Thursday, September 24, 2020

Q&A with Michelle Moore Author of A Mother’s Grace: Healing the World One Woman at a Time

Michelle Moore Christian Q&A

1) Why did you start A Mother’s Grace organization?

Moms are truly the backbones of their families and they need a community to lean on. I was in a crisis dealing with my own cancer and child with a life-threatening illness. I was diagnosed with cancer at the same time as two other friends (moms my age) and they both died within a year. I could not for the life of me figure out why I was spared. They were both such wonderful women and way more wonderful than I. In some ways I felt like I needed to earn my spot on this Earth and do something good with my time.


2) How did God keep knocking on your door to get you to write this book?

Oh my gosh over and over. I would work on my manuscript and then put it away for a year. I would give up for lack of faith, self-confidence, time, etc., and something or someone would come back and just re-open the door. For example, when I put the project on hold, a journalist came out of the woodwork and said, “Hey, you should write a book and if you can’t get it all done I will help you.” Then an agent that revisited me from 7 years prior emailed me out of the blue, wanting to send it to a publisher who was convinced. It was never anything that I did---it was always a nudge from outside. 


3) How did God get you through your challenges—your cancer and your son’s illness?

When I was experiencing cancer, I would see signs of hope every day. People were sent to me and met me on my path--they got me to take the next step. You really have to quiet yourself and surrender and then you’ll find that the signs and support are literally everywhere. But, that means being fully present in the moment—without a screen—to listen and discern the signs. You also have to take the help that appears--you can’t shrink from it.


For example, if you have been praying for guidance and someone calls you and you confide in them and they say, “Well, I think this book might help you or this podcast or a session with this therapist…” Take the help. All of these things are one step in the journey and you never know where it will lead next. 


4) Were there any times that you questioned your faith and how did you get back on the path?

I questioned my faith a lot but never gave up. Start by praying. If you don’t know any prayers, just Google the theme or topic and you will find the right ones for you. Most of the time, it doesn’t have to be formal; it can just be a conversation with God like you would have with a friend. In addition, take action.

When you can barely get out of bed, reach out to a trusted confidante and put it all out there. Get up and move your body. Journal. Go to a church service or a support group.  Do things that you know are good for you, even if you don’t think you can manage in that moment. Do them anyway--even one small little thing. Just make one phone call, one small step.


5) What lessons do you have for women philanthropists who want to start their own entities?

Surround yourself with women who are givers, doers, and who have no personal agenda but to help others. Capitalize on each woman’s individual gifts and you will have the puzzle pieces to make something beautiful. It is truly who you surround yourself with. One lesson I learned is that you cannot do it all yourself. You need a cohort of strong and assertive women to support and take a piece. If you trust them and they know their “stuff,” let them run with it. No micromanaging needed at all. 


6) In your book A Mother’s Grace, you pose the question What is your Grace?  What is grace, and how can women call upon grace to inspire them and get them through difficult times?

Grace is that magic that comes from surrendering to God’s plan for you. So, for example, if I am in crisis and I am riddled with anxiety and trying to figure out what I am going to do and just ruminating over and over to the point of paralysis, grace comes when you pray, let go, and surrender to God’s plan. Grace is what happens next…things happen out of the complete blue that you had no hand in and beautiful favor in your life, the way God has planned for you.


7) What lessons have you learned from your hardships?


I am a glass-half-full person so during a hardship I always always look for the “lemonade” or what I am grateful for.  As we get older, there is a wisdom that comes from the understanding that things work out the way they are supposed to if you let them. I look back on my deepest hurts and hardships and wish sometimes I knew what I know now--that they all work out in the right timing, not always the way we wanted at the time but the way it is supposed to be.


Also, more importantly than anything, I have learned how to be there for others. I have been through traumatic loss, horrific illness, crippling anxiety, paralyzing worry, and monumental change and disappointment. Some days I feel like there is nothing I can't relate to when talking with another--and more important--“listening to another.” My presence, my consideration, and, many times, action without being asked is the most important thing you can do for another. It is definitely not “all about me.” I get that now, and that is the most important lesson I think we can all learn.


