Cindy Stewart: Today, I am sharing an interview from 2016 with my special guest and good friend Cynda Harris. She shares her journey of transition from the familiar into the unfamiliar, where God was beginning something new.
Cynda Harris: Thank you, I’m super excited to be here. This is fun.
Cindy Stewart: Yeah, and I know you have so much to share with us, so I want jump right in.
Cynda Harris: Okay.
Cindy Stewart: First, I want to start out talking a little bit about For the Girls International, which you’re Co-Founder of. And it really is a ministry, and really an organization that pours life into people who are connected with it. So tell me a little bit how that got started?
Cynda Harris: Well, it’s really a funny story, but it’s a cool story at the same time. Back in … we actually started in 2008, so we are going on our eighth year this year, which is unbelievable, to be honest with you. But it was funny because my husband and I were worship pastors at a church, and music has been my whole entire life. If anyone asked me, what’s your calling, what’s your purpose? It was music ministry. And to not only be a part of ushering in the presence of God, and just allowing Him to explode in that place, in a sanctuary during worship services, but also … I loved pouring into people that felt like they had a calling on their lives as far as if it was instrumentally, vocally, whatever that would be.
Cynda Harris: And so, we had been focused in doing that. And all of a sudden God just spoke to me one day and just said, I’m going to take you in a new direction. And it’s funny because, I don’t know if that’s ever happened to you in life, but you’re going down this highway and it’s smooth sailing, and you’re just going, and you’re saying, I’m very comfortable with where I’m at right now, where I’m serving you, where my family is. And then God goes; okay I’m going to take you on this side road. And it’s kind of a bumpy road, and you kind of go, now did I get off on the wrong road? That’s actually what I felt.
Cynda Harris: But God began to speak to me that’s He’s going to bring me into a place that not only was going to be outside of the church walls, because we were in full-time church ministry. But He was going to take us outside of the church walls, and I was going to be ministering to women. And we joke around about it, and I hope nobody gets offended, but I just really wasn’t a women’s ministry kind of girl. I love everything that a girl does, but I had been used to working with musicians, and just being in that genre. And I never really was interested in getting involved in women’s ministry, or women’s group, or hanging out with a bunch of women. Full-time mom had … wife, and ministry.
Cynda Harris: So it was a whole new transition for me. And when we would be leading the congregation into worship, instead of looking… God just gave me a whole new perspective. Instead of looking at the whole congregation as a whole, I just saw women. I saw women of every age. I saw little girls, I saw teenagers, I saw older women that were widows. And God just began to form this… my heart grew, my heart enlarged, He just enlarged my heart. And what I found, is that then everywhere I would go, women would come up to me and ask me something, or we’d be starting these conversations when I was a busy girl. I was, I have to do this, to get to there. And I noticed even in Publix, that was really … because I prayed, God you just begin to open the doors. If this is what you want me to do, then just begin to open the doors. And you know the first place in ministry was Publix.
Cindy Stewart: My favorite place to go.
Cynda Harris: I know. Well, it was probably because we’re there a lot. But I would just be doing my little cart down the aisles. And I would see a women at the end, and just my heart would… and I would just secretively pray for her thinking that was my role, and then all of a sudden I feel like this, can you tell me where? And we start this conversation. And even with the cashiers. Instead of just running through and just saying, have a great day, or something, you’re normally little Christian-y thing you say when you leave, I would hear about, my kids are sick, or something. And it just began to open up.
Cynda Harris: And then women began starting to come and talk to me about things that had been very deep inside of them, that they hadn’t even revealed to their husbands or their families. And they said, you know, this is just starting to come up and the Lord keeps telling me to come talk to you, Cynda.
Cindy Stewart: That is amazing. Now let me just ask you something before we hear a little bit more about the starting of it. Whenever we go through a transition out of our familiar into something new, like you said, God just took you on a different path, I’m sure there was a struggle.
Cynda Harris: Oh, absolutely.
Cindy Stewart: Just a wrestling of, am I going in the right direction? What were some of the things that helped you stay on that path of newness with God?
