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A Higher Calling - Harold and Rachel Earls

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
September 19, 2020 1:00 am

A Higher Calling - Harold and Rachel Earls

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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September 19, 2020 1:00 am

He dreamed of climbing to the top of the biggest mountain in the world. She dreamed of starting a family and having a great marriage. On today's Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, Captain Harold Earls and Rachel Earls tell their story of the mountain that stood between them. Could the differences between you and your spouse forge an unbreakable bond?

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Their love stories survive the biggest mountain in the world. Today, I'm Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman the story of Captain Harold and Rachel Earls. That's really when I felt fear like I've never felt before, right?

And it started to become very clear the things that I could miss back home. We say love God, love people, make a difference, and be thankful. And that really holds true from this experience.

That's how we just choose to live our everyday life. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller "The 5 Love Languages" . Today, the dynamic couple behind the viral sensation Earls family vlogs tell their story. Our featured resource today is A Higher Calling, pursuing love, faith, and Mount Everest for a greater purpose.

You can find out more at Captain Harold Earls IV and Rachel Earls are going to join us today. And Gary, I think you're going to love their story. One reason Captain Earls is an active duty army officer, and I know how much you appreciate military families and their unique struggles. Well, I am looking forward to this discussion, Chris. As you know, I've been on many, many military bases trying to encourage military couples in their marriage. And as you know, wrote a special edition of "The 5 Love Languages" just for the military, which focuses on how do you speak these languages when you're deployed? So yeah, anyway, I'm always excited to talk to military personnel and super excited about our guest today and about the book they've written.

Let's meet him. Captain Harold Earls IV is an active duty army officer currently serving as the commander of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington. He's a graduate of West Point and he's a U.S. Army Airborne Ranger qualified.

He's a graduate of West Point and he is U.S. Army Airborne Ranger qualified. Rachel Earls is a beloved vlogger, business owner, founder of the Earls Family Foundation. She's an army wife and mom. She hosts Earls Family Vlogs, which is 100 million views on YouTube and half a million subscribers who tune in regularly to hear Rachel and Harold and see them discuss faith and family life and love. They're raising their two young sons Leo and Wyatt near Washington, D.C., and the book that's our featured resource is titled A Higher Calling, Pursuing Love, Faith, and Mount Everest for a Greater Purpose.

Find out more at Well, Rachel and Captain Earls, welcome to Building Relationships. Hey, thanks so much for having us. Hey, Gary, I just wanted to thank you just for your works and the impact that it's had on our lives, so thank you very much.

Well, thank you. Well, let's begin with your love story. You know, how did you guys meet? Tell us about your story.

Oh, man, that is a great question. So, it all started a long, long time ago. So, back at West Point, I was going into my sophomore year. And so, my best friend in the whole world is actually Rachel's cousin. And so, he had always been telling me, hey, there's this girl that you got to meet. She's my cousin. She's awesome. She's a redhead. And I was just like, hey, man, I'm just like not that into redheads. And so, basically, he showed me a picture of her and I was like, holy cow, like, man, why did you not show me your picture sooner?

And then from there, that's when things started to take off. Yeah, he actually added me on Facebook and sent me a little message, but my cousin didn't tell me anything about him. So, in the beginning, I just saw our mutual friends on Facebook were our family members. So, I thought he was just a cousin of mine that was pretty distant.

And so, it's just kind of wild. I was at a place in my life right before that where I'd been through some heartache and I kind of pushed off relationships for a while. But actually, the day before, I was praying to God and I just said, God, I know that your timing is perfect and I'm okay waiting because I'm so content just pursuing you right now. But can you just give me a sign that he's out there?

And sure enough, the next day is when here comes Harold through Facebook. And where were you at this time? He was at West Point. Where were you?

He was. And I was at Florida State University in Florida, obviously. And so, our relationship was completely long distance up until we got married. Well, you mean all the way?

Yeah, all the way. Hey, Gary, I'll tell you my grades once I met Rachel at West Point started to suffer a little bit from late night Skype calls of each other. I can believe that. So, a long-distance relationship. Now, it wasn't letters, right?

Because in my generation, we wrote letters back and forth. But you guys were on Skype and you're seeing each other and talking to each other, right? Yeah, well, we actually did all the things. So, we FaceTimed.

