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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! As I interview each one, get ready to be inspired, instructed, and encouraged as we dive into some biblical and practical insight. It's SEPTEMBER, ladies!

BLOG COVER STORY

September 2021

Making a kingdom impact through acts of kindness

By Inside Out with Courtnaye

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          ey, my dear reader! This month, I'm excited to have a refreshing conversation with kindhearted Becky Keife who is the community manager for DaySpring's (in)courage! Becky is also a popular speaker and author of the book, No Better Mom for the Job: Parenting with Confidence. But today, we're going to be talking about her NEW book entitled, The Simple Difference: How Every Small Kindness Makes a Big Difference. Becky and her husband live near Los Angeles, where they enjoy hiking sunny trails with their three spirited sons. 

Courtnaye – Hello Becky, how are you today? 

Becky – I am so good! Thank you for having me.

 

Courtnaye - Absolutely! Well, let's go ahead and dive right in! Becky, I know you are the Community Manager for DaySpring's (in)courage. For the readers, what is (in)courage?

Becky- Sure, so (in)courage is an online community for Christian Women. We have 30 writers. It was started 12 years ago by DaySpring, which is the product subsidiary of Hallmark. We’re all about building community, celebrating diversity, and becoming women of courage. We do this every day online by sharing our own messy stories and shining a light on how God meets us there. I’m so grateful and love the (in)courage community! 

Courtnaye - I love that it’s your personal stories of what God has done in your lives. I also love how you all lead us back to the Word of God so that we can grow in Him. Dear reader, make sure to get connected with DaySpring and (in)courage. Okay, so Becky, you have your NEW book entitled, The Simple Difference: How Every Small Kindness Makes a Big Impact. For a moment, can you tell us what has the (in)courage community taught you about kindness? 

Becky - If I could boil down what I have learned through the (in)courage community, it’s that our words matter. Sometimes we feel like we don’t have a lot to give or don’t have a lot of money, or a lot of time. But the power of simple words, it’s just so amazing! I feel like that is one of the greatest kindnesses that we can give each other. 

Courtnaye – So good! Kind words can definitely make an impact. Can you share with us how you've been able to see kindness in your own daily life? 

Becky- Yeah! So I’ve been walking with the Lord for a long time - 35 years. But if I think about all the ways He has worked in my life, I feel like His kindness has been transformative. To realize that the way God reaches into our everyday lives is a reflection of His character. His kindness has transformed my life. 

Courtnaye - Amen! Becky, in the book you write about showing intentional acts of kindness. What does that actually look like? 

Becky- For me, intentional acts of kindness is like this openness to the Holy Spirit and being aware of the needs of others. Maybe that intentional kindness is bringing a meal to a friend who you know is just having a rough week. Maybe it’s bringing in the trash cans for your elderly neighbor. Maybe someone is on your heart and you wonder how that person is doing. I have a neighbor and she is at least 80 years old. She is amazing! I found out recently that her husband passed away, and I kept thinking I should invite her over. 

Courtnaye – Good idea. 

Becky - We’ve lived across the street for eight years and it has never moved beyond, “Hi, how are you?” So I thought, who cares if it’s awkward! I’m just going to go over there, ask her, and the worse she could say is, “No.” Now, she has come over twice and we have had the best time sitting on my back porch with coffee. 

Courtnaye – Yes!

Becky - I want to intentionally love the people in front of me. 

Courtnaye - Right. As I’ve been reflecting on scripture and your book, kindness is an act of love. In 1 Corinthians 13:4, it says, "...Love is kind." So when we show kindness to others, we are also showing love. 

Becky - Absolutely! He calls us to love one another as He has loved us, and it's how others will know that we are His disciples.

Courtnaye - So true. 

Becky - In a world where we see lots of division, discord, and heartache, sometimes we can feel like, “What can I really do to make a difference?” I believe small acts of showing up, giving that kind word, and stopping to pray for someone can make a difference.

 

Courtnaye - Amen! Showing those acts of kindness just goes a long way and makes a great impact, especially in a world where people are becoming colder and colder. Becky, what do you want the readers to take away or know after reading your book?

