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Cindy Lafavre Yorks: From reporter to encourager

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

Yvette: Thank you for being on this new podcast, Journalists Advancing Ministry. It's something that has been on my heart and I'm so glad that you are one of the early guests on the show. Today I definitely want to talk to you about your faith walk, your journalism background, and how that might have impacted your faith walk and just get to know you a little bit better.

Cindy LeFavre Yorks, you are an author of a door devotional trilogy, which is amazing by the way, and we'll talk more about that.

You're a blogger and you're a podcaster. So how did you get involved? How did you start?

Cindy: That was really kind. I was, I'm an accidental podcaster is what I usually tell people. I felt like there were things I wanted to accomplish that didn't fit into the genres that I was already entrenched in. And so as a result of that, I got to thinking, you know, is this an area I want to explore?

And I'm kind of adventurous, I suppose in some ways I'm not necessarily want to jump out of an airplane, but if there's something that I want to do that stretches the boundaries of communication in terms of how I can express myself and impact others, I'm all for it.

When I first started podcasting, I felt like it was kind of wild West, I mean, I felt like there were a lot of things that were untried … like there aren't as many rules or restrictions. In journalism, we both know there are all sorts of rules. I'm not sure how much people pay attention to those anymore, but back in the day, you couldn't have your opinion inserted unless it was editorial and those kinds of things, but when it comes to podcasting, … I just love that liberation in terms of the structure that you know, you can have a show that can educate people or inspire people and my podcast, His GPS for your S.O.S. is intended to be very short and super inspirational.

I just want to backpedal a little bit because I like what you said and I don't know if I even knew it until now that I have a little ah-ha moment that you know when we compose and tell our testimonies, it does help clarify for us too. And that's kind of a neat added bonus, I suppose to the arrangement.

Yvette: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, I've been mulling mine over four years and only recently did I begin to see that he's been feeding the pieces to me. My human brain is just taking a while to figure it out.

You are a former journalist, just like I am and you're an author and your book series is so clever.

Cindy: Well, the idea there is you're walking along, and all of a sudden you're getting ushered into another detour if you will.

And you're like, well wait a minute. This wasn't really part of my game plan.

And the side door can be a lot of things that can be something that, God has orchestrated for your refinement or development, but it can also be, the result of a bad choice or something that happened to you that you're going to kind of have to go in a different way for out a different way or however you want to look at it Into an area that you didn't really anticipate that you'd ever go in.

My personal side door was autism. We adopted a child. My son Max, he's 22 now and he's severely autistic. And that was a side door that I didn't expect.

And so that was kind of what gave me the idea for the book. And back when I first started that … when that idea was first birthed if you will, I went to the bookstore. That day going into the bookstore trying to find a book that was really honest and open about, experiencing pain and clinging to God. I just didn't really find the right book. I felt the Lord saying that's because I want you to write that book.

Yvette: Tell us about the next two books, "The Trap Door" and then "The Vault Door."

Cindy: The “Trap Door,” that's an interesting personal journey too. You're walking along and it seems like the primrose path and all is well with the world and you feel like you're, right on God's railroad track and nothing's going to stop you. And then all of a sudden the bottom falls out and that could be an illness like cancer or divorce.

There are all kinds of trap doors that we can fall through. I mean someone important in your life could die. A friend of mine, she was in her early fifties and her husband just went on for a run came in, and died right in the entryway and I mean he was like the picture of health. That's a trap door that she never thought she'd have to be falling through.

And I'm sure that resonates with a lot of people listening. They've had their trap doors and my favorite thing to say about the trap door is I fell through a little trap door when I was writing the jacket copy.

I had a spirit of arrogance and I did not have the spirit of humility that the Lord has really been working very hard on my character development with that because I said to myself, isn't it so wonderful that I don't have any trap doors and I'm through the side door and now I can help other people.

Yvette: Wow.

Cindy: Yeah, boy. And then I was so glad to write the vault door, which is all the securing of God's truths and promises because I'm like, this is what I'm really up for right now. And of course, I wrote that during Covid and I just felt like, you know, that was the only way. Those were our life rafts, weren't they?

I mean, all that isolation and loneliness. And I mean even with people that have people in the house, you know, if you're I'm an extrovert and I really missed my sisters in Christ and my Bible study and all those machinations that were so helpful to encourage and uplift.

And I felt really adrift in a lot of ways. But I mean I suppose I did have a Romans 8:28 outcome because that was the time that I needed to really start my podcast.

And so that that turned, I love how God you know, turned it around for me.

Yvette: So let's talk about your journalism background because you're a communicator. You are a communicator of God's truths, of his promises, of everything that he gives to us and the gifts he's given you, the gift of being able to write, the gift of being able to speak.

You're using that in his glory and his honor. And I feel like I'm trying to do the same thing. But there were times, there were years when I had not come to this understanding that I could do this when I was in the full throes of journalism, that that was not possible for me.

And that's really one of the reasons why this podcast has been born. So let's talk a little bit about your journalism background. Where did you get started? Where have you worked?

And also your faith walk along that way.

Cindy: You know, when you said about journalism, we're trained to be a certain kind of a communicator to be not objective and to report, news and I had to write all kinds of stories.

I had to write a suicide story when I lived in Plano when all those suicides were going on in Texas, you might remember there was a drug epidemic there and that was probably the hardest story I ever wrote.

it's difficult to be a journalist and a Christian and I know in my newsroom I was really the only one and I'll even you know, be as bold as to say that I was probably more of a lukewarm Christian then because of my desire to fit in with the others. If I'm allowed to have a regret and I don't really believe in regrets because I think the Lord gives us such abundant grace,

it might be that you know, they kind of said, oh Cindy is the Christian one and they kind of patronized me and I sort of let them you know, and I guess maybe I wish I would have said,

“I have a peace that passes all understanding that you don't really have.”

