(LAURA): Hey guys! Welcome to our third official Love Fast Broadcast. This has been so much fun for me. We started a month ago, we had my friend Dara and then we had my friend Melanie.
We do this every other week at 9:00 on Wednesday. I come together, and I think, ‘You know what? I just need some real life, practical application of what it means to love people.
To put love into action in the midst of the chaos.’ Guys, I have been the one to say, ‘I don’t have the time, or energy, capacity, bandwidth to serve others.’ Or to go above and beyond, to go the extra mile that God has called us to, because guys, life is life.
But I am here to ask my friends how they put love into action, and that’s really what Love Fast is all about.
So I am excited to invite my wonderful, beautiful friend Baylor on. I’m going to add her to my group, bear with me, ok? Hey! I love you, can you hear me?
(BAYLOR): You are good, I feel like the top half of my head is cut off.
(LAURA): Well, whatever is working.
(BAYLOR): I mean, I have a big forehead, so that may be part of the problem. It’s definitely a possibility.
(LAURA): I have a really round face, and I see that in my son. And I am like, “Oh, he has an adorable face!” And as a 6 year old boy, it’s ok, but as a 35 year old woman, I don’t know.
(BAYLOR): Right. Yeah, well maybe people will always just really trust him because he has that really angelic face.
(LAURA): I don’t know, it’s dangerously cute. Where we’re like, “Say no to him, be strong.”
(BAYLOR): No, I have one of those. My son, it’s ridiculous how cute he is. I can say that because it’s true and because I didn’t have anything to do with it. We adopted him. He is like the most beautiful child.
Everywhere we go people are like, “Oh my gosh!” And I’m like, “I know, trust me, I know.” Like he is that cute.
(LAURA): I love that. And actually, Baylor, I am glad that you brought that up, because that’s one of the things I wanted to talk to you about today.
We could have girl talk all day long, and I am excited because we get to hang out in June, face to face! Background information about Baylor and I, we have never met in person.
(BAYLOR): That’s right.
(LAURA): So, Baylor and I had the privilege of being chosen for the first book proposal boot camp, hosted by Lysa TerKeurst and Proverbs 31 ministries, to develop a book proposal.
And we launched it and it was this whole ten week experience. As you can imagine, if you are walking through ten weeks of anything, you are going to build relationships.
Baylor really stuck out to me because she is a mom of three, a wife, obviously, and she’s also a survivor of international adoption. And most recently, which is one of my favorite things, you have conquered a, am I saying this right, is it ten hour drive?
(LAURA): Twelve?! A twelve hour road trip, solo, by yourself with three kids. So it was twelve hours there and twelve hours back for spring break?
(BAYLOR): Yes, I’ve done it a few times. So we live in Birmingham, but I’m from South Florida, like the Fort Lauderdale area.
It is expensive to fly, so we drive. And the first time we did it, I was really nervous, but now I feel like everyone gets one super power in their life and mine is this. it is road tripping with little kids.
So I will not have use of it for long, but it is handy these days.
(LAURA): Ok, so when you told me, I’ve been following you, and I was like, “Look at Baylor conquering the world!”
(BAYLOR): She is insane!
(LAURA): Yeah. I didn’t think you were insane, but I had great admiration. And I, honestly Baylor, thought this was like a temporary thing.
Like if someone challenges me to something once, I’ll do it. But then I’ll learn. But you’re telling me you’ve done this multiple times??
(BAYLOR): Yeah, I usually do it three times a year. Spring break, summer, and Christmas. Yeah. Well, my husband is with me for the Christmas drive. But the spring break drive and the summer drive, it’s just mom.
(LAURA): That just tells me how much you value quality time with loved ones.
(BAYLOR): I do, I do. I love my family. So it is well worth it. Well worth the drive to get down there. We always have so much fun.
It’s the drive back that’s the killer. It’s just because I am already tired. But yeah, we did it, it’s good. I don’t have to do it again for another couple of months.
