I am still trying to process the senseless murders against African Americans. We deserve life. We deserve the pursuit of happiness. We deserve joy. We are talented. We are resilient. We are creative. We are awesome. I don’t understand it. My heart grieves and my mind cannot process it. We are all struggling through this trauma together. For every black woman and man. For every black child. For every, sister, brother, mother, father, friend, and all in between, OUR LIVES MATTER! There is so much greatness in us until those who hate us are sickened by our greatness. I. SAID. THAT.
Having said that, I want to address something. Just follow along, and hopefully, by the end, you will see my heart and understand my point.
It was around 2002. I was attending Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. I was majoring in Social Work with a minor in Psychology. I was in a Social Work class when the subject of race came up. Mind you, this is San Antonio, Texas. There were two blacks (maybe), and several other nationalities represented. Ignorantly, I made the statement that I want to just be recognized as a woman. I stated that it was not so important to be seen as a black woman – but just as a woman. I remember two women, in particular, a Black sister and a Hispanic one looking at me with pity and disgust. At that moment I didn’t understand the problem, but I can still see the looks on their faces. They understood something I didn’t know and I had disrespected myself and all women of color. I was ignorant.
Up to this point, I had never had a race conversation. I was not aware of things going on around me. I don’t recall any discussion about it in my home. It is not that it didn’t happen, but I spent much of my time within myself, trapped in my own mind or hiding out in my closet.
Trauma blinded me to the pain of our society and to the pain of others. In my mind, every ounce of trauma I had endured was at the hands of “my people” so what could “they” do that was worse? Molested, told I was nothing, that I was ugly, that I would never be anything. I was put down – both publicly and privately.
I had blinders on. The blinder was my own trauma and pain. I had never given a second thought to race relations and what was going on. I was the antithesis of “woke.” About seven years ago, as I progressed in my healing journey, I began to read and ask questions. The beauty of me being a reader is that my children are readers as well – and they are “woke.” Even now, if it is something I don’t understand, I can ask them and they will educate me. There are also people in my community who educate me as well.
Why am I telling you this? There are some of “us” who are not understanding the seriousness of the #blacklivesmatter movement. I am asking you to give them grace and keep it moving. It is possible they have blinders on and cannot see past their personal trauma. They will come into it, just like I have. On the same token, sometimes people just need a moment and cannot deal with the reality of what’s going on around them and cannot process. Let’s just pray and give them grace.
I know this will not be popular, but just because people are black doesn’t mean they are educated or woke. They may not have the same experiences as others and therefore cannot see the truth of our world. Besides, we don’t have time to waste on educating people who are not willing to be educated. Those ladies in my class never said anything to me outside of class, but I remember their faces. I understand now.
Sisters and brothers, let’s stand together against racism and inequality and the war against African-Americans. Some will march. Some will write letters. Some will cook for those on the front line of the fight. Some will provide water. Some will provide health services. Some will offer hugs and support from behind the scenes. Some will watch the kids. Some will post on social media. Some will make phone calls. Some may make cash donations. Some may pray. Some may spend time educating others. Whatever your part is, please get in your lane and affect change. And two months from now when the anger settles a bit, don’t forget to keep forging forward. All I’m saying is: Do your part.
It’s been a while, but this year has been…well, you know. I haven’t forgotten about the Hall of Fame series. I have a few more people I want to present.
For today, I want to present an excerpt from my book, Texts from an Angel. I decided to do this one because, with the way things are going now, I want to go in a closet and hide until about 2022. I hope you enjoy this story. You can pick up Texts from an Angel on Amazon either in kindle or paperback. Enjoy!
Angel of Peace
Bryan shivered in the corner of his closet. He hated coming home from school in the afternoons to an empty house. It would be hours before his mother made it home. Even longer before his brothers, which was fine by him. If they knew how he spent his evenings, they would tease him mercilessly.
Bryan set the alarm as soon as he walked in the door; he always felt like, at any moment, someone or something would jump out and attack him. To make matters worse, every sound the house made while settling (though he didn’t know that) made him even more anxious.
He knew no one was in there, but he had a routine. After making sure the alarm was set, Bryan double-checked the locks. Then he would go around, check every place with a door – including cabinets and closets. Once he finished that, he would use the restroom, with the door open, wash his hands, grab a snack from the fridge, then retreat to his closet.
Today felt weird to Bryan. Something was off; it was like he was feeling anxious yet peaceful as if something big were about to happen. This was a new feeling for him. Being the shortest in his sixth-grade class, he was teased often. He also spoke with a slight stutter which only manifested when he was nervous. He didn’t have any friends, and truthfully, it hurt. He wanted nothing more than to have at least one friend. Someone he could play basketball and possibly baseball with. But he was awkward, at least to them.
Bryan thought he was making a good friend last year, in the fifth grade. Shawn was a guy he’d known since kindergarten and lived a couple of streets over. But because he enjoyed baseball, he joined the other guys on the block in teasing Bryan about it. They told him black boys didn’t play baseball. Bryan figured he was better off; apparently, they didn’t know the sport or read, for that matter.
Bryan decided to take another peek in each bedroom. He didn’t understand what he was feeling. Maybe someone was peeking through a window? It felt like someone was watching him. He felt a warm breeze flow past his cheek. He looked up. He couldn’t see anything, but he felt a presence. What the heck?
He began to think. For some reason, he began to remember going to church with his grandmother this past Sunday. He enjoyed going to his Mama Doll’s house. He went as often as possible. She was loving and funny. He laughed a lot with her. His mother was fun as well, she just had to work a lot of hours to make ends meet. Whatever that means. What ends is she trying to meet?
Mama Doll said she was too young and too fly to for him to call her grandma, so Mama Doll it was. He had lots of fun when he stayed weekends with her. Although he had chores like raking leaves, washing baseboards, sweeping the porch, and sidewalk he ate extremely well over the weekends he spent with her.
Three square meals a day at Mama Doll’s house was rewarding enough for his hard work, so he worked without complaining. Besides, he felt all the heavy lifting would eventually produce the muscles he desperately wanted to have.
Because of his mother’s work schedule, they didn’t frequent church much. It was on the weekends when he stayed with Mama Doll that he went to church. The last few times he went, they talked about angels. They told them about the angel that visited Mary. They told them about the angel that spoke to Daniel, who passed out when the angel Gabriel talked to him. They told them about the angels that ministered to Jesus while in the wilderness. The funniest story to him was about the angels going to see Abraham and Sarah to announce the fact that Sarah would have a son within a year. A couple of old people having a baby? “Eww,” he said.
He had been thinking about this as he sat in his closet. This past week, he had a question for Mrs. Hicks, the Sunday school teacher.
“Mrs. Hicks,” he said, treading lightly. He knew his question could be misconstrued as rude, but he wanted to understand the things she was telling them. Since he didn’t come to church much, Bryan knew he wanted to believe and wanted to ask questions to understand. “I don’t want to be disrespectful, and I know my question may be weird, but why does God need angels? He’s the almighty, powerful God. He created the whole world with His words. Why does He need assistants?”
Mrs. Hicks laughed. She didn’t tell him, but she enjoyed his inquisitiveness. She said, “Oh, Bryan, that’s easy. God is a family man. He doesn’t need them; He wants them. Life is more fun with family, don’t you think?”
Bryan thought about that. What would his life be like if he had an angel as a friend? That would be way cool.
“Finally! It’s about time you engaged me!”
“What!” Bryan shrieked. “Who are you?”
“I’m Mike, dude. What’s up? I’ve been waiting for you to want me here so I wouldn’t scare you too bad. Looks like I did it anyway, huh?”
