[AUDIO PODCAST] Victoria Osteen & “Better Together” + Rachel Hauck: Friendships Build Us Up

[AUDIO PODCAST] Victoria Osteen & “Better Together” + Rachel Hauck: Friendships Build Us Up


Victoria Osteen, Laurie Crouch & Dr. DeeDee
Freeman of “Better Together” and Rachel Hauck: Finding Comfort in Godly Friendships We live in a world that’s more connected
than ever but, ironically, more isolated. We disappear into our smartphones and tablets,
ignoring the the people God placed us with right in our own living rooms, schools, workplaces
and out in the world. Perhaps it’s easier to tap “like” on
a screen than ask someone about their day or how we can help them—but that’s not
the kind of relationship God called us to have with others. Today we talk with four women—Laurie Crouch,
Victoria Osteen, and Dr. DeeDee Freeman of TBN’s Better Together, and novelist Rachel
Hauck—to learn how they’re intentionally cultivating their relationships with others,
especially their friendships, and how taking time to nurture those relationships with love
reaps lasting rewards for everyone. Dr. DeeDee: When you can love yourself, you
can be free to love others. And when we can teach a woman how to value
who God has created her to be, then we can begin to value each other. Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. Today’s guests are women who have seen the
impact of bringing love and intention to our relationships with others, especially with
our friends: the women of TBN’s Better Together—Laurie Crouch, Victoria Osteen, and Dr. DeeDee Freeman—and
novelist Rachel Hauck. Better Together is a new program on TBN made
by women, for women. Their goal is to build a community of women
committed to doing life together and making the world a better place. Today a few members of the Better Together
team share why it’s not only important to seek friendship with those who share different
experiences from us, but how we can create common ground by reading the Bible together,
praying together, or sharing a devotional, like Jesus Calling. Dr. DeeDee: I’m Dr. DeeDee Freeman. I’m married to Michael Freeman. We are the pastors of Spirit of Faith Christian
Center. We have been pastoring for 25 years now, and
I’m also a part of the Better Together team. Victoria: I’m Victoria Osteen, and my husband
and I, Joel, we’ve been pastoring for 20 years. Our ministry is celebrating our 60th year. [Joel’s mother and father] started the ministry
60 years ago, and when Joel’s father passed away, God led us to step up and be senior
pastors of the church. I am so honored and privileged to be a part
of Better Together. This community of women that you’ve created,
Laurie, is phenomenal. Laurie: My name is Laurie Crouch—thank you,
Victoria. My husband and I, Matthew, lead the Trinity
Broadcasting family of networks around the world. And I am part of the Better Together team
right here. Laurie: Better Together has been something
that brings us all all together. Victoria: And it’s so interesting because
this group of Better Together is different ages, different backgrounds, different experiences. Some people were raised in church. Some people were not. Dr. DeeDee, you weren’t raised in church. Dr. DeeDee: No, not at all. Victoria: And now God has got you on this
path where you and your husband are just preaching the good news. Dr. DeeDee: It’s amazing. Victoria: And so what I love about this community
is to not only meet new women that I haven’t met, but really gleaning from them and their
experience. Laurie: Yeah, totally. Victoria: And I think as women, that’s one
of the most important things that we can do is to be— Laurie: Open. Victoria: Open-minded to one another. You know, so often the stereotype is that
we just kind of judge one another. We sum one another up. We’re really not for each other. But I think that’s that’s in the past. Dr. DeeDee: Yes. Victoria: I think this is new generation,
and a new happening that’s happening among women is we’re realizing that we’re better
together. Laurie: Yeah. Victoria: We’re realizing that when I encourage
you, it encourages me. Dr. DeeDee: Yes. Laurie: Yes. Victoria: We can all get together and learn
so much from each other. Dr. DeeDee: Absolutely. You know, I think one of the biggest lies
that the enemy put in the church is what we have taken from the world to say, “Women
can’t get along.” But we can get along. We can be here for one another. We can encourage each other.[a] There are
so many times when we come together as a community of women with a common purpose. You know, we get the joys of working together
on a shared mission. But there is always that potential when you
have people from all different walks of life, you know, that we are not always going to
agree. Victoria: As women we need to open our hearts. Dr. DeeDee: I agree. Victoria: And be be the one who is the peacemaker. Laurie: Yeah. Victoria: And I think when we get practice
overlooking an offense, we’re going to be so much better off as women, as mothers, as
sisters, as wives. So I believe that sometimes it’s too easy
