1. How were you able to find your purpose in life?
Honestly, I kind of stumbled into it. It’s interesting because before ministry I was the Director of Career Services at a University and I spent my days directing others in their careers. I always told them not to choose based on salary expectations but to pick something they were passionate about because they would be happier people. I fell into worship leading when a Pastor pushed me to do it. I quickly found out I had a fire in me for it. Over the years I began to realize that my passion wasn’t necessarily for leading worship, but more so to lead people into a deeper relationship with God…which worship can facilitate. So, now, I do that through various channels…leading worship, speaking, coaching. I believe that we all have the same basic purpose. To lead others to Christ in our daily lives. Then we also have a secondary purpose…which often becomes our career. For some it’s teaching, others accounting. We can find indications of what it is based on the natural gifts and talents we have.
2. What inspired “Call to More”?
I was going through an extremely difficult time in my life. I wrote about it in my book, Hope Against Hope, my oldest child was a drug addict and headed toward incarceration. As a mother and a minister, I was devastated. But I didn’t allow my own pain to stop me from ministering. I continued to lead worship on Sunday mornings and also began to meet up with women at our prayer tables at church. These women would come to me with the deep pain of their own – their husbands left them for another woman, their children were on drugs, they were all alone in life, they were simply broken. In my own pain, I was able to empathize with them and encourage them that they could not only get through it but could thrive. I realized that women everywhere needed to hear that. We need to know that we are deeply loved by our Father and He has a great plan for our lives. So, when my role as Creative Arts Pastor was coming to a close I knew God wanted to use me to call women up and into what God created them for.
3. What is the biggest factor that has helped you to become who you are
I know this sounds crazy, but the things that have made me who I am are my struggles and my failures. Actually, I don’t even really believe in failure. I believe in trials. When we mess up it’s simply an opportunity to get up and do it differently the next time. I have faced pain at the hands of others, and pain at the foolishness of my own hands. Both have taught me a great deal about life and how to live it well. I know that if I didn’t have childhood trauma I couldn’t possibly understand the behavior of someone who has had childhood trauma. If I didn’t go through a divorce with a man who cheated on me, I couldn’t possibly understand the deep betrayal and pain of someone who does. The Bible says that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. I love Him. And I believe we are all called according to His purpose. So, He absolutely will take everything…my joy and my pain…and use it all for good. He uses it to bless me and to glorify Him. My own life experiences have taught me to receive people right where they are. They have taught me to view others as children of God – who He deeply loves. I realize that my ultimate purpose is to lead others to Him, and that requires seeing them as His. But I had to see myself that way first.
4. How do you push through challenging moments?
At first I usually cry. Ha! But then I remind myself who I am in Christ. I remind myself what the Bible says about who I am. And I speak the Word out of my mouth, over my situation. So, for example, when my son was on drugs and was headed toward death I found a scripture and prayed it daily. His mind was so messed up, he hated me and everyone else. He couldn’t see a way out of his situation. I began to pray Ezekiel 36:26 – Lord, will you put a new heart and a new spirit in my son? I prayed it constantly, even though I wasn’t even sure I believed it could happen. What I knew I believed is that God is good. So I prayed it based on that. It’s been a handful of years now, and my son is clean and living a good life. In a conversation with him a few months ago I looked into his eyes and as he was speaking I heard God in my heart say, “Do you see it? Do you see the answer to your prayer? He has a new heart and a new spirit.” And I did see it! He is a totally different man today! So, I speak the Word…and I remind myself of past victories. Like King David did. When he was going to fight Goliath he said, I killed the lion and I killed the bear and I’m gonna kill you too! That’s paraphrased of course! But we have to talk ourselves through it sometimes.
5. What values do you count on?
Grace and truth. I mean, really, all the gifts of the Spirit. But also grace and truth. I believe if we approach others with these two things we will be better for it, and so will they. I try to extend grace to everyone, in every situation. It’s not always easy. Sometimes I have to make myself do it…lol. But I do it. Extending grace can often be as simple as believing the best of people. When I don’t understand why they acted the way they did or made the choice they made, I extend grace to assume that they had a reason. They were acting out of their own hurt, or there’s some information I just simply don’t have. I remember hearing Joyce Meyer more than 20 years ago saying “hurting people hurt people.” It stuck with me, and allowed me to be gracious to those who hurt me.
I also believe that it is of the utmost importance that I approach people in truth. Not my own truth, but the truth of the Word of God. So, if I am in disagreement with someone about something, I will go to the Word to see what it says…and then I’ll take that back to a conversation with God and ultimately with them. Often to either apologize or to express my concern. Grace and truth…always. It’s how Jesus approached the world. He told us where we were missing the mark, and then gave us the grace to overcome. Imagine if we all approached each other like that! The truth isn’t always what we want to hear, but when it is delivered with grace it is much more palatable.
6. What is your view on “God builds up faith”?
The Bible tells us that we are given a measure of faith when we accept Christ. It is all the faith we need to live as Christians. But we do grow our faith as we go. The bible tells us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). So, if we are going to grow our faith we must not only read the Word of God, but also hear it. Listen to others teach it, speak it out of our own mouths. And then, like anything else, we have to apply it. That happens typically through trials. We are given the opportunity to believe over and over again that God is truly for us. Our faith walks us through those trying times and sees us out the other side…and on the other side, we find that our faith has grown through the process.
7. You are a speaker/ writer/ Wife and mother, how are you able to
juggle these roles.
I am a very flexible person in terms of my scheduling. I am able to go with the flow, and that helps a lot. Working a “normal” 9 to 5 job is not really a fit for me. And honestly, I couldn’t do what I do without my husband and kids. They are all very supportive of me and what I do. We give and take as needed and make it work together.
8. If only for this life, we have hope in Christ we are to be pitied
more than all men. what is your view on this statement?
I think in order to really understand the statement we have to look at its context. If we read 1 Corinthians 15, particularly starting at verse 12, we see that this is about whether or not resurrection is real. Paul was addressing some people who were unsure about the resurrection from the dead. He was saying to them, and I paraphrase, if the resurrection from the dead is not real, then Jesus didn’t rise. And if Jesus didn’t rise what the heck are we doing here? We are believing in Him and following Him for this life only. And THAT would make us the most pitiful of all.
9. What does women’s empowerment mean to you?
I can tell you what it doesn’t mean to me, and then what it means to me. To me, empowering women has nothing to do with feminism. It has everything to do with freedom in Christ. He made us with His own hand. He has a plan and a purpose for our lives and it is good. We should be able to see what He has called us to be in the Word of God and then step up and into that call. We are powerful. We are amazing. Just as men are. Each person with their own unique gifts and talents…all for His glory and His purpose. In my book Five, the women in the genealogy of Jesus, I wrote about the women listed in Matthew 1. These women are not what most would expect. I think we expect all of them to be like Mary, the mother of Jesus. She’s on the list, but she is the only one we might expect to find there. The other women are scandalous. They are prostitutes and idol worshipers. But they all have one thing in common. At some point in their story, they chose to believe in God. They chose to follow Him and it made HIStory. And if they could do it back then…before Jesus came to intervene for us…before women had value in our culture…surely we can do it today! THAT’S empowerment for women. Just simply knowing who we are in Christ.
10. What advice will you give to women in ministry?
Stay close to God. Do not look to people for your cues. I mean, it’s good to get spiritual counsel and to have mentors who follow Christ. But always take it back to Him and His Word. His plan for you is not like everyone else’s. It is uniquely yours. So you can’t mirror your life after someone else. You simply MUST read the Word, pray and worship. You MUST allow the Holy Spirit to lead you every single day. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. And that’s the only place you should want to be.