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Inside Out with Courtnaye

WELCOME!

Hey Sis! So glad that you're here! Check out my blog cover stories and features where I share with you, Christian women from around the globe who are making a great impact for the Kingdom of God! As I interview each one, get ready to be inspired, instructed, and encouraged as we dive into some biblical and practical insight. Let's go Inside!

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December 2022

BLOG COVER STORY

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Experiencing 
Personal Revival
with 
Erica wiggenhron

By Inside Out with Courtnaye

        elcome, sister! Join me as a I sit down to talk to the beautiful Erica Wiggenhorn. She is the founder of Every Life Ministries. Erica longs to bring the truth of Scripture to transform your life. An award-winning author with Moody Publishers, Erica loves to share the Word of God wherever she can! Her latest release is An Unexpected Revival: Experiencing God’s Goodness Through Disappointment and Doubt, an 8-week Bible study through the prophecies of Ezekiel (a companion video teaching series is also available to accompany this work). She is also a frequent speaker at women’s retreats, large conferences, or her own kitchen table. In addition, Erica serves on the Proverbs 31 Ministries writing team for their First 5 App. You can find her almost every day on Instagram where she shares Phoenix life with her best friend Jonathan, and their four children (two of which are human and the others furry and adorable). 

 

Courtnaye – Welcome Erica! 

 

Erica – Hi Courtnaye!

 

Courtnaye – We finally got together! Yay!

Erica – I know!

Courtnaye – Well today, we’re going to be talking about, "Experiencing Personal Revival" and your 8-week Bible study that’s entitled, An Unexpected Revival: Experiencing God’s Goodness Through Disappointment and Doubt. Now, it’s coming from the angle of Ezekiel. So Erica, you mention that there is a phrase that God speaks in the book of Ezekiel over 50 times. What it is it and what does it mean?  

 

Erica – Yeah, so that phrase is, “Then you will know that I am the Lord.” The word “know” in Hebrew is “yada” which is a word that they would use on the wedding night where a husband would know his wife. So, it’s a picture of ultimate intimacy. And then the name, “Lord” is the Hebrew name “Yahweh,” which means the God who creates and enters relationship

 

Courtnaye – Gotcha!

 

Erica – So what God is saying is, "Through every circumstance you face, every doubt that you wrestle with, every disappointment you have to walk through, and everything that you go through in this life – the good, difficult, including things that make sense and that you don’t understand, all of those things are for the purpose of knowing that I am the God who desires relationship with you.” And so, what God was saying over and over again is, “I’m after your heart.”  

 

Courtnaye – Wow! That is so good and what great perspective! Now Erica, you’re talking about intimacy with God. What does that look like for us today?  

Erica – Intimacy with God comes through the Word of God.

 

Courtnaye – Amen!

Erica – And that can be a hard habit to develop in our lives. Is it worth it? Yes. Is it a process? Absolutely.

 

Courtnaye – Yes, it is a process. Okay, so let’s dive into revival. This is so dear to my heart and a lot of people right now. So, when people are praying for revival, what do you think they mean or what does that look like? 

 

Erica – Well Courtnaye, what I think revival looks like is the mom who is at home each day with her kids and she’s worried about the future. She’s worried about this crazy world that they’re growing up in and she wants to protect them. And she wants them to follow the Lord. She’s also worn out, exhausted, and filled with fear and worry, yet she’s crying out saying, “God, help me!” 

 

Courtnaye – Ah!

 

Erica – I think it looks like the woman who gets up every day and as she goes to work, she’s in her car saying, “God, I don’t like the person that I am. I want to be different. I want to change. I want to be better. I want to grow.”   

 

Courtnaye –Gotcha!

 

Erica – I think it looks like the student who’s saying, “I want to do something significant with my life. I want to do something that counts. I want to make the world a better place. God use me.” It starts with individuals just crying out to God. I think that’s what revival looks like. That’s the revival that God is after now. I think of Psalm 23 where the Lord tells us, “He restores my soul.” That’s what revival is – it’s the restoration of the soul

 

Courtnaye – Yeah, and it's personal. (nodding in agreement).

 

Erica – It’s also getting your joy, back. It’s the awe and wonder of the magnificence of God, back. It’s the fervor, back. It’s the peace, back. It’s the empowerment, back. It's when we each individually, come and cry out to Him. And He’s ready to give it as soon as we’re ready to receive it.

 

Courtnaye – Again, it comes back to that personal walk. 

 

Erica – Yes! And you know, it’s so interesting because when you go through the book of Ezekiel, one of the things that I noticed was how seldom the people would come to Ezekiel to receive a word from the Lord. In fact, they were exiled in Babylon (and there was this stretch in time) but they never went to Ezekiel to hear a word from the Lord. And it got me thinking, “How often am I doing that?” How often am I going to God and asking, “Speak to me. Share with me what’s on your heart today, God? What do you want me to know about You?”

 

Courtnaye – Amen.

 

Erica – So often I go to God and I'm like, “Okay God, let me tell you all the things. I need you to fix this in my family, and I would really like it if you would give me that blessing. And I really think it would be a good idea if you would change this circumstance.” I'm always telling God all the things, instead of going to Him and saying, “God, tell me all the things.” 

 

Courtnaye – Yes. He’s the Master Teacher. And the Lord is like, “Sit down and let me teach you.” I love it. Okay, let’s go a little deeper. Where are we as a church and as a nation? What do you think is preventing revival from happening? 

 

Erica – Oooo, that’s a loaded question, sister! When I went through the book of Ezekiel, they put God in a box. They believed the right king had to be on the throne for revival to happen. And maybe we believe the right person needs be in the White House or the right color needs to be in the Senate or whatever. But God was saying, “You’re making Me way too small. I don’t need a governmental person in order to bring revival. I am the God of relationship. I am the Almighty.”

 

Courtnaye – Ooooo…Amen!

 

Erica – God was going to change each individual heart. So, God is saying, “Don’t wait for all of your shepherds and leaders to have revival before you have revival. Don’t wait for the right governmental system to be in place before you have revival. You, as my people, can have revival right now!” 

 

Courtnaye – You’re preaching Sister! And I love it! 

 

Erica – God already has a plan for revival. He’s saying, “I’m inviting you to come. Let me revive your heart. And in the process, child of God, as your heart is revived and your neighbor’s heart is revived, and your sister’s heart is revived, and your brother’s heart is revived, then the fire of revival begins to spread." That’s what God is after – your heart. 

 

Courtnaye – One heart at a time. When we’re changed then other people’s lives can be changed because of the change that has taken place in our own personal lives, because we’ve sat with the Lord and allowed Him to revive and restore us. So true! Now, let’s talk about the Holy Spirit before we get out of here. Can you expound on the role of the Holy Spirit regarding everything that we do? 

 

Erica – Yes, while writing this study, we actually took a whole week and all we did was dive into the person and the work of the Holy Spirit. We looked at what did Jesus specifically say about the Holy Spirit? We looked at spiritual gifts, the fruit of the Spirit, keeping in step with the Spirit, revelation of the Spirit, and the empowerment of the Spirit because we can’t have revival unless we’re operating in the power of the Holy Spirit.   