Becky - I would want them to know that God is ready and able to use them right where they are with exactly what they have. It’s not about necessarily going out of our way. We feel like we don’t have time, capacity, or resources to go out of our way to make a difference. No. Make that your daily prayer, “Lord, as I go on my way, have your way with me.” And then, see what He’s going to do. 

Courtnaye- That’s so good. That’s being led by the Holy Spirit like you mentioned earlier. Is there an encouraging word that you want to share with the readers or viewing audience before we close?

Becky- Yes. Remember, when it comes to kindness, prayer is not the least you can do, but our very best first response. It is such a gift to take each other’s burdens to the throne of grace. 

Courtnaye - Agreed! We’ve got to get your book! So, tell us how we can get it. 

Becky- Sure! You can pre-order the book anywhere books are sold. The book releases October 5th. If you pre-order, you will get the audiobook of The Simple Difference for free. You’ll also get the e-book of my first book, No Better Mom for the Job for free, and some Kindness Counts notecards from DaySpring. Also, go to www.incourage.me and there will be a form for you to collect your pre-order bonuses.

 

Courtnaye – What a bundle! So much good stuff! Reader, we have to pre-order now! Woohoo! She also has a companion bible study called, Courageous Kindness which releases on October 5th as well! And don’t forget to connect with Becky online via Instagram @beckykeife and through her website at www.beckykeife.com. Thank you so much for being here, Becky. You are an amazing woman of God! Continue to do all those amazing things out there!  

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BLOG COVER STORY

August 2021

child sex trafficking:
A mother's fight over fear

By Inside Out with Courtnaye

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          elcome, my dear reader! This month, I'm honored to sit down to talk to my sister-friend, wife, mother, founder of Vigilant Families and Able Moms, as well as bestselling author of the book, Unraveled: Mothering Fiercely in a World Full of Fears, Amanda Florczykowski! This is a fierce mother right here! We are going to be talking about her real-life story of how she experienced child sex trafficking firsthand and how she fought her way through to protect her own daughter, but also how she's helping families around the world fight back. Join us in the conversation.

Courtnaye – Amanda, thank you so much for being here. 

 

Amanda – I’m so grateful to be here with you, Courtnaye.  

 

Courtnaye – Awesome! Well, let’s go ahead and dive right in. Amanda, you actually experienced child sex trafficking firsthand when your own child was ripped from your arms in a grocery store. Can you tell us what happened that day?

 

Amanda – Yes, of course. In 2016, I believe I was a victim of a four-person child sex trafficking ring. It was pretty much like any other day. I'd dropped my older kids off at school, but took my two younger ones (who were close to three years old and an infant) to the store. While I was wrapping up my shopping, I collided with this other shopping cart. At the same time, I could tell that the gentleman that I'd collided with was really intentionally wanting to engage me. He started asking me questions about my children, and I noticed that he didn't have any kids and he wasn't there with his wife, so I just rerouted myself.   

 

Courtnaye - Gotcha. 

 

Amanda - But when I turned into the aisle, I remember looking over my shoulder and seeing him still standing there, staring at us. To me, that was bizarre.

 

Courtnaye – Right! 

 

Amanda – After that I rolled towards the checkout line and there was this couple that I let go ahead of me. Immediately, the woman struck up a conversation with me. Then all of a sudden, she got incredibly and physically close to my family. She started asking me questions about my daughter, specifically her age. She asked me three times. As she asked, she was also talking to the man that she was with in another language. I realized that she was interpreting what I was saying to him. 

Courtnaye – What? Oh, my goodness!       

 

Amanda – At that point, all of the bells and whistles are going off. And we know as believers, the Holy Spirit is communicating with us. What I tell moms now when I’m at speaking engagements is trust that gut instinct, because the Holy Spirit exponentially prompts us to trust our gut as mothers.

 

Courtnaye – Right. 

 

Amanda - So I picked up my daughter and I held her close to me. But then the woman asked me, “Can I hold your daughter?” I said, “No. You can't hold my daughter.” Next, this woman is pulling my daughter from my arms and starts stepping away with her. 

 

Courtnaye – Oh my goodness! 

 

Amanda - She grabs my daughter’s hand and parrots, “Okay, wave bye-bye to mommy.”

 

Courtnaye – What?

