We had the pleasure of talking with Debbie Lindell about her book She Believes. The interview was recorded and be played below. Feel free to follow along with the provided transcript. Enjoy!
ANNOUNCER: Welcome! You’re listening to an exclusive author interview brought to you by christianaudio.com.
CHRISTIAN AUDIO: Hi, and welcome to the conversation! I’m so glad you joined us. My name is Victoria Morgan interviewing for Christian Audio and we are truly blessed to have author, speaker and ministry leader Debbie Lindell here with us today via cellphone. She’s going to treat us to a sneak preview of her new and very inspiring audiobook She Believes. And we need this kind of encouragement today because with over seven billion people in the world and the hurry scurry of everyday life, it’s hard for us to believe that we have been designed for a purpose. And her audiobook really cements that home for us.
We forget that each of us have value in God’s eyes and that our lives have incredible meaning, far beyond what we see or what we have been told to believe. And I hope it’s what your heart has been longing to hear today. This was an amazing conversation. Since 1991 Debbie Lindell and her very best friend and husband John have served as the lead pastors of James River Church in Ozark, Missouri. In 2003 Debbie launched the Designed for Life Women’s Conference which blesses over ten thousand women annually from around the world. As a speaker she is forthcoming, dynamic and passionate, urging women of all ages to embrace their unique design, to understand their purpose and to connect with one another through what she calls life-giving sisterhood.
She loves her role as leader and co-pastor alongside her husband. She thrives on building the church and teaching people to understand God’s amazing plan for their lives. And one of Debbie’s greatest desires is to see women of all ages embrace who God has designed them to be. And that is what She Believes is all about … inspiring and empowering women of all ages to be the beautiful world changers they were created to be. Debbie and John Lindell have been married for over thirty-one years now. Her favorite pastime is hanging out with her family, especially her grandkids.
And with that, Debbie, we are most honored to have you here on christianaudio.com. So welcome!
DEBBIE LINDELL: Well, it is so good to be with you, Vicki. Thank you for having me on your show.
CHRISTIAN AUDIO: Well, Debbie, the first thing I noticed in She Believes that took me by surprise is that you refer to all women as girls. Why is that so important for us to realize that we are all little girls inside?
DEBBIE LINDELL: Wow, that’s a great question, Vicki, because it is something in the ministry here at the church and through our sisterhood ministry that we endeavor to have girls feel included no matter what age they are. And historically in the church world I think sisterhood become a kind of a term that we use. We’ve typically separated girls out into category, and primarily by age. And one of the things that I really endeavor to do not only in the ministry but in my writing is to have the message speak to the heart of every female that would read it no matter what her age. And so when you use the word “woman”, it often separates a girl at a certain age point to feel like she’s not included. And that could also be thought of with girls, but I felt like girls it’s more inclusive than women. So all of us are girls, right? When we’re born, that’s what we are called no matter what our age, we are either a girl or a boy. And so my heart was just to include every girl in the message no matter what her age was. So that’s really the heart behind it. And I think also when we get older we like to feel younger. And so that’s another thing I just really realized in the ministry is if you speak to the heart of the young, you will encourage older women. But if your message is geared towards the older women, you will alienate the young. So it’s just my heart that every woman feel included in the message that I feel God has led me to share.
CHRISTIAN AUDIO: Well, I’m glad you shared it with us. And I was almost brought to tears because I began to think about when I was a young girl. Not everybody had a perfect childhood and I certainly didn’t, but I miss being loved like a little girl … even treated special sometimes like a little princess.
DEBBIE LINDELL: Well, you know what I find is none of us are brought up in a perfect setting. I was raised in a Christian home, in fact my parents were in the ministry. My father’s a pastor and my parents were wonderful parents. They loved me and treated me well … I wasn’t abused. But my parents did not understand this message … the message that every girl was beautifully designed by God. And so even with the way that they presented my value and worth, there was comparison involved in how they would communicate their view of one girl, especially outward appearance, compared to the other. And I think even in Christian circles we are notorious for comparing individual looks with another. And I just feel strongly that God made every single one of us exactly like He wanted us to be and He thinks each and every one of us are beautifully designed by Him. He created all of us. And I don’t think He makes mistakes in His creation. And so what I have endeavored to do is really instill a fresh way of looking at that.
