Confessions of a Christian Creative: Moving from Frustration to Purpose

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. For the last few months, I’ve been on a journey of discovery, asking the Lord to show me more clearly what He wants me to do with my life. I was feeling overwhelmed with work, freelance work, and ministry, and, honestly, I felt about ready to ditch everything. Not because I wanted to, but because of intense frustration.

But you know how it goes. When we ask God for answers, He answers, and sometimes what we learn isn’t all “flowers and rainbows.” There’s something awful about, on one hand, seeing the potential that God put inside us, and, on the other, when He shows us how dreadfully unprepared and uncommitted we truly are. It’s like the facade that pride puts up that makes us think we’re ready to take on the world for Christ just crumbles away, and we’re left staring at the ugly, mangled truth: the selfishness and immaturity underlying and influencing everything we do. It’s ugly. It’s shameful. But it is real. And until we see it and deal with it, it will strangle the results of everything we do in God’s name.

I sincerely hope that I can properly express what I am feeling and that my experience will encourage and inspire you. There is no judgement here. What I described above was exactly what I saw in my own heart. I share it with you so you can see that, if you are in a similar place, you are not alone, and that everyone struggles. And I hope that you find freedom in that. Tonight, my prayer is that the Holy Spirit will speak directly to your hearts and cover any flubs or clumsy writing on my part.

“What is my purpose? What is the heart and soul of the Lost Pen Magazine?” are some of the questions I have been asking God for the last few weeks. Well, I’ll be honest. There were times I was begging. I just got fed up with the whole thing. Depending on what spiritual mentor or teaching I read or listened to, I would try this or that, or wait, or try whatever I could to get things going. I could sense God working, but I couldn’t see the whole picture, and it was driving me nuts. At the end of two years, I had worked really hard and had accomplished a lot, but I was also burned out. I’m not sorry for the good that came out of it all, though. I just felt that there must be a better way. But you know how it is. Of course, God has a plan. But He’s under NO obligation to reveal any of it to us when we ask, nor is He obligated to reveal anything at all! How amazing but also TREMENDOUSLY FRUSTRATING!!!!

So, tonight, I decided to have it out with Him. Of course, He won. And He wasn’t entirely as “warm and delicate” about it as I had hoped. His answer was more of a “Listen, I know you’re fed up. But that’s fine. Have your tantrum and then get up and get over it. There’s stuff to do.” Now I know what it feels like when I use my “tough love” approach on my kids and clients at work! Yikes!

For those who are curious, the actual verse He spoke to me through was Acts 1:6-8 New International Version:

6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

I didn’t react well at first to His answer, either. I was annoyed, and my pride was hurt. But then I began to look at it differently. I started to look at it as God saying, “Listen, don’t worry about things that don’t concern you. I know my plans for you, and I know when and how they’re going to work out. Just do what you know I have called you to do: serve Me, and outreach to those around you and to those I bring to you. That’s it.

While this was going on, my phone buzzed with an email from someone who had contacted me a few weeks ago through the website. He was struggling to understand his creative purpose and how to do what he felt God was calling Him to do. He had a lot of questions. I really wanted to give him answers that were rooted in wisdom and what I felt God wanted him to know. So, I prayed and answered as best as I could. Tonight, his email was full of hope and restored purpose, and he shared that he is focused on moving forward on his creative journey. I closed the email, bawled, and thanked God from the bottom of my heart that He had used my clumsy attempts to help someone find their way. What else could I do?

Even now, I shake my head. God is . . . incomprehensible, at times. I mean, how many times has He completely done the opposite to what I expected? Like, for two years, I have been building the Christian Creative Nexus, the Lost Pen Magazine, and working myself to the bone doing the social media stuff, newsletters, blah, blah, blah all to moderate results . . . and a few simple prayers and some thoughtful responses to a stranger in need is all it took for God to transform that person’s life—while utterly confounding me in the process. God is God. He saves us by throwing down our pride to reveal His sovereignty every time. And, thank God He does.

