Dorsey Ross Show

Anna McLaughlin: Embracing Life's Seasons with Faith and Strength

August 23, 2023 Dorsey Ross Season 6 Episode 4
Dorsey Ross Show
Anna McLaughlin: Embracing Life's Seasons with Faith and Strength
Dorsey Ross Show
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever felt like the weight of the world is too much to bear, and the light at the end of the tunnel seems elusive? Meet Anna McLaughlin, a woman of faith, a doting mother, a loving wife, and an entrepreneur who was once in your shoes, but found a way out. Having weathered the storm of isolation and self-destruction, Anna's story of redemption and transformation is bound to resonate with anyone stuck in a rut of despair. She candidly explores her past struggles, and how surrendering to God's plan pulled her out from the depths of her pain, setting her on a path of healing and empowerment.

We probe the essence of cultivating a robust relationship with the Lord, and how that ties into the fabric of a strong marriage and parenting. Anna uncovers her quest to uncover the "formula" for success and gives us a peek into how she and her husband adeptly maneuver through life's diverse seasons. If balancing work with family life is a rope walk you're struggling with, or if the concept of generational faithfulness intrigues you, Anna's insights are sure to enlighten you. Not to forget, she implores us to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Lord and recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to life's problems.

When despair looms, turning to God might seem counterintuitive, but Anna vouches for it. Taking us through her journey of finding hope in the Bible's verses, she illustrates how anchoring our lives in home ministry can amplify our impact on the kingdom. The conversation takes an interesting turn towards generational healing and how addressing wounds and hurts transcending generations can create a significant impact. Anna's belief in God's redemptive love and the power of small, consistent actions is infectious and inspiring. Join in, and don't forget to connect with Anna via her Facebook group and Instagram page to continue being part of her fascinating journey.

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Dorsey Ross:

Hello everyone, thank you again for joining me in the episode of the Doshirosh show Today. We have a special guest with us. Her name is Anna MPher. She is a grateful wife, home-schooling, mama of four, entrepreneur and, most importantly, redeemed and transformed child of the most high God.

Dorsey Ross:

In her 20s, anna reached a place of deep brokenness. From that point, the Lord has taken her on a journey to rebuild foundations, heal rooms and come to trust in the deep, abiding love of God he has for his good. Anna loves nothing more than encouraging brother 31 women to be faithful and little and set over more, as the parable of the towns calls her to do. Anna is a very avid collector of wisdom, builder of communities and encourager of souls. You can find her serving within the four walls of her home as she home-schools her children and then when her she considers a field community with equipped women to be faithful in the little things and set over more, through an intimate connection with the Father that we might serve from, fullness never lack. Thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Anna McPherson:

Thank you so much, Dorsey. I'm so glad to be here.

Dorsey Ross:

Absolutely so. As I always do, I always ask a couple of easy questions before I get into more of your story, and one of the questions I have is what's your favorite thing to do to relax?

Anna McPherson:

Probably my favorite thing to do to relax is I love to watch an old movie. So my husband loves all things 80s and I grew up the same way actually, so we like to grab a little kind of. We actually just watched with my kids the mighty ducks today, which is early 90s technically. Little Giants was on the docket earlier this week. We made the mistake of watching gremlins, which terrified my 11 year old, so I do not recommend. But that's our favorite way to do downtime. We've got quite the brood with our four kids from five to 11, and so anything where everybody's engaged and excited is always a good thing.

Dorsey Ross:

Yeah, have you watched the Back to the Future yet with them?

Anna McPherson:

Not with the kids. My husband and I revisited Back to the Future a few years ago, but yeah, I think the kids are probably ready for Back to the Future. That's a great tip, thank you.

Dorsey Ross:

Yeah, I just watched the Michael K Fox documentary on Apple TV and they were talking about that and whatnot.

Anna McPherson:

I heard it was wonderful that he really just had such a gracious spirit in the face of his challenges.

Dorsey Ross:

Yeah, absolutely. What books are you reading right now? Because I like the Bible.

Anna McPherson:

Yeah, so I usually have quite the collection going.

