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Katie Freitas-Elysee shares her powerful story of God's faithfulness as she journeys through Bipolar Depression. Katie is a singer, songwriter, and content creator and is releasing her first album soon. She makes her home in Atlanta, GA with her husband and daughter. Follow her on Instagram at @kfecreates. 
Jonathan Walker shares his powerful testimony of how Jesus saved him from a life of isolation and despair and gave him a hope that isn't dependent on circumstances. We ask some hard questions about suffering, depression and living in a fallen world, and we answer them with stories of how Jesus has been our Hope in our darkest times. If you're struggling to reconcile the existence of suffering and the goodness of God, then this is the episode for you. Jonathan Walker is a customer service supervisor.  He is completing an apprenticeship for pastoral ministry and has been involved in mission work in Eastern Europe for the past several years.  He makes his home in the Pacific Northwest.
Today my good friend Rachel Opare-Sem is sharing her story of God’s faithfulness to her and her family as her mother battled, and eventually passed away from breast cancer. Although her family didn’t receive the answer they had hoped for, God showed up in amazing, specific ways that comforted Rachel and assured her of His presence and love. She also shares about her struggle with fearing death after her mother’s passing and how God has transformed that fear into hope. Rachel Opare-Sem is a Ghanaian-American who lives in Troy NY. She works as an architectural designer at architecture+. She’s lived in upstate New York for the past 6 years where she has met a wealth of inspirational people and found a community that keeps her encouraged and challenged. She continues to learn more about God and His goodness as she seeks to know and follow Him. She enjoys spending time  with her friends and family, arts and crafts, helping out in the community and a good nap on weekends!
When Alyssa Marshall found a large lump on her five year old daughter Amelie's arm, she knew her life was about to change drastically. Soon after, Amelie was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare, aggressive form of cancer. Today, Alyssa tells her story of walking through every parent's worst nightmare, and how in the midst of the questions, pain, and uncertainty, God showed her and her family His faithfulness.Alyssa Marshall currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her three daughters and husband. When she isn’t homeschooling, having tea parties and folding the fifth princess dress that day she is found running her small e-commerce business Honeydew Goods, or writing on her and her husband's shared blog, HelpGallery. There are few things that bring her joy like that of a long intentional conversation over a good cup of (black) coffee with a friend. 
C.S. Lewis said it best: "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."Join me for Part 3 of this 3 part series on myths I've believed about satisfaction in Christ. Today, I’m sharing some very personal stories as I tackle the final myth I believed about satisfaction in Christ, the myth that we can be fully satisfied with Christ during this life.This series is an adaptation of my free eBook, Unsatisfied, which you can download here.If you liked this episode, make sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 in this series. Also, make sure to check out Dr. Matthew Tan's article "The Abyss of Desire," and his other thought-provoking work at https://www.awkwardasiantheologian.com/.
"A person can never satisfy you; only Jesus can do that!" I've received this response countless times over the years when I've expressed my desire for a spouse. This answer always left me frustrated. I knew that a person couldn’t meet my deepest needs, but after years of following Jesus, I couldn’t say I felt that He was meeting my needs either. This satisfaction in Christ that my well-meaning mentors and friends spoke of seemed mysterious and unattainable, something they had experienced but I just couldn’t crack the code for. Looking back, I think this frustration largely stemmed from a faulty understanding of what satisfaction in Christ should look like in my everyday life. In this short episode, I’m tackling a myth I believed about what satisfaction in Christ should look and feel like in my life, the myth that being satisfied in Christ meant I would always feel His love and presence. This is part 2 in a 3-part series on myths I’ve believed about what it means to be satisfied in Christ when earthly desires go unfulfilled. Click here to listen to part 1. This series is an adaptation of my eBook, Unsatisfied, which you can download for free here or on my website. Article referenced: ABC News. (2005). Rare Disorder Causes Endless Hunger. https://abcnews.go.com/2020/Health/story?id=630943&page=1 
“If God put that desire in you for a spouse, He plans to fulfill it. And if it’s not in His will for you to marry, then He will change your desires,” my mentors told me.But as I approached my 30s with no husband in sight, it certainly didn’t seem like God planned to fulfill this desire. So why wasn’t He changing my desires like they told me He would? If Jesus was enough to satisfy, then why did this yearning for human love still persist? I felt ashamed that after years of following Jesus, I hadn't achieved what I considered pure devotion to Him. But this shame, I realized, stemmed not from God, but from the myth that true satisfaction in Christ meant I would no longer desire marriage.If you're in a similar place, I hope you'll join me on this journey from shame to freedom as I wrestle with being satisfied in and devoted to Jesus while still longing for an earthly romance.  This is part 1 in a 3-part series on myths I’ve believed about what it means to be satisfied in Christ when earthly desires go unfulfilled. This series is an adaptation of my free eBook, Unsatisfied, which you can download for free here or find on my website.Sources:McDowell, J. (2014). Prophecies of Jesus Fulfilled. https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=V8iyjJo2PPU Love Letter from God. https://www.arielleford.com/love-letter-from-god/ MacLaren, A. Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://biblehub.com/commentaries/maclaren/psalms/37.htm The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism. https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/buddhism/beliefs/fournobletruths_1.shtml Keller, T. (2009). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters. New York: Dutton. 
Today, life coach Natalie Hixson shares vulnerably about her journey through destructive anger and how God transformed her relationship with her family. Natalie is a wife, mother, and certified professional life coach who helps discouraged Christian moms overcome destructive anger and burnout. After learning to thrive in motherhood and process anger in a healthy way, Natalie became convicted to help other moms avoid those dark years of motherhood by helping them to appreciate and process their anger, learn to identify their triggers, and ultimately control their reaction to those triggering situations. If you’re looking to learn healthier ways to process your anger, then this is the episode for you. Head over to https://nataliehixson.com/free-triggers-tracker/ to download Natalie's free Trigger Tracker!The Trigger Tracker will help you identify your triggers, create awareness around them, and support you in changing your mindset.  
My good friend Brittany Tyrrell shares about God's faithfulness in providing her with her Seeing Eye Dog, Valiant. Brittany has retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic condition that involves a breakdown and loss of cells in the retina, causing progressively worsening eyesight. Trying to get a Seeing Eye Dog in the middle of COVID was not easy, but God used the process to grow Brittany's trust and to show how He truly gives good gifts to His children. 
In part 2 of our conversation on why you don't have to freak out about turning 30, Corinne DuBois, Greg Dubois, Samantha Vocarte and I talk about being single at age 30 and the unique struggles, joys, and unmet expectations we've had in our singleness.  We also talk about the joys of being single, singleness in the American church, and most importantly, what it means to follow Jesus in our singleness. If you haven’t listened to part 1, "Turning 30 & True Success," make sure to check it out both since it’s a great conversation and so you have the context for some of our running jokes. Because we talk about Corinne’s love of horses. A lot. About my outstanding guests:Corinne DuBois is a redheaded piano tuner with a deep appreciation for nature and the outdoors. Mountains, lakes and forests are, to her, God’s cathedrals. When she is not tuning pianos or spending time with friends and family, she’s usually hatching plans for adventure. She attended college in NYC and earned a degree in politics, philosophy, and economics. Two years later, she stepped past her first white blaze on the Appalachian trail, knowing only the weight of her pack, hardly dreaming of the invaluable and sometimes difficult truths she would learn about herself, her fellow wanderers, and God. Listen to her story of the Appalachian Trail here!Greg DuBois grew up with his triplet brother and sister Ethan and Corinne in Upstate New York. After graduating from The King's College , he moved to China and has lived there ever since. After spending one year working in Ningxia Huizu Autonomous Region in Northwest China, he moved to Shanghai to study for a Master's degree in Intercultural Communication at Shanghai International Studies University. After graduating in 2017 he continued on at SISU as a Lecturer, focusing on English language classes, as well as intercultural training and education. Greg spends most of his time teaching, coaching debate, playing frisbee, or otherwise spending time on campus with students, as that is where his primary passion lies--to serve and develop the SISU student community. Having spent almost all of his 20s living abroad (and most of it single), one topic which often occupies his mind is how to live well as a single person in a country and culture which is not his own.Samantha Vocarte is a writer, artist, and small business owner living in Upstate NY. She has worked in Communications for over eight years, and shares her intimate (and often comical) journey with God through the written word…we love each other a lot so it’s messy and fun. She is an avid traveler, songwriter, language learner, and fitness junkie. Listen here for another episode with Samantha and me.For more on this topic, check out my article, "Why You Don't Need to Freak Out About Turning 30." 