“You’re an angel? Angels wear baseball hats?”
“Yeah, you like it?”
“Well … yeah,” Bryan couldn’t seem to get his words together.
“Hey, I’m sorry to scare you. I’ve been hanging out here for weeks, watching over you. Hoping you’d feel peace. I know you don’t like being here by yourself. But Chief doesn’t want you to be afraid. He wants you to have fun and enjoy life. You don’t seem to be doing much of that lately. Why?”
“In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t have any friends. Am I really talking to an angel right now? Can anyone else see you? I’m not going nuts, am I?” Bryan asked in a rush. He didn’t want anyone to come home and catch him “talking to himself.” He would never live that down. Furthermore, he said all of that without stuttering!
“Whoa, one question at a time, okay? Yes, you’re talking to an angel.” Mike said with a boisterous laugh. “No, one can see me. However, Mama Doll knows I’m here with you although she can’t see me. Some people can see me, while others can sense me. Either way, it’s okay. The knowledge that Chief cares enough to send us around is comfort enough for most people. No, you’re not nuts.”
Bryan heaved a big sigh of relief. “What now? What do I do?”
“Nothing just be confident in who you are. Chief has special plans …”
“Well, God, of course!”
“You call God Chief? That’s cool!”
“Yeah, He’s cool. As I was saying, Chief has special plans for your life. Stick with us. I can’t promise you everything will be easy, but Chief and I will be here for you every step of the way. I can’t tell you everything, but I will say you will make a friend soon. You will be BFFs, as humans like to say, for many years to come. You should know I am mostly here because of Mama Doll. She prays for you every day. She knows Chief has great plans for you.”
“Wow.” Bryan was speechless. “I don’t know what to say.”
“Let Chief know you’re thankful and do your best to make Him proud, though you should know that He already is. “
Tears welled up in Bryan’s eyes. At that moment, he heard keys in the door, then his mom yelling, “Bryan, I’m home! Where are you?”
Mike shushed him, “Don’t tell her yet; we’ll talk later.”
Gathering himself, Bryan ran out to meet his mother. “Hey, Mom! You got home early tonight! Awesome!”
“Boy!” she said. “It’s eight o’clock. I’m late. What have you been up to that you didn’t notice the time?” Bryan was usually upset if she was a minute past seven-thirty.
Mike gave him a salute then held his finger up to his lips.
“I was in my room playing, Mom. I promise.”
“All right, help me get these groceries out the car. I’m hungry.”
Just a quick update on my 2020. So, I started grad school. Whew! #futuretherapist on deck. Just as I was getting settled into my coursework, I had a bit of a setback with depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. 😩 However, I paid a visit to the psychiatrist, got my meds in order and I’m feeling better. You know my motto: Christ, community, and counseling.
I still have a few stories left for the Overcomer’s Hall of Fame and I’m hoping to get one to you soon. I got my book back from the editor and…well, I’m getting to it. I was having an especially hard week a couple of weeks ago and I decided to distract myself with some silly short stories. I want to share them with you. Hopefully, they make you smile.
My cat chased my fish around my apartment. The fish got so tired of him that he turned around and started slapping Jose with his fins, then he cussed me out for letting Jose chase him! I told him to get his ass, I mean his fins, back in his bowl before he dies of dryation because I’m not beneath frying his ass for dinner!
I purchased a miniature pig. I have somehow managed to potty train him and allow him to sleep on my bed because he trained so well. Well, I came home today to mud and dirt everywhere!
I said, “Wilbur! We talked about this! What the hell!”
Wilbur said (yes, I translate pig), “You’re kind, smart, important or whatever but WE didn’t talk about this. I’m a pig! I do pig things!”
“Keep on being a pig, hear? Yo ass is little, but I can get a few slices of bacon out of you! Now go to your room!”
On his way to his room, he was talking mess. “Raggedy lady. She knew I was a pig when she brought me here. Damn humans.”
“I can hear you, Wilbur!”
I was walking down the street and ran into my old friend George. “What’s up, George? How’s it going?”
“What’s up shawty? Slow boogie ma’am. Slow boogie.”
“Who you calling short? I know newborns who crawl faster than you’re walking.”
“But you slowed down your short self to talk to me. I’m a little low on flattery today.”
“You’re a little low alright,” I mumbled and we shared a chuckle at our banter. We always acted like this with each other.
“Keep your head up, little mama. It gets better. Look at me. I’m 129 years old. I may be moving slow, but I’m still moving. You got it? Keep moving. And you got to live to keep moving. It gets better, I promise. Too old to lie to ya. Now go on, you slowing me down.”Smh 😂. “Good old George. Thanks.”
Hello Overcomers! I have a few more Hall of Famers, but I wanted to throw this in the ring.
The more I walk this mental health journey, I become more and more aware of the importance of relationships. Relationships are work. In relationships there is give and take and depending on the season, one may be giving more than taking. It takes true friends to tough out those seasons with you.
I find myself wanting to withdraw when I feel like I’ve shared too much or spend a lot of time worrying if I am “too much” or, if this was the day when my friends decide, “okay, I’m done.” I find myself thinking I need to give them a break from me. They constantly prove me wrong.
Being in a healthy relationship feels foreign when you’ve become accustomed to dysfunction – even if the dysfunction is in your head. I’m learning to take off the track shoes and will myself to stay put. I have to remind myself to stay put and allow my friendships to flourish, to accept the help when needed as well as reciprocate when the opportunity arises.
I make an intentional effort to say thank you to those who “stay in the struggle” with me. My friends listen to my rants, reel me in when I’m overthinking, making negative statements about myself, filled with anxiety, and making decisions that are not conducive to my purpose. They point me back to God when I’m out in left field and remind me that I can “cast my cares on Him” (I Peter 5:7).
I had such big plans for the start of 2020. However, I found myself going down the slippery slope of depression and anxiety in slow motion. It was happening so smoothly, I didn’t realize it was happening. Many changes were happening at one time. I started grad school, for starters, as well as a couple other adjustments I hadn’t prepared for. I had a couple of conversations in which I allowed to shake my faith in myself and my purpose. I had subconsciously decided I was done. I didn’t have the energy for anything. Getting out of bed became what felt like impossible – thank God for the right friends.
Dr. Thema, in her “Homecoming Podcast,” says: Internal oppression is believing the lies I’ve been told about myself and, the ways I have been treated is not a reflection of my worth.
The lesson this time? Change the way I speak to me. Adjust how I see myself. It was a clutching my pearls moment because I’ve done so much work! #sigh You ever thought you were looking pretty good until someone who really loves you shows you a mirror and points out you have lipstick on your teeth? 😱 I hear you. There are some things that will not change until I do. In order to make a change, I must change what I believe. I get to decide what’s true of me and what’s not. Every piece of constructive criticism is not an affront to me as a person. I don’t have to accept every negative word spoken to me. Again, I’m learning.
Welcome to 2020, family. Lesson one, two and three is in the books for 2020. One documented failure on deck. However, this documented failure caused me to make some necessary adjustments to the overall plan which I call a win. Isn’t this the ebb and flow of life, though?
I am thankful for friends who love me. I am thankful for friends who will tell me the truth. I am thankful for friends who deal with my imagination, questions, and quirkiness. I am still learning. Learning to embrace who I am. Learning to love the girl who shows up in the mirror, flaws and all. I am learning to embrace that, although improvements will always be needed, I am fabulous and valuable because I’m me. You are fabulous and valuable because you’re YOU!
Dear God, as long as you’re with me. I can overcome anything. Thank you for sending friends to help me along this journey. Amen.