Anna McPherson:

So I'm reading Gentle and Lowly we're actually going through that as a book study with my she Consider as a Field Community and that's by Dale Ortland. It's a beautiful book about the love of God and just his heart for us Also going through a book called Choosing Rest by Sally Breedlove, which is really it's one of my I call my short list books, the books that I'm just planning on revisiting over and over in my life, and this one is about finding the true abiding rest of God, no matter your circumstances. And she doesn't play. She goes through grief and loss, she goes through relational turmoil, she goes through pains and just all the challenges that we face in our life, suffering, and takes it head on and says how can we find rest in this moment? So those are a couple that I'm reading. I also have a friend who's writing a fiction book and I'm going to be reading her kind of rough completed draft in a couple of weeks. So I cannot wait to dig into a little bit of fiction reading and read what she's created.

Dorsey Ross:

Oh, awesome. Tell us a little bit about your story and about what you've been through and how you've came through that.

Anna McPherson:

Yeah, so I was raised in a non-Christian home. I was the youngest of two and then my dad adopted a baby right when I was headed off to college. And I would say a lot of what I've the most, the deepest challenges in my life were self-inflicted, and I think there are probably some people who can resonate with that. I was a deep feeler. My parents divorced when I was 11 and then there was this season with a lot of change that left me feeling very unmoored. So between the ages of 11 and 14, my parents divorced. My dad quickly remarried, we went, we did joint custody and then, when I was 13, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and was then paralyzed through the result of complications from his chemotherapy. He was in an experimental round of chemo. So in these formative years of the kind of early teens, I found myself going through multiple changes in our family structure and, as a result, just feeling I was already very dramatic, a big feeler, lots of emotions, and then feeling completely isolated and alone. As much as my parents loved me, the circumstances that they were going through were just more than they could navigate and I kind of felt that I had gotten lost in the shuffle. And so I started just just kind of looking for love in all the wrong places. I became very self-destructive and although academically I kind of made my way through all right, In my early 20s I kind of reached a place of brokenness where life looked okay on the outside.

Anna McPherson:

I was in law school, I had the promise of a good job offer after I got out, but I was just so deeply lost. I didn't know how to resolve relational challenges when they came. I didn't know how to make friends, I didn't know how to be steady and consistent, and so I spent a summer asking the Lord can you just take my life? I don't know where to go from here. I feel completely lost and I just don't know how to live. It seems like everybody around me knows how to live and I don't know how to live. So obviously he didn't take me out, he didn't take my life. And so from there kind of came this reckoning where I said God, if you will not take my life, fall me back in love with you.

Anna McPherson:

Because by that point I think when we go through a crisis of identity, we also oftentimes go through a crisis of faith. Because why would I be, if God is true? Because I'd been a Christian since I was about 11,. If God is true, why does life look like this? Why am I so messy? Why I wanna be healed, I wanna be whole, I wanna be effective. We can get these fiery passions Like we can start out so fiery and so passionate for the Lord. I wanna change the world for you, Lord, and then it's like I can't even have a healthy relationship with my family members. What do I do with this? And so what I've learned, kind of looking back on the past, about 17 or 18 years since that darkest of times, is that so often my husband likes to say we want the burning bush, and really he just gives us the next pebble on the path, the next little place to put our feet, and he wants the intimacy of a brick by brick rebuilding, which is what he's done for me.

Dorsey Ross:

Yeah, and what happened after that time? How did you come back to loving God and how did you come back and do a passionate relationship with Him?

Anna McPherson:

Yes, so there were some kind of key pieces that happened. I had already had my dad was a psychologist, so there was already this bent towards personal development and mental health, and so I did things like therapy. But I also did some things that, from my faith tradition, were a little bit more of a stretch, like I went through inner healing, prayer and deliverance ministry, and both of those had a profound impact on my healing. I had seasons where I would do fasting. I had seasons where I would read. I've done Bible reading focuses where I would read the whole Bible in like a nine month period of time, just so. Those were kind of the big things, but then so much of it was just this continued daily, weekly, monthly intentional focus of I'm going to put myself in the way of knowing you more, god, having that daily prayer time, that daily time in scripture, to just trust that on the other side of those and that's what we talk about and she considers a field it's the little things that compound to create eternal change in our lives.

