Carol McLeod – Carol is a prolific author who loves digging for truth in the Word of God. She has written 11 books, including her latest Significant, which was released in November of 2019 by Whitaker House Publishing. StormProof: Weathering Life’s Tough Times was released in March of 2019 and Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue was released April of 2018.
Her early books include Pass the Joy, Please!, Let There Be Joy, Joy for All Seasons, Refined, No More Ordinary!, Holy Estrogen!, Defiant Joy! and The Rooms of a Woman’s Heart. Carol has 12 YouVersion devotionals in current circulation, with “21 Days to Beat Depression” reaching more than one million people around the world. Her weekly blog, “Joy for the Journey,” has been named among the Top 50 Faith Blogs for Women and she writes a weekly column for Ministry Today.
Carol is a popular speaker at women’s conferences and retreats and encourages and empowers women with passionate and biblical messages, mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor.
INNER VIEW with Kathleen Cooke
Kathleen Cooke: As the global woman’s movement for equality continues to build what has God been telling you this about empowering women?
Carol McLeod: I recently wrote a book entitled, “Significant: Becoming a Woman of Unique Purpose, True Identity and Irrepressible Hope”. In doing research for this book, I discovered that the top 4 challenges for women are purpose, identity, stress and loneliness. My book, “Significant”, is a Biblical response to those 4 issues. I love to help women live a true life a significant life without the trappings that the world offers. I often say to women, “I am not able to change your circumstances, but I can help you process your circumstances according to the Word of God.” Unfortunately, I have discovered, that we falsely assume that because a woman has a visible platform that she also has power and that is simply not true. Women with political prowess, with recognizable faces and with gargantuan salaries are not the power brokers of our generation. Women of faith are the ones who hold all of the power so we should live like it! Live like you are a woman of power because you are!
Kathleen: Our world seems to be one of greater uncertainty today. How have you found hope when things fall apart?
Carol: I am a survivor! I am a survivor of depression, infertility and cancer. Five years ago when I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, I read a quote by one of my heroines of the faith, Elisabeth Elliot. She said, “Someone needs to see you suffer well.” I took Elisabeth’s words as a heartfelt challenge and the next 2 years were among the most joyful years of my entire life. Every doctor’s appointment became a divine appointment, every procedure became a prayer meeting and every surgery became sacred.
When I was just 3 days into my cancer battle, I cried out to God for a fighting Scripture. In my daily Bible reading that day, I was reading in the Old Testament book of Nahum. (Most people don’t even know that Nahum is a Book in the Bible!) This is the promise that I received that day, “And the wicked one will never pass your way again; he is cut off completely.” – Nahum 1:15.
What a promise! I thought about it, I prayed it, I sang it and I shared it. That one verse gave me strength when all that was coming my way was horrific news. God has been faithful to His word.
We cannot underestimate the importance of finding a battle verse for every struggle that we face. God’s will is found in His Word and we must use it as a weapon of warfare!
Kathleen: God never tells us that we won’t suffer, but He does assure us that if we seek His joy we are able to endure. What have you discovered about God’s joy?
Carol: I went through a deep, dark depression when I was in my 30’s. During those years, I lost 5 babies at between 12 and 20 weeks in my pregnancies and I was being swallowed alive by the black hole of depression. Not only was I depressed – but I also developed an addiction. The addiction that I developed was not to drugs or to alcohol; my addiction was to the Word of God! The Bible delivered me from that dark, meaningless place before my circumstances ever changed. Happiness is attached to the happenings of our lives but joy comes from one place and one place alone – “In His presence is fullness of joy!” – Psalm 16:11. All the joy that I need this side of heaven is found in an exciting relationship with Jesus.
Honestly, depression still knocks on the door of my heart often but now I have learned to open that door with a scripture verse ready. My life is still not a perfect life, but joy is a daily reality.
I will live the life that I have been given to teach a generation of women the power of joy!
Kathleen: As you have become a significant writer and speaker and been placed on many global platforms, what has God taught you about influencing other’s lives?