My mom turns eighty this year [laughs]. I love her dearly; she is one of my dearest friends. But one of the things when I began the journey of writing the book … I sat down with her one day and I asked her, “Mom, do you think you’re beautiful?” She looked down at her coffee cup and she hesitated for what seemed like an eternity and then she looked up shyly at me and she said, “Well, your dad thinks I’m beautiful.” And I said, “Mama, that’s not what I’m asking you. Do you think you’re beautiful?” And she couldn’t answer it because she didn’t understand that it was okay for her to believe that she was beautifully created in every way. She’s been taught that that was either a prideful thing to say or that it was almost like it was wrong or sinful to view herself as gorgeous and beautiful, which I believe she is.
And so helping girls understand that that’s okay … in fact it’s not just okay it’s honoring to God for us to believe it and to say it. And what that does … it stops comparison and it’s really amazing. Even in the ministry here I’ve seen how the message has radically changed the girls that I lead and how they view one another. We haven’t stopped it all because we’re all in a growing process, but that whole comparison thing has really changed. And they look at one another as beautifully designed and they confidently walk in that. And it changes how they communicate and interact with each other. It’s beautiful to see.
CHRISTIAN AUDIO: And reminding us that we, as women, are indeed girls is just the first step in She Believes. I was amazed to listen on when you actually describe what it must have been like to be in the womb just before birth. It was breathtaking. I haven’t ever thought about being born in quite that way. [laughter] And then you went on to give us some amazing facts about sex right there in the first section [laughter] just to help us understand that we are indeed God’s masterpiece. It’s like you were giving us a glimpse into God’s creative process which is wrapped in His love and care. It was amazing.
DEBBIE LINDELL: Thank you, Vicki. Well, I kind of did get to the point, didn’t I? [laughter] And if girls read that chapter, they’ll see I did get very specific with regards to the creation of man and woman — and how through that creation and God’s design for procreation, the incredible detail that God goes into to design one individual girl, and how He purposely creates every girl to be the way that He wants them to be — to have the unique characteristics with regards to their outward appearance, their personality, their intellect. It wasn’t just like random. He chose a sperm from a man and one egg from a woman to come together to create you. And when you read about how impossible the odds are for that particular egg and sperm to come together that made you, Vicki, you, or any girl that’s listening today, it’s miraculous. And you can see how God’s intentions were very detailed when it says, “He knew you before you were born.”
CHRISTIAN AUDIO: And you presented that evidence so well with those zillions and zillions of sperm and the zillions of eggs [laughter] and it comes together and creates this one person. And even with all that evidence that you present in She Believes, we still have trouble believing a hundred percent of it. We don’t believe in His custom design, His plan, His love for us. You pastor a very large church and you hear people sing the worship tunes, but how many of us girls really believe the words that we’re singing?
DEBBIE LINDELL: Yeah, that’s so true. We say we believe it, but we don’t live like we do. And when a girl comes to understand, to embrace by faith, saying “I am going to believe that God made me just like He wanted me to be and I’m going to, through that belief, be able to live out my purpose which He intentionally designed me to live out” — it changes how they live. I have seen it radically change a girl when she comes to terms with this and by faith says, “I’m going to live what I believe.” When she walks into a room, she walks in differently than she did before she chose to walk by faith in this area. Because I’ve struggled with insecurity. I’ve struggled with this, and I share in the book and stories with regards to how Satan tries to steal my identity in Christ … and for me to not buy into the truth of God’s Word with regards to who I was created to be.
And so consequently, as a leader, I led from a point of insecurity. From a point of not believing that I was worth God’s time (honestly) as a leader. Like … how could I ever do what He call me to do and be — because I was inadequate. I was like a faulty design. And honestly it’s not just He changing my life, I had to choose to walk by faith in this area and say, “Okay, God I believe what Your Word says about me.” It changed how I led because before that I led from a point of perspective of feeling like I was inadequate. So when I walked into a room, I was thinking about myself. Now, by God’s grace and by my choosing to walk by faith, when I walk into a room I think about everybody else. I’m here because God or they need to be here and He’s given me everything I need to lead and to be who He’s called me to be. And what happens then, is you lead from a point of caring for others, not comparing yourself to others.
CHRISTIAN AUDIO: That is so huge. I’m sorry, Debbie … I didn’t mean to interrupt, but that is so huge and it’s such a relief for us.
DEBBIE LINDELL: It is! It changes us! And I’ll tell you what, it makes you a lot happier and more joyful.
CHRISTIAN AUDIO: With that said, you say in your audiobook … you say that how and what we believe affects everything. And I love this part of the audiobook, it just gave me chills.
