Shattering Paradigms: Trauma Within Intact Families w Amber Cullum

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Amber Cullum 0:00 On this Saturday morning, there was a large explosion I was laying like I said on the couch, and I heard this really large boom, our garage door flew open. And I remember running around and looking out into the garage and seeing the whole side of our garage wall on fire. Amy Watson 0:19 Hey, everyone, and welcome back to the Wednesdays with Watson podcast, we are so proud to tell you that this is a 100% Completely donor supported podcast. Our mission here is simple it is to educate and help people navigate trauma and other mental health issues. We do that by providing hope and help through story through professionals through education. Finally, we have a mission to fund pro bono counseling for those who cannot afford it. If you want to be part of that mission, right there. When you’re in your app, just click the Contact Amy button in the show notes. I would also love it if you would consider rating and reviewing or sharing the podcast while you’re on your app. I will never ever stop fighting for those that can’t fight for themselves. And a simple gesture like sharing or subscribing will help us get this mission out to the people that need to get it. Now that we got all that out of the way. I would love to introduce you today to my guest, Amber kolam. Let’s drop into this conversation with Amber. Hey, Amber, welcome to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcasts. Amber Cullum 1:30 Hey, Amy, thank you for having me on today. Amy Watson 1:33 It’s always so much fun to interview other podcasters and that is secondary. You are a dear friend of mine. And I am so grateful for the you’re doing this today. So thank you so much for being here. I know that you understand it. I’m not quite as nervous as I normally would be just because I know you understand the technology issues. Amber Cullum 1:52 Absolutely, girl I mean it. Is it true struggle at times, that’s for sure. I’m so glad that it’s even an option. Amy Watson 1:59 Yeah, that is the truth. That is the truth. Well, guys, we are in the second half of season three of the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast that we’re calling trauma spaces, places and aces, we are focusing on trauma and mental health inside the home, and how it affects children and adulthood. Today we bring my friend at like I said another fellow podcaster Amber kolam. She is the curator of the amazing and this link will be in the show notes probably above my name, Grace anough podcast, Amber came to me with a message that she wants you to hear today. And I can’t wait for you to hear it. So as we have already welcomed and Amber to the podcast, I just would like to really invite you to sit back and listen to what she has to say to us today. And so Amber, one of the things that we’re doing in this season, and this has been a really interesting question that we’ve been asking people and it’s a bit of an icebreaker because, you know, it’s sometimes hard to say tell me about you know, people start well, I was born in 1932. And so we like this this question because we feel like it disarms the guest and it really makes us think and and it’s just kind of part of what’s important to us here the Wednesdays with Watson podcast. And so you do not get released from this season three question. So here it is, what is your favorite part about how God made you? Amber Cullum 3:32 It’s funny when you sent me this question, I was like, Oh, my goodness, I can’t believe how hard this is for me to answer. And then I thought, you know, she just finished a season with you know, focusing on the Enneagram. And I’m an Enneagram one, which means I have a strong inner critic. So it’s very, very hard for me to think about things that I really, really like about myself, but that’ll actually come out a little bit more in our conversation today. But what I did come down to is, I do love that God made me someone who I cannot just sit back and not stand up for what I believe in. And I’m not just talking about faith. I’m talking about if I’m really passionate about something, if I see someone being wronged, I just have it in me to want to stand up defend, be courageous, sometimes my own demise but that’s probably what I appreciate most about the way that God has made me Amy Watson 4:38 Oh, I love it. And you know, I appreciate that about you too as your friend right? I just I love it when you get a bee in your bonnet and so to speak especially. And guys if you’re not following Amber’s on Instagram, you got to do that right. And that’s also that also will be in the show notes. But yeah, when you particularly as as it pertains to things of the gospel, right, and these things that we have out there, these thought processes that we have out there that that aren’t right or whatever, I just love that sense of justice you have, we digress, definitely go to her Instagram page. Well, I am going to jump right in here. Because as we were prepping for this interview, you landed Amber on something that was on your heart. And I think it is so so important, as we talk about trauma and mental issues in the home that the message that you wanted to bring to us today because of your lived experiences is so, so important. And because you’re a podcaster and able to speak for yourself, what is that message? What is the overarching message, and we’ll get into the story, obviously, but you said something to me on Voxer, which is the way we prepped and it sent chills down my spine that you really felt like this was the message that our listeners needed to hear what is that message? Amber Cullum 6:00 I mean, I don’t know that I can make it super concise. But if I can try to pare it down as much as possible, it’s that just because you grew up in