Carol: The most significant influence you can have in a person’s life is simply to live honorably and faithfully. You don’t need a microphone, a publishing contract or thousands of followers on social media to impact your generation. When you love difficult people and are kind to your family, you are leading an influential life. When you pray for your pastor and for the president, you are leading an influential life. When you choose to be a woman who serves in the church nursery or who volunteers at the local prison, you are leading an influential life.
I believe that the most influential people of our generation are not politicians, entertainers or athletes but they are mothers, teachers and neighbors. What happens at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, on Wall Street or at the United Nations is not nearly as important at what happens at your home address.
Bio: Carol is a prolific author who loves digging for truth in the Word of God. She has written
11 books, including her latest “Significant,” which was released in November of 2019 by Whitaker House Publishing. “StormProof: Weathering Life’s Tough Times” was released in March of 2019 and “Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue” was released April of 2018.
Her early books include “Pass the Joy, Please!” “Let There Be Joy,” “Joy for All Season,” “Refined,” “No More Ordinary!” “Holy Estrogen!” “Defiant Joy!” and “The Rooms of a Woman’s Heart.” Carol has 12 YouVersion devotionals in current circulation, with “21 Days to Beat Depression” reaching more than one million people around the world. Her weekly blog, “Joy for the Journey,” has been named among the Top 50 Faith Blogs for Women and writes a weekly column for “Ministry Today.”
Carol is a popular speaker at women’s conferences and retreats and encourages and empowers women with passionate and biblical messages, mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor.
Sue Fries is the host of her own radio show, The Sue Fries Show, and is an author and speaker and owner of Ecola Services.
Kathleen Cooke: What’s the one thing you’d like to share with women that God has recently taught you?
Sue Fries: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care about them and part of that is being present. Giving the present of being present. Everyone has a ToDo list that is bigger than the day will allow. Prioritizing that list based on God’s priorities and goals that have been predetermined will set the priority order in motion. Each of us was created for a specific purpose. Do what only you can do and delegate what you can. Hold people accountable by celebrating their victories.
Kathleen: What have you learned about making difficult choices?
Sue: Making choices begins with breaking through fear and asking and visualizing the worst outcome possible. Living it, breathing it, and surviving it in your mind gives you power. Also, knowing you have done your homework and gathered all the information needed to make an educated decision. Then, pray about it and remember your goals. Putting the pros and cons on paper and getting Godly counsel for me is essential. Look outside-the-box possibilities will bring discernment and clarity.
Kathleen: What has God taught you about failure?
Sue: When we go through tough times and we find strength in Jesus it helps us draw nearer to him and to our vulnerability. There is a baseline of reality that we face in adversity. It’s like how film develops in the dark. When you are going through tough times you tend to evaluate or define what you are feeling and what you should do. It feels like you are in the dark with no answers but in that search for an answer you find clarity to your reality.
Kathleen: Your radio show is heard by thousands each week in the LA area on KKLA 99.5 FM and you influence many lives. What would you tell someone about how they can influence the people in their world?
Sue: Be the light in the darkness. Ask the Lord to guide your steps, thoughts and words. Listen when He is communicating with you. Pay attention to non-verbals. Love doesn’t judge. Make a positive impact on this world one person at a time.
You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen twice as much as you talk. Ask questions and listen.
If you need help, ASK!!!!
Sue Fries is an award-winning author, keynote speaker, public speaker, and syndicated talk radio host. She’s also a successful business owner, competitive dancer, and still finds time to be a mom. Inspired by her son who suffered from chronic asthma, Sue authored the award-winning book, “Learning to Breathe,” and pioneers her pest control company, ECOLA Termite & Pest Control, which specializes in effective alternative treatments. Sue leads her own weekly radio and TV shows entitled “The Sue Fries Show,” encouraging listeners and viewers alike to find passion, purpose, and connection. Follow Sue on Twitter: @termitelady, Instagram: @termitelady, and FB: Termite Lady, Podcasts: http://suefries.com/the-show/. or her TV Show: http://suefries.com/sue-fries-tv/
Michelle Riddell is the Executive Vice-President of Digital Communications for K-Love and Air 1 Radio
Kathleen Cooke: Most of us live in a scheduled packed “busy” world today – never enough time. Your position must entail endless hours. What’s your secret to staying focused?