Cynda Harris: Well, I think because it was so new, and so unfamiliar territory, that it really… I could find myself really more dependent on God than I ever thought. I thought I was dependent on Him, I really did, because I knew I needed Him. I knew that I couldn’t do anything without Him. But I began to become more dependent upon Him, and the Lord would just… I mean, I would have my morning prayer time, but it just ended up getting deeper, deeper with Him. And then He would start revealing things to me, and He gave me… I would ask Him for a word and He gave me a word. And then I would ask Him for a Scripture to back that up, and He gave me a Scripture to back it up.
Cynda Harris: So anytime that I would start going, start walking, and I’d start thinking, what am I doing? This isn’t me. Or, am I crazy? Just all those thoughts that come in and that just really-
Cindy Stewart: To all of us.
Cynda Harris: Absolutely. And I would always go back to the root of what He gave me, what He said that He would never leave me, and that Scripture that He said He was not only doing in my life, but it was going to be part of my message for the women. And it would play out — every single woman that would come and talk to me it would just be almost a practice. I’d see a situation in their life they’d come and talk to me about, and then we would just walk about certain things that she didn’t know that I was going through these things, but I was relating it to the transition time, the period that I was in right at that time and became ministering to them that way.
Cindy Stewart: That’s really fascinating. Now, I know you’re a certified life coach. How did you get to that process of going through the training to become a certified life coach?
Cynda Harris: Well, that was part of the whole process. I mean, just to let you know, the Co-Founder of For the Girls, Tracy Metzger, I didn’t even get to that part of the story, but she was on our worship team and at the same time God was speaking to her. We’ve been great friends, best friends, over 20 years. And at the same time, God was speaking things to her about ministering to women. I wonder… she was going through her own struggles with depression at the time, and she was looking out on the congregation and saying, I wonder what they’re going through.
Cynda Harris: And so, what we did was, we were talking on the phone and I said, I got to share something with you. I haven’t even spoken it out loud, and God’s doing something really freaky with me, and inside of me. And she goes – let’s meet. So we met for coffee, and when we both shared… and it was identically what God was showing us. That part of it then, just starting For the Girls, we started For the Girls just… I mean, it’s just a progression. It’s just that taking that one step.
Cynda Harris: We really, we had a vision that God was showing us, but we were actually just taking a few steps at a time and just saying, okay lead us. I grew up in Oklahoma and I was around cows and horses. So I kind of illustrate it as, it’s like I felt like God was… I’m the horse, and God was putting the apple right here for me to go straight this way, and then He’d turn the apple over here and I’d go over this way, just to get me to move forward. And anytime it changed, it was even better than what we thought; it was even bigger than what we imagined.
Cynda Harris: But during that process, probably after the first two years of For the Girls, I felt like the Lord was saying, okay I’m going to take you on another. It wasn’t just this side road now, it was a side road of the side road. And during a time of worship the Lord spoke to me and said, I’ve called you to be a life coach. And at the time, I didn’t know what that was. I had never heard that term before. The only coach I knew was my son’s football coach or soccer coach. And so, I remember at the end of worship writing that down, because I was afraid I’d forget that word, or that term. And went home that evening and Googled it. And when I read it I was just like, this is exactly what I’m called to do.
Cynda Harris: And so I began to just pray about it. And again, that’s when that Scripture came to me that God just said, this is your Scripture. And I’d love to share it with you if I can.
Cindy Stewart: Yes, do.
Cynda Harris: Okay, it’s in the Book of Isaiah and it’s in chapter 43, verses 18 to 19, and this is Cynda translation. But it says, don’t dwell on your past but be alert and be present, for I’m about to do a new thing.
Cindy Stewart: Oh, I love that.
Cynda Harris: So with me, that talked about your past, that talks about your now season, and that talks about your present. And that’s what God … that was the message that God had given me. He said, I’m going to have you speak life into women that are going through transition. Also, He gave me a picture that I’m called to be a spiritual midwife. I have four children, and they were all born different ways. But I had a midwife, and I know that I could understand how there’s times that we have something inside of us. And when we first find out that we’re pregnant, we don’t look pregnant, we don’t feel pregnant, nothing has changed on the outside, nobody else can see that or identify that, but we’ve been told that we’re pregnant.