 

Courtnaye – Amen! There is power in the Holy Spirit and we don’t need to box Him in. We need to let Him have free reign in our lives, while using the gifts of the Spirit and walking in the fruit of the Spirit. So good! Well, alright. Erica, can you share an encouraging word as we get ready to close, today?

 

Erica – Yes. My encouraging word would be to know that God loves you fervently and He is after your heart passionately. The thing that I saw in the book of Ezekiel, probably more than anything else, was how desperately God wanted His people to understand His deep love for them and His desire to be in intimate relationship with them. So if God feels far away or seems silent or you feel disappointed in your circumstances, maybe you’re believing your doubts or doubting your beliefs, or wondering if God really loves you or is He just tolerating you, your Father loves you. 

 

Courtnaye  – Right.

 

Erica – He loves you because He delights in you. And when God looks at you, He doesn’t see who you are right in this moment. He sees everything that He longs for you to become. So, keep talking to Him, keep opening your Word, and keep getting into community with other believers. Because God is still working on you, He’s still working in you, and He’s still working through you. But He wants you to come closer and closer to Him. 

 

Courtnaye – Amen! So good! Wow! I need this word in this season! Ladies, connect with Erica! She is on Facebook and Instagram (see below). Her website is www.ericawiggenhorn.com and grab her book, TODAY! Thank you so much for sharing with us Erica and for being here, sister! 

W

WATCH THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE...

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In this 8-week Bible study, An Unexpected Revival: Experiencing God’s Goodness through Disappointment and Doubt, you will encounter a unique picture of revival through Ezekiel’s prophecies. God chose to spark revival through people who seemed counted out, cast aside, and disregarded.
 
Ezekiel reveals that we are not the first people to believe our doubts and doubt our beliefs when circumstances spiral out of control. But God pursues us with His goodness desiring to bring revival to our broken hearts. 

Through a study of the book of Ezekiel, God offers an invitation to: 
 
— experience His faithfulness when surrounded by uncertainty
— reignite our hope instead of losing heart
— realize the call of God, reawakening us to our purpose
— rest in contentment rather than dwell in disappointment

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November 2022

BLOG COVER STORY

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LINKED WITH LINDA GOLDFARB

By Inside Out with Courtnaye

           oin me as I sit down with powerhouse Linda Goldfarb, as we have a fun and enlightening conversation about four new personality types that will help you understand yourself better and the way you handle projects while working with others. It's pretty cool! Linda strives to be transparent and real. She is a hybrid award-winning author with both traditionally published and Indy published books. Linda is also the award-winning host of the Your Best Writing Life podcast, co-founder of the LINKED® Personality System, an International speaker and board-certified advanced-level Christian life coach. A combination of faith, humor, and personality awareness has grown Linda and her husband Sam's relationship into a thriving adventure lasting more than 35 years. They have four adult children, fifteen grandchildren and a brand new great-grand baby. 

Courtnaye – Welcome Linda! So glad you're here! We’re going to be talking about the power of personality as it relates to our spiritual, professional, and personal lives through your co-authored LINKED book series and personality assessment. So let's dive right in. Linda, why do you think it's important for us to understand our personality types?

 

Linda – I've discovered that it changes our perspective in every area. Our uniqueness is beautiful. We weren’t designed to be like someone else. We were designed exactly the way God wants us and to walk out who He desires us to be for Him, His kingdom, and our family. So when we understand our personalities, life changes and it changes dramatically.   

 

Courtnaye – So true! I actually love taking personality assessments. They’re just fun! Now, Linda you have the LINKED personality assessment and a LINKED book series. But before we go even further into the conversation, can you share a little bit about the vision behind it all? 

 

Linda – Yes, thank you. This is a vision that came to me as I was working with my busy clients. I’m a coach. So, I wanted them to find out more about themselves quickly. I contacted a very good friend of mine, Linda Gilden. We both have studied the personalities for years and we both had life changing impact from understanding the personalities with a different organization. So I approached her and said, “Linda, we need an assessment, and it needs to be quick, concise, but meaty.” So, we put our heads together and came up with 26 questions.

 

Courtnaye – Mhmm. (nodding in agreement)

 

Linda – LINKED is about maximizing communication and relationships in different areas. What we’ve found is that when people start seeing themselves the way God designed them, that’s when they can experience freedom. We want people set free and to walk in the design that God has for them. 

 

Courtnaye – Amen! So tell us more about the different personality types that you share in your series. There are four of them. Can you break them down for us?

 

Linda – Absolutely! What’s really fun about this is that the readers are going to recognize fairly quickly which one might be their dominant personality. The first one is mobilizers. They are the getter-done, fast processors who excel when they’re challenged. They are task-oriented extroverts who love doing things the fast way.

 

Courtnaye – That’s me!

 

Linda – (smiling) Next, we have the socializers. They are the life of the party, fast processors, and excel as storytellers. These are the ones who grab everyone’s attention! They are people-oriented extroverts who love doing things the fun way. 

 

Courtnaye – Gotcha!

 

Linda – Then we have the stabilizers. They are the keep-the-peace slower processors. They take their time and excel, while working well under pressure. They keep calm. They’re also people-oriented, but they are introverts. They love doing things the easy way. 

 

Courtnaye – Okay, gotcha. 

 

Linda – And lastly, we have the organizers. They are the ones who like everything in order. They are slower processors because they think things through before they speak on them. They excel in details and organization. They are the task-oriented introvert who love doing things the right way. 

 

Courtnaye – I love it! As I heard them, I picked up on my top two dominant LINKED personalities. I’m a mobilizer and socializer (laughing)!  

 

Linda – I agree! 

 

Courtnaye – I feel like this can work in churches, private organizations, ministries, businesses, groups, and teams – everywhere. Because we need each other and understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses, knowing who we are, but also knowing what we should do and not is just so important as we work together. This is so good! I’m so glad that you ladies created this assessment and series of books.

 

Linda – You know, I am too! We love it! And Courtnaye, you’re one of our Certified LINKED Ambassadors. And I’ve seen how you’ve utilized it through workshops and organizing your conferences. You’re really good at spotting the needs of others in your groups as you meet those needs, while loving on people. It’s really how God designed us. We’re not in this alone. There’s room for all of us. 

 

Courtnaye – Aww, thank you so much and agreed! Well, before we get out of here, Linda do you have an encouraging word to share with the women who will be reading or watching, today?

 

Linda – Thank you for the opportunity, Courtnaye. I do. You were designed for an incredible purpose. You are not a mistake. You are an enhancement. You are precious, valuable, and exactly who you need to be for a time such as this. And God is ready to equip you and come alongside you. All of us are working together – none of us are tossable. We are all needed. You are needed. And you are amazing exactly the way you are! 

 

Courtnaye – Wow! Thank you so much Linda! I truly appreciate you. I'd love for women to connect with you. So, how can they connect, take the assessment, and follow you online? 

 

Linda – Sure! They can go to www.linkedpersonalities.com (click the link assessment and mention where you heard it which is Inside Out with Courtnaye). It’s also FREE. The books are available on my website and Amazon (see books below). Also, you can connect with me at www.lindagoldfarb.com and I’m on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. ). 