Michelle Riddell: I tend to beat the alarm clock’s buzzing with early morning brain activity. So, it is that, my days flow one after the other with thoughts, goals and meaningful interactions. God has revealed to me that He is my partner. Where are you taking me, Father? Where are you leading me? My one and only true job is to stay connected to His calling from moment to moment. When I choose this path, I keep the large story the larger story. This allows God to manifest the greatness in my life.
Kathleen: Women today are ambitious. We want to be excellent not only with our careers but in our personal lives. When do you push and when do you back off?
Michelle: I review the situation with respect to my wiring as an achiever. I ask the Holy Spirit, “Is this something I choose into?” Talking with God keeps my ego consciousness balanced. I pursue a goal but not at the expense of my relationship with Christ. What if I get anxious? The world says that anxiety is something I manage. The Vine says that anxiety is a cue for checking in. I bring the Cross between me and anxiety, “Holy Spirit, what is going on? Please give me direction.” When I wait for the answer, I receive clarity and relief.
Kathleen: Waiting… it’s so hard to rest and push the constant throbbing noise away. What has God taught you about rest?
Michelle: By surrendering to rest, I submit myself to His sovereignty. I rest in the Lord daily for 10-30 minutes. Every week, I set aside 4-6 hours enjoying activities that bring me joy. Once a month, I take 8-12 hours to be with the Lord. Annually, I go on a soul retreat. How can all the things that need to be done get finished? What if I miss an opportunity? What about the project? God wants me to choose Him foremost before other duties. Resting is daily practice of humility because I trust that He has my back.
Kathleen: What the one thing you’d tell women today about how to be a women of influence?
Michelle: My influence is the greatest when I lead with love. Whether it is a business setting or a personal interaction, as long as I recall the agape love of Christ Jesus, those around me resonate more closely with the leadership I provide.
Michelle Riddell joined Educational Media Foundation in December 2009. She’s the Vice-President of Digital Communications and is a member of the ministry’s executive team. She oversees the teams that produce multi-media assets, manages all things digital (websites, apps, socials) and handles listener interactions. Under Michelle’s leadership, various initiatives are underway to further extend the digital reach of K-LOVE and Air1 brands.
Michelle received her Bachelor of Science degree in Decision and Information Sciences at Santa Clara University and a master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Technology Innovation from the Graduate School of Management at University of California (Davis, California). Michelle is also an adjunct professor at William Jessup University’s School of Business and lives in Meadow Vista, California with her husband, Eric, where they enjoy numerous outdoor activities including hiking, backpacking, kayaking and whitewater rafting.Their daughter, Elli, is married to Nick Hoyt, and they live in Omaha, Nebraska.
Diane Paddison is the Founder and President of 4WordWomen, the former executive for two Fortune 500 companies, and is an author and speaker.
Kathleen Cooke: Diane you have been a successful executive and leader in the corporate marketplace for many years. You have dealt with many challenging business situations and issues, but when your personal family is suffering and going through difficulty, life and work takes on a whole different dimension.
What the one thing you have learned that gets you through life’s challenges?
Diane Paddison: It is amazing how the trial of my daughter, Annie, being in 24×7 pain for over three years has been a catalyst for growing my faith. Before Annie was struck with this debilitating pain, I read my yearlong YouVersion Bible study each morning. After Annie, dealt with this horrific situation for over a year, I wanted to encourage her when she opens her eyes each morning. I couldn’t think of a better way to show her God and I loved her, than to summarize my YouVersion Bible study and text is to her each morning. God had driven my understanding of scripture through this trial.
Kathleen: I, too, love the YouVersion Bible App. In fact, my devotional, “Hope 4 Today: Stay Connected to God in a Distracted World” is in the audio plan section in English and Spanish. Devotionals are great tools to help us stay engaged with God and His Word. 4WordWomen has a great devotional as well, Be Refreshed: A Year of Devotions for Women in the Workplace, and I was honored to be a contributor to it.
Do you have a favorite Bible verse that has brought you strength in times of suffering?
Diane: “Our hearts ache, but we always have joy,” (2 Corinthians 6:10, NLT).