“My motto for 2020 is Talitha Cumi which means “little girl, get up” or “daughter arise.” 2020 is my year to arise.” -Ms. Tasha Marie
Born and raised in El Dorado, Arkansas, Tasha Marie currently resides in Atlanta, GA. Tasha is a fashionista, a blogger, and an upcoming author and speaker. When I first read her blog, I remember thinking, this woman is the truth! The healing and transparency that exudes each post will have you waving your hand in the air like you just don’t care. Get your healing sister!
The time has gone where we are ashamed of our stories and ashamed of our struggle. Shame grows in silence. You may not start a blog, but whatever you need to do to heal, make that happen. Uh oh! I got caught up. Oops.
There are so many things I could say about Tasha Marie. She is kind, she is beautiful, and she loves fiercely. It’s important to know that when a person decides to come from behind a perfectly erected wall that was built for their personal security, it was an intentional act of God. It was also an act of sheer determination and perseverance on behalf of said person.
I have to say, talking with Tasha Marie her voice sounds sure, confident, and peaceful. Her sound conveys hope. The sound of her voice says, “the angels are singing over me and I don’t look or sound like what I’ve been through.” Her voice sounds like a reminder God is with you.
Have you ever spoken to someone, and more than what they were saying, they had a “sound” that could convey peace and calm to your heart? Just me? Okay. As a person who deals with anxiety, sound is important. Shout out to the people whose voices are a soothing balm to anxious souls.
Okay, okay…I’m getting into the interview. Are you ready? I present to some and introduce to others, Ms. Tasha Marie:
Me: Tell me about you?
Tasha Marie: I have been in Atlanta for over two years. It’s been an uncomfortable and challenging experience, like living in hell. Not the whole time, but I’ve been confronted with things that caused me to grow up.
I moved here because I got married, which I no longer am. That transition has been very difficult. I am in the process of rediscovering and learning myself. I am learning to love me again. I am falling in love with God again – in a different way. We were “beefing” at one point. (Don’t act as if you and God have always been on the same page, or even the same book. Hello?)
I am very family-oriented. I love family. Moving here, I gave that up. I didn’t know anyone here other than my spouse. It has been interesting to see how I grow and change being away from my family. I am learning to allow other people in my life and be like a family for me. It’s been an adventure, but it’s been hard.
I love fashion. This is funny because I use to be a tomboy. However, I still enjoy wearing basketball shorts, wife beaters and Chuck Taylor’s.
I love to travel and make new memories. I love to shop, hence the fashion blog. I’m a good person when you get to know me. I am a little rough around the edges. As an introvert, I realize that sometimes my demeanor can appear unapproachable, but I have improved and continue to improve.
I love to see people in their element doing what they love and passionate about. It brings so much joy to me. Supporting and encouraging people is like second nature to me. I love to help people. I want to be for others what I needed someone to be for me.
I’m becoming more into myself. Becoming more of who I am and who God called has called me to be. I have discovered many new things about myself. It has been interesting. I am growing and coming out of my shell more, discovering who I am, and the beauty of me.
Me: Tell me about your character? What makes you happy?
Tasha Marie: I am trustworthy. Being able to write and travel makes me happy. I am rediscovering the things that make me happy. Movies make me happy. Being able to finally find a community where I can be myself and talk freely without restrictions.
I am dependable. I am there for people – I want to be there for people the way I needed people to be there for me. That is important to me. I love to encourage and affirm people. (Tasha does this quite well. And will “snatch your edges” if you have any. 😏)
I take joy in seeing people in their element and doing the things they love. Knowing where they started and see where they ended.
I love music and dancing. I enjoy singing (mostly when I’m home alone…Lol). Most people don’t know I can sing. I enjoy writing and poetry.
Me: What does overcomer mean to you?
Tasha Marie: Ability to be triumphant. To prevail through adversity and what life throws at you. You fought. You overpowered what was trying to overpower you. Even in the moments when you felt like giving up, you persevere through it. You pushed yourself when you were afraid or seemed you wouldn’t make it through. Whatever life threw at you, you fought and were victorious in the end.
Me: What have you overcome?
Tasha Marie: Depression and suicidal thoughts, being sexually abused when I was younger, surviving cervical cancer, low self-esteem and self-worth, and most recently, my divorce. These are things that took a lot of work for me to overcome.
Me: Tell me about that work?
Tasha Marie: I knew God. I grew up in the church. I was very aware of God. When I went to college I wasn’t in church much. Some of the things I battled and went through, I realize it was God who loved me and protected me. He was there for me and protected me from myself. I was a mess!!
I battled with low self-value and self-worth because of things that happened in my past. My father was not a part of my life, and I did not feel loved and appreciated. I looked for it in various ways. I had to fight for years to come out of depression.
I had to learn to love myself. The things I didn’t like about myself, I had to tell myself, “Tasha, you’re beautiful.” I didn’t love my gap, and I had to remind myself I am beautiful and to tell myself that I love those things. It was hard because I didn’t know how to articulate those feelings.
I wrote a lot. I started reprogramming how I saw myself. I began to build my confidence in myself. I used to be a tomboy, so I began to take care of myself. I started dressing up and getting into fashion. I hated my body, so I used to cover myself up a lot.
With my divorce, I had to sit in my truth. I had to own my mistakes. I had to own that I was a rude person back in the day. I had to own that I had been really mean and I didn’t like the way I made people feel sometimes. I was hard on myself and critical. I had to start owning those truths about myself. I had to learn to work on those things to be better so people wouldn’t view me that way.
I had to learn to be vulnerable. I thought vulnerability was a weakness. I had to learn to be vulnerable with God because we haven’t always seen eye to eye. I would ask him, “If you love me, why did you allow this to happen? Why didn’t you protect me? Why…”
I always struggled with seeing God as Father because of my natural father. It wasn’t easy to love him because I felt like He didn’t love me because of the things that transpired in my life.
When I hear people talk about Abba father, I would think, I don’t know how to be a daughter because my natural father wasn’t a part of my life. How do I be a daughter or allow someone to be a father to me when I don’t know what a father looks like or what they’re supposed to do? I’ve heard of what they’re supposed to do, but never seen or felt it. How do I receive that when I am supposed to be looking at God as Father? I struggled with seeing these things.
In the midst of my struggle, God has still shown me grace. He did not abandon me in the moments when I thought He did. It’s still hard, but I’ve been re-repairing my relationship with God. Learning all of who He is has helped me to overcome many things.
I have had to do my work. I had to own my truth, I had to sit in it. I asked myself, “What are you going to do to correct that?” I had to learn to trust people again. I had to learn to love people, allow them into my space. This was difficult because I never felt safe with people getting close to me.
It’s uncomfortable work, but it’s worth it. I had to go back to those uncomfortable spaces of traumatic events, reliving the events of sexual abuse, spaces where I was hurting because the little girl in me needed to be healed. The little girl in me is the one who doesn’t feel safe. (Take a deep breath, let that marinate.)
I had to go back to those places and allow myself to grieve. The failed relationships, friendships, and the things which I tried and failed. I hadn’t allowed myself to grieve and properly assess how they affected me. The journey has been tumultuous, but I know at the end of it there is beauty. The work that I am doing now will be beautiful in the end.
Me: Tell me about your blog?
Tasha Marie: I enjoy writing; it’s how I express myself. I always felt like I didn’t have a voice. It’s something I struggle with today. Thinking if people would want to hear what I have to say. I have a story and do people need to hear my story? I still struggle with that. However, because of the things I have experienced, I can’t be silent anymore.