Cynda Harris: And I know in the spirit that I talk to women on a daily basis that go, I’m pregnant. And they don’t look pregnant. People around them, family, say I don’t recognize that calling. If they say, God’s told me to do this, or I feel like I’m supposed to start this, whether it’s a business, or a ministry, or whether it’s to go on a one time mission trip, it’s just something that you feel like God has more inside of you. There’s more, more, it’s growing. And I take them through that process of that growth. I had to go through that personally and asking God, okay what does this mean to be a life coach? I know that you’ve planted this inside of me, I’m asking you to grow it, and what are my next steps?
Cynda Harris: And just by prayer, by fasting, and just really taking a lot of time just listening to the Holy Spirit. There were times though that I did have to put it on the shelf, because I got overwhelmed. And I just heard a really cool thing, because at the time I felt like, well I’m putting it away because I’m scared, I’m fearful, this is going to really change our whole life and everything. But I heard a term this last week called, productive procrastination.
Cindy Stewart: I like that. I might have done some of that. And unproductive, but I want to hear about the productive side of it.
Cynda Harris: No, productive procrastination is when you’re in that season of waiting.
Cindy Stewart: Okay.
Cynda Harris: That God says, okay I’ve given you this much so far. It’s like when you’re pregnant and you’re almost full term and you’re like, I’m ready to get this thing out. I mean, I’ve stretched as far as I can go, I can’t get any bigger than this, it’s time. And God says, it’s not time, because if you had this baby right now it would have a harder time of survival, and I need it to be full when it is birthed. And I felt like that was that time, that productive procrastination that I was like, yeah I’m going to give this back to you God. And it was during that incu-
Cindy Stewart: Incubator?
Cynda Harris: Incubation period that God just goes, okay let me breathe on you. You step back, and then I will show you. And it was during those times that I had to walk through that process. It was running, it was looking, and then it was stopping, and it was letting go, and sometimes it was like backing up and saying, okay show me the whole picture, show me what you want me to do. And when I did let go and release it to Him, was when He would just drop things in my lap.
Cindy Stewart: Isn’t that interesting.
Cynda Harris: So the Lord gave me this word that you’re in a season of transition, and I’m going to bring you… I’m going to have you… I’m going to bring you through this time, but I want you to experience it so that when my daughters come to you and talk about that time of transition, you not only say, oh I understand, I read that in a book, or I am so sorry, I’m going to pray for you, but I go, I get it.
Cindy Stewart: It’s so fascinating to talk about the process of being surprised by God and these two dreams that he’s given you that have come to life, about For the Girls International and being a life coach. And looking back, how would you encourage others who are beginning that walk of stepping into a place that they hadn’t planned, they hadn’t expected, but they know there’s a change and a bridge they’re going to have to cross over to get where God has for them?
Cynda Harris: I think the most important thing is that, just to be in prayer about it, and to be open about it. And a lot of times that’s when I found the areas that I really had a lot of fear in my life. I had gone and I had grown into my comfort zone, I really had, I had grown into it. And there were some things with me personally, and with the women that I work with, a lot of times we have to look at the things, if God’s going to add something into your life, what are those things that need to be removed?
Cynda Harris: And a lot of the things that I talk to women about is, God’s getting ready to take you into a… He’s getting ready to do a new thing. It’s like that scripture says, don’t dwell on the past. It doesn’t seem that the past is not there and it’s never happened, because I know that I know that everything that God… everything that I’ve been through in my past, God’s going to use it for His glory and honor. And so it’s like driving a car. You’ve got your rearview mirror, you can glance back, there’s a reason why that rearview mirror… if we stared at it, then we would run off course or we would run into something. God has that there to remind us that He’s our story, that He’s that hope that was always there, and looking back on that.
Cynda Harris: But then, I start off with helping them identify, be present right now. Be alert, listen. One of the things that God did with me during that transition, and that I work with women all the time, is let’s focus on His presence right now. Let’s not worry about what’s coming up, and let’s not worry about our past right now. Let’s just say God speak to me where I’m at right now. What do you want me to hear? And so we stay there sometimes. Everybody comes to me for… they’re in different stages of life. Some of them are in full-time ministry, some of them are just learning about God and they feel that stirring. So we focus on those times, let’s be alert, and be present, and God is getting ready to do this new thing.