 

Courtnaye – Alright dear reader, grab her books, take the assessment, follow her on social media and her website, and check out her award-winning podcast, Your Best Writing Life where she equips writers, speakers, while getting soul care, too! I love it and Linda! Connect, connect with her! Thanks for joining me Sister!  

J

WATCH THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE...

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This is a journey of self-discovery. The general quick guide and assessment are here to help you understand yourself and your personality. If you understand why you do the things you do and that they are a result of your God-given personality traits and your life experiences, then you are able to live and grow in your strengths. Learning about personalities broadens your horizons and gives you a base of wisdom with which to approach relationships.

Who needs a LINKED® Quick Guide to Personalities?

  • Anyone who values relationships and wants to make them stronger.

  • Busy people who don’t have time for intense studies about personalities.

  • Individuals who like their information in a nutshell.

  • People who engage with people on a regular basis—pretty much everyone!

Take the free LINKED Personality Assessment TODAY!

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October 2022

BLOG COVER STORY

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The Power of partnership 

By Inside Out with Courtnaye

        am so happy and honored to introduce you to my beautiful sister in Christ, close friend, and partner of B4 Women, Rachel G. Scott. She is a wife, mother, and Ohio native. Rachel is also a writer, speaker, and brand mentor. She has been featured nationally and internationally on television, podcasts, radio, devotionals, and blogs. She has also shared on platforms such as Family Life, TCT Television, Propel Sophia, Hope*Writers, Flourish Writers, and more. Rachel is the host of "Taking the Leap Podcast with Rachel G Scott,” founder of the I Can't Come Down Movement and co-founder of B4 Women. She is a former Huffington Post contributor and COMPEL Focus Group Leader. Currently she is a YouVersion teacher, Moody Radio Cleveland Partner, and Hope*Writers Host Team Member. Her first traditionally published book will release in March of 2024 with Moody Publishers.

Courtnaye – Welcome Rachel!

 

Rachel –Thank you Courtnaye for having me! (smiling)

Courtnaye –Absolutely! I'm so excited to sit down and talk with you. But before we get started, I want to talk about how we met. Rachel, can you share?

 

Rachel – Yes, so we were both in an author and speaker mastermind (hosted by Dr. Saundra B. Dalton Smith). We were working on something, and I remember reaching out to you saying, “Hey, can we do this together? I need some help with this. I need some accountability.” And that was literally the foundation of our friendship. It was the accountability factor, being rooted in Christ, while realizing that we were like-minded. That became the partnership that God began to cultivate.

 

Courtnaye – Exactly! So true. I remember that day and we’ve been talking ever since. Actually, we talk almost every day. Okay, so now let’s dive into this topic, "The Power of Partnership." For starters, a partnership can look like a variety of different things, right? It could be working with someone on an event, new endeavor, summit, collaborations, business or ministry project – that’s partnership. 

 

Rachel – Yes! 

 

Courtnaye – And so, we’re going to talk about some ways of how partnerships can work effectively. I tend to say that we are called to work in unity and not disunity. With that said, let’s talk about accountability. What does that actually look like in a partnership, Rach? 

 

Rachel – I love that question. When I think of accountability, I really consider how God wants us to sharpen each other and grow together in community. Oftentimes, we think we can be isolated, grow, and experience all that God has for us, but accountability is what helps us to do all of the things that He wants us to do. He’s not calling us to do it alone. Instead, He’s calling us to do it together.  

 

Courtnaye – Agreed. (nodding)

 

Rachel – Also, for us, it’s me chiming in and asking, “Hey sis, where are you with your project?” It’s having those conversations and leaning into the vision that God has given to us, even as we partner with B4 Women (we’ll talk more about that partnership in just a moment). But it’s also asking one another, “What is it that we need to do in order for this ministry endeavor to go to the next level and what do His people need within the community?” It’s about holding each other accountable for the task at hand.

 

Courtnaye – For sure. Now Rachel, you mentioned B4 Women. Let’s explain it a bit. So we are the founders and hosts of a Facebook group called B4 Women (dear reader, check it out and join us). We’ve partnered together for this endeavor as we help women all around the globe grow and learn spiritually and professionally through our B4 model, which is Bible, Business (and Ministry), Building, and Balance. Also, within a 4-month time frame we talk and share from those particular areas with a variety of tips. Oh, and we also have themes and a B4 Women Toolkit! Am I missing anything?

 

Rachel – Well, we want to reach the four corners of the world. And we’re seeing that already within the community. We literally have people who are from all over the globe that we get to serve and minister to. 

 

Courtnaye – Yes, I love it! Another unique thing about it is that even though we’re the hosts, we also bring in two new co-hosts for each 4-month cycle.

Rachel - Right!

Courtnaye - It’s a pretty cool concept. But I also want to mention that we've also collaborated on events. I’ve been a part of your conference and you’ve been a part of my conference and we also have a summit and LIVE intensive that’s happening in 2023 for B4 Women. Rachel, can you share more about it?

 

Rachel – Yes! I am super excited about it! It’s a two-day event. The first day will be a virtual summit with us and the co-hosts that we’ve had over time. The second day will be a LIVE and in-person event. So, we’ll get to pour into the women attending and learn more about the vision that God has given to them. We’ll also give them strategies and insight, and we'll have some special guests, as well.   

 

Courtnaye – So exciting! We would love to have you attend the summit and LIVE Intensive, dear reader (please be on the lookout for more details in January 2023 at www.b4women.com). We can’t wait to see you there! 

 

Rachel – Right!

 

Courtnaye – Okay, so let’s dive deeper into this topic of partnership as it relates to communication, because we know there are going to be times when it’s like, “Woohoo! That is awesome girlie! Let’s go ahead and do this!” But then there will also be times when it’s like, “Uh, I don’t think that’s a good move.” That happens in a partnership. 

 

Rachel – Yep.

 

Courtnaye – We know that we’re not always going to agree, but it’s all for the common good. And we work through those things. Rachel, what’s the scripture that we stand by as we partner together? 

 

Rachel – It’s two are better than one, because they get a better return for their labor (see Ecclesiastes 4:9). I have seen that, and we are literally living that right now (with doors that have opened for us with opportunities) and how we share and collaborate in different areas. There are things that just would not have happened had you not mentioned my name or me not mentioning your name.

 

Courtnaye - So true!

Rachel - I can say, “Hey, bring Courtnaye on board!” And I know that you’re going to deliver a strong message and speak the Word of God and teach.

 

Courtnaye – Amen! Thank you, Sis! We help each other. 

Rachel – Even when there are moments when I don’t feel like doing something you’ll say, “Rach, you’ve got to get this done!” That helps me to move, press, and get beyond the emotions that get in the way when I'm doing the thing that God has called me to do (even when I'm tired).  

 

Courtnaye – Yes, Lord!

 

Rachel – You get it! As you would say, we’re in the same waters. You understand. It’s beautiful! 

 

Courtnaye – Amen. But Rach, you do the same for me. Some days I don’t feel motivated or I’m down in my spirit about something, and I’ll inbox you and you’ll encourage me. Truth is, we’re doing a lot of the same things and with a lot of the same type of women. We’re in ministry. We’re wives. We’re moms. And we’re doing all of the things as we speak and write. I always say, "You get my life!"  