Today I’m talking with Marie Matey, a missionary to refugees in the United States from closed countries where most live their entire lives without hearing the good news of Jesus Christ. God called Marie and her husband to be missionaries to Muslims from unreached people groups, and they thought this would mean packing their bags and moving to a closed country. But then, God brought refugees to their city from the very people groups God had laid on their heart. For the past several years, Marie and her husband have been missionaries to Muslims in their city, and God is doing amazing things! Today, Marie tells stories of how God is pursuing these people they love and opening their eyes to who Jesus is. To donate a one-time gift or to become a regular supporter of Marie and her husband, go to https://us.worldteam.org/give/ , and in the gift designation, write "Marie Matey" or the account number for their initiative: 014096If your heart is being stirred to go to Muslims in the US or abroad, check out World Team's short to long term opportunities:Compass: A 4 to 8 month program in the US with World Team's International Neighborhood Network More opportunities in the US and abroad
My friends Corinne DuBois, Greg DuBois, and Samantha Vocarte join me to untangle some of the lies I've believed about turning 30. In this episode, we talk about where we expected we'd be at age 30, what informed those expectations, and whether we've felt internal or external pressures to be "successful" by the big 3-0. Most importantly, we talk about the concept of success in light of the Gospel and whether our ideas of success align with our call as followers of Jesus. Corinne DuBois is a thirty-year-old, redheaded piano tuner with a deep appreciation for nature and the outdoors. Mountains, lakes and forests are, to her, God’s cathedrals. When she is not tuning pianos or spending time with friends and family, she’s usually hatching plans for adventure. She attended college in NYC and earned a degree in politics, philosophy, and economics. Two years later, she stepped past her first white blaze on the Appalachian trail, knowing only the weight of her pack, hardly dreaming of the invaluable and sometimes difficult truths she would learn about herself, her fellow wanderers, and God. Listen to her story of the Appalachian Trail here!Greg DuBois grew up with his triplet brother and sister Ethan and Corinne in Upstate New York. After graduating from The King's College , he moved to China and has lived there ever since. After spending one year working in Ningxia Huizu Autonomous Region in Northwest China, he moved to Shanghai to study for a Master's degree in Intercultural Communication at Shanghai International Studies University. After graduating in 2017 he continued on at SISU as a Lecturer, focusing on English language classes, as well as intercultural training and education. Greg spends most of his time teaching, coaching debate, playing frisbee, or otherwise spending time on campus with students, as that is where his primary passion lies--to serve and develop the SISU student community. Having spent almost all of his 20s living abroad (and most of it single), one topic which often occupies his mind is how to live well as a single person in a country and culture which is not his own.Samantha Vocarte is a writer, artist, and small business owner living in Upstate NY. She has worked in Communications for over eight years, and shares her intimate (and often comical) journey with God through the written word…we love each other a lot so it’s messy and fun. She is an avid traveler, songwriter, language learner, and fitness junkie. Listen here for another episode with Samantha and me. For more on this topic, check out my article, "Why You Don't Need to Freak Out About Turning 30."
Laurie Fowler was content with her quiet life in rural Maine with three kids, twenty acres of land, and a garden. So when her husband returned from an unexpected trip to Ecuador with a strong calling to go back as a missionary, her heart resisted. In lieu of a tenth wedding anniversary vacation, she reluctantly accompanied her husband to Ecuador to experience the country. On this trip, she had a powerful encounter with God in an airplane flying over the Amazon River, in which he assured her not only that this was his plan for her, but that she would be happy. Laurie and her family lived in Ecuador for fourteen years as missionaries, and God was faithful to his promise in the airplane. And ultimately, He showed her that he always has something better planned for us than we could imagine.Laurie is a follower of Jesus and has used her gifts in her roles as wife, mother, grandmother, writer, Bible teacher, speaker, musician, missionary, pastor’s wife, small group host, mentor, and friend. She enjoys walking in all seasons, hospitality, reading, and quiet early mornings observing how God works in everyday life through what she observes out her kitchen window. You can find her observations and encouragement on Instagram.
On today's episode, Shane O'Neill shares about how Jesus saved him out of drug addiction and transformed his life. Jesus showed Himself to Shane as the God who is not indifferent to our pain, but who feels with us when we hurt. His story is one of beautiful transformation, and you don't want to miss it! Shane O’Neill is a follower of Jesus who loves reading, writing, building friendships, climbing, and the summer season. Shane is a missionary kid who was born in the Philippines, though he didn’t meet Jesus until age 19. Since that time Shane has gotten an undergraduate degree in biblical studies and a masters degree in apologetics. Shane works as the editorial director for a sexual integrity non-profit called Proven Ministries and hosts a podcast called The Naked Gospel.Link to sermon by Charles Spurgeon mentioned in the episode: The Compassion of Jesus
What is it like to have a near death experience? If we saw more miracles in the West, would more believe? Why is it so hard to love others, and what do we do about it? Does true freedom lie in self-actualization? My favorite author, Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, answers all of these questions and more in this very special episode of Hope Unyielding.  Special thanks to Bruce Johnson for playing the role of Fyodor Dostoevsky.Music: Jeanne in a Waltz, Adobe Stock Music 
I struggled with chronic depression for the better part of my twenties, and in that struggle, one of my most frequent emotions was shame. I especially experienced shame when I counted my blessings and still found myself unable to find joy in the many gifts God had given me. Today, I share 3 things I learned about fighting depression when the practice of gratefulness backfired.  I pray that my story would both encourage you and help you find a way forward if you are struggling with depression. If you think this episode would encourage someone you love, please pass it along. For more stories of God’s faithfulness in the midst of dark and difficult times, subscribe on Apple Podcasts and follow the Hope Unyielding Podcast on Instagram. 