Cynda Harris: And then we go into kind of that dream state where let’s dream big. Let’s dream big. Let’s just put it all out there. What are your passions? With For the Girls, our mission is to awaken purpose.
Cindy Stewart: That’s good.
Cynda Harris: We want them to know, not only who they are, but whose they are. Because when we… when God places us in that position, even if it’s in a great position and we’re standing right where we know we are, even when we’re in a position of transition, has so much to do with our posture. Because we can… I can be… I can know where I’m supposed to be, but if I’m like this and not knowing that God’s going to use me, or that He loves me, or is this where I… there’s a difference when you go, okay God, this may not feel familiar, this may not look familiar to me, it may not be comfortable for me, but I know you have me right now right where you have me, and I’m ready to do whatever you call me to do. So it’s that awakening that purpose, and then igniting your passions.
Cynda Harris: It’s just finding out what each of us are passionate about. There are different passions in you than there are in me, and I love that. I love how God created us so uniquely that there’s things that I will cry about that you’ll laugh about, and vice versa.
Cindy Stewart: Yeah, absolutely.
Cynda Harris: But God has put those things. And letting us… I really understand that I am unique, and God’s not only formed me uniquely, but He’s placed me in this generation to make a difference, and then to mobilize them. So it’s awaken purpose, ignite passion, and mobilize women. And it’s in that time of transition to say, okay what steps can we begin to take? Most of them are baby steps, just starting those baby steps. Sometimes you know a little bit ahead of you where you’re going to go. Other times, it’s just that fate, it’s by faith lifting up your foot and saying, God wherever you want it to land, I will step down on.
Cynda Harris: And so, I think just having that personal experience. I hired two life coaches when I was praying about-
Cindy Stewart: Oh really?
Cynda Harris: Mm-hmm (affirmative), about becoming a life coach. And I just felt like, if this is what I’m called to do, I need, I needed people to speak into my life. I really feel like that one of the biggest things, one of my biggest passions is to be that woman that I needed. Even when I was in full-time ministry, I remember needing that person that had just gone a little bit further ahead of me, or a long further ahead of me, going come on Cynda, you’re doing a great job, or I’m praying for you, or yeah that was stupid what you just said but get up, let’s wipe the dust off your knees and let’s just keep going.
Cynda Harris:I had a couple of people but I yearned for more. I yearned for more. And I remember even as a mom, even as a teenager, I was involved, I grew up in church and in a Christian home. And I, looking back, I remember wanting some of the other moms to speak life into me, or to love on me and say, you’re so valuable and God’s got a plan for you Cynda. And I think that that generation, or back in that time, they just weren’t as vocal as we are right now. And I want to be that woman. I want to be-
Cindy Stewart: Yeah, be that woman who expresses that value to the person. You know, it’s interesting, you brought up a point, we do have mentors within our sphere of influence that pour into us, that are a step ahead of us. But then sometimes, we have to invest in that outside voice that’s a little outside of our preview, a little outside of our everyday life, so they have more of an objective perspective in speaking into our lives. And that’s what you do in your life coaching. So if someone wanted to hire you as a life coach, how would they get in touch with you?
Cynda Harris: Well, right now I just merged with For the Girls International. So I had my own private practice for five years and we just knew, God just said it’s time, it’s time to do that last part of that mission. We’ve been working on in our conferences, and different events, and even the different outreaches that we do to awaken women’s purpose, letting them know again how valuable that they are, helping them identify what they’re passionate about, their gifting, their talents. But now instead of just knowing, now it’s time to do it.
Cynda Harris: And I really feel like that we’re in a season of, God says now it’s time to act. Now it’s time to walk, it’s time to do that. This generation needs every gifting and every talent that these women have.
Cindy Stewart: Oh, absolutely.
Cynda Harris: And no matter what age. I mean, God is using girls that are in their teens already, and it just blows me away. And I have clients in their 70s that are saying, you know, I feel like God’s giving me something new. And that’s exciting, that’s exciting.
Cindy Stewart: Cynda, I love the life coaching. I think it’s such a valuable tool that people can come and really get some tangible tools to be able to use, and be able to move forward in what God’s called them. And even discover what God’s called them to do. So tell them how to get hold of you.