Dorsey Ross:

When you're in a place of brokenness, where do you even start to find oneness?

Anna McPherson:

You know, I think so often and one of the things that I did that I think was erroneous was I kept looking for the answer. Right, what is the well? Maybe, but always looking for the answer on the ground and the horizontal, I like to say so I was looking for the book, the psychologist, the prayer ministry, and I thought there was just a person or thing outside of myself that would give me the resolution I was looking for. And ultimately, what the Lord calls us to is a vertical orientation that we look up and we say I don't know what to do from here.

Anna McPherson:

And one of the things that Gentle and Lowly, the book that we're going through and she considers a field talks about that I love so much, as it talks about the Lord didn't come for the healthy, it says. He says I'm like a physician, I came for the sick, right. I came for the people who know that they need me and that when we are in our deepest pit, we kind of think, well, I gotta scramble up the wall a little bit so that God can get to me. And it's exactly the opposite the deeper we feel like we've fallen, the deeper his love for us to heal us in that place and the more assurance that he is right there. Sometimes, on the other side, it feels like there's a wall between us, but he's right there and whether we can hear, whether we can see him.

Anna McPherson:

So often if we can't, it's because our own backs are turned, not because he's not present. So it's always. It always starts with orienting our gaze up and it starts with trusting. I think, especially in this day and age, we like to think we're unicorns, we're the only one who has this, you know, we're the only one as bad as us. We're the only one outside of God's reach. And if we can get solid on the fact that there has been countless tens of thousands of saints that have gone before us that have common sins and failings, and if God could reach them, he can reach us too and he knows what to do to bring us back to his embrace.

Dorsey Ross:

Even when a woman starts to find that place of wholeness and abundance, how does she balance her calling to serve her family with opportunities outside of the home?

Anna McPherson:

Yeah, so this is something that I've wrestled with a lot. I was a corporate lawyer for five and a half years and really felt in that time this, this division within me and I can't speak for everybody's experience, but for our family having. So my husband worked outside the home, I worked outside the home and it felt like we were building someone else's towers, that there was this tiny little house that was our home, that we wanted to nurture and love and tend to, and instead we were out building someone else's dream all day long. And so we've. It's been helpful for us. We've since we've since both come home and have become entrepreneurs, and really we are very clear as a family and as a couple that are that are kind of higher.

Anna McPherson:

We I call it the hierarchy of covenants that our responsibility is first to the Lord, and then my husband and I's responsibilities to each other, because we are in the covenant of marriage, and then it's to our children, because we entered into a covenant through baptizing our children, to raise them up in the fear of admonition, fear and admonition of the Lord, and that only after those three hierarchies or those three covenants are tended to do we look outside and so we try to be really intentional as a family for my husband and I to have time to connect, to just talk every morning and when he comes home in the middle of the day to talk again, how are you what's going on?

Anna McPherson:

To connect with the children. That's part of why homeschool is so we can have that time together and then after that the business follows from there, because each of those buckets you know spouse, children and and career could take all of us if we'd let them. And so having that proper orientation of it from the beginning, I really feel like a woman's heart is most at rest when it's oriented towards home. Doesn't mean we don't want to get a shower without anybody busting in on us sometimes, but at least we have that sense of commitment. This is where I belong. These are the people that I have given myself to.

Dorsey Ross:

Right, and you need to prop a balance as well.

Anna McPherson:

Yes, and boundaries. I'll tell my kids sometimes, like when you and I were gonna have this conversation, I was like the door is locking, it is being locked, you cannot come in.

Dorsey Ross:

You know you talk about having a proper balance. You could talk about you know the hacks that you wear as well. And then and you know your husband probably wears you know many hacks as well. How do you handle and how do your husband handle? And how do you know, how do you think men should handle the the hacks that we all wear?

Anna McPherson:

Yeah, and I mean I feel like I want the formula right. I used to tell the Lord, tell me what to do and I'll do it. And he doesn't work that way, which, as much as I feel like he and I are at a point in our relationship where I can kind of be with the Lord like, why don't you just tell me, just give me the rules? That's what I want, and he knows really what I want is him to the best of my ability, but it's every season has looked differently, as far as if you snapped a picture of our calendar. How much time are we spending working? How much time are we spending, you know, one-on-one time with our children, time with all of our children together? Sometimes it feels like are we just kind of putting out one fire after another? You know we have a kiddo who's sick right now, and so life has mostly paused for the past 48 hours while we've tended to her and made sure that she's okay.

