Kathleen Cooke: You’ve been blessed with an amazing talent and great success as a musical artist, but the business is challenging. What has God taught you about lamenting and praying differently which transforms our thinking when things don’t turn out the way we want?
Linda (Peaches) Tavani: I have experienced being at the top of success and trust me, it’s unfortunately very temporary. I know now from experience how important it is to prayerfully consider seeking God first. Pray about the vision you’re being called to and prayerfully ask for the right people in your field of interest to help you along the way. Nothing is worse than the consequences of not doing this. When in doubt, walk it out. Pray. The risks are too great and the time you waste cannot be replaced. There will always be lessons to learn. Remember our loving Father of forgiveness and grace pulls us through our mistakes no matter what we have chosen to do. My advice is to always consult God first. He’ll walk you through. If He says no, let it go!
After numerous questions were posed on the recent Influence Lab Women’s Webinar, EMERGE: Moving from Insecurity to Confidence, Lisa Kai has graciously agreed to answer several more. Read her answers in this month’s Inner View.
EMERGE Question #1 – You (Lisa) inspired me as I am a woman of color and have had challenges throughout my life with being in the minority – many of them I still have to contend with. Do you have a specific scripture you cling to or a promise of God that you have found to be helpful when you feel insignificant?
Lisa – I have two. Isaiah 54:4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to SHAME. Do not fear disgrace, you will not be humiliated.”’ And Proverbs 12:19 “Truthful words stand the test of time; LIES are soon exposed.”
Clinging onto these scriptures reminds me that I am perfectly made in His image and that everyone, including myself, is unique. I remember a time while I was at a shopping mall that God showed me that everyone is unique and that God loved all of us the same. I had to believe that no one was greater than the other. This revelation helped me to like myself and not be ashamed of where I came from or who I was. I had to like myself as well as accept who I am and where I came from. Exposing the lies is the first step and receiving the truth over that lie is crucial to you accepting yourself. It’s a daily thing you have to keep telling yourself until you believe it. Keep speaking the truth over yourself and stop feeling intimidated by those people that the enemy keeps telling you are better than you. You are good! You are perfect! (more…)
Kathleen Cooke: As a female producer in Hollywood who is passionate to see women thrive, what do you want women to know that they often don’t seem to comprehend?
Alexandra Boylan: God loves me! God loves you! Everything we see, past present and future, in the way women are treated is not God’s design. It never was, and as we follow Jesus, we see him constantly lifting women up. Jesus is setting the example of how things were meant to be, not the way the fall of man affected the treatment of women. Women don’t get a lot of action in our history books; we don’t see a lot of films from the female perspective. I have chosen to make it my mission to bring stories about women for women to life, with or without anyone’s permission. I pray to someday do a woman of the Bible series! There are so many extraordinary women in the Bible that many of us have never heard their story. But trust me GOD used women all the time. And now it is time to bring those stories to life and into the World. So, we ladies can know we are loved by our GREAT creator.
Kathleen: Talk about ambition. Often our Plan A isn’t God’s.
