Inside Out with Courtnaye
Every month I will have a NEW blog cover story and 3 feature stories that I will be sharing with you from Christian women around the globe! As I interview each one, get ready to be inspired, instructed, and encouraged as we dive into some biblical and practical insight. It's JANUARY, ladies!
BLOG COVER STORY
Having Open Hands &
A Willing heart
By Inside Out with Courtnaye
elcome, my dear reader! This month I have with me the lovely and sweet-spirited, Vivian Mabuni, who is the author of the book, Open Hands, Willing Heart, podcast host of "Someday is Here," and speaker of a host of women's conferences, which includes, IF:Gathering. Her writing has appeared in Christianity Today, SheReadsTruth, Our Daily Bread, and Propel Sofia. With 32 years serving on the staff with Cru, Vivian loves teaching the Bible and practical application related to ministry and life. She loves drinking coffee with her husband Darrin of 29 years, and marveling at their three young adult kids.
Courtnaye – Welcome Vivian!
Vivian – Thanks, Courtnaye (smiling). Glad to be here!
Courtnaye – Absolutely! I'm glad to have you here. So let's go ahead and dive right in! We're talking about your latest book, Open Hands, Willing Heart. Vivian, can you share with us some practical ways of how we can have open hands and a willing heart?
Vivian – Well, open hands literally means that our hands are open and that God has the freedom to put things in our lives and also take things out. He is the One that we are surrendered to. For our heart posture, I think sometimes we get worried that God is going to send us off into some remote hut in the middle of Thailand and serve Him. So we’re afraid of that and have a hard time really surrendering. But I believe that "willingness" is what He’s after. So it’s not so much that we would go, but the willingness that we would go. It’s in that place where God is free to lead and direct us through His Spirit for the life that He wants us to live.
Courtnaye – Amen. I love it how you talk about the willingness and surrendering with open hands. I actually have a rock where on one side it reads, “Trust Me.” Yet, on the other side it reads, “Surrender.” We just have to let go and let God. Let’s move on a bit. So you also talk about saying, “Yes” to God. What are the benefits of saying, “Yes”?
Vivian – Ultimately, the benefit is that we would know God better. And not just head knowledge, but that knowledge would transfer to our hearts and that we would live out an intimacy with the Lord. That far exceeds anything else. For anyone who has walked with God for any number of years would know, that even in the midst of the hardest times, God shows Himself faithful. We see His intimate care and concern in all the little details of life. It actually increases our faith and trust in Him. So that "Surrender" and "Trust God" (in reference to the rock), that's a real lived-out experience and not just a theory or someone’s opinion.
Courtnaye – Mmm…so good!
Vivian – The second benefit, I believe, is that as we say "Yes" to the adventure of a surrendered life, we just have no idea where God is going to lead us.
Courtnaye – So true. God can do a lot with our, “Yes.” Now, in Chapter 7, you also talk about “Accepting No.” Can you share more about that concept, today?
Vivian – Yes. God is always working behind the scenes. A lot of times for me as a believer, when I approached God in prayer, for a long time, I associated His love and favor with a positive response. So if I’m asking for something and I keep on asking and He responds with “No,” I can misunderstand that answer to be an absence of love. I would search my heart and ask the question, “What have I done wrong that you would say, ‘No’?”
Courtnaye - Gotcha.
Vivian - So I would see it as a very negative thing, rather than understanding that sometimes God will say, “No” even to those He absolutely loves. God the Father even responded to His Son in the Garden of Gethsemane with a “No.” When Jesus asked, “Is there any way that this cup can pass from me?” God said, “No.”(see Matthew 6:39)
Courtnaye - Right. I’ve found that when He does respond in that way, it's for a purpose, just as with Jesus and salvation.
Vivian - To receive a “No” is probably one of the most difficult truths. But to grasp it and be able to hold onto the fact that His love, favor, and goodness don’t change. He would never say, "No" just to be harsh, cruel, or unkind. That’s just not God's character.
Courtnaye – Amen! So true. Vivian, you also have a podcast called, "Someday is Here." Let’s talk about it and your passion for ministry, leadership, and this upcoming generation.
Vivian – My podcast actually originated from the If:Gathering. The very first year that I participated in it, there was a point about “Dominoes.” The idea was that our domino would hit another domino and go on and on, and that we would pass on the faith and build into another generation. That captured me! So when Jenny asked what I’d written on my domino, I wrote to help raise up the next generation of Asian-American Christian women leaders.
Courtnaye - Awesome!
Vivian - When I think about the up and coming generation, representation matters. So the podcast is primarily for Asian-American Pacific Islander women where we’re exploring our faith, culture, stories, and our leadership. Yet, it’s also for non-Asians who want to learn about Asian-American culture.