In 2018, I started my blog. One day I told myself that if I didn’t start it, I knew I would never do it. So, on Thanksgiving 2018, I published my first blog. I needed an outlet to be able to talk about the things I have experienced. Although I am a very transparent person, it has been difficult to share my truth. It has been helping others heal and it has helped me in my healing process as well.
It allows me a platform to tell my testimony. We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the words of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). Blogging a way for me to put my testimony out there. It is a way for people to know they are not alone with the things they struggle with. Sometimes I feel like I share too much, but then I get messages thanking me for being transparent.
I write about my life experiences that I have overcome. I have a blog called I Survived It. I write about the things I’ve learned during my process or my journey since moving to Atlanta because it’s been very interesting.
It is also an outlet to remind myself that I do have a voice. I am learning to remove the muzzle from my mouth. I am learning to be more open and transparent about sensitive subjects. Furthermore, it’s a way for me to remind myself I am not invisible. I have a voice. I am healing in the process of my journey.
Me: Will we get a book from you in the future?
Tasha Marie: Yes. I have been contemplating writing a book for a while. I have a title. I have written an outline for it, but I haven’t written it out. Some of the blogs I write, I could incorporate in the book. I have to remind myself it needs to be written because sometimes I disqualify myself. I have to believe in myself that what I have to say is worth saying. Prayerfully, I will release it in 2020. No, I will not give you a deadline, because you will hold me to it. (You see how she talks to me? Tuh! 😂)
When I meet people, I tell them that when they meet me, they meet growth. They have no idea the journey I have been on to get to this point. Even talking to people is growth for me. The most many would get out of me is, “Hey.” If you don’t ask a question, I am not supplying information. (Y’all! She sounds just like me! My Atlanta people don’t know this side of me, but where my Texas people at? They know. Glory to His name!)
Moving here was uncomfortable for me, especially not knowing anyone other than my husband at the time. He is an extrovert, so it was an adjustment. For me, it felt like an invasion of space. Though uncomfortable, it was necessary. You get a lot of revelation after the fact. Marriage will bring out things in you that you didn’t know existed. It also exposes things you were aware of that you need to improve or learn at the moment you have to work on.
This move was both good and bad. God worked on me both inward and outward. He exposed many things I needed to work on. He reveals things to heal them. I used to say, “God examine my heart.” You have to be careful what you ask for because if you’re not ready to face it, you’ll find yourself in an awkward place. The people around you don’t understand what is going on, but I didn’t understand it either.
This journey, although it has been very hard, has caused me to grow up spiritually and mentally. I am self-aware, due to the things I’ve endured over the past two years. Some things I was aware of and ran from it. Some things I wasn’t aware of and had to face. He took away all of my comfort zones – I’ve been uncomfortable for two years. Even though I’m uncomfortable, I am settled because the uncomfortable feeling is not as unbearable as it was in the beginning. It’s a journey.
I am smiling more now.
Me: Where do you see yourself in 2020?
Tasha Marie: I’m working on a lot of things. Some of my dreams have been resurrected. My hope is alive again. My creativity is flourishing. There will be journals. My website will be up. I am working on a book. I love photography so I will be more active in that, not for business, but for the joy of it.
I will be more one with myself than I have ever been, I will be the best version of myself as I walk into who I am meant to be. You will see her almost at her full capacity. I am nervous to meet her, because of all that comes with it. I see myself speaking – there will be speaking engagements. There will be entrepreneurial endeavors. My blog will flourish. I will do more fashion and assisting people with fashion from a stylist perspective.
2020 will be a big year regarding Tasha Marie, the brand. (Yes! You have to declare your own destiny!)
The people God has set to staff my life will prayerfully be in place. A solid community.
My motto for 2020 is Talitha Cumi which means “little girl, get up” or “daughter arise.” 2020 is my year to arise. I will gain beauty for ashes. I will gain my wings. (Did you feel that resonate in your heart? Grab that for yourself. Daughter, son, ARISE!)
“Keep saying yes to everything He puts in front of you. He’s leading you to it. One step at a time.” Melinda Michelle
Melinda Michelle is a Florida native – born in Jacksonville, raised in Sanford and currently resides in Tallahassee. Tallahassee became her home when she graduated from the renowned HBCU, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Shortly after the completion of her bachelor’s, Melinda received an MBA with a concentration in Finance and Accounting from American Intercontinental University. After enjoying a career in business for a decade, she stepped out on faith to fulfill the purpose inside of her – writing.
Melinda Michelle is the author of eighteen published works. Her titles include both fiction and nonfiction. Although the genres vary, spiritual warfare is her signature subject. She remains true to a theme in all her books – the love and power of the Almighty God. Her work has won awards and brought her before many audiences as a speaker. She has served as a panelist, keynote speaker and conference orator tackling the subject of spiritual warfare for women’s groups, prisons and churches. Her publishing company, Global Multi Media Enterprises, currently has ten authors with over thirty published works. She hopes to expand her company’s reach and catalog in the coming year.
Didn’t that intro sound nice? Now…
Turn with me to the fourth chapter of Pettilations, verse seventeen. Our own Apostle Melinda Michelle says: “be ye ready for the foolery and twists…” (You’ll find out later.) By her own admission, Melinda Michelle is P.E.T.T.Y. How, you say? She taunts us with snippets of scenes in her books in our FB group. She writes scenes so good, I’ve literally stopped and prayed for imaginary people. Her characters preach the word so well, I’ll either be shouting, crying or both. The woman will tell us “I’m in the writing cave, y’all. They getting on my nerves!” We’re all on the edge of our seats like: 😲. Wait what happened? -Silence- Laaaawd!!!!!! Just Petty.😂
I learned about Melinda Michelle Christmas 2017. Immediately I purchased the first book of the Chronicles of Warfare series. I was ready to dive in until I read the description and the first few pages. I shut my phone down! Do You hear me? I shut it down. Nah, fam, I ain’t ready to pick up what this lady is putting down. It took me one year to come back to that book. In a matter of a couple of months, I was caught up on the series and waiting for the next installment.
Let me tell you something: You got to have on the whole armor of God reading this series, or any of Michelle’s writings for that matter. She will challenge everything you know. Don’t get it twisted children, this is real and although these books are fiction, much of it comes from personal experience. And please, please, please, do your research as you read, you’ll find out she’s not lying about anything. I’m talking demons and angels. Michael and Gabriel. God is talking. The saints are listening – well, some of them. The devil and all his little raggedy friends are after their purpose. Sounds like life right? Yeah.
I had the distinct pleasure of having a meal with Melinda several months ago, and I was floored by the woman she is. Just a side note, I’m okay with not being the sharpest crayon in the box, but I’m smart enough to know when I’m in the presence of greatness, I close my lips and open my ears. When the opportunity presents itself for me to speak, I do my best to make sure I ask legit questions. Not “what’s your favorite color” questions. Nah, tell me the secret to…
Speaking with Melinda was so refreshing. I tried to come up with a better word, but I can’t think of one. Though younger than me, I felt as if I was sitting at the feet of an elder. Now don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t act like an elder, but the words she speaks are laced with wisdom.
Michelle oozes confidence. Michelle knows who she is, which baffled me at first. I took note and planted the seed in my confidence (faith) garden, and I’m watching it grow. She talks about her relationship with God as if He’s her homie – in the most respectful way possible. I know that might seem a little too much for y’all, but guess what? Oh well. We not talking religion, we talking about relationship with God.
Okay, okay. Let’s get into this interview:
Me: Tell me about yourself.
Melinda: I am silly, fun, and adventurous. I believe that being a Christian shouldn’t limit life, but enhance it.