an intact family that was seemingly very put together and healthy, does not mean that there wasn’t trauma in the home. And that there aren’t ramifications as an adult. In response to that trauma, and that trauma doesn’t always have to be the Amy Watson story, it can be very much dialed down yet still have a significant amount of impact in how you parent or how you’re a spouse or how you’re a friend, or how you’re a co worker as an adult. Yeah, the biggest thing I want people to understand it doesn’t have to look like total abandonment. Amy Watson 6:59 And unfortunately, it often doesn’t, right. So the Amy Watson story are these these these big traumas, and you know, and so for listeners, let’s go back and review quickly what trauma is, is anytime that your safety has been compromised, we all will go through trauma at times in our lives. But to Amber’s point we get we like to get stuck on these sensationalized stories, one on ones like mine, and we forget that they are inside the four walls of people’s homes, things are happening that we don’t know about. We all put our best foot forward and the social media version of the 1990s and 80s. Right, Amber, we go to church, everybody looks fine. We’re all good here. Right. And so So Amber’s message is, trauma doesn’t always look like you think it looks. And so when we talk about a family like Amber’s, who grew up in a Christian home with two parents, but Amber, there were two events that happened in your home that are trauma. What were those events? Because I think it’s important that we set it for the listeners as we as we talk about how this affected you in childhood and the message that you just talked about? What were those two events that happened that absolutely qualify as trauma? Amber Cullum 8:18 Yeah, I mean, the first, let me say this first. I mean, I grew up in what I would consider a culturally Christian home, which is a little bit different than growing up in a home where you’re like in the Word of God, where you’re praying a lot at night and things like that. So culturally, Christian, maybe not as familiar now that people who are listening, if you’re in the south, you kind of get that like we just kind of do church sometimes. But it may not be like your true identity. And so that’s, that’s where I would start but the first thing when I was in fifth grade, my house actually burned to the ground. And so we I was a young girl laying on the couch on a Saturday morning, my sister had slept over at a friend’s house. And now let me also say that I grew up in a fantastic neighborhood where my dad built his home, my dad’s brothers or my neighbors, so all of my cousins lived around me, and lots of other children and extended family were around me and so on this Saturday morning, there was a large explosion. I was laying like I said on the couch and I heard this really large boom, our garage door flew open and I remember running around and looking out into the garage and seeing the whole side of our garage wall on fire. And so I yelled and told my dad, you know, obviously at this point a ton of commotion is going on. My mom runs down the stairs. My dad’s like get out of the house. We both run to two different houses across the street knocking on the door trying to get help, while my dad was trying to put out this fire. And so long story short, the house ended up burning completely to the ground. And so praise God, we had family and support around that we were able to go and stay with. But that was a huge traumatic event in my life, but certainly in the lives of my parents, which I still can’t even, I can’t even fathom the impact it had on them even now as an adult myself. And so that was the first thing. And then the other really big trauma is that when I was a sophomore in high school, we were living in a rental house. And this had been the story of our family. since fifth grade, we had only lived in a couple of rental houses, but we were kind of in the process all of those years trying to figure out my parents, where are we going to build again, do we want to buy and where I grew up, like I said, a small town so it wasn’t as easy just to go out and find a home that you wanted to buy. And so, especially when you’re you know, you’re a family of four, you’re not just looking for something super tiny. But anyways, it was a night of a Christmas concert. I was in the honor choir at my school, we had a very large Christmas concert. My sister was a freshman in college. She was an alumni of this choir. So she was at home singing this night as well. I got super irritated that my sister was running late. And finally my dad just said, Okay, I’ll just take you and then I’ll come back and get your mom and your sister can just go and she’s ready. And I was like, awesome. And so we get in the car, it was really, really cold December night, raining really hard. He takes me. I’m glad my sister shows up, you know, about 15 minutes after I do. And because at this point, I couldn’t drive. And not so much later, as we were preparing for the concert to begin, we were warming up. My mom comes in and says, We’ve got to go your dad’s been in an accident. And so at that point, it was like, what what? And so it was a near fatal accident. He broke both of his legs, He crushed his ankle, he had to be intubated. He you know, one of his lungs collapsed, there were a lot more breaks beyond what I just mentioned. So he was life flighted to a hospital that was much larger. And there were several days where we did not know if he was going to survive this event. And even if he did survive it, what was you know, what was the man going to look like coming out on the other side, praise God, I can sit on this side of it and say, My dad did return to walking again, my dad did survive. But it was a trauma. You know, to me personally, because it was my