(LAURA): The drive back is always the worst. Nick and I drive to Georgia often, we live in the Tampa Bay area, and we drive to Atlanta often. And it’s not twelve hours, it’s like nine, and we even think that’s a lot.
(BAYLOR): It’s a lot. It’s a whole day
(LAURA): I’m very impressed. And that just proves to everyone that you have great stamina, and patience, and super powers.
(BAYLOR): A long suffering bit of patience that I have cultivated over years of waiting on other things.
(LAURA): Ok, speaking of mom-ness, for those of you who are choosing to listen to the whole ten minutes of this interview, at the end of this interview, which Baylor doesn’t know yet, we are doing a mom trivia, which is going to be a lot of fun, so stay tuned.
But I would love for people to know a little bit more about you, Baylor. So one of the main questions that I always ask everyone on our Love Fast Broadcast is tell me a little bit about your love story with God, how it started, how it went, how it’s going, kind of just who are you?
(BAYLOR): I think this is such a great question. So I grew up in a Christian home. We went to a Christian school. I really couldn’t tell you a day when I didn’t know Jesus.
You know, I was young enough when I asked Jesus into my heart for the first time, that it’s just always been a part of who I am, and a huge part.
I mean it’s the center of my family. When I knew you were going to ask me this question, I was like, ‘Well, what is the thing that I feel like is the most recently resonant about this?’ So I mentioned that our son, our oldest child, our son Bradley, is from Ethiopia.
So we have Bradley, who we adopted from Ethiopia. And then I had a baby, Asher, our middle girl. And then we brought our youngest daughter, Lucy, home from China almost three years ago.
And because I grew up in the church, I knew all of the rules and I was really good at following the rules, and just really kind of embraced doing the right thing. And that sounds really noble, and really righteous, but what I learned over the course of time was that my motivation was not noble, and not righteous. It was me believing that if I did all these things, then God would do all these other things for me.
And that was a hard sinful belief to really recognize in myself and come to terms with. And really, when it all came to a head was when my husband and I had been married for a couple of years, and we really felt like the Lord was leading us to start trying to grow our family.
And we started trying to have a baby, and we couldn’t. And so we knew that adoption was also going to be a part of our story. That was something we had known for years, was that we wanted to have kids and we wanted to adopt kids. We really believed that’s what God had for us, and so we applied with our agency to adopt from Ethiopia.
And we were told it was going to be this quick one year process, from sending in our application, to landing back in the United States with our child. And it dragged on for almost four years, and in that time, we also continued to try to have kids. We were eventually told that without really serious medical intervention, it wouldn’t happen for us.
And as these years of our lives kind of dragged on, I really began to resent God. I was like, “Lord, I did all of these things, you owe me this. You owe me this life.” And it made me feel like I didn’t actually know God, and that was terrifying for someone who had really grown up in the church, and had known Jesus her whole life.
To feel like I didn’t know God was really scary, you know? He wasn’t behaving the way that I envisioned God would behave, or the way that I thought He should behave. And I think, you know, that ‘good behavior equals reward’ is really drilled into us from a young age.
You know, in preschool, you had good behavior all week, you get to pick something from the treasure chest. If you make good grades on your report card, you get to go out for ice cream. All those kinds of things.
And I applied that really human thinking to God. And that was a catastrophic mistake, and it led me down this rabbit hole of doubt, of wondering if God was good. Does He love me? Is God real?
You know, is what I have believed my whole life, actually the truth? And in all of that, as hard as it was, God never let me go. If I was God, I would have been like, “You know what lady, forget it, have it your way, peace out, bye.”
But God stayed so faithful. And as much as I tried to just run away and rebel against Him, He would not let me go. And it taught me so much about the character of God. And that was the piece I think I had been missing.
That God doesn’t cause bad things to happen, or hard things to happen, but when they do, He is so gracious to use them to show us something about Himself, if we’ll let Him. And I was like really stubborn, so this one, quick lesson took almost four years for me to learn.
But I learned it in such a way that I can’t forget it. Like I know, absolutely, that it’s true. So when I think about my love story with God, yes, I obviously think of when I first encountered Jesus.
But when I think about God showing up for me, it was in those four years when I was behaving like a whiny toddle. And really, I have a lot of experience with that now, just throwing a tantrum, and kicking, and screaming, and God still saying, ‘I am not leaving you and I am going to bring some beauty from these ashes.’ I looked around my life, and I was like, “What is this mess?
This is not what I signed up for God. I don’t deserve this.” And God showed me that was my pride talking. You know, saying that I don’t deserve this, that’s when our hearts grow proud. So He let me suffer in that way, so that He could reveal that sin in me, dig it out, and then show me who He really is.
And I know you know a lot of how that story ended up playing out, you know, we got the call, back in 2014, that we were going to be parents, and we got to see our little boy’s face for the first time.
Just go over to my Instagram page and look for his face, because it’s the cutest little face that you’ll ever see in your life. And then, you know, we went to Ethiopia in the summer of the next year, in 2015, and we weren’t allowed to bring him home at first.
We had to go and meet him, and go to court and become his parents, and then we had to come back to the US without him. And I was furious with God. I was like, “God, after everything we have been through, can’t I just stay there? Just stay with him.” But they wouldn’t let me stay in the country.
And so we went back, my mom went with me, a month later to get him and to bring him back home. And it was between those trips, actually, that I got pregnant with our daughter. And so ten days after we got home from Ethiopia, I found out that eight months later, I was going to have a baby.
So if God had written the story that I wanted, I wouldn’t have Bradley, I would have Asher, and I wouldn’t have Lucy. I just see it when I look at their faces, I see God’s faithfulness. I see His deep love for me in His refusal to give me the life I really thought I wanted.
(LAURA): Baylor, that touched my heart in such fresh ways. From the beginning, to the end of that testimony, how God completely transformed what you expected and gave you what you needed.
It reminds me of when the friends of the paralyzed man lowered him through the roof while Jesus was speaking and teaching. And Jesus didn’t say, ‘What’s going on here?’ And He didn’t even say, ‘Ok fine, I know what you want, you’re healed.’
He looked at that man who was hurting, and was paralyzed, and He said, “Your sins are forgiven.” Even when the paralyzed man was coming to him thinking he just wanted to be healed, Jesus was like no no no.
(BAYLOR): That’s not what you need.
(LAURA): “I’m going to give you what you need. “ So similar testimony in my life, and in your life, and in so many women’s lives.
God’s like, ‘I know what you think that you want, but I am going to give you what you need. And it’s going to be more painful. But the sanctification that’s going to come from it is full of indescribable peace.’
So I am so happy for you that God pulled you through those fiery times.
(BAYLOR): Yeah, it was rough. There were a lot of what people say are dark days, I’m like, ‘Dark years. There were dark years.’ And just that really serious wondering.
But to me, what is so comforting about God is that He is not worried by our doubt. You know, me wondering if He is real, doesn’t make Him less real. You know, it gives Him an opportunity to show up and show me that He is. And so I think a lot of times, I think that we struggle like, ‘Oh, my faith just isn’t strong enough.’
But that’s true for all of us. None of our faith is strong enough. That’s why we need Jesus. If we could just figure it out by ourselves, then God wouldn’t have had to send Jesus here.
(LAURA): Absolutely. Bare with me as I pull out what you just said. You said whether we believe Him or not, it doesn’t take away from whether He’s real.
It doesn’t take away from how real He is. And I love that. I want to know, in the midst of you having grown during those intense four years, and since, in the midst of toddler years, and raising, and nurturing, and discipling kiddos, obviously, we talk about children a lot, but let’s not forget about our marriage, and how much work that also takes.
What are some practical ways, or maybe just one real example, of how, perhaps recently, or a memory that you have, of when you put love into action.
When in the midst of your life, and full life, where you thought, ‘You know what, it’s not about me, it’s about loving others.’ When have you put love into action?
(BAYLOR): Yeah, so for me, I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. I do New Year’s commitments, because I don’t like the word resolution.
It makes me feel like I’m going to fail, because you know all resolutions fail within the first two weeks, or something like that. But a New Year’s commitment I do every year is that I am going to tell people what I appreciate about them.
And it makes some people feel uncomfortable, maybe especially now with Covid, where everyone is going around with a mask, and we are all just by ourselves now, for someone to be like, ‘Hey, I really love this about you.’ I think it kind of weirds people out. They’re like, ‘Get out of my personal space.’
And I’ll tell people that every year I make a commitment that I am going to tell people what I appreciate about them, and I want you to know that this is what I really appreciate about you. Like, “I’ve noticed that you are really good at this.” Or, “You are talented in this way.”
Or, “I saw you do this and it really impacted me.” Or, “You said this to me last week and it really just touched my heart.” I think to let people know that I value them for the things that they are naturally gifted at doing.
And I think that it’s something that makes people feel, or I hope it makes people feel, like they aren’t just spinning their wheels. Because I feel like sometimes people really feel that way, like it’s just the hum drum, going through the mundane.
But to just let people know, even in the small things, “Hey, I appreciate this about you” or “I value this about you” or “I noticed this about you and I love that.”
And I think that we can do it with people that we know, and that we interact with on a regular basis. Like today, I love how authentic you are. I love how you don’t try to polish it up for the world, I love that.
And I think that is something, especially in our world, where everything is filtered. But I just feel like you’re very authentic, and I feel like that’s valuable.
I think we can say things like that to people we know, but I think also to not be stingy with our compliments to strangers. Not to be fake, but to be genuine.
Like I saw a lady at the gym the other day, and I was really feeling her workout pants, and I was like, “Hey, I hope this isn’t weird, but I really like those pants, you look great today.” And she was like, “Thank you!” I just caught her off guard a little bit.
Or anything like that, people that we see at the store. I feel like speaking kindness into people is a huge thing, because I feel like our world moves so quickly, and feels so chaotic, that it’s nice for people to feel like someone saw them and valued what they saw.
(LAURA): It’s funny how Covid has taught us to retreat, and even almost place invisibility on a pedestal. From the seclusion and isolation that is required in order for safety precautions, but even now, as the world might be opening up with whatever choices you are making to be safe, I absolutely agree.
And it’s funny that you bring that up because someone today complimented me on my shoes.
And Baylor, let me tell you, I thought about that several times. Because she didn’t know that I have an insecurity about being frumpy. I have an insecurity about being really not put together.
And coming outside of the four walls of my home, when I am forced to be in public, which I love the community, I love my people, I love my world, but sometimes that insecurity attacks saying that I am so undesirable, look at how I look, look at my clothes.
These are the lies that satan has convinced me of. And she just said “I love your shoes!” Easy compliment, but I thought about that several times today. So you make New Year’s, not resolutions, but commitments to compliment when you feel it, just go for it.
(BAYLOR): Yeah, just go for it. Make it weird if it needs to be weird. Like I have this instructor at the gym, who I have taken her class for six years at this point, and I pulled her aside one day and told her that she is so much more than a fitness instructor.
And I listed for her all of the ways that she has positively impacted my life, and my family, and helped me feel like Im taking care of myself.
Because I bet there are times when she feels like she’s just a fitness instructor, but I wanted her to know that, to me, she is a lot more than that. She is a lifeline for me and I appreciate her so much.
So I think that telling people what you value about them is a great way to show Jesus to people, because God values us, right? He doesn’t need us, but He values us, He treasures us, He created us.
And he created us with unique talents that are different from one another, so when we speak highly of those in other people, maybe we are just reminding people that God gave them a gift, and it’s a good thing that they can use for His glory in the world.
(LAURA): That is such a beautiful, practical way to put love into action. To compliment people, you even used the word stingy.
Don’t be stingy with compliments. When you think it, say it. Get weird. I mean girl, right there, end of interview.
End of Love Fast Broadcast, round of applause. I am inspired by that, that is really exciting. To close out for the night, are you up for a little trivia?
(BAYLOR): Yeah, you are making me nervous over here though.
(LAURA): No! Don’t get nervous. It’s not trivia, it’s more like, ‘Hey, in this mom world we are not alone.’
(BAYLOR): As long as there isn’t just one right answer.
(LAURA): No, I’m going to ease your anxiety. Take a deep breath. This is basically a mom or dad quiz, do you do this or does dad do this?
(BAYLOR): I’m ready.
(LAURA): So girl, you know who pulls the weight in your house. Ok, so I am going to put the timer on, this is where the pressure comes in.
(BAYLOR): Oh, there’s a timer! I’m an enneagram 1, Laura, you’re stressing me out.
(LAURA): I’m an enneagram 9, I hate confrontation. So if you’re uncomfortable, I am uncomfortable. I am going to put the timer on, but I don’t even know if my computer will work as far as the alarm.
Because I would like to know all of the details about yourself, but I am going to have to put a limit on it. I am going to hit start, and then I am going to ask you a series of questions, and you can either say ‘mom’ or ‘dad.’ Like, ‘I do this’ or ‘My husband does this.’
(BAYLOR): So like Family Feud, I’m ready.
(LAURA): Yeah, not like trivia, because I am terrible at trivia. I would never do trivia. Alright, here we go. Who changed more diapers?
(LAURA): Who spoils the baby most?
(LAURA): Ok, who wants more kids?
(BAYLOR): No, no one.
(LAURA): Who is more likely to put the baby’s diaper on backwards?
(LAURA): Who takes more pictures of your kids?
(BAYLOR): Mom, hands down.
(LAURA): Who is more patient with your kids?
(BAYLOR): Ok, so it’s both of us, but with different kids.
(LAURA): Who told your family about adoption and pregnancy first, who spilled the beans?
(BAYLOR): Oh we did it together, and we probably don’t have time now, but we did it together and it was really fun. So ask me another time and I will explain the story.
(LAURA): I am interested, we will have to have a separate conversation.
Baylor, that was your minute. I’m telling you, I was trying to keep up, but most of it was mom. Husbands are amazing.
(BAYLOR): They are, and to be fair, I am a stay at home mom. Like I have a women’s ministry, but it’s all done out of my house.
So I am always here. I used to be a middle school teacher, but when we brought Bradley home, I left the classroom.
(LAURA): Touche. No, I mean my husband is the best dad and the best husband. But I was like, ‘I do it all because I am here.’ That doesn’t belittle the fact that it takes a lot of work, just because you are here, it’s not like, ‘Oh, no big deal.’
Because you know, as working women from home, raising the kiddos, it is what God has called us to do, but it is, every single day, a surrender decision.
(BAYLOR): And it’s hard work.
(LAURA): Every day. Oh my goodness. I have enjoyed chatting with you.
(BAYLOR): Yes, me too!
(LAURA): You are fun. You have such a, I don’t know, Baylor, you have such a wise presence about you.
(BAYLOR): Oh thank you, will you tell my kids that?
(LAURA): Right, tell mine, but they wouldn’t believe you. I just wanted to sit and say, ‘what is she going to teach me next?’ And I hope that those who chose to join our Love Fast Broadcast found a couple of nuggets in there, where they could feel a little more at ease, and know that they can serve people by giving spontaneous compliments.
And if they don’t leave their house, if they’re just with their family or at work, expending themselves to compliment their kids generously, complimenting their coworkers generously, which can also be very challenging.
You know, loving our enemies by finding the good and complimenting them. I just love that truth that you shared. Thank you.
(BAYLOR): Thank you for having me, it was fun. I can’t wait to meet you in person in June
(LAURA): I know! I don’t know how many days we have, but it’ll be soon.
(BAYLOR): It’ll be soon.
(LAURA): Yeah, it’ll be a lot of fun! So thank you guys for joining on, I did a little wave at each of you. I adore you guys, thank you so much.
And all of those who are joining in who are Team Baylor, thank you guys for tuning in. I’m going to have it up on my blog in two weeks, where you can read it, and review it, and watch it for yourself there too.