DEBBIE LINDELL: Well, I truly believe that. At the beginning of the journey of the book I had a little pushback on that actually. One of the people that was pouring into me and just kind of mentoring me through the process said, “Debbie, do you really believe that? I mean you say it, but don’t you think that’s like a little bit of an oversell with regards to what God can do in a life?” I said, “Absolutely not.” Because when we walk by faith, it changes everything about how we live. It changes how we view ourselves. It changes how we view the people around us. It changes how we view our circumstances. It changes how we view our trials. It changes how we view the future. It changes how we view challenging situations which we all face every day. But when we believe God’s Word and we walk by faith, it changes our perspective. So, everything around us actually changes and changes for the good. And so I do believe that, and I won’t back down. And I think once a girl chooses to live that way, she sees that it’s true … absolutely true.
CHRISTIAN AUDIO: And you give us so much help in starting that journey in She Believes. You lay out these chapters in a very specific way so that we are taken through a process … a comprehensive, loving, caring journey so that we can go from A to Z … so that we can believe that God does cherish us, that He does have His best in mind for us. You take us through our design, then through our spiritual walk, and then into our relationships and then finally the future.
And in looking through your blog sites and Facebook page, it’s obvious that friendships and relationships are paramount in your life … critically necessary. And She Believes parallels the importance you place on relationships. You walk us through our relationship with God, then His relationship with us, then you move towards our relationship with others. And it seems like what you are getting at is — we first have to believe and understand how God loves us before we can truly live out our lives correctly with others. So I know that’s a long way to ask a question [laughter] but am I getting the logic behind the layout of your audiobook?
DEBBIE LINDELL: [laughs] Well, I think you’re giving me a little more credit than I deserve. [laughs] I wish I had thought through it in that much detail and have much foresight in what God was going to do. I actually didn’t. And even when I was processing your question that you sent, I was like, “Wow, God, that’s so cool that You did that.” Because I don’t think it was me, I think it was the Holy Spirit. But I do believe how it’s laid out when I look back and I see it. I think it’s true. I think we do have to first come to terms with what we believe about what God thinks about us as individuals before we can truly have life-giving relationships. Because it goes back to if we do not believe that we were intentionally created by God on purpose, for a purpose, and perfectly created by Him in exactly how He wanted us to be, we will not be able to have effective relationships because it goes back to we will be thinking about ourselves.
And Satan loves to twist all that and confuse our minds. But ultimately if we don’t have a God view and value of who we are, it causes us to inward focus. And so then we cannot minister or relate or connect with people in a way that God intended us to do … and that is to bring life to the individual people that He surrounds us with. And once we, by faith, walk in faith with regards to that area, we can then move on into that next step of relationship with the people around us and be a blessing to them (which we’re all called to be). And boy, it just multiplies then — the blessing multiplies and is spread because the girls around me (hopefully) are learning to walk by faith, and they are in turn ministering to the girls that are in their sphere of influence. So I’m thankful that God did that. But I didn’t really envision it back at the beginning. So that’s very insightful on your part.
CHRISTIAN AUDIO: So with that said, who do you think would benefit the most from She Believes? Who would you say really needs to listen to this? Or perhaps a better way to phrase it would be, who did you write this book for? Who was on your heart when you wrote it?
DEBBIE LINDELL: [laughs] Oh, I love that question. When I first sat down with the publisher just to process my dream for the book and for what I was found that led to write, they asked me, “Debbie, what age demographic is your target audience?” And I said, “You know, twelve to one hundred.” And one of the people on the publishing team (they’re all amazing people) said, “Really, Debbie, we really need you to narrow your focus. Typically an author has to have a more defined target audience.” And I said, “Honestly, I believe what I’m going to write … it’s from God’s Word, and I believe it can be relevant to a twelve-year-old and a hundred-year-old. I want to inspire the faith of every girl who picks up this book no matter what her age.”
And thankfully (just some of the feedback I’m getting from the book and those who are reading it) God seems to have answered my prayer. In fact, I talked to a girl, she’s eighty-nine years old (she actually called me) and with tears shared how the book is challenging her and changing her life, and she has it sitting next to her Bible every morning, and that she is using it as her devotional guide every day. Eighty-nine years old! I was so thrilled with that, but at the same time (and maybe you would attest to this) I think a teenage girl could pick it up and that she would understand the concepts and the message behind the chapters. And so it’s just my heart that every girl, no matter what her age, will be encouraged and enriched and most importantly, drawn to walk by faith in Jesus no matter where she is on her faith journey.