 

Rachel – Right!

 

Courtnaye – For a quick moment, I do want to add here that it's good to understand that when you’re partnering with someone to schedule meetings and brainstorming sessions together to see what’s the new way forward on an event, endeavor, or new project. In our partnership, we typically schedule a two-hour block to plan ahead for B4 Women, but also for our own ministry or business endeavors.

Rachel –Yes, we do. 

Courtnaye – We also cheer one another on and pray for each other. Let’s talk about prayer in a partnership. 

 

Rachel – Sure. As you were talking, I thought about the fast that we just finished together. During the fast, we laid out all of these things that we were praying about and what was on our hearts, but also things that we knew God has for us to do (we just needed wisdom). So I believe that there is something when two people come together in prayer (see Matthew 18:19-20). There are times when I know that you’ve prayed, because I can feel the lifting of it. That’s the beauty of partnership. 

 

Courtnaye – So true. Prayer is powerful in partnerships, for sure. So dear reader, do not forget to stop, pause, and pray alone, but also with others. Now, as we get ready to close, can you share an encouraging word today, Rachel?

 

Rachel – Yes. A lot of times what God has called us to do is bigger than us. He wants to reach so many people through us. Oftentimes, it’s not going to be something that He calls us to do alone. So pray and ask God for confirmation about who He wants you to partner with that has the same heart, passion, and who is pursuing in the same way (and understands what you’re doing). Then, just trust that He’s brought that partner into your life. I say this all the time, “Partnership is an assignment.” Everything we do is actually a partnership with God, but sometimes He brings other people along our path to partner with in a tangible way. 

 

Courtnaye – So good and very helpful! Thank you so much for sharing this encouraging word! Rachel, before we get out of here, please share how women can connect with you. You also have a freebie to share as well. Go for it!

 

Rachel – Sure, if they go to www.rachelgscott.com they will find my FREE ebook that’s entitled, I Can’t Come Down that’s all about walking you through the first six chapters of Nehemiah as you pursue the things that God has called you to do, and as you walk in your purpose or assignment with focus. Also, on social media, they can find me at iamrachelgscott (connect on Instagram and Facebook).

 

Courtnaye – Thank you so much! Dear reader, connect with Rachel. And don’t forget to grab her free ebook below and mine as well that’s entitled, Compare NOT! It’s all about helping you to not compare yourself with others in our competitive culture. Until next time, let's allow God to change us from the Inside Out!

I

WATCH THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE...

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B4 Women is a social e-learning collaborative of women designed to help Christian women grow spiritually and professionally. We post weekly encouragement and host monthly discussions surrounding our B4 Women Model: Bible, Business, Building, & Balance. As women, we know that it takes scripture and strategy, mixed with knowledge and support to balance out faith, family, fitness, and all that God has called us to do.

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September 2022

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Overcoming
fear & Insecurities

with Amy Debrucque 

By Inside Out with Courtnaye

        am so excited to have a chat with my brave and beautiful sister in Christ, Amy Debrucque. She is the founder of the Life On Purpose Movement. Amy is also a Confidence Coach and the host of "Life On Purpose Podcast." After a cancer diagnosis at age 40, she began encouraging other women to share their stories in order to find hope and healing. Living her life on purpose was a reminder that everything with God’s purpose is on the other side of fear. Lastly, Amy is a wife to Ron and mom to Blair, Samuel, Ethan, and Adeline. 

Courtnaye – Welcome Amy! I'm so glad that you’re here!

 

Amy – Thank you so much, Courtnaye! Glad to be here (smiling).

 

Courtnaye – Well, let’s go ahead and dive in. Today, we’re talking about, “Overcoming Fear and Insecurities.” Amy, can you share with us a few steps that we can take to overcome fear? 

 

Amy – Sure. I struggled with hidden anxiety for so long, which I think a lot of women struggle with. The game changer and turning point for me was identifying my fears. I think a lot of times, we have all these fears and they can be consuming, but we rarely sit down, put them on paper, voice them, name them, and call them out for what they are. The minute you begin that process, the power fear has over you will immediately start to fade away (a little bit at a time).     

 

Courtnaye – I love that! Personally, I used to struggle with panic attacks years ago. Until one day, I called my mom on the way to the hospital because of an anxiety attack and she asked me, “What were you thinking about before the panic attack happened?” I thought about it and was like, “Oh, okay.” And it was gone. So I like that you said, “Identify it.” Because a lot of times anxiety comes on because of what we’re thinking about. And then scripture tells us, “Be anxious for nothing.” (See Philippians 4:6-7)

 

Amy – Courtnaye, I love that you mentioned scripture. Also, we have to keep that extended hand out for other women. For you, it was your mom. Your mother was just one of those women that we all need, especially when dealing with fear and insecurity. 

 

Courtnaye – For sure. Now Amy, you wrote a book with your daughter Blair that’s entitled, Embolden: Brave Steps to Help You Conquer Fears and Insecurities. So, what are some insecurities that women face today and how can we overcome them? 

 

Amy – As women, we are more prone to self-doubt or overthink every decision. We get in our own heads and it holds us up. So, I think the biggest way to combat this is to change our self-talk (and we share this in the book and course). We should also start changing the “I can’t” to “How can I?” It’s taking small steps like saying, “Maybe I can’t overcome anxiety today, but I can make sure that I’m praying every day, connecting with my mentor, or getting away from things that trigger my insecurities. I can do that.” It’s an important practice. 

 

Courtnaye – I love that! Amy, before we move on, I want to ask what was it like for you to write this book with your daughter? 

 

Amy – The most beautiful thing that came out of it was that we were able to relate. It was also nice to see that we could both be dealing with fear and insecurities, and that it’s just going to look differently at different ages and stages of our lives. As women, this doesn’t age out.

Courtnaye – Agreed. I have to say, this book is so beautifully laid out. There are prompts and scriptures. It’s all-the-things. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it (dear reader, grab it). Amy, can you tell us what it looks like to live an emboldened life? 

 

Amy – To live an emboldened life is to know that fear is normal. We all know that we’re going to deal with fear at some point in our lives. Although it is normal, courage can have the final say! So we can still feel fear, but still live boldly. 

 

Courtnaye – So good! This reminds me of Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous!” It’s actually one of my favorite verses. Okay, so let's move forward. Amy, what are you currently working on? 

 

Amy – Right now, we are prepping and doing all of the behind-the-scenes work to get The Confidence Course launched. It’s a group coaching community for women as we coach them on confidence. We’re really excited about it! I also do one-on-one coaching, too.  

 

Courtnaye – That’s awesome! Look out for the course and connect with her, dear reader. Now, before we close, can you share an encouraging word, today? 

 

Amy – Sure. My encouraging word for today would be, “Surrender.” The reason I picked that one is because that was my pivotal moment to finding courage while living with confidence and God’s purpose. It wasn’t util I surrendered that I had the ultimate healing and hope for my life. Hopefully this encourages somebody who just needs to let go and really do what it takes to let God take over. 