Cynda Harris: Well, it’s exciting because this year I have just recently merged with For the Girls International. So we now have a life coaching track program, and I am not the program director. So I’m super excited about that. They can contact me by going to our website, which is www.ftgi.org and that’s an acronym for For the Girls International.
There’s a tab that says Life Coaching, they just click on that. I offer a 15 minute complimentary consultation over the phone so if they have any questions. And then it gives us an opportunity to meet each other over the phone. I can pray with them. I can explain what my process is, and just ask them a couple of questions so they’re able to really identify yes, this is my season, or you know what, I’m going to put this on the shelf. Because I really… my heart is not to reel people in. My heart is really to be available for those that God says, now is your time, let’s do it.
Cindy Stewart: Right. And you know, the thing I like about you, because you came and worked with our worship team and it was wonderful. So you also work individually with people, you have small groups that you do, as well as working with churches, worship teams, and businesses. So God has really expanded your territory in a lot of different arenas. So, do you have a little favorite testimony of someone, or some business, that you’ve worked with that you’ve seen a real fruit, without revealing all about them?
Cynda Harris: Oh, yeah. I mean, I honestly, I feel like I really got the best position. I got a front row seat in watching what God does, right before my eyes. It’s amazing.
Cindy Stewart: That’s great.
Cynda Harris: But one of the stories that I have is that there was a lady that came to me a couple of years ago, I think it was two years ago. And she was just struggling just with life, just having a really difficult time, and just kind of felt herself in a season of being lost. Her kids were grown, which I hear a lot. She had poured into her family, poured into her kids all of her life. They grew up, moved out of the house, and she was left with, okay who am I? And I mean, it really got to that point. I’ve heard of that happening, but it just… being able to hear these stories, and have never really struggled with depression. And all of a sudden they feel very isolated and lost.
Cynda Harris: And so her sister had… is in full-time ministry and said, listen I know a lady, I want to give you her name. She called me, the second we talked on the phone I just knew, and she knew as well. So we began our coaching, and just discovered certain things that she was passionate about from since she was a little girl. And I do go there, I do go there because I believe a lot of the dreams that we had started, God planted inside of us and we act those out or will play those out, or will dream about them when we were little girls. And so we went back there.
Cynda Harris: And just the whole entire process of just where she found herself, not only spiritually but even physically. She and her husband had sold their big home, they were living out on a piece of land. And I just kept feeling… because the Lord will speak to me while we’re in our sessions, and I just kept feeling that there’s something on your land, there’s something on your land. So part of her homework, because I give homework every week, part of her homework was to go sit out under a tree on her property, and just pray. And I just really believed that God would meet her there.
Cynda Harris: And as she did that that week, God revealed to her that she was supposed to start a horse farm. She got licensed to be an equine assistant living specialist, I can’t remember the names right now. But she now has a full functioning horse farm, and they do counseling, they do therapy. We’ve done workshops out there for women and their daughters. And she has… now she has home school groups that go out to the farm and it’s a full-fledged ministry that she has out there.
Cynda Harris: And that really basically happened in a two-month span. Normally, I do ask for them to commit to three months. But just, some of them are quicker, and then some of them are a longer process. And it’s just… I keep telling people, we’re all further along, we’re in different stages-
Cindy Stewart: Different places.
Cynda Harris: -of our pregnancy, our spiritual pregnancies. And there’s… I’m there to walk them through that process however short it is or however long it. So that’s my example.
Cindy Stewart: I think that’s amazing. I mean, just the excitement of not really knowing where you’re going, and you’ve got dreams and hopes but you don’t quite know how to pull them out. And just in that two-month span, because I know the place you’re talking about, my friend takes her kids there for homeschooling, and I can’t believe that that was birthed out of this session with you. I mean, I can believe it, but to me it’s just that testimony that we’re better together. And sometimes we just need that professional touch to come into and to help us evolve, and discover the things that are hidden inside of us. That is really incredible.