CHRISTIAN AUDIO: And I’m sure you’ve been through this faith journey because on your website and in your book there are a couple women who you say have been with you, quote, unquote, “through thick and thin.” So I’m curious … all I see is the Debbie Lindell who has this great abundant life walking in a hundred percent belief, but now I’m wondering if there wasn’t a shadow time. A time of doubt that you had to work through to get to a place where you could share that wisdom with us, that you share with us in She Believes.
DEBBIE LINDELL: Well, you know what, Vicki, the enemy is crafty, and Satan, he’s the enemy of our souls. He is the enemy of abundant life which Christ wants us all to live. The Word says have an abundant life in Him. Satan hates that. And so he’s constantly whispering lies in our ears as girls. And just because I’ve chosen to walk by faith in this area and say, “God, I want to live believing what Your Word says about me at a whole new level” doesn’t mean Satan doesn’t still whisper in my soul. He does. He’s constantly every day trying to get me to back up from what I know is true and to doubt it. And so yes, I have to put a faith filled girls around me and those that are encouraging my heart to continue to trust and believe God by faith. And we all need that. We need a sisterhood around us that is inspiring us and encouraging us and building us up through the Word of God.
And I share in the book just a little bit (the book’s not about this, but I felt strongly in the middle of writing) … I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy and it was a very, very tough journey. My recovery wasn’t easy. It was very hard and I had some major challenges. But there were girls that I was close to that walked alongside me in the journey and God used that time. Thankfully He does. He’s with us; He never leaves us or forsakes us and as well, as a believer He uses everything we walk through. And so it’s very important as girls that we have girls in our world that are strengthening our faith. And they’re not always girls that are living in proximity to us. What a wonderful season of history we live in that we can even follow girls on social media that will encourage us and enrich our lives and draw us closer to Jesus. But you have to choose to follow the right voices. That’s another thing I’m just passionate about … that girls not only are leading well, but they’re following well. We have to follow girls that lead us to Jesus. And so during those difficult times, it’s like an anchor for our souls that keeps us stable and steady in Him.
CHRISTIAN AUDIO: That reminds me of a recent interview that you did and you said there isn’t a day that goes by that you don’t reach out to the Lord and almost beg for His help. So even after we listen to your audiobook, even if we are in a place where we are believing … that doesn’t give us a free pass. What I’m hearing you say is that we still need to humbly pray and ask for God’s help. It never ends, does it?
DEBBIE LINDELL: No. There are times all of us do this, but I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and I’m like, “God, I’m going to need Your help today.” And to focus our attention on Him, it gives us strength. And to know His Word … I just encourage girls to know the Word of God. That doesn’t mean you have to have twenty verses memorized, it’s just that you’re in the Word and you’re thinking about it. You’re meditating on it and it will give you strength. And then, yes, calling out to God. God says call on me and I will answer you. So believe that when you look to Him, He’s going to help you and help strengthen you for everything you’re walking through, no matter what it is.
CHRISTIAN AUDIO: Debbie, I have been so blessed to learn about you. I’m so overwhelmed at how God is using you to touch thousands of lives, thousands of women each week through your ministry. And your audiobook She Believes is a well-crafted, safe place for us girls to learn how to trust the Lord and to trust others and to really trust life again. So how can we join in your community where we all feel welcomed and encouraged? How can we take part in it?
DEBBIE LINDELL: Well, I would love for you to be part of my sisterhood and actually I’m so excited because in the last few weeks we’ve launched DebbieLindell.com. It’s a website with some blogs and interactive sisterhood connection. And I would love for all of you that are listening to just be a part of my world. One of the wonderful things about this time in history is we can connect even though we may not ever meet face-to-face. So you are welcome to come visit my website DebbieLindell.com and I would love to hear from you. You can share your story or prayer requests and we’ll get back with you and you can be a part of my sisterhood.
CHRISTIAN AUDIO: Well, Debbie, I know our listeners are so excited to connect with you and to take this step and to trust and to believe … as am I. And so we’re looking forward to your audiobook very much — pouring through it. We at Christian Audio are very grateful to be the publishers of She Believes in audiobook form. And I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for spending time with us today.
DEBBIE LINDELL: Well, thank you so much, Victoria. I have enjoyed it so much. And just pray that our conversations blesses girls out there and encourages them in their faith today.
CHRISTIAN AUDIO: Thank you, Debbie.
DEBBIE LINDELL: You are so welcome! You have a great afternoon.
CHRISTIAN AUDIO: Get your copy of Debbie Lindell’s inspiring new audiobook She Believes at christianaudio.com. We’ll also treat you to a free audiobook every month when you join our mailing list. I’m Victoria Morgan. Thanks for listening!
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