Courtnaye – Your vision is so niche and I think we can all learn something from what you talk about on your podcast. Well, we always end with an encouraging word. Vivian, can you share an encouraging word with our readers and watching audience, today?
Vivian – I love that you provide this space for encouragement. We are still in a worldwide pandemic, our country is very fractured right now, and encouragement is what our souls really need. So the first word of encouragement I would share is to let the Bible be your primary source of spiritual nourishment. We spend more time reading books and devotions written about the Bible, but not the Bible itself. And what really feeds our souls is the Word of God, because it is living and active and sharper than a double-edged sword.
Courtnaye –So good!
Vivian – Secondly, live life in community. We were built to live in community. So when we talk about fellowship and the importance of the church, we can’t live all of those truths out apart from being in real relationships, in real time, and with real people. So dive in and reach out. Take the steps to form those types of relationships.
Courtnaye –I am all for community and I love a good fellowship. So, "Yes!" Now, before we go, how can we connect with you, get your book, and learn more about your ministry?
Vivian – I would love to connect with the listeners and readers. I am on Instagram and Twitter @vivmabuni. You can find my podcast, “Someday is Here” on all of the podcast platforms and my website is www.vivianmabuni.com.
Courtnaye – Awesome! Well, dear reader, connect with Vivian! Grab her book, listen to her podcast, and let’s learn how to say, "Yes" to God with open hands and a willing heart. See you next month!
WATCH THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE...
BLOG COVER STORY
By Inside Out with Courtnaye
elcome my sister! This month I have with me the beautiful and fun-spirited, Jayne Patton who is the author of the book, Fully Known, podcast host of Sacred Conversations, and speaker of a host of women's conferences. Jayne loves Jesus, connecting with women by serving in her local church, women's prisons, and her online Facebook community, Altered Ministries.
Courtnaye – I am so glad to have you here, Jayne! How are you, today?
Jayne – Oh, I am honored to be here. Thank you so much for having me.
Courtnaye – Absolutely! As I always say, let's go ahead and dive right in. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jayne – Well, I’m from a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. It’s home. I’ve been doing women’s ministry in the church, probably for the last 20 years. But as I went along, God began opening up opportunities to do Bible studies in the community with different denominations, and that’s when He quickened my heart to do more ministry outside of the church walls.
Courtnaye – Gotcha!
Jayne - During that same season, I was exposed to a ministry where the people were worshipping with such freedom. I remember sitting at a church that meets on Saturday nights that’s called “Misfits for Jesus.” As I watched them worship, I realized that they had more freedom than my denominational background typically exhibited in service. I remember looking around and asking, “Who are these people and how do they worship like this?” They began to share with me that they had just come out of prison, re-entry and recovery homes.
Courtnaye – Ah, okay. Wow!
Jayne – I remember thinking, I’ve got to be a part of this! So I started doing prison ministry in maximum-security prisons for women. I began to see real freedom found in places of real captivity. During that process, I was still ministering inside the church, but God was showing me that it was time to break away from traditional church settings. That's when I launched a non-profit ministry called, “Altered Ministries,” because that’s what Jesus does. He completely alters us – from death to life.
Courtnaye – Amen!
Jayne – Now we work with recovery homes and support orphanages in our area. We believe in education, feeding, and clothing others all in the name of Jesus Christ.
Courtnaye – I love that! It’s so good! This is living the Word of God – taking care of those who are in need. Serving the poor, visiting the sick and those who are in prison, and the widows. That is the Bible opening up and coming alive. This is what we’re supposed to be doing.
Jayne – Yes! Jesus makes it clear where His priorities are and that’s what we want to be about. At our ministry, we want to be what Jesus was about. He came to set the captives free. We’ve also discovered that women are held captive in prisons of their own making. For instance, prisons of depression. Prisons of loneliness. Prisons of insecurity. And they wear masks. They live in these prisons. But Jesus came to set them free. So just as much as the prisoner inside of literal prison walls, He came to set the captives free inside of the church walls.
Courtnaye – Come on now and preach! I love it! Amen! So, the Lord has given you a word for 2021 which is “Emerge!” How did God deposit this word to you?
Jayne – Well, I do believe that when we sit quietly before the Lord, He does give us vision. So I was like, “God what do you have for me in 2021?” That’s when He dropped that word into my heart. Then I went to the Word of God and He led me to Job 23:10 which says, “Yet, he knows the way I have taken and when he has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold.” And then in Isaiah 49:9 it says, “You will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out! And those who are in dark dungeons, emerge. They will graze beside the roads and on the slopes, they will find pasture.’”
