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…)
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.
Kathleen Cooke: We’ve been mandated to “shelter in place” during COVID-19 globally. What has God been teaching you during this unprecedented historic time with little ones at home and the pressure to keep business going to feed and protect them?
Kelsey Guerra: My husband and I are both actors in Los Angeles, and we both have day-jobs as most others do, and now during quarantine, we have been working and auditioning at home. So recently, I’ve been learning how to give myself a LOT of grace. Grace in cleaning up my house and grace in how much work I’m getting done in a day, grace with my kids…it’s been essential to getting by with a positive attitude during this challenging season. Being a mom of two under 6 years old, homeschooling, shifting how we audition as actors, AND being in a particular position where my day job is busier than ever! I’m really blessed to have a “day job” that I absolutely love, that helps me focus on others. As a health coach and essential oils specialist, I’m really helping a lot of people who didn’t know (or care) about natural solutions for their health, until now. And I get to help and empower others while also providing for my family during this time when everything else is so unsure. I’m incredibly grateful to have found that kind of opportunity.
Kathleen: Having time for yourself to engage with God and listen to His direction is challenging during normal – pre-COVID-19 times, how have you adjusted during the pandemic?
Kelsey: This has felt like more of a challenge these last weeks, but I was reminded by a mentor this week that “time with God” looks so different from one person to another. We often put this idea of “time with God” in a nicely gift-wrapped package that looks like getting up at 5 am, sitting on the porch at sunrise with a cup of coffee, and opening up the Bible for 2 hours before our day begins. But as a mom of two kids under 6, that is just not a reality for me, and I have NEVER been a morning person. So, what this looks like for me right now, is turning on worship music in the kitchen while I’m prepping meals or cleaning up, mostly in the morning and afternoon, or sometimes while I’m working, to help me get through my day. When working from home, sometimes our temptation during our kid’s “quiet moments” is to hurry and get as much done as possible. But what if instead we took just ONE of those moments to stop and just be in His presence, worship, and do whatever it is that fills our soul?
Kathleen: Taking a moment is a powerful decision because it allows God to be the boss and not us. We often negate those momentary gifts because we constantly feel like we have to push to reach goals to be significant. What have you discovered about how God sees accomplishment?
Kelsey: My top 5 strengths are: Futuristic, Empathy, Communication, Activator, Achiever. So, ambition is something I’ve got plenty of. I’m always one who would rather shoot for the moon and land among the stars. Being in tune with your God-given gifts and being open to receiving what God has for you at all times, is incredibly important. Although God does put opportunities in our path if we aren’t prepared to grab onto those opportunities when they come, they will fly right past us. I truly believe that God has my entire life in his hands, but I don’t think for a second that I can get by without putting in the work, that it will just “happen” for me because “God has a plan”. Of course, He has a plan! But he created YOU to execute it! You will discover what God wants for you, along the way. In my own way, I have these “check-ins” with God to make sure I’m still going down the right path, because there have been plenty of times, I’ve absolutely questioned it to the point of tears. But that’s really when God can work – when you throw up your hands and stop pushing so hard that you’ve pushed God out of the picture. It’s easy for ambitious people like me, to unknowingly do that sometimes. So, I check-in and make sure I never get too far off the road I’m supposed to be on. Something I also always pray during these “check-in’s” is that God would make is SO abundantly clear, without a shadow-of-a-doubt. Praying for clarity has always been a helpful prayer.
Kathleen: As an actress and a wellness advocate with Doterra Essential Oils you have an outward focus and drive to mentor, inspire and enrich other’s lives, what’s the one thing you have learned about being put in a place of influence?
Kelsey: Anyone can use influence for good or evil. It’s the capacity to have an effect on someone else’s life. That was actually my word this year: influence. And the way I have grown my own influence this year has been to allow the hard work I’ve put in to make me a better person. I often judge myself or compare myself to others, and it’s easy to do in Hollywood, as actors. To see someone (especially someone you know) have, what looks like, overnight success. I have spent most of my entire life as an actor, and I’m not really sure when or if I’ll ever have my “big break”. But it’s not about how long it takes me to get there, it’s who I become in the process, that matters the most in the end. If I can make an impact, and have a positive influence on others, I think that is what really matters most. Taking all the talents, gifts, and drive that I’ve been given, and never giving up. As long as I know I’m on the right path, I won’t ever give up.