Amanda - So as a mother, in that moment, I was thinking this isn’t reality! I was thinking do I put my hand on my son to make sure he’s okay (who was still in the basket) or do I lunge forward and grab my daughter? I was trying to figure out how to do this. To date, praise God! I have my daughter. 

 

Courtnaye – Amen!

 

Amanda – I’m very grateful that my story didn’t end differently. But now, I’m able to talk about child sex trafficking advocacy. 

 

Courtnaye – Your story actually went viral with 60 million views from a post that you shared! How did you feel when your story went viral? 

 

Amanda – Absolutely terrified! When my husband called and told me that my post went viral, I wanted to run and hide as fast as I could, because you have no idea who is on the other side of that computer screen or what you’re opening yourself up to. I was fearful of our family’s safety and reputation. I didn’t want to be a spokesperson for this. But then my husband told me, “You have to understand that if God is opening this door, you can’t close this door.” So I spent some time with the Lord and I asked Him, “Is this what you want?”

 

Courtnaye - Yeah (nodding).

Amanda - And He gave me the verse in Proverbs 24:11-12 that says, “Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die. Save them as they stagger towards there death. Don’t excuse yourself by saying, ‘Look, we didn’t know.’ For God understands all hearts and he sees you. He who guards your heart and soul knows that you knew.” So God asked that of me and it was very clear, "Take the next step, write the book, share, talk, and speak." Because the equivalent of not speaking would be the equivalent of bending down to a little child and saying, “I’m sorry, but you need to find someone else to help you.” And I couldn’t do that. 

 

Courtnaye – Amanda, this is a calling. I know it was a tough situation to be in, but God is using it to help so many people. And now from your testimony, came a book and it’s entitled, “Unraveled: Mothering Fiercely in a World Full of Fears.” I have to say, I love the cover! What was the inspiration behind it?

 

Amanda – Funny that you should ask, because it was very strategic on my part. We’d suffered an astronomical house fire that damaged everything, our son drowned in a pool, yet was miraculously revived, and then to top it off with this situation and a miscarriage, life was just unraveling. So truly, this was a picture of what God does with all of us when we get to that place of ultimate unraveling. But I had to say, “Lord, I surrender. You do with this what you want.” 

 

Courtnaye – Surrender is what He wants from all of us. I believe that’s when He can do His best work. It's when we give it all to Him. In the book, you also talk about “Mom-Fears.” How can we overcome them?

 

Amanda – Great question. When I was writing this book, I posed this question to mothers and asked, “Explain to me, what is your greatest fear in motherhood?” And I got a myriad of answers because many of us have that genuine concern for our children’s well-being and safety. Whether they are 3 or 30.

 

Courtnaye - Right! 

 

Amanda - So I sat down with my Bible one day and I said that’s enough. Where is this fear coming from that seems to be overtaking me? Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Don’t be anxious about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace.”

 

Courtnaye - That's good.

Amanda - We live in this tension of being tempted by fear, but not being ruled by fear. Prayer is where overcoming starts. So, if we’re having anxiety or we’re worried about stuff, the only way to get peace is to pray with thanksgiving. And so that verse radically changed my anxiety levels, my peace, my perception of things, my gratitude, and my ability to go out and look at the world and start looking for things to be thankful for. I began to see God for who He is and not the “what if.” 

 

Courtnaye – I love that and I love how God gives us peace that surpasses all understanding after we let go of the anxiety and as we give thanks unto Him. Amanda, you also have a new ministry that’s called, “Able Moms.” Tell us more about it. 

 

Amanda – Oh, thank you for asking, Courtnaye. Able Moms is about equipping mothers to be capable in their practical parenting, unshakable in their faith, and memorable in their motherhood. We’re just equipping mothers to be great moms. Women can connect with us by visiting www.ablemoms.org.

 

Courtnaye – Awesome! Can you tell the ladies how they can connect with you online and for speaking engagements?

 

Amanda – Yes! Sharing this story and the word of my testimony is my part in overcoming the evil of child sex trafficking. So I would love to continue speaking about it. Women can buy the book and find out more about my ministries, Vigilant Families and Able Moms at www.amandaflo.com

 

Courtnaye – Amanda, thank you so much for being here and sharing your story.