dad. But again, as for my parents, it’s trauma that I can’t even begin to fathom, because now as an adult, I can think about finances and, you know, your, your parenting your I mean, gosh, the list is so long once you’re an adult of what that impacts. So those are the two big traumatic events in my childhood, Amy Watson 13:18 who and they are big, right? So because when we think again, of the definition of trauma, with your safety being compromised, your house burning down, and one of your parents almost dying. Wow, I can’t even imagine even and you keep referencing as an adult. And we are moving in a little bit of a different direction. We’re not necessarily talking about how this affected you. But as your friend, I actually wrote down a question to ask you later about this, because I knew about the accident, but I’m not quite sure that I knew that he was taking you to a concert that that you really wanted to go to. And so I can imagine some stuff that you went through, but we do want to stay and we’re your heart’s desire. And I think this is really important. But just so you know, my friend, those two things are considered by experts adverse childhood experiences, where you have a life threatening event of a parent or yourself and and then basically your your roof, you don’t have anywhere to live. Those are two, what we call adverse childhood experiences. If you get three of those, then we began to talk about where you’re where you Amber can be affected by what we call toxic stress. And I would imagine that if we talk longer, we probably could get to three or four adverse childhood experience score for you. And so just that that’s just a side note as your friend but but here’s what I want to know because because I can’t imagine now as an adult, either what your parents must have gone through, both with the house burning down and with your dad almost dying and the car accident. And I realize that podcasting is going to be out there forever and ever. Amen. And that we need to be careful here but as comfortable as you are i I am going to I want to hand the mic to you. And can you remember how one or both of your parents responded to both of those? Or either one of those events? And how, how does that How did the way they respond affect you now? Amber Cullum 15:19 Yeah, I mean, when I was in fifth grade and our house burned down, I don’t have a lot of memories of how my parents handled it in the end. And I think one of the biggest reasons why is because I was young. And also because we immediately moved in with my grandparents. And one side of my grandpa, one set of my grandparents home, and things didn’t go so great there. So after like a week, we transitioned into my other set of grandparents home. And that was very much a safe place for me, like I used to sleep in the back of my granny, meaning when I was younger, I would like snuggle up in her back and just sleep there all night long. And I did that before my house burned. So it was a very safe place for us, or for me and my whole family, as we were homeless. And so I don’t recall how that was dealt with as much. And I really do believe that’s because I did have a safe place. So I didn’t notice if my parents were arguing or how they were communicating with one another because I had these two loving individuals who were taking care of me at the time. Now with that said, I do remember, after my dad’s accident, their transition for us anyways, in that time, you know, we live with my grandparents, then we moved into a rental house. And we lived in that rental house for I think, like two or three years. And it was really a fantastic two or three years. And we were trying to decide if we were going to buy that house, my parents decided not to when we had to move to a really small home because it was hard to find another house to rent. And that is where we lived when my dad had his accident. And I feel like at that moment, that is when my mom in particular, the stress of just caring for our family and working, in addition to things that had happened in her past really began to play out. So it seemed like my mom was beginning to resort, or I don’t know if that’s the word that I want to use, she wouldn’t begin to avoid more and more conflict. I mean, my mom was always explosive. When she got angry, I can be very explosive when I get angry. But what ended up happening were things like, Okay, I’m upset with you. And so I’m going to kind of be right you or be little you, and then I’m going to disappear into my room for weeks at a time until I feel like I’m over it. And then I’ll come out and act like nothing ever happens. And so I don’t know that that’s just a direct result of my dad’s accident as much as it was stress over time piling up on her. And the way that she dealt with that stress was through avoidance and some manipulative type words. And then of course, my dad is the type of I’m just going to take care of the problem by do do doing and people pleasing. And very much is just like, we got to keep the peace at all cost. So those could be two very polar opposite responses that when meshed together is fairly toxic. Amy Watson 19:08 Yeah. Well, you know, it’s funny that you mentioned that Enneagram series of sounds like maybe your dad as a solid nine. Just like let’s just keep keep it copacetic here, but but I can imagine and this is this is for the listeners and for you, Amber, these are the implicit messages that we are not hearing. And again, we referenced the enneagram series, which is the beginning of the season if you guys want to go back and hit some of those Enneagram one is Amber’s type but my point being there, though, is that you don’t really know what you what you don’t know until you don’t know it and so so you kind of went on through life and I got married and had children. But when you and I were talking