All this to say that this is how God showed me the truth I’ve been looking for. After bawling, thanking Him, and bawling some more, I picked up my Bible and asked God to speak to me some more. I flipped through various chapters and landed on 2 Corinthians 5:11-20 (bold is added for emphasis).

11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 12 Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us,[b] so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. 13 If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. 14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us.[c] Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.[d] 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. 16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,[e] so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Tonight, I realized that nothing I could do creatively or in ministry could matter more than helping even one person realize their purpose in Christ, to envision themselves serving Him in it, and then walking it out. Obviously, salvation is the most important ministry of reconciliation, but I believe that the mission of the Lost Pen Magazine is to work to reconcile believers to their creative calling and ministry—to help everyday Christian Creatives realize that the Creator God has entrusted them with a unique gift that is theirs and their alone, and that it is up to them to use it for His glory and the furtherance of His kingdom.

There is a place for professionals. But there is so much more room for everyday people to be active doing what their soul and spirits are dying to do. Many of us are bound by fear, insecurity, doubt, anxiety, etc. But though we might struggle with them, they are not reasons for us to put our candles under a bushel (Luke 11:33)—not when the God of the universe is with us and in us to do all kinds of good works (2 Timothy 3:17). I don’t care if it’s hosting the exhausted parents of a busy family for a delicious meal at your house, making posters in church for the Sunday school, or knowing how to entertain bored teenagers two hours a week at youth group, do it and do it with all your might. If you sing, sing. If you can write, write. If you love photography, by all means capture God’s gorgeous creation on film or digital medium. But find your purpose, give it to God, and then serve Him with everything you’ve got.

The Lost Pen Magazine is first and foremost a safe place for believers to submit. Experienced creatives and newbies alike have published with us. We strive to be supportive and helpful, while also being professional and maintaining a high standard. So far, we’ve been focused on fiction, poetry, testimonies, and art. But, as you can see above, there is so much more to creativity than the standard genres. Whether people submit or not, our hope is that readers and contributors both will find encouragement and inspiration in the pages that will support them on their creative journeys, and, ultimately, help deepen their faith and relationship with our awesome, wonderful, and loving Father in heaven.

Blessings!

Interview with Tiffanya Richardson

Today is our last post before the CCN goes on hiatus. Please join me as I interview our special guest, Tiffanya Richardson.

 

Can you begin by telling us a little about yourself?
My name is Tiffanya, most call me Tiff for short :-). I’m a 32 year old young woman from the Bay Area California, a mom, and a Christian Creative.

How did you get into writing? 
I started writing to express my grief after my boyfriend was murdered by gun violence in 2008. I just wrote out my pain and prayers they eventually turned into poems.

Why did you choose your genre?
Poetry is free not so much of a structure. I needed that in my life, space to be free.

Do you think God has a purpose for your work and, if so, what?
Definitely, I think the purpose of my work is to simply connect with people in a real way. Connect to hurting people happy people lost or confused whatever. Writing helps you connect.

How did you learn/perfect your craft?
Practice and being free. Not editing myself so much but just being honest and letting the truth pour out.

What are your writing strengths and weaknesses?
I’d say my strengths are honesty and transparency and weaknesses structure.

Who/what are your biggest influences?
Maya Angelou
Issa Rae

What are your goals when you write a piece? How do you hope your readers will respond?
My goal is always to connect and to get people to communicate and to really see each other to share other perspectives.

Do you have another job or do you write full-time? Hobbies or other interests?
Yes I work full time in government. I love creating, art, nature, adventure, all the fun stuff!

What do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing and how do you cope with it?
Scaling down an overall vision. I tend to think in scenes like film so it can be difficult slowing down the pictures in my head and actually writing out the details. I cope by pacing myself and having dedicated time to get thoughts out.

