CBD: I first became acquainted with you through your exercise
videos and your book
Greater Health God's Way. It seems that your focus has changed now. How has that transition come about?
I grew older and my walk with the Lord became more involved and deeper, the processes of life, getting married and trying to have a good marriage, having kids and trying to raise good kids, all of these things make your
focus go in certain directions. And I became so aware that I didn't have what it took to make a good marriage or raise good kids without the Lord and I became so dependent upon the Lord to show me everything every
step of the way. The older I get the more dependent I become upon Him .I know that's what he wants of us. He wants us to become more and more dependent every day. So that's what my books have
professionally been about. Basically, I started out with the health because that was the first thing on my mind because I had been into health in the extreme. When I came into the Lord, he balanced me out,
saying, okay this is going too far, you don't have to be that involved. Live the simple way. Live the way I teach you to live. There's a certain amount of good health people enjoy because of that. So I
started writing that book, then I wrote my autobiography. After the Lord had set me free from so much, I wanted to share it with other people. Then I wrote the emotional health book because I wanted people
to know exactly the steps to take to find that kind of wholeness in their life. It progressed into raising children, and making a marriage work. My latest one, Just Enough Light for the Step I'm On,
is about becoming more and more dependent upon God and just trusting Him for every moment of our lives no matter what our circumstances.
CBD: Is exercise and eating right still as important to you?
Yes, I still do it and see it as every bit as important as I ever did. I can't get away with anything. When I don't take care of my body I don't feel good, I don't have a good attitude, I'm too tired and sluggish. In order for me to be a good wife, and a good mother, and to minister to the people God puts in my path, I really need to take care of myself. I need to eat right, and when I don't, it shows spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It has become a way of life and I want to encourage other people to make whatever they do a way of life, but it can't be too harsh or unbalanced. It needs to be simple enough and balanced enough to become incorporated into your day to day living.
CBD: Did you ever get caught up in your appearance when you were into exercise more in your early days?
SO: In the early days, yeah, especially when you're younger. Before
I came to the Lord that was THE reason. Not the only reason, because I really wanted the health too, but appearance was such an important part of it. Once I came to know the Lord I realized I didn't have to look
like the most beautiful person on earth. You just have to be the best you can be. Have a certain amount of health. Healthy people are more vibrant and attractive just by reason of having that good health and
vitality. That became my focus then. Experiencing the health aspect so you could carry on the work that God had put on your plate and handle whatever God had put there. Now I feel it's just a way of
life that God wants. He gave us certain things He wants us to eat, and certain ways to care for our body or exercise and getting rest. He says too much about that in the Bible, the prayer and fasting and not
living stress filled lives. That's all in the Word so I drew all of that out of the Bible, what I had in those books and exercise videos. I felt it was a way of life that God had shown me.
For myself, and for many women, especially if you work full time and have families, it's really difficult to balance it all. Finding time for exercise, eating right because you're on the run and finding time
for quiet time with the Lord. Is that something you struggle with?
SO: I did, not as much now because my children are grown up. When you have children, it is a constant struggle. The
way I did it was I tried to make my exercise times things I did with my kids. So we all did things together, go on walks together, do my exercise tape together, and that helped a lot. I just tried to buy food that
was healthy and eat right all the time so I didn't have to keep making those decisions. I had to make myself get up early before everyone else to have quiet time with the Lord. I knew if I didn't I was struggling
with it all day long. My days did not go as well if I didn't have time alone with the Lord. It was a sacrifice of time. I made myself go to bed earlier so I could get up earlier. Now it's not the
struggle it was. Children are what take all your time. It was always a constant struggle for me.
CBD: Women's Conferences seem to be very popular. I know you speak at the
Aspiring Women's Conference. What need do you see these fulfilling for women?
SO: Oh, I am so amazed at how hungry women are all over the United States for the realness of God, an encounter with
God, a real relationship to know God in a powerful way. They are not just coming to be entertained; they want to be touched by God. That's what we want for them. Every speaker on this Aspiring Women's
Conference tour I'm on has such a tremendous heart for the women who come. They really want every woman to be touched by God and have her life changed in some way. Women are hungry for that and it makes me so
happy that we all want that.
CBD: How do you encourage women to just let go and rely on God?
SO: That's what I talk about on the tour. My new book is called, Just
Enough Light for the Step I'm On, I do give testimony of how God led me out of the depths of despair into living a fruitful, fulfilled, whole life. I talk about the process I went through to come to that. I
talk about how God will meet us where we are. I just want to encourage women that going through tough times doesn't' mean that God has deserted us or that He's not there for us. In the tough times He wants
us learn to walk with Him step by step so we trust Him for every step. That's the thing I think sometimes that we don't understand; we think we're supposed to be less dependent on God and it's not true.
We're more dependent on God the older we get in the Lord. He wants us to totally dependent on Him for everything.
CBD: Your book, The Power of a Praying Parent
gives great advice and prayers for parents to use for their children. Was there ever a time when you felt discouraged as you prayed for your
children or felt your prayers were not effective or not being answered?