We should embrace life abundantly. My Mother was the first Christian I encountered and she is fun. I enjoy laughing and taking risks.
I am result-oriented. If it’s not yielding results, I’m not doing it. Really, like, it’s above me now and I will leave you in the hand of the Lord.
If God said to do it, I do it. I try and argue sometimes, well a lot of times, but I do it.
“There’s safety in obedience to God.”
My favorite question to ask people when things happen, whether good or bad is, “Where was God?” We should always look for God in every situation. I am optimistic. I always look for God.
I love movies and good food. I love to travel. Not for the purpose of traveling, but for the food. I love Philadelphia for the Philly cheesesteak. The rest of the world is doing it wrong. The New York cheesecake is simply divine, and Popeyes is better in NOLA (New Orleans).
I’m also petty. My readers know. (There’s nothing else to do with that statement but laugh.)
Me:What does being an overcomer mean to you?
Melinda: At first thought, surviving adversity. A person looks at the situation, sees it for what it is, acknowledges it, but doesn’t accept it, choosing to see something different. Pressing to better and greater in order to get to the other side.
Me: What have you Overcome?
Melinda: God’s process. (whoa.)
I was once working on a job where I was not being paid what I was worth. I had to remember why God put me there and trust His promise. Later, I had to trust His process when He told me to leave full-time employment, all the while knowing I am a woman holding degrees and sufficiently employable.
Now, eighteen books later…. I realize His process is to build ministry.
I had to overcome myself in order to be who He called me to be. Overcoming fear.
I write about spiritual warfare and experience attacks all the time. I’ve had to gain confidence in God as my protector. Confidence in being honest with God when I’m overwhelmed. I have overcome every obstacle in my way to get to the path God called me to.
Me: I remember you telling me that you stay in your lane. You know your assignment, and you work it accordingly. Tell me about that?
Melinda:My assignment is to help people understand the spirit world and to teach them how to fight. War strategy is found in the word. I am a spiritual warfare strategist. God gives me wisdom in this. As we know, All warfare is based on deception. The book of Joshua embodies a lot of strategies.
People would ask me for advice, not realizing the advice I gave is in the scripture. There are too many Christians who don’t read their bible. What’s the point of being a Christian if you’re going to half do it? (Hey, I didn’t say it. Just say ouch and keep moving.) The word works if you use it correctly. The key is, whatever your faith can connect to, use it. (Hold on to your socks children, this is about to be really good.)
“God will protect His investment.”
For example, I was living in this house in my twenties. For some reason, I kept getting lumps in my breasts. Speaking with my mom, we began to quote healing scriptures. For some reason, they didn’t resonate with me. One day, my mom called. She said, “I have the scripture for you.” Mom began to quote Ephesians 6:1-3. She told me I was an obedient child, and based on this scripture, God promised a long life. My heart and my spirit clung to that scripture! I believed it. I felt it. So much so, until months later, I was in an eight am service and the preacher called me up to tell me that God was going to heal me of a health issue. I was so invested in the scripture, I had resolved in my heart my healing was imminent. Therefore, I gave him a strange look because I didn’t know what he was talking about. It took me a minute to remember what he was speaking about. He prayed for me during the eight am service, and by the time the eleven am service started the lump that I had was gone.
We have to know the difference between the Red Sea and the Jordan. At the Red Sea, God did the work; at the Jordan, they had to step out. We get to the point in our walk with God where He stops holding our hand. He gives us strategy. The strategies of the Bible may not work in our culture, but we have to ask how to apply it to our lives.
“Find your strategy in the scripture.”
For examples of this, read her series, The Chronicles of Warfare. You will gain an understanding of what Melinda means when she speaks of strategy and waging warfare from a spiritual perspective. Reading the Chronicles of Warfare series changed my life. It changed the way I pray, and it changed my perspective on many things. For example, Psalms 23. Verse four in KJV says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
I’ve always looked at the “shadow of death” as being the source of fear. Melinda gave me another perspective. The shadow of death is my protector, of whom my enemies should be afraid of.
I remember speaking to Michelle about faith – trusting God in the unknown. She told me, “Remember God moves in many ways. Just because He moves one way today, you can’t expect Him to move the same way next week. Be open to His various ways of movement. Trust that He’ll never let you down.”
I had one more question for Melinda.
Me:Where do you see yourself in the next two years?
Melinda:Around the country teaching Christians how to fight whether in small groups, prisons, or large groups internationally. Teaching people how to navigate the spiritual world in order to accomplish the assignment.
I am about the liberation of myself and others from self-imposed prisons. Broderick McBride
Broderick L. McBride is a thought leader and master communicator. He fully embraces the notion that mental health and spiritually go hand in hand; an idea that is deeply engrafted in his teaching and counseling style. Quickly rising as an influential voice in various sectors and communities, McBride travels locally and nationally as a lecturer, public theologian, and mission-based activist.
Merging his faith praxis and interest for social justice, he has become well known for his meaningful contributions to conversations that aid in the reforming of cultures. His academic repertoire includes a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the prestigious Morehouse College and a Masters of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University.
The Osceola, Arkansas native currently works as the Executive Director of Pastoral Care and Counseling Services at All Nations Worship Assembly – Atlanta. He is slated to release a variety of tools and publications centered on his most notable lectures and research.
Okay, that’s the smart biography. Let me tell you about Broderick McBride. He’s loving, kind, and by far my favorite nephew! Now don’t tell my other nephews I said that, but he is. He’s honest and full of wisdom and integrity.
Broderick is a worldwide preacher, Pastor, and intercessor. All I’m saying is, a sixty-second conversation will fix your life! Iyanla who? If I were a person who believed in reincarnation, I would say that in his former life, Broderick was on the playground with Jesus. Better yet, he may have been one of the disciples…the militant one. Too much? Oh well.
As I spoke to McBride, I saw a mental picture of Mickey Goldmill, Rocky’s trainer. You know who he is right? Good. This is the person of Broderick McBride. He’s strong and wise enough to lead, while at the same time being bold and confident enough to get behind someone and cheer them forward. He’s a trainer both spiritually and naturally. He won’t quit, and he won’t allow you to quit. He encourages us to fight. He encourages us to hope and to believe God for the better. He encourages us to be better.
I have to admit, I am a bit biased about this one. He has definitely played the role of a trainer in my life during my struggles with anxiety, depression, and cutting. But I digress, this ain’t about me. Broderick has been one of the people who have literally and figuratively snatched me back to saneness.
Let’s get to the interview.
Me: Tell me about Broderick.
Broderick: I am resilient, self-aware, and an empath, which means I am emotionally aware of others. Being empathic actually helps with my career and calling.
I am a militant and rebel. I am about the liberation of myself and others from self-imposed prisons. I am militant about my own transformation.
I understand that who Broderick is today will be a totally different Broderick for the better this time next month, next year and so on. I say that because I understand I don’t know everything and as the world continues to turn, not only will I mature in age, I will mature in preference, desires, and what I need.
I believe that what I need now, as a thirty-one-year-old will be completely obsolete when I’m thirty-three. And will change as I grow older. Yes, I am committed to my own personal growth and change. It’s painful as hell sometimes. Life has taught me that pain is worth it. (Yes, you may quote me.)
Me: What does being an overcomer mean to you, and what have you overcome?
Broderick: An overcomer is someone who has endured; they have established a level gain or accomplishment. To prevail against direct opposition. Direct opposition against their destiny, against who they are internally; direct opposition against their own personal growth and healing.
An overcomer is one who has championed the cause against adversity.