What advice would you give to writers, especially those looking to break into poetry?
Just write. Don’t overthink so much slow down and write. Even if you don’t have a full story just write about what you love what inspires you.

Can you tell us about your books? What other projects are you working on?
The book is Trinity Jones The Queen of the Ghetto. I took a bunch of poems and prayers I had written over a ten-year span and compiled them together. Originally, I set out to write a script. I wanted to tap into the thoughts of a young black woman trying to navigate life with little guidance and connection. I’m happy with how it turned out. I hope it helps someone realize they aren’t alone.

Currently, I’m working on turning some of the individual poems from the book into visuals. Sort of like a short film. It’s exciting collaborating with other creatives and seeing how they view the characters and making them come to life.

Can you share something interesting about yourself and unrelated to writing?
I am really in love with ministry. I love reaching and serving people in all sorts of capacities.

I’m also really into event planning planning period it’s fun for me.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?
To stay encouraged and go on your life journey. God created you special and unique so do your best to believe that and explore it!

How can readers contact you?

Email tiffizlit@gmail.com

https://thelostpoet559.wordpress.com/

https://m.facebook.com/profile.php

https://instagram.com/tiffizlit?igshid=1vsmisd8a2eqh

https://www.amazon.com/Trinity-Jones-Ghetto-Fictional-Poetic/dp/1400324734

Interview with Carrie and Richard Fischer

If you haven’t yet met Richard and Carrie Fischer, now is your chance to meet this incredible couple who champion the rights of the unborn and whose greatest desire is to serve the Lord with everything they have. I’m sure you’ll be blessed today. 

Can you tell us about yourself and your back ground? 

Carrie Holland was born to a single mom on June 10, 1969, 6 months after her mom’s failed abortion attempt on her life in December of 1968. She was raised by her mom and stepfather, with two sisters and one brother. From about 5 years old until 13, Carrie began having recurring nightmares of a baby fighting for her life in her mother’s womb, which led her to eventually ask her mother if these dreams meant anything to her. Her mom broke down in tears of repentance, confessing to the attempted abortion which likely took Carrie’s twin brother or sister. Just before that confession, Carrie had just gotten off of her bicycle, when a lightning bolt split the banana-style seat of her bike in half! Within a week or so, Carrie had forgiven her mom for what she’d done and endeavored to move on with her life. At the age of 27, Carrie’s birth father called and spoke to Carrie for the first time. They agreed to meet, and the two of them had a chance to correspond with each other for the next 3 years before he died of lung cancer. Following the death of her birth father, between the grief of losing that relationship plus the bullying she received due to the facial deformity she was born withwhich doctor’s attributed to complications from the failed abortion attemptCarrie went into a serious depression. She tried to commit suicide by downing a bottle of anti-depressants and drinking a bottle of wine, but when she woke up she didn’t have any symptoms. It was at that point Carrie realized that God had a plan and a purpose for her life, but it would take many more years to discover that she was being called by God to publicly share her testimony in hopes of being able to save as many babies as possible from the fate she almost suffered. Having never been asked on a date for the first 41 years of her life due to her facial deformity, Carrie remained single until 42, when a man named Richard Fischer entered her life through a rather miraculous set of circumstances.