I have never gone through anything as horrible as watching my daughter, Annie, suffer through forty months of debilitating pain. Oh, I’ve experienced suffering before…a divorce, a rebellious teenager, the loss of my parents…but this tops it all. Through it all, I have seen miracles that can’t be explained but that it was God. During this time, I must remember God’s promises , “Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!” (Psalm 42:11, NLT).
Kathleen: 4WordWomen offers members a great mentorship program and events around the U.S. . They connect women, teach women leadership skills, and encourage women in their faith. You have also written several insightful books for career women. Is there an opportunity recently that you are particularly excited about as 4WordWomen continues to influence women globally?
Diane: One of the exceptional women God has blessed me with the opportunity to meet is Angela Ahrendts, Vice President Retail and On-line, Apple. There is a total God story behind the opportunity to build a relationship with an amazing godly woman, wife, mother, and arguably one of the most influential women in business in the world. As God would have it, now I am meeting with the Christian Employee Resource Group’s leaders at Apple. I am blessed to have the opportunity to meet these women and encourage them through 4word’s work. This opportunity’s influence is immeasurable.
Diane Paddison is Founder and President of 4WordWomen. She is a Harvard MBA graduate, a former global executive of two Fortune 500 companies and one Fortune 1000 company and serves as an independent director for two corporations and four not-for profits. She is passionate about mentoring and providing women with opportunities to build community. Her book Work, Love, Pray, casts a vision for success in life and work to growing numbers of women of faith in the workplace. She believes mentorship is a lifestyle and speaks on life/work balance, mentoring, and leadership and has been featured in numerous publications and media radio shows, podcasts. She and her husband, Chris, and their four children live in Dallas, Texas. Diane encourages women to find out more about 4WordWomen at 4WordWomen.org or connect with her on Twitter or Instagram @4WordWomen, or FaceBook: 4Word
Ginger Stache – Chief Creative Officer for Joyce Meyer Ministries
- What’s the one thing you’d like to share with women that God has recently taught you?
You have much to learn and much to give.
None of us have completely arrived. No matter how long I do it, how hard I study, what I’ve accomplished, or how good I am – I have much to learn. Stay pliable, humble and hungry.
Now flip that coin. No matter how inadequate I feel, how spent I may be, how much I doubt that they want to hear from me – I have much to give. Teach, mentor and love.
Joy – where you find your joy and how it’s different from what the world promises will bring happiness?
Joy comes in unexpected places. I’m a shoe lover so I’ll use my favorite pair to explain.
My best days come when I lace up my hiking boots. Some are days of adventure and soaking up God’s creation.
Others are difficult days of trudging through slums and trash dumps, encountering people in the most heartbreaking situations on earth and bringing them God’s love.
My boots provide solid footing both on the mountaintops and the lowest points –and surprisingly, each can bring immeasurable joy. Joy is much deeper than happiness so slip on your shoes of readiness to find joy in every situation.
Being Unique – how someone can set themselves apart with their own gifts and talents, Or, why it’s important to embrace being different.
Unique is what gives you your edge. Your uniqueness becomes your brand, what you can offer that no one else can, the reason your message hits the mark. It separates you from the masses.
Being unique is also the reason that you don’t need to compare yourself to others which is immensely freeing. When I compare myself to others, I often come up measurably short. Thankfully God’s ledger looks much different than the one in my mind. After all, He gave me those unique talents and quirks that make me, me.
- We all impact others lives, but what’s the one thing you’ve learned about influence?
(answers might be about….)
-Why God tells us to go and be an influence to the world.
-Why we’re to be a “lasting” (sweet Aroma) influence.
Influence is important, but it is the motive behind your desire for influence that matters most.
It isn’t as easy as it sounds, so I have learned to pray Phil 1:26 daily — that my presence will bring others joy in Christ. I ask for influence, not for my sake, but for others and ultimately for Him.
Phil 1:25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. (ESV)
Ginger Stache is an award-winning producer and the Chief Creative Officer of Joyce Meyer Ministries. Always a pen in her hand and a smile on her face, she leads the ministry’s media areas including broadcast, online and print with a passion to share God’s love, help the forgotten and elevate the creative level. She can be seen on Joyce’s programs Enjoying Everyday Life and Everyday Answers and has traveled the world sharing the work of the ministry’s outreach arm, Hand of Hope.
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