Alexandra: As an extremely ambitious person I spent my twenty’s chasing after an acting career in Hollywood. I was met with roadblocks at every time. For ten years I pounded the pavement as they say but getting nowhere. At first, I thought God had called me to the West Coast to pursue an acting career, but after so many years of anguish, rejection and pain, I couldn’t justify my own desires anymore. I packed my bags and moved to New Mexico, literally surrendered my life back to GOD. I threw my hands in the air and said LORD, I give my talents to you, guide me where you want to me to go. I spent the next year in solitude with God, praying and surrendering. Well, let me tell you, that when you truly surrender to HIM, your life will come back tenfold. I started creating my own films as a writer/producer and eventually, GOD called me to make movies for HIM. Ever since I began the journey of making female-driven faith based-films, I cannot even begin to describe the blessings GOD has poured upon my life. I pray to never fall out of favor again, always checking my ego at the door. Always asking GOD is this what you want or is this what I want. Because GOD’s plans for our lives truly are better than our own. I did have a lull in my career a year ago where I felt like I was on a dead end street and couldn’t figure out how to get off it. I was praying constantly and asking GOD to show me what he wanted me to do. But for two and a half years, as I persisted to no avail. I kept saying LORD what do you want me to do? Do you want me to stop making films? Lead me, was my constant prayer. Finally, I felt GOD’s call to me to open my home to Christian Women in Entertainment. Once I did that, God blessed me with new friendships and new working relationships. Within that year we were making another female driven faith based film. God just needed some time to bring the right people together, and I was faithful in the call. I think as long as we are searching and seeking GOD’s will above our own, we will eventually be guided to where we are to go. “Seek first the kingdom of heaven, and all shall be added” Matthew 6:33 Sometime it might take longer than we want, but I am learning patience, cause God’s timing is ALWAYS better than my own.
Kathleen: Most people would look at your inability to “make it” as an actress as a failure but God looks at failure differently. What has He taught you about this perplexing word?
Alexandra: I love this question because failure is such a tricky word to define, and I’m excited to talk about my perspective on what that word means. Because in order to know or experience failure you must also know what success is. What is the barometer for success? How do we define success? So really there is no failure if we cannot define success. I spent ten years pursuing acting in Los Angeles, I left LA with my soul crushed heartbroken, feeling like a failure for not succeeding as an actor. But years later as I opened my heart to God in a new way, it was revealed to me that I did not fail at acting, I was just not on the intended path God had for me. We may never know if something is a failure, or it could take 20 years to find out our hearts were being groomed for something else, and all that time we were collecting things along the way that we would need for our future. Having some life in the rear view mirror has really helped me understand the truth about words we try to use to define things that actually probably are not definable. Now mistakes are different. Mistakes are real, and they are definable, especially if your mistake hurt someone else. I am the first person to admit when I’m wrong and to apologize. I use to be petrified of confrontation, and it took a great deal of discipline to train myself to stay calm and be present and deal with it. Like so many things in life it was a process, I had to practice mindfully, because overcoming my terrified state of making a mistake and not being able to address it was crippling. I grew up with a very critical mother, I remember most of my childhood with my head down apologizing, and I had no idea what I was apologizing for. I learned this behavior as a child because to ask what I did not wrong was to fear the repercussions of speaking up. Like so many issues we must learn to address as adults, we learned in our youth. I had a wonderful mother who did the best she could from where she came from. But unfortunately this learned behavior took me years to reverse and overcome in my adulthood, and I am still a work in progress. Mistakes can be fixed, if we have the courage to face them, to learn from it and to rectify it. Then we can turn our mistakes into a great learning experience that we have the opportunity to grow from and become better human beings. And of course, the greatest love of all comes from the one who spoke us into existence, and who forgives our every wrongdoing, if we have the courage to ask him for forgiveness. He never fails to forgive. I also live HIS example and forgive this way. And if we all did this, mistakes would become just little learning curves as we navigate the terrain of life. Be gentle with one another, and yourself.
Kathleen: You’ve become a successful producer in Hollywood. Ever fear backlash and being outspoken about your faith?
Alexandra: I started making faith-based films about thirteen years into my career in the entertainment. I was already an active member of many women organizations in Hollywood. At first, I feared the backlash I might receive from being so open about my faith in God. Which I had plenty of. But one day I was walking across the room of a massive mixer of women in film when I was stopped by a couple of young girls. They told me that they never speak openly of their faith for fear of criticism, but since I was already so open, they felt safe to share with me their faith. I was so moved by this act of kindness from them, and it was the catalyst for me to start my Christian women in entertainment meet up at my house once a month. I thought if these women were afraid to talk about their faith, there must be so many more. I am grateful my work is influencing women to come forward and feel safe to share what they believe.
