Living a life surrendered to Christ guarantees that we will be different from others. We will talk different, think about our world uniquely and make counter-cultural decisions. How do we navigate that journey when it can often make us feel like outsiders? Read this month’s INNER VIEW with Hope Lyda as she invites us into her own process with embracing her unique talents and identity.
Hope Lyda is an author, writing coach and companion, spiritual director, and senior development editor. She’s worked in faith-based publishing for more than 25 years and has accompanied more than 120 writers through the process of finding their voices and expressing their hearts on the page.
Hope considers it an honor to help writers shape their messages with engaging structure, tone, and pace. She also companions them with spiritual insight and inquiry, so they draw from their experiences and beliefs to deepen those messages. She has authored more than 35 books (combined sales over 1.5 million copies), including the bestselling One-Minute Prayers® for Women and more than 15 other books in the One-Minute Prayers® series. Hope has penned a few novels as well as several devotionals such as What Do You Need Today? and Life as a Prayer. Her book My Unedited Writing Year—a gathering of 365 prompts—combines her passions of writing and spiritual direction to invite others to explore life, faith, and creativity.
Kathleen Cooke: What’s the one thing you’d like to share with women that God has recently taught you?
Hope Lyda: As my husband, Marc, and I walked toward the group gathered at a local picnic area, I was regretting saying yes to attending a Saturday event where I wouldn’t know anyone. We drifted from one subgroup to the next until I got in the queue for my chicken, potato salad, and can of soda. The lunch line—complete with plastic-gloved helpers—kicked in my grade-school angst. Where would I sit? Who would I talk to? I checked my watch and chastised myself for being so uptight. Had the day ended there, that would’ve been my life lesson: I am who I am no matter my age!
But God had a bigger lesson…
Marc and I sat down across from a couple. Between bites of my finger lickin’ meal, I spoke with the woman. Even before introductions, we knew we had something in common…this was an event for the blind—and we were there with our blind spouses. She is new to the journey. I’m not. But I’m far from used to it. My heart softened as I recognized her wide-eyed expression of overwhelm. I encouraged her, shared resource info, and we talked about the difficulties of caregiving for a loved one. Two hours later, we were still chatting when my husband motioned for us to go. I laughed and confessed, “I really didn’t want to come.” Her eyes lit up, “Same! I am so grateful I came and that you were here. I really needed this….you just don’t know.” (more…)
Meet Kelsey Guerra, the new coordinator for Influence Lab Women Nashville!
Bio: Kelsey grew up acting professionally in Hollywood, signing with her first agent at the age of seven. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from Vanguard University and pursued a Broadway, TV, and Film career in New York upon graduating. Her work eventually brought her back to Hollywood, where she co-founded thisishardtoread Productions and is an award-winning producer, writer, and actor on the award-winning feature comedy/mockumentary film, RE-OPENING. Favorite career highlights include LIFE PARTNERS (Tribeca & Sundance Film Festival), BLACK NOVEMBER, THE VERONICA MARS MOVIE (Vivica Fox), PAN AM (ABC), ROYAL PAINS (USA), and BAD TEACHER (CBS).
Kathleen Cooke: Tell us about you! What’s your story, and what do you do in the media and entertainment industry?
Kelsey Guerra: I am co-founder of thisishardtoread Productions with my husband, and we create comedies with heart. I’m a producer, writer, director, and actor – not necessarily all at the same time!
Kathleen: How and why have you gotten involved with Influence Lab Women as the new Nashville Chapter Coordinator?
Kelsey: I recently moved to the greater Nashville area from L.A./Hollywood for the main purpose of collaborating with like-minded industry professionals. I was tired of waiting for some “big break” that would never come, and after producing my own feature film during the pandemic, I realized that Hollywood and the industry is so much bigger than the box we put it in, and Nashville was the place where I felt called to create a movement with people who felt the same way.
Kathleen: When is the Influence Lab Women Nashville launch, and what’s happening?
Kelsey: We are going to start with a small gathering of women at the end of October who are excited to get involved with our mission – to bring women in the industry together who want to encourage, uplift, and empower each other. Let’s get to know each other and bring together others who would like to have a local community of creators and industry professionals.
Reach out to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be a part of the group. Once we have a core group of women, we can expand our reach to others who would also like to join us for a larger launch in January 2023.