Cynda Harris: Yes, and that’s what I feel like my role as that spiritual midwife is to say, you’re not losing your mind, you are pregnant, God has planted something inside of you, and let’s stretch, and let’s go through the stretching together. Let’s go through the growth together. And I remember when my babies were getting really big and I wouldn’t feel them move for a day or two, and I’d panic, and I’d call my midwife. I have women call me going, it was so exciting a month ago, and now I’m not feeling anything anymore. I go come on, let’s do it.
Cindy Stewart: Let’s go, let’s go.
Cynda Harris: And then I poke and prod, and that baby starts kicking again. And we just continue until we see that thing birthed.
Cindy Stewart: Well, it’s so great to have you here.
Cynda Harris: Thank you.
Cindy Stewart: And I want you to just be excited about what God is doing. I just see that refreshment of what God’s doing. But I’d like for you to just maybe pray over, or just share something with the audience that’s listening, because I feel like you’ve got something powerful to impart into them today.
Cynda Harris: Thank you, thank you. Thank you Cindy so much. Yes, I just want to reiterate that Scripture that the Lord gave me during my time of transition. And that’s, again that’s found in The Book of Isaiah, 43:18 and 19 and it says, don’t dwell on your past, but to be alert and be present, for I am about to do a new thing. And I really believe that we’re in a season that God is stirring up this generation of His daughters. He’s doing it with His sons too, but my lane is the daughters and focusing on them. But I believe that He’s raising up this generation of His daughters to really, really identify that they were placed not only during this season right now for a purpose, but in this generation, and that you are needed, that your voice is needed, every talent that you have, every gifting that you have, is so valuable.
Cynda Harris: I see people, women that God is saying, it’s your time, it’s your time to stand up, to rise up, and to move and operate in those gifting. And you will be amazed at the change that will not only happen inside of you, that awakening that will happen inside of you, but like my husband says, when mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. And so, but when God does something and He transforms us, there’s something that happens in our family. And not only affects us, but it affects our marriages, it affects our children, it affects our grandchildren, it affects our communities, our churches, and believe it or not it affects this planet.
Cynda Harris: So I want to encourage you just to take time, and just ask the Holy Spirit, what are those things that He has placed in you that no one else has? You are unique, you are called, you are appointed, and God has anointed you for such a time as this. And ask Him, what are those next steps that you would have me do? So I’m just going to pray for them, is that okay?
Cindy Stewart: Okay, yeah, that’s great.
Cynda Harris: Okay. Father, I come to you right now in Jesus’ name. And Lord, I thank you. I thank you that they, that every ear that hears this, that God, that they’re going to take something, they’re going to take a nugget from it, even if it’s one word, or even if it’s not anything that Cindy or I spoke about. But God, that you’re going to reach out to them. And I thank you that you have planted something in every single one of your daughters, that you’ve planted something. And God, that it’s going to grow, it’s going to grow; it’s going to grow strong. And father, that you have a plan and a purpose for them. No matter what their past looks like God, no matter what that looks like, that you are taking them to those new places. You’re getting ready to do a new thing, and they are… their name is written all over it.
Cynda Harris: So God, I thank you. I thank you that right now, that you’re going to speak to them, and that they’re going to be able to hear your voice louder and clearer than they ever have before. And God, you’re going to begin to clear that path that they’re going to begin to walk upon. And Lord, you’re going to orchestrate every person that they need to come in contact with. And I thank you that you’re going to surround them with people that are going to speak life into them. Father, that you’re going to take out the negative voices, and God that they will only be able to hear your voice and those that are called to stand along beside them.
Cynda Harris: Father, I thank you that you are pouring in your strength right now. This says you are ready and you are able to do this, what I’ve called you to do. And Lord, I thank you for that. And I thank you that you have things in mind for your daughters that are bigger and wilder than we could ever imagine. And even if we’re scared, that we will do it afraid, that we will say yes to you this very moment, this very day. We will say yes to you. And we thank you for choosing us. We thank you for loving us unconditionally. And we thank you for what you’re about to do, and it’s in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Cindy Stewart: Amen. And I would just tell you guys, go now to the For the Girls International’s website ftgi.org, connect with Cynda, connect with what’s going on there. They do conferences. Like I said, she has a small study that she does in a group, and individual one-on-one coaching. It will change your life. Thank you guys for tuning in, and we’ll see you next week.