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.
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:
Don’t allow others to dictate how your journey should look. Marissa Wilson
Meet Marissa Wilson:
Marissa moved to Atlanta from South Florida. She has been married twelve years. She is a Mompreneur, and mother of five children (four births).
This article is about family, marriage, mommyhood and pursuit of destiny. I use mommyhood because Marissa is not just a mother, she’s a mommy, involved, loving, and all the mushy things mommy’s represent.
Marissa exudes confidence. She was always ready with an answer, and gave me the liberty to go off script and ask extra questions. I felt there are many mothers who would benefit from what Marissa had to share. Despite her nervousness (by her admission), Marissa showed up ready for the party! No standing on the wall for this Mompreneur. She got out on the dance floor! And we had a ball! (Get the reference? Too much? Okay.)
Without further ado, let’s get into this chat:
Me:Alright ma’am. Tell me about Marissa.
Marissa:I am integral, a daughter of the king, sincere, authentic, quirky and goofy. I love to laugh. I remind myself every morning that I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. I am loved by God. I can accomplish anything as long as I have God. (start of preaching then, sis!)
Me:What does Overcomer mean to you?
Marissa:Someone who is triumphant. Through struggle or circumstances, they come out victorious. Whether physically, mentally, or emotionally.
Me:Tell me about something you’ve have to overcome?
Marissa:Although I didn’t know about postpartum, I struggled with depression during and after all of my pregnancies. I was very young and I didn’t have the language for postpartum or what people would call the baby blues. I didn’t have any extensive knowledge of it the way I do now. When I look back on what I went through emotionally, I realize what it was. In today’s society mental health is talked about more and I can go back and pinpoint those low places and understand now what I was going through at the time.
I dealt with a level of shame by family members and people in ministry. I was made to feel I had done something wrong. I carried that into each pregnancy and dealt with it after having my babies.
Me:But you were married, right? (not that it matters, but y’all know…)
Marissa:I was not married with my first child. We were married within two years and by the time my oldest was three, I was pregnant with the second one. With each pregnancy, someone had something to say. They reminded me of our financial situation.
We were shamed because, although we were doing pretty good for ourselves, we weren’t well off and sometimes needed a support system from our families to help with the children. They felt we shouldn’t have them. It wasn’t so much about money, we needed emotional support as well. Periodically we would need a sitter or someone to pick up one of the children.
When we fell on hard times, we had friends who laughed at and mocked us because we had so many kids. They said they didn’t want to be like us. My husband, Jerry (who is an entrepreneur), had gotten hurt. At this time, we had two children and I was pregnant with the third child.
Me:How did you overcome that?
Marissa:It wasn’t until I had the last baby and we had moved away that I had to deal with those emotions. I didn’t realize how much it affected me until after I moved away. I started going through counseling and deliverance. I had to revisit those pain points.
I discovered I was hiding behind family. I was not confident and struggled to embrace having five children. Even going places with our children; being out in public was something I had to work through.
I had to learn to see myself and my family through the Father’s eyes. I had to see what the family unit should look like. Knowing His purpose and plan for me. Those were the things I had to accept and know He had blessed me with it.
I had to change my perspective on a lot of things. I had to embrace it because this was my life, this is where God had me and what He has for me. If He saw fit to bless me with my family then I had to know God would provide and take care of us. I had to know my family was pleasing in His sight.
Me: For those who are preparing for marriage and family, what advice do you have for them? Or for those who are in the early stages of marriage and family?
Marissa:Be confident in one another. Confident in God.
Find God’s purpose for your household. What is God’s plan for your household? Once you find out, grab hold of it and don’t let go.
Once you find out God’s plan for your family, grab hold of it and don’t let go.
Don’t allow anyone to make you second guess or feel like you’re doing something wrong. When God gives you a mission and purpose for your house, you take it and run with it.
Me: In other words, your relationship is between you, your spouse and God.
Marissa: Exactly. Make sure you and your spouse are strong. Make sure you can communicate about anything you’re feeling.
When it comes to advice from people, I learned to eat the meat and spit out the bone. That means take the advice I know will apply to me, and what doesn’t apply to me I discard it. I don’t take it seriously. People give you their opinions based on their views and experiences. However, what they experience may not fit the mold of what your experience is.
