Diane with 4word Portland leaders Maria (left) and Katie (right) at the Portland Good Friday Breakfast last month.
It's been a little more than a year and a half since Diane's book "Work, Love, Pray" was published. Since then, the topic of working mothers and working women has gained even greater traction. This week, we're featuring a special interview between our blogger, Amy, and Diane Paddison as she reflects on the impact "Work, Love, Pray" has had on its readers.
Amy: What is the concept behind the cover art of high-heeled shoes for your book "Work, Love, Pray?"
Diane: Most faith-based books for women start from the perspective of the faith or family dimension of God's purpose for women. No other book in the faith-based space addressed women from the "work" perspective and God's purpose and calling for us in the workplace. Those shoes just said “work” to me more than any other picture that we considered for the cover art.
Amy: And something I've always wondered, what does the "4word" mean in "4word women?"
Diane: The four words are: WOMEN who WORK, LOVE and PRAY.
Amy: Organizations for working women have been in the news a lot lately, especially since the release of Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In. What distinguishes “Work, Love, Pray” and 4word from other organizations/ministries for women?
Diane: It adds the key, missing element to Sheryl's book: prayer. As I mentioned in a recent Her.meneutics article, being a working mother isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. Leaning on friendships with other working women is an enormous blessing – that’s why I am so excited to see 4word chapters taking off in cities across America – but it simply isn’t enough. God is the only one truly able to help us through the sleepless nights, the stress, the guilt and whatever else life throws at us. We have to lean on Him.
And, from the faith angle, 4word adds the work element to existing ministries for women. We are the only global digital platform in the world focusing on this demographic of professional Christian women. As I travel around the country, I hear from many women who tell me that there is no other voice for them in the faith sphere.
These women and their friends love their careers. Many of them spent many years building them up before getting married and having kids; many others are single and successful. Now they need mentors, role models and other female voices telling them that their work is still relevant. For women who start a family, there is greater need for community of peers and leaders when they feel conflicted about their calling to a professional vocation and to be great moms and wives.
Amy: What has most surprised you in readers' responses to “Work, Love, Pray?”
Diane: I’ve been surprised by how it has reached women of all ages and in all stages of their careers. But what has surprised me the most is the response from men. I have received so many emails, comments or reviews from men telling me what excellent insight “Work, Love, Pray” has provided into the lives and struggles of their wives, sisters and daughters. To quote one reviewer:
“I think that any husband of a current or former Christian businesswoman should read this book. I am one of those and it gave me extremely valuable insight into the mind of my wife. Insight into the mind of my wife is, well, something that is priceless!
Also, if any one has a daughter that is a junior or senior in high school OR a daughter in college...they should have their daughter read this book. They will be inspired and given invaluable counsel on the journey they have yet to begin.”
Amy: What has been the best compliment you've received from a reader?
Diane: The most rewarding email I have ever received came from Emily Knigge. Through "Work, Love, Pray" and the 4word Portland chapter, she came to Christ. About a year ago, she sent me an email to let me know she was moving to Los Angeles:
“I want to thank you for creating such an amazing group. I have enjoyed every one of our guest speakers and developed a relationship with God during the small groups in a way I have never been able to do before. I feel such a strong connection and sisterhood with the woman at 4word, and it pains me to leave the group at such an exciting time. I have developed some great relationships that I will maintain for a lifetime. Once I get settled into my new home/area I would love to explore the idea of creating a chapter in Orange County. Thank you again for being such a guiding light, and I hope to stay in touch.”
Emily’s email brought me such joy, because she is exactly the reason that I wrote “Work, Love, Pray” and founded 4word. My passion is to bring young, professional Christian women together, provide them with a support network and mentor them through the various stages of their careers. I earnestly desire for this generation of women to develop a deep, lasting relationship with their Savior and with one another and to learn to use their God-given talents in the workplace to the fullest extent possible.
Have you read some or all of "Work, Love, Pray?" Diane would love to hear what stuck with you from the book. Send her your thoughts, takeaways, or questions in the comments.