about this episode, this idea of Listen guys, we need to make sure that People out there understand that inside the home, even though it looks like an intact family and your family was intact, it sounds like you were loved well done sound like you missed a meal or any of the things. But we take our cues, we take our social cues, and we particularly take our coping mechanisms, we take those play sheets, all the playbooks have our parents, for a parent to isolate away from you does even more harm to you as a child and your brain. Now, the sophomore in college might not as much but the younger one, all of those things get laid down in your memory, Amber, and you look at a parent, and you model that and it’s like, Well, this must be the way we deal with hard things. And it sounds like you kind of landed on that. And so you’re on the other side of it. Clearly you are married with three beautiful children. But this is what you wanted to talk about on my podcast, because you recognize Look, just like you just said, I blow up sometimes you recognize you know what, maybe I didn’t get a lot of modeled for me of how to handle trauma. And so that’s my message to the listeners out there is think about the kids in your lives, teachers, youth, pastors, any anybody that has purview over young people think about what you don’t see. And in this case, no one saw Amber’s mom in her room, they just maybe didn’t see her out in the community. And so I think that that’s really important to point out, they’re clearly you somehow through counseling, or because you’re just super smarter, because the Lord really impressed this upon you is like, you know what, that’s not a great way to deal with trauma and to deal with issues. I don’t want to do that. And so my listeners are going to want to be the same, they’re not going to want to do that they’re going to want a model for their children of how to handle these traumatic events that come into our lives. Can you share with our listeners, what you’ve learned on your journey? And how maybe you really stay away from this particular unhealthy coping mechanism, isolation blowing up? That kind of thing? Yeah, Amber Cullum 22:04 I mean, let me share this really quick too, as we go into that when I was a senior in high school, and really, this is a very much a traumatic event. And I shared this with you, Amy. And I think it’s important because of the way that it shaped my young adult life, my I said some really hurtful things. And my mother chose not to speak to me for five months. And you know, we lived in the same house. So my mom, my dad, my sister and me, my senior year, we went five months because I really hurt her, where we just were like, you know, passing in the wind, I found myself as a college student with my roommates, when I would get irritated with one of them or angry with one of them or not see eye to eye with one of them, I would just do that, like, I would just totally avoid them. And for weeks or months, just not talked to them. And then I was a young married woman, like, I guess I was 28 or 29. I got in an argument with Sam. And I just went away, like not away for days or anything. But for like the afternoon, I think that I went to some restaurant and just that and blew off steam and probably wrote and read. And when I came home, he was like, You can’t do that. Like you can’t just get mad and then disappear. And no one knows where you are. And I remember at that moment, something clicking in me and thinking, Okay, this is not okay. This is like, totally, it’s just not okay. But I also knew there had to be some way to find space to process through things. But you know, it was like, What do I do here? And so through lots of and we’ll talk about this later counseling and working through different books, and you know, support groups and all these different things. Because at that during that time, I mean, I was a follower of Jesus, I was a follower of Jesus in college, like, I was so grateful to God for the things that he had done in my life like he had changed me. But there were still these horrible habits that we’re just hanging on, right like, and they’re still being sanctified out of me. Yeah, that’s, that’s something I want people to hear is, yes, you are a new creation in Christ when He saved you. But his work is not completely new until the day of Christ Jesus. And so don’t think new creation means that all of the impacts of trauma in your life just get up and walk out the door. Amy Watson 24:48 Thank you for saying that. Because I think that I think that especially Gen Xers, that’s what got preached to us, right? And I wanted you to to share that story about your mom not speaking to you and She still does that to you. Right? Okay. And so obviously you you recognize Sam, who is your husband said, Look, you can’t do this. And so I’m so glad to hear you say that. Because as you create a normalization of mental health in your own home, right, where you have three precious children who you want to grow up and, and not have wounding messages from an parents do it, but this that you’ve hit on is so important, because they’re going to model what they see. And so these things that you learned as a coping mechanism, and I got my coping mechanism of substance abuse from from my mom as well, I’m convinced we all have it. Yeah. 100% of parents out there, don’t think, Oh, I gotta be perfect. That’s my concern with this series is that parents, like Amber loving parents are gonna be like, Oh, my gosh, I’m gonna screw my kid up. No, but we want to normalize mental health in the home, we want to say, It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be mad. It’s okay to be confused. But let’s talk about it. We don’t leave. And so is that something that you’ve established in your home with your kids? Amber Cullum 26:11 Yeah. So and that was