The World Needs What You Have To Offer
A Conversation with Julie Lyles Carr
[MS] You’re listening to Together by AGCI. I’m Madi Salvati.
[MS] Becoming a podcast host is a funny thing. I love a good story and I love listening and watching someone light up as they talk about their life and their passions, but I’ve learned that creating a podcast worth listening to is not just about the story or how calm and collected I can sound as a host. It’s also about how to launch it into the world and owning the role of not only a host, but an audio engineer, a writer, an editor, an interviewer. The list truly goes on. It’s also about having the humility to ask for help and admit that I don’t have all the answers to make this great. After a lot of research and brainstorming, and with the help of my cohost and AGCI videographer, Dayn Arnold, the pieces started to come together. But another key component to getting this thing off the ground was finding a mentor. I could do all the research I wanted, but I needed guidance from someone who had already forged the path and could help me win this battle, essentially, on the podcast front. That person was Julie Lyles Carr, author, podcaster, speaker, broadcast media extraordinaire and, of course, mom of eight. She is also our guest today on this episode of Together by AGCI. Julie serves as the pastor of LifeWomen Women’s Ministry and as the online campus pastor at her home church in Austin, Texas. She speaks nationally on faith and culture, parenting, publishing, content development and marketing, and has her own content and consulting company. She began her career in radio and television as an anchor and reporter and today is the host of The Modern Motherhood podcast where she has welcomed guests such as Scott Hamilton, Bob Goff and Beth Moore. She has authored a number of books including the bestselling Raising an Original from HarperCollins. She is an honor contributor for several radio shows in a variety of markets. I can’t wait for you all to get to know Julie and I hope you enjoy listening to her stories and wisdom as much as I do. Let’s get to it.
[JLC] So I’m Julie Lyles Carr. I’m a mom of eight kids. I live in Austin, Texas and I am a writer and a speaker, and a podcaster, and a content developer, and I’m in ministry. And so those are just kind of some of the hats that I wear. And of course I am the chief grocery shopper and you know, all of those things to go along with this size family. In terms of how I first became connected to AGCI, my story actually starts, uh, several years ago we moved to the Austin, Texas area when I was five weeks away from having our twins, our number seven and eight kiddos. And I got to tell you, Madi, that is a weird time to try to do a move because here we just pull in and I am barely walking at this point just because I’m so huge with these twins. And so we had a house that we were trying to sell and the location from which we were moving, we just decided to lease something that we thought would be a short term solution to just physically getting us here for a position that my husband was taking. And we moved in. It was just crazy town. It was kind of like dorm living. I was not planning on putting roots in the neighborhood, but there was this gal who lived three doors down and she had two kids at the time and they were the ages of my fifth and six children. And she just became determined that we would become friends. And so I was sort of the phantom mom for awhile because in those last stages of pregnancy and then having these two newborns, we didn’t see each other a whole lot. But over time we became really good friends and she and her husband began the process of considering did they want to adopt and if they did, what would that look like? And on and on and on. And in the intervening years of us living down the street from each other. And finally, my husband and I actually ended up buying this house, decided that we couldn’t leave the neighbors, that we loved them so much. She and her husband adopted their son, Jonathan through AGCI. And we were very much embedded in that entire process from those very early nascent conversations about was this something that God was calling them to do all the way to when they finally arrived home with him from Ethiopia. And he today is one of my twin’s best buddies and they are together all the time. And so having Jonathan in our lives has this deep, deep connection for us, for AGCI. And of course once we became engaged with AGCI, there’s a whole network. There’s a whole world to it. We’ve been really involved in part of that ministry and mission, helping support it financially, being part of the galas, you know, just doing the things that we can do to try to help out.
[MS] Can you tell me a bit more about your personal journey, maybe just to where you are today? I’m sure that’s a pretty broad question, but I’m sure everyone is curious to know just how you got where you are.
[JLC] My career path through all of it has looked a lot different than a lot of people’s career paths because when you have this number of kids, but you’re also passionate about the work you do, it’s pretty fascinating, I wouldn’t even call it a balancing act, Madi. That would be, that would be silly. That’s not really a balance to it.
[MS] Yeah, there’s definitely a point I feel like, yeah . . .
[JLC] No, no, no. You just tip over into the chaos. But that’s, that’s a little bit, that’s generally one of the things that people are very curious about is how that all came to be. You know, if that had been a childhood dream, if that was something we had known from the outset of our relationship and it, and it wasn’t, and that’s one of the things that I think is so beautiful as I watched some of the stories through AGCI is people opening up a willingness to something that maybe they’d never considered before. Maybe they had settled into a certain type of lifestyle and a certain pacing of lifestyle. And then they began to feel that tugs open their heart to something that was a little bit more. And for some people I think that can look like inviting more kids into their family. For other people, I think that can look like becoming passionate about caring for the orphans of the world. That doesn’t necessarily include adoption, but includes being very proactive and going into corners of the world that need a lot of help and need a lot of guidance. And so I think it’s really important that we all take a beat, take a pause. And while we’re telling God the things that we’d like to do and the things we feel drawn to in the field, things we feel called to, he may have a very different way of actually executing those things in our lives than we would’ve anticipated.