Courtnaye – Mmm...So good!
Jayne – As I reflected on those verses, I thought 2020 has been a time of testing, shaking, purification, and it’s not done, yet! But I believe what He’s saying in Job is that He knows the way I have taken, He knows the isolation, quarantine, and the holidays – that we’re not going to be able to get together. He knows about the loneliness. But when we come out of this, we will emerge as pure gold! There is hope.
Courtnaye – Woohoo!
Jayne – I think, this year for women, there has been a spirit of depression. As women, we are meant and designed for community. And Satan is a liar and a thief. This pandemic has stolen from us. But I think for 2021, we are coming out of those dark dungeons and we are emerging out of that! Jesus is the Shepherd and we are the sheep, and He is going to lead us among green pastures. That is my hope and I'm looking forward to it in 2021!
Courtnaye – What a word! What a word! Go God! Yes!
Jayne – Amen!
Courtnaye – Now, Jayne you have book that’s entitled, “Truly Known.” So, what does it mean to be truly known?
Jayne – You know, I was raised in a denomination where I felt like I had to work really hard to get God to love me. I had to make sure that I never sinned and never screwed up. I mean, if I didn’t have my quiet time first thing in the morning, it was like the whole day was going to go poorly or I was going to fall out of grace - it was just this pressure! But when I heard the song, “Reckless Love,” I was enveloped by God’s love and He just told me, “You need to stop striving…I just love you.”
Courtnaye - Yes!
Jayne - And while I know there was all of this controversy around the song about God’s love is not reckless - I know that. But I also know that God can use a crooked stick to draw a straight line. He used that song to minister to me and it changed everything for me. He truly knows us. And He loves us completely.
Courtnaye – Amen! We are truly known by Him. Jayne, before we close, do you have an encouraging word for the women, today?
Jayne – I want the readers and listeners to have hope. Know that whatever you’re experiencing right now is not final and it’s not the end. Even if you’re facing a diagnosis that seems threatening or final or a relationship that is ending, more bills, or worries about Christmas - this is not it. There is hope. Look for the fingerprints of God, because He is with us.
Courtnaye – Hope. So good! And if you’re ever in doubt dear reader, go to the Word of God and read scriptures on “hope.” The Lord is faithful to help! Thank you, Jayne. I so appreciate this! Now, how can we find out more information about your book, ministry, and all that you are doing?
Courtnaye – Awesome! Get with Jayne, Sis! She is an amazing woman of God! Thank you so much!
Jayne – I am so grateful that I met you and I can’t wait to bring you to St. Louis! I just think God has amazing things for us in 2021!
Courtnaye – Woohoo! I can’t wait!
WATCH THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE...
BLOG COVER STORY
this holiday season
By Inside Out with Courtnaye
elcome my dear reader! This month I have with me, Katie M. Reid who is the author of the book, Made Like Martha, podcast host of the Martha & Mary Show, singer, and songwriter. She has written on several platforms such as Today's Parenting Blog, HuffPost, Focus on the Family, Crosswalk, (in)courage, LightWorkers, and so many more! She is also a wife and mother of five beautiful children. I'm so grateful to have this refreshing and enlightening conversation with her, today. Let's dive in!
Courtnaye - Welcome Katie! We have so much to talk about. You are doing so many awesome things in this season. You have a new book out right now that’s entitled, “A Very Bavarian Christmas” and we’re going to talk more about that today. It’s actually a novel.
Katie – Who knew, right?
Courtnaye – I know! (chuckling) And you’re a non-fiction author, but all of a sudden you decided to write a novel. So tell us how did you decide to write a fiction book?
Katie – Well, I never thought I would really. I mean, maybe as a young girl, I thought that would be fun! I used to read Robin Jones Gunn’s teen books, and I remember dreaming, “Oh, that would be fun someday!” But I just thought, “How do people who write fiction write so many words about things that they’ve made up?” It just seemed hard, but last season I watched a lot of Christmas rom com movies. And so I said, “I think I could do this.”
Courtnaye - Gotcha!
Katie - Courtnaye, I started writing and it was so life-giving and just fun! I love writing non-fiction and I hope to write more, but when you’re writing something that’s fiction, there's just a lot of joy and freedom. It was a good pivot for my creativity. I think sometimes we can get stuck when we’re in a certain lane. Yet, sometimes when we just take a break or a refresher, it can unleash some of that creativity that might be untapped.
Courtnaye – Absolutely! I love it! You know, I’ve never done a novel before, but I used to do a lot of creative writing growing up. I used to write a lot of short stories and so I always thought that I would write one of these types of books. So Katie, can you tell us a little bit more about the premise of the book?
