It began when I was a small child. I wrote my first piece about animal crackers. An affectionate story crafted about those small and delicious elephant, giraffe, horse, and lion-shaped graham cracker snacks, captured in pencil on wide-ruled tablet paper. My story pleased my award-winning poet mother and she proudly displayed it for weeks on our family’s olive green refrigerator. Though she was my mom (she has since passed), her gesture bolstered my confidence to keep writing. The new confidence emboldened me to also enter spelling bees—and win. A great feather in the cap for a girl who enjoyed reading and writing, yet took summer school to improve Ds and Fs earned in mathematics. In fourth grade, I also had a speech therapist because I couldn’t properly pronounce my “Rs.” That somewhat dinged my confidence.
My writing and speaking improved through the years, enabling me to secure internships, speaking opportunities, new business as a public relations consultant, to the launch of a content-driven ministry known as Voices Against the Grain. My writing has also led me to share with you on this blessed platform, for which I am grateful. True to Proverbs 18:16, I have been experiencing the blessings of what happens when your “gifts make room for you.”
But such truths may never have manifested had I allowed flunking my first year at the University of Kansas to derail me. I was placed on academic probation with the university and resigned myself never to return to school. I even took a few years off. All of my prior successes seemed to fade into the background. What was to become of my future now? At my point of despair, my dear friend, brother in Christ and spiritual mentor, Hakim Hazim, told me something that redirected my thinking. He told me that “education creates options, opens doors.” He told me that God was equipping me to be an interim leader to serve the populations and territories He desired.
By hearing this, my future was not diminished or erased but rather, increased! Dusting off despair, I stood on my confidence in Christ Jesus and proceeded with Hakim’s words given me. As told in Isaiah 50:4, “The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.”
I repaired my GPA by attending night classes at a community college that required me to drive nearly an hour there and back, sometimes through treacherous snow-covered country roads. I then completed my Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism at the local four-year university, juggling full-time classes and full-time work. Through my aunt, I was afforded a media internship opportunity in Washington, D.C. Born and raised in Topeka, Kan., I jumped at the opportunity and quickly packed up to make the trip. I received blessed assistance from another dear brother in Christ, Charles Holmes, Jr., who made the journey possible for that broke college student.
That was in 2005. Today, I am pursuing my Master of Public Administration with Regent University for further equipping as a Christian public servant to be used however the Lord wills.
I’ve been afforded more blessings than can be captured here. I am grateful to the many mentors who have guided me along the way. Numerous books read, prayers lifted, and conversations shared have placed me on today’s path as an entrepreneur, ministry leader, writer, and other titles.
My friend Hakim was right: education provided me options, opened doors and it has enabled me to lead. Yet the greater education came from knowing that because of my hope in Christ Jesus, my future was not erased because of my past. God had not changed His mind about me.
The same applies to you. Your future is not erased but abundantly increased in Christ!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” (Jeremiah 29:11).