How would a megachurch worship leader deal with the discovery that her husband is battling with homosexual desires?
This happens to be one of the storylines featured in the OWN network church drama "Greenleaf," where Deborah Joy Winans' character, Charity Greenleaf-Satterlee, is figuring out how to work through her marriage to Kevin Satterlee. Now in its second season, "Greenleaf" viewers witnessed an intense scene where Kevin confessed his feelings for other men to his wife.
Although her character reacted with tears while striking her husband, Winans stepped outside of the role to assess the situation in an interview with The Christian Post. The actress, who's also the daughter of Gospel Music Hall of Fame singer Carvin Winans, said she would advise Charity or anyone in a similar situation to pray.
"I think that if Charity was my friend, I would tell her to consider everything. I would tell her to really get on her knees and pray about it," she told CP. "When you're married and you have that covenant then you bring kids into the world, you have to consider all of that before you make such a big decision."
In the show, Kevin has yet to act on his desires, which Winans insists is worth noting. Even though the situation is an emotional one for both Kevin, who insisted he wanted to fix the situation for the sake of his family and his wife, Winans insists it isn't too big for God.
"Whoever that Charity is in life — that's a lot that they have to consider and handle. But I know that it's never too much for God," she said. "Whatever you're going through, it can be the Charity situation or it can be worse — it's not taking God by surprise and it's never too much for Him."
Aside from Charity's storyline, the storylines in "Greenleaf" have explored controversial themes centered around sexual assault, infidelity and corruption. Although Winans admits that the church drama features "added drama and the added craziness" so that it could translate well on television, she believes taking part in the series has contributed positively to her faith.
When Charity is singing worship songs in the TV show, Winans revealed that there are many times that she also connects to God in the process.
"I often get on the stage as Charity ready to sing whatever song we have for that episode on that stage in the church and reflect on just the emotional state that I'm in when I'm in a great place of worship," she said. "It causes me to reflect and make sure that I'm trying to do this in a very pure way. That's the best worship you can get when the worship leader is there with no other intentions and ready to sing their heart out for the Lord."
While there are differences between Winans and Charity, the actress does connect to her character's relationship with God.
"There are often times when I think about my own faith, my own life, and how they sort of mirror Charity. When you're in a church, and you're singing about the presence of the Lord, it is so hard not to get overjoyed because I know Him," she said. "I know who He is! I know what He's done for me. So absolutely, Deborah Joy is right there with her."
It seems what Winans has done on the small screen has translated into real life where her song, "The Master's Calling," featured on last year's "Greenleaf" soundtrack has been nominated for a 'New Artist of the Year" Stellar Award. Although the Winans family is well known for their music, the niece of BeBe and CeCe Winans never imagined that the world would come to know her singing voice.
After a childhood of watching double feature movies with her family, Winans made sure to work toward her dream by earning a master's of science degree from the California Institute of the Arts. While Winans' father encouraged her to use all of the gifts God gave her, Winans was never passionate about singing.
Now that she has taken on the role of a worship leader, she is tapping into that gift and is honored that it resulted in a nomination at the renowned Stellar Awards that recognizes the best of the gospel music industry.
"It's such an honor to be nominated. Singing was something that I never set out to do," she said. "To be able to do it in a place like 'Greenleaf' has been incredible. Then to see that work pay off with a Stellar nomination, I'm very very honored and grateful."
It seems that Winans' work on "Greenleaf" has been life changing for her. Yet, she expresses the importance of leaning on her faith so that she doesn't feel intimidated working with seasoned veterans like the show's Executive Producer Oprah Winfrey, and renowned actors Keith David, Lynn Whitfield and the rest of the cast.
"I think more than anything, I just needed to remember who I was and remember that God has called me to do what I do. It's very easy for someone to sort of feel discouraged or feel like, 'Oh man, I shouldn't be here,'" she admitted. "I have to remember what God has placed in me, what He called me to do, and recognize they're here to help me in any way that they can. I think I'm constantly resorting to making sure to keep God's perspective in my mind."
"Greenleaf" airs at 10 p.m. ET Wednesdays on the OWN network. For more information, visit the OWN website. The Stellar Awards where Deborah Joy Winans is nominated will be boradcast on Palm Sunday, April 9 at 6 p.m. ET on TV One.