For example, I was an only child. My mother doesn’t understand certain dynamics of multiple children and my household. She couldn’t understand how we ran out of groceries so fast or why we had to spend so much on groceries. She would try to give advice, but it didn’t work because her experience was different as a mother of one child.
Me: Tell me about your business and what you hope to achieve?
Marissa: I am a Mompreneur offering admin support and consulting for businesses. I assist businesses in establishing processes and systems for their business as well as help them scale their business. This means if you already have systems and processes in place, I can help you scale them in order for your business to expand and grow.
My ultimate goal is to hire other moms who want to commit more time to being home while being able to work. I want to bring on other mothers like myself so they can experience financial freedom as well. So they can have the flexibility to integrate work/home life.
Me: In starting this business, what is the major hurdle did you overcome?
Marissa:Stepping out on faith. Trusting God that this is what He wants me to do.
A year ago, I started blogging and working on my business. Financially, things got scary for a while, so I made the decision to go back to work. I allowed some people to influence me so I went to work full-time. I took a job where I was working a lot of hours. We struggled more as a family while I was on the job than when I was working on my business and working from home.
I had to allow God to process me in that season. My husband travels a lot with his business. One particular contract called for more extensive travel, and I had to make the decision to leave the job. It was frustrating for me because I didn’t realize how addicted I was to doing things on my own – even if it wasn’t working.
Trusting God to walk away from the known and into the unknown was the hardest mental block for me to overcome. It took me thirty days to decide. Although I wrestled with the Lord, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Being a Mompreneur makes more sense and is easier for my family.
Me: Tell me about the process? What practical things do you do to motivate you?
Marissa: I had to learn to believe in myself with daily affirmations. There’s something profound about getting up in the morning, and reminding yourself who you are. Whether you create positive statements or scriptures, it’s something powerful. You take ownership of your day when you speak over yourself and speak love to yourself.
I notice the difference in my day when I do this. When I’m not focused it’s because I didn’t take the time for my morning reminders.
I intentionally take moments to settle my mind. Anything clouding my mind, I would set those things aside. I would clear my mind and be silent. Maybe take a walk or just sit outside. The battle we have is in our minds. I also practice meditating.
Me: When making these huge decisions, how did you overcome fear?
Marissa:I did it scared. I know we hear this phrase a lot, but that’s how it’s done. If I try to rationalize it, I would have talked myself out of it.
I followed the steps. I wrote a business plan. I submitted my plans to God. I got the revelation on how to do things. I was still scared. Something could go wrong.
Just so you know, nothing is going to go 100% right in business. It’s never going to all be right. Something will always go wrong.
With my husband being in business, we have experienced every possible nuisance. We have experienced many things, so I decided I would just do it. I’m going to rock with it because I know it’s what I’m supposed to be doing.
Me: So, you’re saying that just because something goes wrong, it doesn’t mean it’s not supposed to happen.
Marissa: Right. It’s like this, when you’re already full steam ahead…When you’re eight centimeters, there’s no turning back. You may as well push! The baby is coming whether you like it or not. We already out here. Why not?
Take the leap! We already out here. Why not? Marissa Wilson
Me:Tell me about your family support? What does that look like?
Marissa: I take full advantage of the days when the children are not at home. I have a schedule. My mornings are used to take care of the home. There’s time blocked for business, and when they’re home in the evenings I try to make sure my time is dedicated to them. There are some Saturdays when I have to put some work time in, and we adjust as a family. I make sure all immediate needs are taken care of and conduct business.
My husband, Jerry, is really helpful by taking them outside or doing things to keep them occupied. As long as all the children are in one piece and there are no trips to the ER, it’s all good.
The key ingredient is communication. I have good communication with my family, a plan for my day and making good use of my time. When the children get home, I’m not so overwhelmed that I can’t be involved in their lives.
Along with being a Mompreneur, Marissa is a blogger and an aspiring author. She is working on her first manuscript.
Blessings on your journey, Marissa! Thank you for allowing me to interview you. I pray blessings and long lasting success for your life, business and family!
“Trusting God will have you out here winning in a losing season.”