Richard was born on December 12, 1958, to a military family that lived in Middletown, Connecticut. Over the next 15 years, they moved 13 times, including two different places in Germany. In his early teens, Richard, finding some of his father’s porn magazines in an open bathroom cabinet, quickly developed a horrible addiction to pornography and, eventually, to a life of sexual promiscuity. At the age of 25, Richard, after numerous girlfriends had come and gone, returned to the woman he had first had intercourse with and they were married. After 9 years of marriage, she decided she wanted another man and the two of them divorced. About 9 months after the divorce, Richard married his second wife. This marriage lasted 17 years until she passed away following a 4-year battle with liver failure. 6 months later, a friend of Richard’s sent him a picture of a place he had only seen in a God-given dream around the time he and his second wife had met at church. Two months later, this dream would lead Richard to drive nearly 1000 miles from his home in Maryville, Tennessee, to Austin, Texas, to a place called Hamilton Pool, the place he’d seen in his 18-year-old dream. During the previous two weeks, God had been telling Richard he would one day become one with someone with a facial deformity. While still in Austin, he happened across Carrie’s profile picture on a mutual friend’s pro-life Facebook page. Learning that Carrie had never been asked out on a date before and that she lived 3 hours away in Houston, Texas, and after some soul-searching prayer, Richard decided to ask her out on a date. They arranged a double date with another couple Carrie knew and trusted. Before their dinner at the Asian City Restaurant near Deerbrook Mall was over, they were both convinced that God intended them to be married. After numerous miraculous confirmations, the two became husband and wife 3 months later. 

What is your faith background? 

Carrie was raised going to church, and she made a decision at about 12 years old to ask Jesus to be her Lord and Savior. But at that time, for her, it was just repeating some words and there was no real change or repentance to go along with the profession of faith. Sadly, many people in the churches she attended treated her horribly and didn’t show her much, if any, real love. On one occasion, for seemingly no apparent reason, her pastor grabbed her by the throat, held her against a wall and told her she would never amount to anything. Needless to say, Carrie became  disillusioned with church and would struggle greatly with social anxiety issues. When Richard came along and showed her unconditional love, she began a slow process of opening up to the Lord and some people but remained very guarded in most social situationswith the exception of the times she was asked to publicly share her abortion survivor testimony. 

Richard’s grandfather on his father’s side was the head of his Lutheran Church’s Sunday School department, so when he visited his grandparents in Seymour Connecticut, he would attend church with them.  But other than that, Richard’s parents only took them to church on Christmas and Easter. His grandfather also helped with some of the maintenance duties at church, so Richard enjoyed getting to ride the riding-lawn mower, and helping out in other ways. Richard’s father was the first in the family to have a “born again” experience with the Lord when Richard was in his late teens. For one of his birthdays in his early 20’s, his father gave him his first Bible. At that point, Richard’s ungrateful response was, “What am I going to do with this thing?” But in the months that followed, though it remained under his bed when anyone was looking, Richard began to read it in secret. A few years earlier, Richard’s father had taken him, his mom, and his only brother Steve, to see a presentation by a quadriplegic named Joni Eareckson (now Joni Eareckson Tada). Richard was amazed by her ability to draw and paint using her teeth instead of her hands to hold the artist tools. Joni’s testimony book was the first book Richard had ever voluntarily read cover to cover, and it began to influence him towards Christ. Around the time his father gave him his first Bible, an old girlfriend sent him a letter where she told him her testimony of meeting a group of people that didn’t believe in sleeping around or getting drunk and that they had led her into a relationship with Christ. On the evening of May 7, 1982, while lying on his bed, Richard prayed. He asked God, “Would you be the center of my life?” The next day, Richard began to see many things differently and began to be convicted of his sexual promiscuity. 

In addition to his personal, pro-life calling with Carrie, Richard also believes he is called to reach out to others trapped in sexual addiction, and offer them the same salvation and deliverance that He had received from the Lord.

What ministries have you been involved with over the years?

Carrie was involved for a while in a Houston chapter of Aglow Ministries and occasionally went with her mom to minister to women in prison.  Before marrying Richard, Carrie had begun to share publicly about her abortion survivor testimony and had been on a local affiliate of Daystar TV. After their marriage in 2011, Carrie continued to speak at various venues from Houston to Tennessee and was honored by an appearance on International Minister Andrew Wommack’s “Gospel Truth” show. This brought Carrie, Richard, and Carrie’s mom the opportunity for a couple more local TV interviews in the Houston area. Carrie’s testimony has also been featured in several books written by other authors, but  Carrie also won a writing contest a few years ago. In addition to a cash prize, her story became chapter 4 in a book called Learning to Lean, appearing with 9 other authors in that book, published by God TV. 

Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, upon his conversion, Richard began helping wherever he could around the churches he was involved with. Upon joining a Messianic Jewish (Jews who believe in Jesus) congregation where he attended for a little over 20 years, he was invited to join the congregational dance team and became the assistant dance team leader before he and his previous late-wife moved from Virginia to Tennessee in 2005. Before her passing in 2010, they began establishing a pro-life work. This project was later named the “Zion Benjamin International Memorial for the Unborn,” named after Carrie and Richard’s first of two miscarried children. Together, Richard and Carrie operate several groups and pages on Facebook and also maintain a YouTube channel where they share various aspects of their lives. One of Richard and Carrie’s other interests is aviation, so in recent months they have started a Facebook group called “Aviation Praise and Prayer.” 

What is your life’s mission and how do you intend to accomplish it?

Together, Richard and Carrie have been called by God to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. They are evangelists with a heart towards ministering healing and forgiveness to the post-abortive as well as the disabled, and anyone else who will listen to the message they have to share. They have been given numerous visions and dreams, including holding conferences to encourage anyone with low self-esteem that they are “Wonderfully Beautiful made in God’s image”. In conjunction, with Wonderfully Beautiful they desire to establish a free high-end clothing and accessories closet to help people understand their value to God and to help them dress for their future success in the business world. They also were given nearly identical visions to establish a ministry called “Harbor Inn House of Hope,” a home from women and families facing crisis pregnancy situations, where they can find safety, security, hope, and healing, and a support system to help them keep their child rather than to choose abortion. They can only accomplish these visions with God’s wisdom, and the support of God’s people who read or hear about their vision and choose to come alongside of them in prayer and with tangible assistance. 

 

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What creative tools do you use to accomplish your life’s mission? 

As mentioned earlier, they are heavily involved in social media and, at present, the bulk of their ministry is carried out through those venues. Richard is also a photographer and often marries photos with the messages he types under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They have also been given a vision to resurrect a faith-based greeting card business Richard once owned, which will be another creative evangelistic tool. 

What obstacles have you encountered? How did you deal with them?

They have encountered numerous obstacles to achieving our goals, including job loss, homelessness, illness, and injury, but they endeavor to deal with them by staying in relationship with the Lord, and with their family and friends, trusting God to provide for their needs as He has promised: “Seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness, and all these other things will be added unto you.” 

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned about yourself and serving God? 

God is able to meet them where they are at. He understands what they cannot do on their own and gives them the strength to press on through what seems to be impossible in the natural. Whether that is guiding them to people with publishing experience to help Carrie write and publish her first full-length book, sending someone to help with car repairs at no charge or to offer them a place to stay for a period of time, or offering financial assistance for food, gas, and hotel, God is more than able to meet their needs and has done so on numerous occasions through both natural and supernatural means. 

What is your definition of success? Of failure? How do you manage your expectations?

Success for Carrie and Richard will be measured on that day when they stand before the Lord, and He says to them, “Well done good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of the Lord!” Also, they measure success by the two mothers who have confessed that because of Carrie’s testimony they chose to give life to their child instead of aborting them! 

 

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Who/what are your biggest influences? 

The Lord Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone and Foundation of their faith, and His early Apostles. Also, people like Joni Eareckson Tada, Keith Green, Nick Vujicic (motivational speaker without arms or legs), and Lizzie Velásquez (dubbed by some as the world’s ugliest woman, but who is also a motivational speaker).

Who or what is your support system?

 The Body of Christ, both locally as well as worldwide through social media.

Do you also have a job or are you in ministry full-time?

Carrie has been on disability for many years but wants to get back into the workforce as God leads and enables. Richard was a career carpenter for 41 years in the home remodeling industry. A little over a year ago, just before his job dried ended through no fault of his own, Richard heard the Lord speak on three different occasions, to retire from his construction career to “fish for men.” That said, Richard is exploring several custodial positions in the Colorado Springs area where they will be moving, Lord willing, at the end of July 2019.