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BLOG COVER STORY

July 2021

Motivation in the Background

By Inside Out with Courtnaye

          elcome, my dear reader! This month I had the fun honor of talking to my long-time friend and personal "Motivator" in the background, Marilyn E. Powell. I believe we all need someone or some people in our lives who will help push us, encourage us, and motivate us when we simply don't feel motivated to do all-the-things in life, ministry, or business. Marilyn lives by the standard of living life to the fullest and from a positive perspective. Without a doubt, she is always excited to come alongside current and prospective entrepreneurs to help them develop an entrepreneurial mindset, while crushing their goals in life and business (and ministry). Marilyn prepares, plans, and is persistent to the finish! Join me on our conversation and grab three great motivational tips with a FREE Bonus at the end.

Courtnaye - I am so excited to talk about “Motivation in the Background!” Welcome Marilyn! 

 

Marilyn – Thank you, it’s good to be here, Courtnaye. (smiling) 

 

Courtnaye - Again, I am so excited to talk about this topic and have you here today, because we are friends! We’ve been friends for over 25 years (almost 26 now), and we met in college. But you are my girl. You're also my behind-the-scenes girl that I’m bringing to the forefront. With that being said, we’re going to go ahead and dive in.   

Marilyn – (laughing) Okay!

Courtnaye – So Marilyn, when I call, text, or inbox you (most of the time, I inbox you) and I say, “Marilyn, I don’t feel motivated! I don’t feel like doing anything. I have all of this work to do, but I just don’t feel like doing it.” How do you help pull me out of that rut?

 

Marilyn – Well, first I hear you out. I fully listen to what’s going on, which is usually a lot! (chuckling)

 

Courtnaye – Right!

 

Marilyn – After listening, I clarify what I’ve heard just to make sure that I know the goals that you’re trying to achieve. By that time, we’re already talking through it. Once we get that momentum going, it’s uphill from there. And then, I’m always looking for the positive aspect in everything!

 

Courtnaye – Right, you never let me stay down. If I ever say, “I don’t think I can do this. It's too hard.” You always tell me, “No, it’s not hard. It’s challenging." Because if I look at it (i.e., the task or assignment) as if it’s too hard, then I’m even more so not going to want to do it. You also say, "Do it. Get through it. Get it done.”  

 

Marilyn – Yep! 

 

Courtnaye – You not only encourage me, but you pray for me, too. And let me just say here to my dear reader. While you may see me doing all-of-the-things (speaking events, blogging and putting out resources), I have someone who motivates me in the background, especially when I don’t feel motivated. That's when we have to pull in what I call, “Reinforcement.” So Marilyn, how important is it to have a motivator in the background

 

Marilyn – It’s extremely important to have a friend, mom, or coach to share your ideas and challenges. Also, the people in your circle (who you look to for motivation and inspiration) need to be hand selected. You need to be particular about who you have in your circle.  

 

Courtnaye -  I agree, 100%. Now, I want to talk about some of the tips. I would say Tip #1 would be to pray. Actually, for me, before I reach out, I pray. I’ll say, “Lord, I just don’t have the motivation.” After that, sometimes He’ll help me and pull me through, but other times, He’ll use people. That’s when I’ll reach out to you via Facebook messenger, and I’ll wait for your response. And you’re a night owl. So even if it’s midnight, you’ll get back with me and say, “Okay, tell me what’s going on. Did you get through it? How can we push through this?” 

 

Marilyn – Right. Also, I want to say that when you’re not feeling motivated, just rest (Tip #2). Pray and be still. Don’t jump into it. Just be still and you’ll hear the next steps. 

 

Courtnaye – I like that! Now, Tip #3 would be to set a day to plan out your schedule with your “Motivator in the Background” (i.e., your coach, mentor, friend, etc.). Talk about it. Lay it out. Decide together what needs to stay on or come off of your schedule. 

 

Marilyn – It’s all about prioritizing. You need to think about what needs to be done right now, because what impedes motivation is distraction and overwhelm. While we may have long lists and things that we want to get done, we have to focus on what’s needed now. I like to say review, sort, and prioritize your list and then move forward and get things done. 

 

Courtnaye – I love it! What I like to do is have my top 5 high priorities listed for the day. And I call them, “HP5.” I list them each out and then sometimes I'll slip in about 3 low priorities. 

 

Marilyn – Gotcha. 

 

Courtnaye – Okay, so Tip #4 is coming from my motto, “Nothing happens until you start moving.” My kids are saying it now. So listen dear reader, nothing is going to happen until you get started (i.e. that ministry, business, brand, program, book, change in your marriage or kids, etc.). Whatever you’ve got to do to get moving and motivated, do it. Start praying. Crack open the bible and go deeper. Go to that women’s conference. Sign up for that training. 

 

Marilyn – Absolutely, I agree. 

 

Courtnaye – Marilyn, you have a Mastermind Group coming up. Tell us more about it. 

 

Marilyn – Yes, of course. It’s a Mastermind Group through my company Success InSight. It’s a 6-month program with like-minded individuals coming together to share ideas, give input, and work through challenges. It’s a time that has been set-aside for a group of people who are ready to begin moving forward. 

 

Courtnaye – Well, you will definitely get them moving forward. I know it! Okay, now tell us how women can connect with you and sign up for the Mastermind Group.

 

Marilyn – Sure. They can learn more on www.marilynepowell.com. I’m also on Instagram @marilynepowell and Facebook as Marilyn Powell. 

 

Courtnaye – Awesome! Connect dear reader! She also has a FREE resource with 25 Motivational Prompts entitled, “Motivation with Marilyn.” Grab it today, here!   

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June 2021

podcasting from  a kingdom perspective

By Inside Out with Courtnaye

          elcome, my dear reader! This month I had the honor of talking to powerhouse podcast host, author and speaker, Misty Phillip of Spark Media. Misty is a dreamer and doer who believes that we are all here for a reason and that we are created for a purpose. She is the founder of Spark Media, host of By His Grace Podcast and author of "The Struggle is Real, But So is God." Join us on the conversation. 

Courtnaye – Welcome Misty Philip! How are you?  

 

Misty – Hey Courtnaye, I'm great! Thanks for having me here. 

Courtnaye – Absolutely! Well, let's go ahead and dive right in. Misty you have your podcast, By His Grace, can you tell us how you became interested in podcasting? Tell us a little bit about your journey. 

Misty –Sure. God called me out of Enron (the workplace) to work from home and to lay my life down for my family and educate my boys. So I spent the next 15 years doing that. But when my oldest son went to college, I realized, “I’m in trouble if I don’t find something to do.” So, I started praying and asking God, “What’s next? What’s in the next season for me?”

 

Courtnaye – Gotcha.

Misty – That’s when the Lord called me to write and speak. I started writing the “Struggle is Real.” And it took me three years to write it because writing is not my gifting. It was obedience. But my son, who was in college and had a podcast said, “Mom, you’re struggling so hard writing, why don’t you host a podcast? You love to talk. You’re really good at that and I think you’d be amazing!” So I actually recorded my first 15 episodes in my hotel room at She Speaks in the pre-conference and in-between sessions. 

 

Courtnaye – Wow!

 

Misty – Yeah, there were all of these amazing women who had stories of struggles and I wanted to share their stories of how God saw them through. That’s how the podcast started out.

Courtnaye – Podcasting is such a huge deal right now! There are so many that are popping up. We're talking about, "Podcasting from a Kingdom Perspective" today. Can you tell us how this particular platform can help win souls, build the Kingdom of heaven, and encourage the body of Christ?  

 

Misty – Sure. The beautiful thing about podcasting is that it goes all over the world. It’s amazing where it travels. I started looking at where my podcast is popular. It’s in places where the gospel is not typically shared and I have a really large following in France, Africa, South America, and India. So I've seen how God has used my podcast. He has really shown me the importance of podcasting for such a time as this. And think about it. I could sit here in my home, in my study with my microphone, and I can share a word of encouragement, the word of God, and it goes out all over the world. It is amazing! We can fulfill the great commission from the comfort of our own homes. 

Courtnaye – I love that! It’s going far and wide! Now, you talk about various topics on your podcast, can you share some of them with us?

Misty – Well, I started the podcast based on struggles. So we talked about the loss of a baby, cancer, anxiety, and depression. After a while my husband goes, “Baby, these are all such heavy topics. If you don’t change the subject, you might lose some people.” So I started to lighten up a bit and started talking about the day-to-day struggles that we deal with like what is my calling, purpose, work, how to handle spiritual warfare, and just all kinds of different things. This year, I'm focused on topics that I’ll be covering in my new book about chasing your God-given dreams, being obedient to His call, and what He asks you to do.

Courtnaye – Awesome! Misty, do you have any tips for women who may be interested in becoming a podcast host?

Misty – Yeah, I would love to share some. The first thing is getting past the fear and just doing the thing! The next thing is to know your message and understand your “why?” Because producing content every week is difficult to be in constant creation. My “why” is to encourage women to seek Jesus, study the word, and to grow in grace. If I can keep that in mind when it’s busy and hard, that will keep me going.

 

Courtnaye – So good!

 

Misty – The next thing is who do you want to serve and what’s your core message? Spend time with the Lord and ask Him, "Who do you want me to speak to?" Also, you just need something to record; a computer, microphone, and something like we’re using, Zoom. 

 

Courtnaye – I love that! Pray and know your who, what, and why? Misty, what types of microphones would you recommend for podcasting? 

 

Misty – We have a saying in our house, “Buy high, cry once!” (chuckling) I use the RODECaster Pro and a pod mic. The reason I chose this is because it has a built-in pop filter and it produces a very rich quality sound. The RODECaster Pro video audio-face is about $600. The mic is about $99. I would go to RODE because they just make the best microphones. On my blog, I have lots of helpful tips and tricks about starting a podcast and what type of equipment to buy. There’s even a FREE eBook entitled, "Create and Grow a Stellar Podcast." 

 

Courtnaye – Yay! We’re getting the goods. Thank you so much! Grab that FREE eBook dear reader. Now Misty, I usually end with an encouraging word. Can you share an encouraging word with us, today? 

 

Misty – Yes. We all need to take our place in the Kingdom for such a time as this, because we are living in crazy days. Things have heated up on the Kingdom calendar and that means that we all need to be in position doing whatever the thing is that God has called us to do. Whether that is to serve people in our local church or neighborhood, speak, write, podcast, or cook meals for the sick. Whatever it is, we need to be about the Father’s business. If you don’t know, ask God. Because He does have work for us to do and He needs us all suited up every day with our armor on, in place, and doing the things that He’s called us to do. 

 

Courtnaye – Amen! What a powerful word! We got that charge. Thank you for that! Now, how can we connect with you. You also have a conference that’s coming up. Tell us more about it all! 

Misty – Yes! So the Spark Conference is taking place this year (June 22-June 24th 2021) at the beautiful Gaylord Texan Resort. And it’s not just for podcasters (even though it started out that way). It’s a trifecta with podcasting, writing, and speaking. We also have a Christian Podcast Award Show, too. Also, women can connect with me on www.sparkmedia.ventures and that’s where we teach and train podcasters. We also have virtual events and a collective/membership. My podcast and speaking is at www.mistyphillip.com. And I’m everywhere on social media under Misty Philip, but my favorite place to hang out is on Instagram.  

 

Courtnaye – Awesome! Connect with Misty dear reader! Thank you so much Misty! Don't forget to grab the FREE eBook here and here is another great video with helpful podcast tips from Misty. It's entitled, "Grow Your Platform and Influence with Podcasting." 

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March 2021

breakthrough 

By Inside Out with Courtnaye

          elcome, my dear reader! This month I had the amazing privilege of sitting down to talk to Joyce Smith, the real-life mom of John Smith, who experienced a tragic ice accident, but who also experienced the miraculous power of God! Many of us are familiar with the award-winning film, "Breakthrough" that was derived from her family's story. Please join me as we talk about the events surrounding his supernatural breakthrough! 

 

Courtnaye – So excited to have you here. How are you, Joyce?  

 

Joyce – I’m good and so excited to be here to talk to you, today. 

 

Courtnaye – Awesome! Now Joyce, just for the viewing audience, you are the mother of (at-the-time of the ice accident) 15-year old, John Smith. And we’re going to be talking about the events surrounding his accident. But before we dive in, you wrote a book about your family’s story. Can you share with us how that came about?

 

Joyce – Well, it was nothing we looked for. God just brought it and dropped into our laps. Pastor Samuel Rodriguez from Sacramento, California has a TV program and my brother-in-law was watching it and he heard him telling a story about John on it. But he wasn’t getting all of the details. So I found him on Facebook and I sent him a message and told him who I was and asked him if he wanted to hear the whole story – thinking I’ll never hear back from him again.

Courtnaye - Gotcha.

Joyce - Well, the very next day, I got a note back from him saying, “Yes! I want to know the whole story. Do you want to be on TBN?” Then I said, “I’d shout this story from the mountain top!”

 

Courtnaye - Amazing! 

Joyce - When we arrived (to the studio), there was a very nice young man that met us there. We talked to him for about 45 minutes, while we were waiting on Pastor Sam to get there. And then he looked at us as said, “I don’t know if you know who I am, but I’m Devon Franklin. I just produced the movie, Miracles from Heaven. I think I want this to be my next movie project."

 

Courtnaye – Oh my goodness! 

 

Joyce – I could’ve fell out of my chair!

 

Courtnaye  - Wow!

 

Joyce – I mean, God just opened up the doors! So he called me a couple of weeks after that and said, “I want you to write your book first and then we’ll write the screenplay off of your book.” That got the ball rolling. I wrote the book in 2017 and the movie was produced in 2018. So the book is named after the movie, “Breakthrough.” Pretty quick!

Courtnaye – Definitely pretty quick! It’s such a miraculous story and powerful movie. My family and I watched it in theaters and my husband and I just recently watched it again. We were just ballin’. As a mother, it really touched me, because the movie actually comes from your angle.   

 

Joyce – Yes, it does.

 

Courtnaye – So let’s go ahead and dive right into it. There was an ice accident involving your son, John. Can you tell us what happened the moments leading up to the accident?

 

Joyce – Well, he played basketball and after their team had finally won this one game, because they had been losing all season long, the boys came running up to me asking, “Please, please, please, can John come over tonight?” And so, how do you tell them, “No” after they’d just won this game? They didn’t have school, because that Monday was Martin Luther King's Day, so I said, “Yes.” 

 

Courtnaye – My youngest son was just asking me today if he can go and hang out with his friends this weekend. He’s actually waiting on my “Yes.” So, you agreed and then tragedy happens. Can you walk us through that day and the moment you received the news about the accident? 

 

Joyce – You know, God is so faithful. He always knows what’s going to happen (even before we do) and He prepares a way for us. I had just finished reading a devotion entitled, “In Times of Crisis, Who Do You Turn To? Do You Turn to God or Yourself?” As soon as I laid my phone down on the kitchen table (after reading it), my phone rang. It was Cindy Reiger, Josh’s mom. I was expecting her call, but not the call or the words she was going to speak. When she started telling me that there was an accident. I thought it was a car accident that she’d had, but it wasn’t. It was John. She told me that they were pulling him out of the icy lake and that he didn’t have a heartbeat.  

 

Courtnaye – Oh my goodness!

 

Joyce – It’s the telephone call that a parent never wants to get.

 

Courtnaye –Right!

 

Joyce – So I frantically ran around the house looking for my purse and my car keys to go to the hospital, which was about a 20-minute drive. On the way to the hospital, I was having a very in-depth conversation with God. People in other cars probably thought I’d lost my mind, but I was screaming and pleading with God for my son’s life! One of the prayers that I prayed was, “God, if my son is not where he needs to be with you, please give him a second chance.” 

 

Courtnaye – Wow!

 

Joyce – I believe that He is a God of second chances (we didn’t learn until later on that John wasn’t where he needed to be). So this was God’s grace and mercy that He was extending to John. 

 

Courtnaye – Amen.

 

Joyce – While I have three older boys, we’d already lost two children. We adopted John late in our lives, and this is the part of the story I think is just amazing. Had both of those children lived, we would’ve never adopted John and we would’ve missed out on something amazing that God had for us.

Courtnaye - So true.

Joyce - When they allowed me in the room where John was, they had been doing everything that they could possibly do to bring him back to life for 27 minutes. I could see the monitors there and the flatline. They were getting nothing.  

 

Courtnaye – Wow! 

