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Julie Lefebure

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  1. Thanks to God and you, the podcast is one year old today! One year ago today Julie hit publish on the first episode of the Encouragement for Real Life Podcast! Thanks to God and you, we're celebrating today this one year milestone, and Julie invites you to join in the celebration! While listening you may just be inspired to step out and do something new in your life! Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. One year ago today, on August 9, 2021, I hit publish on the first official episode of the Encouragement for Real Life Podcast. What a journey it has been! So, it's fitting that today we celebrate the podcast's one year anniversary (or birthday)! Come celebrate with me! And it all began at last summer's Northwestern Christian Writers Conference when the idea of starting a podcast popped into my head. If you know me, you know once I have an idea, I tend to run with it. So, it was no surprise I came home from the conference, and three weeks later the Encouragement for Real Life Podcast was born! That all sounds simple, doesn't it? But quite honestly, it wasn't. Because I had no idea how to launch a podcast. And I had no idea how to go about getting it to where it needed to go so others could listen to it. My biggest obstacle, however, wasn't any of that. It was my fear. Friend, I was scared. I was scared to try to something new. I was scared to step out of what was comfortable for me. After all, what if I failed? What if the podcast failed? Ever feel something similar? Are you ever scared to try something new, too? Are you hesitant to step out because you don't know what you're doing? Good thing God knew what He was doing. I felt He was leading me in this. So I just took the next step. And then the next one. And the next one. You know? We can do anything when we partner with God! What's the thing you're scared to do? Is it to start your own podcast? Or begin a business? Is it to go back to school? Or apply for that job? Is it to quit the job or follow your dream? Friend, I encourage you to pray about it, then take the next step. Partner with God in whatever it is and see how He leads you. Because sometimes the blessings come from what once scared us. Even though a year ago I really didn't know what I was doing, I was eager to learn, and I fell in love with podcasting along the way. I share in this episode how I almost quit around episode 14, why I didn't, and what's in store for the future. I also invite you to celebrate with me in three fun and simple ways. Thank you for celebrating with me today. Celebrating one year with you makes this day extra-special. God bless you! Links in this episode: Why a Podcast?, Episode 1 Jack Butcher quote on Twitter When Letting Go Is Best, but Not Easy, Episode 7 Now Is Not the Time to Give Up, Episode 15 How to Be a Positive Person in a Negative World, Episode 9 If God Is Not in a Hurry, Why Are We?, Episode 12 What in the World Are We Thinking?, Episode 39 Life Is One Big Adventure With God, Episode 45 Life Is Too Important to Live Distracted, Episode 52 Access my Free Resources, designed just for you! Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook
  2. Because if we're living distracted, we can't live encouraged. Do your thoughts, your phone, others, or life situations pull you from the present? What keeps you from staying focused? Could you be living distracted? Many of us are, and some of us are unaware of how much distractions control our lives. In this episode, Julie points us to reality and to the hope we have in overcoming a distracted life. You won't want to miss this one. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. Do you ever become distracted throughout your day? Maybe the notifications on your phone ding while you're concentrating at work. Or maybe your thoughts snatch you from your present moment. Or you just can't seem to get focused or stay that way? So many of us are dealing with distractions throughout our days, so much so, we're becoming accustomed to living distracted. Friend, life is too important to live distracted. Bill Keane once said, “Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present.” Today is a present. And it’s so special. Why? Well one reason is we’ll never get to live it again. Ever. Same goes for this moment. We’ll never get to live it again either. So, let’s take a minute right now and appreciate this moment. Let’s appreciate the breath in our lungs, our hearts beating, our blood pumping, the simple fact we are alive. Let’s pause to notice our senses, what we see, what we hear, what we smell, what we can touch, and if we're eating right now, what we can taste. The truth is, many of us are living distracted. We can't stay focused on our work, on the person sitting across the table from us, on what we went into the kitchen to retrieve. Am I right? I mean, am I the only one who walks into a room and stands there in dismay because I can't remember what I was going to do or get in that room? Please tell me I'm not the only one. We are a distracted people. We don't set out to be, but we are. And the thing is, we can’t embrace life fully if we’re preoccupied with something else. We can’t embrace each day and live in the moment if our minds are elsewhere. We can't live encouraged if we live distracted. You may be living distracted if you are often physically present but your mind is elsewhere. You may be living distracted if you find yourself missing moments that are happening right in front of you. And you may be living distracted if you can't remember what someone told you two hours ago. So, what do you think? Are you living distracted? I share in this episode a story in the Bible that sheds light on the truth of distraction, and a follow-up verse that's the solution to the problem of living distracted. Life is too important to live distracted. And I believe we have a choice in the matter. With God's involvement and our diligent effort, we'll can live encouraged as we live in the moment. I'm cheering you on today, friend. God bless you. Links in this episode: Distraction Study from Harvard Luke 10:38-42 NIV 1 Peter 5:8 CEV Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook Stay encouraged through the Free Resources I designed for you on my site
  3. What is RAGBRAI and why do I do it? It's likely we each do something that may not make sense to others. For Julie, it's riding RAGBRAI. But oftentimes the why behind what we do is so very important. She explains in this episode her why and offers us encouragement in ours. Plus she invites you along for the ride! Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. It's RAGBRAI week in Iowa, but if you're not from Iowa, you might not know what RAGBRAI is. RAGBRAI stands for the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. (The Register is the Des Moines newspaper.) It's an annual event, with the exception for 2020, that takes place the last full week of July. Why do I ride this ride? Well, in this episode I share why I RAGBRAI, and my answer may surprise you. And, if you know me, we'll find some hope and encouragement for us all along the way. I remember the phone call as if it happened last week. My husband on the other end said he was in the hospital and had been hit by a car while out riding his bike. You get a call like that and life come to a screeching halt. A million thoughts flip through your mind, along with the same amount of questions. But he was talking, so I knew he was alive. Nearly sprinting into his hospital room on that hot August day in 2013, I found him lying on the bed, wrapped in bandages, a splint on his ankle, and a smile on his face. He filled me in on how a car likely traveling 55 mph (or faster) hit him on a two-lane road. The car's passenger side rearview mirror caught Bill's left backside and sent him flying 30 feet in the air, landing on the road's right shoulder. Lying there on the side of the road, gasping to regain his breath, he thought his life might be over. He thought of his family in that moment, and how he may not ever see us again. Thankfully, his lungs filled with oxygen again and his breath returned. I think we both wondered if he would he ever ride again. The months following weren't easy. Healing was slow. Emotions ran high. Pain was real. So, I was a bit stunned when Bill asked me the following January if I would ride RAGBRAI with him in July on our tandem bicycle. He was willing to look the fear of bicycling in the face and meet it head on. He was willing to get back out there and do what he once loved. How could I say no? But I wasn't a bicyclist. I wasn't fond of camping in a tent in the heat for a week. I didn't want to stand in line for a shower or a bathroom break every day. And I wasn't thrilled about the thought of learning how to ride a tandem bicycle for seven long days in a row. Could I even do this? So, July 2014 was my first RAGBRAI, and this ride transformed me. I also disclose the 10 reasons why I RAGBRAI. Why I RAGBRAI may be different than what you think! And I offer some encouragement to keep doing what's important to you. Bicycling may not not be your thing, and that's okay. But something is your thing. What is that? No matter what it is, as 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, do it for the glory of God. I'm praying for you as you do, friend. Live encouraged! God bless you. Links in this episode: Genesis 50:20 NIV Romans 8:28 VOICE 1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV Follow us on RAGBRAI through Facebook Follow us on RAGBRAI through Instagram Access my encouraging Free Resources to inspire you daily
