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Woman Thou Art Loosed

This Mother’s Day, First Lady Serita Jakes Shares Her Insights on Mothering Adult Children

Being a mother is a gift that lasts a lifetime. Just as your children evolve, so does motherhood. In honor of Mother’s Day, we sat down with our very own First Lady Serita Jakes to glean wisdom on how to mother our adult children. Whether you’re close to your child or would like to rebuild your relationship, there are valuable truths for everyone in this enlightening conversation:

WTAL: As your children grew into adults, how did you have to redefine motherhood?

Mrs. Jakes: As adulthood daily claims my children, I realize more than ever that their character and faith are built on a solid foundation. I am not saying that neither the fabric nor the seamstress is flawless, but indeed the pattern is perfect.

WTAL: Walk us through how you had to change your parenting style when your children became  adults.

Mrs. Jakes: I must admit that I am very intentional about my role as a parent and even more so as a grandparent. When my tykes were younger, they did (allegedly) as they were told. As adults, they form their own guidance system. I am here to ensure and provide sound counsel. Yes, maybe without solicitation.

WTAL: How do you continue to grow your relationship with your children and their partners? What are three things a mother can do to build and maintain a healthy relationship with her adult children?

Mrs. Jakes: If I had to choose three things that build and maintain a healthy flow with my children and their partners, they would be: respect their union, respect their privacy as individuals, and always respect their home.

WTAL: In what ways does motherhood get better when your children become adults?

Mrs. Jakes: When my children became adults, I was enabled to answer their adolescent “whys.” They’re understanding of my “whys” become more apparent to them in hindsight.

WTAL: How do you know when to step in and help your children or let them learn without your guidance? What do you do when you see them making a decision you don’t agree with?

Mrs. Jakes: When my children were young, they went where I allowed them to go (presumably). As adults, that simple task is no longer an option. If they, perchance, lose their way, I keep a lamp burning so that they’ll recognize home.

WTAL: Describe the steps a mother would need to take to heal a fractured relationship with her adult child.

Mrs. Jakes: A card through the mail is a grand invitation to communicate an RSVP to acknowledge a broken relationship. In time, steps will lead to a phone call and, with (TBD) time, develop into a virtual face-to-face encounter. I pray that these tiny appeals result in a healing reunion.

WTAL: What advice would you give to mothers who are looking for purpose now that their children are adults?

Mrs. Jakes: Some of us have waited our childrens’ lifetime to reignite the passion in our hearts. I find something new about myself every day that has little to do with being a mother. I can always be a better me.

WTAL: As an empty nester, what do you like to do for fun and creativity?

Mrs. Jakes: As an empty nester, I find creativity in visiting garden centers. I find peace in our times of rest. I find hope by curating retail shops that reflect serenity, style, and sacred spaces.

WTAL: Being a grandparent is different from being a parent. What advice would you give to first-time grandparents?

Mrs. Jakes: My advice to grandparents is be ready to help your baby hold their baby.

WTAL: Any other advice on motherhood that you’d like to share?

Mrs. Jakes: Retirement from motherhood is not an option for me.

Follow Serita Jakes on Instagram at @SeritaJakes and on Twitter at @FirstLadyJakes. To learn about her home and lifestyle offerings, visit SeritaJakesHome.com.

In her latest book, “Woman Evolve,” Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts lays out the blueprint for stepping out of our old selves into a more fearless version of ourselves. As she takes a closer look at the history of Eve, we see that we’re more like Adam’s mate than we’d like to admit. But we can learn so much from Eve’s strength in her story. This month, we catch up with Pastor Sarah to discuss her new book and talk about how we can refocus our fears and insecurities to break through to our future.