It doesn’t mean that you won’t have bumps and bruises. It means that you push through the pain. You push through the strength of the opposition and you push even when telling yourself stop, it’s not worth it. And say, “no, this is what I want. This is the end goal.”
An overcomer one who is tenacious and has the audacity to say, “I am not giving up until I get what I want.” “I am not giving up what has been promised over my life.”
I’ve overcome many things. Some to which I’m not aware of. I have overcome death, survivor’s remorse suicidal thoughts. I have overcome, and am overcoming low self-esteem and low self-value and view.
I am aware this goes against me being a militant and my fight for freedom from self-imposed prisons but it’s true. There are moments I live in a dichotomy within myself. As much as I fight for my liberation and receiving the liberation that has been given to me by the spirit of Christ, there are still areas within me that are still committed, to an extent, to stay bound. (Wait, because sometimes being bound can feel safe compared to the alternative. Crazy, right?) I have to consistently come back to the mirror, have an interview with me, and remind myself that I will not stay in this space. There’s too much at stake.
When I say I’ve overcome death, I mean I’ve always had to fight. From birth up to now. Had my mom knew she was pregnant, there’s a possibility I could have been aborted because she didn’t want another child. When she finally found out she was pregnant with me, she was too far along to do anything about it. They wouldn’t accept her for an abortion. She was pregnant and still having a cycle. In this, I know God kept me covered in the womb.
As a newborn, I had to have major surgery to which they told my mom there was a slim chance of my survival. I went from surgery as an infant, to being abused by a family friend before I became a toddler. An act that ultimately led to the death of my brother, leaving me to be raised as an only child. I wrestled with, “God, why did you take my brother and not me?”
Survivor’s remorse also from coming out of the delta in Arkansas where the average family lives below the poverty line, and move to Atlanta with nothing to my name. All I had was my faith. Not the faith of my parents, my faith. I knew there was something in this city I wanted. It’s something I’m called to and I’m pursuing it by any means necessary.
Sticking my feet down in the ground and not letting up even in the way that I pray. Many admire what I do in intercession. They say, “Mac, you pray so hard. You’re six-foot, but whenever you engage in intercession it’s as if you’re nine feet tall or invincible.”
The way I approach intercession is the way I approach anything I desire in life. No doesn’t stop me; it can be overturned. In my history with God, what I’ve seen God do with me, in me, and for me, gives me the energy to still stand in the midst of adversity and refuse to accept anything that doesn’t represent God’s truth for me.
I body slam adversity. I mean, I put it in a full nelson until it surrenders to me.
Me: That tenacity and resilience, is it something that’s grown over time or something you had to work at?
Broderick: Fight is embedded in my DNA. I come from a family of fighters. My dad is a fighter, fighter naturally. And as far as know, he’s never lost a battle, praise God. My mom is a fighter as well, but she is a fighter with her words and actions. When I look at the history of my family, my ancestors were fighters.
I come from entrepreneurs. My great grandfather, an entrepreneur, was one of the first black men in the state of Arkansas to owned a T Model Ford truck when they were first invented. He was a blacksmith.
To be a black man in the rural south with your own business, in lieu of Klan territory was something powerful. This same grandfather killed a klansman with his bare hands because he refused to pay him.
When I look at my history, fighting is in my blood. It’s all I know to do. Over time, however, I had to learn what to fight for. Just because you are a fighter doesn’t mean you are a healthy fighter. You can be a toxic fighter, like a man beating up on women or fighting to keep people oppressed – that’s not me, fam. Not at all.
I have a strong heart for the underdog on any level. I hate to see people misused, abused and bullied. I hate to see that. My parents had to “straighten me up” as a kid, in order to redirect it. If they had not, the fighter in me would have become very destructive. Had my mom not introduced me to Christ at an early age, the fighter in me would have been a destroyer.
It’s interesting that when hell realizes it can’t destroy you personally, it will attempt to use what’s in you to destroy you. It will attempt to gain access to what’s in you to cause you to self-destruct or self-implode and utterly destroy yourself. (Read that again. Selah.)
My mom saw the fighter in me at a very early age and redirected it. I was introduced to Christ, the power of community, and being surrounded by my elders shifted the fighter in me to where I wasn’t as physical per se, but I would fight with my words. I’ll fight you by my actions, I’ll fight you behind the scenes, especially if it’s something worth fighting for.
Me:There’s an ongoing discussion about introverts vs extroverts. How do you manage introversion as a Pastor? How do you manage self-care knowing that you are called to people, but you need time to recuperate and refresh?
Broderick: I’m going to tell you a story, and I hope the story explains how I do it. (Hold on children, this is about to get good.)
So, in the Bible, there was a brother who was paralyzed. I believe the text says he was paralyzed from birth. He has four friends who hear about Jesus in this small village. The scripture says, the Spirit of the Lord was present to heal. I had never read that in any text whenever Jesus worked miracles (Luke 5:17). For this particular miracle, the scripture points out “the spirit of the Lord was there to heal.”
Jesus was inside of this house teaching and it was impossible for them to get their friend inside to Jesus. They take it upon themselves to climb on top of the edifice and they tear the roof off. They lower their friend down in front of Jesus and Jesus heals their friend because of their faith.
What blesses me the most about this story. (Wait! There’s more?! Ssshhh, pay attention! Okay.) The text doesn’t imply they had any tools. It doesn’t imply they had a ladder it doesn’t imply they had rope it doesn’t even imply they had architectural skills on how to detach a roof and ensure the building doesn’t collapse or fall in on the people. What it does imply is they had enough faith to inconvenience themselves in order to get their friend to Jesus.
In my role, I am committed to inconveniencing myself to get the people to Jesus. So what I am an introvert?
So what I am an introvert? (Wait, what? 😯) I know that my smile can be the instrument that leads someone to Jesus. I know that my hug can be the instrument that leads someone to Jesus. I know that me stepping outside of my comfort zone of being quiet and being able to walk up to a person and spark a conversation can be the instrument that leads someone to Jesus.
I’ve pushed myself in whatever environment I’m in because along with me having a heart for the underdog, I know what it feels like to be overlooked and mismanaged in the presence of other people. I never want it to be said that I mismanaged or devalued another human. Whenever I am in the presence of another person, I don’t care who they are, I want them to feel as if we are family, that we have known each other for a long time. I want them to feel that their differences don’t matter that I see them as human, worthy of respect. That’s it.
However, when you show me something different? Well… that’s another talk show. That’s when the introverted side of me kicks in, but I am always willing to inconvenience myself for somebody to know Jesus.
The way I manage the introverted side of me is by committing a lot of time to silence. I almost live in silence. If you were to come to my home, I don’t have a television on. I may be on my phone but I don’t watch tv. I read physical books. I have a kindle, but I don’t use it. (OMG!) Its something about picking up a book off the shelf and flipping through its pages, touching its pages, writing in the margins. (Has he been here before? My word!)
If I had a choice between music and TV, I pick music. It’s how I re-up myself. I drive in silence. I aggressively protect my off days. I will usually stay in, and it feels good to sit in silence and not do anything. Sometimes people misinterpret my silence as being standoffish or stuck up, but I’ve resolved that the way people interpret my silence is a personal problem that has nothing to do with me. That’s a battle they have to fight, not me. It took some time for me to come to that resolve. It took me about twenty-five of my thirty-one years of life to resolve that I don’t have to explain my silence. My silence is mine. This is a piece of my soul that I choose to be selfish with and I have the righteous choice to be selfish with that part of me because my silence is how I commune with the divine. It’s how I replenish the water to me. I take the responsibility of being revealed by other people off of them.
Me: Should we be expecting a book from you soon?