  4. They may be holding us back more than we realize. It's likely we each carry with us limiting beliefs that prevent us from receiving all God has for us. These beliefs don't come from Him, so they don't belong in our lives. In this episode, Julie shares the truth about these beliefs, what we can do about them, and how we can remove them for good. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. It's been said you and I are only as limited as our beliefs (Jennifer Ho-Dougatz). And if you think about that for a moment, it's so true, isn't it? So often it's our beliefs--our limiting beliefs--and what we tell ourselves that hold us back and prevent us from realizing our full potential. Well, in this episode we are exploring this a little more. What are these beliefs, what can we do about them, and how can we live encouraged in spite of them. "If you accept a limiting belief, then it will become a truth for you." --Louis Hay Are your beliefs limiting you? Do you have any that are holding you back? These kinds of beliefs are called "limiting beliefs." A limiting belief is a state of mind or belief about ourselves that restricts us in some way. These beliefs are often false accusations we make about ourselves that can cause a number of negative results. They often arise out of negativity and fear, and our brains use them to protect us from pain in the future, which keep us from experiencing new opportunities and growing in new ways. Some examples of limiting beliefs are: "I'm too old or too young." "I don't have enough money." "I'll never be successful." "I'm not smart enough." "I'll never be able to do that." "I don't have enough time." "I'm not a good ______ (mom, person, leader, speaker, writer, cook, painter, etc.)." And the disturbing thing is, we may not even be aware of the limiting beliefs we carry with us every day! Recently something challenged one of my limiting beliefs. Not only did it awaken me to the reality of just how many of these beliefs I'm holding on to, but it also made me aware of how much my limiting beliefs have been holding me back. It was a startling realization, and one that I wanted to change immediately. It happened on a bicycle ride a couple Sundays ago, and I share the full story in this week's episode. Every day we're faced with the choice to challenge our beliefs and our fears. We can let go of any limiting beliefs, no matter how long we've carried them, and live the lives God calls us to. May you and I be people who are willing to always step out of our comfort zones, to try new things, to embrace adventure, and to partner with God to experience all He has for us. Thanks again for joining me today. God bless you! Links in this episode: How Tandem Bicycling Is a Little Like Following God, Episode 46 Romans 12:2 VOICE 1 Chronicles 16:11 NCV Encouragement for Real Life Community Add yourself to my elite email group Access my Free Resources to encourage your heart
  5. If you are waiting on something, this one's for you. Do you find yourself in a season of waiting? Where God seems silent and you see no action on His part? How do you remain encouraged when it's easy to be discouraged? Because staying encouraged matters, especially when we're waiting. In this episode, Julie shares three powerful ways to remain encouraged while we wait. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. Are you finding yourself in a season of waiting? Have you been praying for something, yet God seems silent? Do you desire for a certain situation or circumstance to change, yet nothing appears to be changing? I think we all know how it feels to wait, right? So, how do we remain encouraged in the waiting, especially in the seasons that last longer than we expect? Hang out with me here for the next short while and we'll find some help and hope as we dig into this subject a little deeper today. For over five years I've been waiting. Waiting for God to answer my prayer regarding a certain situation. Someone in my life needs His healing touch, and in this particular circumstance, God seems silent. It feels to me as if God could care less about this situation and what's going on with it. Because nothing has changed since I began to lift this concern in prayer to our God so long ago. At least nothing has changed that I can see. My prayers seem to mean--and do--nothing. As if they are falling on deaf ears. Do you know the feeling? Maybe you're experiencing something similar. You know how it feels when God seems silent. You understand the wonderings if God still cares. And you get how frustrating and heart-wrenching it is when you question if your prayers are making any difference at all. But you and I know better when it comes to God. Right? You and I know God is perfectly sovereign, meaning He has the power, wisdom, and authority to do anything He chooses with His creation. You and I know God cares about what we care about. We understand the value of prayer and the truth of how God hears each one we offer to Him. We know we can trust God with everything. Yes? Yet, in the waiting, we wonder. God, do You hear me? God, do You see me? Do you still care, God? God, where are You? Why, God, are You taking so long? Why, God, do I have to wait? How much longer, God? So, how do we remain encouraged in the waiting? Because remaining encouraged matters. In this episode I share three ways we can remain encouraged in the waiting. Waiting time is not wasted time when God is involved. In our seasons of waiting, may you and I keep our encouraged as we fix our eyes on God. Come back and listen to this episode whenever you need a reminder. Thank you for being here, friend. God bless you. Links in this episode: 1 John 5:14-15 MSG Romans 12:12 VOICE Psalm 27:13-14 NIV 2 Peter 3:8 VOICE 2 Peter 3:9 VOICE Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG Encouragement for Real Life Community Access the Free Resources on my site, designed to encourage and inspire you
  6. Life doesn't have to be so complicated. Would you describe your life as complicated? We each have problems in our real lives, but we don't have to allow them to dictate how we live. If you're interested in simplifying your life, listen in to this episode as Julie shares 7 ways to uncomplicate life and to live with joy, instead. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. Would you describe your life is complicated? Or would you call it complex? You know, I wonder if at times we each think our lives are that way? Yes, life can be complicated because we are each living a real life. But does it have to be so complicated? Journey with me for the next short while here as we discuss the idea of uncomplicating your life and mine in this week's episode. I ran across a quote the other day that really is the basis for this episode. It read, "Life is as simple or as complicated as we make it." --Donna Smallin I say Donna is absolutely right. So, how do we uncomplicate your life and mine? Isn't it true how some people just seem to always have issues and complications in their lives? As an example, every time I talk or spend time with a certain acquaintance I hear of a new problem she's dealing with. Seriously. Every single time. There's always a new challenge she's working through or an issue or dilemma she's facing. I feel bad for her and I pray for her, but goodness, no one else I know deals with such complications in life. We all have problems, and no one person's life is perfect. I'm not judging her, I'm just stating facts. "Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." --Confucius Yet, I have another friend who is twenty years older than me. She had a life-threatening disease when she was a child which still causes her pain and discomfort today. But you'd never know it. She smiles the brightest smile, she voices the most encouraging words, and she serves God and others as if it was her job. Because that's what she does. Her life is far from perfect and she deals with more problems than I ever know about. But that's not her focus. Living a joy-filled life is her focus, and she would never describe her life as "complicated." Because to her, it's not. When living a joy-filled life is our focus, life becomes less complicated. Because we don't see life through complicated eyes. We see it through joy-filled eyes. And that makes all the difference. No, life may not always be easy, but we can choose how we life it. We can choose to remain joyful no matter what's happening in life. In this episode, I share 7 practical ways to uncomplicate your life, with coordinating Bible verses as references. In John 10:10 it says Jesus came to give us an abundant life. Not a complicated life. The life He desires for us to live is simple and uncomplicated. Let's uncomplicate your life and mine, beginning today. I appreciate you, friend. God bless you! Links in this episode: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 MSG Matthew 6:33 NCV Galatians 6:9 TLB Colossians 3:9 MSG 1 Corinthians 14:40 ESV Proverbs 13:20 MSG Proverbs 29:25 GNT Psalm 9:1 NIV Encouragement for Real Life Community Access my Free Resources to encourage your heart John 10:10 AMPC