We had this thing called Uvoo because at West Point, they actually block out Skype. But we also wrote letters to each other. In fact, we would send each other like weird things. I think the first package that Harold sent me, he bought a pair of flip-flops and wrote me a letter on the back of the shoes.

I thought it was creative at the time. So, with a long-distance relationship, how did you know, Harold, that she was the one? How did you know he was the one?

Wow, that's a great question. So, we actually had our very first phone call that we had was over six hours. And what was crazy for me was in that moment, I'll never forget, I was laying in my barracks room towards the end of the call.

And I was just staring up on my bunk bed, staring at the ceiling. And I remember saying to Rachel, I found you. And I never thought it was possible after one phone call to know this is my person. But in that moment, it was so clear, because I think it takes away. I think sometimes when you're in person with someone, you kind of get caught up in, you know, what am I doing? Am I looking okay?

How do they look? And you get caught up in so many other things. But in that moment, for those six hours, we had such a beautiful connection. Really just getting to know each other's hearts. And that's honestly right there in that moment is when I knew. Yeah, exactly. I mean, it was just a vulnerable conversation that I feel like often doesn't take place anymore.

Just because there's so many different barriers. But we were just completely raw about where we were in life and what we wanted out of life. And so I really think that kind of set the tone for us. And we kind of just looked over at each other and we're like, holy cow, like, this is it. How old were you at that point, Rachel? We were both 20. So I'm about three months older than Harold. But I was a year ahead of him in school. Were you still in your sophomore year?

I was. Now, don't be asking me a bunch of relationship dating dates, because I don't remember all those dates. Well, here's what I want to know is how long after that phone conversation did you actually get married?

Well, that's a good question. Well, first I'll tell you that it was only about a month later that we met in person for the first time. Harold actually came and surprised me, which is all in the book. But then I think it was about two and two and a half years until we got married, because we honestly probably would have got married right away. But you're not allowed to get married when you're at West Point until after you graduate. And so we had to wait until after he graduated.

Oh, yeah, I got you. Well, Harold, you went to a military academy at West Point. So what in those days, what were your hopes and dreams for the future? Service has always been a part of who I am. You know, it's honestly what drives me. It's never been money.

It's never been anything like that. It's been how can I make an impact on other people? And so at the time, you know, it was obviously joined the military. But I also wanted to go into special operations, you know, Ranger Regiment, and go that, you know, entire route.

And so I think it's beautiful, kind of how God has, you know, used Rachel in my life and our life to bring about things that I couldn't even see were possible. Yeah. So Rachel, you're marrying a person who is in the military. Did you have family members in the military? You have any idea what that was like? My grandfather did serve.

But honestly, no, I really had no idea. And the moment I started to get to know Harold, I realized, wow, this is, you know, a really big deal. Because this has changed the whole trajectory of my life. And obviously, that sacrifice on the family members. And so I'm actually really thankful for it, because it gave me a whole new perspective of what families go through. Yeah, yeah, very different lifestyle from civilian lifestyle, for sure. Yeah. So Harold, how about this idea of climbing Mount Everest?

Where did that come from? So I was sitting in my barracks room, and I was writing out my bucket list of things that I always wanted to do. And so at the very top of my list was climb Mount Everest.

And so I started thinking, man, when in the military, you know, dating, you know, then my soon to be fiancee when would I ever have the opportunity to do this? And so I set out, I said, Hey, the time to do this is essentially right after graduation. And so from that moment forward, I set out to climb Mount Everest.

Wow. I tell you, and what's what's crazy is so originally, I mean, just full, you know, transparency, it started out as like a really a selfish pursuit, right of pursuing my own dream. But I think honestly, Gary, what the beautiful thing was, is how God took that dream that I had written down and use it for something so much more than I never could have seen to make an impact. Well, Captain Earles, before the break, we were talking about your bucket list of climbing Mount Everest. And you meant you alluded to the fact that there was a deeper meaning behind that as time went along. Explain what that was.

Yeah, so at the time, it was something personal, right? I wanted to climb Everest. I'm a good old Georgia boy. I don't like the cold.

And I don't like, you know, running hills. So for me, it was a personal challenge at first. But what really where God came in and took this to something to a whole new level was I had a mentor, Command Sergeant Major Todd Burnett. He was the Command Sergeant Major at West Point, essentially second in charge at West Point. And I didn't know what at the time, but he had struggled with PTSD to the point of wanting to take his own life.