 

Courtnaye – So good! Surrender is such a powerful and hard word. It’s hard because we want the help from God, but we still hold on while thinking about the fear or insecurity instead of just letting go and surrendering. This conversation has been so good! Now, how can women connect with you?

 

Amy – They can connect with me anywhere on social media @amydebrucque and at www.amydebrucque.com or www.surrenderyourfear.com. I'd love to interact with anybody who is willing to reach out. 

 

Courtnaye – Awesome! We got some good nuggets today! We can overcome fear and insecurities. We can be brave women and live emboldened. Check out Amy’s podcast, grab her book, go to her websites, and connect with her on social media. Thank you so much for sharing and being here, Amy!

 

Amy – Thank you so much, Courtnaye. It was a great conversation! 

I

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August 2022

BLOG COVER STORY

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helping moms raise
confident daughters 

By Inside Out with Courtnaye

           elcome to another cover story! I had the honor and privilege of sitting down and talking to the amazing Terra Mattson. She is a Christian Parenting spokesperson, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor. Alongside her husband Jeff, Terra co-hosts the Dear Mattsons parenting advice column and the Living Wholehearted Podcast and are the co-founders of Living Wholehearted, which is a professional counseling and organizational development firm. Terra is the author of Courageous: Being Daughters Rooted in Grace. She is also a mom to two girls, a novice gardener, loves to paint and bake, and craves reading a good book by a pool on a hot day. 

 

Courtnaye - Hello Terra, how are you? 

 

Terra – So good to be here today, Courtnaye!

 

Courtnaye – Awesome! Well, we’re going to be talking about, Helping Moms Raise Confident Daughters today. You also have some courses. We’re going to talk about them in just a little bit. But I’m so excited to talk about this topic today, because I have a daughter who just turned 18 and I know that some of our readers are moms of girls. So, let’s dive in. Terra, what do you feel is the #1 issue that our daughters are facing today?

 

Terra – I get asked this question on almost every interview and by every mom. It’s all rooted in that “Identity” place. Most girls are being branded, objectified, and they're really confused about what it means to be a woman. There’s all of these competing voices and then there's the old-school longing to be known, seen, and loved. So, whether it’s eating disorders, trying to be what others want them to be, or people-pleasing, it goes back to the root of fighting for a sense of identity. 

 

Courtnaye – So true. It’s so important for our girls to know who they are in Christ, but also to stand firm in that truth. Now Terra, let’s talk about confidence. How can our daughters be confident in Christ? Can you give a couple of examples? 

 

Terra – Yeah. One of them is through experiences. Oftentimes, moms want to come in and rescue our girls rather than see it as an opportunity for them to lean in and grow towards, "What does God say about me?" 

 

Courtnaye – Yes! 

 

Terra – Also, as women we know that life is good, but it’s hard. I want these girls to be confident in God, know how to ask for help, and know that it’s okay to be human. God is not expecting us to be super women, but He is expecting us to come to Him and let Him be God. 

 

Courtnaye – So good. And you’re right. Life can be hard. I tell my own daughter that life is hard out here. The world can be cruel. This leads me to my next question which is what do you think we need as moms to raise confident daughters?  

 

Terra – I think we need to be honest about our own journeys with our girls. I’m guiding moms to have real conversations and show their girls where God’s Word meets real-life humanity. I’m calling moms to be the woman that you long for your daughter to be. I’m calling moms to be honest about where you are, where you’ve made mistakes, and what God has been teaching you. It’s not about perfection, but we can get there with honesty. 

 

Courtnaye – Yes, so good. Honesty and transparency, right? Being open and true with our girls. And you’re right, we’re not perfect as moms. We make mistakes and our girls are going to make mistakes, too. But we can go to God and confess where we are and work through it together. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Amen! Well, let’s move on a bit further because we’ve been hinting at your courses from The Christian Parenting Guide: Helping Moms Raise Confident Daughters. I think this is going to be so beneficial for us as mothers, today. Can you share some of the topics that you cover with us?  

 

Terra – Yes. We cover topics like body image, how to sustain healthy friendships, what do boundaries look like, how to build trusted relationships, what does dating look like, and the fruit of the Spirit. Also, for high schoolers, we’re also talking about suffering and how to come alongside their friends who are wrestling with hard things like parents going through a divorce, and social media. So, we cover the gamut – anything you want to talk to your daughter about, it’s in there!    

 

Courtnaye – I love it! It’s loaded! Now Terra, I want to go a little bit deeper into the topic of how some kids are walking away from the church. How can your courses help us safeguard our homes and kids, while helping them to stand firm in their faith?  

 

Terra – Great question, Courtnaye. I would say in these courses you’re helping your daughter to discern who did God make her to be and what is His voice really saying to her? And it doesn’t mean that she might not go on her own journey of doubting, but you’ll be more confident knowing that she’s got the Word of God in her, she knows He loves her, and she knows how to do real-relationship, and those are vital to staying connected in the body of Christ for the long haul.   

 

Courtnaye – That is so rich! Also Terra, you have a book that’s entitled, Courageous: Being Daughters Rooted in Grace. In the book, you share about your own personal story of an eating disorder, in particular, bulimia. How can your book and the courses help our daughters who may be facing things like this? 

 

Terra – Yeah, so I share my story with bulimia and the connection is emotions. I have a chapter on, “You’ve Got to Feel It to Heal It.” Our bodies hold our emotions. So, if we can help our daughters regulate and understand that emotions aren’t the enemy, but that they are God-designed (we have an emotional God). It’s what we do with our emotions. 

 

Courtnaye – Right. 

 

Terra – Oftentimes, having a few trusted safe people (hopefully, us mamas are one of those) where our daughters can process them and move through to the other side – they’ll be more confident when they move into life. And when they feel despair, disappointment, or alone, they won’t panic and go to some of those unhealthy coping strategies. Instead, they’ll say, “This is a part of being human. It’s an emotion. I’m going to feel it to heal it. I’m going to talk to God, a couple of my safe people, and watch it move.” 

 

Courtnaye – I love that. And you’re right, as women, we are emotional. I think this segment is good for us as moms, but also for our daughters too. All of this is so good! Again, get the courses dear reader and grab her book. Well, before we close, can you share an encouraging word today, Terra? 

 

Terra – Yes. My word of encouragement is to trust that God knows you. I believe that God is raising up a generation of women and daughters who are going to be resilient and who can stand firm when God says, “I see you. I know you. And I have a plan for you that can’t be thwarted. So trust Me even when the story and plan looks pretty fuzzy.” We all can be courageous and stand confidently as women.   

 

Courtnaye – Terra! That was a word!

 

Terra – Amen!

 

Courtnaye – Wow! That was so encouraging! Thank you so much for sharing that with us. So, how can we get the courses and connect with you further?   

 

Terra – The easiest way is to go to www.terramattson.com or www.cpguides.org. Also, if you have older daughters, get the book, Courageous: Being Daughters Rooted in Grace. You can get it anywhere you buy books. I’m also on Instagram @terramattson. 