  7. And how to embrace God's grace instead. Guilt is an interesting emotion and not a fun one, at that. But we've all dealt with it, and sadly, some of us live under its weight every day. In this episode, Julie discusses healthy and unhealthy guilt, and shares steps how to finally say goodbye to the guilt in our lives for good. You won't want to miss this one. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. Guilt. It's an interesting emotion, isn't it? And it's never a pleasant one. Yet, we've all experienced it and know the weight it carries. It can stand in the way of our relationship with God, His love, and His grace. It can be so strong, so intense, we may begin to question God’s love for us. How could God love someone like me, with what I've done and the guilt I carry? We're discussing this in today's episode, and in it we'll find some help and hope in how to say goodbye to guilt for good and live in God's grace. Joyce Meyer once said, "We are not built for guilt. It damages our souls and personalities, even our health." Isn't that so true? Yet, many of us have carried guilt for so long, it's become a part of us. So, what do we do about guilt? I know guilt is not pleasant to set our thoughts on it, but in order for us to say goodbye to guilt, we must first recognize it. So take a moment to think about guilt. What have you felt guilty about recently? Mental health professionals say a variety of kinds of guilt exist. Today we're lumping them into two… I call them healthy guilt and unhealthy guilt. I explain both in the episode with examples. This kind of guilt can be useful and productive. Feeling bad after messing up or doing something wrong or committing a sin can actually be a good thing. No, it may not feel good, but in the big scheme of life, it can be good. This kind of guilt corrects. This kind of guilt says I’m still a good person even though I did something bad. The other kind of guilt, the unhealthy kind, says I’m a bad person because I did something bad. You see? There’s a difference. One says “I did something wrong.” The other says “I am wrong.” This is where guilt becomes unhealthy and can turn to shame. Whereas God uses the good kind of guilt for our good and growth, the enemy of our souls uses this unhealthy kind against us. If our enemy can accuse us with guilt, he can make us ineffective in life. I share one situation in particular where I've felt the weight of guilt for years, and it has to do with something I wish I would have done differently. We discuss 6 steps to saying goodbye to guilt for good, along with supporting scriptures. Today and every day from here on out, let's lay those shackles down. Let's live in God's grace and say goodbye to guilt for good. Freedom in God's grace awaits us. Amen? Amen. God bless you. Links in this episode: Psalm 40:2 VOICE 1 John 1:9 VOICE Psalm 103:12 VOICE Philippians 1:6 NIV James 4:7-8 MSG Romans 5:1 VOICE Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook Free encouragement Resources to inspire you and add a lift to your step
  8. When we let God lead, we get to enjoy the ride. God leads and we follow, right? But sometimes that isn't so easy to do. Some days we struggle in letting God lead and in our following. Even if you aren't a cyclist, this episode will help you look at following God through an entirely different and helpful perspective. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. Are you more of a leader or a follower? Neither answer is right or wrong, but some of us are just simply wired one way or another. Well, in this episode, I share some of my experience of tandem bicycling and how that relates to following, and more specifically, following God. If you're not into bicycling, that's completely fine, you don't need to be. Because that's not the focus on this episode. But we'll find some help and hope and a whole lot of encouragement in this episode on how we can follow God wholeheartedly in our every day lives. Remember that lively and fun game we used to play as kids? Follow the Leader? Where everyone does what the leader does, or at least tries to? Well, my husband and I are tandem bicyclists and we are training for a big bicycle ride across our state the end of July, called RAGBRAI. And lately I feel like I'm following the leader on the back of our tandem. Because I simply just follow where Bill leads. I don't have another option. In tandem bicycling, the Captain, the front person, leads. The Stoker, the back person, follows. So, I'm having lots of experience playing this childhood game! The other evening on our tandem, however, I had this revelation. Tandem bicycling is a little like following God. How? Well, as we discussed in last week's episode, episode 45, life is one big adventure with God. In this life I can easily picture in my mind each of us on a tandem bike ride with God. As our Captain, He takes us on all sorts of adventures and expeditions. Our Captain steers, brakes, shifts gears, and warns us of what's ahead. You and I, as the Stoker, get to partner with God in pedaling, paying attention, and capturing some amazing moments along the way. It may not be easy at first, but the more experience riding with God, the more we realize how trustworthy of a Captain He is. Over time we learn to follow His ways and His rhythm. God cares that we arrive to our destination safely and securely. And He'll do everything He can to make that happen. In this episode, I share a few Bible verses that encourage us when it comes to following God, and I also add five things we can do to help us in our following our "Captain," God. It's a good day to thank God for leading us on this adventure and that we don't have to find our way on our own. Enjoy the journey, my friend, and keep peddling! God bless you! Links in the episode: Episode 45, Life Is One Big Adventure with God John 8:12 CEV Deuteronomy 13:4 MSG Psalm 37:23 NCV Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG Encouragement for Real Life Community Free Encouragement Resources on my site, designed just for you Today Is for Living Abundantly women's event on 6/27
  9. Where have you seen Him in your life recently? Think about it, life is one big adventure with God. No matter if He leads us to the mountaintop or through the valley or anywhere in between, God is always with us. Where have you seen Him in your life recently? In this episode Julie shares parts of a sermon she gave the previous Sunday regarding the Trinity in our lives. Listen in and be encouraged. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. Just this past Sunday I gave the sermon at our church, as our pastor was on vacation. It was Trinity Sunday in the United Methodist Church, so as I studied more about the Trinity in preparation for my sermon, I was reminded just how active the Trinity is in our lives on a daily basis. But oftentimes, we don't think about that or pay attention. So, I thought why not share parts of my sermon in this week's episode? So, here we are. I pray it encourages you and inspires you on your own adventure with God. I’m a part of one of the small groups at my church called Soul Sisters. We are a group of women who gather to grow closer to God, to encourage one another, and to be in community. We’ve been meeting off and on for almost four years. One question we ponder often when we gather is, “where have we seen God in our lives recently?” So, I ask you this question today. Where have you seen God in your life recently? I consider my life one big adventure with God. Think about it… sometimes He takes us to high mountain top places, and we marvel at what He allows us to experience. At other times He leads us through the valley, where we cling to Him for dear life because we can’t find our way out on our own. But no matter if we’re on the mountain or in the valley, or anywhere in between, we know as believers in Jesus Christ, we are never alone on this adventure with God. I’ve heard Christians attempt to explain the Trinity by saying God reveals Himself in three ways, sometimes as the Father, sometimes as the Son, and sometimes as the Holy Spirit. I’ve also heard others say the Trinity is like an orange (the fruit, the juice, and the peel). But God doesn’t change personalities and I’m sorry, but He isn’t like an orange. But I will say this. There is only one true God. The God of the Bible. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, which make up the Trinity, are the same God, but are different Persons. And all three are active in the lives of those who are followers of Jesus Christ. For as long as I can remember, I knew God existed. I share, though, how I didn't fully understand who God, Jesus, nor the Holy Spirit was in my young faith. For years God was an impersonal, impractical, and inaccessible deity in my life. Until one evening in April 1991 when everything changed. Stay encouraged, friend. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are at work in our lives! Links in this episode: Episode 37 What Is Your Faith Story? Trinity quote from Charles Stanley Psalm 8:1,9 NIV Free encouraging Resources on my site to compliment this episode Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook 2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV
  10. The difference wisdom makes in our lives. What do you know now that you did not know when you were younger? No matter how old we are, we can look back and see the difference wisdom makes in our lives as we age. But how do we acquire this wisdom? Can we get more of it? Listen in to find out more as Julie shares what she knows now but didn't know then. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. No matter our age today, when we think back to our younger years, we might remember the inexperienced and immature version of ourselves, right? I scratch my head at some of my childish ways and actions in my younger years, and I wonder, what was I thinking? Maybe you, too? It's a good thing we've grown up, isn't it? It's a good thing what we know now has matured from what we knew then. I invite you to think on this today. It's been said that with age comes wisdom. And I guess, I agree. The thing is, God knew what He was doing when He created us and designed us to gain wisdom as we age. Yet, we see in the Bible of how He gave wisdom to those who asked, such as Solomon. But what is wisdom, anyway? Dictionary.com defines it as the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; discernment, or insight. Thesaurus.com adds the synonyms of foresight, understanding, experience, and intelligence. One thing I know now is we can ask God for wisdom. I wish the less mature, younger Julie would have known or thought to ask God for wisdom. Yes, that's a thing! We can ask God for wisdom! No matter what age we are! But, do we do this? Do you and I ask God for wisdom? Do we pray for wisdom? Back in my younger years, I didn't know that was an option. In this episode, I share how and why we are invited to ask God for wisdom, and we look into King Solomon as an example. I also share my partial list of what I know now that I didn't know then. What do you know now that you didn't know then? Solomon began his kingship well by asking God for wisdom. But sadly, over the years his many wives led him astray, and he drifted from God. What if he would have kept seeking God and asking Him daily for a renewal of God's wisdom? Think it would have made a difference? I do. May this be a warning and an encouragement for us today. And it might be the most important point. To keep seeking God and asking for His wisdom. Daily. Thank you for being here today, friend. God bless you. Links in this episode: Definition of wisdom Synonyms of wisdom James 1:5 VOICE 1 Kings 3:5-14 NLT Proverbs 2:6 CEV Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook Free Encouragement Resources on my site (bookmarks, printables, lock screens, social posts) for your use