Alexandra Boylan is an actor and an award-winning writer/filmmaker and was born and raised in Georgetown, Massachusetts. where she first began her exploration into acting. She honed her craft harnessing the passion that fuels her to form her own production company, Mirror Tree Productions and co-founded Mustard Seed Entertainment, www.mustardseedent.com. She’s produced numerous feature films, including “Home Sweet Home,” “At Your Own Risk,” “Catching Faith” (currently streaming on Hulu with the sequel “Catching Faith 2” to be released later this year). and Pure Flix/Universal Studios Home Entertainment’s “Wish For Christmas.”
Her script “Switched” (currently in pre-production) was awarded the winner of the Kiaros Pro MovieGuide award for best screenplay. Alexandra is the author of “Create Your Own Career in Hollywood: Advice From A Struggling Actress Who Became A Successful Producer” (available on Amazon). She’s also co-created “Your Pizza Adventure” an innovative live action; choose your own adventure, style movie/app game. She’s an active member of Woman in Film Los Angeles where she served on the WIF PSA Board. Alexandra is the Outreach Coordinator for Ms In The Biz, and co-collaborator of the book “Thriving in Hollywood.” www.misinthebiz.com
October 15, 2019
Ann is an internationally known author, speaker, and passionate Bible teacher.
She founded her ministry, Courage For Life, out of a calling to share with others how God and His Word brought restoration to her life and marriage. She has developed Bible study courses and resources believing that it’s engagement with God and the foundation of the Bible that changes lives. Ann’s heart is for those suffering due to circumstances beyond their control – especially women at risk and in prison. She discovered that reading a Bible was often difficult and listening to one in a male’s voice, because of past abuse, was not desired. So Courage For Life produced the first ever audio Bible App voiced by women. It can be downloaded from the app store on smartphones, or it can be accessed by texting the word BIBLE to number 62953 for free. Ann is a Carolina girl now living in Atlanta, and is a wife to the love of her life, Mike, is a mother and grandmother and continues to fight for others is desperate situations.
You can connect with Ann at:
Twitter or Instagram: AnnWhiteCFL
FaceBook : Ann White
Kathleen Cooke: We live busy lives today. Our technologies have allowed us to get what we want, as fast as we want, and as much as we want almost instantly. But God doesn’t work that way. What has He taught you about waiting?
Ann White: I’ve learned to keep my hands, my heart, and my will open to God’s will, His ways, and His timing. I’ve learned from experience that God knows best, that His plans are perfect, and that His timing is always best — for everyone — in every situation – including me. For many years I would jump in and take over when God placed a calling on my life. Having a very driven personality, coupled with an insatiable passion to serve God, I’m always ready to take on any task He calls me to – even if I don’t have a complete picture or clear instructions. In the past, I was quick to get ahead of God and often made unnecessary mistakes. In 2012, God allowed me to exhaust my self-reliance. I finally realized I don’t have what it takes to do everything God calls me to do without engaging His faithful presence and continual loving guidance. Having learned to follow God faithfully, rather than taking off on my own, has led me to go places I would never have gone and to do things I would never have done. Today, I am on the most amazing journey of my life — experiencing people, places, and opportunities I would never experience aside from presence, power, and provision of our almighty God.
Kathleen: God leads our life, but He still allows us to make our own choices. How have you overcome the fear of making wrong choices especially when there are high risks involved?
Ann: Practice makes perfect – at least that’s what my mother always told me. Perfect certainly won’t happen in our human existence, but I’ve learned that practice helps me overcome fear and encourages me to trust God more faithfully in times of doubt. Over the years I’ve learned to at least attempt opportunities God gives me — even if I feel ill-equipped or unable to handle them. I never saw myself as a writer. English was my least favorite subject in school. But in 2012, God called me to begin writing and since then, I’ve written multiple books, Bible studies, devotionals, and curriculums. I never dreamed of being a speaker, Bible teacher, or talk show host. I was a shy and insecure teenager who spent most of my life trying to avoid speaking up in crowds. In 2006 God called me to begin teaching Bible Studies and within a few years, He had me speaking, teaching, and ministering to large crowds of people. I’ve learned to overcome my fears and doubts by trusting God completely and by engaging in any opportunity I am prayerfully confident He has called me to try. I still struggle with fear and doubt. But God gives me the courage to step up and at least try – and every time I do – it gets a little easier and my fears fade a little faster.