 

Courtnaye – Thank you so much, Terra! Connect, connect! ;-) 

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July 2022

BLOG COVER STORY

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Living a whole life 

By Inside Out with Courtnaye

          ello there! I am so glad to be sitting down and talking to Nicki Koziarz today. She is a wife, mother, three-time best-selling author, podcast host from Lessons From the Farm, first-time generation farmer, Bible teacher, sought after speaker where she has spoken at events through Lifeway, Proverbs 31 Ministries, and has been featured on LifeToday and Awakening TV. 

 

Courtnaye – Welcome, Nicki! 

 

Nicki – Thank you! It’s an honor to be here. 

 

Courtnaye – Awesome! Well, we’re going to be talking about, “Living a Whole Life.” But before we get started, I want to quote you on a powerful statement, “I believe we are on the verge of revival with God in our homes, communities, cities, nation, and the world. I want to see people whole, confident, and becoming all God intended them to become through the power of understanding the Bible.” I love this so much! Nicki, tell us. What does it look like for a woman to be whole?

 

Nicki – That’s a good question. The reality is that each of us have different things that break us. I think we have to understand our brokenness before we can begin talking about wholeness. For me personally, I’ve walked through a lot of grief in the last four years of my life, where I lost pretty much my entire family with the exception of my dad (and within the span of two years).

 

Courtnaye – Wow!

 

Nicki – It was a really difficult time. It brought up a lot of childhood wounds, mother wounds, and father wounds – lots of wounds that I didn’t even know were there. It took taking time with the Lord to understand things that were making me feel so completely broken. 

 

Courtnaye – Gotcha. (nodding)

 

Nicki – I remember, there was a time when I was getting ready to go out to teach, I was laying on the floor in my prayer closet and I said, “Lord, I know your word says that you are all of these things to all of these people, but I just don’t feel like you’re good to me or that you’re with me or for me. I feel like you’re so against me right now.” That's when the Lord had to show me the brokenness that I had with Him.  

Courtnaye – Yeah (nodding). 

 

Nicki – So, understanding my brokenness, but then also understanding that my husband was not my Savior. My counselor was not my Savior. My ministry was not my Savior – only Jesus is the One who could make me whole again. So, in past four years, the Lord has shown me what it really means to be whole with Him. But Courtnaye, I’m still in a process with it. 

 

Courtnaye – Being whole is definitely a process. Nicki, thank you for sharing this with us – so transparent. For a moment, I want to talk about being confident in our calling as we deal with hard things in life. How do we do this?  

 

Nicki – You know, right before this interview, I saw something that shook my confidence (laughing). We have things that will try to shake our confidence all day long. But I think confidence comes from a place of identity. So, as a writer, speaker, and communicator, I have to go back to saying, “No! I know who God created me to be. I know the voice that God has given me.” 

Courtnaye – So good! 

 

Nicki – I also think one of the greatest ways to do this is by understanding our personality, wiring, and gifts. What’s so beautiful about the Kingdom is that there are so many seats at the table with diversity, different voices, and teaching styles (that's who God created us to be). The people that you’re going to reach are the people that God put there for you to reach and the people that I’m going to reach are the ones that God has called me to reach.     

 

Courtnaye – Right! 

 

Nicki – It’s understanding who we are, but then it’s also learning to champion other people. And Courtnaye, you do this really well. It’s about not letting comparison threaten you and make you feel like there’s not enough pie to go around for everybody. I believe these two things can really help keep us grounded – knowing who we are and cheering other people on

 

Courtnaye – Amen! Now Nicki, let’s shift a bit. You are doing a lot of things! You are a farmgirl, podcast host, speaker, author, and you’re also a mom and wife. Tell us what your devotional life looks like and how do you balance it all? 

 

Nicki – We’re all dropping the ball somewhere on something. But Courtnaye, the best advice somebody ever gave me was probably about 10 years ago. It was at a point when I was just getting into ministry, speaking, and writing, and my kids were little. I just felt like every day, I was falling apart over something else (laughing). Yet, this person told me, “Nicki, you’re going to drop a ball every single day. You’re not superwoman. But the key to staying consistent in life is to not let the same ball drop two days in a row.”

 

Courtnaye – Gotcha!

 

Nicki – So, if I drop a ball with one of my kids today, then I know tomorrow I can’t drop the ball. If I drop the ball with my husband today, then I can’t drop the ball tomorrow. It’s the same with writing. That has been the best advice that I’ve gotten, and I’ve really tried to live by that. 

 

Courtnaye – Nicki is dropping nuggets! Thank you so much! Now, you have a new book that’s coming out, but you also have a book that’s entitled, Flooded. What’s the main theme throughout this book that can help women right now to live a “whole” life?

 

Nicki – If I could sum it up in two words it would be, overcoming doubt. It’s based on the life of Noah. If anyone had the right to have doubt, it would’ve been Noah because he received this massive God-assignment – which made no sense to anybody around him. Yet, somehow he was able to push through. He not only obeyed, but lived out his legacy in such a way that God would pick him to be in the Hall of Faith (see the book of Hebrews) for us to look at and say, “Okay, there are some things that I need to learn from his process. So, that’s what the book is about. The subtitle is The 5 Best Decisions to Make When Life is Hard and Doubt is Rising. It just helps us to walk in the posture of faith. 

 

Courtnaye – I love it! I was actually just thinking about Noah yesterday. Sometimes in life we do face doubt. We sometimes find ourselves saying, “What if I do this and it doesn’t work? What if it fails?” So this is good. Instead of walking in doubt, like you said, we need to walk in the posture of faith. Grab her book Flooded, dear reader! Okay Nicki, tell us about your new book that releases in 2023!

 

Nicki – (smiling) Actually, this will be the first time that I’ve talked about it publicly!

 

Courtnaye – Ooooo! Exclusive! 

 

Nicki – Yes! The book is called, Your New Now: Finding Strength and Wisdom When You Feel Stuck Where You Are. It’s based on "transition." As a woman, no one ever taught me how to transition well. No one ever taught me how you finish or stick a season out a little while longer. No one ever taught me how to grow in every season that you’re in. Again, I went back to the Bible and I found someone who could teach us some lessons about transition and it’s Moses. It releases March 2023, but it’s on Amazon right now. So, you can pre-order it!  

 

Courtnaye – Awesome! Grab it dear reader! I know I’m going to grab it because it sounds like a really great book! Thank you for giving us an inside peek. Before we close with an encouraging word, you have a podcast called, “Lessons From the Farm.” As I mentioned earlier, you’re a farmgirl. What are some of the topics that you and your guests share on your show?

 

Nicki – Well, you were one of my guests on the show! We’ll have to link it here. But normally in a series, the listeners will get a Bible teaching from me (I love teaching the Bible), but I also bring on guests and we talk about what we’re learning. That’s why it's called, Lessons From the Farm. We record here on my Fixer Upper Farm. The next series is all about learning their process.

Courtnaye – I love that! I also love the fact that you are a Bible teacher. Can you share an encouraging word with the readers today? 

 

Nicki – Absolutely! If I only had one message to give someone for the rest of my life, it would be the message of perseverance. In the book of Galatians, it talks about us not growing weary of doing good, for at the right time, we will reap the harvest that God has for us (see Galatians 6:9). So if you’re reading this today and you feel like you’re just not sure if you want to keep going with God anymore, I feel like the Lord is saying, “There is a new harvest that’s coming. It’s a new season.” I also feel like God is telling us to not quit, don't throw in the towel, don't walk away from the church or from people who challenge us or even from the assignments that He has given us, because it’s time to rise up for such a time as this like Esther. 

