Danna Demetre is an author of seven books and is a speaker best known for the way she inspires people to change their habits from the inside out and live more healthy lives. She offers practical insights and tools to help women reach their lifestyle goals through her business, Ageless Woman Living with co-founder Robyn Thomson. They produce weekly video blogs, cooking shows, and online devotionals to address the needs of women of faith over 45 and recently launched their Ageless Woman Academy. Danna has been an expert guest on many radio and television programs over the past 15 years.  She’s also shared her dynamic messages of faith and hope with thousands each year as a keynote retreat and conference speaker. She has been married for 33 years to, Lew, a West Point graduate and international businessman and they have four grown children and five grandchildren. Danna is dedicated to living a life of balance and knows it is essential to “walk your talk.” You can learn more about Danna at: www.AgelessWomanLiving.com and www.DannaDemetre.com  or Facebook: @Ageless Woman Living

Kathleen Cooke: What has God been recently teaching you?  

Danna Demetre: “Are we there yet?” As children, we whined these words to our parents on any car ride over 30 minutes. And, we’ve heard it playing like a skipping vinyl record from the backseat in our own cars as our children (and grandchildren) pass on the blessing. We seem to be wired from birth to laser focus on the destination more than the journey. As I near my 66th birthday, I realize more than ever that life is a journey. As I watch the years fly by at almost warp speed, I know that I want and need is to cherish every moment, capture every opportunity, and invest in every morsel of time as if it could be my last here on planet earth.

Kathleen: We’re all ambitious. Often our ambitions are for all the right reasons but sometimes we can push too hard and take a dive into wrong thinking and choices. What’s God taught you ambitious striving?

Danna: In my 66 years, I’ve had multiple professions. Labor and delivery nurse. Corporate marketing manager. Radio host. Fitness professional. Health coach. Author. Speaker. Let’s just say, I was a Type A on steroids. More a human doing than being. In my 30’s and 40’s, I’d set goals and go after them and then pray for God to bless the work of my hands. Those years of striving were exhausting. Then, one day I realized that God said in Jer. 29:11: “I know the plans I have for you”.  He did not say, “I know the plans you have for you.” I also read the NASB translation of Ps. 46:10 that says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.”. I set aside most of my goals and reported to duty in prayer and “let” God take the lead. I adopted a new life motto: Do the right things, for the right reasons, and trust God with the results. It is amazing how freeing it is to take on God-given assignments and let him handle the outcome.

Kathleen: Share what God’s taught you about forgiving?

Danna: Ten years into my second marriage, I was so grateful that God had blessed me with a man that was my best friend and lover. I could not understand what I’d done to deserve this second chance. And then, out of nowhere, I discovered he was having an affair. My heart shattered into a thousand pieces and I had no idea if our marriage would or could survive. God showed me that though my husband was wrong for straying, I had played a role in the breakdown of our marriage. He humbled me to look at my part and showed me all the sins in my life that Jesus had forgiven. A thought occurred to me. Jesus never looked down at me from the cross and said, “Danna, I won’t die for that sin you committed…or for that sin, you will commit ten years from now.” Instead, he died for them all. He forgave them all. In that moment, I knew that I could not withhold forgiveness from my husband. In those difficult months, I realized that forgiveness was not a guarantee for reconciliation, but that lack of forgiveness is a guarantee that there can be no reconciliation. So, I lived one day at a time – not holding the offense against my husband – but also being honest that he would need to earn back my trust. Forgiveness did not immediately heal my broken heart, but it did begin the healing process. We celebrate our 33rd anniversary very soon. We are stronger, better friends, more in love than ever. We often say it’s been the best 23 years of our life!

Kathleen: Finally, what are your thoughts on how to influence others? 

Danna: My former pastor, John Maxwell, once said something about leadership and influence that made me laugh and then take stock of my effectiveness as a leader. He said, “If you are leading and no one is following…you’re just going for a walk!” That being said, I think we need to be careful to not diminish the power of influencing even one person at a time. My life was forever changed because one woman had the courage to share Jesus with me at a time in my life when I was struggling with debilitating panic attacks. Her influence was powerful because she was led by the Holy Spirit. She did not let the fear that a completely un-churched woman like me would judge or reject her for boldly sharing the Truth. Too often as leaders and communicators, we measure our value in numbers. God measures it in impact and changed lives.