Anna McPherson:

I think, keeping in mind that sense of order of we need strong relationships with the Lord, we need a strong marriage, we need to have a strong relationship with our children. This is our home, is actually the most profound place of ministry that we have because it has generational impacts. That's very important to us. I like thinking of it in terms of deep and wide. You know there's a little kids' song from at least back when I was growing up where we say God's love flowing deep and wide, and I like to think about that in our ministries as well, the ministry in our home. It goes to you know, the Lord says he blesses the faithful to the thousandth generation, and so the more we can seek to be faithful in reflecting who God is to our children, the more potential there is for this impact into the generations. That can be so expansive that we don't even really have a way of calculating it, and so that's our focus.

Anna McPherson:

That said, it can feel a little pie in the sky to say that, like I remember my husband used to say because I'm more of a visionary personality he's very practical. He's like Anna, we have to work. Remember, we have to work. It'd be great if we could just sit around all day and cuddle the kids and sing kubaiah, and so he always goes out and he does his business for about two to three hours a day, every work day, and that has created a lot of stability for us to know.

Anna McPherson:

Okay, the mornings are designated to me homeschooling the children and him working, and we kind of get that out of the day first or get that out of the way first, and then the afternoons are a little bit more freeform. I work a little bit, he shepherds and takes care of the kids. And then we've moved in the past month, so right now I'm mostly tending the house in the afternoons as well, and so it's taken a lot of different forms. But I think having that idea of the core of our ministry is our family and, like my husband says, there's reality, we have to work. It's been really grounding for us as well.

Dorsey Ross:

Right, what do you say to a woman who's struggling, who has tried all these things, and in that question say try all these things. What do you mean by that?

Anna McPherson:

Yeah. So I think that phrase has become so popular recently. I've tried all the things, I'm doing all the things, and we can often throw that phrase out as proof that actually it was everything. Because I said it was everything, and so often we can kind of build up this sense of I think again it's that unicorn complex that we can fall into. Oh, surely if there were an answer I would have found it by now and we can start to catastrophize if I've been struggling and I've had the stories. I mean I became a Christian when I was 11, at 23.

Anna McPherson:

I was worse off than I was when I started, like I was more dysfunctional, I was more broken, I was more lost and confused than I was when I first came to know the Lord, and so that can sound like a pretty desperate dead end story. 11 years, lord, I've been trying, 12, whatever. I've been trying to seek you and look, here's all I have to show for it A broken heart, a broken life, nothing to offer you, no health, and from that place we can tend to despair, where we think we use it as a proof text to say there's no hope, there's nowhere to go. If God really loved me, he would have done stuff by now, he would have saved me, he would have set me free. We can hear other people's stories of healing and redemption and we take that snapshot and we use it as proof that God has abandoned us, that he doesn't care, because if he had cared he would have said yes by now. And I think it was hard for me to take, but at the end of the day there's a measure of arrogance to that right when it's like who are we to say what the potter wants to do with our life? You know, the Lord calls himself. I'm like the potter and I make some vessels for common use and some for special use.

Anna McPherson:

And when we really our clearest path to peace is when we can sit and go. Not your will, but mine, you know sorry, reverse that Not my will but yours, right, how much I want to say the other one. Obviously we want it to be our will and our timing. But he says accept the lot that I've given you, which may mean today you are deeply broken and I can use you here. And so that's the first thing I would say is he can actually use us in our brokenness. He can use us in our struggle and in our lostness.

Anna McPherson:

And I would not know and love him today like I do if I hadn't had that season, that was decades long, of really feeling like I don't know what you can make of my life, I don't know what I have to offer and I'd really rather we just throw in the towel and just take me to glory. That's a dark place to be, but we forget to how Things compound over time and it's gonna look like zero for a really long time. But he's a gardener right. All the good stuff happens beneath the surface and then it's like now it's time for spring.