to just take an offense. Dr. DeeDee: That’s true. Laurie: Right. Dr. DeeDee: I have so many women in our ministry. And I have to be sensitive enough to know
there are some things they haven’t been raised in [and] that their environment have shaped
them to be totally different than I am. I cannot automatically come and just force
my beliefs or my opinions or my ideas over how this whole community should look. Victoria: And when you hear someone’s story,
their challenge, what they’ve been through, it causes you to understand that person better. [b]When I hear [those] stories, I think to
myself, “Wow, [God,] You’ve just shown me something about myself.” Even if I haven’t been through that, somehow
God always mirrors back something in your own life. Dr. DeeDee: I believe the diversity of how
we are is a representation of what Christ is. And so we have to learn how to come together,
bring our differences together, and really share and look like what God intended for
us to look like. [c] Laurie: You don’t always have to be right. And sometimes saving friendships and those
close to you. It’s not about being right all the time. Victoria: You don’t have to be right. We’re different, but [we can] find common
ground. Dr. DeeDee: Yes. Victoria: You know we can agree to disagree,
but if we find common ground—and what is that common ground? Respect. Dr. DeeDee: Right. Laurie: I think it’s so important to find
people you can pray with, and that can agree with you to lift each other up.[d] Victoria and I been together in times where,
man, I just had to tell her something, you know. And I knew she was the one to talk to because
I knew what she was going to give me back. She was going to encourage me. She was going to pray right then and there. I knew it was coming, and I needed it. And DeeDee, the same thing with her. Just going through stuff in your life, you’ve
got to surround yourself with people who are filled with Holy Spirit, who love God, who
aren’t going to bring you down. Dr. DeeDee: Absolutely. You know, the beauty in all of our relationships
is that we truly love one another. Victoria: If women knew their worth, if they
really understood their value in the eyes of God—and that’s where it starts. It’s not in the eyes of man, but it’s in the
eyes of God—I believe we tap into a superpower. [e] Dr. DeeDee: Yes. Laurie: Yeah. Victoria: As women we need each other. And one reason we need each other is because
we’re talkers. Dr. DeeDee: Yes. Laurie: Yes! Victoria: I know I’ve been talking to my husband
before, and about 10 minutes later, I see these eyes just glazing over. Laurie: Glazing over! Victoria: Because [men] not wired like we
are. Laurie: Right. Dr. DeeDee: Right. Victoria: So to have women you can hold in
confidence and really trust is such a gift. Laurie: Yeah. Victoria: And worth looking for. Dr. DeeDee: Yes. Victoria: You know, even doing Bible studies
together and coming together and just having that girl talk, chit-chat, confidence time
to confide in one another is just so important. When my son was going off to college, I had
worked to prepare everything we were going to take [for] his room and what I was going
to put in it. He didn’t really care, but I did. I remember when the time approached, I was
all prepared to take him, but I had such a nervous, anxious feeling because I thought,
It’s hard to release him out into the world. So the Saturday that a friend of mine and
I were going to take both of our sons to college—they were actually going to room together, and
we’d been preparing all this together. I got up extra early because I knew I just
had to spend time with God. I was just like, I don’t want to show [my
son that] I’m anxious. Laurie: Settle your soul. Victoria: I just want to settle my soul. So I got up and I prayed. I was just talking to the Lord, and I just
felt like He spoke to me. And He began to talk to me about the essentials
of faith, and how faith is those things that are not yet seen. That’s what faith is. It’s believing in something we haven’t yet
seen. And then I felt like he just impressed on
my heart, “Just watch and see what I can do.” So I was writing this down in my journal,
and knowing my friend was as anxious as I was, I texted to her and I said, “I got up
early.” And I told her the story. “And this is what God said.” Immediately she shot a text back to me, and
she had been reading in Jesus Calling. Dr. DeeDee: Oh, wow. Victoria: And the one she had read talked
about releasing your children to God. It said, “Don’t keep them in your clinging
hands. You’ve got to be able to release them to God.” And then it went on to say, “Watch to see
what I will do.” And so it was is if that Jesus Calling not
only confirmed that “watch and see” to me, but it also confirmed to her that God was
right there with us. And so it has become our, like, banner of
victory. We’ll say, “Watch and see what God will
do.” And so just through this beautiful Jesus Calling
[devotion], it gave us so much confirmation that God does speak to us as individuals,
and He can confirm His Word through devotionals and through His Word. So it was just such a comfort in such an exciting
