Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
No More Fear
Anyone out there feel like life has beaten you down to the point that you will never beat that addiction? Like you will always be a slave to shame, anxiety, fear, failure and more? Broken relationships, employment hardships, spiritual and physical deaths – it’s enough to make anyone feel like their life has no purpose.
I understand what it’s like. In my early 30’s, despite being considered young and attractive, I felt old and restless. The fact that I played Ashley for eight years straight on the soap opera “CBS The Young and the Restless” only added to the bitter irony that my once glamorous life was over. Gone were the parties. Gone were the magazine covers. In fact, the only thing close to covers were the robes I was selling to make ends meet.
I was newly divorced with a young daughter. I needed money. In fact, I knew I had really hit my low when I showed up at a client’s – plush robes in hand – only to have her scream, “Wait a minute! I know you! You’re that soap opera actress I watched for years. And… you’re selling bathrobes now?! Huh?”
I couldn’t really blame her. I felt like I’d hit my all-time low. I was eating my pride with every word she spoke. On more than one occasion, my own spirit screamed, “Huh? What the heck is going on here!” After all, this was never supposed to happen. Despite the challenges of working in Hollywood, I had remained a “good Christian girl” my entire life. I did not accept roles that went against my faith. I wasn’t a druggie… a drinker. And yet, my marriage fell apart, leaving me a single mom… a mom with very little hope of ever transforming my career. And yet, it only takes a little hope, doesn’t’ it?
If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. – Matthew 17:20
Turns out it wasn’t my career that needed transformation, it was my heart… my trust. Lucky for me, I wasn’t all that new to this proposition. I had Jesus. I’m not saying I wasn’t scared, anxious and freaking out at times, but I knew beneath all that despair was a burning hope. Jesus, and Jesus alone, was enough. His grace was sufficient for me.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. -2 Corinthians 12:9
My Riches to Rags Story
I was born in North Hollywood, California. My father was an RCA Victor recording artist Don Epperson (who also starred with John Wayne in the classic BIG JAKE). When he died unexpectedly at age 32, my mother brought my sister and me to the small logging town of Dallas, Oregon. To make ends meet, Mom took odd jobs, including sewing. While Mom was the go-to gal for patches and material fixes, she was the first to remind my sister and me that only Jesus could patch and fix our hearts.
The value of community
We didn’t have money, but we had a rich life that comes from being part of a solid group of believers at a wonderful church. They looked out for us. They loved us and guided us. Most important, they lived the Gospel for us. When we were without a car, we were miraculously given one by a wealthy older lady in the congregation. Just when we thought things couldn’t get worse, they did. But our circumstances didn’t define our joy. We always laughed.
We laughed a LOT – which I can only call the Joy of the Lord.
The Joy of the Lord is my strength – Nehemiah 8:10
One of the funniest things I remember was actually quite ebmbarrasing. We had a car, but the windshield wipers didn’t work – which honestly, wasn’t amazing during rainy season. (We lived in Oregon, so it rained a lot!) My handy mother tied string to the blades on the windshield. While driving with one hand, she would pull the string with the other. While riding shotgun, I would pull the other string. Up, down, up, down.
Life’s ups and downs – expect them!
Ladies, life is not unlike those blades – sometimes up, sometimes down. The rain comes, but so does the sun. And so does the Son.
I wish I could sit down with every one of you reading this article. I would remind you that our lives are not easy, but there is freedom – a freedom in Jesus – and that is what I’m most excited about proclaiming to you. If I could do it, a poor fatherless girl, you can, too!
My Rags to Riches Story
Big shock – my bathrobe sales career was short lived, but God provided. I pursued my career in music – what I originally came to L.A. to do long before my lucky acting break – and produced a few music CDs. I opened on tour for Lionel Richie. I remarried eleven years ago and now can say I’m the proud mom of three beautiful daughters.
ASCEND WOMEN’S CONFERENCE– This Year’s Theme Forever Free
With all my accomplishments, something I am truly proud of is the Ascend Woman’s Conference.
As the founder and keynote speaker, I have the privilege of speaking to 1000+ women about how God can transform their lives.
The theme this year is Forever Free. Why? Because America is a free nation, but across this country, millions of women are slaves to addiction, shame, anxiety, insecurity, fear of failure and more. We all dream of personal freedom, but how do we get there? What’s keeping us in bondage or holding us back from fulfilling our purpose and destiny? Forever Free is about breaking chains and discovering the keys that can set you free.
Other speakers include, but are not limited, to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Isik Abla and Kathleen Cooke. There will be worship and praise. There will be transparency and open dialogue about life’s struggles. But most of all, it promises to set women on the path of breaking chains… of discovering the keys that can set them free.
Are you in a battle and ready to win? Consider attending the 2014 Ascend Conference!
When: October 11, 9 – 4PM Where: The Ambassador Auditorium
Located in Pasadena, this conference promises to be more than a bunch of ladies blabbering words. Expect THE Word. And get ready to change. I believe in you. I’m praying for you. No matter where you are in life, know that God already has plans for you to prosper.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11