the thing, where that’s why I wanted to tell you about how I just got in this habit of like, Fine, I’m just shutting you down and not talking to you. Because it still is my default position. Yeah, like, there is still this thing in me. And some of that can be blamed on my mother. And some of that can simply be blamed on that may be the bit of my personality is to just push it out and just be like, well, I’ll just close you off. And what I came to realize, and this actually just happened in the last two years, that one of my biggest fears is that I’m going to lose your love. And that is something that came from my mom, where, okay, I can if I mess up enough, there is a chance that I can lose, lose your love. And I’ve ascribed that to God at times, too. And so that’s where you’re at identifying and learning and digging deep and figuring out what are the lies that you believe are important. And so the very first thing with my kids, is that I have talked about with them is forgiveness, and admitting when you’re wrong. Me first, me first, I did not grow up in a home where I heard, I’m sorry for doing that I was wrong. Now with that said, that is a very common thing and family. And so it is vital to look at your kids. And I will never forget when Sam I was when I asked him, I said what do you think is different? Like you grew up in a family where your parents were together, but it’s not like they were perfect. I mean, you have family members who were explosive and angry, just like I did. And he said, you know, the biggest thing, the biggest difference that I see is that when one of my parents screwed up, or you know, just flew off the handle, I remember them saying, I’m sorry, I it’s not okay for me to treat you that way. Amy Watson 28:16 Let’s let that breathe for a second. Because when you said that it actually gave me chills. Yeah, right. Because you say when a child sees that, you’re beginning to create important neural pathways in their minds where they don’t grow up being that adult. So I just wanted that to breathe. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you. But I think it’s really, really important. That delineation there between two homes, two intact homes between yours and Sam’s right. And what an astute question for you to ask him is, what do you think is different? And the thing that he could come up with is, my parents would say, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that. That was wrong. And Amber, what that is, is nothing more than laying down pride and emotionally healthy people can do that. Right? And so the only thing I would say here, and this is a bit of an outlier as we continue the interview is we always wonder, like with my mom, I will spend the rest of my life wondering what happened to you is that I am now now I got your blood on me because you blood on me and I didn’t cut you. And so we don’t know that about your mom and my prayer moving forward is that that somehow this could be Redeemed and Restored and if it’s not, then we know it will inside of heaven. But I love what you just said though about just because we are Christians and new creations. I don’t know that you realize a parent locking themselves in the room is what we call Big T trauma, especially as a girl, right? And so and I know you’re sitting with a lot of that and as we’ve processed this a There’s been tears and for me anyway. But you what you’ve done though, is my favorite thing. And I would doubt if there’s a podcast without me referencing this Bible verse, But Joel 2:25, you are reduced, you’re allowing the Lord to redeem those years that the locusts have stolen, it’s very hard for me not to get preachy on my podcast, particularly to my friends, to particularly to my friends, and so. So I love that I love that your kids are seeing you and Sam, I am sure saying I’m sorry, a bunch. I have seen you and on a public forum say I am sorry. And so I think that I love that those years are definitely being restored. Now as your friend, I want to ask you some questions as we continue to lead into how childhood trauma affects us and adulthood is the importance of taking care of your mental health. And in this part of the series, Amber, we’re going to have Erica Cooney on and she dubs results as the burnout professor. And she she deals a lot with adults who are burned out because they have not dealt with trauma as a child. And so that is my question to you, on a personal level, so not related to your kids not related to your family. But how are you taking care of yourself because I with my little biology degree identified something when you were talking, and I’ll just say it right here on this podcast, the perhaps guilt that you have over your dad in a car accident, because you push to go to that, that concert. And so I want to know how you’re taking care of yourself, because Erica is going to come on and say, if you don’t pay attention to trauma, she’s gonna be saying what she’s gonna say what I’ve been saying for three seasons, now it will, it will pay attention to you, and you end up being a burned out adult, you’re the mom of three a wife, you’re a podcaster, you are going to be a speaker, I got to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, this stuff isn’t going away these effects on you from childhood, this is the point the podcasts are going to stick around. Because again, to your point, just because all things are new doesn’t mean that it’s new and perfect on this planet. So these things are still going to affect you today. Me and my doctor Watson degree, I want to know how you’re taking care of yourself. Amber Cullum 32:24 Well, counseling. So I originally back in, oh goodness, right after grad school went to counseling for the first time because I knew I had a lot of things that I needed to work through. And so that was the very first step