time for me. Laurie: He cares more than we do. Victoria: And I think that’s so sweet because,
you know, God speaks to us on so many different levels and in so many different ways. Dr. DeeDee: At the right time. Laurie: At the right time. Victoria: It was such a confirmation that
God was in this. He had our sons in the palm of His hand, and
He was going to be faithful to all of our prayers. And so it’s interesting—did you ever get
those slogans? So that’s now one of our slogans: “Just watch
to see what God can do.” Victoria: God’s always faithful always when
we seek Him. And it’s great to have girlfriends. It’s great to talk to girlfriends. But you know what? We’ve got to learn to really talk to God. And that’s what I love about this Jesus Calling
is it really gives you a feeling like you’re in a relationship with God, because [author
Sarah Young is] talking from that point of view and giving you the heart of the Father. And I think that’s so powerful, to really
understand the Father’s heart. Dr. DeeDee: My father was a loving and caring
dad. [He was] present, took care of us, raised
all of us. My parents have been married for 65 years
this year. Victoria: Wow, that’s beautiful. Dr. DeeDee: [They’re] living and doing very
well. So I had a great father in that regard. But I didn’t see a “God” Father, you understand? I had a father who loved me, which was good
because when I received Jesus, I knew if my natural father would give me good things,
how much more would my Heavenly Father give me? But I wasn’t raised in a Christian home with
Christian environment, so I didn’t know how to function in certain things, like, what
about believing God? No, I didn’t understand how to believe God
and to love people and to transition and to walk in forgiveness—all of the things that
we as believers are supposed to demonstrate—because I wasn’t taught that growing up. Victoria: So that’s why devotionals and friendships
and looking at other people and how they are navigating this journey of faith is so important. Laurie: And gleaning off of not only us three
sitting here, but the different generations of the girls and young [women] in our lives. Just gleaning off of every season, every relationship
that we have is a beautiful thing. Dr. DeeDee: No, it is. You’re right, it’s a beautiful thing. We can glean from one another, and it’s great. And that’s why again—like Victoria said—Sarah,
in this devotional, it is so beautiful because even though you may not have friends in your
life, you can pick this book up and you can read it and hear the heart of the Father. Laurie: Because there’s no friend like Jesus. Dr. DeeDee: There’s no friend like Jesus. Here’s a passage from Jesus Calling that I
think is really applicable to what we’re talking about today, and it’s from September 5th. I want to read it right now. Is that okay? Laurie: Yeah! Dr. DeeDee: All right, great. “The friendship I offer you is practical
and down-to-earth, yet it is saturated with heavenly Glory. Living in My Presence means living in two
realms simultaneously: the visible world and the unseen, eternal reality. I have equipped you to stay conscious of Me
while walking along dusty, earthbound paths.” It’s a great devotion. Laurie: There’s no one like Jesus. Dr. DeeDee: There’s no one like Jesus. Victoria: You know, just knowing that God
is with us. Laurie: Yeah. Victoria: Knowing that . . . I loved the way
[Sarah] uses “walking along dusty, earthbound paths” because that’s . . . we are bound by
this earth. Dr. DeeDee: That’s true. Victoria: But we’re not bound in Jesus. Laurie: Yeah. Victoria: You know, we can experience His
heavenly glories. Dr. DeeDee: Mm-hmm. Victoria: His sweet, beautiful joy and love
for us as we just walk through the scriptures, walk through this devotional. And I don’t know, it just opens your heart
in a new way, doesn’t it? Laurie:
“Together we will face whatever each day brings: pleasure, hardships, adventures. and
disappointments.” So it’s all going to come. And just to know that Jesus is with us every
day, it’s just . . . a reminder of this every day is what I need. I need to hear this every day. This helps me, and this is what we should
be seeding inside of each other every day Dr. DeeDee: Yeah it’s a beautiful thing. I love that. I mean, that’s the beauty in having relationships
and having those friendships. Laurie: I love that. You know, you can hear scriptures all your
life. You can read a scripture a hundred times,
but sometimes a friend or someone close to you can read it to you and bring out something
that you have never, never thought of.[f] And I think it’s so important that women encourage
and uplift each other in the Lord. And so what we try to model each day in our
friendships and our relationships is how to be a good friend. Dr. DeeDee: Yes. Laurie: How to encourage in the Lord, how
to be vulnerable. Dr. DeeDee: I believe God is so awesome with
the creativity of how He made us so unique, if you will, to bring our strengths and our
talents together to make the whole picture of what God truly looks like. [g] Narrator: You can catch the latest episodes