Khas Dock is originally from Newark, NJ and has been in Atlanta for about six years. Although he always wanted to move to Atlanta, he didn’t want to move as soon as he did. However, on a whim, he made the move. Khas says his career is a God thing. He is an author, ghost writer, and business consultant. And though he didn’t mention it, he is also a speaker. Khas says, “I do operations and project management. I’ve planned tours and hosted events, organized conferences, done a lot of consultations from a branding and marketing perspective. These are the things I dabble in as it relates to my purpose and career, passions and all those good things.”
I am excited about what you will learn from this interview. I was not prepared for Khas’s story and the level of healing and confidence he displayed during this interview. Sometimes chuckling at his answers, sometimes taking a few seconds to pause and think, Khas spoke to me as a man who, despite what he’s been through, knows who he is. As I reflect on this interview, I can think of one word: refreshing.
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Khas Dock:
Me: Tell me about Khas, the man.
Khas: At my core, I am a lover of people. I often refer to myself as a grace agent. The concept behind that is I think a lot of people deal with silent battles and they are wrestling with something internally they don’t ever really speak about. I remember often walking around wishing somebody saw me, that somebody understood. Wishing somebody would say something that would make my world a little bit better. As a result, I’ve taken on the position to be intentional about extending love and making sure when someone is in my presence they feel a glimpse of God; a glimpse of grace.
I am a people person; I am super down to earth. One of my biggest passions in life is to serve and to serve people. At the core of who I am is a servant. I’m a normal guy (I can hear the smile in his voice). I enjoy music, food and I’m adventurous. At almost thirty years old I am coming into myself more than I have at any point in my life. I see things a lot differently. Life is much different to me now. On this journey of self-discovery, I’ve done a lot of inner healing and learning who I am. I am owning it, and am okay with whatever that looks like.
Khas, the Overcomer:
It embodies strength and tenacity. When I think of overcomer, I think of a person who thrives through obstacles. (Wait! Did y’all see this? Thrives! Not just survive, but thrives! Okay, carry on.)
At the age of six years old I was placed in foster care where I remained until I aged out at twenty-one or twenty-two. This has been my biggest hurdle in my twenty-nine years.
Being placed in foster care introduced me to a pain I didn’t have language for or any concept of. At six years old, the only thing that causes pain are minor things like not being able to play a game or go out with your friends. This experience complicated life in a way I didn’t know was humanly possible. It introduced me to identity issues, feelings of abandonment and rejection. I wondered why my parents didn’t want me; why isn’t anyone coming for me? I had emotional trauma I didn’t understand until my teen years and early adulthood.
My life over the past couple of years has been dedicated to sorting through a lot of those layers. Recalling myself at six years old, not understanding, and not having language for what was going on, I had to deal with it. I didn’t get a say in the matter. So, I had to deal with. I had to adjust and learn to be okay with it – which I don’t think I’ve ever become okay with it. It was hard. For a long time, it made me angry.
I realize no one’s life is perfect, but it introduced me to a plight I wasn’t prepared for. As an adult, I can see that, for many different reasons it was necessary. While I was in the thick of it, I couldn’t see it. All I felt was pain, and it was terrible. On the other side of it I can look back and say, I kind of get why it had to go that way.
There’s a sense of ownership for that struggle. I can talk about it proudly and own it because I can see the beauty in it. I couldn’t see it then, because I was so blinded by the hurt and the trauma. I can proudly say I’m glad it happened. Wouldn’t want to live through it again, but I’m glad it happened and I was able to overcome it.
I have friends and people I grew up with who went through the same thing and their life turned out much differently. In all of it, there was a grace that sustained me. For that, I am grateful.
Community and Conversation (sound familiar?)
Khas attributes his success to God first and foremost. He says conversation and community has played a vital role in his process.
Khas: I remember times, especially once I was older, as I transitioned out of my adolescence into my adulthood, I was around people who had their own experiences. There was a commonality. Even though our plights weren’t the same, we had all experienced some type of hardship or trauma. We were able to gather around that commonality and offer strength through conversation. We were able to share with each other and say what we went through, how it made us feel, and how we overcame it.
