Friends are few and far between, & are hard to find.
It’s been real living in Tulsa Ok. We are headed to Rochester , N.Y. after nine years of living in Tulsa and I’m thankful for friends .
When I first moved to Tulsa, It took about two good years to find friends . I thought it was the longest time, but grateful when I did. It seemed that friends were found most easy, in having gatherings and so that’s what I did.
I went to Meet Up Dot Com to start a book writing club and it turned out great. We had attendees from all over the area and it felt good to have peeps come from near and far and it felt authentic, friendly and at home.
That’s what Tulsa has felt like to me: My Second Home.
I then decided to have a rather group called Shine- Sisters Helping Inspire Nurture & Excel. This group lasted for over a year. We only disbanded because our schedules shifted in a big way and I began to transition to leave town. But it began as mentoring group. A group of women who built trust and transparency amongst one another , and grew authentically.
I’ve sincerely met some good friends and I’m thankful . My friends in tulsa have loved on me in a big way and it’s been awesome to share my lives with them. It’s felt mighty good to know them!
We’ve gone to conferences together, wrote books together gathered to pray , or just to have a snack in an empty house and focus on the Lord. We’ve laughed and went away on retreats together near beautiful lakes, went on walks in the woods; met up at writers conferences ; and everything else that friends do to have fun. We also loved on each other during challenging times. Nothing like having a friend support you when you’ve written an entire program and are due to launch it and can’t find it at all on the computer ! (Oh no!)
Or like the time you get a new job ( again ), and you’re going through a mid- life crisis and decide to make changes with them all, and need to begin a new career!
Above my friend Meg, and she’s pregnant and ready to deliver her child! (We just celebrated her little one is coming really soon!) Or you’re having that first baby for the first time and need that mental, spiritual and emotional support that friends give!
Yeah… we were a family offriends and it was great. Who would’ve known it would begin so challenging and then I end up leaving SO blessed!
Identity & Worth . It’s a subject my sisters are discussing at Mentor My Sister. My platform online, that strives for authentic women and authentic connection. Every year we challenge each other to live out a new word FOR that following year. To inspire you, nurture you and become your Teacher. These were a few of the ladies, and our words, during this past years.
Identity-what gives me identity
What I spend time with – tends to give me identity . We can desire material wealth, cars, … to be in relationship with people and we can make idols out of all of them.
I have value in relationships, so I will share what comes up for me as I make mention of my value of several relationships I have, currently. Mainly they’ve been friends familyand my spouse; but alsomentorship .
My Family has given me identity. Now that i live closer to them, I have more opportunity to be influenced by them. You see, whether I cherish them or not. It’s up to me to decide if I’ll carry out a legacy of good or evil.I always say, if there’s good, make it better . And if it’s not good, make it exceptional.
My Spouse is one who influences my identity . How we make decisions together, dream together… LIVE together makes a difference and influences my identity .l and my children’s identity as well.
Friendships influence my identity . Whether I choose mentors, leaders, friends who live models lives or just have the challenge of daily survival, I can learn from them. I make space for mentors and people to influence me. I need leaders to pour into my life, so I find out where they are, and I serve, or join them in their discussions, or create them.
Mentorship . Being mentored and mentoring others has brought great value in my life . I really enjoy having conversations about life with other leaders, friends and women who desire authentic relationships.
Here are a few ‘mentors’ in my life
Here are three places I’ve learned from other in my life :
1. Teens & Trees .
I was in South Africa in May, of 2003 and I was teaching in a classroom about dreams. A teenager said to me: /“We Are All Like Trees.” I resounded after that encounter , because I realized I’ve always loved trees. The strength , growth and resiliency tees represent inspire me. I have never seen trees the same , since.
2. My African Heritage Family.
I found identity in my African Heritage family. It’s a leadership organization that teaches diversity. The leader, a woman I know named Joyce Shabazz, is the Master Teacher. She created a forum of people and a platform about people regaining their culture and heritage and finding value in what they see and experience, again.
I attended for five, maybe six years a platform that help me transcend racism, my thoughts about my identities as wife, female, being oppressed, internalized oppression, my inadequacies about being African American, and I re-claimed myself.