I felt like I took to really begin sorting through some things that I knew weren’t right. Now with that said, I have gone back to counseling two times, and recently just started back again, because I just started feeling like, I’m not okay, like, I’m doing all of the things that I have been able to do in the past that usually kind of flip that switch of struggle, and it’s not working. And so counselling provides a place where you can really talk things through, and someone can almost voice that back to you. And it helps you to actually hear someone else voice back to you what you’re saying and what you perceive to be going on in order for you to kind of release it and begin to process it even with the Lord. So for me, you know, prayer is a huge tool. daily gratitude is a tool that really, really changed my life. I mean, talk about neuro pathways, if you start practicing gratitude, your life’s gonna change. But when I realized like, Okay, I’m still spending time in the Word. I’m still meeting with friends. I’m still asking for prayer support from people. I’m praying myself, and I’m still kind of in this really big funk. Yeah, our burnout, for lack of better words. Yep. I realized like, Okay, it’s time for me to return to counseling. And sometimes it may not be counseling, sometimes it’s, you know, I had read through Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by which is a phenomenal book that I would recommend anyone read. Amy Watson 34:36 We’ll put that in the show notes Amber Cullum 34:36 notes. Yeah, I mean, it’s such a great book, but there’s also a course that goes along with it. So during a time when I was struggling somewhat, I wasn’t in counseling, but my husband and I did decide to go through Emotionally Healthy Spirituality with a group. And that was incredibly helpful because it has questions at the end and you’re discussing those questions. And you’re thinking through, you know, how have I put some of my childhood experiences? How have I applied that to the way that I view golf? So those are the things that I’m, you know, I do to take care of myself currently, I text people like you just say, man today is just, like bad. Yeah. So if you can just hold me up. Yeah. Amy Watson 35:25 And that’s the way Yeah. And so you just hit on two of the C’s of if anybody that listens to the Wednesday’s of Watson podcast, we talk about, really, I just got behind this microphone. When the pandemic started and said, This is what worked for me. And I’m a writer. So I love alliteration, counseling. You already talked about that community. You talked about that as a family. And even now you do community so amazingly, and reaching out to people like me, this is why I love podcasting. Guys, I’ve met amber in person twice, but consider her a prayer partner and a prayer warrior. And I too, will text her and go, Dude, it’s just a bad day, would you please pray for me. And so I am so glad to hear that you are taking care of yourself. Because one of the things that people don’t understand about the kind of ministry that you and I both have, and podcasting is you don’t just get behind a microphone and say some words and hit a green button and call it a day. We care. And this is an opportunity for me to let you tell my listeners before we wrap up here because I want them to know your heart for the grace enough podcast, particularly you you have late have really felt like the Lord leading you in a little bit of a different direction. The podcast is phenomenal. It is in the top 2% globally ranked, you have gotten some you’re gonna have John Eldridge, which I’m still praying over the bitterness of that I’m not gonna lie. But But the Lord has given you such wisdom, as my listeners have heard here today. Because you should not have been able to identify, I need to learn to cope better, because I didn’t have it modeled for me. And I do think, to your point, Amber, that some of it is the way we’re wired. So it’s not all because your mom didn’t necessarily go get help when she needed help. It is some some of it is the way we were wired. We keep referencing the Enneagram series, and I and I will talk to anybody who will talk to me about it. But I have to go into friend mode and preacher mode really quickly here too, is that I believe you probably wing into that Enneagram, two, which is me. The fear of being unwanted and unloved. And then yeah, assigning that also to God, that there’s something that I can do that would make me unwanted or unloved I am I turned 50 years old in December, my mom is not on this planet. But I will never get the resolution and the peace to your point earlier in the podcast that I need from that, like, she didn’t want me and she didn’t love me. And so I spent my life performing so that I would get those things which turns into what’s turns into burnout. So you mentioned counseling, you mentioned you mentioned community, you also have a heart as I mentioned. And so here’s where I want you to talk to us about the direction you hope to go in the near future for the grace enough podcast, because you are looking to minister to young, young women out there, particularly with stories of hope and help. And you are so well versed on the gospel and the word. And it’s important. And all of this has culminated into this big giant heart that you have on the grace enough podcast. Tell us tell us what you’re what you’re headed for there because we share a similar audience. Amber Cullum 38:39 Yeah, I mean, I think the great the thing that I love the most about podcasting, and you and I have talked about this is, um, it does give you an opportunity to really walk in someone else’s shoes, without judgment. And that is a rare opportunity, like Mary Moran was on my show a couple of weeks ago. And she talks about interviewing her mom and her mom, talk about trauma, like her