Dorsey Ross:

Yeah, no, sometimes, I think, when we go with you and I think it depends on the situation and the people and you know mental health, sometimes, when we're going through a dark time and we're struggling with our faith and we're struggling, struggling with when is God in this situation. What would you say to people who May listen to this later, may go, maybe go through that and they say a you know God doesn't hear anymore, god's not, you know, with me anymore. What would you say to you know people who may, you know, may listen to this later?

Anna McPherson:

Yeah, just like you said it is so. It's so circumstance driven and individual driven. You know what, what, what does it look like? What is their particular story?

Anna McPherson:

And these are when we're in that level of darkness it's so important to have human eyes back to us to just reflect. I hear you, you know the pain is real, that feeling of lostness and brokenness is real, and and Having another person bear witness to that pain like for me, I went to counseling for years Just having people sit and listen to me and then gently you know they're trained in this gently uncover, hey, we think it's this dark, but what if there's some light ahead? What if there's a purpose beneath all of this pain? And ultimately, when we're feeling like there's no hope, the one thing that I think truly saved me From my own period of despair was that I believed the Bible was true, and so I just kept putting myself in the way of his word and in the pages of God's word.

Anna McPherson:

I found the book of Job and I found the Psalms Especially they're called the imprecatory Psalms where you're crying out to the Lord why, lord, have you forsaken me? And the beauty that we get to come to a perfect God, and he allows us to ask that question, to Basically call God. You know a deceiver and a liar and he's his love is expansive enough to handle that to go. I know you think that we both know it's not so, but there is safety and there is space for you to have that experience and I know how to lead you out.

Dorsey Ross:

You know what does it mean and how does a woman receive it?

Anna McPherson:

Yeah. So I think we've got ditches on either side of this path, as with most things. So we can bend towards the side that says as I'm faithful with God, god will be faithful with me and I'll have plenty of money in the bank and I'm gonna have all these different things that I've been wanting and there's going to be provision in the natural. And Then there's the flip side of that that we can bend into where we basically just kind of Believe that there has.

Anna McPherson:

There has been almost this correlation between Holiness and poverty.

Anna McPherson:

You know just that God actually would call us to to poverty as a way of glorifying him. And I think that God doesn't really look at either of those markers, because we're missing the point when we're looking at money, because the point is abundance of soul, and we need only look to Christ to really see what that looked like. He walked the earth with very little in terms of material possessions, but whenever there was need of material possessions, you know, he told Peter just go and go and get a fish and open the fish's mouth and there will be the two coins, one for your taxes and one for mine. And so provision, not just for his own you know his own needs, but also for for Peter's needs as well. And so I believe that abundance really Really centers around soul abundance to have this sufficiency that comes directly from the father and for us to walk in the truth of the Luke 15 parable of the prodigal son, that that, you know, the father says to the elder son you have always been with me and all that I have is yours.

Dorsey Ross:

What, if I could, we do you have for women considering homeschooling and entrepreneurship, and even maybe a job outside of the home?

Anna McPherson:

Yeah, yeah. So I mean we talked about how, in our family, the, the center for us is really ministry within the home first. When it comes to when I talk to women who are considering homeschooling, who are considering working for themselves, who are considering going back to work, so often I think we butt up against this feeling of insufficiency. Life is full already. I have so many responsibilities already. How can I take on? One more thing and I think one of the things that that scripture tells us about the father is our provision from him is, for the moment that we're living in, that he doesn't give us extra to carry when we don't need it, nor is there lack when we get there, and so our first responsibility is to ask him what should I do? You know where are we headed? It's this where I'm supposed to go.

Anna McPherson:

That being said, as we're walking towards something we're not going to feel equipped for it, not until we walk through the door, you know, and even as a homeschool parent, as an entrepreneur, regularly I reach the end of myself and go there's still more need, there's still more school year to do, there's still more business to be done, and I'm out. I have no vision for what's next. I don't know how to help this child who's struggling to learn this certain thing. My patience is wearing thin, I'm tired. And that's where he expands in my life, because I have that, that direct line to him where I'm like, help me, like I'm out, I'm out. I need you to bring your power through my weakness in this moment. And so I think so often we assume we're not able to, because we're not able to now but it's not time until we step into it, and then the provision is there.