The process and journey has been amazing. I’ve gained new international friends and I’ve learned new experiences I’ve gleaned and kept treasures forever sealed in my heart. I’ve come up a lot, and now I mentor others on perspective.
Where have I found worth and value? I believe it has come in the form adversity. Turning them into opportunities.
What foundations have I established my worthiness upon?
For years I pondered this. Growing up in an alcoholic family, my vision of myself and who I was was altered. It wasn’t my truth. It was an attempt to destroy my truth . I once was a girl of low self – esteem, insecurity and felt very inadequate . However I no longer espouse those characteristics .
And today, I have evolved. I was determined to change the depiction of what my worth and value set as a template from birth to 20 years of age. Once I gained a determination of the will and had mentors in me that saw in me the greater good, and encouraged it- I realized I could truly be my best self. I reached for opportunities to be better: attended a historically black college , Howard University, experiences ethnicity in a new way, was determined to learn about my heritage, visited South Africa, ignored and distances myself from hate, and envy and people who represented this at all costs… and read books galore on the subject of identity , esteem and intrinsic value. And maybe my trips back and forth down the road to African Heritage, or a constant re-evaluation of my life purpose ; or maybe my trip to Africa all influenced me in major ways.
Or maybe it was the fact I didn’t allow Opportunity to pass me by.
Perhaps I reached for it with eager anticipation, and it became my friend. My mentor . My tutor.
I am sharing about when m y dreams came true. Here is one story that tells how I got to South Africa, and it literally changed my life.
10 yrs ago when I got back from South Africa I was standing in my kitchen and saw my reflection. In the reflection was a reflection of how my friends in South African saw me: “Nthabiseng”- which means – “MAKE ME HAPPY.” I was instantly reminded of my strength and that I had to remain HAPPY, because that’s my name! I saw through that reflection, I really wasn’t strong, at home in the situation I was in, in 2003 – and set out to change that. As I was leaving South Africa, a sister who gave me a small hand mirror to take with me. I left South Africa a new woman, with a new dignity and perspective, because a beautiful woman I spent a few hours with, found out my African name was Nthabiseng. She was delighted to see the name fit me well and gave me a blessing of a ‘mirror,’ as a small gift. As I left my new home of S. Africa. She said to me: “Every time you look in this mirror, and are not with us, be sure to think about how you “Make Us Happy”. Boy, did that resonate! It carried me into a new destiny, and inspired me to take this photo tonight. So if you wonder where i get my strength from , think abut how my sisters in S, Africa poured into me one evening in Kuma, South Africa.
I just love when I pursue God and he shows up. This is an excerpt from m y book: and in this chapter, I tell the story of my inheritance
Foundation Scripture: (Luke 17:21, 2 Corinthians 5:17) Key Questions: What do you want from God more than anything else? Are you willing to release your CONTROL over it and give it all over to God and release what you think “could be” for something even better?
I remember wanting to go to South Africa. I went to South Africa, but I didn’t know yet that the experience of going there, would completely supersede my ability to understand and comprehend God’s love for me.
I remember the first three days of visiting there. I had to much jet lag, I never thought I would be able to bounce back and be the resilient person I knew myself to be, with the boundless energy I knew I had! I think it took me about three days to recover from the of shock that I was actually here, on the other side of the world over 8,000 miles away and I was alive.. not dreaming. Although my reality at the time seemed as such, it was true. I was not dreaming. I had to pinch myself over and over as I looked around me, I ushered in the remembrance of the dream. I was literally in shock . It took a while to arrive there. Here’s what I wrote in my journal:” “My feet are tired, I have chills and feel as if I am about to become ill… but I am ready to meet the women of South Africa. Then later …“Well, I met them, all the women … are lovely. They help, help, help! They bought me Epsom salts for my sore swollen legs from sitting cramped for 14 plus hours… and warmed my bed with a hot water bottle. I knew I would love them!”