SJR on how to trust the person you’re becoming, even when you’re uncertain:

I know for sure I’ve had those moments where I’m like, “This didn’t work out and now that didn’t work out. Everyone is out here thriving; why can’t I find my niche?” It ultimately came down to me setting my life up [for purpose], and there is a certainty knowing that I have done the work necessary for me to become whomever it is I’m supposed to become in this moment. So, what is that worth? It’s resisting the things I know I should be doing. Sometimes we have to clean up our house. We want purpose to visit our house, but our house isn’t clean. Purpose is the grandest visitor we could ever have because it’s God saying, “This is why I placed you in the Earth.” Cleaning up our act, getting engaged with therapy, having healthy mindset patterns, having healthy thoughts about ourselves — those are all things we can do to set our lives up for purpose; and in the process of setting our lives up for purpose, we find purpose in those things.

SJR on prioritizing our well-being during the pandemic:

I am on a journey of doing this and I usually find out that I’m not putting myself first when I find myself on the bottom of the pile. One of the things I’ve challenged myself to do, especially during the pandemic, is to know the difference between self-care and soul care. During the pandemic, I’ve been telling myself that I need to work out and things like that, and all of those are things for myself that make me better and allow me to show up in a healthier, clear version of myself, but that’s really self-care.

Soul care is what do I need on the inside of myself that would allow me to have peace and allow me to feel balanced. Everyone is different. I love cooking a really good meal and taking my time to cook. I love sitting outside and I love reading and turning on worship music while cleaning up my room. It may sound weird, but that’s soul care for me. It’s something that I do that makes my soul feel better.

Soul care is taking five or 10 minutes of your day and breathing intentionally, [acknowledging] how you feel, what’s going on inside of you, and then having prayer and meditation. We pray more accurately when we are aware of our souls.

SJR on taking ownership of our God-given identity:

It takes practice. Sometimes we think we’re just going to become this version of who God has in mind overnight, and then we get frustrated with ourselves when things don’t come easily. But you’ve been the Eve version of you, you’ve been the raggedy version of you, longer than you’ve been this God-blessed, divine, aware, enlightened version of yourself. So, give yourself permission to allow it to take time and practice. In the video you mentioned, I was talking about Woman Evolve and really getting behind what God is doing in my life, and not trying to shrink or feel inadequate because those are all feelings that I had to confront. I had to come to a place where I could exemplify courage by saying, “God, You see something in me that allowed me to write this book, that allowed me to reach these women, and now it’s time for me to talk about it and know it’s time for me to make sure every woman hears the message of this book. So, God, make me comfortable talking about what You’ve done in my life.”

I get to practice that with conversations like this, or going on Instagram Live. That’s me saying, “God, I trust You so here I am, stretching from where I am to where I’m supposed to be.”

SJR on taking the first step toward your evolution:

I think taking the first step is actually the last thing we do on the journey of revolutionizing our lives. I think it starts with turning the lights on. It starts with searching for the light switch, turning the lights on, and then ultimately taking a step. When we talk to people about changing their lives, so often we make it seem like you need to go from where you are to where you need to be overnight. But there is an awareness that comes with, “Wow, I’m not functioning the way that I should.” Now that my lights are on, what do I need to do in order to shift myself and begin moving in a forward motion? For people who are in that stage in life, who feel like, “I know I need to get moving. I have to get out of here,” you’re already on that path. You’re already on that path because you’re searching for the light switch. Having an openness to “How do I move forward?” is really how we begin to find the strength and the courage to take the steps that lead to a better, more enlightened, more powerful version of who we are.

“Woman Evolve” is available now everywhere books are sold. Learn more at WomanEvolve.com

Women’s History Month shines its spotlight on the vital role women play in history and in today’s society. As we acknowledge countless inspiring women and their contributions, we also encourage you to utilize this special opportunity to celebrate you!

Women like you — heroic women who work tirelessly to keep their families intact and who have it handled in the workplace and at home — deserve recognition today and every day. Because you may not always have your own cheerleading team, we’ve gathered seven simple yet significant ways you can celebrate yourself this month and beyond. Here’s how:

1. Reflect on what you’re proud of.

As women, we often set ambitious goals; but once we accomplish them, we rush to the next thing. We rarely pat ourselves on the back for doing what we said we would so let’s be intentional about reflecting on our wins, both big and small. Take some time to ruminate on the accomplishments you’re proud of and appreciate just how far you’ve come. In the middle of a pandemic, you continue to strive and lean on the strength you didn’t even know you had. That deserves to be celebrated. When we’re so focused on the next thing, we don’t realize how much we’ve already achieved.

