Okay, Lauren, would you start us out by just talking to us about your heart behind your first book and we'll get into kind of your writing journey all the way to today, but your first book into the deep diving, into a life of courageous space? Yeah. So this book was, it's such a, such a reflection of what can happen in a life when we choose to go deeper with Jesus and.
I faced several things as a young teenager and young adults. Um, that led me to this crossroads in my faith where I had two options. I could either actually three, I could have Bandon faith. I could stay shallow or I could go deep. And that's what the Lord's heart is for us is to go deeper in our faith.
But that requires courage. So it's called into the deep diving into a life of courageous faith. And I wrote it for the person who. It feels like they're drowning and they, they need hope right now. Not a year from now. They need hope right now. It's like a life preserver for people. And really, I tell people though, that it's it's for all years and walks of faith, because while there are several chapters that, you know, act as that life preserver, there's also foundational truths just about who God is and how we journey through life's deep waters with him that.
Are really important to revisit, even if we think we're mature, because we can forget, and life can get really tumultuous and we have to be reminded of simple truth sometimes. Yeah, I agree. And I think it's so cool to see how God can use just universal truth that, you know, I was raised in the church. I've known that God is eternal omniscient, omnipotent, all these things about his characteristics.
But it's cool in different seasons of my life, how those have proven true. And he's shown me just aspects or layers of that, of just some of those things that we won't fully understand on this side of eternity, but it's cool to see. Even 29 years later, him. Showing me something new about a characteristic that I've known about my whole life.
And I love we, we talked for a good while before we hit record, and I love how you are so open about kind of the work God has done in you even kind of in the meanwhile of, since the book was published til now. So would you talk to listeners a little bit about that journey? Sure. You know, one last thing I should say about the book is it's also a book to teach you how to overcome, you know, Jesus said in John.
1633 in the world. You will have trouble, but take heart for, I have overcome the world. And for those of us who choose to put our faith and our life is now hidden in him, we overcome as well. So, so that's the other mess, prevailing message. But as far as my writing journey and just my identity journey, you know, God is always taking us from faith.
To faith and glory to glory. I think about Augustine. I just recently took a class on church history and what's very unfortunate is that Augustine's early writings. He talked about how the miraculous was no more. The gifts were no more, but then later in his life, he actually recanted and he actually ended up writing of volume.
On the miraculous and on Holy spirit and how wait a minute, like Jesus, the blood of Jesus and the broken body of Jesus. It's still healing people today. It's still, you know, we can still prophesize, but what's unfortunate is that most people took only his early writings and they didn't read his later writings.
And so. You know, I think you and I were talking about this before we hit record. Like we need to extend grace to each other in the body of Christ, because we're all on different journeys. We don't know where someone is at in their faith, you know? Um, and where I was at in my faith, when I wrote into the deep was that I loved the Lord.
I had a passion to see people rise at the, the, the ways of life that try to take you out and suck you down into the undertow. Cause that's not God's will for us. And yet. I didn't know. About the atonement. I didn't know that healing was in the atonement and I'd been sick for, let's see, when it came out in 2018, I'd been sick for eight or nine years, somewhere around there.
And I grew up in a church setting, uh, and just with friends and different people that if you prayed a couple of times and you weren't healed that it must not be God's will. And that that was your thorn in the flesh to bear. We did not have time to talk about this on the podcast today, but if you break that down in the Greek and Pauline scholars will even tell you that based on the language that he used, he was never talking about sickness.
He was talking about persecution. And even if it was sickness, when Jesus said. Paul, my grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness. It was like Jesus was saying, Paul, you're asking me to do something that I've given you the power and authority in my name to do so you better believe that Paul blasted off whatever demonic oppression was on him.
And we actually see in the book of acts, that he went on to rent a small house and he stayed in the same place and preach the gospel completely uninhibited and, and. So anyway, it's my bad theology. My, my upbringing and my lack of knowledge has, says that my people are ruined for lack of knowledge. My identity was that I was a sick Christian.