  11. Because FOMO doesn't have to ruin our day, nor our lives. Do you ever struggle with FOMO, the fear of missing out? In this episode we discuss what FOMO is, what it does, and 7 ways to overcome it. Life is too short to live it with the fear of missing out on anything. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. Do you struggle or have you ever struggled with FOMO, the fear of missing out? I'm thinking most people do or have. Except my husband. He doesn't seem to struggle with this at all. Maybe guys just don't deal with stuff like this as much as the girls do. I don't know. But this is the subject of today's episode. If FOMO isn't an issue for you, well I invite you to share this episode with someone who struggles with it. Because today we're peering into this fear of missing out, what it is, what it does, and how we can overcome FOMO. So, let's get into this episode to find some help, hope, and a whole lot of encouragement along the way. Well, rats. Some of our friends went out together. Without us. We didn't receive an invitation. Ugh. I don't like it when this kind of stuff happens. As soon as I found out, I instantly went quiet, and my thoughts went wild. Before long my self-esteem followed and my self-worth shattered in a million pieces. All within a matter of minutes. Thoughts like, "No one wants to hang out with you." "You are boring and unworthy." And, "Your friends are finding different friends." Ridiculous, I know. But being completely transparent with you, that's where my mind went. But, I know better. I've learned over the last few years how to combat thinking like this. I know where these thoughts came from, and they weren't from God. I don't have to believe every thought I think. (We talked about this in episode 39, What in the World Are We Thinking?). There's no doubt these thoughts were directly from the enemy of my soul. And sadly, I entertained them and allowed them to affect my mood, my attitude and my life. All because of FOMO. So, after realizing all of this, I did what you probably would have done right away. I prayed and invited God in to my situation. Something happens when we turn to God with our problems and struggles. Something happens within us. And we remember we aren't so alone in whatever we're going through in the moment. Sure, I was still a bit sad, but I determined this was not going to ruin the rest of my day. I was determined to overcome FOMO. Because I believe we can overcome FOMO. And I share seven ways to do that in this episode, full of encouragement and hope. Links in this episode: What in the World Are We Thinking?, episode 39 What Happens When We Compare?, episode 41 The Truth About Staying In Your Own Lane, episode 42 What is FOMO? FOMO, a mental epidemic Psalm 16:1-2, 5-6 VOICE Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook Access free encouragement RESOURCES such as lock screens, printables, social posts, bookmarks and more!
  12. This is key to winning in life. Do you like to win? One key factor of winning in this life is the ability to stay in our own lane. In this episode we look at how comparison causes us to lose all sense of direction and how it stops us from finishing well. Listen to be inspired! Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. So, what does it mean to "stay in your own lane"? Have you heard this term before? What do you think... is it a positive thing or something negative? Well, we are covering these questions and a couple more as we discuss the subject of running the race before us, a spin-off subject of last week's episode. Together here we'll find some encouragement, help, and hope for our real lives. I played all the sports I could in high school, and in the spring season I ran track. I was particularly fond of the hurdles and short sprints. Long distance was not my gig, but I could run a 100m or 200m race with the best of them. And our relay teams, which I was a part of, earned many a medal back then. And actually, I still have the hardware to prove it. But I quickly learned staying in my own lane was crucial. Because back then, and maybe it's still the same today, a runner could get disqualified from the race for leaving her lane. And who wants to get disqualified? Not this girl. But more importantly, it was unsafe to cross the lines of my lane. Unsafe for me and for my neighbor running next to me. But even so, staying in my own lane wasn't so easy if I took my focus off of where I was going. My focus was key. As I've heard Lysa TerKeurst say, "We steer where we stare." Focusing straight ahead to the finish line was crucial for not only finishing the race, but possibly winning it. Little did I know back then how my track experience of staying in my lane would impact me later in life. Even though I now run on a different track, the track of life instead of a track at a high school meet, it's still important to stay right where God has me. In my own lane. I share how God wired me to be a competitive person. Competition can be good, until it's not good. You can guess how I know that. I also share in this episode the one big obstacle that has prevented me from winning often. You'll also hear about our friend who is a race car driver and the importance of him staying in his own lane. Let's stay right where God has us, you in your lane and me in mine. He will safely lead us to the finish line. I'm cheering you on, friend! Links in this episode: Episode 41, What Happens When We Compare? 2 Timothy 4:7 GNT Proverbs 4:25-27 VOICE Hebrews 12:1-2 NCV Psalm 37:23-24 NCV Grab your free lock screens on my Resources page Encouragement for Real Life Community
  13. Why do we play this destructive game of comparison, anyway? Have you ever compared yourself to another or compared what you have with what someone else has? We've all done it, yet why do we participate in this activity that damages our self-worth and our relationships? Listen in to find help and hope! Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. When appropriate, comparing can be a good thing. But used in our relationships, well, it can be devastatingly damaging. Do you ever find yourself comparing who you are with someone else? Or have you ever compared what you have to what someone else has? Like your hair, your body, your clothing, your house, your talents, your journey, your children, your faith? We've all done it. Well, in this episode we're taking a look at comparison, what God might have to say about it, what happens when we compare, and how damaging comparison can be. She had everything going for her. She was more fit than me. She had the perfect life with the perfect home, the perfect job, the perfect set of skills. Her life was, yes, perfect. Or so it seemed. I found myself comparing what I didn't have to what she had. And this made me feel as if she had everything and I had nothing. But as I got to know her better, I began to realize her life wasn't so perfect after all. Her marriage was struggling, she had trauma from her past that was paralyzing her, and her self-worth was in the pits. It wasn't long before I started to feel like the superior one instead of the inferior one. When we compare ourselves to others, no one wins. Sadly, no one wins in the game of comparison. It is a self-destructive game we play with ourselves. Because have you noticed when we play this game of comparing ourselves with others, you and I are either the inferior or superior one? We either put ourselves down or we lift ourselves up. When we compare, we either condemn ourselves or we commend ourselves. No one wins in this game. No one ends up as the hero or champion in the end. Instead, everyone loses out. Everyone, both the comparer and the comparee (is that even a word??), lose in this game. And the poor comparee! She doesn't even know she's in the game! Seriously though, no one wins when we compare. When we compare, our relationships suffer. This act of comparing ourselves to others damages our relationships. It separates and divides us, it causes rivalries with scrutiny, by sizing up everyone and weighing against one another. On the other hand, refusing to compare is supportive and brings unity as we assist, aid, help, and support one another. We gather instead of divide. So, why do we play this ridiculous game? Why do we participate in this game of comparison? Good question. I share in this episode that I don't have the full answer, but how a certain psychologist termed this game and his take on it. I asked a few questions and added a couple Bible verses to point us in the right direction... to God. May we glorify God in refusing to compare ourselves in the days to come. May we embrace who He created us to be as we love Him, love others, and yes, even love ourselves. Thanks for being there today, friend. God bless you. Links in this epidode: Synonyms of compare Social comparison theory (Psychology Today) 2 Corinthians 10:12 VOICE Matthew 10:29-31 VOICE Romans 12:6a MSG Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook Get access to additional encouraging Free Resources designed for you