I later met another group of women, who I find were praying with me. When the leader inquired with me what I would like to do, I told her I had a word for the women, that God had given me, and I needed to share. She said, “Okay! We will have a prayer vigil all night long tonight!” She said: ”We have been praying for you, so I know God will show up!” Well I remember that night well. I remember waiting for the women to call the meeting together. They all were chatting and eating and everything else… I didn’t expect God to tell ME that I needed to call the meeting. I mean, I don’t even know these women, “Why would they listen to me??” I thought. Apparently, these women had much more of desire to listen and receive than I thought, yet I HAD to call the meeting. Before we ended that evening, with me: the women laid hands on me, and prayed. Feeling their hands and prayers on me, made me feel light. I was so full. I needed to rest, and they told me to sleep. I woke up the next morning empowered. I was no longer weak, my legs didn’t hurt and I could speak to them and tell them what we needed to do. I FELT like a synergistic leader. And I became a leader on another level.
I had walked into my inheritance in the Lord.
I didn’t know it at the time, but every time I was ready to speak to kids or share with adults, ‘a mighty power’ came over me strongly, that led me to share and do this in a mighty way. I felt as if I was made for this time.
The Book of Esther says: “ For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place, but thou and thy father’s house shall perish: and who knoweth whether thou art not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
Coming to the kingdom is knowing within yourself your worth. Knowing what you are called to, and knowing that you must receive all of what you were meant to have.
In the spiritual realm, what is that?
What are you worth? Jesus directly said to his disciples: ”Follow ME”. How do you know when Jesus truly calls you for something?
How did I know I was called to South Africa? God informed me in a dream a very vivid dream, I was to go there and make a difference. Then he positioned me to meet a man who actually lived there and asked me to come and speak to the children in his village, and share the vision that I had been working on with my business, Kamau.
Here is what it took for me to get to South Africa: I had to set to three consistent tasks: focus, discipline, and determination. I had to give a daily focus to something I truly believed would happen. And I had to believe nothing could get in my way. Once the plane arrived, I flew overseas, and I got off the plane… the true test had begun: I had not yet reached the people. Contentions came on every side about ‘why I was there’, and ‘who was I anyway to come and share with these youth?’ I neither knew about these questions, nor acknowledged them – (partly because I didn’t understand the language) Once there, I realized my momentum had be halted in some way, and I was not clear as to why. Then it occurred to me: Spiritual warfare. I asked to visit an internet café, emailed my friends and mentors who were believing with me… and asked them specifically to pray for me, and shared where I needed prayer from them. I got exactly what I needed: renewed vigor, focus, and vitality and to look past people ‘s feelings, thought and thinking. And time flew along. Gods strength became my strategy.
From that time on, I received God’s strength in such a way that I had never know before. I knew His knowledge like I haven’t spoken before. I had wisdom I had never know before. His wisdom. I knew truth on a new level. His truth. This prayer kept me focused and self- disciplined, and my determination grew daily.
And my inherent worth became even stronger, to lead. Following the greater good, began to look quite foreign to me, yet I know that where I was and what I was about to do, would fully arm me for what I was called do to for this entire mission.
Have you had a time where it seemed as if your purpose had come to a halt?
How did you approach that season in your life?
Where did your faith go? (Was it higher and more determined, or did it appear to be even harder to stretch?)
At what point did you begin to recognize your worth and dwell upon the promises of God?
Did you feel as you were not in obedience, you would fail?
Did you consider what this would mean for the rest of your life?
Well … let me tell you when God made such a huge promise, I didn’t look back. I was thankful daily, for His divine intervention, and on those days I saw nothing, He prevailed. By the time the blessing fully arrived, it looked like a miracle, because I had arrived to the place where I had proclaimed thankfulness, on daily basis.
In this chapter, I talk of how I did not allow my intention to supersede God’s intention. In this manner, I began a new prioritization of God and His will for my life, and His will for my life, began to take over. I didn’t realize this surrendering of myself would turn into an entirely new way of living for me. From this experience, I received a greater expectation, a greater faith, and a greater realization of God’s sovereign ways, and His intention for me , became very clear, as well as his power, the angels he would send on my behalf to rush in for me and assist me with a vengeance. To see God’s will and volition move on my behalf, showed me His love for me.
This is an excerpt from my book: Red Sea Situations, Devotional and you can have the entire book and the devotional for a small price of $25.00.