Thank you for taking time to hear the heart behind Unaltered Grace Podcast!
You all have no idea how excited, nervous, and overjoyed I am that you have decided to check this out. I’m humbled by each and every person who would have enough faith or curiosity to give this a go. This intro is really so that you all can learn a bit about the who, what, why’s of my heart for this and for what I believe God is going to do through it.
Who I am:
I’m Rachel, your podcast “host”. I’m 26, a wife, mom to a baby boy, pediatric ICU nurse, and seminary student. My husband, Steve, is a police officer and we live in my super teeny hometown in Wisconsin. We met online and God certainly placed Steve in my life at the perfect time to usher me back to God and to tangibly show me Jesus’ never failing and forgiving love.
I’ve always grown up in Church, had said the sinner’s prayer at a young age, and then over and over again throughout my life. I’ve wholeheartedly believed in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit for as long as I could remember. My life has ebbed and flowed with seasons of being devoted to God, and seasons of turning away and following whatever my own heart desired. I found a lot of success and gratification in high school sports, relationships, and popularity. In high school I prided myself on always following my parent’s rules, staying out of the party scene, and generally putting on a front that all way okay. Amidst some personal struggles that I faced, I remained strong on my own, without really leaning on the God whom I had professed to have given my life to.
In college, I no longer prided myself on always remaining outside of the social norms, lost my ‘success’ in running collegiate cross-country, had to relinquish my control of situations that had gone on in my life, and my patterns of leaning on relationships and seeking love from guys came to a train-wreck as I ended my engagement three months before I was planned to be married. I realized God was ever-present when, as I was silently seeking a reason to end that relationship, my four-year-old brother at the time walked up to me as I had came home from college and said, “Sis, (Blank) is not supposed to be your husband. God has another husband for you.”
If that wasn’t a clear sign from God, I don’t know what is. Still, I blindly sort-of leaned on the Lord, all the while remaining in my sinful patterns and seeking “love” from others. I sank into a deep depression that lasted almost a year and a half. I cooped myself up in my upstairs bedroom, would sleep all day until I had to go to work or to school or perform any daily function. I cut myself off from friends and became all-too content with being and remaining alone.
I would have fits of anxiety and panic-attacks, so much so that I thought I most certainly was having physical heart issues and went through a myriad of medical tests to tell me that my body was perfectly healthy. I had times where I broke down in my car as I cried out to my mom that I thought I’d need medication to get me out of it. I had the unwanted, overcoming thoughts of ending my life, because I truly believed that no one would care anyways. What good was I to anyone, really? Although my heart was physically healthy, my emotional state of my heart was withering away and sick. My mind and soul was desperate to be saved.
I knew, all along, that the answer was Jesus. Yet, as I reached and grasped for Him, I reached and grasped for my sin and held so closely to the things that so easily trapped me. I basked in my depression and anxiety and developed a “woe is me” attitude. I did this quite alone. And I really did it quite well. Not many people knew the slightest of what I was going through, and I successfully put on a front. God saw through that front. As I cried out to Him, and became utterly broken before His throne, He began to radically show me what true love was. God broke through to my weary soul and reminded me that He created me for a purpose, and that in all things He was working out good because He loved me. I began to dive deep into the Bible for the first time in my life, began to pray, find fellowship with other believers, and I then met my husband.
While “the rest is history” really can’t sum up where God has led me these last four years- because it still and will always be a process-, I can sum it up in this: I once was lost, but now I’m found. I’m found by a Creator who knit me in my mother’s womb and has ordained all of the days of my life, I’m found by a Savior who, being fully God and fully man, suffered more than I could ever fathom, laid down His life, died a gruesome death to ransom me from all of the wrong I’ve ever done, all that I’m doing, and all that I’ve yet to do solely because He loved me before I ever would willingly love Him back AND He overcame death by rising up to life. I’m found by the risen, living, active Jesus. He has placed His mighty counselor and Spirit within me to empower me to seek Him, live for Him, and desire for others to know this God, as well.
He truly has lavished His Unaltered Grace upon me and He wants to do the same- abundantly- in your life, too. He loves you.
Why I’m starting this podcast:
I’m starting this podcast because I desire to be more transparent about my own walk with Jesus. Recently, a family member was really surprised to hear that I had ever struggled with anxiety or depression; which made me wonder what other sorts of façades that I have been portraying that really don’t do the Lord’s story in my life justice. I believe God can be glorified in our testimonies and in His stories of redemption in our life. I want to speak about His unaltered grace and the reasons why I care so deeply about others to know the Lord in the way that He has designed us to know Him. I crave deep conversations and leap at any opportunities that God gives me to talk and discuss more about Him. However, I find that in real life these opportunities often come few and far in between. So, that’s where this comes in.
On a personal note, I feel called to be in some sort of ministry role and this is one of the most feasible way to create a ministry in this toddler mom-life, working, wife, and master’s studying, season of life. Plus, I just couldn’t wait to start something any longer!! You all, I’m beyond excited about what God is going to do.
What I’m praying it will accomplish:
I’m praying that these conversations will inspire, equip, and implore you to live every area of your life in light of the Gospel and with your eyes fixed on Jesus. I’m praying that, wherever you are with knowing or maybe not knowing Jesus, that these talks, by the power of the Holy Spirit, will help you to know God’s heart a little bit more and will cultivate the desire to seek Him, open up the Bible and pray for a deeper relationship with Him.
I don’t want this to point to me, or to my guests, but to Christ alone. You guys, He is so worthy and I promise that this Christian life is better than either you or I could ever imagine. There is so much in store for us.
What we’ll talk about with guests:
We are going to hear from Christian mentors whom I know in real life, and whom I’ve been connected with or inspired by in other various ways.
We’ll talk about anything and everything in between- from practically getting into the Bible, to praying, to sexual sin, to eating well. The Gospel changes it all!
Our conversations will be about an hour long, and we will dive deep into the topic we are discussing with our guest.
We will always end with these three questions:
· How do you live practically for the Lord day in and day out?
· What resources are you loving right now that help cultivate your heart for God?
· What area of your life has God specifically lavished His Unaltered Grace upon again & again?
So, for this intro I will quickly answer them before we wrap up:
I practically live for Jesus every day by:
Looking at all others as being created by God. This sort of mindset allows me to not be quickly grieved or hindered if someone has done wrong to me, and it also lets me love my neighbor well.
I read Bible verses on my phone, and try to dive deep into reading the Bible every day, although I don’t do that perfectly.
I try to think of Jesus and say Hi to Him throughout my day; no matter if I am overwhelmed, tired, or perfectly joyful.
Lastly, you’ll most likely see a smile on my face and cheery attitude because I live in constant awareness that I have been utterly redeemed, that the God of this universe loves me, and that Jesus is with me throughout every waking and sleeping moment of all my days.
Resources I love:
Podcasts! (Which is a huge reason why I wanted to start this one!)
My ESV study Bible and CSB version Bibles
Fellowship with other believers and with my husband is one of the best “resources” God could ever give me
God has specifically lavished His Unaltered Grace in my life again and again by:
Always orchestrating moments and opportunities and relationships in my life to weave a beautiful story of His love for me and by ever so diligently chasing my wayward heart no matter how many times I strayed again and again.