  14. He's everywhere. Do we see Him? Have you ever looked up to the heavens and asked, "God, where are you?" Do you ever wonder where God is in this mess? You're not alone. God is everywhere, but do we see Him? Find some real-life hope in today's episode. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. Have you ever looked up to the heavens and asked, "God, where are you?" Or even though you know scripture says God is always with you, you viewed your situation and wondered, "God, are you anywhere in this mess?" Well, in today's episode we are pausing to find truth and hope and a whole lot of encouragement regarding this subject, where is God in your life? A number of years ago God called me to serve the homeless and the hurting in our community through a local mission. It was more of a calling than a job. And God transformed my life through this calling and the people He put in my path. Some day I'll share more about this calling on the podcast, but one thing I cherish from those mission days is how God showed up every single day. Seriously. I saw God. Not physically, mind you, but I saw Him and His activity every single day there. Truly, every single day. Like the day when we received ice cream cones as a donation in the morning. We typically received all kinds of donations, but when these ice cream cones showed up I thought, "How in the world will we use these? We don't have ice cream on hand and neither do our homeless friends, so what are we going to do with these cones? Needless to say, we set them aside and went on with our day. But wouldn't you know, someone else donated two gallons of ice cream for lunch that day, not knowing we received the ice cream cones earlier! What a treat ice cream cones were to those we served lunch to that day! God knows our needs before we do, even if it is just treating us to ice cream cones! I have story after story similar to this one of God's presence from those days at the mission. Some day I'll share them all. But stories like these remind us God is always with us, especially in our everyday, ordinary lives. Yes, God is always with us. How do I know? Not only because I witness His presence, but because His Word tells us so. In this episode I share some of my favorite Bible verses that answer the question, "Where is God?". So, where is God in your life? Where is God in your current circumstances? Where is God in your day-to-day activities? Do you see Him? Do you notice His hand in your life? Because He's there. He is with you. There's never a moment that He's not with you and me. I share what happened after I stepped away from ministering at that mission in 2013, and where I see God in my life now. It may surprise you. As we intentionally look for God in our daily lives, we will find ourselves drawing closer to Him. Our hearts will naturally turn towards His direction, and we will more sensitive to His leading. All because we are paying attention to His presence. I pray we find ourselves in awe of Him often. God bless you! Links in this episode: Isaiah 41:10 ESV Joshua 1:9 NIV Matthew 28:20b VOICE Zephaniah 3:17 NCV Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook Find extra encouraging Free Resources designed just for you!
  15. Our thoughts matter. What are we thinking? Do we ever think about what we're thinking about? Because our thoughts matter, and the quality of our thoughts determine the quality of our lives. It's a good day to examine our them and transform them if needed. Julie shares tools to help us do that. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. So, what are we thinking? How often do we pause and ask ourselves this question? Four and a half years ago I began hosting a local evening of encouragement for women every other month. For over two years we women gathered together, sharing food, fellowship, and a whole lot of fun. But when the pandemic arrived on the scene in March of 2020, sadly these evenings of encouragement came to a halt. Well, last evening we held our first one in two years (our 15th one total), and let me tell you, my heart needed it. Gathering with other women was good for my soul, and it gave me a lift in my step that has been missing for quite awhile. Check out my social media posts if you'd like to see more. But last night's subject centered around something I believe is critical and significant for each of us and for the lives we are given to live out daily. We discussed our thoughts and if they are helpful or hurtful? Because they are one or the other. And it all begins with this question. What in the world are we thinking? Do you ever stand back and ask yourself such a question? "What in the world am I thinking?" When was the last time you and I thought about our thoughts? Do we ever pause enough to ponder our thoughts? The question, "What are we thinking?," is one I think we could ask more often. Because if we did, we might be surprised. And we might become aware that our thoughts aren't what we thought they were. (I know that sounds funny, doesn't it?) Because all too often, we just think what we think. But we don't necessarily think about what we think. I believe it's time to change that. Why? Well because I believe the quality of our thoughts determine the quality of our lives. And I believe our thoughts are important to our Creator. And two proverbs explain why: For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7 NLV Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life. Proverbs 4:23 NCV What our minds focus on shapes who we are. Our thoughts can control how we feel about certain situations in life. They can control how we perceive ourselves and others. They can determine our words, our actions, our beliefs. Our thoughts can impact how we view the world, our lives, our day-to-day experiences. Our thoughts matter! So, it's no wonder God has much to say about our minds and our thoughts! I also share a simple four-step way to help us transform our thoughts. What in the world are we thinking? We are thinking truth. We are thinking the thoughts God desires us to think. Thank you for being here and for the blessing you are. God bless you! Links in this episode: Proverbs 23:7 NLV Proverbs 4:23 NCV Romans 12:2 VOICE John 10:10 NASB 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV Philippians 4:8 NIV Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook Find additional encouragement in my Free Resource library
  16. Be a light. But how and why? Be a light. That sounds great and all, but how can we do that and why would we want to? Does it really make a difference? Julie shares 10 simple ways to be a light in this world and helps us understand the meaning behind this term. You'll may find you are shining bright without you even realizing it! Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. Be a light. What does that even mean? Well, today we pause to reflect on what it means to be a light in this world, why we would be interested in being a light, and how we go about doing that. Because you've likely heard the term, "be a light." Am I right? So, let's dig into this a little deeper today and find some real-life hope and encouragement along the way. I say it's a great day to be a light in this world! How can you and I each be a light in this world? We can, and we're called to do so. I appreciate the idea and the reality of being a light. I speak and write about it, maybe more than any other subject. Maybe that's because in doing so, I'm reminding myself to be a light in this dark world. To shine bright even when I don't feel like it. To be a light, even when it feels uncomfortable and awkward. And to shine God's light wherever He has me. It's even referenced in my, I guess you could call it, "mission statement": "I help women live encouraged in their real lives so they can shine bright and make a difference in this world." Because God calls us to shine brightly. So, what does it mean to be a light in this world? How does one go about being a light? Because I don’t know about you, but I know full well some days I’m not so bright (physically, mentally, and emotionally.) Some days I wonder if there’s any light at all in this dark world. And, to top it off, going through what we've gone through the past two years have made it feel even darker at times. Well, I believe God has placed a light within each one of us, and I share some supporting Bible verses that help point us in the right direction. Because His light shines through you and me. Not just for our benefit, but for more than we can begin to imagine. I also share 10 simple ways to be a light in this world. They may not be what you think! May this episode encourage you and me to shine bright today! Thank you for being a light in my world, friend. I appreciate you, your comments, your reviews, your presence here, and your love. Continue to shine bright right where God has you. You are making a difference for Him! God bless you! Links in this episode: 1 John 1:5 VOICE Ephesians 5:8 TPT Matthew 5:14-16 VOICE Psalm 119:105 NIRV Proverbs 13:9 NLT Episode 29, Are You the Most Positive Person You Know? Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook Free Resources to be a light and encourage your heart BYOB And B event, Our Thoughts, on May 2