Writer and artist Veronica McDonald shares her journey from atheism to becoming a follower of Jesus. Her story is one of beautiful transformation, and whether you are a Christian, an atheist, or an agnostic, there’s something in here for you today!Veronica McDonald is a published fiction writer, poet, artist, and editor, with an M.A. in Literature. Veronica became a born-again Christian in July 2016 when Jesus saved her from anxiety, depression, and a nihilistic worldview. In 2019, Veronica started a literary and art journal called Heart of Flesh, where she publishes Christian-themed literature, poetry, art, and photography from writers and artists around the world. She just recently began working on editing and publishing a literary magazine for children, called Pure in Heart Stories. Veronica currently lives in Mobile, Alabama with her husband and three children.  Check out her work at http://veronicamcdonald.com/Veronica’s story points so clearly to the goodness and beauty of Jesus, and I want to get her story out to as many people as possible! So if you have a minute, please share this episode on your favorite social media platform. 
Peace is something that we all desire, yet often feels elusive in today’s world. Even before the pandemic hit, the fast pace of American culture combined with the ever-increasing usage of technology has many of us feeling frantic and frazzled. Cheryl Elton has made it a life goal to pursue Christ’s perfect peace, and today she shares what she has learned through Scripture and experience about finding peace in a chaotic world. Cheryl is an award-winning author, an accomplished freelance writer, a speaker, and a blogger. Active in Christian ministry since high school, she’s gained much experience teaching, counseling, and sharing God’s truth with people of all ages and walks of life.Cheryl served as a home fellowship leader for 25 years, and spent several years on the mission field in a leadership role.Today, her efforts as a communicator focus on encouraging Christians toward a deeper, richer relationship with God.An avid figure skater, Cheryl also has produced instructional DVDs for ice dancing. Off the ice she enjoys music, reading, playing the piano, bike riding, stage shows, caramel lattes, and spending time with her family.I’m excited to be giving away one copy of Cheryl’s book Pathway of Peace. If you’d like to enter, shoot me an email at hopeunyielding@gmail.com with “peace” in the subject line. Make sure to enter by midnight on March 25, 2021, and I’ll put you in the drawing. Learn more about Cheryl at www.cherylelton.com   Her book, Pathway of Peace: Living in a Growing Relationship with Christ, is available on her website, and can be ordered through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  Cheryl is available to speak at churches, women’s conferences, small groups, or book clubs in the Albany/Upstate New York area.  
On this episode, I share stories of God's miraculous intervention while I battled deep depression during my time teaching in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia.  God had called me to Russia at age twelve, and since then, it had been a place of awe and purpose, of romance and transcendence. But my fifth time there, I was surprised  and disillusioned when my joy was smothered by depression. But God pierced the darkness, illuminating my path through Tatarstan with the continual revelation of His care for me through specific, truly divine interventions. In this episode, I talk all about these divine interventions that bear witness to what a personal God He is.If you want to read more about my time in Tatarstan, here are some of my favorite blog posts I wrote while I was there:On LonelinessThe Land of Seven FridaysRussia: The Best Boot Camp for People-Pleasers
Alicia Purdy shares her story about God’s faithfulness in her life as an unwed mother who longed to be married. She grew up as a pastor’s kid in a very sheltered home. In college, she found that her sheltered childhood led to immaturity in relationships that resulted in heartbreak and rebounding, and in graduate school, she got pregnant while unmarried. Alicia shares her journey from searching for identity and fulfillment in what didn’t satisfy to finally surrendering her will and desires to the Lord, how He transformed her from the inside out, and how He answered the many cries of her heart—on every front.Alicia Purdy is a full-time writer, musician, and speaker with an M.A. in Journalism. Her passion is to write about real life and a real faith in a real Jesus to inspire, encourage and entertain people from all walks of life.You can learn more about Alicia’s work including her book, The Way of the Worshipper, at her worship-based blog: TheWayoftheWorshipper.com and at https://purdyalicia.com/
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