 

Joyce – They finally told me that I could go and tell him my goodbyes. So, I walked over to him and the only thing that was uncovered were his feet. I got a hold of his cold and gray feet and I knew that I had to be desperate with God. We’d actually been doing a Bible Study by Beth Moore entitled, “Believing God.” So I started praying, “Holy Spirit please come and bring my son back!” Immediately, they got a heartbeat and a pulse! And the nurse who had been with him for 27 minutes was stunned. She was screaming, “I’ve got a pulse! I’ve got a pulse!” 

 

Courtnaye – Oh, my goodness! I got chills!

 

Joyce – At one point in time, the room just went crazy as they began working on John. 

 

Courtnaye – What a moment for a mom. The power of God!

 

Joyce – God was not only bringing my son back to life, but He was opening up hearts to turn to Him. There were several nurses who gave their hearts to the Lord that day because of what they had witnessed. So it wasn’t just another chance for John, but it was a chance for everyone in that room. 

 

Courtnaye – Praise God! I always say that when we go through hard times, it’s never just about us. There are people who are watching because they need to see the power, strength, and faithfulness of God and what He can do. So as you’re waiting and everyone is praying for John to wake up from a medically induced coma, tell us what was that like not knowing what God was going to do? 

 

Joyce – Well, let me back up for just a moment. Dr. Jeremy Garrett who was an expert in hypothermia and drownings (and a very amazing man) told me that if John lived, he would be a vegetable and that he probably wouldn’t make it through the night. I jumped out of my chair and said to him, “They told me that you’re the best. You do your job and my God will do the rest.” After that, I walked out into the waiting room and asked all of the pastors to come to John’s room to pray for him and that's when we began to see signs of movement.  

 

Courtnaye – Wow! Take us to the moment John began waking up. 

Joyce – The day John woke up, Dr. Garrett started asking him who’d won all of these different NBA basketball games. He answered all of his questions correctly! The doctor then asked John did he know what a miracle was? And John nodded his head, “Yes.” Dr. Garrett then told him, “You are a bona fide miracle!” It was unreal to watch this happen! 

 

Courtnaye – I could only imagine! So, Joyce. How is John doing today?

 

Joyce – Well, he’s been married for five months now. He’s working and going to school for ministry. He wants to be a pastor. I might add that he had to quit his basketball career, because he had too many concussions. He was devastated about it, but I told him, “Son, let me tell you something. You can only play basketball for so long, but you can coach for the rest of your life. And God has given you a platform that is second-to-none.”  

 

Courtnaye – Amen! I love that he is doing well. How are you and your husband doing?

 

Joyce – We are good. God is still on the move! 

 

Courtnaye – I love it! Well, this has been a faith-filled time, especially for us as mothers. Joyce, I usually end with an encouraging word. I know that there are times when people don’t see the healing or their loved ones come through, can you speak on this for a little bit before we close? 

 

Joyce – Absolutely. I get this question a lot when we’re out signing books and doing speaking engagements. And here’s what I say to them, "God may not answer our prayers the way we want them answered, but God always answers our prayers, because He’s faithful. It’s His DNA." So no matter what your circumstances are, they haven’t taken God by surprise. He knew and He will make a way, because He is a way-maker. So trust Him and believe who He says He is. 

 

Courtnaye – Amen! So good, Sister! Thank you for taking the time to share your family’s true-life story with us. I know it will encourage the readers and viewers. I would love for women to connect with you to speak or share your story?

 

Joyce – Sure! They can go to the www.theimpossiblebook.com and there is a speaking link. They can enter their information there and my pastor, Jason Noble will get back with them. 

 

Courtnaye – Sounds great! Once again, thank you, Sister! We so appreciate you. 

 

Joyce – Thank you, Courtnaye. 

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January 2021

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!

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December 2020

fully known

By Inside Out with Courtnaye

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          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?

Jayne – You can find me on www.alteredministies.com. I am also a speaker, so if you’re looking for a female speaker, contact me. I travel! I also have a Facebook page called, "Altered Ministries."

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! 

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November 2020
 

Staying Sustained

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.comwww.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! 

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October 2020

unveiling & embracing the real you

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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! 

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September 2020

Let go of the guilt

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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 &n