  17. We each have a faith story, and it's worth sharing. You and I have faith stories, and as long as we're breathing, these stories are unfolding day by day. No two stories are alike, just as no two people are alike. When we share our stories, others are encouraged and inspired, and God gets the glory. Julie shares some of her faith story in this week's episode. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. What is your faith story? You may not think you have one, but you do. Actually, we each have a faith story, and no matter how old or young we are, as long as we're breathing, we each are living out our faith stories. No two faith stories are the same, just as no two people are the same. This is the subject of this week's episode, and I share a little of my faith story throughout it. I pray it encourages you to share yours in your corner of the world. Last week, thirty one years ago, I became a follower of Jesus Christ. So, naturally I thought it would be a good time to discuss faith stories on the podcast! So, what is faith, anyway? Hebrews 11:1 says it this way in the Voice translation: Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. 2 Corinthians 5:7 CEV says this: But we live by faith, not by what we see. Dictionary.com defines it a few different ways: belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion confidence or trust in a person or thing the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved My faith story began when I was a small child. For as long as I can remember, faith in God has been a part of my life. I can recall in my early years how our family attended church every weekend and on special, what the church deemed special days. But back then, going to church wasn’t my favorite thing to do as a child. Especially on Good Friday when the rest of the world had the day off from school and was outside playing at 2 p.m. as we were off to church. Gosh, I wanted to join my friends and play outside instead. But, church back then was the beginning of my faith story. What's yours? What's the beginning of your faith story? Sadly, as I grew older, my faith grew less important. I shelved God and put Him on the back burner of my life when I left home as a young adult. But even seasons like this are a part of our faith stories. All seasons we walk through fill the pages of our faith stories. I share more of my faith story and how I became a follower of Jesus in this week's episode. It's my favorite part! Friend, our faith stories are powerful. They may not seem like a big deal, but they are. And they are unfolding day by day. No matter where you are in your story, it's important, and it's important to share with one another. I'd love to read about or hear yours! You are making a difference in this world, my friend. Thank you, and God bless you. Links in this episode: Hebrews 11:1 VOICE 2 Corinthians 5:7 CEV Ephesians 2:8-10 MSG John 16:33 AMPC Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook Our Thoughts - Bring Your Own Bible and Bestie evening of encouragement for women Matthew 5:16 VOICE Additional Free Resources to encourage your heart
  18. What do we do now when we are hurt by what we once considered a "safe place"? The Church is supposed to be a "safe place," right? Well, what happens when it isn't and we become hurt by the Church or fellow Christians? What do we do then? In this episode we find hope and healing in understanding God doesn't leave us in the hurt, but instead uses it for good. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. Sadly, this is a subject I am hearing more and more of lately. People who have either been hurt by the Church or by other Christians. It's one I wish wasn't a part of my story, but it is. You may know someone who also has this as a part of his or her story, and quite possibly that person you know is you. I hope that's not the case, but if it is, I think you're in good company. How do we deal with this kind of hurt? What do we do as we try to make sense of it all? Well, in this episode I share a piece of my story, what I did, and what I'm currently doing to heal. We can find hope and healing, even through this kind of hurt. Hurt. We’ve all experienced it, right? We each are familiar with the pain of hurt and heartache. You and I understand the strain and suffering that accompanies a heart wound. We also know it's not the easiest to maneuver through gracefully and gratefully. Especially when it happens in the Church. (By the Church, I mean the people who make up the Body of Christ, who may or may not be in an organized church building.) What do we do when we've been hurt by the Church? I find it interesting how often I meet people who have been hurt by the Church. I hear snippets of stories in conversations and painful testimonies of the real-life heartbreak some have experienced in their churches. From others, who like they, love Jesus. I’ve heard this group of people be described as the “walking wounded,” or “church damaged.” I don’t particularly care for these descriptions, but they may be the most appropriate. Can we come up with something better though? These are people just like you and me, and they’ve experienced something personally through the Church to cause them pain and heartache. How do I know? Because I am one of these people. I have been hurt by the Church. And I often unintentionally run into others who fall into this group. I am continually reminded the Church is comprised of broken people, just as the world is. And I may be the most broken of them all. God uses these broken people to relate to and to reach other broken people. So, the Church is filled with those who sin, who are imperfect, flawed, dysfunctional, and wounded. Who make mistakes, say unkind words, and do unkind things. Both intentionally and unintentionally. So, understandably, wreckage can take place in the Church, just as it can in the world around us. We discuss this more in this week's episode. I share about not knowing when I walked away from the Church if I would ever return again. But the thing is, God didn't leave me in my hurt. And He won't in yours either. I pray this episode encourages you if you've been hurt by the Church. And if you haven't, feel free to pass this on to someone you know who has. I'm glad we're in this together, friend. God bless you! Links in this episode: 1 Corinthians 12:24b-26 VOICE Colossians 3:12-17 MSG Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook Bring Your Own Bible and Bestie May 2 evening of encouragement for women
  19. Encouragement for those of us who have broken spaces in our lives. We live in a broken world, so naturally we will experience brokenness in our lives. It's something we each have in common. Yet, is there hope to live a full and abundant life beyond our brokenness? This episode will encourage each of us in our real-life broken spaces. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources/. Is there hope of living beyond our brokenness? Sadly, we live in a broken world, and because we do, brokenness invades the spaces of our lives. From the moment sin entered the world when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, brokenness infiltrated our world. No matter how much we try to avoid it or what we do or don’t do, brokenness will be a part of life this side of eternity. Well, that’s encouraging, isn’t it?! What a great way to begin a podcast, right? But sometimes reality isn't perfectly positive. Sometimes it helps knowing you and I aren't the only ones who experience brokenness in this life. And sometimes we could use a little extra encouragement when we feel broken into a million pieces. I pray God uses this episode to encourage your heart if this is you today. If we had the choice, we’d each probably prefer to pass on the helping of brokenness. Am I right? We’d rather not experience it. But, the thing is, brokenness is one of the few things you and I have in common. If we’re breathing, we have broken places in our lives. Broken relationships, broken bones, broken hearts. Brokenness caused by the actions or words of others. Brokenness caused by our own actions or words. We have broken dreams, plans, and hopes. Death and grief and loneliness carry brokenness with them. You may be showing up today feeling completely shattered or broken. Or maybe you've bought into the belief that this is the way life will always be and you're feeling beyond repair. Or maybe you're feeling hopeless and helpless and too much of a mess for God’s use. Friend, if any of these describe you or how you're feeling today, you’ve come to the right place. You are not alone. This world is filled with women like you and me who are walking in shoes not so different than our own. No, we might not have the exact same broken places, but we all have them. We are in this together. Is there life beyond our brokenness? I say there is, and I share in this episode why. I also share some of the broken places in my life. We peer into scripture to see what God says about brokenness and living beyond our brokenness. Click on the player above to listen to the full episode and be encouraged. God equips us to live beyond our brokenness, friend. What a hope we have! May we remain encouraged as He uses it all for good in our lives. God bless you. Links in this episode: Psalm 34:18 NLT Psalm 147:3 NLT Psalm 73:26 NLT Psalm 51:17 NLT John 4:4-30 NLT John 4:39-42 NLT John 12:24-25 MSG Isaiah 61:3 VOICE Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook Enjoy these Free Resources of encouragement and hope designed for you on my site