Kathleen: You took a lot of risks when you make the decision to create the first ever audio Bible voiced by women by your ministry “Courage For Life.” It had never been done before. Did you ever feel discouraged?
Ann: Discouragement is our enemy’s attempt to thwart God’s plans in our lives. When I am discouraged and need inspiration I immediately begin talking to God. My dialogue with God resembles a conversation I would have with any best friend or trusted advisor. I realize that God knows all things and that nothing I share with Him is ever a surprise. But He always listens patiently and responds in unique ways that are meaningful, understandable, and specific to me. I’m always amazed how God will use a passage of Scripture, a song on the radio, an encouraging word from a friend, content from a book, and quite often all of the above to guide and encourage me.
Kathleen: What have you learned about the various ways we influence people that has changed your choices and journey in life?
Ann: Whether we realize it or not, every day we influence other people — either in positive or negative ways. When you embark on an exciting adventure or experience a life-changing event — it’s impossible to keep it to yourself. When you experience inner healing and your life is transformed — you can’t wait to share it with others. That’s what sparks my passion to reach, teach, and minister to anyone God places in my path. My husband and I have been blessed in many ways through the years and it’s an honor and privilege to pass these blessings on to others through the ministry of “Courage For Life.”
Brenda Crouch is passionate about spreading the message of hope, healing and restoration to those who have marginalized their God given potential and purpose.
Her book, Fight Forward: Reclaim the Real You, focuses on no longer being a victim and being more than a survivor. She has become an authoritative voice of hope to those desperately seeking freedom from the wounds of their past. A sought-after speaker, singer, TV co-host and author, Brenda partners with her husband American Christian Broadcaster, Paul Crouch Jr. in media consulting and production.
Follow Brenda on Twitter @BrendaLCrouch and on FaceBook Brenda Crouch Ministries
Kathleen Cooke: In life we can have uncomfortable challenges that make us fearful and unsure of our own abilities. What has God taught you about overcoming those challenges?
Brenda Crouch: Be cautious not to take offense when friends and colleagues challenge you to rise higher than your current victories instead of pausing to celebrate your personal achievements. The book of Proverbs says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” revealing that the strength in one person will sharpen or hone the same gift in another and vice-versa. There are times that God ordains connections that might initially feel uneasy or threatening, but we must be sensitive to its intended purpose and potential. Some of my most enriching relationships have come from the most fragile beginnings.
Kathleen: As women working in media and entertainment, we have all met women in the industry who can be overly ambitious and often obnoxiously focused on only themselves. What have you learned about when it appropriate to push and when to humbly pull back?
Brenda: Scripture tells us that our own hearts deceive us and that our goal is simply to know Christ. When a person’s identity has been hindered, ambition is usually fueled by the search for significance rather than being divinely driven. There is a vast difference between fighting for a selfish agenda and fighting the enemy’s strategies. Knowing the difference often requires stillness where there is resistance and a shift of one’s perspective from self-realization to simply realizing Christ in every situation.
Kathleen: As you said, we often get deceived by the king of deception, Satan. But you nailed it when you said our biggest defense against deception is knowing God intimately. When it comes to forgiveness deceptive lies can destroy us. What has God taught you about how to break those lies and live victoriously?