[MS] Yeah, I just, I was recently thinking about that too, just like in my own life, I feel like I have this idea of where I want to be, but like how I get there is so up for interpretation and absolutely. It’s so true. Um, and with that too, like with the direction that you feel like, you know, God has called you, um, what has been one of the more challenging aspects of that?
[JLC] I’m trying to do a better job of dissecting down what it really is that I’m supposed to be gleaning from whatever role that I’m having that can be carried forward and used in a fresh way for someone else. It’s one of the grips that I think we get in, particularly in the parenting lane that I would watch. I would watch, particularly women, but I’ve seen guys go through it too. When these kids that they were so heavily focused got ready to launch and that role needed to shift right, of being the hands on parent, the parent all in the moment. And the challenge that so many parents were having making that transition because they were so attached to the role that they didn’t realize what they could carry with them from having been in the role.
[MS] And I think my next question . . . that just made me think, I’m sure you’re not the only one too, who is, who has faced these questions. Um, and trying to figure out what it is, what pieces of you do you take? What things do you carry into the next phase of life? Almost what’s gonna keep serving you? What still feels a part of you or God given in that way? Um, what advice would you have to, I mean, not only women, but to everyone listening, um, who maybe is in that stage of transition or in between roles or watching their kid kiddos launch into the real world. Um, what advice would you have for them?
[JLC] I think these moments are the times where we can either sink into a melancholy or a regret or a wishing and I get it. I mean, that’s, that’s a real, that’s a real emotion. It’s something that needs to be honored, but I think living there too long then just kind of leaves us behind. I’m always fascinated when people want to remain relevant, but they reference everything with, well, back in the day, well, back when I, well, the way we always did it and that is no way to live presently. You know, I, I look a lot Madi, at the story of Caleb, I’m really fascinated by the story of Caleb and the Bible because one of the things that is said of Caleb is that God says that he has a different spirit. He has a different spirit. And when I unpack that, I look at the facts that Caleb and Joshua, you know, they came to the promised land, they were two of Moses’s guys and they were part of this group that was going to be part of the leadership team for taking the Israelites into the promised land. And so they were at their peak, right at the first approach that was made to the promised land. They were 40 and they went with 10 other guys to peak over into the promised land. And 10 of the guys said, this looks too daunting, too difficult. Joshua and Caleb came back and said, we totally can do it. And they conditionally, we’re in a season of life where that should have been their role at the time. And instead because of the disbelief, it meant that they got to take a wandering field trip for another 40 years. Right? So when they finally arrived back at the promised land, the thing that they thought they always wanted to do, I can see in a lot of us, I can see a tendency in myself to have said, well, I missed my moment. I didn’t do it all the way. I wanted to, gosh, back when I was this age and I had this level of energy and I had this level of innovation, that’s when I should have done the thing. And instead Caleb says, I am just as in it now as I was 40 years ago. He’s 80 years old at this point and one of the really seminal things that he says, and this is why I think Caleb remained relevant, and if there is something that I want to have monogrammed somewhere, it is this: He basically goes in and says to them that he knows the art of war and he’s going to show them how to do battle. I want to be able to show people how to do battle. If they’re in the trenches of mothering their little bitties, I don’t want to say, well, you know, it was, I mean it’s just too bad that blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, because back when I was at that is irrelevant. I want to show them how to do battle. In the today we had this strange thing where I think we think of a younger generation that this is their day. It is still our day. It is the age difference between you and I, Madi. It’s your day and it’s my day. There’s no, there’s no separation of that. I learned so much from a younger generation. I hope I have something that a younger generation can carry forward and so as we see our roles changing, that’s a long way of saying, here’s the advice. As we see those roles changing to have a different spirit about it is the spiritual discipline. I want to exercise. We are only as irrelevant as we speak over ourselves. I see this huge desire amongst a lot of young women I minister to amongst the young couples, amongst guys in business settings asking me some things, with gals and business settings asking me some things. I think that’s a huge desire of a generation to have strong mentors and to have some coaching. They’re very, very open to that and so to make ourselves irrelevant is what’s sad to think we’re irrelevant because we don’t occupy a certain role anymore is simply a cage of our own making. Again, what are the values you learn from those roles and how do you communicate those in ways that help the next generation know how to do battle and go into those places and territories in which they’re being called to go into without some kind of strange ageism we put on ourselves. That’s the place that I want people to feel empowered and fired up and the world needs what you have to offer, so don’t undercut it. Don’t be guilty of being the one saying that’s what old people say. I’m an old people . . . like stop. I mean it’s not necessary. And I think there is so much to be offered when we bring all of it to a collective communal table and say, I have something to learn from someone younger than me. I have something to learn from someone older than me and I have something to offer someone younger than me and I have something to offer someone older than me. There’s always someone older than you are with this sidebar: my grandmother’s going to be 102 next month, so maybe not for my grandmother, but wow. Generally there’s always somebody older than you. There’s always someone younger than you, whatever age you are. And we have responsibilities to give and receive from both of those poles.