Other hobbies or interests? 

Richard enjoys aviation, photography, Davidic-style worship dance, singing, playing the recorder, and creative writing. Carrie enjoys aviation, painting, shopping, and interior decorating.  

What is the most difficult aspect of fulfilling your life’s mission and how do you cope with it? 

Dealing with the negative people that think we are wasting our time following our God-given dreams, or who falsely accuse us of various things. 

What advice would you give to aspiring creatives seeking to serve the Lord with their gifts? 

Do not give up on God or the dreams and visions He has given you because, in His timing, you can indeed “do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” 

Can you tell us about your future goals? 

Fulfilling everything God has shown us and making numerous friends along the way who will not only help us fulfill our goals but who will allow us to help them fulfill theirs.

How can readers connect with you?

We would love to connect with you through any of the following means:

email: Zion Benjamin International Memorial for the Unborn69@yahoo.com

cell: 865-719-9096

Facebook links: 

Richard: https://www.facebook.com/richard4sperrymovie

Carrie: https://www.facebook.com/carrieyvette.fischer

Carrie Speaker Page:  https://www.facebook.com/Carrie-Fischer-Abortion-Survivor-SpeakerBlogger

Make Abortion Go Away Group:  http://facebook.com/groups/unitedforlife

On Call for the Kingdom Group:  https://www.facebook.com/oncallforthekingdom

Aviation Praise and Prayer Group:  https://www.facebook.com/aviationpraiseprayer

YouTube: http://youtube.com/cyh4031

Customizable abortion survivor tracts: 

https://www.tractplanet.com/Custom-Tract–Fearfully-Wonderfully-Made_p_466.html

Pro-life Bio/Resume:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TrpnFCCDnTw4i7GSTcHYgoEPC-yRI8cPB9USg8wsseI/edit?usp=sharing

Make Abortion Go Away Store:

https://teespring.com/stores/making-babies-loved-again

Donation information: please contact Richard and Carrie at one of the previous links to learn how to donate to their ministries.

 

Interview with Author and Coach Joké Solanke

Once again, we are blessed to welcome a dynamo of a Christian woman—I grew tired reading about everything she has done! Whether you’re looking for inspiration, motivation, or just to be encouraged by discovering how a sister in Christ is serving her Lord with passion, please take a few minutes to meet Joké Solanke.

Hello Joké. Can you begin by telling us a little about yourself?

My name is Ibijoke, but people call me Joke (Joo-kay). I am a Nigerian by birth, an American by naturalization, a Jew by covenant. I am an adventurous person with a belief that there is an answer to every question, solution to every problem, and hope for all situations. I am a mentor and coach, and I love pioneering new initiatives. In the workplace, I have been in management for about a decade and have also served in different leadership positions at local churches both in the United States and Nigeria.

What is your educational and spiritual background?

My educational background includes: two bachelor’s degrees (Mathematics and Nursing), a master’s degree in Nursing and a couple of certificate programs in Leadership. I am also a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with practice privileges in the State of Georgia. I have been in some sort of Spiritual leadership since my teenage years, having served as a zonal pastor during my undergraduate years at Ogun State University in Nigeria and then as a member of the Redeemed Christian Fellowship Executive in the capacity of the treasurer. My first experience of salvation happened in 1988 during my high school years through my Chemistry teacherMrs. Orowale. She took an interest in me and invited me to a Sunday evening Bible study group at her residence, and that was the beginning of my spiritual journey. My faith is anchored on the finished work of Christ on Calvary. I believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his second coming. I believe in the supernatural, and I have experienced the supernatural.

How did you get into ministry? How do you share your mission or vision?