  20. We've come a long way since March 2020. Two years ago. What were you doing when life changed in that moment? Where were you? We will each likely remember March 2020 for many years to come, as that is month many of our lives were greatly altered. We're glancing back in this episode, sharing what we've learned and where we're going from here. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com. So, friend, what were you doing two years ago? Do you remember? Seems like so long ago, doesn't it? Yet it feels like not so long ago when we think back to those early days of the pandemic. We likely recall how life shifted for most of us two years ago. For some life came to an abrupt halt, and for others, life sped up significantly. For some of us life became a blur, and yet for others, we saw life through eyes of sharp clarity. I don't think we will ever forget March of 2020, do you? I remember it well. Sitting in the fourth row in our local theater in between my husband and my daughter on Saturday evening, March 14, 2020. We were all enjoying the Christmas gift we gave her and our son-in-law, tickets for One Night of Queen. This tribute band took us as close as we'll ever get to the iconic British band. The music was spot on, the company was spectacular, and watching Alissa and Morgan (our daughter and son-in-law) was even better than the performance on stage. They are big Queen and Freddie Mercury fans. Hence the name of their mini Golden Doodle, Freddie. Early on in the show, however, a text from our pastor lit up my lock screen. "We are canceling worship tomorrow morning. Can you make an announcement?" Wait, what? We're canceling church tomorrow? I opened the text and instantaneously, goosebumps covered my body. We were canceling worship the following morning because Iowa's infection rate of the virus was large enough to take action. He attached links with statements from our governor. When life changed two years ago, where were you in that moment? I invite you today to pause where you are, turn around, and take a look back. A long look back to 2020. Goodness we've gone through much in two years, haven't we? Because sometimes it's in the glancing back to where we've been to be able to see just how far we've traveled. To realize just how far we've come. In this episode I share more of my story from two years ago and the days that followed. I also offer some encouraging Bible verses that were appropriate then, and still are today. Click on the player above to listen to the 18-minute episode. No matter what we were doing two years ago, and no matter what's to come, we've learned it's in God we trust with the real lives He's given us. God bless you, my friend. Links in this episode: What Are You Learning About Yourself in This Season? blog post Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV Psalm 150:6 NIV Matthew 11:28-30 MSG Max Lucado quote Richard Abernathy quote Proverbs 3:5-6 TPT Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook
  21. How do we love those who bug us? Can we? We are called to love our neighbors, right? Well, how do we do that, especially with those who bug us? Is it even possible to love them? In this episode we discuss this as we peer into a beautiful example in the pages of scripture. We also look at those who annoy us through two fresh and different perspectives. We might just find a little more love in our hearts after listening in! Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com. What do we do when it's not so easy to love our neighbors? The last couple of weeks we discussed in detail blooming where we are planted here on the podcast, and one way we can bloom where we are planted is to care for and love those around us. God calls it to "love your neighbor." How are we doing at loving our neighbors? Who is considered our neighbor? And what do we do if our neighbors exasperate us or confound us? Well, this is the subject of today's episode. Let's find some encouragement and hope for our real lives right now as we journey through this subject together. Is there someone in your life who bugs the bajeebies out of you? Or someone you can't seem to get along with, no matter how hard you try? In Mark 12:30-31, Jesus instructs us in what He says is two of the most important commandments: And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 NLT Love your neighbor as yourself. What does that even mean? And who is "your neighbor"? We peer into Luke, chapter 10, as we see Jesus answer this question. His story of the Good Samaritan illustrates perfectly how to love our neighbors. I share a personal story of a time when a fellow Christian voiced to me her thoughts and words of condemnation and disappointment in me. Her words affected me greatly, yet I was reminded of a truth I learned long ago. Hurting people hurt people. Those who are hurting will oftentimes turn around and hurt others. You know how that goes, right? We look at a story Zig Ziglar shares about kicking the cat. It helps us understand why sometimes hurting people do hurt others. The woman on the phone that day was likely hurting, and she took it out on me. It's in those instances where we can choose to love our neighbors or not. What do you do when it's not so easy to love your neighbor? In this episode I also share a powerful quote my husband said to me a few years ago. It still impacts me today. I also highlight nine ways we can choose to show love when it's not so easy to love your neighbor. Click on the player above to listen to this week's episode. We are discussing loving our neighbors over on our Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook all week long. I invite you over there to join in the conversation. If you found some real-life encouragement in this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review it so others can find this encouragement as well. And I invite you to check out the Free Resources on my site, designed for you in mind. I pray God opens our eyes this week to see how some of the weeds in our lives may be flowers in disguise. May He also help us to love our neighbors through His love and power. The world could use a little more love these days, don't you think? Thank you for being here, friend. God bless you. Links in this episode: How to Bloom Where You Are Planted, Part 2 - Episode 32 Mark 12:30-31 NLT Luke 10: 25-37 NIV, Parable of the Good Samaritan Kick the Cat story by Zig Ziglar "A weed is just a flower out of place" original quote by George Washington Carver 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook Find more encouragement in my Free Resources
  22. Because we can bloom, even when life isn't easy. Bloom. Right where you are. This is week 2 of this important and timely subject. Why is blooming important? In this episode we discuss how to bloom when life isn't easy, how comparison affects us, and what do we do when God replants us. You'll find encouragement and inspiration for your real life right now as spring is just a week away! Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com. Spring is one week closer, and as it is, we are talking blooming on the podcast this week! Are you ready to bloom? Last week we began this discussion about blooming. What does it mean to bloom where we're planted? Why do we want to bloom? Where are we to bloom, and how are we to bloom? You don't have to listen to last week's episode before listening to this one, but it may help in understanding this concept of blooming a little better. This week we continue this important conversation as we find some hope and encouragement in this season. Well, my crocus and daffodil plants I mentioned in last week's episode were covered with snow last Sunday. But this has happened before. A couple years ago they were buried under six inches of snow for a few days. I've learned these plants are hardy little buggers. They bloomed beautifully that spring! I trust they will bloom where they are planted this year, as well. But those plants were completely covered and in the dark. This got me thinking. It got me thinking about you and me. Sometimes we find ourselves in the dark. Sometimes we feel completely buried. And we trust God will uncover us to bloom where He has us once again. I share in this episode how years ago I found myself in a dark place after walking away from a job I loved, but in which I could not longer function. But this was no ordinary job. I believed this was my "calling." In leaving I found myself feeling alone, uncomfortable, and in the dark for months. Yet, I knew God was the one who called me out. I knew He had a plan. I just didn't know what it was. Until He replanted me to bloom elsewhere. To bloom where He would use me next. God had planted me to bloom in a different way. Friend, what dark place are you in right now? Could God be preparing you for something, for your next step in your journey? Could it be God is planting you in a different way? Is God asking you to bloom where He has you right now? You can trust God in this. He has you. And He's preparing you for something great. We discuss in this episode how to bloom when blooming isn't easy, and I share four practical steps. We also take a look at how comparison interferes with the process of blooming where God has us. This could have been an episode all itself! If you struggle with comparing yourself to others, I pray this encourages you and points you to truth. We can trust the Master Gardener in this process of blooming. He's got it all under control. Click the player above to listen to the full episode. I've also created a free printable that contains last week's scriptures and this week's encouragement for how to bloom when life isn't easy. It's available for you in my Free Resources. Use it to encourage your heart. In closing, God is with us in this season. He is helping us bloom where He has us. Even if it's a difficult season. Or if we feel stuck in comparison. Or if we find ourselves replanted. Consequently, God is in charge of our blooming. For our growth, for the good of others, and most importantly, for His glory. Bloom brilliantly, my friend. I'm glad I'm in this garden with you. God bless you. Links in this episode: How to Bloom Where You Are Planted - Part 1, last week's episode Jeremiah 29:11 MSG Romans 12:6a MSG Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook Access this week's free printable in my Free Resources.
