I’m Diana Swillinger, and you’re listening to The Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode 58 Hopes and Dreams with my friend Lauren Apple.
DIANA: Hey, everybody. How are you doing? Um, on this fine spring day, I’ve got the windows open. I keep talking about spring every episode, but come on, it’s so much better than winter. And I’m really jazzed today because, oh, gosh, am I aging myself. I’m jazzed, people, because I have a friend with me. I met this beautiful woman online, but it turned out she was doing ministry and church stuff down the road for me for years, and I didn’t even know. But now that she’s totally far away, we met on the Internet. So I have been chatting with my friend Lauren Apple over the last several months on the Internet, and we’re just talking about business. We’re talking about what we do to help women, women in the church, young women, moms, all that kind of stuff. And I’m like, Girl, I got to have you on the podcast. So, Lauren, I’m so glad you’re here today. Welcome.
Lauren: Thank you, Diana. I’m so honored to be a part of your amazing podcast.
DIANA: I’m glad you’re here. Uh, just hearing the way you talk about how you want to serve women and how you want to empower them and come alongside and support them, I mean, that’s a lot of what my podcast is about, so that’ll definitely be a lot of what we talk about. And also, I love the way you kind of describe things differently because I think we all need that. We get stuck as we’re trying to figure out what we want to do with our life and how to balance everything and all that, and you bring a different perspective, so we’ll get into that. But before I start asking you those very important questions, why don’t you just tell us a little about yourself? Who’s Lauren? What are you all about?
DIANA: Yes, of course. Well, how much time do we have? I’m just kidding. Um, I’ll give you the abridged version of what Lauren is all about. Um, unknown, uh, fact about myself is, especially in the online world, is I’m 411, so I’m very short. A lot of times, people think that I am a teenager, but when I come out with my four babies, then they realize, oh, this person is not as young as I thought she was. So I’m a mother of four. My oldest is ten, and my youngest will be two in a couple of months here. And, um, we have a fun, crazy life in South Carolina. Um, actually on our way to starting out our own homestead and farm and getting little baby goats and chickens and all that stuff, which is going to be really fun and exciting. Uh, COVID kind of really pushed us to go a little faster on that dream that we had for us. But, um, my husband and I, we pastored for over a decade together. Ah, did student ministry, uh, ministry of ministry.
We’re campus pastors and did a church plant in rural Wisconsin. And then the Lord, kind of long story short, called us out of vocational ministry, pastoral ministry. Um, moved us across the country. So that’s how we ended up meeting, even though we were neighbors before previously. Um, but moved us across the country and then he was involved, my husband was involved in retail management and so I really got into the business world online because I was trying to just be flexible around his schedule and make an income for my home and provide for my kids and be available time wise. It really had no other purpose outside of that as I got into it. And God opened up some incredible doors. Uh, but through that journey, he really worked on my heart and my calling and just this pastoral calling and ministry calling he’s put in my heart. And how does that translate to the online business world? And what I’ve been doing previously, um, and even just in the last year, is where he’s really gotten clear with me and defined on my ministry.
Here today, right now, in the present, is to help other moms step up in making a ministry impact in their homes and outside their homes. And a lot of times that does translate into the marketplace, into their online businesses. Uh, how can they make more of a kingdom impact not just a physical income, income, freedom, time impact, right? But a kingdom impact in who they are as leaders, as moms, as business owners.
DIANA: Well, I had no idea that you were 411. And for what you lack in height, you would look small next to me because I’m about five eight. Yeah, what you lack in height, you make up with a huge heart and huge passion for what you do. And so I’m excited to dive in and talk about that. So this flows right out of kind of teed us right up for my first question, because you have a podcast called Ministry in Motherhood and that sums up what you just said about who you want to help. So I take it from that. And I’ve listened to your podcast. I think it’s great. Everyone should definitely go check it out and be encouraged.
You will always be encouraged, every episode. But the title of Ministry and Motherhood lets me know that you help women figure out how to balance their family and how to balance their desire to give back. And I’ll tell you, I see women all the time who put their dreams on hold over and over or they lose touch with their dreams and passions. They don’t even know what they are anymore, like out of sight, out of mind. So let’s talk about that. Why do you think that is? What’s going on there?
Lauren: I think it’s really easy, and especially in our society and culture, to get really caught up in the mothering, right? Like we are comparing ourselves to the Pinterest picture or the Instagram picture, or the mom that looks like she has it all together. And so we think if we are going to be this mom, that is good enough, right? That fulfills all the boxes and does all the things that we really just need to sacrifice and hold off on everything, right? Just put it on the back burner and one day it might happen like in another season, right? We say, well, my babies are out of diapers when they are in school, when I can afford a babysitter, when they’ve graduated, and I’m an empty nester, right? Then I’ll go after those things because right now it’s selfish for me to go after it. And I think that is a lie that the enemy loves to give us over and over again as moms.