Brenda: I’ve lived long enough to learn that this human journey involves countless opportunities to overcome our fragile and flawed perceptions. “Hurt people” will always hurt people. But when Christ invades us, we become less threatened by these wounds of betrayal and offenses because we begin to see the bigger picture through His eyes. When we finally understand the deception behind the actions, which are wrongfully perpetrated against us, we can finally lay down our defenses and break free through the power of forgiveness.
Kathleen: Your recent book, “Fight Forward: Reclaim the Real You,” revealed so significant events in your life that others might have wanted to hide from public knowledge. In our era of social media and the internet such vulnerability makes us targets. What made you be able to speak out courageously enabling women to be women of influence and not victims?
Brenda: In the words of Brene’ Brown, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage…” As I began to tell my own story there came a point that I wondered if it was a mistake to have been so dangerously transparent. However, the confirmation of my call to be an influencer came as the sweetest reward in the form of letters from people around the world finding hope and freedom through my book. Their expressions of newfound courage to fight the good fight and win have brought immeasurable joy. Helping others discover their value and purpose is worth every sacrifice.
In her fifth year as Founding Co-Director of (AscendWomen.org), Brenda Epperson-Moore is best known for her 8 years as Ashley Abbott on the CBS daytime drama, The Young & Restless, as well as her musical tour with Sony/Tri Star artist, Lionel Richies as his opening act. She is currently finishing her first book and can be seen on the new television show The Rich & the Ruthless.
Connect with Brenda at: BrendaEpperson.com, Facebook/Twitter @BrendaEpperson and on Instagram @BrendaEpperson2.
Kathleen Cooke: Brenda, you’ve done years of work on television, are a musical recording artist, speaker and wife and mother. Your life is busy. What has God taught you in your constantly face paced life about who He is that has gotten your attention?
Brenda Epperson-Moore: It’s the little things. So much of my life I’ve chased after the big recording contract, the lead role on the television or being the best at my sport, but in fact, it’s all of the little things we do and don’t do that bring us to the place of success.
It’s about the little things in our life that we have failed to deal with that catch up to us later on.
It’s about the little offenses and inability to forgive that take root, paralyze us and hold us back.
It’s about appreciating all those on our journey that gave us encouragement to keep trying.
It’s about being obedient when God says stop and help a person even when it seems little or insignificant, because it’s not.
Kathleen: Life is full of circumstances that blindside us, events that just come out of nowhere. You’ve been in Hollywood for years around injustice to women and recently, you were evacuated from your home because of the Woolsey Fire that destroyed homes and threatened yours in the LA area. What’s the sustaining lesson God’s taught you during these times of uncertainty?
Brenda: How powerful and strong women are when we’re engaged with Him! Far too long we’ve accepted “The way things are,” meaning we have closed our mouths and sold our souls and freedoms by being complacent. I believe this new wave of #metoo has brought to light things done in the dark and it has enboldened women to speak truth like never before. Although, I would also caution us all to remember, there are still incredibly wonderful, loving kind men out there.
Joy is powerful and in the Bible in Nehemiah 8:10 it says, “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” Together we must draw strength from joy, not encourage hate, and love not instigate anger. Does having joy mean you’re always walking around with a smile on your face when you have just been rear ended by the person driving too close behind you, lost a loved one, or have been victimized? No, absolutely not! But joy is an attitude, a conscious decision, a victor’s perspective, or a knowing that comes deep from the heart. Joy is knowing that no matter what happens to us, God will work it out for good as Paul wrote about in Romans 8:28.
Kathleen: Your life has impacted many lives in the work you’ve done both on and off screen and stage, what would you like women to know about influence?
Brenda: I have always said, “I want to affect the world and not let the world infect me.” To me, influence is affecting change in other people’s life by going the distance with them and being consistent and real. While society seems to be advancing toward becoming progressively fake, being real stands out with greater importance than ever before. A quote I love by Tom Peters says, “True leaders don’t create followers they create more leaders.” Godly influence can move mountains, change nations, cause wrong to become right and create a positive impact that will last for generations to come.