Today, Angela speaks to us about her podcast and what inspired it, some of her favorite conversations on the podcast, and a scary moment in her life that taught her to trust in a new way.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I grew up the oldest of three girls in a pastor’s home. The sound of 88 keys was always present as music became a focal point of my life. We moved several times which posed challenges but also grew my understanding of others living in different parts of the country. A constant in the moves was music and my relationship with Jesus Christ.
“A constant in the moves was music and my relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: I just finished reading through the Gospels and studying the life of Thomas for an upcoming book project I wrote with my father. (Which was such an amazing experience!) I loved studying the life and words of Jesus and the way He interacted with people. One of my most inspiring moments from my studies was Jesus stating His deity and purpose – and our hope! “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: I attended a Rhythms Retreat with Gabe and Rebekah Lyons based on her book Rhythms of Renewal. My spiritual growth focus is staying in rhythm, especially to rest, restore, connect and create, her four key rhythms. Focusing with intention on my pace, my relationships with others, and honoring first and foremost my personal relationship with Jesus and His Word has been a wonderful practice.
Profession: My husband and I pastor a church outside of Washington DC, River of Life Church. I am on staff as the Women’s Pastor, and was formerly the Worship Pastor. I love speaking, loving on women, leading worship monthly, and encouraging women to be all they can be. I am also an author, speaker, and host of the Make Life Matter Podcast.
Tell us about the Make Life Matter podcast. What inspired it? I nearly lost my life in two near-death health crises and want to live every day to the fullest. I also want to encourage others to encounter God in everyday moments and make their lives matter no matter what. I connect listeners with leading voices in compelling conversations to help ground our worth in the Word instead of the narrative of the world.
“I also want to encourage others to encounter God in everyday moments and make their lives matter no matter what.”
Do you have a favorite/most memorable interview that you have done so far? Oh goodness! I have met so many amazing men and women who have forever marked my life. One of my favorites was Hal Donaldson, Founder of Convoy of Hope, who shared his personal story and what moves him to lead such impacting work. I also loved interviewing Sheila Walsh, who is profoundly warm and empathetic, and Gracia Burnham, author of In the Presence of My Enemies. She and her husband were held hostage by terrorists for a year where he ultimately lost his life. Her faith in the face of such adversity impacted me greatly.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? Life is One Grand Adventure – Make it Matter
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I gave my heart to the Lord as a young girl. My earliest memories are falling asleep under church pews waiting for my parents to finish services. 😊 I had seasons in my teenage years where I struggled with my relationship with God, but I always sensed HIs presence in my life.
How would you describe Jesus? Jesus is everything. He is nothing you ever expected and everything you ever needed. He will love you more than you ever thought possible and change you more than you ever imagined. Nothing – NOTHING – is better than His presence. He knows you best and loves you most.
How has your relationship with Him changed you? I just can’t imagine my life without Him. He has healed me from lies I believed about myself and God, repurposed my ruins, and marked my life for kingdom purpose. I am so grateful for Him in my life.
“He has healed me from lies I believed about myself and God, repurposed my ruins, and marked my life for kingdom purpose.”
What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? In 2003, after many months of growing increasingly more ill, I spent 11 days in the hospital with nothing to eat or drink. Doctors ordered a barium swallow exam and wheeled my down to the examination room. I lay on the cold, metal table for a test that was supposed to take 45 minutes for 7 hours. They continued to have me sit up, roll over, and get up on all fours. I felt like a rag doll. Alone and depleted, I heard the audible voice of God, “Angela, I know you can worship Me on the platform. I want to know if you can worship Me here.” Everything within me wanted to scream, “No I can’t and I don’t like You very much right now.” But I belong to Jesus… I laid there with tears rolling down my face and sang in a whisper, “Here I am to worship, Here I am to bow down, Here I am to say that You’re my God…” I believe that moment of surrender ushered in my miracle. I was diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening disorder, Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome, and underwent major surgery and months of recovery. I learned to trust God in a new way and to know that God can transform pain into purpose when we choose obedience.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Consistency in the Word, the Dwell App, and journaling.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): Reading Win the Day by Mark Batterson – Habits to see greater impact in your life and change the narrative. I’ve read so many books this year interviewing guests and loved The Hard Good by Lisa Whittle, Don’t Miss Out by Jeannie Cunnion and Dream Come True from Jenny Randle.
Top three essentials: Bible, mascara, Carmex.
How did God speak to you recently? At Lost Valley Ranch in Colorado at the Rhythms Retreat. While horseback riding through the mountain range, I learned how to “lope” which requires you to relax, go “with” the horse, and trust the process. I had a moment of such peace and awareness of God’s presence that hasn’t left me since.
Hobby: I love playing the piano, take group fitness classes at the gym, reading, and travel! I LOVE Africa and work with pastors wives through micro-enterprise there. I’ve traveled there nearly 20 times and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for clean water wells.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Stay in the Word – use an app or reading plan or Bible study, just read! Stay in community with other believers, in person-church if you can. There’s nothing like it. Practice the presence of God through worship and let things go in His presence.
Favorite person in scripture? Priscilla, the mother of the early church. I wrote about her in Fearless – Ordinary Women of the Bible who Dared to do Extraordinary Things. She is truly extraordinary. She used every piece of real estate in her life to love others and build the kingdom.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? He is worth trusting. In a world where life is uncertain, God’s character is unchanging. I want them to see that no matter what, He is who He says He is and He is worth everything.
“I want them to see that no matter what, He is who He says He is and He is worth everything.”
How do you engage with your community? We serve a church body as pastors, and I connect with women throughout the week. I love connecting with new women through the podcast and hearing their story. We love to open our home as a place for respite and to gather.
Favorite holiday? Christmas!
A goal you have? Use my voice to help ground as many women as possible in the Word. I also want to continue to see women, especially pastor’s wives, empowered in Africa to lead their families, their communities, and their churches with dignity and strength. I founded Voice of the Voiceless to raise awareness and funds for women and children in vulnerable areas.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Growing up, we used to ask our kids to share their “Pit” and “Peak” of the day (high point and low point!) We still do when they visit and with other guests as well. It’s a fun dinner conversation!
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? That’s a great question…Was there any more I could have done?
Thing you want to raise awareness about: I serve with organizations to eradicate modern day slavery through human trafficking and empower women to choose life through pro-life initiatives.
What does your morning routine consist of? Coffee with creamer, Bible reading, journaling, and a chapter or two from a favorite book. I’m not a morning person but try to begin my day with Him before life pulls me other directions.
What is on your nightstand? Carmex, hand lotion, and my phone charger.
Define Christianity in a sentence: An eternal relationship with the One who created you, knows you best, and loves you most.
For more Angela:
FB at angeladonadiovov
IG at angeladonadio
Until next time, keep witnessing!
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