8) How can we teach our children to be empathetic and giving?


Expose your children as young as possible. I take my kids everywhere and always have. I took them to NOLA to help clean up after Hurricane Katrina and to Africa to work in an orphanage. However, even more important than anything on a large scale, is doing small things consistently in your own community. Model, model, model.


Adopt families during the holidays, have the kids work at soup kitchens, have them give up part of their allowance to donate to their favorite charity. Have your kids write thank-you notes. This manifests gratefulness and accountability.  Keep them involved in a spiritual community. Take them out into nature and teach them to respect it. I think having kids be responsible for a pet teaches such compassion and responsibility. I ask my kids this question all of the time, and they answer that watching what I did influenced them and they all practice empathy and giving in their own ways (I could not be more proud). Let your children give in the way that resonates most with them and it will take on a life of its own. 


9) How can women be change agents in their own communities?

Women do not have to start a 501c3 to be change agents. You can bake cookies for an assisted living facility, take homemade food to a family that is dealing with crisis, be a sponsor, or write a lovely email to someone who is experiencing grief. Do something. If we all did one small thing for someone once a month, the world would be a different place. 


10) This is a time when hope is scarce; what can your book show women about hope?

Well, if we can’t muster a little hope from women who have faced the loss of a child, a storm that leveled their town, life-threatening illness, or financial devastation…we are surely in a bad place. Each of the stories in the book reveal women triumphing over devastating circumstances on families, individuals, and communities.


The women in this book have all faced issues that mirror the crises facing our world today: fear, loss, financial ruin, depression, anxiety, uncertainty.  Take a look at what these moms have overcome---and they have not only overcome their adversity but they found joy again through helping others.  It was one step out of hell for all of them and now they are not just surviving, but thriving. That does not mean there are still not horrific days filled with pain but they have felt the hand of God and paid that forward.


11) What is your favorite scripture at the moment?

John 16:23--24

23In that day you will no longer ask Me anything. Truly, truly, I tell you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. 24Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.


12 Women Turning Adversity into ACTION

Advice for Women on Becoming Change Agents in Turbulent Times & Starting Side Hustles with Heart


“This is a book for our times. Women are being empowered to be change agents, and have the power for exponential change...this book will leave women wanting to make a difference in small and global ways but mostly will allow them to believe they have the power to do so. “ - Michelle Moore


About the Book:

As women everywhere are dealing with unprecedented trials and stress in their lives, A Mother’s Grace: Healing the World One Woman at a Time shares remarkable true (and inspiring) stories from female change-makers with advice about turning adversity into action. 

Author Michelle Moore shares how her adversity became a global movement when she survived an aggressive form of breast cancer at the same time her son faced near fatal complications from juvenile diabetes. Grateful to be alive, she was compelled to make changes in her life and in the lives of others. Along with her own personal story, Moore shares the stories of 10 women and how their lives serendipitously came together in the most unique ways so she could continue to grow this movement and partner with these women in quite miraculous ways.


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About the Author:

By day, author Michelle Moore oversees the COVID-19 testing response as a senior vice president for Laboratory Corporation of America; by night, she is the founder of Mother’s Grace, a nonprofit organization that has raised more than $5 million for families in acute crisis, assisting more than 6,000 mothers in the state of Arizona and throughout the world. Mother’s Grace addresses the critical needs of mothers and their children in the midst of tragic life events by helping them with housing costs, medication, meals, housekeeping, childcare, transportation, and a host of other immediate needs. Through mentorship and seed grants, Mother’s Grace also assists women in starting their own nonprofits, with the goal of producing a new generation of women leaders.


Michelle is the recipient of MASK Unity’s Moms Making a Difference Award, the highly coveted Hon-Kachina Award and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Philanthropy in Action Award. In 2019, Moore was awarded the Phoenix Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business award and was granted a State of Arizona Commendation by First Lady Angela Ducey for her extraordinary service to the people of Arizona.

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