Katie – Well, the main character is Holly Noel Brigham, who is born on Christmas Eve. She used to love Christmas but after experiencing a tragedy that happened in her family right around the holidays, she's not a fan of Christmas. Unfortunately, her whole town, Bavarian Falls loves Christmas.
Courtnaye – Gotcha!
Katie – She also got an art degree in college, went to Chicago to try to make it, but things did not work out (just as her mom predicted), and so here she is back home for the holidays. She’s in her 30’s, single, and she’s applying her art degree by painting ornaments at the Christmas store. This was not how she imagined her life would turn out. So she’s irritated by her present circumstances,
but Holly is learning how to open up her hands and be open to what might come, even though it may look different than she thought it would.
Courtnaye – Oh my goodness, this sounds like a Hallmark movie!
Katie – Well, that is my not-so-secret goal, Courtnaye – that it would become a movie or musical one day (smile in her voice). I love musical theater and I thought that would be super fun. But we’ll see what God does. I love to dream big!
Courtnaye – Well, I’m dreaming big with you! I would love to see this on screen or as a musical. It sounds very good and I’m definitely going to get it. I think it’s refreshing to dive into something wholesome and good like this. So thank you for taking the time to write it.
Katie – God knew that we would need a little hope at the end of this hard year. So I’m just rejoicing in the timeliness of this book at this time. I think people need something that’s going to work out in the end, because so much in this year has not. So I really hope that it encourages people and makes them think, but that it also gives them that lift after a heavy year.
Courtnaye – Well, it definitely sounds like a lift. Like the main character in your book, Christmas can be hard for some people. Katie, what tips can you give to those who may have experienced hurt or loss and who just need help navigating through this holiday season?
Katie – Yeah, you know, we found ourselves in a situation like that. In November of 2012, we had a failed adoption attempt and it was my worst fear coming true. That Christmas was so hard. So I would encourage people to be honest with their loved ones. If you’re struggling over the holiday season, I think it’s super hard to put on a happy face and do all the normal traditions, because it can just be heartbreaking. I actually have a friend who has been widowed twice and she started a new tradition. So I would encourage them to be honest with others, maybe try a new tradition, keep things simple, and focus on what you do have.
Courtnaye – Great tips! Thank you, Katie! Now, before we close, I want to pivot to your newest venture, Ministry to Business Guide and Huddle. There are a lot of people who are diving deeper into ministry, starting their brands, becoming entrepreneurs and wanting to grow in these areas. Can you tell us a little bit more about this new endeavor?
Katie – Yeah, so the “Ministry to Business Guide” started with four entrepreneurs (and speakers) who just wanted to take our expertise and pull back the curtain to help people. Sometimes in ministry and business, you ask people for help, but then they're kind of tight-lipped about it. So we just said, “Hey, here are some things that we’ve learned along the way. Here are some things that we wish we would’ve known. We want to tell you how to do it, so that you can get unstuck and take sustainable steps forward in your ministry." So the heart of Ministry to Business is to help you make a sustainable income from your passion or ministry, but also to know that it's okay to get paid for what you do if you're in ministry, because it costs money to have a website, have a podcast, or an email subscription service.
Courtnaye – Right. Amen!
Katie – But as you eluded to, Courtnaye, you’re a part of “The Ministry to Business Huddle” which is a hub of Christian communicators and there are some who are not Christians in this group, but they’re all passionate and have a message, want to be in it for the long-haul, and in a life-giving way. And so it’s a membership/coaching group. We also bring in experts. We just want you to be able to get your questions answered. We have team coaching with the four of us who do LIVE Q&A, cheat sheets, and freebies. We’re just having a blast! Our open enrollment was in October, but it's also going to be in January.
Courtnaye – I love this! The Huddle is awesome and open to become a new member during the month of November for January's enrollment. I have pages and pages of notes from the Huddle. So dear reader, sign up, sign up, sign up here if you're looking to grow your ministry, brand, or business. Katie, before we end, can you share a word of encouragement with the readers, today?
Katie – Yes, in the book of Nehemiah, the people were rebuilding a wall. Basically, each of the people had their part to rebuild the wall, and so they were working as a team. I just want to encourage the readers or listeners to know that you have a part on the wall. You have a message that the world needs. So focus on what’s in front of you, instead of focusing on what others are doing. Take steps forward that only you can do. Be faithful with that and cheer on others beside you.
Courtnaye – So good! We are all on the same team. We don’t have to compare one to another. Thank you so much for that, Katie!
Katie – Well, Courtnaye. Thank you so much!