Broderick: I am committed to getting something out soon. (Keep your eyes and ears open, fam. Really)
Broderick is also the co-host of the popular podcast, The Let Outt, which has recently finished its second season. Run over to Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts to check out this show. It’s hilarious, serious, and educational along with a dose of “get your life together, fam.” They have hot topics, a segment called mirror, mirror, unpopular opinion, and tips for being a better intercessor. You can thank me later.
Eddie Sanders, M.Ed., is a native of rural Toomsboro,GA. He is an alumnus of Savannah State University, graduating with a degree in English Language Arts. Eddie is recently an M.Ed. graduate of Georgia Southwestern State University.
Eddie teaches elementary school, but has launched OSEA (OnSite Education Anywhere). As a Private Family Educator for working minors and home-schooled students, Eddie’s primary purpose is to provide a unique learning experience for the student who is on-the-go.
In addition to all Eddie does, he is an advocate for justice. I’m proud of Eddie for boldly proclaiming “unpopular truths,” even when feeling apprehensive. He knows he must speak out. Not only does he speak out, he seeks solutions.
I had so much fun speaking with Eddie (as I always do). He’s expressive, funny and serious simultaneously.
Let’s get into this conversation:
Me: Tell me about Eddie? (I gave Eddie my little speech about what this question means. On the many interviews I’ve done, people often answer what they do instead of who they are.)
Eddie: I am a small town country boy. Rural Toomsboro, GA had a population of less than 1000 people. I grew up weird, counting trees because my imagination ran wild. I hated being in a small town with little opportunities. As a kid, I wanted more and knew it would be through education.
In my mind, education was the key to my success. I had an uncle who did well for himself and advocated for college. I thought I would go to college and get money. I thought people who went to college had money. When I began my college career, I didn’t know what I wanted to do I just knew to major in English.
I had a fascination with creativity which at first was limited to people in church. I knew a lady who could sing like Dorinda Clark Cole and play the organ like Twinkie Clark. I wondered if people loved her beyond her gift. She would say she wanted to be in the entertainment industry.
I remember the discussion around this young lady. People was saying she was crazy. It bothered me that people are used like Christmas gifts – used until it breaks. It was then I knew I wanted to become a personal assistant or counselor.
I am humble enough to follow, but confident enough to lead. I’m concerned with justice for the “underdog.”
I’m also: Shy. Loyal. A Leader. Rebellious. An Advocate. Innovative.
Me: What does an overcomer mean to you?
Eddie: Imagine a mountain…a swift exchange. Imagine an airplane flying over it. There’s quick movement. The mountain is such a large, object but the peak is a little smaller. Once you climb to the top, you have overcome.
When you look down, you can either pity yourself for having to climb the mountain, or you can look down and grab others that are climbing the mountain after you.
How you choose to respond makes you an overcomer. (👀 I forgot to tell you, Eddie can preach. This was one of those moments right here. Selah. Ssshhh, don’t tell him I said it.)
Me: What have you overcome?
Eddie: Hate for my father. I used to hate him so much. I began to realize that hate is directly related to hypocrisy – the child of hypocrisy. I could no longer ask God for the grace I wouldn’t extend to others. I listened to his story and how he was raised. He was neglected by his father. I realized his neglect came from being uneducated. Uneducated in the sense that he didn’t know how to be a father.
As a kid, I didn’t fit with the group because my parents were married when I was born and they were in the church, but my father left when I was two years old. I remember not knowing where my story fit and why his family didn’t hold him accountable. My father is very silent. There was no one around to ask them the right questions – if they had, my parents would have never married. Remember, I’m from the country and marriage is promoted more than wholeness.
Me: How long did it take you to get to the point of love and forgiveness?
Eddie: Years. My father grew up in the city, and I was in the country. We didn’t have much. When we did come to Atlanta, we would usually stay with an uncle or grandmother. They lived in nice homes; they had a completely different lifestyle. It was like two different worlds.
I felt less than. It affected my self-esteem. I felt like my father didn’t want me in the family.
I started the process after coming to All Nations Worship Assembly – Atlanta (ANWA) and began to hear about healing, forgiveness and rejection. Although I rejected this notion at first, I began to have compassion for him.
Me: Has this played a pivotal part in how you are today?
Eddie:Yes. I was one of the popular kids in school, but I still felt like the underdog. I was the homecoming king and class president. However, it didn’t stop me from being bullied. I had to learn how to “come back” very easily. This is why I am the way I am about injustice.
Me: I am glad that in everything you went through, you didn’t allow it to muzzle you. You didn’t allow it to take your voice.
Eddie: You know, growing up I really believed the bible. I believed everything they told me. I believed we are all the same and if you’re wrong, you’re wrong, no matter who you are and what your title is. I didn’t learn the alternative until I got older.
Me: Tell me about OSEA. How did it come about?
Eddie: In college wanted to work in the entertainment industry. You remember when Whitney Houston died? No one really knew that her and Kim Burrell was that close. Kim covered her, showed herself to be a true friend. I want to be a Kim Burrell for others.
My career is the epitome of the scripture that says, “all things work together for good…” (Romans 8:28).
When I graduated college, I knew I needed to get a job. I wanted to travel, but I knew I needed to teach. I went to get an MDiv but dropped out after the first month. Every day when I went to school, my head would hurt terribly. I knew I was supposed to teach and it wasn’t the season for divinity school. I thought I would meet an athlete and tutor his child.
I went back home and worked at Dollar General for a while. The people in my hometown encouraged me to work at the school as a teacher. Although I took the job, I could not ignore the desire to work in entertainment.
Shortly after, I moved to Atlanta with a refund check and a promise from a friend to sleep on their sofa. People told me I wouldn’t find a job because I needed experience. I received multiple offers.
When I started coming to ANWA, people were asking what brought me to Atlanta, which made me remember why I came here.
Young actors and actresses, minors of actors. Who will educate them? God said, “You will.”
OnSite Education Anywhere (OSEA) was born!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ME:Tell me, where do see yourself in five years?
Eddie: I see myself as the founder behind a brand that is a household name. OSEA being in homes and on sets. Much traveling and touring along with the ability to hire.
Anywhere there is a working minor, OSEA will be and we won’t be too far removed from the local home-schooled students.
My vision is to purchase houses throughout the Atlanta area and the world and turn them into home schools.
Me: I admire your strong stance on justice and advocacy. What do you see yourself doing with that?
Eddie:Advocacy? I don’t know right now. And it’s okay you add that. People should know you won’t always have the answers. (Don’t you just love him?)
You may find Eddie “Mr. Osea” here:
Facebook: Eddie Sanders
You know me, Nicole Sharon. My friend Margo asked me who was going to interview me for The Overcomer’s Hall of Fame. It would be weird to interview myself so I’ll answer the questions.
The Overcomer’s Hall of Fame is an idea that I’ve been pondering in my mind for a few years. I was reading Hebrews 11, which is known as the Hall of Faith and I wondered, “What if I did this in a modern way?” In October 2019, during a time when I felt my faith level diving especially low, I decided to jump out “in faith” and invite some people on this journey.
I have more “Hall of Famers” coming soon. Stay tuned.
On Being an Overcomer:
I look at everything in the face that tried to kill me and laugh – including the girl in the mirror. It’s not my first response, but it’s my final response. I made it through! Depression. Anxiety. Self-injury. Suicide. Ha!
Oh, I cried. A lot. I felt shame. I felt condemned. I felt angry. I felt defeated. Once I got through feeling all that, I recognized God’s strength is available to me. I realized I don’t have to lean on my strength at all. I also realized He puts community around me who really love me. It’s been hard for me to fully receive it, but I’m learning.