SO: Every time I went through a tough point, especially when they were teenagers. You're just on your knees all the time
because they're really out of your control. You can't control who their friends are like you can when they are smaller. Every time there was these mini crises that you could see could head in a wrong direction, oh
my gosh, I would be on my face before the Lord in the night and in the wee hours of the morning just praying to God and fervently asking Him to intervene. He always would, but during those times when I was praying
fervently before I saw His hand move, you do have those times when you say God, you've got to hear this, you've got to move. He always did, I'm just so amazed. Usually it had to do with a friend that was not
bringing out the best in them or they had a tendency to go toward the music of the world. Because of the way it sounded and not listening to the lyrics and not seeing what kind of junk it was, we had so many
confrontations about that. That was a big issue, that and the friends were the biggest issues. Just praying certain friends out of their lives, or help to find other friends, godly friends. God always
answered those prayers, every single time. During the times when you're praying fervently it can be pretty upsetting.
CBD: I have to admit after reading both your books on prayer, I felt a bit
overwhelmed. There are so many areas of my family's lives to pray for. How do you go about praying for all these areas without spending your entire day doing it?
SO: Exactly, I've had other people
comment about that. I encourage them to take one thing at a time. In each of those books I have 30 areas of prayer focus. I just tell them to take the one that is surfacing most at that moment. Whichever one
it is for your husband, whichever one it for your children just pray about that one that week.
CBD: As they arise, as opposed to having a formula for praying for these things?
: I know a lot of women who will take one a day, or take one a week, and they say that really works the best for them. That way they can get through each one of them systematically. You just can't go in
thinking you're going to pray for all 30 each day. That's too much. If you do one prayer focus a week for your marriage and your children it makes all the difference.
CBD: I did notice
that you spoke often of you and your husband praying together and being united in the spiritual training of your children. Do you have any advice for parents who don't have that spiritual support from their spouse?
SO: Mine was kind of an uphill battle with my husband, too. Husbands sometimes don't want to pray as much as wives do. That certainly the case with mine. My husband likes the
60-second prayers and he's off. I like to really labor in prayer more and make sure I've covered every single aspect. I would do the praying all the time. When I would go to him when there was a problem and say,
"we need to pray," he would do it. I would just go to him, even if the prayer only took thirty seconds. I felt because he was the husband and the man of the house, that there was a certain covering that
happened in that thirty second prayer. I know it's harder for a woman whose husband doesn't pray at all. I think joining together with other women in prayer is really powerful during those times. I
think it's important not to let it become another point of strife in your family. If you get mad at your husband because he won't pray, I've found that is very counter productive. It didn't add to our lives at
all. It's better just to take what you can get. If you can only get him to pray 30 seconds once a week then be thankful that he's doing that. God honors that.
I was thinking along the lines of women who don't have believing husbands. That can be such a struggle.
That's when I recommend the power of praying together in a women's prayer group. I have a women's group that meets on Tuesday mornings, I've had it for twenty-five years. Not the same women for all that time, but I've always had a weekly group. One of the ladies in my group doesn't have a believing husband and it's been a saving thing for her to have that time of prayer over her children and over her marriage. It's a powerful thing. Even finding one other prayer partner just to pray one morning a week for half an hour. It can be life saving for your kids and you too.
CBD: Prayer is getting to be such a big focal point these days. Why do you think that is so?
SO: I think we can't live without it. We just can't do it.
Especially as women, we can't make the perfect house, and the perfect marriage, and the perfect kids and our work and our friendships. We just can't do it without the power of prayer. We need a source
outside of ourselves; we have to rely on God. That's where God wants us anyway, that's what He wants us to do. I think we're coming to the point where we realize how powerful prayer is. Things change,
circumstances change, people change when we pray.
CBD: Do you have any advice for parents who feel that it's too late? Their children are almost grown and they haven't spent much time
praying for them.
My advice is not even to think for one moment that it is too late. It is never too late. I have seen such miracles happen for women who started praying for their grown children. One woman's son was thirty and going on his third divorce when she started praying and interceding for him just as if her was a little kid. When you are a parent you have authority over your children that nobody else has. Your prayers are powerful. No matter how old, your child is always your child. You may not be able to tell your child what to do but in prayer you can come against the plans of the devil to destroy that child. It's a powerful thing. I've seen such wonderful things happen. Life can turn around at any age. It doesn't matter what has happened in the past, it's already happened and God can redeem that. Of course it would be nice if it didn't happen and you could be further down the road, but that should not be a discouragement to anyone. God will redeem that and use the past for something powerful in their lives. It's never too late.
CBD: I like the way you included Scriptures at the end of each chapter to go along with what you were talking about. Do you feel praying the Scripture is important?
: Exactly, that's why I put it in there. Sometimes you feel overwhelmed by things that are happening to your children. When my son was about a year old I could see this will, this strong self-will arise in
him. It was overwhelming to me. Even back then it was overwhelming, when they become teenagers it's even more so. The thing that we have is the Word of God because it cuts through anything.
Sometimes we think it's only our feeble little prayers against these things but when you use the Word of God there is nothing more powerful. It gives us faith as well.
CBD: If you had
one prayer to offer up for women today what would that be?
SO: I would pray that they would understand how much God loves them and how much He is there for them. I know how overwhelming it is for
women today. I know so much is expected of them. To have these great homes, these wonderful marriages, these great kids and be good in their work, to be constantly giving, and be a good friend, all of these
things. Just to recognize that they can't do it on their own but through God they can do all things. They can do whatever God wants them to do through Christ whostrengthens them. And to know that God
is there for them and to reach out and say, God I'm walking with you, I want to live life your way, just show me how to do it. Just take me step by step where I need to go. Help them understand that God is there
for them in every challenge that they face, whether good times or bad times.