 

Courtnaye – Yes!

 

Nicki – And I will tell you, the second you make the decision to persevere with God, be ready for the opposition! But remember, every ounce of opposition presents the opportunity for God to display His power through you. So, as we approach the broken down car, the bank statement that doesn’t line up with the bills, growing something or trying something new while feeling all of this opposition around us, we've got to shift it! We’ve got to say, “This is an opportunity for me to see God’s glory and His power on display in my life, so that others will see it and testify of His goodness as well."  

 

Courtnaye – Wow! Preach Sister! I love it! What a powerful word of encouragement today! Thank you so much Nicki! I want the reader to connect with you. 

 

Nicki – I love to hang out on Instagram more than I do anywhere else! I’d love to connect with you there, but I’d love for you to visit my website where there are tons of FREE resources and blessings to speak over yourself and your family at www.nickikoziarz.com. It’s also a great place to find my books and Bible studies that I’ve written as well.

 

Courtnaye – Yay! Grab, grab, grab everything! Nicki, you have been an amazing blessing to us and I pray God’s favor over your life this year and your new book! 

 

Nicki – Thank you, Courtnaye!

 

Courtnaye – Absolutely!

H

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June 2022

BLOG COVER STORY

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Living well with Karen 

By Inside Out with Courtnaye

       elcome! Join me as I sit down to talk to powerhouse producer, award-winning actress, highly sought-after speaker, and an avid environmentalist, Karen Abercrombie! She is a Parents' Choice Award winning storyteller, award-winning independent film producer, and is best known for her award-winning portrayal of the spicy, 80-year old prayer warrior, Miss Clara, in the Kendrick Brothers film, War Room, Karen has an impressive body of work under her belt. She also has her own independent film production company called, Earth Mother Entertainment LLC. Her first film, ‘Discarded Things’ has garnered five Best Actress awards for Karen's role in the film, two Best Picture awards, and three Best Supporting Actor awards (view on Amazon Prime, Pure Flix, YouTube TV and a few other streaming platforms). Karen's latest project is one that has been a dream of hers for a very long time – which is a new non-profit organization that is called, “The Village is Alive.” The organization makes creative arts available to children and adults in under-served communities. 

Courtnaye – Hello! How are you Karen?

 

Karen – Oh, I am so good. So happy to be here with you Courtnaye.

 

Courtnaye – Well, I am so excited that you are here! And wow! You are doing so many amazing things, Sister! Now, a lot of us know you from the amazing movie, “War Room,” where you played alongside Priscilla Shirer. How was the experience working with the Kendrick Brothers? 

 

Karen – It was wonderful! They are what you see. These gentlemen are really good people who are on fire for the Lord, and they strive to live a life according to the Lord’s direction. They walk the talk. 

 

Courtnaye – They do! I love their films and I cannot wait until they come out with another one. Their films are definitely biblically sound. Well, we know the movie is centered around prayer and we also know that prayer changes a lot of things as it relates to marriage, children, and just all of the things that we go through in our lives, but also to communicate with God. 

 

Karen – Yes (nodding).

 

Courtnaye – Karen, I’m going to shift for a moment. With many of us doing all-of-the-things, self-care is very big for us as women. I know you have a new self-care program. I’d love for you to share more about it. Can you tell us about it? 

 

Karen – Yeah, it’s called, Living Simply, Naturally, and Well. For me, it was important for me to wind down from the busyness. I needed to stop and just focus on sometimes doing nothing. The Lord says, “Rest” because it’s restorative. It gives you time to meditate, think, and even plan.  

 

Courtnaye – Yes. 

 

Karen – As a young actress, I was so concerned of aging out – playing different roles (that can weigh heavy on you). But with War Room, Father God (Daddy) said, “Hey girl, you’re playing an older woman. You don’t have to worry about aging out. Your Father has you. And you’re going to use your skills. So step up in there and play an 80-year old woman. Daddy’s got you!” God can use you at any age or stage. I’m in my 60’s, so be encouraged.

 

Courtnaye – So good! 

 

Karen – He said, “My timing is perfect. My plans for you are perfected and filled with love, hope, and everything that you could possibly need. I’m your Father and I love you.” And so, I want all women to hear this and walk in that – knowing who they are in Christ. We are more than enough. The things that He’s placed in you and each one of us is fresh and new.  

 

Courtnaye – Yes! I love that! 

 

Karen – And it’s for such a time as right now. In your make-up, there’s something that you have that no one else has to give to the world. We’re all here on assignment. Your ups and downs, struggles, and everything that He brings you through is refining you and preparing you for all that He has for you ahead. 

 

Courtnaye – Amen!

 

Karen – I tell women when I speak, “Who better to speak to someone about overcoming drugs or alcohol than someone who has overcome drugs and alcohol.” Go and tell someone what He’s done for you. Because if He’s done it for you then He can bring them through it, too. So when He’s brought you through it, then you can speak and encourage someone else. 

 

Courtnaye – Right.

 

Karen – We've also gotten so separated from nature. God created it, first. It’s extraordinary, mind-blowing and mind-boggling. I love nature. I would love for people to just reconnect and respect what God has created and given to us.

 

Courtnaye –Yes!

Karen – So, it’s a lifestyle - Living Simply, Naturally, and Well. Wellness is a result of us taking care of ourselves, others, taking care of this incredible planet, and spending time with Daddy. It's also letting the Word sink in and not just being able to recite it (not impress other people by knowing the verses), but live the verses. 

 

Courtnaye – Mhmm!

 

Karen – That’s what the walk is about. It’s living it. We are the church walking – the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. That is the church walking. It’s not a building. So all of these things that I call a lifestyle - they make room for wellness

 

Courtnaye – Wow! I love your vision, your heart, and your passion. Personally, I love nature, too. I love the trees. And I love sitting by the lake. It’s just a quiet place for me to be with the Lord and simply be still from all of the busyness. This is all self-care.

Karen –Yes!

Courtnaye – Now Karen, you also have vlog on YouTube with the same title. Let’s talk about that!

 

Karen – Actually I started it, but the Lord is sending me other opportunities (I only have one video up). Soon I will add others, but I don’t know when. I’m not going to put that pressure on myself, because we do that. We say we have to have this out by Monday or by Thursday. But no more. So whenever I do get to it, I just want Him to flow through me and direct me in what to say. And there you’ll have it. 

 

Courtnaye – That is freedom! I love it! Because I’ll tell you, we do get that way. It’s just a hamster wheel that has us going, going, and going. It frazzles us. So thank you for giving us that freedom. Well, Karen, I know you are an award-winning actress and I know there will be some women reading and watching this cover who may want to know how to break into this industry. Do you have any advice or wisdom for women who are aspiring actresses or maybe for those who have already tapped into it?