Is that, hey, you’re being selfish if you’re thinking about yourself or you’re going after your dreams or your desires. Um, but in reality, God gives us those for a reason, right? He doesn’t just give us this picture of something to go towards for us to just say, well, one day maybe it’ll happen. No, he gives it because it’s really a marker for us to take action towards. Right? Um, I think I had a conversation with you a few weeks ago and we were talking about are all of our dreams meant to be fulfilled? Right? Are all our visions meant to be fulfilled and in reality, no, they’re not, right? They’re directions to lead us somewhere. And when we head towards those dreams, that’s when God does the amazing work, right? That’s when he shows up and he opens doors and he transforms and he renews us and refreshes us and all these other things. Not because that specific dream is necessarily always going to come to fruition. No. It’s because it’s going to lead us somewhere, right? And so we have to allow ourselves to recognize, hey, God put me as the mom of these kids for a very specific reason and gave me these dreams and desires and these passions for a very specific reason. And if I’m not doing them both together, congruently, then my kids are missing out and the fulfillment in my life is missing out, right? I can’t do just one sided and leave the rest. No, that’s who God created you to be, is to live out those dreams and those passions in the midst of being the mom that God wanted you to be and designed you to be.
DIANA: Do you think that’s possible without getting overwhelmed? Because I’m sure some people are going to hear that and be like, wait, I’m supposed to take care of all my kids and live out some passion? How am I going to do that?
Lauren: Yeah. As a mom of four, I’m not sure that there is a reality for me that never has any amount of overwhelm. Right. But it’s managing that overwhelm and recognizing it quicker and learning to set up the right systems and processes right. So we can go forward. It doesn’t mean I’m going to sacrifice my kids at the altar of ministry. It doesn’t mean that I am going to sacrifice my dreams and the desires to try to be a mom that I wasn’t created to be. But it’s recognizing like, you are in control because God designed you in a specific way. So you get to decide what are you going to be good at and what are you not? Right. We can’t do all the things I am not the mom that’s going to do dishes every single night. And so I use paper plates.
Lauren: My dinner. That’s something that I’ve chosen to fail at. Right. I’m not the mom that’s going to create the homemade valentine’s for my kids in school because I am not crafty and that’s not my gifting or my strength or even my desire. So I’m going to buy the pre boxed valentine’s for my kids to bring to school. Right. That’s something I’m choosing to fail at. But I can still be good and go after the things that God has called me to. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be the same as the person next to me or down the road from me or online. That’s succeeding in this incredible way. No, it’s going to look the way God designed it to look in my life.
DIANA: I love that. What I’m hearing is it can look any old way. There is no exact right way. There’s the way where you show up to be the mom you want to be. I use paper plates and bowls too. Paper bowls too. They make those in two sizes. We, uh, get to show up as the mom we want to be, which I’ve always thought the most important thing I could do is point them to God and love them unconditionally. And the rest doesn’t matter. The food doesn’t matter, the laundry doesn’t matter, whatever. So I can balance that and be the kind of mom I want to be. And I can do things that light me up and feed my passion and bring me to life. And there is no right or wrong way to do it. I just get to show up and figure it out.
Lauren: Yeah. Mhm.
DIANA: So I’m always poking around, as you can tell, about how we might be thinking about things. Not necessarily that we’re thinking about them wrong, but we’re thinking about them in ways that don’t serve us. Like we have to do it all that doesn’t serve us. That only leads to overwhelm. So I love how you pointed out how we can think about this differently. What’s another way that you found? Is there other ways you think about hopes and dreams? Like how we might think about them that don’t service and how we can shift our thinking?
Lauren: Yeah, I think a lot of times, um, and you see it probably in the online business world too, right, is we see a lot of our hopes and dreams are meant to be like these vision board markers that we’re just going to think about and manifest. And if we just try and think about it hard enough and look at it enough and do all these things that it’s going to happen. But in reality, our dreams and visions bring us somewhere, but where they bring us is going to look completely different than what we expect, right? Anybody who’s walked with the Lord for a reasonable amount of time recognizes that, hey, what I thought was going to happen here looks completely different than what God really meant for it to happen. And a lot of times that’s beautiful, right? It’s this great, oh man, god made it in a much better way.