of Better Together and learn how you can watch upcoming episodes at bettertogether.tv. Narrator: Stay tuned for our interview with
novelist Rachel Hauck after a brief message about the new
Jesus Calling Weekly Prayer Call! Narrator: Rachel Hauck has always loved words. She’s a gifted storyteller who weaves love
and inspiration into each novel she writes. Rachel talks about what fostered her love
for writing, and how growing in her relationship with God inspired her to tell stories of love
to the world. Rachel Hauck: Hi, everyone, I’m Rachel Hauck. I live in central Florida, and I’m a full-time
author. I write novels. I’m also a worship leader, a wife, and a feeder
of a cat. I like to call myself a transplanted Yankee. I was born in Ohio, but then my dad and mom
moved us out to Oklahoma in the mid-60s. They were impacted by the charismatic movement,
and so my dad went to ORU for a while. And then we moved to Lexington, Kentucky,
where he went to Asbury Seminary. So I’m kind of a Sooner/Buckeye/Wildcat. And then in the early 70s, the nondenominational
movement was developing and people were saying, “What are gonna do with all these Jesus
movement kids?” Then we moved, to me, to the end of the world:
Homestead, Florida. So it just felt like from Kentucky to south
of Miami was, to a 14-year-old, like, I’ve left since civilization. We moved to Tallahassee, and then I ended
up at Ohio State, and that’s where I graduated from. The Lord was always an integral part of our
life. I got saved when I was six years old, so I’ve
always known His presence in my life. And it’s weird sometimes to think about that
not being there—like, I don’t know what that feels like. My dad was an architect, but was also a lay
pastor so I as a child and as a teenager I saw a lot of that Christian leadership pastoral
stuff up front. And while I had a relatively good experience,
I didn’t necessarily like being in the eye of the church, you know, that fishbowl that
the leadership spouses or children get in. And my parents did a very good job of allowing
us to be who we were. But I do remember this: after I graduated
and I was back home in Tallahassee, I was kind of waiting on the Lord to direct my life
and tell me where to go next and put me in that career job. I was driving down the road, and I said, “Lord,
I want to marry a pastor or a farmer.” I don’t know why I said that. It just came out. And so I end up marrying a pastor, which surprised
me in a lot of ways. And [my husband’s] middle name is George,
which means “farmer.” So it’s this kind of really funny that God
goes, “Okay, you can do both.” I’ve loved reading since I was a kid. I can remember getting the books in third
and fourth grade—they had those little paperback books they would bring around to the classroom,
and I think you could get them from the library and they were really cheap. I love the smell of them. So I think it was first kind of a sensory
thing. I love the smell of books. And then, I just love story. I would check out biographies, so I always
loved reading about people. And I don’t necessarily call myself a “creative.” I don’t think of myself as as a super creative
type. But at the same time, I had pretend friends—I
dated Donny Osmond, little does he know. I had that imaginary world that I lived in,
and I would just go in my room and read. And I was very impacted, like I said, by biographies. But the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House”
series, I devoured those books. I just loved her life, and I think I really
related to her for some reason. I felt a kinship with Laura Ingalls Wilder. So books were always a part of it. But the writing part came in as young as first
grade. I had a diary in first grade. I wrote in it, and I started keeping journals
and diaries on a consistent basis from, like, fourth grade on. I was always writing things. It was the way that I communicated, the way
that I express myself to myself or to other people. But I wrote a poem in fourth grade, and it
was really good. I don’t have it, [but] it was about Santa
Claus. The outcome of that was my father coming to
me and going, “Rachel, you’re a talented writer. You need to be a writer.” And from that point on, all of my conversations
with my father about my future involved writing. He wanted me to be a writer. He would tell me I was a writer. And when I went to Ohio State—and he was
also an Ohio State grad—he said, “Major in journalism. Learn the discipline of writing. And then you can get a job until you figure
out really what you want to do.” I didn’t think I could write novels. That was such an intimidating thing to think
about, writing a novel. Back then in the 80s, you had to go through
New York. There wasn’t a lot of Christian publishing
at the time, and the idea of going to an agent [and through] all of those steel doors to
get a book published just seemed so intimidating. But the Lord began to move in my life after
I got married. And one thing led to another, and here I am
20 years later. Love is in everything. Is there any story where there’s not a love