A lot of them have gone, I mean out here in Los Angeles, people have gone on to great success and some of the people I worked with, you know ended up at Esquire and you know the New York Daily News and some really big newspapers and even, you know writing Hollywood scripts or whatever … very high profile, but you know, a lot of them are pretty goofed up and they need Jesus.

Then I worked at the L. A. Times and I worked at People magazine. I had all sorts of little freelancing gigs and then I became a mom, and a special needs child and it was really pretty difficult to work. So I kind of didn't write for maybe 15 years except at community bible study and that's where I learned the framework of writing a devotional and I just had such a heart for that And I, I'm so grateful that I was, I just love how the Lord puts us exactly where he wants us to help us, you know gain new skills.

And then I just felt, and I'm sure this resonates with you Yvette because of all the work that you do where the Lord is like, I'm ready for you to impart the good news. Now you've already done the bad news or the sad news and of course, we are still in a swirl of disturbing news today, but we really can, as encouragers and as sisters in Christ really join together to try to help people.

And we just need to lean into those truths and promises and I just want to do whatever I can to help people to see that silver lining, because I feel like it's more needed than ever.

Yvette: Oh, absolutely. You mentioned earlier when you were talking about writing for your book jacket, that God wanted to humble you, that you needed to be humbled a little bit, and then you just mentioned that you got a call from the Daily News to ask you to apply or to interview and, as journalists, when we get phone calls from other newspapers that say they're interested in us. It is, I mean, you just feel so good about that.

And so and for many people, I believe that you just don't want to screw that up. You want to keep moving up. You want to keep advancing in your career, not necessarily thinking about Jesus, not thinking about how that's going to impact your faith life at all. And I don't know about you, but I didn't I didn't pray before I made every job decision that I made.

I just saw that it's a stepping stone, that's the next thing I'm going to because that's what you're supposed to do.

Was there a time when you realized that you were a great communicator, you were a good writer, you're a good speaker and maybe you could use this for the church or for Him?

Did that ever happen to you?

Cindy: Well yeah. When I wrote my first devotional for that Bible study. So some of these devotionals, people just read out of a book, but in our particular study in Orange, California,

the bar is pretty high. People actually work, they look up scripture and reference and they really put their heart into it and they're difficult to write.

God calls us to transparency so that others can come up higher and us as well, Right?

But anyway, what I wrote, a few of those people were really, touched by them and also very clarifying for me to write. And one of the early ones that I did, really gave me that feeling that you're describing.

I had a moment with my special needs child when he was diagnosed with autism at age two.

I was by myself for that diagnostic and we walked outside it was kind of a chilly California day and the breeze was blowing and we were standing on this little grassy knoll and just as the enemy does he puts the most horrible thoughts into our head that sometimes we're afraid to confess.

And the thought that went through my head that day was you know to let go of his hand and you won't have to take care of him anymore because I had seen with my older child he was adopted also but he just had some mild ADHD.

But I took him to speech therapy and I saw the kind of kids that he was going to be like and it was scary to me and so you know for that millisecond when your blood runs cold and your heart stops and the breeze feels like it's going to take all your hair off your head.

Am I going to really let go of his hand? Of course, I'm not going to. And also just the fact that I loved him and you know I've been caring for him since he was a baby and of course, I'm not going to do that, but that is the kind of stuff that is really, it's tough to convey.

But there is liberation in the confession.

And I try to be that good conduit for God's truths and promises and to admit that I'm a flawed person and I make mistakes and you know, that's just part of growing.

Yvette: I want to ask you, is objectivity as important as we've always been taught to believe in? Should we be somehow spreading the word of Jesus Christ more, even in the work that we do? That's probably maybe not possible in some newsrooms.

Cindy: I'm super excited to tackle one of the topics you brought up because as you know,

I live out here in California and we subscribe to three newspapers, which is rare and there's nobody on our street that even gets the paper.

But I want to tell you about it because I actually read an editorial and I'm not sure it may have been in the Washington Post because I do read stuff online as well. But it was talking about some of the training that journalists received.

And this editorial actually spelled out a curriculum. It said it's more important to steer people to the proper point of view than it is to impart the truth. And I feel like that's one of the biggest problems in all of journalism, television journalism, radio and it's certainly in print that and it's certainly true where I live.

And you could ask a lot of people on the street why they don't take the paper and that's what they'd say back.

Yvette: the proper point of view. So who decides that? Who's making that decision?

Cindy: But I'm just saying there are people that are teaching journalism that way. And they're turning people out like that because I'm telling you they work out here.

Yvette: But I guess my question is should we not be ignoring our truth, our Christian truth, our familial truth, whatever that is?

Cindy: I was going to say in the way we communicate information even I mean I would say even in the way that we behave and is much in what we say and also in what we don't say right because you know a really good friend, she's very outspoken and she says the older I get, the more I realize I should never miss an opportunity to keep my mouth shut.

And sometimes that is a godly thing to do. But you know, by the same token, I do believe that I probably had some missed opportunities in terms of when people, presented a certain darkness to me in the newsroom that maybe I should have stood up for God's agenda.

So I'll probably have to I may have to do some extra repenting now that we brought this issue to light over the weekend. But I do think that that's what's called me and I'm sure this is true for you. You know, having been surrounded by that journalistic background that we can work in a, a higher sphere and that we can communicate more of this good news and just in different ways.

We're God's journalists. I like to say that we're spiritual scribes and that, the kinds of things,

the information that we're imparting will just have the longevity that, yesterday's newspaper never could.

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