But we think if we can just get the clarity and the picture and the insight and know exactly what it’s supposed to look like that we can get there faster, right? Or we can create it like that’s me. If God told me, hey, here’s the twelve steps to where I’m leading you and what it’s going to look like. And after you do this, you’re going to take a right at that big barn and then you’re going to keep heading south. And then you’ll do this. I’ll go, well, this road tends to get backed up and so I’m going to make a shortcut over here and try to get there faster, right? So I don’t get held up. But in reality, that whole journey is the purpose God has for us in the midst of our dreams and our desires, is to bring us through this refinement process that if we got there too fast or we tried to make a shortcut to figure out a better way, right. We always think we have a better way than we designed our own brains, right? Um, if we try to find a better way to get there, then all of a sudden it is going to be way more overwhelming, right? Way more intense, way more difficult than we could have ever managed if we don’t go through the journey that God wants us to go through in order to get there. Does that make sense?
DIANA: Yeah. Part of what I’m hearing you say is we don’t always need to know how, like, okay, if that’s what you’ve got for me, God, I see the end result. Like you said, give me all twelve steps. I need to know how every step of the way. Once I have that, then I’ll take a step and I hear you saying, you don’t need to know all that. You need to just be willing to go on the journey and take a step.
Lauren: Any old step. And a step could be as simple as, hey, uh, one day I want to write a book. Well, I don’t even have to know the genre of what that book is going to be, but I’m just going to start writing every day, right? Developing that discipline and that habit in my life. Ten minutes. It doesn’t matter what I write about. I’m going to write every day about a story that happened with my kids or something God did in my life or whatever it is. I’m going to journal it down and write it. And then when God gets to that place where it’s like, AHA, moment, right? This big light bulb. Oh, here’s exactly what your book is going to be about and who you’re writing it to and all these things. You are going to have a whole manifest of stories and things you’ve written down, and you’ve already developed the discipline of being a writer before you were technically a writer.
DIANA: That’s literally how I got to my current profession. I just kept doing what God put in front of me, and I didn’t even know what it really meant to be a life coach. I’m like, that is not a real job. But by the time he three, people told me in like a two week time period, you’d make a great life coach. And I felt like, is God saying this? I have to listen. And when I look back on all the things I do before or did before that, none of them specifically seemed to be taking me down the path to be a life coach. But when you pile them all up together, I’m like, holy cow, you trained me for this. And I didn’t even know just because I was willing to take a step forward in some way towards something I felt passionate about without knowing exactly where it would lead. And you’re saying that’s okay?
Lauren: Yeah. And that’s one of my favorite things that I help my clients with, is watching them recognize, hey, we don’t have to get hung up in this mind spinning cycle, right, of trying to figure it out, trying to make it work. Because a lot of times, even our passions and our desires and what we see as our gifts don’t align with our present reality, right? And so we’re trying to make it all work and make sense before we waste too much time and we end up wasting a whole bunch of time trying to do that instead of just putting 1ft in front of the other, making the hard choices, and keep being obedient to what God’s calling us to do.
DIANA: Yeah, I just have to say one thing though. I don’t know that we actually ever waste time if we really think about it. Because even the time that we’re not taking that step forward in case someone’s listening, like, gee, I just spent the last two years not taking any steps forward. I don’t think God wastes. And I know you were just saying that in like a colloquial way, so it’s not a correction. But I also just want to add I don’t think God wastes any of those moments. I think each one of those moments is a part of him working on, um, our spirit, working on our thoughts, working in our heart, helping us. So sometimes it feels like we’re stuck and we’re not moving forward, but we’re in a refinement process that’s taking us there. And the next thing you could do is be willing to take a step, especially if you’ve been feeling stuck or I know I have four kids too, and they’re a lot bigger than yours now, so I’m um, a few years ahead of you. But it just feels like the same stuff over and over and it feels like we get lost in it. Mhm. And I think that’s just like a facade. Like if we really pulled back the curtain that is painting a picture of us being stuck, we’re like, wait a second, I’m not stuck. There are things I can do. That’s why I love you saying I can take a step. Okay, so let’s do one more. What else do you have for me and for the mamas listening or any women who are just like, I’ve got some passion or some hope or some dream that I’ve been ignoring or I don’t even know what mine is. What’s one other way that we can help people step up their thinking game or think about it differently in order to make some progress?
Lauren: Yeah, I love, um, that you asked about maybe you don’t even know what your dream or your passion or your desire is. And I love to tell my ladies that our emotions are very big markers and signals to the things that God has created us for the dreams and the passions and the desires. Now then again, our emotions is something that the enemy loves to pull us away from those things, from the Lord. But when we recognize that, when we think about certain things or talk about certain things and they make us super emotional, right? Or even excited or almost an anxious feeling, like we feel our heart pattering, those kind of things, we start to recognize, hey, this is something God’s put inside of me and there’s a reason he’s put it inside of me. And so start to really challenge the Lord and ask Him, why is this inside of me? What are you trying to tell me? What are you trying to show me? And the thing that I love about our Lord is that he’s so gracious that when we are willing to challenge him or ask Him or, um, even test Him, that he will show up, he’s going to give it. Like you said, you got confirmation from three different people, and you’re like, sometimes I’m just like, Lauren, you’ve already heard it five times. Why do you need to hear it another time?