I see ministry as an opportunity to serve your gifts or talents. Based on my perspective, I have been in ministry since my teenage years. My philosophy about ministry means that you do not have to be officially ordained before you can serve. You only need to discover your giftings and be willing to share with others. Specifically, I have been opportune to serve my gifts on the platform of teaching, administration, and intercession as a teenager. In the course of my journey, I was ordained as a Pastor and have served as a co-pastor for 15 years, led youth groups, women’s group, couple’s forums, Christian education, Intercessory groups and have always volunteered in any area of ministry with needs on a temporary basis. Although I don’t see myself as a choir or kid’s minister, I have served in those capacities to help lead and grow the departments until the church was able to get on board people with a specific calling in those areas. Recently, I founded Blossom Life Outreach with the purpose of helping people find the meaning in every challenging life situation and circumstance. In 2014, we launched out as Thy Kingdom Come (TKC) Outreach with a focus on women. Our experiences led us to the discovery of a universal need to help others navigate the maze of life, irrespective of age, gender, race, religious affiliations, or any other differentiating human-constructed standards.

 

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What genre do you write and why are you drawn to it? 

Writing was a discovery I made in an attempt to solve a work-related problem. I needed an authentic answer to the question of how to effectively manage the performance of other people despite all the numerous imperfections. I was struggling with building the type of team I envisioned. I did not see a prototype of the team I wanted around any of my mentors, so I decided to conduct research on the leadership style of Jesus. My findings were more than the issue of team building. I ended up with a 12-chapter book that has an answer to various leadership issues like vision, succession planning, mentoring, conflict management, information management, networking and much more. My writings are purpose driving, with a focus on either solving a problem or providing insights into life issues. My second book titled The Problem of Identity was written to help people struggling with identity see how they arrived at their current situation and the way out of identity crisis. My third book, which is scheduled to come out, was written at a time I was going through life changes that I did not anticipate. I used nature to provide the reassurance that no life situation is permanent. I also emphasized the consequences of indifference, if we are not intentional or prepared, we can become a victim of life’s seasonal changes and circumstances.

Do you think God has a purpose for your work, and if so, what?

I know that God has a purpose for my work, and as I said earlier, my purpose is to help people find meaning in life no matter how hopeless things may appear. We have recorded testimonials from people we have been able to impact, and this is a motivation to continue the assignment.

 

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What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned about yourself and/or your ministry since you decided to walk this path?

One of the lessons I have learned about myself is my uniqueness. I have discovered that God called me to carry out a specific assignment, and he has deposited within me all the necessary resources needed for me to get it done. I have discovered that I do not have any limitations besides the one in my mind based on my belief systems. This has really helped me to know how to remove some of the things that appear as limiting to my progress—to change any behavior, I have to change my belief system, and I have been able to accomplish this by looking at things from the perspectives of the Word of God. Another lesson I have learned is that I cannot do life alone. My gift is not meant for me, it is for other people, and I also need other people to serve their gifts for my survival. The survival of a mango tree hinges upon things in its environment, if the environment is right, the mango tree will be able to produce and serve its fruit. The same way, I am very particular about the environment I position myself because I can either be enriched or impoverished through my interactions with the environment, especially other humans.

Who/what are your biggest influences?

My biggest influence is Jesus Christ, and sincerely, my relationship with Him has helped me find meaning in my life even when things seem to be upside down. I have multiplied numbers of people who have been great influences in my life. One thing about everybody’s influence is the fact that they are transient in nature based on situations and needs. However, there are some that stand out over time, such as the late Dr. Myles Munroe; Pastor Obed; some biblical characters: Joseph, Esther, Deborah, Mary, Elizabeth, Abigail, Paul, Daniel, Jeremiah, Solomon, Job, Elijah, Elisha, The five daughters of Zelophehad; my kids; some of my siblings; my work team; and generally people I lead or I’m responsible for, to mention a few.

What are your goals when you write an article or book? How do you hope your readers will respond?