Courtnaye – So how can we connect with you on social media, grab your new book, and find out more about your ministry?
Katie – Sure! You can go to www.katiemreid.com, www.madelikemartha.com, or www.averybavarianchristmas.com. The best place is my website and there is also a pop-up there where you can subscribe to my email list and you’ll get my monthly newsletter and a free video series entitled, “Stress Less and Smile More.” I’m also on social media as Katie M. Reid on Instagram and Facebook. I would love to connect. I just love to encourage people to take the next steps in their creative projects and God-given purpose. That makes me happy!
Courtnaye - Awesome! Connect, grab her book, and sign up here for the Ministry to Business Guide & Huddle today!
LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE...
BLOG COVER STORY
unveiling & embracing the real you
By Inside Out with Courtnaye
ell hello there, my sister. This month I have with me, Co-Pastor Chauntel Williams of The City of Hope International and founder of the non-profit organization, Just Understand My Purpose (JUMP). She is also a loving wife and mother, community activist, entrepreneur, debut author and New Orleans, Louisiana native (my hometown as well) who now resides in Houston, Texas. She is doing so many amazing things for the Lord and bears a huge responsibility to the body of Christ. Personally, I just love her and her sweet spirit. She is truly an amazing woman of God.
Courtnaye - With all of that being said, let’s go ahead and get started. Hello Chauntel, how are you?
Chauntel – Hi Courtnaye, thank you for having me! (smiling)
Courtnaye – Absolutely! I am so excited to talk to you about your new book entitled, “The Mask, Mirror & Me.” It comes out on October 10th this year. Woohoo! So the first thing that I want to ask you is how did you know when it was time to write your book?
Chauntel – Well, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t totally sure. I just knew that I had to write it. The title and message of the book actually came to me 10 years prior to giving birth to it. But in writing this book, I realized the timing was aligned with the Spirit of God. It wasn’t forced. It wasn’t a stressor for me and I didn’t feel like I was taking time away from my family or other things. It was strategically aligned to get this book out.
Courtnaye – Amen. God’s timing is perfect. When He says move, we have to move. In the book, you talk about wearing masks. What does it mean to wear a mask in life?
Chauntel – Interesting, because this book is coming out at a time when we are mandated to wear masks during the pandemic with Covid 19. But the mask that I’m talking about in the book is a façade. It’s a covering up of who you truly are. It’s a suffocation, silence, or a shutting down. When we put masks on it blocks and hinders us from being who and what we should be.
Courtnaye – Right. In the natural, so many people are hiding and hurting behind the mask. Now, in another section of the book you talk about having a “Mirror Experience.” What is that exactly? Can you explain it to us for a moment?
Chauntel – That’s the big boom moment! This is when you finally have the opportunity to look yourself in the mirror and admit or acknowledge that you’ve been wearing a mask. The mirror exposes who you are. It exposes your true identity and all that God has created in you. The mirror experience brings transparency and balance to your life.
Courtnaye – It’s facing yourself, right? It’s facing and embracing all of you. Chauntel, you’ve also faced some hard things in your own life. You’ve been through rejection, abandonment, and low self-esteem. How were you able to overcome all of those things.
Chauntel – I call those "heavy-hitters." Unfortunately, these things take many of us out. There are so many people that deal with suicide, depression, and anxiety. For me, I’ve overcome these things by the power of the Holy Ghost. I asked the Lord to take control of my life and to help me to resist the enemy. That took surrender, but also prayer, fasting, and having a mentor.
Courtnaye – I like that. I’m big on mentorship because we do need to have someone to talk to and share our hurts and struggles with, so they can help pull us through them. Now, can you share a word of encouragement for the women reading or listening today.
Chauntel – Yes, I would like to encourage every reader or listener here, but also those who are going to get the book. My encouragement is to be open to seeing the true you. Don’t be afraid. Embrace the true you. Remove your mask, because that removal will free you. But also look in the mirror and expect a major breakthrough. Pain and trauma is real, but I want you to know that when you open yourself up to the love of God, you can be healed. We all have a purpose and a destiny and you can be all that God created you to be.
Courtnaye – That’s a message! That is such a good word of encouragement! Thank you so much Chauntel.
Chauntel - Amen!
Courtnaye – So how can we find out more information about your book and ministry?
Chauntel – Absolutely! You can find me on www.chauntelwilliams.com. You can order the book from the website or on Amazon. I’m also on Facebook, Instagram, and Periscope (see the social media icons below).
Courtnaye – Woohoo! Connect, connect, connect, my sister and thank you once again Co-Pastor, Chauntel!
LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE...