And for me, seeing someone, you know, such a hero of mine, and just a tremendous leader come to the point of taking his own life, was something that was hard for me to process. And he had brought up to me, you know, hey, why don't you guys climb for something more than just the sake of climbing Everest? Why don't you climb for a purpose?

There has to be a nexus to this. And so that's where we came up with the idea of climbing to raise awareness for post-traumatic stress, for soldier mental health. And I think the beautiful thing was the awareness that we were then able to bring, that our mission was so much more than just my personal dream.

And God was able to take that dream and use that for a purpose that I could never have seen on that first day when I came up with the idea. Were there other guys that went with you? There were.

There were. So we had a team comprised of active duty and veterans. We had the first combat wounded veteran. He was aiming to be the first combat wounded amputee.

He had an IED blow up on him in Iraq, and he lost part of his leg. Well, that's certainly a noble cause that takes it out of just an idea that I'd like to do this. Yeah, for sure.

For sure. And I tell you, even with a book, it's crazy how God is always working. So I get back from Everest and we begin this journey or I begin this journey to write a book. But frankly, that journey started out as a, you know, a yay me, I climbed Everest book, to be totally honest.

And it was really special how God used Rachel to really work in me and through me as far as saying, hey, I think there's more here. There's more to this story than just, hey, you climbed Everest. And so we really began this journey over the past two years of our faith and the role that our faith and our relationship was challenged. And that's where we came at it from both perspectives. And you'll see where our stories are both intertwined beautifully in this book of trying to climb Mount Everest, but also doing this in our first year of marriage and the struggles that we found in our relationship and in our faith and how we were put to the test. Yeah. Now, Rachel, you weren't married yet when he mentioned this whole concept of climbing Mount Everest.

How did you feel about that idea originally? Well, I think I get that you know, I get that question a lot and I think people expect me to be like, what are you talking about? But that's just not who Harold is. Harold has always been the one with big dreams. From the moment that I met him that first phone call, you know, I knew exactly who he was. So it was not surprising to me.

It was kind of just the next thing. And so for me, that just meant coming around him. You know, the thing that I always want in life is support.

I just learned that in my my own walk. And so I wanted to be that for him. I wanted to not just cheer him on, but do everything my power to help him along the way. Well, I'll tell you, I learned a lot about love in that moment. Honestly, I, I expected some pushback.

And not only did I not get pushback, and it wasn't just like, hey, I support you. It was what can I do to come alongside you? And honestly, a incredible thing that I experienced and how I just saw a deeper love from Rachel that I've never seen was, hey, this is your dream. This is now our dream. I'm going to run alongside you. And I'm gonna do everything I can to make this happen with you.

So it's from staying up late at night, coming up with logo ideas to sending out emails. We were there hand in hand pursuing this dream that was now both of our dreams. Yeah. Now, Rachel, we know, let's be realistic, there are a lot of people who seek to climb Mount Everest, and they don't ever come back alive. So I'm asking you, did you worry about Harold's safety?

Was there anxiety? Oh, all the time. I mean, of course, that is what I knew exactly I was stepping into. Not only could I lose my new husband, but also I could lose my potential family that I've been praying for my entire life.

You know, I married Harold, because I wanted to start a family with him as well. And so I mean, that's a massive sacrifice. But it really put my faith to the test. You know, I wasn't just praying. God protect Harold, I was praying, God, whatever the outcome is here, God carry me through it.

And may it be for your glory, because I wasn't blind to the fact that something very horrible could happen. We had actually struggled as far as whether or not to try and get pregnant before Everest. For me, I was actually wanting to get pregnant just because I kind of saw that as like an insurance policy.

I know that there's a six and a half percent death rate on Everest, right, for those who summon. And so I was like, man, maybe if we get pregnant, then maybe I can carry on the bloodline if I if I don't come back. So it was definitely definitely some tough things we had to work out in our first year of marriage. And I'll tell you, writing the book and reflecting on our story was almost in a way so much harder to mentally go back to that place. Because now we do have two beautiful boys. So I'd be upstairs in the room writing a chapter about if my husband dies and downstairs I'd be listening to him laughing with our boys and throwing them up in the air and to think in that moment like that all could not be here, you know, if something happened.