Dorsey Ross:

Yeah, when a woman's looking to expand her impact for the kingdom, where does she start?

Anna McPherson:

Yeah. So I personally feel that expanding my impact for the kingdom always starts at home first, and that doesn't mean that my children get 24-7 of my time. It means that that their needs are well-tended both by me and by my husband, and so that's always where we start. It's that deep and wide idea that we talked about, where the my capacity for patience, my capacity for love, my capacity for empathy expand in the four walls of my home and then I go out from there and whatever additional space I have. There were seasons when we were first raising our babies where my only capacity for additional ministry was encouraging someone at the grocery store check out as I was wrangling my three and four kids. And now there's a little bit more, and so I can do and give more.

Anna McPherson:

But sometimes I think we miss how impactful it can be to simply send someone a text and let them know that we're praying for them, that make sure we're actually praying for them right, don't just say it and then not pray. But to actually consider someone, even in the midst of very hard seasons or very busy seasons, can be a powerful impact in and of itself. The little things matter. That's one of the things that we talk about in Archie considers a field that community so often is. The little things matter because they're eternal things.

Dorsey Ross:

Right, what we can say to yourself 20 years ago um looking back.

Anna McPherson:

Oh, I would probably tell myself don't give up. Don't give up. We think, like I said, we look back and we say it's been this long already. I've lived this long already. You know, of course, when you're in your 20s you feel old. I've lived for so long, lord, and surely by now. But God is on the 40 year plan. Moses was 80 when he started his ministry in Egypt, and so our scope is often too small and he really loves. You know, I think we think in. We think in months and years. God thinks in decades and he thinks in generations, and so I wish I'd known then, and I would have loved the encouragement.

Anna McPherson:

Someone spoke a word over me in my mid 20s, kind of as these, these, uh kind of these deep losses and wounds that I was sitting in were starting to become healed. They said you are the point of redemption in your family line, and I think that what God gives to us, he always offers to give through us. So that's a message I carry to other people is that we all have the opportunity to be the point of redemption in our family line, that there are things that come down generationally. There are wounds that we carry, there are hurts that have happened. You know, sometimes we'll see like there was an alcoholic grandfather and then an alcoholic father, and then there's addiction in this generation and that we have the opportunity to say no more, I'm going to lean into the Lord, I'm going to seek to grab hold of all he has to offer.

Anna McPherson:

And for me, I think many of the challenges that I faced were, like I said, of my own making, but there was also some generational stuff that had just kind of stayed going, you know, passing down from one generation to the next, and so there was some cleanup work to do and the Lord put his finger on me and he says I'm giving you the opportunity to do it, and it's hard but it's a privilege. So I think if I had realized then the choices I would make, the healing that I would, that I would go through to become whole before the Lord, or more whole before the Lord, that would not only impact my own life, but it was for the generations to follow to things that I probably will never even see.

Dorsey Ross:

Right. Is there a way that people can get in touch with you?

Anna McPherson:

Yes. So right now I'm just starting to kind of share this message of being faithful and little and set over more, and so the primary way that I'm doing that is through a Facebook group called she Consider a Field, and that's for women who love God and want more. They want to be faithful, they want to be, you know, falling in love with Him more deeply. And, ultimately, one of the things we talk about a lot in there is the power of telling the truth, of telling the Lord, because that's what happened in my 20s. I told them the truth for the first time my life isn't working, I'm trying so hard and it's not coming together, and so we start there in that community, so that's a great place to connect. And then I'm on Instagram as well, just sharing these thoughts and ideas there too.

Dorsey Ross:

Welcome. Well, anna. Thank you so much for coming on the show today and sharing your story.

Anna McPherson:

Thank you so much, Dorsey, for having me. I really appreciate it.

Dorsey Ross:

Absolutely All guys and girls. Thank you so much for tuning in Again, we greatly appreciate it and please like and share and check out Anna's Facebook page and Instagram page. And until next time, thank you for tuning in. Good luck, bye, bye.

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Balance and Hope in Struggles
Navigating Darkness, Finding Abundance
Generational Healing Through Little Things