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2009 Conversations

2008 Conversations

2007 Conversations

2006 Conversations

2005 Conversations

2004 Conversations

Alicia Chole: The truth about joy (12/28/03)

Cookies and Christmas: A roundtable discussion (12/21/03)

John Tesh: In pursuit of passion (12/14/03)

AGWM's L. John Bueno: Bread of life (11/23/03)

Teen Challenge's John Castellani: Christ breaks addictions (11/16/03)

Christian humorist Justin Fennell: Justifiably funny (10/19/03)

Representative Marilyn Musgrave: The role of Christians in government (10/12/03)

Dennis Gaylor: Fifty more campuses (9/28/03)

Kathy Troccoli: A message of hope (9/21/03)

Kristy Starling: Dreams come true (9/14/03)

CeCe Winans Love: Of Gospel and Grammies (8/31/03)

Gary Heavin: Faith and fitness (8/24/03)

Gracia Burnham: Grace in the jungle (8/17/03)

Seattle Mariner John Olerud: Hope when your health fails (8/10/03)

Chris Maxwell: Pastor recovering from memory loss (7/27/03)

Wayne Warner: Today’s Pentecostal Evangel: a historical view (7/20/03)

Paul Drost: Every church a parent or a partner (7/13/03)

Dr. J. Calvin Holsinger: What can be learned from history? (6/29/03)

Ron Drye: Ministering to the whole person (6/22/03)

Matt McPherson: Doing business by the Golden Rule (6/15/03)

The difference (6/8/03)

Fory VandenEinde: Fulfilling the Great Commission (5/25/03)

Tom Greene: The church's new generation (5/18/03)

Lisa Whelchel: Former sitcom star now an advocate for moms (5/11/03)

Tony Lamarque: Warden speaks about unconditional love (4/27/03)

Ann Graham Lotz: Just give her more of Jesus (4/20/03)

Lee Strobel: The case for Christ (4/13/03)

Randall K. Barton: Extravagant stewardship (3/30/03)

Bishop Gilbert Patterson: Bringing people together under Christ (3/23/03)

Pat Boone: A unique celebrity speaks out (3/16/03)

St. Clair Mitchell: God in Washington, D.C. (3/9/03)

Kay Gross: Ministry by women, ministry to women (2/23/03)

Thomas E. Trask: A historic General Council (2/16/03)

Denise Jones: Girls of Grace (2/9/03)

Doug Greengard: Beyond the NFL (1/26/03)

Three pro-life advocates call the church to action (1/19/03)

Chaplain Charles Marvin: The gospel in uniform (1/12/03)

2002 Conversations

2001 Conversations


Kathy Troccoli: A message of hope

Kathy Troccoli’s 20-plus years in the Christian music industry have seen their share of ups and downs. Dove Awards, Grammy nominations, television appearances and No. 1 hits have been the highlights; but they’ve been tempered by losing both parents to cancer, a 10-year struggle with bulimia and a battle with depression. So when this singer turned author turned speaker tells audiences of women that God will help them through the dark valleys of life, she knows what she’s talking about. Troccoli recently shared with Assistant Editor Ashli O’Connell how the Lord has given her the message of hope.

PE: You seem to be concentrating your career on speaking engagements rather than singing these days. Why the change in focus?

TROCCOLI: The transitions my career has taken have been remarkable for me. I’ve sung most of my life and now I feel like I’m finally stepping into my stride of what God has intended for me. I’m speaking a ton now and writing books. My singing is almost the cherry on the cake now, which is very, very new for me. I love that God has taken me through so many seasons in my career so that when I got to this point I’d go, “Ahh, here it is. This is what I’ve been waiting for.” When you have a gift, sometimes you’re kind of thrown out there and you go through all these questions. Should I do this? Should I sing this? Should I be here? It wasn’t until I turned 40 that I went, “Oh, OK, I get it. You gave me a singing voice, but that’s not the main thing. You want me to speak about You and use the singing as an added extra.”

PE: What’s your message to women?

TROCCOLI: I don’t really consider myself a teacher. I feel more motivational. I have a passion and fire inside of me to ignite women in their faith and remind them of who they are and to whom they belong. So I think my message in all my books and songs and speaking engagements is about hope: You’re going to make it. You’re going to get through this. God loves you. You’re going to be OK.

PE: The difficulties you’ve overcome seem to have given you credibility.

TROCCOLI: It’s funny you mention that because when I speak I start by saying, “I met the Lord in 1978 and everything has been perfect since.” Then I pause and hear this great hush. And I say, “Of course not. We still have suffering as Christians. It’s just that our suffering is not in vain.” So I give them this list — lost my parents to cancer, went through a struggle with an eating disorder, went through a time of depression — and I begin to see in every woman’s eyes this ray of hope because they’re thinking, Wow. Kathy Troccoli has gone through this? And she’s making it. She’s OK.