BLOG COVER STORY
Let go of the guilt
By Inside Out with Courtnaye
ell hello there, my sister. This month I have with me, Valorie Burton. Valorie is a lover of Jesus Christ, wife, mother, bestselling author, speaker, life coach, and entrepreneur. She has been featured on The Today Show, Dr. Oz, CNN, HLN, as well as hundreds of radio, podcast, and television shows. She also co-hosted the show entitled, "Aspiring Women" with T.D. Jakes, written several life-changing books, and has also written for Women’s Day, Essence Magazine, and many more publications. Oh my goodness! She is doing so many amazing things and I see her EVERYWHERE – in bookstores such as Mardel Christian Bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and Target.
Courtnaye –Welcome, welcome, welcome, Valorie!
Valorie - Thank you, Courtnaye. I’m glad to be here. (smiling)
Courtnaye – Awesome! Valorie, you are a very successful woman who is doing so many great things and now you have a new book that’s coming out on September 1st, which is right around the corner.
Valorie – I know! Can you believe it?
Courtnaye – Hey! Time flies when you’re having fun and doing the will of God. So, your book is called, Let Go of the Guilt. Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind it and how you began pinning it?
Valorie – Sure, I’ve struggled with guilt. I don’t even know if I even would’ve called it that, but as I delved into the topic, I realized that yes, this was guilt. So as I began talking about guilt with women, especially at speaking engagements, I would get this collective, “Ugh! Of course, yes! I have guilt every day.” That’s when I realized it wasn’t just me.
Courtnaye – Gotcha. So what is guilt, really?
Valorie - Guilt is something you feel that can cause you to make decisions that you wouldn’t otherwise make. Guilt makes you behave in ways that you wouldn’t otherwise behave. While writing this book, I wanted to help women let go of guilt, but also let go of my own guilt.
Courtnaye – So good! And I love your passion behind helping women overcome this.
Valorie - Also Courtnaye, in the book, I do talk about authentic guilt a bit – like when you’ve done something wrong, because that happens. So, I’m not saying that if you’ve done something wrong, you shouldn’t feel guilty. But if you are treating yourself as if you’ve done something wrong and you haven't, that is what I call false guilt. And that guilt has to be rejected. In my research of surveying over 500 women and while writing this book, so much of the guilt that women talked about and struggled with was false guilt. Again, it’s when I haven’t done anything wrong, but I feel like I’ve done something wrong or caused harm, when I really haven’t. That’s not God’s will for us to walk around feeling condemned or guilty for things we don’t need to feel guilty about.
Courtnaye – Right, Amen. You also talk about a guilt list. Can you talk about that more?
Valorie – Sure. The guilt list can look like, “I don’t visit my mother enough” or “I don’t want to celebrate my good fortunes, because I feel guilty that my friends are not in the same place.” I actually thought “mom guilt” would’ve been at the top and that was in the top five, but the top two were things like, “I don’t feel like I’m eating right” or “I don’t feel like I’m exercising well.”
Courtnaye – Wow! Well, I can totally relate to that. So I guess I need to start writing out my guilt list and shake it off.
Valorie – Right. And think about what triggers your guilt. For me, when my son was in pre-school, my guilt was dropping him off at school thinking, “You know, the really good moms are at home with their kids at this age. But look at you - writing books and speaking.”
Courtnaye – Gotcha.
Valorie – But on one particular day, when my husband and I dropped him off together and as we were walking away, I remember saying, “I feel so bad.” My husband was like, “What? Did you see him when he walked in there? His bros were high-fiving him and were like, Alex! He doesn’t want to be home with you all day. He’s social and happy. I think this is better for him. You’re a great mom!”
Courtnaye – Wow! That's so awesome!
Valorie – And then he said something that really hit me. He said, “Wasn’t this the vision you had for your life?” And I said, “Yes.” When I was 20 years old, I said that I wanted to be an author, own a business and have a family, but I also wanted to have flexibility in my schedule. Now, it took me more than two decades to get to this vision, but there I was feeling guilty.
Courtnaye – That is something, because I’ll tell you. The thing that I feel guilty about is not working out. One reason is because I’m not very passionate about it. And I have to tell you, I’m married to a fitness owner (laughing). I mean, when I’m getting ready to put a cookie in my mouth I tend to say, “Oh-oh, should I do that?” However, the great thing is that he doesn’t make me feel bad. I do it to myself. That’s the false guilt that you’re talking about. So I love how you explain that and how our husbands reel us back in to see that we don’t have to feel guilty.
Valorie – Right! (laughing) You know, in the book I talk about the “Guilt Gender Gap.” The men in our lives really can help us, because women do feel guiltier. One piece of research stated that men are guilt deficient until they get into their 50’s. But some of it is because we are emotionally more complex.