But our God, he loves us so much, he tells us another time, right? He gives us another insight of confirmation. And so if you feel like there’s something in your life that you just when you talk about it or think about it or even get burdened with the idea to pray for it, um, and it makes you super emotional, ask the Lord what he’s doing with that. And sometimes it won’t look probably actually, a lot of times it won’t look like it connects to your present reality. But God can find ways to, uh, cross paths with people who have the same passions or desires or involved in other things. When you become aware of it and recognize it and surrender those emotions to the Lord and say, god, what do you want with this? Um, he will open up some incredible doors and so really pay attention to that. Write it down. And that is one of the things that Moms we get stuck in a lot, is we just get so busy that we don’t recognize our emotions, right? We don’t recognize our feelings. We don’t recognize all those thoughts because we just have this chaos and noise in the background all the time of all the things we have to get done. We lay down in bed and we have a checklist of, oh, yeah, I got to make this appointment for my kid. Or I have to remember that this schedule changed or they’re supposed to wear this color to school tomorrow, or whatever it is, right.
That we have constantly going on that we don’t recognize those sweet whispers of the Holy Spirit that, hey, remember that girl that you came across ten years ago? And God put this passion inside of you for the hard things she was going through and wanted to use you? And then that happened two days ago, and then that happened last week, and all of a sudden, I have all these stories coming up. God wants to use those, and he’s trying to show you something and remind you of that passion he’s put inside of you because he has a purpose for you in the midst of that.
DIANA: I love that, uh, you mentioned paying attention to the emotions, because I’m always saying our emotions are a beacon, like a siren, or they’re telling us something. And so pay attention to that because our thoughts are moving so fast during the day, and we have so many stories and beliefs and all that that we’ve brought with us. And within those, there are stories that we’ve carried because we really care about something. We’re really passionate about it. And so some people are like, oh, my gosh, that situation really touched me. And other people are like, oh, I didn’t even notice that. That was a touching situation. Interesting. And so I guess, um, what I wrote down, because I take notes when I’m talking to people, is get curious. Like you said, ask God and stuff. Like, get curious, what is this? What do you have for me, God? Why is this here? And I know my podcast stays in the practical all the time, but I have to let my listeners know. If you’re wondering, Lauren is totally speaking my language. In fact, I didn’t even notice it until we were talking. But I said, three people told me I’d make a good life coach. God uses the number three because I pay attention to three. So we get to be curious, like, why, God? Why did you have three people tell me that? Should I be paying attention to this? Or why God.
When I saw that person over there in that situation, did I get so moved? Why is that? What about that move me? What do you have for me? And in the curiosity, then being willing to listen. And I know when you’ve got young kids, it’s easier for me. Now. My youngest is twelve. My kids do, and my other ones are adults. They do a lot on their own. Um, but when they were little, they took a lot of my brain space. So we can carve out some time for ourselves, like on a weekend or in the evening, where if we notice something during the day, we can stop and we can get curious and we can wonder about it and keep our dreams alive.
Lauren: Right, mhm? Absolutely.
DIANA: Yeah. All right, well, that’s just a little taste of Lauren apple, you all. Definitely I’m going to ask you where else people can find you, but they got to listen to the podcast if you want to be inspired and encouraged by someone who loves God through and through. And your specialty is Moms, right?
DIANA: Yeah. Okay. How can people connect with you and learn more about what you’re doing? Lauren: I think the best way to connect with me right now is in my Facebook group. It’s a completely free Facebook group called Ministry Plus motherhood. Um, you will find it all in there and you can just request to join. And then you’ll get all the information that you need from me to kind of learn more about what I do, who I help, and just be inspired from the stories of all the other ladies in the community and the dreams that God has put in their hearts.
DIANA: Awesome. Yeah. And you’ll find me there, too, if you go join the group, because I’m active in that group, too, so we can talk. You can talk to me and Lauren. Well, thank you so much for coming on today. And thank you for sharing your heart and your passion. And I think it’s so cool that you’re living it out, balancing your kids and balancing ministering to other moms and doing it your own way. And it’s not perfect, and it’s awesome, right?
Lauren: Yes. Absolutely.
DIANA: Thanks so much for being here, Lauren. And, guys, go join her Facebook group, check out her podcast. And that’s all I have for this week, so I will catch you all next week. Take care of you.
As an advanced certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to rympodcast.com. To get my free resources or free coaching call.