mom left when she was nine, but then she was like, home, you know, once every two weeks, and then it was like once a month. And then it was like once every six months. And then it was like just on holidays. So she was kind of there but not there. And she said, You know, I sat behind the microphone with my mom and I went into interviewer mode. So I could like, ask her these questions, and had the emotional trauma of my childhood removed because I was curious. Wow. And so when it comes to my show, I want to put a message out there of curiosity for people’s lived experiences. And that doesn’t always have to be right. You and I were talking about the huge oh my gosh, my parents abandoned me and didn’t love me. I mean, the reality is, is that when we we come to realize that Christ loves us and He died for us. But there is so much more to alive with Jesus than just that. Amen. And, and that sounds like it’s minimizing salvation. Oh, no, not at all. What’s minimizing salvation to me is when we just preach John 316 IT people, and then just kind of okay, that’s it? Yeah, no, I mean, Jesus is pursuing you, he wants to totally transform your life. But that does not happen overnight. That is a life long day today, walk until you leave this earth Amy Watson 40:37 Amen. And so that near future of the podcast is for you to get people on your show and to and to provide a product on the field that is going to be useful for all of us. Because when people began to talk about lived experiences, because here’s the thing, stories like mine, get the airtime. But stories like this don’t get airtime. And there are people sitting in their houses right now thinking, Well, I don’t have the Amy Watson story. I don’t have that this story. I don’t have that that story. And by the way, when you talk to people with lived experiences, we’re both in a season of life, where we are old enough to know better, but young enough to still do something about it. And so that wisdom that you’re going to bring with these lived experiences, whether it be trauma, whether it be how do I how do I live a real authentic life in front of people who don’t believe in God? Because the question we get the most is, how can a good God do this for me, and we throw John 316, or a Bibleat them versus episode of the grace enough podcast where they could say, you know, Amber and her guests talk through this. And they I can I can resonate with that they’re not throwing scripture at me, because I don’t even believe that. That’s the absolute authority. And so I’m excited for you as you move into this next season for the grace enough podcast. And again, I can’t say it enough times that link will be in the show notes. I want to end on 1. Other question, though. But I wanted to make sure we got that in there because I’m excited to see what’s coming to the grace enough podcast. If guys, you feel like you have a message to share. That meets Amber’s heart that meets my heart, which is this is the message that you can live an abundant, victorious, although not always good. As Amber mentioned, she is suffering with depression, she’s tried everything she can do to figure it out. But the fact of the matter is, is that we will not be perfect until that day when Jesus comes, or we die. And if you have accepted Jesus as your savior, then you also will find this complete healing. But we’re not going to find it here. And if you need to know how to know the star or the story and if you’ve listened to the Wednesday’s with Watson, podcast at all, you know, that is Jesus and the completed work that he did for you on the cross, please reach out to either one of us. If you have a story of lived experiences that you feel like would be beneficial to Amber’s listeners, please reach out to her just click the Contact amber in the show notes, because she really wants to highlight real stories. And I bet Amber, that you would even be willing to have an I know you have already have people who don’t believe what we believe. And you sit and have a conversation with these people and love on them. Because that’s the only way some people ever know our Jesus. Amber Cullum 43:34 Yeah, and I mean, it’s the only way that sometimes we can know why they feel the way that they feel we have to hold space for people who don’t believe like we do. Amy Watson 43:45 Yes. Let’s let that wreath. We have to hold space for the people that don’t believe like we do. Amber Cullum 43:53 Listen, that’s even in Christianity, too. Because the older I get, the more I realized. I don’t even have all that much in common except Amy Watson 44:02 Jesus Christ. Amber Cullum 44:05 Yeah. We have a lot of Christians Amy Watson 44:07 that especially right now, right. And 2022 Especially that is so true, especially right now, the last thing that I think that you really could add value here. I mean, we could talk for four hours and every hour kinds of value added but we talk about church a lot on my podcast, that is an important part of my story. While some of my abuse came at church churches still very, very, very pinnacle part of my story. But what would you say in the context of what we’ve talked about today, and tech families trauma, perhaps the trauma, not being dealt with in a healthy way by parents, it’s passed on to kids who could pass it on to their own kids. You’ve got this strong message that you shared with us today. But what would you say to teachers, youth pastors, volunteers and all anybody out there who have Amber’s and their area of responsibility they come dressed nice Nice to parents, we’re going to a restaurant after church, money’s not a problem, those kids tend tend to get ignored. What can church leaders and teachers and lay peoples do to help in situations like yours is? Should we just assume, hey, everybody in this room, every kid in this room needs us to invest in them in