Courtnaye – I can totally see that. Okay, so before we close, what does it look like to let go of guilt? Can you share a couple of tips with us?
Valorie - Well, first and foremost, become aware of what’s going on. When you start to feel guilt, notice it and label it. Research shows that when we label emotions, it creates an interruption. We’re stopping and pausing and realizing, “Oh, that emotion just showed up!” Personally, it gives me a minute to acknowledge that emotion, pause, while allowing me to respond rather than react. And then, it’s pushing back on that guilt.
Courtnaye – Gotcha.
Valorie – And then secondly, ultimately letting go of the guilt is about taking back your joy and practicing self-compassion, which is simply treating yourself with kindness and encouraging yourself as much as you would your best friend or loved one whom you really care about. We often encourage others in similar situations, but then beat ourselves up for making mistakes, regrets, or past choices. So talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend. I’ll say this, ultimately the reason why I wrote this book, Let Go of the Guilt is to help you get back your joy, because that is what guilt steals.
Courtnaye – Wow! So profound! Thank you so much Valorie, for taking the time to write the book and for taking time out of your busy schedule to share with us today.
Valorie - No problem, Courtnaye. (smiling)
Well, there you have it, my sister! Don't let guilt rob you of your joy. Grab Valorie's new book, Let Go of the Guilt and when you visit her website, check out all of the additional resources that she provides with the book like an audio version, book club info, study materials, and so much more. Let's let go of the guilt, my sister, as soon as we recognize it!
Lead Like a Woman
By Inside Out with Courtnaye
efore we dive into this week’s post, I am so excited to announce to you that I will be doing a blog cover story and features each month, while still posting my weekly blog. So you won't miss my blog posts. ;-) This is just a NEW great way to connect with like-minded women who we can all glean from biblically and practically.
For the month of August, I have collaborated with Deborah Smith Pegues, who is a devoted wife, speaker, bestselling Christian author of 18 books including, 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue: What to Say (and Don’t Say) Will Improve Your Relationships (which has sold over 1 million copies - this book is so good, Sis!). I had the privilege of sitting down with Deborah to have a conversation about how we can "Lead Like a Woman," which is also the title of her NEW book!
Join me in the conversation as she talks to us about work-life balance, flowing in the favor of God, and of course, leading like a woman…
Courtnaye – Hi Deborah, welcome to Inside Out with Courtnaye! I am so excited to have you here with me today!
Deborah – Thank you so much for having me, Courtnaye.
Courtnaye – No problem! Okay, before we dive in to talk about your NEW book, Lead Like a Woman, as a very successful influential woman in ministry and in business, my first question is how do you balance it all – work, ministry, family, and business as you lead others?
Deborah – It’s called the grace of God! (chuckling) I believe my biggest accomplishment today is being married for 41 years to a man whom I love and who I still look forward to seeing every morning when I wake up. Actually, I deliberately pace myself so that I can pace myself with my marriage and my role as a matriarch of a huge family, even though I have no children. I’ve just tried to follow God’s model - God, family, and my career. I have to say that my career has never been at the top of my list and I think God has honored that in regards to the sacrifices that I’ve made by deciding not to do or take an engagement because I had a commitment to my husband. We take trips. My husband is a fun guy, but I’m the type that can work all night long (laughing). So I just say, “Follow God’s model.” I don’t put anything before my husband, other than God. We have “date night” every Friday and we have done this for about 40 years. It just feels right. I don’t go to bed feeling guilty that I spent too much time working and didn’t spend time with him. I don’t want to be a public success and a private failure. I really don’t. That’s just so critical to me.
Courtnaye - Amen! I love the balance that you have with God, your husband, family, and having those date nights. I think it's important to invest in our marriages. So now, tell us the answer to the question of the hour: What does it mean to Lead Like a Woman?
Deborah – Well, I’ll start by saying this. Women are nurturing, collaborative, and intuitive. These are traits where we excel. I will say, some women think that they need to come to the table like "Gangbusters!" And they don’t. You want to lead like a woman. For instance, you can be assertive and say, “I just believe this would work.” For me personally, I don’t compete with men. You know, God told Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.” Can you imagine either one of them trying to do that alone? It has always been God’s intention for men and women to work together. And personally, I don’t like the hand-to-hand combat that a lot of people try to engage. That’s not God’s way. God wants us to work hand-in-hand. So I just try to work together, because none of us are as smart as all of us.
Courtnaye – Great point! Once again, bringing that balance whether we work in the church or the corporate sector as we co-labor together. I think this is a good segue into my next question, which is about “confidence.” As women who lead, how can we increase our confidence?