2. When in doubt, just say, “Thank you!”

Have you ever been given a compliment, but somehow find a way to deflect, discount, or downplay it? Sis, we left that in 2020. When someone wants to celebrate you, whether they like your outfit or they’re praising you for a job well done, simply smile and say thank you. Sometimes we deflect because we don’t feel worthy or believe the approving party couldn’t possibly be talking about us. For some, deflecting compliments becomes a habit, but thankfully, habits can be broken. Resist the temptation to disqualify the positive words you receive. The person complimenting you will also be grateful you did.

3. Buy yourself flowers.

You don’t need a special reason to buy flowers for yourself. You’ve survived a lot, you’re limitless, and you deserve nice things. Ladies, don’t wait on someone to do it for you — pick up a beautiful bouquet today! A delightful arrangement not only brightens up a room; it also sparks joy, has an uplifting effect on your mood, and makes you smile.

4. Enjoy your downtime.

As hard as we women work, it’s so necessary to indulge in quality time with ourselves. We live in a culture that takes pride in staying busy. But always being on the go or powering through our ever-growing to-do list can become detrimental to our health. Rest is necessary. Curling up with a good book is necessary. Binging that show on Netflix, also necessary. Those precious moments to ourselves are just as important as the time we spend being productive.

5. Make a list of what you love about yourself.

When you can love and celebrate yourself, you don’t rely on someone to do that for you. Celebrating yourself is really about focusing on your positive qualities. What are three things you love about yourself today? Keep in mind, no rules apply when creating this list. How have you grown during this time? Have you helped someone in a way that makes you proud? Write it in a journal and pull it out on those rainy days when you need to hear it most.

6. Listen to an uplifting podcast.

When you find yourself bored with your music playlist, put on an uplifting podcast instead. While some podcasts simply inform, a plethora of podcasts are designed to uplift and make you laugh. Listening to an encouraging podcast is like having a good friend cheering you on for your journey ahead. Podcasts also can channel your emotions and help you see that someone else has gone through similar experiences and come out on the other side. If you’re looking for a good time via a podcast, check out the Woman Evolve Podcast with Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts to start. You won’t be disappointed.

7. Treat yourself.

We hear this quite often, but it’s a truth that’s near and dear to our hearts. We’ve learned that you can’t wait for someone else to give you the things you desire or deserve. Have you been eyeing something but put it off for a special occasion? Wait no more. But note this: Treating yourself doesn’t have to involve buying material things. Sometimes treating yourself looks like taking a nap, or trying out a recipe you’ve been wanting to master. It doesn’t have to be anything grandiose. If it makes you happy, treat yourself.

In honor of Black History Month, we celebrate the women who paved the way for us to lead and excel in ways we never imagined. Here, we honor the legacies of powerful Black women and celebrate inspiring women who are the epitome of our ancestor’s wildest dreams:

Photo Credit: Stephen Parker / Alamy Stock Photo

1. Maya Angelou

You can’t talk about great literary works without mentioning award-winning author, poet, and Civil Rights activist Maya Angelou. Her first book and famed autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” was the first nonfiction bestseller by an African American woman and was followed by several more autobiographies in which she told her story of resilience and strength. Angelou received numerous awards and much recognition for her impactful work that spans multiple mediums, including literature, theater, film, and television. In 1993, she was the first African American woman to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration; and in 2010, Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian award.

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” — Maya Angelou

Photo Credit: Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard file photo

2. Amanda Gorman

A lot of us were introduced to Amanda Gorman as she so beautifully recited her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” at the inauguration of 46th U.S. President Joe Biden. At 22, she’s the youngest inaugural poet in history. Gorman made history again this year as the first poet ever to recite a poem at the Super Bowl. While her bold brilliance is a pleasant surprise to some, this young wordsmith and activist has regularly used her platform and poetry to advocate for racial equality, oppression, and feminism. Gorman is a cum laude graduate of Harvard University and the first National Youth Poet Laureate. A special edition of her inaugural poem will be published in March 2021. Her debut picture book, “Change Sings,” and the breakout poetry collection, “The Hill We Climb and Other Poems,” will be published in September 2021.

