women, I think it becomes very clear which one is which and our 50s because these habits become very ingrained.

So there are two kinds of people. There are the embittered, and it’s the woman that I have come to think of as the proud victim, not not just a victim, but a proud victim. And here’s something fascinating. I just read it this week, people who are openly victims, in other words that kind of display their victimization. This is not – so just to be clear, this is not legitimate victims of pain. This is people who kind of had become the proud victim, they are more likely to lie, cheat, and steal. I was like, what? And I thought, well, what is that? And here’s what I think it is that when we become the proud victim, we grab what we think we’re owed.

Cheri Gregory
So embitterment leads to entitlement.

Amy Carroll
Thank you. Yes, you improved on my thought, saying that. You said that the proud victim lies, cheats and steals because they think they’re owed more than what they’ve got. Okay, so that’s person number one and all embitterment leads to entitlement.

So the second person is the redeemed person. And this person is the antithesis of the proud victim. They’re the humble rescuee. Now, is rescuee a word? I was trying to think of, like, what’s a word that means that we’re saved or rescued? We are the humble rescue a, and that person does the exact opposite. They tell the truth. They walk in integrity. And they’re generous. And they do that because humble people accept what they’re graciously given by the Savior.

So I think we do have a choice. We either lean into the momentum of surrender and become that humble rescuee, or we fight it.

Cheri Gregory
Well, what I’m what I’m thinking is, first of all, who needs wild animals in the recording studio when I have you, because now I feel like I’ve been bit on the other side of my butt.

Amy Carroll
Cheri Gregory officially has no butt left. Both buttcheeks gone.

(Both laugh)

Cheri Gregory
That’s right. But I mean, bitterness is one of the signs of people-pleasing. And so, you know, it’s easy for me to listen to you and go ‘The proud victim. Oh, yes, I cannot stand women like that.’ And then I remember a bitterness is a major sign of people-pleasing. And have there been times that I have found myself fudging the truth, I don’t wanna say lying Amy, I don’t wanna say lying. So fudging the truth or, you know, have I found myself going, I deserve that. I deserve that. I didn’t get this, which I should have gotten. So I’m going to get what I deserve. Yeah, I absolutely have. I absolutely have done this.

Amy Carroll
Well, I didn’t write that in a vacuum. That’s all I’ll say about that.

Cheri Gregory
We’re all thanking you very, very much.

Alright, let’s get to the good part here. Live your one life well. And so really, I’m just going to pull the three questions to ask ourselves straight from Lily. One, ‘How is God leading me to work on me while I’m waiting for them?’ Two, ‘How will I be intentional about finding joy to fill my tank?’ And three, ‘How am I pouring goodness into my heart or receiving goodness into my heart?’ Because of course, all goodness comes from God. So those feel like really relevant questions to be asking when we are facing challenging relationships.

What action do you have for us?

Amy Carroll
Well, I’m going to revise it now, having heard you. Because my action step was ‘Lean into the pain and receive God’s grace,’ but I’m going to revise and say ‘Lean into the momentum of surrender and receive God’s grace.’ And you know, the beauty of that is we can practice that in our everyday life so that it becomes the habit of the redeemed. And that is how we face these painful situations better than we have before.

Cheri Gregory
Absolutely. And then we have the scripture that that Lily shared with us. And I think you found a version where we don’t actually have to use the word cankerworm again.

(Both laugh)

Amy Carroll
Exactly. Cheri requested. So I actually love the Message version. It’s still very close. Sometimes the message is really different. But there are some key phrases in here that just really ministered to me. So if you’re listening, just let this wash over you. And this is a promise straight, this is God speaking.

“I’ll make up for the years of the locusts, the great locust devastation. Locusts, savage locusts, deadly, fierce locusts, locusts of doom, that great locust invasion I sent your way. You’ll eat your fill of good food, you’ll be full of praises to your God, the God who has set you back on your heels in wonder.” Don’t you love that? “Never again, will my people be despised. You’ll know without question that I’m in the thick of life with Israel, that I’m your God. Yes, your God, the One and Only real God. Never again, will my people be despised.”

Cheri Gregory
That’s beautiful. And that’s Joel 2:25-27, you said in the Message. Powerful. And this is one of my favorite scriptures of all time, is this promise of restoration.

So for me, the grit in all of this is shifting from that results focus to the relationship focus, because it is always easier for me to check results off my list. And relationships are messy. And so that takes me grit, to be able to set down my pen and my list and go into the unknown and just be in authentic relationships, whether it’s with my kids, with my husband, with the difficult people in my life. And sometimes the most difficult person in my life is the one in the mirror. Let’s be very clear about that. And most of all, being in that authentic relationship with God, where I’m not trying to drag people with me. It’s just Him and me.

How about you? What’s the grace?

Amy Carroll
Well, I was thinking back to labor. And my second delivery, I had a wonderful labor and delivery nurse and I was making a lot of noise at one point. And she was like, “Amy, all that yelling is not helping you.” And I yelled back at her, even though I liked her when we started the process, I yelled back at her “Maybe it’s not helping you, but it’s helping me!” But the truth was, it wasn’t. You know, for those of you who have done labor, you know that the more you fight labor, the worse it hurts. And the more you lean into it and relax into it, the less it hurts. And so I thought about that with the grace, that allowing God’s grace, and really it’s focusing on the face of God instead of the board to flow into my pain. That’s what brings redemption. Yeah.

Cheri Gregory
Oh, so powerful. All right now I can’t wait to re listen to this entire episode too.

Well, friends, we so appreciate you tuning in to Grit’N’Grace: The Podcast each and every week.

Amy Carroll
And we’re especially grateful to Lily Taylor, author of Unconfined: Lessons from Prison and the Journey of Being Set Free, and her publisher, Morgan James Faith, for making this week’s episode of Grit’N’Grace possible.

Cheri Gregory
Check out this episode’s web page at gritngracethepodcast.com/episode252. There you’ll find this week’s transcript and the link to Lily’s book, Unconfined: Lessons from Prison and the Journey of Being Set Free.

Amy Carroll
Be sure to join us next week when we’ll be talking with Cynthia Ruchti And Becky Melby, co-authors of Spouse in the House: Rearranging our Attitudes to Make Room for Each Other.

Cheri Gregory
For today, grow your grit,

Amy Carroll
embrace God’s grace,

Cheri Gregory
and as God reveals the next step to live your one life well,

Amy Carroll
we’ll be cheering you on! So –

Both
take it!

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