  23. Because we are encouraged to bloom right where we are. Bloom where you are planted. What does that even mean, and why is blooming so important? Spring is a time for the earth to bloom, and so it is for us! This episode is full of inspiration and encouragement in making the most of our circumstances and thriving in life as we look at blooming right where we are in our real lives right now. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com. Spring is on its way, isn't it? Can you feel it? Are you as excited for spring as I am? As we look to spring our thoughts may turn to planting, and blossoms, and blooms, and the landscape of earth turning green and lush again. But the earth isn't the only thing that can bloom in this season. It's not the only thing that can grow and blossom right now. We can as well, and we are encouraged to. So, this is the subject of this week's episode: How to Bloom Where You Are Planted. Hang with me here for the next short while as we discuss this and find some encouragement for our real lives right now. Spring. What images come to your mind when you think of spring? Maybe green grass, blooming daffodils and tulips, buds on trees, a freshness in the air, and a time to resume outdoor activities (especially for those of us who have been cooped up all winter long here in the Midwest)? Earth comes to life in spring, and each year it does, I stand in awe of God's marvelous creation. I love spring. Spring is a season of sowing, planting, and growing. Not only for the earth, but maybe it's also a season of growth for ourselves. Stretching, sprouting, flowering, growing. Because we are encouraged to bloom, right where we are. In our real lives right now. Surprisingly, we don't have to wait to bloom. No, you and I can bloom beautifully right where we are. So, what does that even mean? What does it mean to bloom where you are planted? Some may think it means to make the most of your current situation. Kinda like making lemonade out of lemons. Some may describe it as doing the right thing. Such as making good choices. Others may think of it as becoming the person God designed you to be. Similarly, to maturing in your faith through grace. And others may see it as a pathway to accepting who you are, right in this moment. I don't think any of these are incorrect. In fact, you may think of something entirely different. When I think of blooming where I'm planted, I think of myself as a plant. Or maybe a flower. My favorites in spring are tulips and daffodils. I think of God is my Master Gardener, and He’s got a rather large garden He cares for. I’m just a small flower in a big garden. Consequently, we discuss this in more detail and how this thinking pertains to us. We look at supporting Bible verses. I also share a story about my son in how he bloomed and is blooming. Also, come back next week as we will continue in this discussion, part 2, of how to bloom where you are planted. We will discuss how comparing ourselves to others affects how we bloom, how to bloom when life isn't easy, and what happens when we've been replanted. Stop in to be encouraged. I am cheering you on, friend. Bloom right where God has you this week. God bless you. Links in this episode: Bloom definition on Dictionary.com Bloom synonyms on Thesaurus.com Psalm 139:13-14 NCV 2 Peter 1:5-7 MSG 2 Corinthians 9:6 NIV 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 MSG Isaiah 61:11 MSG 1 Corinthians 7:17 MSG Encouragement for Real Life Community on Facebook Find additional encouragement at julielefebure.com/resources
  24. Why it might be a good idea to add more laughter into our lives. When was the last time you were doubled over in laughter? Or when your cheeks and stomached muscles ached from laughing so hard? Has it been awhile? Laughter matters, and we could each use a little more of it in our lives. Today is a great day to be all about it, and in this episode we find out why. Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com. So friend, how are you? How is life in your corner of the world today? I pray you are well, and you are living uplifted and encouraged. In this episode we're discussing a subject I believe we could all benefit from. And it's something I also believe we can all use more of. And that, my friend, is laughter. Last week we discussed how to be the most positive and enthusiastic people we know, and interestingly, laughter can play a big part in that. So, let's get into this week's episode and find some encouragement (and laughter) along the way. Have you laughed yet today? Well, here's your chance. Because this episode is about laughter, I'm decided the best way to begin this episode is to start with a joke. Ready? Why was 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 ate (8) 9. Funny, huh? Here's another one: What's the best thing about Switzerland? I don't know but the flag is a big plus. And one more: Did you hear about the claustrophobic astronaut? He just needed a little space. I say it's good to start the day with laughter, even if it's from what some might call a "dad joke." Laughter. It's been said it's the best medicine, right? But why is that? Why is it considered the "best medicine"? And is it really? Does laughter contain healing properties for when we are sick? Does it boost our immunity to fight off germs or unwanted viruses? Can laughter really make that much of a difference in our lives? In this episode we look at laughter from a health perspective and if it's really all that's it's cracked up to be. I also share a recent time when a friend and I were doubled over laughing over something hilarious, and how that impacted me (and others). It was the inspiration for this episode. We also take a look at a couple appropriate scriptures and the truth found in God's Word about laughter. Could it be time for a few laughs? Maurice Chevalier once said, "You don't stop laughing because you grow older. You grow older because you stop laughing." May we never stop laughing! I say we could all use a little more laughter right now, don't you? Click on the player above to listen to the full 18-minute episode. It's good to laugh, isn't it? Thanks for joining me here today. I pray your days are filled with laughter, love, and abundant life. God bless you. Links in the episode: Episode 29, Are You the Most Positive Person You Know? Laughter Is the Best Medicine, helpguide.org Proverbs 17:22 NIRV Psalm 126:2-3 VOICE Find additional encouragement in my FREE RESOURCES, designed just for you.
  25. Because our attitudes matter, and they affect how we see the world around us. Are you a naturally optimistic person, and do you see the glass usually half full? Or do you struggle with your attitude some days? We know our attitudes affect much of our daily life, but sometimes we don't think about our attitudes until we're prompted to. This episode is our prompt to do so this week! How can we become the most positive people we know and why would we want to? Join encourager, Julie Lefebure, each Tuesday morning as she offers real encouragement for your real life right now through a fresh, hope-filled perspective, a lighthearted inspiration, and Biblical insight, all in about 15 minutes. Each episode will lift your spirits and equip you to be a light in this world. Find extra encouragement at julielefebure.com. Would you describe yourself as optimistic, hopeful, forward-looking, or positive? Do you tend to see the brighter side of life or the silver lining in most situations? Are you the most positive person you know? Well, in this episode we're taking a look at our attitudes. We are examining our perspectives, and doing what I call, "a checkup from the neck up." Because I believe God has a lot to say about our attitudes. And I say it's a good time of year to pause and reflect on how we are doing, because sometimes it's right now in this season when we most need an attitude adjustment. When we're in the last half of winter. So, hang with me here for this next short while and together we'll find help, hope, and a whole lot of encouragement along the way. Be the most positive and enthusiastic person you know. -H. Jackson Brown, Jr. Mr. Brown, that’s a tall order, sir. It is for me anyway. Especially during a worldwide pandemic. Especially during the last half of winter, when it feels like it's going to hang on forever. The pandemic feels like that too, doesn't it? I mean, I want to be the most positive person I know, and the most enthusiastic. Really, I do. It sounds lovely. It sounds like a great goal. But, in all reality, I know I’m not. But I don't think I'm the only one struggling with this. I think many of us are struggling to keep a positive attitude and a hopeful outlook lately. At least that's what I hear from others. Because life as we've known it for so long has been altered rather quickly and drastically. Not only have we faced unexpected circumstances, we are now adjusting to a "new normal," whatever "normal" is. I think of our attitudes as kind of like filters with how we see the world, life, and our situations. We either see things through this filter, our attitudes, as bright and shiny or as gloomy and dark. It all depends on our filters, our attitudes! I think lately my filter has gotten a bit dirty and cloudy. It's time to wash my filter off and clean it up a bit. Because I know I can do better. I know I can be the most positive person I know. I know I want to do better. To see life through a much cleaner filter! How about you, friend? And I share ways to tangibly do that in this episode and how to be the most positive person you and I know. What about God? What part does He play in this? We also discuss how God fits into all this talk about attitudes and such. It might surprise you a bit. Click on the player above to listen to the full episode. Thank you for joining me here today. I appreciate you. God bless you! Links in this episode: Episode 24, The Day After the Most Depressing Day of the Year Ephesians 4:23 VOICE Romans 12:2 MSG Encouragement for Real Life Community Facebook group Julie
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