I couldn’t offer women what I do now at 45 when I was 25. I didn’t have the life behind me. That’s not to say that women who are 25 can’t speak; it’s just that God has given me a testimony. He’s given me a message about His faithfulness. So women are more open to what I have to say.

PE: Let’s talk about your bulimia. What triggered it?

More about eating disorders

TROCCOLI: I always ate normally growing up. As a matter of a fact, I ate a lot and kept a fairly decent weight. I grew up in an Italian family and you’re around food all the time, they’re just stuffing it in your face. But I went through a time of transition when I went to Berklee Jazz School of Music in Boston right out of high school. I hadn’t been away from home before. I had never experienced a lot of different philosophies or cultures. And here I was thrown in this jazz school, not a traditional college. Everything was so different. I started questioning what life was about, what am I here for? And before I knew it food became a comfort, and then it turned into an addiction. I saw myself gaining weight like I never had before. I never purged, but I started to abuse laxatives.

PE: How did you learn to do that?

TROCCOLI: It’s not like anybody told me how to do it. I just discovered it on my own and found out later that many women abuse laxatives for the same reason — to feel like they’re getting rid of it, to feel like they’re in control. It happened slowly and became a problem for 10 years.

PE: Did it develop into anorexia?

TROCCOLI: I had a little bout of just not eating, or eating just rice cakes and green beans. I went down, down, down in my weight. You can be bulimic and hold a steady weight; but with the anorexic thinking you really decide that you look heavy and you just quit eating.

PE: What made you finally seek help?

TROCCOLI: I had a roommate who would see me suffer from terrible stomach pains. And one day she said, “You are just ruining yourself.” There was swollenness to my appearance because of the toxins in my body. The laxatives become very toxic. I was miserable. I felt like the light was starting to go on then. So I got to the end of myself and said I really needed help. My roommate helped me get into counseling.

PE: Do you recommend counseling for others struggling with an eating disorder?

TROCCOLI: Women tend to want a magic wand when dealing with addiction. But it’s a process. I really believe in counseling. Bringing things to light. Getting down and digging into things you’ve held in your soul and your gut and letting God’s light shine upon them. It takes time.

PE: Do you still struggle with it?

TROCCOLI: I can say I am completely delivered from that addiction. I don’t have that habit of binging anymore. I have a tendency toward food addiction in the sense that I watch myself closely. I make deliberate choices every day. If I eat a little bit more one day I watch it the next day. I’m always aware that I could fall into bad eating patterns.

PE: What would you say to women who are secretly battling an eating disorder?

TROCCOLI: You’ve got to get it in the light. The first step is admitting it. That may be to a mother or close friend, a minister or a counselor. If you keep things in the dark, God’s light can’t get to it. You have the choice to choose His light or remain in darkness every day. So get it out in the light.

PE: What do you think keeps women from getting help when they’re surrounded by people who would gladly help them?

TROCCOLI: I think there’s fear of being known in that way. It’s pride, shame or guilt. Or there’s denial. And sometimes women just become hopeless. They feel they’re stuck in this pattern and God can’t possibly be with them.

What I like to do is remind people that God has promised abundant life for the soul. He wants to take you to higher places. You can get out of it. But there is some work to be done. I have rarely seen people in addictions — it doesn’t have to be anorexia or bulimia — just get out of them. Yes, God can do the miraculous, but it is usually a process and you have to be committed to the process.

PE: Let’s talk a little about your career. What’s your favorite Kathy Troccoli song?

TROCCOLI: I don’t have a particular favorite. I think I’m like anyone who may listen to my music — on any given day I like a certain song better because it just feeds what I need to be fed with. But one in particular would be “A Baby’s Prayer.” That has absolutely ministered to women who have had abortions or considered having abortions. I have held babies who were not aborted because of that song. I’m just amazed at the power of music.

PE: Is there another artist or song that ministers to you?

TROCCOLI: Sara Groves is my favorite artist right now. I’ve been in Christian music for such a long time now, and I am absolutely blown away by Sara’s ability to be so poetic, and yet the melodies are so beautiful. Sometimes when you have poets, their songs are unrelatable. The way she puts things is so real and so profound. She has affected my life in the last two years deeply.

PE: After 20 years, three Grammy nominations and countless Dove Awards … what if it all ended today?

TROCCOLI: I’ve thought about that because I’m halfway through life. I would be so thankful for the opportunity to continue using the gifts I have in the way I have been using them. If it all ended, there would be an element of missing my singing; but I don’t believe it would stop me from wanting to be about Kingdom work. There will always be a person to reach out to. There will always be people in need. There will always be a chance to give life as long as I have life.

PE: How have your mainstream hits impacted your career?

TROCCOLI: It was an interesting time 10 years ago when “Everything Changes” came out. I got to do a lot of TV shows and meet a lot of stars. I think the biggest impact is that I learned more about what it is I should be doing.

PE: One last question — how tall are you? When I’ve seen you in concert I see this little person with the biggest voice I’ve ever heard.

TROCCOLI: I’m 5’5” [laughing]. People say that all the time.

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