Editor's Note: Congratulations to our friend and CatholicMom.com contributor Theresa Ceniccola for her part in the recent publication of the book Inspired Women Succeed. I'm happy to share some information about this book, as well as Theresa's contribution below. LMH
Wichita Falls, TX – Today’s success-driven culture often puts a pressure-cooker demand on Christian women in business. Countless women struggle to succeed—to be, do, and have it all.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, the way we determine success greatly impacts our lives, according to the newly published bookInspired Women Succeed by Diane Cunningham and Jo Ann Fore.
As they seek to redefine success, the authors challenge readers, “What scoreboard determines true success? Must we be famous? Rich? Well-credentialed experts?”
This Chicken Soup for the Soul®-spirited book features a collection of 40 real-life inspirational accounts that are designed to prove success is an individual experience. “For Christian women, success is inspired from a sense of calling; measured by a loyalty to God in spite of life’s circumstances or outcome,” Cunningham said.
Co-Author Jo Ann Fore elaborates, “Inspired Women Succeed leads readers on an inspirational journey; a journey which teaches women how to entrust the hard spots of life to a sovereign God who has a plan. The book is about real women doing real life. Through a vulnerable transparency, the stories of this book offer women a permission to be real; to confront the tough issues of life with a new perspective. We want women to reframe life experiences which may have blocked their progress—those same experiences can be used as a catalyst to success.”
Authors Cunningham and Fore model authenticity, as intimate details about the rough spots of their own lives are woven throughout the book. They, along with contributors such as Catholic Mom contributor Theresa Ceniccola recount how they transformed difficult circumstances into a successful life—success on God’s terms, that is.
“Sometimes we have to refocus,” contributorTheresa Ceniccola) said. Inspired Women Succeed supports the very real evidence that reframing my own life events offered an opportunity for me to seek God at work in my life.”
From Devastation to Inspiration: Journey of a Christian Mompreneur
By Theresa Ceniccola
Have you ever felt like a fraud? As if everyone sees something in you that isn’t truly there?
For many years, I felt this way about my business. Sure, I was successful by the traditional definition. I had managed to earn a six-figure income working part-time as a freelance writer and marketing consultant. I was blessed for 15 years with a business that provided me the income and flexibility I desired during my early years of motherhood. Friends and colleagues often commented that I had “the best of both worlds.” But I didn’t feel successful.
Don’t misunderstand me; I was extremely grateful for the lifestyle my business allowed me to create for my family. But as my children grew from babies to toddlers to school-age, my business did not experience growth. And my professional life was stagnant. In fact, I found myself working on the same projects I had been doing for nearly ten years. I took on assignments I was overqualified for or uninterested in simply because it was easier than making a change. I worked on autopilot, just going through the motions from one day to the next. Yes, I was thankful to have the work. But I was comfortable. I was anything but inspired.
I knew in my heart that I was not doing the work that God called me to do. I was not using my gifts and talents to serve others in a way that was making a difference in the word. But, as a self-proclaimed control freak, I was perfectly content as long as my life was predictable. As long as everything was under control. My control.
I remember the day I realized that I was no longer in control—my own personal Black Friday. I wasn’t 100 percent certain, but the empty pit in my stomach told me my time had come. Call it intuition, but when my client requested a private meeting in person on a Friday afternoon in the midst of a recession, anxiety became my best friend. I barely slept that night, bargaining with the Lord as I tossed and turned in my bed.
When the sun finally peeked through the curtains, I was filled with a sense of urgency and panic. I recited a litany of my favorite prayers, too preoccupied to be mindful of the words, yet finding comfort in the familiar sound of the words. It was difficult to focus that day. As the meeting drew near, my mind wandered from the job and the anxiety mounted. I doodled in my journal, asking the Lord for strength and comfort, writing my new mantra, “I will accept what is to come with grace and dignity.”
“Due to budget cuts, your contract cannot be renewed,” my client said. My qualms were confirmed as I watched the door close on this 15-year client. So much for grace and dignity—my immediate response was tears and devastation. I spent the weekend in the depths of self-pity and panic.
Eventually I opened my heart to the possibility of turning my business over to the Lord. I placed my concerns in his hands and asked – begged – him to lead me to success as He intends for me. I wrote one of my favorite scriptures in my journal as a reminder of God’s plan to bring me success:
My transformation as an entrepreneur didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t receive a sign from the heavens telling me what to do next. There was no visit from an angel in a dream. But I felt the gentle hand of the Lord every day as I made small decisions that kept me on the path he laid out for me to follow.
My Lord was there for me when I was offered more than one job. He held my hand as I wrestled with each decision, unsure if I should choose a steady income over an unsure future. He opened doors for me that enabled me to pay the mortgage without abandoning my entrepreneurial journey. He did what he promises his children he will do – He provided for me.
Then, the Lord called me to lead. He called me to step into my fullest potential as a writer, a marketing expert and a Christian. It’s not as if I heard his voice telling me to go forth and lead. But he sent his messengers and opened my mind to receiving their words. He sent mentors to inspire me to fulfill my life’s purpose. He sent the love of my husband to support me. He sent colleagues to encourage me, clients to praise me, and strangers to lift me up. And he sent the seeds to plant and nourish so that The Christian Mompreneur would bloom in his glory.
When I first stepped into my brand as The Christian Mompreneur, I received interesting feedback. My corporate friends said things like, “How cute!” as if a mompreneur is not to be taken seriously. And others were horrified that I would embrace my faith in such a public way and connect it with my business. But here’s the thing— my Christian faith is the foundation for every decision I make – as a mom and an entrepreneur. I don’t want to hide it, apologize for it or separate it from my work. And through my work with other Christian moms in business, I’ve discovered that I am not alone.
So The Christian Mompreneur reflects my priorities of faith, family and business. In embracing my role as The Christian Mompreneur, I am fulfilling my call to empower and inspire moms who are running a successful business that enables them to serve others and follow God’s plan. And there’s nothing that feels fraudulent about that!