angle, be it parental or sibling or friendship?[h] I didn’t directly set out to write romance,
but there’s always some kind of love story in almost every story that we read. But it’s just kind of me. It’s how I communicate. I love a good rom-com. I love love stories. Everybody wins in a love story. And God is love. About the time I started going into full-time
writing, I was also on this journey of understanding this amazing love story in scripture[i]. And I think it kind of spilled over into my
writing and into my life. One of things I love about Jesus Calling is
how Sarah just distills the voice of the Lord. Everything she’s written is rooted and grounded
in scripture, and she just takes it and puts it in this language that’s like, “I’m talking
to you.” I think a lot of people need that. They read scripture, and it seems academic,
like, here’s the formal things that Jesus said. And if we watch too many 70 Jesus movies,
it’s all in a British accent. And so I feel like what she has taken is the
Word, and she’s distilled it down into something that really does communicate to our heart. And several of her devotionals have hit me
right where I live, right when I needed them. This is the one that I love, and I feel like
this is just me every time I read it. This is me. This is August 21st: Wait with Me for a while. I have much to tell you. You are walking along the path I have chosen
for you. It is both a privileged and a perilous way:
experiencing My glorious Presence and heralding that reality to others. Sometimes you feel presumptuous to be carrying
out such an assignment. Do not worry about what other people think
of you. The work I am doing in you is hidden at first. But eventually blossoms will burst forth,
and abundant fruit will be born. Stay on the path of Life with Me. Trust Me wholeheartedly, letting My Spirit
fill you with Joy and Peace. That is, like, speaking to me today that this
is this is my life. She, like, read my mind. Narrator: As Rachel began to understand God’s
amazing love story told through scripture, she started to write about love in a way that
has captured hearts all over the world. Recently, one of her books called Once Upon
a Prince was made into a Hallmark movie—right when a real-life royal couple decided to tie
the knot. Rachel Hauck: Once Upon a Prince played on
the Hallmark Channel April 7th, [2018], so about six weeks before Prince Harry married
Meghan Markle. I thought that was just really cool timing,
for me to kind of ride on the coattails of that. We went out to set, my husband and I. We were actually in the movie, in the ballroom
scene. And I had hair and makeup, and a costume,
and my own trailer. I was not prepared for the emotion that I
would feel, seeing this story that I sat in my office by myself, wrote by myself, pulled
everything out of my heart and my head by myself and thinking, Okay, this book is going
to end my career. No one’s going to like it. It was the book that came out after The Wedding
Dress, which is my biggest success to date. And you know, just all of the doubts that
you have to deal with, praying asking the Lord for help. And then you go on set, and here’s like 60
people and 90 extras making this whole thing come alive, and people writing scripts, and
someone writing a score to the to it. It’s just . . . ahh, it was crazy! It was really emotional. I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe it. It was fantastic. I feel like I’m abundantly blessed, because
I know that I’m doing what God called me and made me to do. I know that’s a struggle for a lot of people,
and so I am just like, “God, how did I stumble into this, that I’m actually doing this thing
that You called me to do?” And I feel so blessed and humbled in a lot
of ways by it. And not every day is cake. There are days when I’m like, What else can
I do for a living? It’s still that journey, but when you’re confident
you’re doing the thing that God designed you to do, then you can endure the hard times,
or the disappointments, or the ups and the downs. [j] Narrator: You can get Rachel’s latest book,
The Memory House, at your favorite book retailer today. Narrator: If you’d like to hear more stories
about women using their talents to glorify their relationships with God and others, check
out our interview with Candace Cameron Buré. Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast,
we talk with author, minister, and actress Priscilla Shirer. In the last few years, Priscilla has looked
around at our social media-saturated world and noticed a startling trend: we’ve allowed
ourselves to find our value in others’ opinions of us. Priscilla Shirer: Each and every one of us
have to decide who or what we’re gonna give permission to identify us, to label us, to
name us. And so many of us find our significance in
things outside of eternal things. And see, that’s the problem—they’re temporal. Only the person who made you has the right
to give you your label and the right to determine your significance.

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