My goals when I write are to see people glean wisdom from my writings that can change their perspectives and help them implement necessary changes that can improve their lives.

Do you have another job or do you write full-time? Other hobbies or interests?

Writing is a passion that I developed along the line, and I’m still cultivating the art of writing. For the past decade, I have overseen two outpatient dialysis centers as the facility administrator for a Fortune 500 company. More recently, I became a board-certified family nurse practitioner. I am actively involved in coaching, mentoring, team building, professional development, and offering guidance to staff in those clinics. In the past, I have worked as a high school mathematics teacher and a bedside nurse in acute and chronic settings.

Some of my hobbies include hiking, which I do at least two to three times a week, sightseeing, listening to music, writing quotes, coaching, and reading. I also love to travel.

What do you find is the most difficult aspect of your ministry and how do you cope with it?

The most difficult aspect for me is keeping up with time. I believe there is a timing for everything, and opportunities can be missed if things are not done at the appropriate time. Learning to prioritize what is most important and making sure I don’t compromise the needful is a task especially when everything seems important.

Do you attend a church? Can you tell us about it?

I am a member of West Cobb Church in Powder Springs Georgia under the pastoral leadership of Pastor Stan and Terrisa Coleman. WCC is a family-friendly church with something for everyone. I love everything about this Church, and the most impressive for me is the ministry focus on the Youth and Children. There is a very intentional and dedicated effort in grooming the next generation for Christ. This is lacking in most Churches I have interacted with over the years. The community focus is also commendable. WCC has adopted neighboring schools and routinely sponsors and support some of the school events. I currently serve as a bible study group leader and at the Welcome Center to greet new members.

 

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What advice would you give to aspiring writers or those wanting to develop a ministry?

My advice to aspiring writers or those wanting to develop a ministry is to first of all resolve the problem of identity and be on a quest to discover purpose. It is very important to address these core issues because there is a tendency to be confused when you step out before a clear understanding of who you are, what you can do, and the why behind what you are doing. A clear vision will save you from confusion; it will keep you grounded during opposition and trials and also help you keep your focus on your goal. Another important thing to consider when launching out is the fact that there will never be the right time for anything you want to do—you will have to make the time right.

Can you tell us about your future goals?

I am working on releasing my third book, Understanding the Seasons of Life, by spring 2019. I have four other books that I am currently working on: Depression, Purpose, Leadership, and Marriage. I will be hosting Blossom Life Conference 2019 in Atlanta from September 20 to 21 and continue the weekly life group with young adults age 18 and above.

How can our readers contact you?

Website: 

Email: blossomlifeoutreach@gmail.com

Phone: (404) 618.6300

Follow us

Facebook:  @blossomlifeoutreach

Instagram: _blossomlife

Twitter: _blossomlife

 

I hope you enjoyed meeting Joké as much as I did. Please leave her a message below or visit her directly on one of her social media/contact platforms. 

Blessings!

— Delia

Presenting: The Christian Creative Nexus

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to present the Christian Creative Nexus and my writing ministry to a local church. It was my first time doing this, and it was only with the support of my family that I got it done; my husband created those awesome banners (see above) through one of his graphic-design contacts, and my 12-year-old daughter taught me how to use PowerPoint! 

I admit, there were moments leading up to the event when I felt stressed. Challenges and distractions of all sorts popped up beforehand, but the Lord was faithful and He guided me safely through the minefield. And speaking in front of a group of people itself was a challenge. Sometimes I’m totally relaxed and it goes well, and other times the nerves get the best of me. Thankfully, that night, God showed up big time. I felt relaxed, excited, a little nervous, of course, but still ready to go. 

I decided to share part of the video here, as it sums up what I’ve been blogging about. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, the beginning of the recording was lost. But the Lord preserved the most important section so, in under 10 minutes, you can get a clear sense of  the vision He has put in my heart.

Enjoy! And feel free to leave a comment below.

Blessings!

Delia T.

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