“For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” — Amanda Gorman, @AmandaCGorman

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

3. Shirley Chisholm

Known her for her slogan, “Unbought and unbossed,” Shirley Chisholm is a pioneering African American politician with multiple firsts to her name. In 1968, she was the first African American woman elected to Congress; and in 1971, she was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Women’s Political Caucus. Chisholm proved her courageous leadership by becoming the first African American to campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1972. Although she did not win, she continued to make an impact by serving another 11 years in Congress.

“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” — Shirley Chisholm

Photo Credit: Celeste Sloman/Redux

4. Kamala Harris

We’re proud to celebrate our 49th vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris! Breaking barriers as the first woman, and the first Black and South Asian American, in this role, Vice President Harris has always been a pioneer. In 2004, Harris became the first woman and first African American to hold the office of district attorney in San Francisco and made history again as attorney general of California in 2011. No stranger to paving the way, Harris became the first African American to represent California in the U.S. Senate in 2017.

“There will be people who say to you, ‘You are out of your lane.’ They are burdened by only having the capacity to see what has always been instead of what can be. But don’t you let that burden you.” — Kamala Harris, @Kamala Harris

Photo Credit: JC Olivera/Getty Images

5. Cicely Tyson

If we learned just one thing from Cicely Tyson, it was to live fully and do the best you can. Tyson was one of America’s most respected actresses and known for her portrayal of strong women across different mediums. Within her extraordinary career, Tyson received numerous awards and recognition for her roles in “Sounder,” “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” and “Roots.” In addition to being nominated for an Academy Award in 1973, and winning two Emmys in 1974, Tyson won a Tony Award for her performance in “The Trip to Bountiful” in 2013. This year, Tyson released her bestselling memoir, “Just As I Am,” and we’re forever inspired by her contributions to the arts and her legacy that will last a lifetime.

“I think when you begin to think of yourself as having achieved something, then there’s nothing left for you to work towards. I want to believe that there is a mountain so high that I will spend my entire life striving to reach the top of it.”­ — Cicely Tyson

Photo Credit: Twitter.com/TheAcademy

6. Regina King

As one of the most versatile actresses in Hollywood, Regina King has executed powerful performances on the big and small screen. Her performance in ABC’s “American Crime” earned her first two Emmys, which she followed up with Emmy wins for Netflix’s “Seven Seconds” and HBO’s “Watchmen.” King also won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in “If Beale Street Could Talk.” Taking on a new role, King transitioned into directing shows such as NBC’s “This Is Us” and HBO’s “Insecure.” This year, King made her feature directorial debut with “One Night in Miami,” a fictional account of a night in 1964 when four icons of sports, music, and activism gather for a big moment in boxing history. Whether she’s acting or directing, King uses her platform to shed light on societal issues.

“If you have the opportunity for your art to meet activism, you shouldn’t pass that up when it comes your way.” — Regina King, @IAmReginaKing

Photo Credit: Paras Griffin—WireImage/Getty Images

7. Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes is an award-winning writer, showrunner, producer, and director who has created her own lane and dominated the television industry. Rhimes is the first African American woman to create and executive produce a top network series with “Grey’s Anatomy,” a drama centered around young doctors in a Seattle hospital. Rhimes is also the creator of the hit show “Scandal” and, in 2005, she founded Shondaland, her own production company that produces shows such as “How To Get Away With Murder.” In 2015, she released her first book, “The Year of Yes: How To Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person.” Most recently, Rhimes debuted her first scripted show for Netflix, “Bridgerton,” a multiracial romance that proved to be an immediate hit with more than 63 million households streaming.