the most rudimentary, basic way? Amber Cullum 45:23 Well, I’ll say this, you know, it’s sad that if, if a child has at least one adult in their life, who really shows that they care, it can change that child’s life. And so it’s really easy. And mainly, I’m going to speak, I’m going to speak to us pastors here, since we’re talking about, and just children’s pastors in general first, and that is, it’s really easy to get caught up in what curriculum we’re using, what we get up on stage and say, and all of that matters, it does. But you are only as good as the team that you foster around you. Because it’s the it’s the lay leaders, it’s the volunteers who are meeting with these children, in their classes, Sunday school classes, you know, you don’t have that much time, there’s, I mean, you may spend one to three hours a week with these children in church, but it’s the ones who are serving in the small group that are getting the one on one time with children. And with us, oh, my goodness, and they need you, they need the one safe place where they feel like you’re listening. And that you’re just there for them. Because a lot of times a child will tell you, you know, let’s say their small group leader, they’ll tell you stuff, they will not tell their parents, even when their parents are safe places. So that is important. You’ve got to foster your volunteers, leadership in them, showing them how to come alongside kids, and just listen, be there yet still pour the Word of God in them without being all preachy? Well, there’s no way that volunteers can do that if they’re not in the word themselves, and if they’re coming from a place of judging. And so I think that’s my biggest thing for the church is just whoever’s in charge. Make sure you’re fostering community and your volunteers, because those are the people that people like me who are leading a middle school small group. That’s where the impact is. Kids want to know that there’s somebody willing to listen, when they get in above their heads. Amy Watson 47:57 Oh, it’s terribl. And I am a product of youth pastors doing exactly what you just said, maybe not quite as well, as you just said, they didn’t do it. Because you know, we learn. We’re human. Yeah, we’re humans. But But yeah, I think that that’s such a great, great parting words, because in our church, we tend to not pay attention to the to the families with two parents, even absent of trauma, let’s just say Johnny experiments with pot, and he’s scared to tell his mom or dad but his conscience tone tell somebody if there’s a safe place in the church, because we are talking about children, if there’s a safe place, and I just use that example. But if there’s a safe place for them to go, then that early intervention that we talked about, in the first episode of this series of helping the minds, the the physical brains of children heal, will will go far and they won’t have to end up in a psych ward like I did, or or many things that that so many times happens when there is unresolved or unmet trauma or unmet needs, which is to be wanted and loved and seen and heard and known. Well Amber, thank you for being here today. I know that this is might be the first place that you’ve discussed some of this and so I’m incredibly incredibly grateful listeners. I can’t say it enough, please head to the grace enough podcast and listen to Amber’s now she’s got a lot of episodes on there. Probably my favorite one is the one that she does with sacred rest with Sandra Dawson, I believe Yeah, Dr. Sandra Dalton is one of my favorites, but Amber has got over 150 episodes top 2% globally. Please go check her out. Amber, the last words are yours my friend. What else do you have for our listeners? Amber Cullum 49:49 Oh my goodness, that puts me on the spot. Listen, as a person who loves Jesus and also is dealing with depression. Please remember that It doesn’t mean that you love Jesus any less, or that you want to walk with him any less, because you have a mental health disorder Amy Watson 50:08 amen and it’s okay to take medication. That’s the message for me not necessarily from Amber. But well thank you for being here I want to speak into your life Amber, you are just the precious daughter of the Most High God, and He loves you more than you can ever imagine. And I know that you know that. But I know that sometimes you forget. And those dark places remember that he is the God who sees you. I love, love, love that that name of God, He is the God who sees you. And I am so proud of you for the work that you’re doing. In counseling. I know it’s not easy. But if you’re going to walk this world and raise little kids like you are that are going to turn out to be just amazing adults. You got to do the thing. And so I want to say to you, Amber, I want to proclaim over you what I do, everyone, but pretend this is for you because it is and I first of all, I love you. I want to say that but you are seen. You are known. You’re heard, you’re loved, and you’re valued. And there’s a song that plays on the outro of my podcast. You are one of the people that I think of every time I hear it and it’s a song called mark by you by Phil Baker. And it talks about lives being marked by God you are fighting right now Amber, you’re in the ring with Jesus you’re fighting you’re fighting for you you’re fighting for your family you’re fighting for for the kingdom of God and I just want to thank you for that and so thank you for being here today with us. Amber Cullum 51:39 Love you friend thank you so much Amy Watson 51:41 All right well I love you I know you need to go get those children as we speak and so I can’t wait for this episode to draw up and for folks to hear what you had to say. So thank you so much for being here. Love you to each mean to us Transcribed by

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