WM: You just launched your podcast, Heroes for Her (congrats!). Would you tell us about this podcast and how it came to be?
EW: The podcast came out of our desire to shine the spotlight on women who are positive female role models for today’s girls. As a mom, I’m looking out into the world saying, “Okay, I know there are women out there who are hard at work pursuing their calling and leading from their values, but where are they?” We wanted to create a place where people could tune in and hear about the work that these women are doing, how they ended up where they are, and be inspired.
WM: How do you choose who you have on your podcast? EW: In a crazy and noisy world, we’re all about having a conversation about how to get the next generation of girls making a different kind of noise. The focus for the podcast really came out of the primary goal of our Bible Belles series. We want to highlight the women who can show girls how prayer, patience, bravery, loyalty, and leadership can ultimately guide each of them toward their own unique purpose. By learning about these women, parents can be armed with the heroes of today’s world, an army of women who can show the younger generation there is hope and that they are loved without measure…always.
WM: What have you learned so far from all of these interviews and inspiring women on your podcast?
EW: I’ve learned that I can empower myself as a parent by getting out there and finding these women. I was really intimidated when I found out my husband and I were having a girl a girl for two reasons: 1) there are a lot of negative female role models out there who are celebrated by the media and within society and 2) as a young girl, I fell victim to that constant measurement of myself against other girls and was consumed by self-doubt, insecurity, and a willful hardening of my own heart as I tried to be “cool” and “beautiful.” By doing these interviews and hearing from all of these amazing women, I personally feel a lot more capable to guide my own daughter, to have the tough conversations, to support her, to love her.
WM: You have withstood many incredibly difficult things in your life including being a five time cancer survivor! What was that like?
EW: Horrible and fantastic and then so many things after that. My time as an athlete prepared me a lot for the physical and mental challenges associated with cancer (surgery, treatment, rehabilitation etc.). The first diagnosis absolutely destroyed me, but I consider that time in my life to be my most cherished blessing. It was the jolt I needed to align me with the right path and purpose.
WM: What was one of your toughest seasons and how where you able to rise from it?
EW: Toughest season: that first diagnosis in April 2007. I spent a lot of time thinking the normal thoughts (“How could this be happening to me?” and “My life is over.) I honestly thought it was, and I was so disappointed. In June of 2007 though, I was quarantined for a radiation treatment. In that room, everything changed. I was so completely broken and I finally, after years of running, asked God for help. After that, I felt a boldness to change my course and to embrace what was there all along.
WM: What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with a similar or just a tough season(s) currently?
EW: Ask for help. I was always the girl who never wanted help. I wanted to do things by myself. That just does not work, so ask for help in two ways. Ask the people you know, the people who love you, for support. Let them sit with you. Tell them what you need to tell them. Let them be in the room with you. Just allow that to happen. The other “ask” is for someone you probably don’t know. Seek out someone who has gone through what you are going through. Reach out to them. Ask the questions you need to ask. Let them share their story with you. I can’t tell you how encouraged I was when a friend put me in touch with a woman she knew from church who had the same cancer as I did. She told me all about how she was able to have children despite being diagnosed before, during, and after each of her pregnancies. At the time I had completely written off having a baby of my own, but it gave me so much hope that maybe it could happen.
WM: What is the Bible verse you go to when you are going through hard times?
EW: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.