Have you ever wished you could hear the voice of God more clearly? A sexual abuse survivor, learning to hear the voice of God was a healing game-changer for Michelle Watson Canfield. Speaker, author, counselor and founder of The Abba Project, enjoy this INNER VIEW as she shares her journey and the emotional stability and confidence she has gained through her relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Bio – Michelle Watson Canfield, Ph.D., LPC
Michelle Watson Canfield is a national speaker, author, professional counselor of over 25 years, and founder of The Abba Project, a nine-month group forum for dads whose daughters are in their teens and 20’s. She writes guest articles for journals and magazines and her own bi-monthly Dad-Daughter Friday blog and has been interviewed on numerous radio and television programs. Her best-selling book, Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart, is followed by her most recent field guide for men, Let’s Talk: Conversation Starters for Dads and Daughters. She has also written contributing chapters in Fathers Say and How to Disciple Men…
In 1843, John C. Fremont, an explorer (and the namesake for the junior high school I attended), set off to explore the unknown once again. He had just returned from an expedition to Wyoming but was driven to see what was then called Oregon Country. He ended up exploring what is now known as Portland, Oregon, but his journey took him through the Sierra Nevada mountains then south and east to the desolate deserts and the Great Salt Lake in what is now known as Utah. However, this passion for exploring almost cost him his life in the Sierra’s where he and his mate, Kit Carson (who would gain fame in Nevada and whose capital city is named after him), were forced to eat their horses to survive. With Kit’s instincts and keen sense of direction, he would be Fremont’s saving guide. Without him, things would have turned out much different. (more…)
Australian, Darlene Zschech, is a globally acclaimed composer, worship leader, pastor, author and speaker and is well known for her ministry work at Sydney’s Hillsong Church. However, she claims her biggest success is serving God and His people whom she loves with all her heart. Alongside her husband Mark, and with their daughters, son-in-laws and grandchildren, they lead Hope Unlimited Church (HopeUC) with locations in Australia, India and the U.S. Darlene is perhaps most well known for her worship song, Shout to the Lord, but she has composed numerous other worship songs including Kiss of Heaven, Change Your World, You Are Love, In Jesus Name and the album, Revealing Jesus, which she recorded with Grammy Award winner, Israel Houghton. In 2016 Darlene recorded a live HopeUC worship album, Here I Am, Send Me, where she collaborated with other top worship leaders. In 2018 she released, The Table, and in 2019, she recorded, I Speak Jesus, with Integrity Music writer, Dustin Smith.
Her passion is to train and encourage others in worship and in the Word of God and has penned six books which have been translated into 20 different languages, including The Art of Mentoring, Revealing Jesus (devotional), Worship Changes Everything, and The Golden Thread, as well as an online worship course, Your Ministry Mentor, designed to equip global worship leaders.
She and Mark have a passion to restore Hope globally but especially to Rwandans. Their ministry provided strategic hope and healing following the 1994 horrific genocide and has continued to expand into parts of Africa, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and India. Darlene says, “First and foremost I am a woman who simply and wholeheartedly loves Jesus Christ, and serves Him through loving my family, serving the Church, and speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
Kathleen Cooke: We are all working through recovering from the global pandemic on many levels, but what is the single biggest thing that has God taught you during the challenges that COVID has brought?
Darlene Zschech: The big thing for me over the last 3 years is how God has shown me the importance of The Table. It’s the importance of the gather… that as we break bread together and see and hear each other that we make the time to celebrate Christ together in a way that is personal and intentional. And… that discipleship and authentic community will be what flows from lives that have the table at the Centre.
Kathleen: You have had great successes but lots of challenges too. When those out-of-the-blue challenges came your way, what did God teach you?
Darlene: FORGIVENESS… this has been a big one for me. When I was going through treatment for cancer, I had lots of time to listen to God speak in a new and often challenging way. I had to dig deep on my theology about healing and about God’s plans and purposes. One day, He spoke to me and asked me to trust Him with my heart in a new way. To do this, He asked me to forgive those I had held deep unforgiveness toward… which REALLY shocked me. I thought I was a very forgiving person. So… slowly but surely, the Holy Spirit gently led me through person by person what I needed to set free in my heart. This was a life changing few months for me. Not only do I believe He helped with the healing in my body, but He has literally brought me so much more freedom that I didn’t even know I needed. (more…)