[MS] Yeah. And I just, I love what you said about um, doing battle and showing, you know, those who haven’t been where you’ve been yet. How did you battle in that time? Um, and I think that’s just such a valuable thing that often gets overlooked in certain stages of life where we can just write it off as, um, you know, they’re not there yet. It’s irrelevant. Um, this is how it used to be. Just like you were saying. I love that.
[JLC] Well, it’s, it’s one of the things that I think is really beautiful about even watching the mission of AGCI. And one of the lessons I took from watching this was, you know, the direction that AGCI had had for a long time as an agency being very focused primarily on international adoption. And then having to pivot, you know, the AGCI role changed, but the core of who AGCI is did not change. One of the things that I find really fascinating are the people that I’m watching in this beautiful way, figure out how to pivot their businesses, their ministry, their conversations about what all this feels like versus those who are just so seemingly desperate to get back to what, you know, quote unquote, whatever normal is. And it’s just a living example to me right now of people who feel displaced in their roles and people who are taking the core of what they’ve learned in the roles they had before all this happened and are carrying it forward into navigating these uncertain times. So that ability to pivot and pivot well and pivot positively is a really powerful lesson to me.
[MS] Yeah, you answered my next question. That was, um, like thinking of the times right now, how, how do we bring our roles into exactly what we’re dealing with? And you know, everyone’s enduring things in their own capacity currently. Um, and I think that’s just such a great reminder of how, you know, no matter how much we want things to be quote unquote normal again, um, how can we, you know, bring ourselves into this moment and be fully present and accept what’s going on and all of that.
[JLC] Yeah. You know, what is really fascinating to me, Madi, is I think that a lot of times we bring into our lives a certain level of compartmentalism. And so, you know, I’m a mom, I am a broadcaster, I am a writer. We don’t, I think it’s one of the secrets that’s allowed me to tackle this, you know, supersize mothering and career stuff because there just wasn’t an ability for me to have clean lines between all of that. There never was. And so as you can imagine in this season that we’re in, I’ve had a lot of people reaching out to me saying, I don’t understand how you’ve been doing all this, like educating your kids at home and working from home, but also running to the office. But then also the just the mothering of this many people and you’re like, how, and part of my response has always been, because it’s always been messy. Like I had to embrace the mess early on. It was never going to be these clean lines. And that’s part of what I’m seeing people having to embrace right now that I personally think is gorgeous. I am loving that people are having to have zoom meetings with their cat wandering through the shot and their kid wandering in with a bottle. And I’m not saying that having these compartmentalized lives does not also have value. I understand people focus better in certain ways when they can have those boundaries and borders to certain aspects of their lives. People can have preferences and those preferences are fine. But I am telling you, I think it is amazing. This is an amazing catalytic moment to understand what you are taking from your roles. That really is your core. If you are amazing as a project manager and an architectural firm, you have core gifts in there that really will help you extrapolate and survive being home with your kids and making sure that they are getting their science project done, that their science teacher assigned over the internet. You actually do have a skillset, a skillset there that is so available to you. I see it in women who are going back into the workforce after having gone home. They’re so great at multitasking and keeping a bunch of plates spinning and it translates into a new season of career for them. So I, I know there are so many serious things. It is not wrong to feel the concern and the fear and the uncertainty and the unsettling that all of this season has brought us. But I also hope that people look back and realize that one of the gifts is some of those compartmentalize walls came down and we were able to live our lives in a much more organic and full way across our career roles and our family roles and our friendship roles that, that all of that sort of getting messier in the most beautiful way.
[MS] Yeah, I can, I can just feel that reality right now and just, it’s been so eye opening, um, sitting back and you know, hopping on calls all the time and doing that with my colleagues at work and just seeing, it’s almost like there’s a barrier that’s been brought down, like where we really truly are all in this together. Um, and I just think that’s such a known fact right now. And with that just comes I think a little more authenticity whether we know it or not or feel that or not just in the moment of how we are communicating with each other and being there for each other.
[JLC] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
[MS] Well, thank you again, Julie, just for coming on the show. It’s been so wonderful to get to talk to you. I wish I was sitting across from you at a coffee table right now or just getting to share that moment with you.
[JLC] I’ll get back up to Portland that we’ll make it happen. But that sounds awesome Thank you for having me on and many, many blessings to AGCI and to all of your listeners.
[MS] Thank you Julie. We’ll talk again soon.
[MS] That was Julie Lyles Carr. Her story of discovering and the idea of growing into all of the roles we are given throughout our lives is so comforting to me. Reassuring that I am exactly where I need to be. I hope it was a gentle reminder to you as well that God has circled your location right this very moment on a map for you. You’re doing great. Take comfort in that you are not the only one who has ever questioned their position in life and where they are meant to go. Like so much of life, we go through these transitions ultimately together. So thank you so much for tuning in. We love getting to be a small part of your day. Follow along with Julie and learn more about all of her exciting projects she has coming up by visiting her website julielylescarr.com you can also find her on Instagram. You’ll find a link to her website and all of her social media handles in the show notes of this episode. We’d also love to hear from you. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, stories, or comments. Thanks again everybody. We’ll talk to you soon.