Although none of our stories were identical, the similarity was that we all struggled and we had different things we had to overcome and journey through. I found out there is a great deal of healing offered through community and being around people who know what it’s like to go through something, you’re given the opportunity to sort through things that have been left underneath the surface for years. Once you begin to bring those things to the surface, you can now deal with it.
Community and conversation won’t heal everything, but it’s a great starting point. It can point you to counseling. It can point you to church. It can point you to wise counsel. Community will also be there for those processes, because once you start counseling you will still need a support group. You will still need somebody who can rally around you. You will still need people that understand. The biggest thing for me has been to find safe spaces which is sometimes found in a group and other times with one person who understands.
While community and conversations have helped me, it’s also been a hindrance because it hasn’t always been something I was open to because I felt like I had my vulnerability snatched from me years ago without me having any say so in the matter. It’s amazing that community and conversation is the thing I would depend on in order to journey through certain experiences.
Me: Tell me about Decoding the Creatives? What do you want people to know after reading it?
Khas:Decoding the Creatives is a book that gives language to people who are creative and for people who want to understand creatives. It’s a term that is widely used and sometimes misused. It is not a lot of definition surrounding it, so this is my attempt to explain it. One day I randomly wrote a Facebook status that was a combination of experiences in my journey as a professional creative and I wanted to put it out there. It got a lot of crazy traction. It seemed simple to me because I was venting. I didn’t realize at the time other people were looking for this type of language. People who are creatives as well as people who are surrounded by creatives. The consensus among them was it helped them to understand the creatives around them whether it be a friend or a child.
This is a book based on my experiences. At the end there is a letter from me to the reader and the message is to trust your dopeness. It’s my way of encouraging people to understand we are all different, even our creative abilities are different. There is something that unlocks when you hone into the uniqueness of who you are.
One of the things I’ve noticed about creatives is even though we’re widely gifted and can do so much, there’s nothing a creative cannot do when we put their mind to it. However, even in our awesomeness, there is this doubt. There is this fear; there is this shrinking back or dumbing ourselves down to magnify others. We will promote others before we promote ourselves. The root of it is this idea that we’re good but not amazing. It’s this tainted concept of how awesome we are. It’s something I’ve had to own myself and I figured it’s something, that if it’s a battle for me, it’s a battle for other people. That is my biggest desire for people to walk away with the knowledge as a creative or understanding one.
I want creatives to get to a place where they can say, “I am really gifted. I own this and I’m going to walk in it.” Khas Dock
Me: I thought you were quiet, but lately, I have seen another side of you. You’re more vocal. Tell me about that?
Khas: For the last two years I feel like I’ve been extremely muzzled. That’s not to say there’s always something to say or a need to say something, but I’ve been extremely laid back and didn’t say much. Some of it was because of work related stuff or stuff I was going through personally. I was also in a space where I felt like I didn’t have anything of value to say, or feel like I was saying something that everyone else was saying – if it’s a common thread or common trend, why would I need to add my input to it? So yeah, I had a muzzle on for about two years straight.
I’ve learned that language can solve a lot of problems in life. Sometimes people are feeling things and they are frustrated because they don’t have language for it. I understand because that was a lot of my frustration. One of the reasons I follow the Friends (The Pastors of All Nations Worship Assembly – Atlanta) is because every time I’m in their space they say something, oftentimes is unintentional, which gives me language for where I am and where I need to be headed. This is my thought, it may be insignificant to you, but nine times out of ten, there is one person who can benefit from it and we have a responsibility to share. It’s not always comfortable for me. I actually hate it, and would rather be quiet and in the background. I am learning to own the responsibility, which is why I’ve been more vocal.
Me: For this, we are thankful. For years, I have been one who has wrestled with my voice. I remember hearing, “Your voice is assigned to somebody.” The crazy thing about the world is, there are billions of people. You may say something and people won’t hear it. I will say the same thing and they will respond as if I’ve solved a great mystery! No, I’m just repeating what he said.
Khas: Exactly, I believe we have assigned audiences.
Me: And your audience is waiting. Khas, your life is blessed. I’m glad to know you. I’m glad to see the transformation in you. Its palpable. It’s beautiful. I am excited to see what happens in your future.