Deborah – Confidence is my favorite subject to talk about, because the world teaches us to have self-confidence. The word confidence means “with trust.” Now, self-confidence means “with trust in self.” And let me tell you, “self” is a very limited entity. In fact, Proverbs 28:26 says, “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but one who walks in wisdom is safe.” When you have self-confidence you’re relying on your experience, education, and maybe some contacts that you have, but there will come a time in your life when you will need something supernatural! In Daniel 2:21-22 it says, “He reveals deepest things, He knows what’s in the darkness and the light dwells with Him.” So whenever I’m faced with a situation and I feel inadequate, I don’t seek self-confidence. I say, “God, I know adequacy doesn’t come from me. It flows through me.” Also, 2 Corinthians 3:5 says, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.”
Courtnaye – Amen! I’m telling you when you started preaching the Word, I was like, “I am here for it!” Preach! Ladies, eat it up! It's all about having a God-confidence vs. self-confidence. Okay great! Moving right along. As more and more women are becoming influencers and doing a lot of things, many are stepping into leadership roles. How important is it for women to build a strong network?
Deborah – Do you have an hour for me to talk about that? (laughing) Networking is so critical! And I am really big on it! God works through people. So you need to connect with people. I can say that significant strides that were made in my career was because somebody knew somebody or that person had access to someone who had some source who could say, “Yes or No.” And I’m speaking from being on major TV programs to radio interviews where you get heard by millions a year. Just a phone call to say, “Do you know someone over there?” That’s important. I've found that a lot of women don’t like networking, because they may think it feels insincere. But instead, they need to see it as mutual. In other words, “How can I add value to you?” So I’ll say, keep networking, but don’t rest your faith in it. Don’t get excited about the number of powerful people you know, because ultimately, it’s God who gives you favor. Psalm 5:12 says, “Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” This verse is so empowering to me!
Courtnaye – Oooooo! Yes, good stuff! God is the One who ultimately gives us favor. Favor with Him and with man. I am truly feasting on this! Now, in Chapter 10, which is entitled, “Servant-Hearted: Unveiling the Secret to Greatness,” you talk about servant leadership and I’m pretty big on this. Can you expound a little more about what it looks like to have a servant’s heart as a leader?
Deborah – In the book, when I talk about it being a path to greatness, there is a story in the Bible where the disciples ask Jesus, “Who would be the greatest in your kingdom?” And He said, “He who would be the greatest will be a servant.” I believe that’s one of the traits that God has innately given to us as women. We come to the table with an attitude of service. We are interested in helping others in personal development. We like adding value to people. We like teamwork. We look for ways to serve. Yet, the caution that I share in my book helps us to excel in leadership, while managing being a servant and a leader. Jesus was a leader (and He wasn’t a pushover). He also didn’t just take everything to do it all Himself. He empowered His disciples. So the important thing is that we balance it out. What I’m encouraging women to do through the book is to manage those traits that I share, while understanding that you don’t have to lead like a man. Just come with the mindset that “I really am here to serve.”
Courtnaye – Love it, love it! Just lead like a woman, right? I get it! ;-) Ok, last question. Let’s talk about what’s happening in our world today. Lately, there has been a lot of racial tension and division, and I really want you to share on how we can work together as Christian women in leadership?
Deborah – I recently put out a little piece that has almost gone viral entitled, “10 Ways Whites and Blacks Can Bridge the Racial Divide.” As Christian women, I would start by looking within (at our own biases) and go before the Lord and say, “Search me, O God." Then, in the meantime, let’s decide to work together. I’m encouraging people to get together and be responsible for initiating a cross-cultural relationship. I am actually having so much fun explaining to my friends, things that they probably shouldn’t say or what they didn’t know was offensive (because they just don’t know). And I give great grace in this area while explaining it to them.
Courtnaye - Wow! You are so amazing! I want to end it with this quote from your new book, Lead Like a Woman - "Faith is one of the leading traits." Thank you so much Deborah!
Well, that’s it Sister! As I met with Deborah, there were so many great nuggets that I wasn’t able to share in this written piece, but stay tuned to watch the full interview on in the coming days. Also, to find out more about Deborah Smith Pegues' books, ministry, and booking inquiries, please visit www.contfrontingissues.com. Don't forget to grab her NEW book, "Lead Like a Woman," which comes out August 11th! Pre-Order TODAY!
And remember, Jesus Christ is coming back soon! So let's be ready from the Inside Out! Also, let me know how this special blog cover story ministered to you this week. And email me directly with prayer requests @ email@example.com.
BLOG COVER STORY