Yeah. And, and so if you get the book, um, you know, it's in my bio, you know, I would introduce myself, I'm Lauren Gaskill with this condition. Um, it was what I was known for. And so. I didn't know that God really did want me, well, I didn't know that it really was his will to heal me. And that is a whole story in of itself.
He has opened the eyes of my understanding to see that that is the truth today. But yeah, that's the journey that he's had me on since this book has come out. So he's always, he's always working in our hearts. He's always revealing truth. And that is why following Jesus. Such an adventure. Yes, yes. And amen to everything you just said.
And I, I said this when you kind of unpack that to me, that was why I wanted you to share it is because I don't think typically we give ourselves or others enough grace in that, on our individual journeys, you know, as we learn more about who God is and how he works, um, That should, that should change that when we learn more of those layers of who he is, and that will only partially understand this side of eternity.
You know, I love that. You're an example of coming back, you know, two years after the book is out and saying, Hey, here's what God showed me since then. You know, that's what I knew. And this is what I do. I know now. And I love that. I love that. You're an example of that we know, and we've talked about Jesus does not promise us sunny skies and smooth sailing and.
We need something deeper than a shallow faith to walk through test seasons as we've talked about. So how did God show you this in your own personal experience that led to the writing of the book? I think for the early years of my Christian faith, I do believe that when I accepted the Lord into my heart and I asked my parents if I could be baptized when I was around 10 years old, somewhere around there, I do believe that was authentic.
Yeah. However, you know, my faith was very shallow and it became clear to me as time went on that I could not afford to just be the Christian who. Only went to church on Sunday. And that was the extent of my relationship with Jesus. That's not knowing Jesus. And so I don't know if that answered your question, but just, it just became very clear to me.
Like there's more and, and I'm missing it and I, I cannot. Afford to only have head knowledge. I need to have heart knowledge and I need to, I need to be in the word. I need to be in the word of God, you know, full transparency. I was, I started a ministry in 2014. It looks a little bit different back then.
Very heavy blogging, couple of speaking things a year, and then a podcast I was, let's see, I'll be 28 in July. So I was 22. And I do believe I had the right intentions and yet, and so I'm doing all these things for the Lord, but I really wasn't in the Bible and that's really, that's a hard pill to swallow as a 28 year old.
I have repented for that. Um, but here I was, and I, again, I believe that my desire for the Lord was authentic. My love was authentic, but I did not have the. The spiritual discipline required to live a life of courageous faith. Yeah. And I think you bring a good point there and it makes me think of part of my story.
So remind me your Enneagram number. I'm not like super big in any gram, but I think when I took it, I was an eight. Okay. Okay. My husband's an eight a challenger. Yeah. Okay. So I don't know why for some reason I thought. I thought you were a three, which is an achiever, which is what I am. And I only, I only bring up to anybody.
My husband we're opposites. That's so cool. That's so cool. I love that. We have another, we have another couple that we're friends with that are like the husbands and eight and the wife is a three, but that's cool. That y'all are opposite. But anyway, so being an achiever. Growing up in the church, I was, came to faith at a young age.
Um, I always, when I tell my testimony, I always say, you know, I got really good at checking boxes out of, you know, and as an achiever and that piece of me that was there, you know, when I was. 1213, 18 years old. You know, that was what I, that was what I knew as you know, was my relationship with God. For many years in my childhood was, you know, I do all the things and I check all the boxes and I physically would, would come into youth group and like, yeah, I read my Bible this many days this week.
And I went on visitation as they called it then, or, you know, all the things that I did. Quote for God. And then I get to college. And really for the first time, you know, everything about my walk with God was, was mine for the first time, in a way, because, you know, seeking a new church community, I was seeking out.
No. I was in a really good small group for the first time. And then I went on and had the opportunity to leave college girls. And God just did a huge work in my heart and a lot of undoing of kind of those years where it was really formative for my walk with God. And I even, you know, I'll be transparent and say, there are times where I still struggle with that and have to surrender that over to the Lord.
Just my desire to people, please, and check boxes. That's something I've always struggled with. And so I love that God brought you out of that place and, um, just showed you not only your need for his word, but just how that would then just propel you forward and all God has for you in ministry now. And I want to say something about that because it's not a works thing.
It's not a, like you're talking about, it's not a, okay. I need to read the Bible more. So I'm going to read the Bible more. What it is is it's a love thing. And when I started to get a revelation of the love of God and the love of Jesus, I wanted to read my Bible because the Bible. Is Jesus in print. Yeah.
So when I'm reading this, it's like a love letter from the father to me. And so I, I love to be in the word because I'm, again, it's like an adventure. How are you going to speak to me today, Lord? You know, what are you going to highlight? Um, I highly recommend for people to get a Hebrew, Greek study Bible.
We have lost so much in the English translations. Uh, and I don't have enough time to explain that here, but. Yeah. It all comes back to love. Yeah. Thank you for pointing that out. That's so true. So we brushed over this kind of with a broad brush. When you talked about kind of your health issues that God's kind of delivered you from, or not kind of delivered to you from totally delivered you from, and I have loved seeing you post about your running journey, because then we, we share his friends is well, one, you are a fellow swimmer.
Which I love as competitively as a kid. And a few years ago, I started, started back for the first time in probably over 10 years. And it's been so fun, but running is a huge part of my story as well. So I've never heard you unpack kind of this piece of your stories for, so I'd love for you to share that.
Oh, it's a great piece. So first I have to say, and I'll make this very short, but essentially to your listeners, what happened was last year. I had tried all the medical treatment possible, and we even tried a $10,000 innovative treatment that wasn't covered by insurance. And, uh, had done every diet, every supplement, everything under the sun, nothing had worked.
And I sat down on the floor in my home. We had just moved into this brand new house and the Lord was giving me visions of like children running around the backyard. He was speaking to me about my future and I was like, dude, I'm done. Um, I don't know what I'm not getting here. I again, I don't have enough time here, but he had spoken to me about healing starting in 2016 in the fall.
And so it was just this weird, like his grace speaking to me, even though my ignorance, like, I didn't understand what he was saying, but in 2019 I was like, please either take me out or heal me. I'm done. I'm literally done. I've served you my whole life. And I can't. I can't live with this level nine pain every day anymore.
And all these other health issues that I have. And the next day he introduced me to two women who were supernaturally healed through prayer. One of which was healed of my condition through persistent prayer over the course of months. Now, do I believe, and have I seen the Lord heal instantly? You know, that's honestly, that's a miracle when something instant happens, that's a miracle.
Healing is gradual. We see that in, in the Greek words, when you break down, um, you know, miracle and healing, but yes, he can do that, but that started this journey, uh, over the last year of me persistently standing in prayer for. My healing, which Jesus died on the cross to give me like it, he breathed his last and he said, it's finished.
So the blinders came off my eyes and I just, I saw it. I was like, wow, I'm not just your child. And I'm not just in you. I have been delivered. One of the things that the Lord has asked me to do in this journey, everybody's healing journey is different, but he has asked me to do acts of obedience to, you know, just.
It's basically a active way of testifying. Lord, I trust your word. And, and I'm by faith. Yeah. I'm going to do this because you told me to do it. So the running thing probably in, I can't remember if it was January or February, it was one of those months. But I woke up and the Lord reminded me of a prophetic word that had been given to me.
And it was about running, but it was about running, um, spiritually and, and in ministry. But I also felt like it was literal and I woke up and he reminded me of that. And I'm like, Lord, why are you highlighting this to me today? Like, what do you want to say about running? Why? And so I'm just having a conversation with him because he's my father and that's what I do.
And he showed me this picture of a running shoes and they were purple and they were black. And he was like, I want you to get a pair of purple and black tennis shoes. And so, you know, by faith, I ordered the shoes and they came and I stared at them for a couple of weeks because I was like, Hmm. I was still, uh, contending with some symptoms in my body.
And I was like, you know what, Lord, I'm really not sure about this, but he kept, he just kept bringing it to my remembrance. And one day I felt like I was praying in my living room and I felt like I. I saw, um, 21 in my spirit and I felt like he wanted me to jog for 21 minutes. And so I, I put my shoes on and I prayed and I said, Lord, this run is unto you.
And, and I started running. I would love to tell you that all of my symptoms just like miraculously fell off in that moment. They did not. In fact they got worse, but I knew I was like, God, I know, I know this is you. I know this is you. And so, you know, he would tell me he would, he would be like, I want you to run this many times a week.
And you're going to pray while you run. I want you to keep your eyes on me. You're going to declare that your joints are strong because I am the God who calls things that aren't as though they are, and this is what I've called you to do in your body. And, and to me, it became like this, this. This fight, you know, a good fight of faith.
And I don't remember the day it happened, but eventually all of the issues that I was having with my hips and my knees and all the things while I was running, I didn't notice them anymore. And you know, that's the power of persistent faith, right? Like we just trust in our dad cause he's a good dad. He's got our best interests at heart.
And he loves us enough. Listen, if I had heard him wrong about the shoes, he would have, let me know at one point or another, you know, I wouldn't have had that, that dogged determination and that piece, you know, persistence is a gift of the Holy spirit. And so that's one way that you can know whether or not something the Lord is telling you is, is him, um, So that's been my running journey and now I am up to four miles and I would love to do a half marathon.
I've been talking to the Lord about that, and I feel like he wants me to stay where I'm at right now because I swim and I I'm so active, you know, I don't want to overdo it because. We are, we're still human, you know? Absolutely. Yeah. I've got to take care of our bodies. So I'm all for giving more lip service to those because the, the time that we are in as the church, perseverance is not an option anymore.
Yeah. It's a requirement. That's a whole nother conversation, but I just felt like I was supposed to add that. Yeah, no, I love that. I love, I love hearing you unpack that and, um, It's just, it's just fun to hear that story. And I'm sorry, I'm just so thankful for how God's worked in you. And it's been really fun this year.
So I ran a ton before we got married and moved down here last summer, where it is. Hotter than Hayden really, really hot. I did nothing last summer in Mississippi, but there's a group of say at home mamas that just were going go in a little nuts with their, with their people at home. And it'd be wary. We started with a mile.
And we went out and we ran a mile and every couple of weeks we would add half a mile and these girls have never ran long distance, but one of them came to me and she said, I know this probably sounds crazy, but I've always kind of wanted to do a half. And I don't even know what that means. I don't even know what to do to get there, but I know you've done one, so will you help me?
And so it's been, it's been so fun. They are, they're up to six on their long run day. So. I'm just, I'm just so proud of them. It's like their thing for themselves. And just, just to have something that they're pouring into, um, and just friendships that we're pouring into during this kind of weird, crazy season that were absolutely.
That's awesome. It's been really fun. I think we're gonna shoot for one, maybe in December, if. If we're doing things like running races and gathering in groups of people by let's price. So, yes, exactly. So one last question about the book before we'll kind of wrap up. So the book includes, which I love this, just some practical examples and tools to kind of arm people who are.
Like you said, looking to go deeper in their relationship with God. And so would you share just with the listener who hasn't read the book yet? Just an example of what that looks like, what they can expect from the book? Yeah. So I'm a big proponent of things being practical. Yeah. And. It's not enough for people to have information, you know, people need to be activated.
And so at the end of each chapter, there's a prayer section and a question section, just reflection questions that you can do either by yourself or I've had. Several dozens of churches do Bible studies with the book with their women. But one of the most practical things, there's a chapter called overcoming your deepest fears.
And I have what's called the faithful swimmers battle plan. And, uh, it's a step by step. Like what do you do when for lack of a better word, crap hits the fan and you are just like, Lord help, help, help, help. And, uh, I'll highlight a couple of the things in that battle plan, but the first there's some steps and the first step is to remember what I call the three PS.
And these are resting in God's promises, asking for provision and then also resolving to persevere. So again, that perseverance thing, and you know, what's interesting about this book is that. These were all things that I was such a baby in when I wrote this, but since I've written it, I have had. So much, I've grown so much in my faith in other areas, just by applying those three things like rest in his promises, ask for provision, resolve to perseverance.
Those tips alone will revolutionize your faith life and your life in general. Uh, one of the other things that's in this battle plan, it talks about keeping your faith suit on. So I think that the, and this is talking about the armor of God, but I think one of the chief ploys of the enemy is to get us to try and put down our sword and to it's kinda like this, the enemy will come in and not only will he try to get you to lay down your sword, which is the word of God, the sword of the spirit, which is the word.
But he will also, then it's like, he's slowly undressing your armor, um, in certain areas of life, in certain circumstances, if you allow him, but at no point are we told to take the armor off and the armor of God is so important. I have a whole chapter on the armor of God that breaks down the significance of each piece.
What did they mean? Um, And so that's another practical thing that I think is really going to bless people. Yeah. Oh, I love it. I love it. I was on the launch team for the book when it came out. So I remember reading that chapter and that's so fun. That seems like a lifetime ago because, so my word has happened and I actually think that's probably around that time is when I met you originally.
I think probably. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. It's funny because I saw a meme the other day that said people who were asked in 2015 by their bosses, where do you see yourself? Five years from now? They all got the question wrong. What's funny is that whenever my boss would ask me that I would be like, I don't know, like wherever God has me, because we just don't know.
We just don't know. I know it's crazy, crazy, crazy. And even just like in two years, like the book two years ago, and so much life has happened, so that's really cool to think back on. So there's one question that I ask every guest that comes on the show. So I'm excited to ask you that is what is the best piece of advice that you think you've ever been given?
Wow. Oh, that's tough. Uh, can I, can I pick two? Absolutely. Okay. One of them is just life advice and it's from my dad and he always said, just smile and be yourself and just go for it. So the just smile and be yourself that has helped me in every job interview that has helped me on every stage that I've ever had.
The privilege of taking the mind to preach the gospel, uh, just smile and be yourself. Like God made you for such a time as this and you are uniquely created. In him and he loves you, but the also just go for it. My dad always said you, you never, you'll never know if you don't try. So for example, I'm trying to get somebody to write the forward for the second book right now.
And it's a big ask, but my dad, I can always hear his voice. Just go for it. The other thing is. It's definitely spiritual. And this advice comes straight from Jesus. Yes, but it's John. Uh, sorry, I gotta make sure I'm right on this. I always get my scripture references out and I feel really bad. Yes. It's John 15 and it's all about the true vine and abiding in him.
Listen, you guys, that is what it's all about. When Jesus said, when he was talking about eternal life, he said, this is eternal life that you may know the father and the son and that word. No, it's it's in the Greek. It's the same word that. Matthew used when he was writing about, um, the intimacy between Joseph and Mary.
Like he did not know her, meaning they hadn't had relations yet. And so it's that intimacy. You may know him, you may, and you can't know him if you're not abiding in him. And he said in his word that apart from him, we can do nothing. So, you know, he's really been teaching me these last two years, too. Live from the secret place.
And that's where everything that we need is found. So yeah. Wow way to just drop the mic at the end. I love everything that you just said. That one was so good. Well, this has been so much fun. Tell all the people where they can get the book, where they can find you get in touch with you, all the things.
Yeah, for sure. So you can find firstname.lastname@example.org. I also hang out on Instagram at Lauren underscore inspires I'm on Facebook too. You can find all my social media links on my website. I also, right now I have a ministry called she found joy. We normally are touring the nation doing women's events.
We are not right now. Um, That also is something that is shifting and changing as the Lord leads me into a deeper things with him. So we have a podcast every Monday, but yeah, uh, email on my website or Instagram is the best way to get ahold of me. Awesome. Well, Lauren, this has been so fun. I'm glad we got to catch up today and thanks for being my guests.
It's been a joy and a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me, my friend.