 

Karen – Study. Perfect the craft. For me, when I step onto a stage, because I love LIVE theater (I prefer that over movies because it’s just the energy in that room)! But before I do that or step in front of a camera or sit down to write, I get myself ready. Because all of that is worship for me. When I step out to use the gifts that God has given to me, that’s worship. It’s between me and Him (even though I’m saying someone else’s lines). So, perfect your craft and do it unto Him. That will also help you not do projects that you shouldn’t be doing. 

 

Courtnaye – That’s wisdom right there – knowing what God wants you to do. I love that! So study and perfect your craft, dear reader. Well, I always like to end with an encouraging word for the women reading or watching. Do you have an encouraging word to share today, Karen?

 

Karen – I would say, learn to trust and lean on God like you never have before. Also, seek that one-on-one relationship – not your mother’s relationship, not my relationship, not Priscilla’s relationship, or anybody else’s relationship – yours. He created you because He wanted to spend some time with you. So stay open and go deeper and deeper, and see that He is good. He loves you!

 

Courtnaye – That is so encouraging! He loves us. Thank you so much, Karen. Well, I would love for women to stay connected and find out more about what you’re working on right now. How can we stay tuned? 

 

Karen – Well, I’m working on a couple of projects right now. God is just rolling the stuff in and in an amazing way! And He’s allowing me to produce. I have a Christmas movie that will be coming out and it will be playing on PureFlix from something I wrote and I’m acting in it. So, November 1st is when it will start running. They also came back to me for a romantic comedy! That will run for Valentine’s Day.

 

Courtnaye –Wow! Awesome!

Karen – My website is www.karenabercrombie.com and I’ve got two Facebook pages to follow me. 

 

Courtnaye – Perfect! Sounds great! Thank you so much for being here, Karen. I appreciate your time. I know you are a very busy woman, and I am so grateful for you and all of the things that God is doing through you! 

 

Karen – I am grateful for this connection! I love you. 

 

Courtnaye – I love you too, Sister! 

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May 2022

BLOG COVER STORY

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creative ways to connect
with god 

By Inside Out with Courtnaye

       was so delighted to sit down and talk with Asheritah Ciuciu for this month's cover story! What a gentle-spirited woman of God who loves spending time with our Heavenly Father. Asheritah is a bestselling author, national speaker, and host of the Prayers of REST podcast. She is a Romanian missionary kid, who is passionate about helping people around the world enjoy Jesus through creative spiritual habits. Asheritah is married to her high school sweetheart and together they raise their three spunky kids in NE Ohio. 

Courtnaye – Welcome Asheritah! How are you sister? 

Asheritah - I am doing well (smiling). Thank you so much for having me Courtnaye!

 

Courtnaye - Absolutely! Well, I know a lot of women are excited to learn more about this topic, especially as it relates to spending quiet time with God. So, let’s go ahead and dive right in! Asheritah, what is your favorite way to connect with God?

 

Asheritah – I think it depends on the day (laughing). For a long time, I’d get stuck in a rut of just kind of doing the same thing. Right now, one of the things that I enjoy doing to connect with Him in the morning is listening to a prayer podcast (not my own). This gives me time to just set my eyes on Jesus and fill my heart and mind with Scripture before I do anything else. 

 

Courtnaye – That’s so good. You know, the morning time is a great time for me, too. I'd have to say that it’s one of my favorites. I love getting my coffee first thing in the morning and then asking the Lord, “How was Your night?” After that, I start journaling (which kicks off my devotional time with God in prayer and the Word). Asheritah, why do you think it can be challenging to get into our quiet time with the Lord, today?

 

Asheritah – I think there are a few things that are obstacles to a thriving prayer and devotional life and one of them is distractions. Even when we do sit down to pray, read the Bible or to journal, it’s easy to get distracted the first 45 seconds in. We start thinking, “Oh, the laundry needs to get switched over to the dryer” or “I need to remember to send that email in for work.” In our own minds, we are distracted. 

 

Courtnaye – So true. 

 

Asheritah – And then there are external distractions like our phone pings or checking one quick thing on Instagram, which then turns into 13 minutes later (where you’re still looking at cat videos). I also think it’s our own expectations. Like, we picture this ideal quiet time with the mug of coffee, candle, flowers, while the kids are still sleeping or playing quietly. Yet, we need to understand that there is no formula or expectation. 

 

Courtnaye – Right. 

Asheritah – So I just want to start by saying lay aside the spiritual To-Do-List and embrace the invitation where Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.” 

Courtnaye - Yes!

 

Asheritah –  It's going to look different in different seasons and it will require some creativity, especially in a busy hectic life. And that’s okay because God’s Spirit is within us, and He’s going to guide us through it.

 

Courtnaye – So good. That is so freeing. We need to get rid of the spiritual To-Do-List. Yessss! I love that! Now, I know you’re a mom and you’re busy doing a lot of things for the Lord, but how do you make time for quiet time around your kids? 

 

Asheritah – There was a season when it was my first time being a mom and my prayer time with the Lord would be the first time I got into my car for the day. So, whether I was driving to a doctor’s appointment, grocery shopping, or to a playdate – the first time getting into the car would be the trigger. I linked my prayer time to clicking in my seatbelt for the first time every day. 

 

Courtnaye – That's creative. 

 

Asheritah – So I would say, link it to something that you’re already doing and make it tiny. Then at the end of the week, look back. If you’ve read your Bible four days out of seven, celebrate those four days. It’s things like this (and that I’ve done in my own life) that have created rhythms of spiritual habits that lead to a life of joy instead of guilt and overwhelm.

 

Courtnaye – Awesome! I love that - tiny habits. Are there any other tips that you’d like to share from your guide? 

 

Asheritah –Yes. The guide you’re referring to which is 120 Creative Ways to Connect with God actually came from my reading of a book by Gary Thomas entitled, Sacred Pathways: Nine Ways to Connect with God. For me, my kitchen sink faces west and I can see the sunset. So when I see the sky light up with a blaze of God’s glory, I just put down the dish sponge for two minutes to walk out onto the deck and sit with Jesus to admire His handiwork.    

 

Courtnaye – Beautiful. You know, there’s such a variety of ways to connect with God. Asheritah, before we get out of here, can you share an encouraging word, today? 

 

Asheritah – Yeah, a verse that I’ve been meditating on recently comes from Psalm 46 and it says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.” And the psalmist goes on to list, “If the mountains crumble, if the oceans roar” – if the worst happens…we will not fear. So whatever that blank looks like for you – what is your worst-case scenario? Is it relationships, finances, or health? Rest in assurance that because God is our refuge and strength, we do not have to fear. We have Him to run to and rest in His loving presence. 

 

Courtnaye – No fear, dear reader. You heard it from Asheritah and the Word of God. Now, you also have a new book coming out that's entitled, Prayers of Rest and it's full of daily prompts to slow down and hear God's voice. I’d love for the women reading to grab it and connect with you online and social media. How can they connect with you?

 

Asheritah – Absolutely, all of the written encouragement is found at www.onethingalone.com. Also, you can find me on Instagram at Asheritah, but you can also find all of my links on my website and www.prayersofrest.com

 

Courtnaye – Awesome! Connect, connect with Asheritah, today. Get her new book and thank you for joining us. ;-)

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WATCH THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE...

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April 2022

BLOG COVER STORY

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