What have I overcome?
I’ve been writing this blog since April 2018, and I want to tell you something. This overcoming is one day at a time. Sometimes one hour, one minute, one second…
There’s always something. There’s always an irrational thought to destroy. There’s always a hurdle to, well, overcome. There’s always me. As long as there’s a me, there will be something I need to overcome.
I’m saying this because many times we attribute our issues to external circumstances when I’d venture to say about 97.5% of the problem is ourselves.
Not one person has the ability to stop my greatness but me.
Isn’t that life? Ups and downs? If you’ve ever been to the hospital or seen someone’s heart being monitored on the machine, the up and down marks represent life.
At the bottom of it all, I’ve learned that overcoming is giving myself the same grace I extend to others – forgiving me. That means giving myself permission to heal – no matter what the process looks like. Some days painful, frustrating, or sad. Some days are joyful and calm. Understanding the process. Knowing it’s okay.
I thought I knew how to receive love. This year has taught me to allow people in past the surface level. I didn’t realize how much I’ve learned to hide and isolate. I am learning, really learning, the value of community. Allowing myself to be loved, confronted, encouraged, and prayed for. I found myself asking why? Why are they being so kind to me? Why do they care?
I forgot my own advice: God will not put you on this earth and not give anyone the heart to love you. Somebody on this earth loves you. It’s up to you to allow them.
Overcoming is the process. Healthy decisions. Failures. Wins. Good days. Bad days. Learning from failures. Learning to love who I am. It’s all overcoming.
The suffix “ing” means action or process.
It looks like this:
I am overcoming.
I will overcome.
A fall doesn’t equate to failure. It also doesn’t mean I have to start over.
Having said that, my affirmation is that my journey is mine. I am learning to forgive myself quickly and continue my journey. This season is not a life sentence, it’s a part of my journey.
My journey is important. I am learning patience with myself in the journey.
I am learning that I am not a bother to others. I am learning that community is still important. I am learning it’s okay to fall sometimes as long as I resolve to continue on my journey. It’s like running into a McDonald’s in every city on a road trip. It doesn’t mean I went backward; I just ran into the same issue.
This year, I expected to have a great year with no setbacks. I found myself in a very low space and, for the first time in a long time, I considered the alternative. However, God is kind. He reminded me that I have a reason to live and this season will pass.
Every time I go through this, I learn something different about myself. I also learn more about the grace of God. He’s so longsuffering. I also learn something about the people He places in my life. I can’t imagine what they feel, and I am slowly learning to trust that I am loved and I am worth the investment of their time and prayers.
A bump in the road doesn’t mean stop, it just means slow down. Think, regroup, pray. But you may still proceed.
I took my first professional photo shoot in about thirty years.
I’ve officially launched a business! Business license and everything! Nicole Sharon, LLC: I am a professional writing coach. I offer these services: proofreading, transcription, and administrative support.
Where to find me?
My links are on this site. Feel free to follow.
On IG and Twitter:
The Life of an Overcomer (blog page)
Nicole Sharon, LLC (business page)
Nicole Sharon (personal page)
Here’s a clip from the movie “War Room.” It sums up my year:
This is a tough time of the year for many. I understand. I can’t wait for January. You don’t have to lean on your own strength or try to fight on your own. God is here to help you. Allow your friends to be your strength. My Pastor said to me: “You have family. You no longer have to fight on your own. When you don’t have the strength, allow them to fight for you.”
I’m telling you the same thing. You are loved. You are worth the investment. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but you are. Feel free to reach out to me. Let me know how you’re doing. Have a great holiday season!
Tenishia B. Lester is a Certified Destiny Life Coach/Mentor for individuals who need assistance in finding their purpose in life. Her goal is to become licensed in Marriage and Family Counseling. She is a retired United States Postal Worker, where she served for twenty-three years. She was born and raised in New Jersey but currently resides in Georgia. Tenishia is her mother’s only child and the oldest of her father’s children. She is the proud mother of one son (another preceded her in death) and a grandson.
I felt a connection with Tenishia because our stories are similar. Speaking with Tenishia was a breath of fresh air. Starting off a little shaky which lasted four seconds, Tenishia took a deep breath and dived in like a champion!
Let’s get into the conversation:
Me: Tell me about Tenishia.
Tenishia: I don’t like being lied to or underestimated. I have a big heart. I will give to others, sometimes to my detriment without thinking of the consequences up front. I will help anyone. I’ve always been an introvert, but I’m learning to come out of my shell which began to happen when I joined a tribe at my church. (shout out to ANWA-ATL!)
I am good at leadership. I am trustworthy, compassionate, diligent and detail-oriented. I am serious, but I am also silly. I am tenacious!
Me: When you hear overcomer, what does that mean to you?
Tenishia: Survivor. No matter what I’ve gone through, I am not what happened to me. No longer seeing my history as shameful, but the ability to see purpose to help someone else. I see strength. Overcoming, for me, means purpose.
Me: Tell me about something you’ve overcome.
Tenishia: Unforgiveness and fear. Although I still have moments of fear, I am not as fearful as I used to be.
Me: How did you work through unforgiveness?
Tenishia: I had to understand that forgiveness is not for the person who committed the acts towards me. I thought it mean you gave them permission to do something else. I would forgive to a degree, but not forget. And that is not what the bible says. I also had to realize that holding on to grudges, and unforgiveness was doing more damage to me than any of the acts they committed against me.
There’s a local ministry in Atlanta that offers courses focused on healing. Going to these classes gave me a deeper understanding of forgiveness and a deeper understanding of my hurt. Along with that, I learned compassion and to extend the grace I’ve received – the same grace God gives me when I do something wrong.
I also wrote letters to the people I had offense with. I made phone calls, had the hard discussions, offered forgiveness and repented for my part in the situation. This is important, because we mostly remember what was done to us, not taking responsibility for our role in the situation whether great or small.
Me: I can see how walking through this process destroyed a level of fear.
Tenishia: Yes, fear and anxiety rise up because you’re apologizing for something you may or may not have done. I had to apologize or offer forgiveness even when it’s not reciprocated. You’re facing an apology you may never get. You’re calling to say, “I’m sorry for the role I played in this situation.” The chances of the other person apologizing is a 50/50. So, you have to go in not expecting to get an apology and be okay with it.
However, it’s a bonus when you get it!
Me: You recently release a book. Tell me about it.
Tenishia: My book is calledArrested Development: A Journey to Purpose and Identity. It chronicles my life of having been abused. How I discovered my purpose and identity through the abuse and as God sees me, not as I identified myself.
For anyone who reads this book I want them to know:
Just because things happen to you, it doesn’t define your identity.
It is possible to go through such egregious things hurts, pains, abuses, and still come out on the upside, knowing who you are or finding who you are. Your identity can be solidified in Christ and you can operate from a healthy place versus a broken place, which is what many of us do for the majority of our lives.
I want to be to others what I didn’t have. I wish when I was growing up there was something like this I could have picked up and referenced. Something that would have let me know it was possible to come out healthier on the other side.
This time next year I see myself coaching, flourishing, more speaking engagements, more products, more healing – as I help others, I receive a deeper level of healing.
I am a Certified Life Coach & Mentor and speaker. I specialize in walking with those who have endured childhood trauma realize that what happened to them does not define them; Nor does it have to continue to prevent them from moving forward boldly in life. I am the Author of Arrested Development: A Journey to Purpose and Identity. Beyond the Book Media Author of the Year.
Tenishia is launching a Mentoring Program soon.
For more information, you may find Tenishia on: