Dr. DeeDee: When you can love yourself, you can be free to love others. And when we can teach a woman how to value who God has created her to be, then we can begin to value each other.
Victoria Osteen, Laurie Crouch, Dr. DeeDee Freeman and Rachel Hauck: Building Each Other Up Through Friendship – Episode #161
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. Today’s guests are women who have seen the impact of bringing love and intention to our relationships with others, especially with our friends: the women of TBN’s Better Together—Laurie Crouch, Victoria Osteen, and Dr. DeeDee Freeman—and novelist Rachel Hauck.
Better Together is a new program on TBN made by women, for women. Their goal is to build a community of women committed to doing life together and making the world a better place. Today a few members of the Better Together team share why it’s not only important to seek friendship with those who share different experiences from us, but how we can create common ground by reading the Bible together, praying together, or sharing a devotional, like Jesus Calling.
Dr. DeeDee: I’m Dr. DeeDee Freeman. I’m married to Michael Freeman. We are the pastors of Spirit of Faith Christian Center. We have been pastoring for 25 years now, and I’m also a part of the Better Together team.
Victoria: I’m Victoria Osteen, and my husband and I, Joel, we’ve been pastoring for 20 years. Our ministry is celebrating our 60th year. [Joel’s mother and father] started the ministry 60 years ago, and when Joel’s father passed away, God led us to step up and be senior pastors of the church.
I am so honored and privileged to be a part of Better Together. This community of women that you’ve created, Laurie, is phenomenal.
Laurie: My name is Laurie Crouch—thank you, Victoria. My husband and I, Matthew, lead the Trinity Broadcasting family of networks around the world. And I am part of the Better Together team right here.
The Beauty of Diversity in God’s Kingdom
Laurie: Better Together has been something that brings us all together.
Victoria: And it’s so interesting because this group of Better Together is different ages, different backgrounds, different experiences. Some people were raised in church. Some people were not. Dr. DeeDee, you weren’t raised in church.
Dr. DeeDee: No, not at all.
Victoria: And now God has got you on this path where you and your husband are just preaching the good news.
Dr. DeeDee: It’s amazing.
Victoria: And so what I love about this community is to not only meet new women that I haven’t met, but really gleaning from them and their experience.
Laurie: Yeah, totally.
Victoria: And I think as women, that’s one of the most important things that we can do is to be—
Victoria: Open-minded to one another. You know, so often the stereotype is that we just kind of judge one another. We sum one another up. We’re really not for each other. But I think that’s that’s in the past.
Dr. DeeDee: Yes.
Victoria: I think this is a new generation, and a new happening that’s happening among women is we’re realizing that we’re better together.
Victoria: We’re realizing that when I encourage you, it encourages me.
Dr. DeeDee: Yes.
Victoria: We can all get together and learn so much from each other.
Dr. DeeDee: Absolutely. You know, I think one of the biggest lies that the enemy put in the church is what we have taken from the world to say, “Women can’t get along.” But we can get along. We can be here for one another. We can encourage each other. There are so many times when we come together as a community of women with a common purpose. You know, we get the joys of working together on a shared mission.
“One of the biggest lies that the enemy put in the church is what we have taken from the world to say, ‘Women can’t get along.’ But we can get along. We can be here for one another. We can encourage each other” – Dr. DeeDee Freeman
But there is always that potential when you have people from all different walks of life, you know, that we are not always going to agree.
Victoria: As women we need to open our hearts.
Dr. DeeDee: I agree.
Victoria: And be be the one who is the peacemaker.
Victoria: And I think when we get practice overlooking an offense, we’re going to be so much better off as women, as mothers, as sisters, as wives. So I believe that sometimes it’s too easy to just take an offense.
Dr. DeeDee: That’s true.
Dr. DeeDee: I have so many women in our ministry. And I have to be sensitive enough to know there are some things they haven’t been raised in [and] that their environment have shaped them to be totally different than I am. I cannot automatically come and just force my beliefs or my opinions or my ideas over how this whole community should look.
Victoria: And when you hear someone’s story, their challenge, what they’ve been through, it causes you to understand that person better. When I hear [those] stories, I think to myself, “Wow, [God,] You’ve just shown me something about myself.” Even if I haven’t been through that, somehow God always mirrors back something in your own life.
“When you hear someone’s story, their challenge, what they’ve been through, it causes you to understand that person better.” – Victoria Osteen
Dr. DeeDee: I believe the diversity of how we are is a representation of what Christ is. And so we have to learn how to come together, bring our differences together, and really share and look like what God intended for us to look like.
Laurie: You don’t always have to be right. And sometimes saving friendships and those close to you. It’s not about being right all the time.
Victoria: You don’t have to be right. We’re different, but [we can] find common ground.
Dr. DeeDee: Yes.
Victoria: You know we can agree to disagree, but if we find common ground—and what is that common ground? Respect.
Dr. DeeDee: Right.
“I believe the diversity of how we are is a representation of what Christ is. And so we have to learn how to come together, bring our differences together, and really share and look like what God intended for us to look like.” – Dr. DeeDee Freeman
The Power of True Friends
Laurie: I think it’s so important to find people you can pray with, and that can agree with you to lift each other up.
“It’s so important to find people you can pray with, and that can agree with you to lift each other up.” – Laurie Crouch
Victoria and I have been together in times where, man, I just had to tell her something, you know. And I knew she was the one to talk to because I knew what she was going to give me back. She was going to encourage me. She was going to pray right then and there. I knew it was coming, and I needed it. And DeeDee, the same thing with her. Just going through stuff in your life, you’ve got to surround yourself with people who are filled with the Holy Spirit, who love God, who aren’t going to bring you down.
Dr. DeeDee: Absolutely. You know, the beauty in all of our relationships is that we truly love one another.
Victoria: If women knew their worth, if they really understood their value in the eyes of God—and that’s where it starts. It’s not in the eyes of man, but it’s in the eyes of God—I believe we tap into a superpower.
Dr. DeeDee: Yes.
Victoria: As women, we need each other. And one reason we need each other is that we’re talkers.
Dr. DeeDee: Yes.
Victoria: I know I’ve been talking to my husband before, and about 10 minutes later, I see these eyes just glazing over.
“If women knew their worth, if they really understood their value in the eyes of God—and that’s where it starts. It’s not in the eyes of man, but it’s in the eyes of God—I believe we tap into a superpower.” – Victoria Osteen
Laurie: Glazing over!
Victoria: Because [men] not wired like we are.
Dr. DeeDee: Right.
Victoria: So to have women you can hold in confidence and really trust is such a gift.
Victoria: And worth looking for.
Dr. DeeDee: Yes.
Watch and See What God Will Do
Victoria: You know, even doing Bible studies together and coming together and just having that girl talk, chit-chat, confidence time to confide in one another is just so important.
When my son was going off to college, I had worked to prepare everything we were going to take [for] his room and what I was going to put in it. He didn’t really care, but I did.
I remember when the time approached, I was all prepared to take him, but I had such a nervous, anxious feeling because I thought, It’s hard to release him out into the world.
So the Saturday that a friend of mine and I were going to take both of our sons to college—they were actually going to room together, and we’d been preparing all this together. I got up extra early because I knew I just had to spend time with God. I was just like, I don’t want to show [my son that] I’m anxious.
Laurie: Settle your soul.
Victoria: I just want to settle my soul.
So I got up and I prayed. I was just talking to the Lord, and I just felt like He spoke to me. And He began to talk to me about the essentials of faith, and how faith is those things that are not yet seen. That’s what faith is. It’s believing in something we haven’t yet seen.
And then I felt like he just impressed on my heart, “Just watch and see what I can do.”
So I was writing this down in my journal, and knowing my friend was as anxious as I was, I texted to her and I said, “I got up early.” And I told her the story. “And this is what God said.”
Immediately she shot a text back to me, and she had been reading in Jesus Calling.
Dr. DeeDee: Oh, wow.
Victoria: And the one she had read talked about releasing your children to God. It said, “Don’t keep them in your clinging hands. You’ve got to be able to release them to God.” And then it went on to say, “Watch to see what I will do.”
And so it was is if that Jesus Calling not only confirmed that “watch and see” to me, but it also confirmed to her that God was right there with us. And so it has become our, like, banner of victory. We’ll say, “Watch and see what God will do.”
And so just through this beautiful Jesus Calling [devotion], it gave us so much confirmation that God does speak to us as individuals, and He can confirm His Word through devotionals and through His Word. So it was just such a comfort in such an exciting time for me.
Laurie: He cares more than we do.
Victoria: And I think that’s so sweet because, you know, God speaks to us on so many different levels and in so many different ways.
Dr. DeeDee: At the right time.
Laurie: At the right time.
Victoria: It was such a confirmation that God was in this. He had our sons in the palm of His hand, and He was going to be faithful to all of our prayers. And so it’s interesting—did you ever get those slogans? So that’s now one of our slogans: “Just watch to see what God can do.”
Knowing God as a Father
Victoria: God’s always faithful always when we seek Him. And it’s great to have girlfriends. It’s great to talk to girlfriends. But you know what? We’ve got to learn to really talk to God. And that’s what I love about this Jesus Calling is it really gives you a feeling like you’re in a relationship with God, because [author Sarah Young is] talking from that point of view and giving you the heart of the Father. And I think that’s so powerful, to really understand the Father’s heart.
Dr. DeeDee: My father was a loving and caring dad. [He was] present, took care of us, raised all of us. My parents have been married for 65 years this year.
Victoria: Wow, that’s beautiful.
Dr. DeeDee: [They’re] living and doing very well. So I had a great father in that regard. But I didn’t see a “God” as Father, you understand? I had a father who loved me, which was good because when I received Jesus, I knew if my natural father would give me good things, how much more would my Heavenly Father give me?
But I wasn’t raised in a Christian home with Christian environment, so I didn’t know how to function in certain things, like, what about believing God? No, I didn’t understand how to believe God and to love people and to transition and to walk in forgiveness—all of the things that we as believers are supposed to demonstrate—because I wasn’t taught that growing up.
Victoria: So that’s why devotionals and friendships and looking at other people and how they are navigating this journey of faith is so important.
Laurie: And gleaning off of not only we three sitting here, but the different generations of the girls and young [women] in our lives. Just gleaning off of every season, every relationship that we have is a beautiful thing.
Dr. DeeDee: No, it is. You’re right, it’s a beautiful thing. We can glean from one another, and it’s great. And that’s why again—as Victoria said—Sarah, in this devotional, it is so beautiful because even though you may not have friends in your life, you can pick this book up and you can read it and hear the heart of the Father.
Laurie: Because there’s no friend like Jesus.
Dr. DeeDee: There’s no friend like Jesus.
Here’s a passage from Jesus Calling that I think is really applicable to what we’re talking about today, and it’s from September 5th. I want to read it right now. Is that okay?
Dr. DeeDee: All right, great.
“The friendship I offer you is practical and down-to-earth, yet it is saturated with heavenly Glory. Living in My Presence means living in two realms simultaneously: the visible world and the unseen, eternal reality. I have equipped you to stay conscious of Me while walking along dusty, earthbound paths.”
It’s a great devotion.
Laurie: There’s no one like Jesus.
Dr. DeeDee: There’s no one like Jesus.
Victoria: You know, just knowing that God is with us.
Victoria: Knowing that . . . I loved the way [Sarah] uses “walking along dusty, earthbound paths” because that’s . . . we are bound by this earth.
Dr. DeeDee: That’s true.
Victoria: But we’re not bound in Jesus.
Victoria: You know, we can experience His heavenly glories.
Dr. DeeDee: Mm-hmm.
Victoria: His sweet, beautiful joy and love for us as we just walk through the scriptures, walk through this devotional. And I don’t know, it just opens your heart in a new way, doesn’t it?
“Together we will face whatever each day brings: pleasure, hardships, adventures. and disappointments.”
So it’s all going to come. And just to know that Jesus is with us every day, it’s just . . . a reminder of this every day is what I need. I need to hear this every day. This helps me, and this is what we should be seeding inside of each other every day
Dr. DeeDee: Yeah it’s a beautiful thing. I love that. I mean, that’s the beauty in having relationships and having those friendships.
Laurie: I love that. You know, you can hear scriptures all your life. You can read a scripture a hundred times, but sometimes a friend or someone close to you can read it to you and bring out something that you have never, never thought of.
“You know, you can hear scriptures all your life. You can read a scripture a hundred times, but sometimes a friend or someone close to you can read it to you and bring out something that you have never, never thought of.” – Laurie Crouch
And I think it’s so important that women encourage and uplift each other in the Lord. And so what we try to model each day in our friendships and our relationships is how to be a good friend.
Dr. DeeDee: Yes.
Laurie: How to encourage in the Lord, how to be vulnerable.
Dr. DeeDee: I believe God is so awesome with the creativity of how He made us so unique, if you will, to bring our strengths and our talents together to make the whole picture of what God truly looks like.
“I believe God is so awesome with the creativity of how He made us so unique, if you will, to bring our strengths and our talents together to make the whole picture of what God truly looks like.” – Dr. DeeDee Freeman
Narrator: You can catch the latest episodes of Better Together and learn how you can watch upcoming episodes at bettertogether.tv.
Narrator: Stay tuned for our interview with novelist Rachel Hauck after a brief message about the new Jesus Calling Weekly Prayer Call!
Narrator: Did you know that Sarah Young, the author of Jesus Calling, prays for her readers each day? In that spirit, we want to extend the Jesus Calling prayer community out to you in a more personal way. Each Tuesday morning, you can dial into the Jesus Calling Weekly Prayer Call, where the team from Jesus Calling and special guests will minister to us during a 10-minute call to reflect on that day’s passage from Jesus Calling, read scripture references, and pray together for each other and our world. Prayer call times are 8:00 AM ET, 7:00 AM CT, 6:00 AM MT, and 5:00 AM PT and are for US only. For more information on the Jesus Calling Weekly Prayer Call or to submit prayer requests, please visit jesuscalling.com/prayer-call.
Narrator: Rachel Hauck has always loved words. She’s a gifted storyteller who weaves love and inspiration into each novel she writes. Rachel talks about what fostered her love for writing, and how growing in her relationship with God inspired her to tell stories of love to the world.
Rachel Hauck: Hi, everyone, I’m Rachel Hauck. I live in central Florida, and I’m a full-time author. I write novels. I’m also a worship leader, a wife, and a feeder of a cat.
I like to call myself a transplanted Yankee. I was born in Ohio, but then my dad and mom moved us out to Oklahoma in the mid-60s. They were impacted by the charismatic movement, and so my dad went to ORU for a while. And then we moved to Lexington, Kentucky, where he went to Asbury Seminary. So I’m kind of a Sooner/Buckeye/Wildcat.
And then in the early 70s, the nondenominational movement was developing and people were saying, “What are gonna do with all these Jesus movement kids?” Then we moved, to me, to the end of the world: Homestead, Florida. So it just felt like from Kentucky to south of Miami was, to a 14-year-old, like, I’ve left since civilization.
We moved to Tallahassee, and then I ended up at Ohio State, and that’s where I graduated from.
The Lord was always an integral part of our life. I got saved when I was six years old, so I’ve always known His presence in my life. And it’s weird sometimes to think about that not being there—like, I don’t know what that feels like.
My dad was an architect, but was also a lay pastor so I as a child and as a teenager I saw a lot of that Christian leadership pastoral stuff up front. And while I had a relatively good experience, I didn’t necessarily like being in the eye of the church, you know, that fishbowl that the leadership spouses or children get in. And my parents did a very good job of allowing us to be who we were.
But I do remember this: after I graduated and I was back home in Tallahassee, I was kind of waiting on the Lord to direct my life and tell me where to go next and put me in that career job. I was driving down the road, and I said, “Lord, I want to marry a pastor or a farmer.” I don’t know why I said that. It just came out. And so I end up marrying a pastor, which surprised me in a lot of ways. And [my husband’s] middle name is George, which means “farmer.” So it’s this kind of really funny that God goes, “Okay, you can do both.”
Finding Love Stories in Scripture & Our World
I’ve loved reading since I was a kid. I can remember getting the books in third and fourth grade—they had those little paperback books they would bring them around to the classroom, and I think you could get them from the library and they were really cheap. I love the smell of them. So I think it was first kind of a sensory thing. I love the smell of books.
And then, I just love story. I would check out biographies, so I always loved reading about people. And I don’t necessarily call myself a “creative.” I don’t think of myself as a super creative type. But at the same time, I had pretend friends—I dated Donny Osmond, little does he know. I had that imaginary world that I lived in, and I would just go in my room and read.
And I was very impacted, like I said, by biographies. But the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House” series, I devoured those books. I just loved her life, and I think I really related to her for some reason. I felt a kinship with Laura Ingalls Wilder.
So books were always a part of it. But the writing part came in as young as first grade. I had a diary in first grade. I wrote in it, and I started keeping journals and diaries on a consistent basis from, like, fourth grade on.
I was always writing things. It was the way that I communicated, the way that I express myself to myself or to other people. But I wrote a poem in fourth grade, and it was really good. I don’t have it, [but] it was about Santa Claus. The outcome of that was my father coming to me and going, “Rachel, you’re a talented writer. You need to be a writer.”
And from that point on, all of my conversations with my father about my future involved writing. He wanted me to be a writer. He would tell me I was a writer. And when I went to Ohio State—and he was also an Ohio State grad—he said, “Major in journalism. Learn the discipline of writing. And then you can get a job until you figure out really what you want to do.”
I didn’t think I could write novels. That was such an intimidating thing to think about, writing a novel. Back then in the 80s, you had to go through New York. There wasn’t a lot of Christian publishing at the time, and the idea of going to an agent [and through] all of those steel doors to get a book published just seemed so intimidating. But the Lord began to move in my life after I got married. And one thing led to another, and here I am 20 years later.
Love is in everything. Is there any story where there’s not a love angle, be it parental or sibling or friendship? I didn’t directly set out to write romance, but there’s always some kind of love story in almost every story that we read. But it’s just kind of me. It’s how I communicate. I love a good rom-com. I love love stories. Everybody wins in a love story. And God is love.
“Love is in everything. Is there any story where there’s not a love angle, be it parental or sibling or friendship?” – Rachel Hauck
About the time I started going into full-time writing, I was also on this journey of understanding this amazing love story in scripture. And I think it kind of spilled over into my writing and into my life.
One of the things I love about Jesus Calling is how Sarah just distills the voice of the Lord. Everything she’s written is rooted and grounded in scripture, and she just takes it and puts it in this language that’s like, “I’m talking to you.” I think a lot of people need that. They read scripture, and it seems academic, like, here are the formal things that Jesus said. And if we watch too many 70 Jesus movies, it’s all in a British accent. And so I feel like what she has taken is the Word, and she’s distilled it down into something that really does communicate to our heart. And several of her devotionals have hit me right where I live, right when I needed them.
This is the one that I love, and I feel like this is just me every time I read it. This is me. This is August 21st:
“Wait with Me for a while. I have much to tell you. You are walking along the path I have chosen for you. It is both a privilege and a perilous way: experiencing My glorious Presence and heralding that reality to others. Sometimes you feel presumptuous to be carrying out such an assignment.
Do not worry about what other people think of you. The work I am doing in you is hidden at first. But eventually blossoms will burst forth, and abundant fruit will be born. Stay on the path of Life with Me. Trust Me wholeheartedly, letting My Spirit fill you with Joy and Peace.”
That is, like, speaking to me today that this is my life. She, like, read my mind.
The Joy of Finding—and Doing—God’s Calling
Narrator: As Rachel began to understand God’s amazing love story told through scripture, she started to write about love in a way that has captured hearts all over the world. Recently, one of her books called Once Upon a Prince was made into a Hallmark movie—right when a real-life royal couple decided to tie the knot.
Rachel Hauck: Once Upon a Prince played on the Hallmark Channel April 7th, , so about six weeks before Prince Harry married Meghan Markle. I thought that was just really cool timing, for me to kind of ride on the coattails of that.
We went out to set, my husband and I. We were actually in the movie, in the ballroom scene. And I had hair and makeup, and a costume, and my own trailer.
I was not prepared for the emotion that I would feel, seeing this story that I sat in my office by myself, wrote by myself, pulled everything out of my heart and my head by myself and thinking, Okay, this book is going to end my career. No one’s going to like it.
It was the book that came out after The Wedding Dress, which is my biggest success to date. And you know, just all of the doubts that you have to deal with, praying asking the Lord for help. And then you go on set, and here’s like 60 people and 90 extras making this whole thing come alive, and people writing scripts, and someone writing a score to the to it. It’s just . . . ahh, it was crazy! It was really emotional. I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe it. It was fantastic.
I feel like I’m abundantly blessed because I know that I’m doing what God called me and made me do. I know that’s a struggle for a lot of people, and so I am just like, “God, how did I stumble into this, that I’m actually doing this thing that You called me to do?” And I feel so blessed and humbled in a lot of ways by it.
And not every day is cake. There are days when I’m like, What else can I do for a living? It’s still that journey, but when you’re confident you’re doing the thing that God designed you to do, then you can endure the hard times, or the disappointments, or the ups and the downs.
“When you’re confident you’re doing the thing that God designed you to do, then you can endure the hard times, or the disappointments, or the ups and the downs.” – Rachel Hauck
Narrator: You can get Rachel’s latest book, The Memory House, at your favorite book retailer today.
Narrator: If you’d like to hear more stories about women using their talents to glorify their relationships with God and others, check out our interview with Candace Cameron Buré.
Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast, we talk with author, minister, and actress Priscilla Shirer. In the last few years, Priscilla has looked around at our social media-saturated world and noticed a startling trend: we’ve allowed ourselves to find our value in others’ opinions of us.
Priscilla Shirer: Each and every one of us have to decide who or what we’re gonna give permission to identify us, to label us, to name us. And so many of us find our significance in things outside of eternal things. And see, that’s the problem—they’re temporal. Only the person who made you has the right to give you your label and the right to determine your significance.