So that's kind of our point in all this is we want people to just live life to its fullest, to love as hard as they can, because it's not promise, you know, you don't know what today or tomorrow has to bring. Well, your story certainly illustrates what it means to be supportive of your spouse and your spouse's dreams. Rachel, you helped Harold with training and planning for the trip and more. What are some of the examples of what you did, the kind of things you did? And how do you think it shaped your future together?

Lots of things. So one of the things obviously Harold was preparing for was climbing. And so we would go on little hikes together. We went rock climbing actually one time. And this part made me really nervous for Harold because he helped me put on my harness. And you're supposed to put it on like a seat. Well, he put it on me more like a thong when I was up there climbing on the rock. And so that made me a little bit nervous. But other things like sketching the logo out for the nonprofit that we created in order to make this climb possible.

And then running the social media to get the word out and to really bring that awareness to light to other people. So how far along were you in your marriage before you actually made the climb? I think we're about 10 months into our marriage.

We celebrated our one year anniversary just a couple weeks when he got home. I think there are a lot of young couples out there who are saying, wow, I don't know if I'd like that for my husband to do all of that. Yeah, definitely a lot of people were like, I can't believe you're letting him do that.

I would definitely say no. But for me, I just knew I was like, well, this could be something that either kind of tears us apart because he can go after this on his own. And it can create a wedge between us or it can be something that brings us together. And I'm so thankful that's the route I chose to choose. Because I mean, here we are years later, and just the way that God has worked through it has been beautiful.

Yeah. Harold, let me ask you a personal question. And this is theoretical, I know. What if Rachel had said, Harold, please don't do this? I thought about that often, honestly, Gary, as far as if I didn't have the support of my wife. You know, I would like to think that I would have been like, hey, that means that God is saying that this isn't the right timing, right?

But I don't know. I don't know if I was mature enough at that time in my faith and in my marriage to make that decision, right? Because I, you know, up until that point, I had only acted out of self interest, right? Going everything I did just naturally, right? I didn't have to focus on, hey, my marriage and my family.

It was always about me up until I found Rachel. So I'm not sure in that time. I think it's impossible for me to say.

Yeah. And that's why I say it's a theoretical question. Really, I guess none of us would know what we would do looking back, you know, in a situation like that. For sure.

A lot of people have asked as well, what would I do? Like if I could go back and do it all over again, knowing what you know now and knowing the family that you have now, I think that's more of a question that I can answer, right? So I see now the two year old, the two and a half year old that we have that runs around the house screaming and screaming for me to chase him.

And then I got the one year old on my shoulders as I'm running around loops and loops and loops around the house. And it is hard for me. I think that undoubtedly knowing what we went through, knowing the storm as you read the book and really just getting hit pretty hard on the way down. You know, the extremes that we had to go through, it's not worth it, right? It's not. I see this family.

I see what God has given us. It would be hard for me to justify to go back or to do it all over again. Well, I think once you've climbed Mount Everest, I would guess for most people, you wouldn't necessarily plan a second trip.

That's a once in a lifetime experience for a very few people. You know, though, there's a point in the book where Harold gets really sick right before they're supposed to make the summit push. He calls me, I mean, in tears over it. And so there was that moment that he'd worked all this time up for that and maybe he couldn't climb. And so my fear in that moment was, holy cow, if he can't do it now, he's going to try again next year. And that's not something that I can go through.

Once is enough for you too, right? Exactly. Now, Rachel, instead of staying at home and worrying and all that, I mean, obviously you had anxiety than anybody would. But while Harold was gone, you actually went on an adventure of your own. Tell us about that. Why was it so important? Yeah, exactly. So it was really easy for me to look around when I was at home and just realize that I would see his presence not there, like so obvious.

And that would just cripple me all the time, you know? And so I wanted something more for myself. I didn't want to just be in the waiting. And so I packed up my bags and I went to Ireland, to Scotland, to Guatemala, to Nashville to see my friends. And that was a really cool learning experience for me, and especially to my other military wives, because there's a lot of periods of waiting. And just to remind ourselves that there's still so much life to be lived in those moments.

And so not to just be crippled by fear. Did you do all that traveling alone? So some of the places I went to go see friends. And then when I went to Ireland, I kind of traveled over there by myself. I met up with a family friend.

And then I had some friends with me when I was in Guatemala. I think that's a good point for military wives, not necessarily when their husbands are in Mount Everest, but when their husbands are deployed. If they don't have children, if they don't have children, let's do something.

Let's do something during this time. If you have children by that time, obviously, it's very obvious what you're going to be doing during the time is caring for those children. Even for our own sanity, honestly, because I knew staying at home, that leads to resentment. You know, if you just kind of put your life on hold and you watch your significant other pursue their dreams, I mean, it's just a matter of fact, like that can lead to resentment.

And so in order for that not to happen, you really have to find your own story and pursue your own passions. Yeah. It's that sense that we're in this thing together, right? I think that military wives have to have because he's out there and sometimes in harm's way and all of that.

And she's back here. Of course, sometimes it's the other way around, as you know, because there are military wives that also are deployed. But if you have this sense that we're together, it's not, you know, he's doing his thing and I'm not doing my thing. We're together in this and we both seeking to utilize our time in a positive way. That's what not only keeps us together, but makes it meaningful, right? Yeah, I think it's interesting when you look at military spouses, honestly, how I treated Rachel, it can be very thankless, right? Because in my case, I'll never forget, Rachel put in all this effort forever. I mean, just so many nights of hard work and then we get back, we have this big celebration party. And I get up on stage and I thank everyone under the moon and Rachel sitting right there front and center. And I don't even thank my wife. I don't even mention her, right?

Because I think I took that for granted. So I think that it's so important. I think it's so important that what the military spouse is doing, just like what Rachel is doing and coming along and supporting them.

They have such an important role as well. Yeah. How'd you feel Rachel when he didn't mention you? I cried. We stayed up really late the following day and it wasn't because I needed praise. But it was more just, I wanted him to really see me for what I did that whole time. And so it was powerful to have that conversation. And I mean, writing the book also, I think was really eye opening to be able to reflect on those and to strengthen our communication and to look at where we are now in our relationship. That we do make sure, hey, our partner, that's our first man. So they're always going to be the first person that I'm going to thank for standing by my side. Well, it's good that you didn't hold all that inside and let it build up inside, but rather talked about it right after it happened. Hey, I should have read your book sooner because then I would have known that Words of Affirmation was pretty high on someone's list.

Yeah. But I can also understand, you're caught up in the moment and everybody's there to celebrate what you and others have done. And so that's your focus. And sometimes we can inadvertently overlook a spouse in those cases.

So being understanding is a positive thing as well. Harold, I have a question for you. I read the John Krakauer book years ago, Into Thin Air, about the deadly storm that rolled in and several people lost their lives. And so what you're describing here today is kind of a life or death proposition. There was a person on that expedition who nearly died, a doctor, I believe, from Dallas. And I recounted the story that was told in that book that he kind of was on the edge of his existence when he woke up and he realized how important his family was to him and he stood up and he made it back into camp. And I told that story to my wife because I just was so captivated by it. It was just such a wonderful thing. And her response was different than mine.

She responded to it by saying, why does it take almost dying to let you know that your family is really important to you? And I hadn't thought about it that way. And I wonder, what's your perspective on that question? I'll tell you.

So I think two parts. One, on the way up, I did not at all. They actually call this thing, it's called summit fever. It's when you have the desire to summit so badly that you're willing to sacrifice everything else in the process in order to make that happen. And for me, I actually got really sick right before we went to leave for the summit. I got sick.

And so I called Rachel a phone call that she mentioned earlier that I'll never forget and just had tears in my eyes because I thought that I couldn't make the summit. And then the very next day I wasn't fully recovered. I decided that I would climb and go towards the top, which is one of the most dangerous things to do is when you get sick and decide to still climb. Because it takes all of you to begin with, to make it to the top and back down.

So if I'm going at 75, 80%, it can be quite fatal. And so in that moment, I essentially was willing to sacrifice everything in pursuit of my dream. And really, it wasn't until the way down is when, you know, honestly, I was terrified. We got hit with a really nasty storm on the way down about 75 mile an hour winds, our team was split up. And that's really when I felt fear, like I've never felt before.

Right. And it started to become very clear. The things that I could miss back home.

I saw death, you saw dead bodies, it felt very real in that moment. With those kind of kind of close calls, or, you know, times of fear. Looking back on it, what lessons did you learn in making this climb that still impact you? Well, I'll tell you, at the end of all of our vlogs on YouTube, we say, love God, love people, make a difference and be thankful. And that really holds true from this experience. And even through writing the book, that's how we just choose to live our everyday everyday life. It's putting God first and having faith through those trials in those unknown circumstances. It's loving the people around us, whether it's our husband, or just our community, and it's making a difference. So using our passions for something greater. I don't believe that our passions are just there for ourselves.

There is more purpose there. And then of course, to be thankful. And our story, that is an everyday thing for me.

I know I could have lost my husband. So every single day moving forward, I'm thankful for his presence. I'm thankful for my children. And I'm just thankful for this life that we get to live.

How about you, Harold? What are some of your reflections that kind of still linger with you? A couple of things. One, communication. One of the main things that I learned specifically on the mountain from a multitude of lessons. We were at camp three, we actually made a critical decision and error of only bringing our cell phones way high up on the mountain. We had thought that we would have good cell reception.

And so we didn't bring any other communication device. And so although we were right next to each other, the winds were blowing, we couldn't actually hear what each other were saying. And I think there's so much truism to that in life. Even though Rachel and I are sitting in the mountain, are sitting next to each other right now, it doesn't mean that communication is actually taking place. And then the second thing I would say, is exactly the title of our book. And we talk about a higher calling, that everyone has a higher call.

And I think that God is always working in you, doing things in you and through you that you can't see. So while it's important to pursue your dreams, it's important also to look to him and allow him to guide your path along the way. Why don't you share, we've alluded a couple of times to the foundation that you guys set up. Tell us a little bit about that and the purpose and what you're doing.

Yeah, so we have the Earls Fam Foundation. That was kind of my big dream from the moment I started our YouTube channel. Because when I started being vulnerable and sharing my story and what I was walking through, I immediately received messages from other women in my situation, other military girlfriends or spouses who could relate to what I was going through. And so I just realized that community need there and they would share their sufferings. And so I said, hey, what if we can grow this to be something way bigger than ourselves and our story. And so when it started bringing in some money, we wanted to pour that money back into our community. And so we set up the Earls Fam Foundation, just to meet the needs of our community, to pour out our money. Pour out our love to them and love them as well as we can. And so we have a team of volunteers from our Earls Fam that works on projects every single month. We have given beds. We have given Christmas presents.

Just the projects kind of are endless into whatever the situation currently is. You're focusing on other military couples, right? It's just everybody in our Earls Fam community, which we just consider anybody who kind of follow us. Okay, gotcha, gotcha. Now, both of you were believers in Christ before you got married.

I think you made that pretty clear. Harold, how would you say your faith grew through this experience? I'd like to hear both of you say, how did your faith grow through this experience? For me, my faith, especially then on the mountain and younger on, has always been a rollercoaster, right?

I feel like it's always had highs and it's always had lows. And something I really have learned from Rachel is how she has even killed. She has such a solid relationship with Christ, no matter the situation. And for me, when I was on the mountain, ashamedly, I wanted to be close to God because I thought that I needed God close to me. Not that I wanted to be close to God just for the sake of that I always need to be close to God. And so really the learning lesson for me was after I got down off the mountain, going up the mountain, I was listening to worship music, praising God. And then on the way back, after summoning and headed back, I was listening to hip hop music and thought I was hot stuff. And so I think that it was honestly reflecting months later and really just growing through Reiner School.

I grew a lot during Reiner School. We did devotionals every day with my team and really just saying, hey, God needs to be actively part of my life, every moment of my life, because the mundane moments are actually the important moments. It's not just when I need Him or just when I'm hurting, do I need to be reaching out to Him? I think the thing for me from a very early age was I realized the importance of having a personal relationship with God. It's just so much deeper when you really just pour out your heart to the Lord. And it's this constant communication that you have with Him.

And so on my adventure, I was actually in Ireland walking around some cliffs up there. And I came across this bench that said, find God in all things. And that was just like, wow, despite anything that you're walking through, God is ever present. He is always there to lean on.

And He doesn't cause those bad things. And He wants good to come from them and to just lean on Him. And that was the thing that got me through every single day during that climb. You say that the expedition up Mount Everest sharpened your vision to make a difference in the world.

What do you mean by that? I think that God is able to use you in ways that you can't see. I think that God puts passions in your heart, that those passions may not be the end state that He's actually trying to get you to.

And for me, I have never seen that more clear in my life than on Everest and the ways that He's worked through us. I mean, even with Rachel, if you look at Rachel's passions, I mean, she, from a young age, has always been fascinated and enamored with videography and doing videos. So she thought at the time that she wanted to go into video photography, go into being a news anchor, right?

Because that's all that she knew. That's all that she could see based off her passions. But the beautiful thing is how God has used that and shaped those passions to build this online community that, you know, back then she never even knew could exist. And we're able to impact people for the glory of God and just by sharing our everyday life. So Rachel, this vision that you have for this online ministry, how soon did that come after this event? Well, it was my vision from the very beginning, but it was something I held to myself, actually. I didn't even tell Harold about it for quite a while because when you first start on YouTube, you don't make any money whatsoever. And so obviously I was treating it as a ministry anyways, just by being vulnerable and sharing my life and my faith. But once I saw the monetary side of it come through, I told Harold, I shared with him, Hey, this is what I see for it. And he was fired up.

And that just made me so excited as well. And so I think it was last year. Was it last year?

It's been a full year now that we have had the Earl's Fam Foundation. Yeah. Hey, what's interesting is Rachel, actually, when she started her YouTube channel, I suggested, Hey, why don't you create a video? This is when we, I was still at West Point. And so she made a video and she posted it. And it honestly got a lot of backlash in the, you know, kind of like cadet community. It actually went viral kind of among the core of cadets at the time. And so it was interesting, you know, it was, I kind of had a moment there.

Would I support my wife? Right. Or would I be like, Hey, maybe this isn't the best thing. But I know for Rachel, she felt like, Hey, this is a voice. This is a chance that I have to impact other people who may be going through things similar to me. And I just tried to kind of lean into what God was asking of me every step of the way, because it is so hard to be vulnerable.

I mean, people will come for you and they will try to tear you down for every little thing. But it was those continued messages from people saying, Hey, you helped me through this struggle in my marriage, or you helped me find God for the first time. That that was God speaking through those people to tell me, Hey, keep going. God is working through this.

And I just lean into that and, and who knows what else is going to come from it. You know, Captain Earls and Rachel, anyone who knows anything about military marriages knows that there's a lot of stress. And that in fact, the divorce rate in military marriages is much higher than the divorce rate in civilian marriages. What have you guys done to keep your own marriage growing and strong? You are so right, because it is so challenging. And so and so the biggest thing we try to do is to remember that we're on the same team. We actually came up with our own little team name. Ours is team hungry, which is a little bit silly. But I think that's really powerful, because in the moments that are difficult between us, hey, we remind each other, like, this is team hungry, you know, like, we're in this together, whatever the situation is, that might be separating us, it's, it should be the other way around. It's us against whatever that bad thing is happening.

And so we like to have like, a little bit of a funny name, just to kind of break the mood. But yeah, just remembering, like, you're in it together, and you can't succeed on your own. I think anytime that you add, you know, stress, adversity, long distance, it can be deployments, you know, for spouses. I think that is when communication is strained, right? Even the moments that we've been living in these past months with pandemics and riots, and everything that's going on, amplifies the need to communicate, because while I may think that I know what my partner is going through, I don't always see everything right.

And so I don't know what she's feeling in that moment. I think it's so important to be able to have those conversations, just like how Rachel after that, that, you know, party that we had, and I didn't thank her was able to pull me aside, and we were able to have a deep talk. Was it a hard talk? Yeah, absolutely was a hard talk. But I undoubtedly was a moment and a talk that we grew in our relationship and faith.

Yeah. And even just communicating your love for one another, that is so, so important. We like to say the little moments count, whether it's leaving a note for one another, whether it's coming over and rubbing your spouse's shoulders.

I mean, talk about "The 5 Love Languages" , you know, figure out what it is, how you can show that love and express it every day. Now you have two young sons now. What have you learned from your two children? Parenting is hard.

Send me back to Everest sometimes is my thought. I would say, like our two year old right now, I mean, he soaks up everything. And it's like, Harold and I will look at each other like, how does he know that? When did he learn that? And it's because he's learning from us, you know? So the way that we speak, the way that we act and love each other, you are directly affecting them every single day. Like they are taking that in, and that changes their life. And so if you don't have it in you to live the best life for yourself, do it for your children.

Yeah. We talk about it in the book. My parents actually got a divorce right after like a month after Rachel and I met. And that really kind of shaped our relationship. We had many talks and even how we aim to live our life now is I think it's important to show to our kids the love that we have for each other. They can see us holding hands. They can see me walk by and give her a little love tap, you know, or kiss with her or dance with her, you know, in the kitchen. I think those things are so important to show that love.

Yeah. I wrote a book some time ago called Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Became Parents. And one of the chapters is, I wish I'd known that no two children are alike.

Have you discovered that with your two? Well, I will say our one-year-old, our youngest, he is just a very happy, content little fella. Whereas our two-year-old wasn't quite the same when he was younger.

Now he is. He is just like full of joy all the time. But yeah, absolutely. They're definitely different and you have to parent them differently to whatever their needs are. And so it will be interesting to see as our younger one grows up a little bit more, just to continue to see those differences and how we need to cater to each of them separately. Being an author myself, I know that takes a lot of discipline to write a book. How long have the two of you actually been working on writing this book? I'll tell you, writing this book has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I don't think people quite realize that.

We have had so many twists and turns and things that just like really didn't work out for us. But it actually just started, originally Harold was writing the book just on his own. I think that was honestly right after he had submitted Everest.

He audio recorded the whole time he was on Everest with that in mind. But I think it was then a year later when we had discovered, hey, we want to do this together. And then it completely changed from there. So how did you work together in writing it? Did one of you write part and the other write a part?

How did that work? Man, it has been a journey. So originally we started out with, we got advice, hey, bring on a co-author because they could help us write it. And we realized that just wasn't the best path because we are so passionate about our book and we wanted every word to count and be from us.

So we really said, hey, we're going to write this and we're going to do this ourselves. And so really it took us kind of in a back and forth. I remember we were sitting literally in the room we're in right now, our guest room, Rachel was laying on the bed and I'm sitting at our desk and we would type back and forth because the book is actually in a back and forth dialogue, as you know. So it may be, you know, three paragraphs or Rachel, and then I immediately pick up and continue the story on, which allows us to beautifully intertwine it, but it can definitely make for a challenging writing process. And we just wanted to stay true to our voices as our community knows them, you know, because we do share a life every day.

And there is always that kind of back and forth, a little bit of banter. And so we wanted to make sure that that came through in our book as well. Well, having worked with a co-author, I know that that can be a challenging experience, but I think it sounds like you all had a really good experience in working together with each other. Let me ask you this as we get near the end of our program. What do you hope readers are going to take away from this book, A Higher Calling? I think I want it to not be about our story. You know, I want them to then reflect on their own life and see where those changes can be made. I don't want it to just be, oh, I read the story, I close it, put it away.

No change has occurred. And that can be whatever is true for that person, whether it means growing closer to the Lord and, you know, journaling. I share a lot of my journals in the book. Or if it means, hey, I want to love my spouse so much better. I feel like I can be a more supportive partner. Or if it's saying, I have these passions and these dreams, and I really haven't been putting the effort forward to pursue them.

Why don't I go after them now? Well, you nailed it. I think that especially right now, I mean, just the parallels we see right now and the life that we're living with, you know, the pandemic and all sorts of things going on and what we face together on Everest, honestly, I think is applicable to most everyone listening.

Everyone is going through some sort of challenge. Everyone has their own Everest to climb, if you will. And honestly, through our failures and things that we learned, our hope is that they can grow as well, right? And while dreams are worth pursuing, God is going to take those and use those in ways that you can never see. Oh, I love that.

I love that. Sometimes your biggest challenges are your biggest story, right? So don't just be afraid of that.

Lean into it and learn from it. Well, this has been a fascinating hour, and I just want to thank both of you for taking time to share with us. And I really hope that many, many, many of our listeners are going to get this book and read it.

I'm telling you, it will be a challenge to each of them. So thanks for taking the time and energy to write the book. And may God continue to guide the two of you as you pursue his goals in your life. Oh, Gary, we appreciate you. And honestly, everyone listening, we appreciate you. We love you.

We know that right now is a challenging time. And next week, questions and comments from our listener line. It's our first Dear Gary of the fall season. Don't miss it in one week. Before we go, let me thank our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Todd. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-20 22:41:48 / 2023-08-20 23:00:44 / 19

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