“The goal is that everyone should get to turn on the TV and see someone who looks like them and loves like them. And just as important, everyone should turn on the TV and see someone who doesn’t look like them and love like them.” — Shonda Rhimes, @ShondaRhimes

Photo Credit: Christopher Patey/Contour by Getty Images

8. Issa Rae

It’s almost impossible to observe the rise of Issa Rae and not be inspired. Issa Rae first caught our attention with her YouTube series, “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” and her accompanying memoir, which became a New York Times bestseller in 2015. With her HBO series, “Insecure,” Rae became one of the first Black women to create and star in her own TV series. The acclaimed show has received multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations and is gearing up for its fifth and final season this year. In 2018, Rae made her big-screen debut in “The Hate U Give,” and last year starred in Netflix’s “The Lovebirds.” Additionally, she owns Color Creative, a production and distribution company dedicated to creating more visibility and opportunities for women and minority writers.

“I thrive on obstacles. If I’m told that it can’t be told, then I push harder.” — Issa Rae, @IssaRae

Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

9. Madam C.J. Walker

Sarah Breedlove, also known as Madam C.J. Walker, is one of the first African American women to become a self-made millionaire. Walker specialized in a beauty product line for African American women that helped their hair grow and healed scalp issues. Outside of her successful business, Walker was a political activist. According to Timeline, Walker played a key role in Black internationalist movements and joined forces with various Black activists to end racism, colonialism, and imperialism.

“I got my start by giving myself a start.” — Madam C.J. Walker

Photo Credit: Jason McCoy

10. Monique Rodriguez

After leaving her career as a registered nurse, Monique Rodriguez used her background in science and her passion for healthy hair to create a natural hair care line that has shaken up the natural hair industry. Rodriguez founded Mielle Organics in 2014. The company has grown from one product to more than 25 results-driven solutions, making it one of the fastest-growing natural hair companies in the U.S. In addition to promoting hair growth, Rodriguez is dedicated to inspiring women in business and entrepreneurship and shares invaluable lessons from her journey on her podcast, “The Secret Sauce To Success Podcast.”

“Leaving a strong legacy is so important for me, especially because I’m raising two African American young girls. I want them to know despite what society says about African Americans and women, they can excel, push the limits, and break the mold.” — Monique Rodriguez, @ExquisiteMo

Living in a time where everyone’s highlight reel is on display, it’s hard when you feel like you don’t have enough, or even that you are not enough. Those feelings can activate our desires to want more or achieve more to the point where we can never be satisfied with what we already have. Let’s change that this year and dive into the keys for cultivating a heart of contentment:

1. Be grateful.

Gratitude is an active choice to focus on what we have instead of homing in on what we don’t. When we find ourselves in the constant pursuit of “more” or when we’re frustrated about our circumstances, let’s take a moment to acknowledge what we’re grateful for. To help foster an attitude of gratitude, write down 10 things you are grateful for. It might seem extensive, but by coming up with 10 reasons you’re grateful, you focus on appreciating the little things. Another way to create an atmosphere of gratefulness is to start your day with a gratitude walk. During your gratitude walk, say out loud (or think about) what you’re grateful for. You can even name things that haven’t happened yet to prepare yourself to have the right heart posture when they come.

2. Remember, comparison steals your joy.

On social media, everyone has a great life. Perfectly curated feeds paired with beautiful aesthetics can make you feel like you’re not doing something right. But we urge you: Don’t get caught up in that. Oftentimes, we hear people say, “You don’t know what they went through to get that,” which is true; but more importantly, what’s for you is for you. God is so amazing that He has given each of us our own gifts, talents, and purposes. He didn’t forget about you. When comparison gets the best of you, remember there’s only one you. No one can be “you” better than you can, and no one can take away what God has promised you. It simply can’t happen. Understanding that what’s meant for you will not pass you by eases your emotions. When we become so focused on what someone else has or what they’re doing, we start to desire things we don’t even want. It’s OK to admire someone’s accomplishments or the great things happening in their lives, but don’t allow that to make you feel like you’re behind or that you’re not doing enough.

3. Ask for God’s perspective.

God is all-knowing. When we ask Him for His perspective on things that confuse or frustrate us, His view gives us so much clarity. In our humanness, we tend to be emotional about things that God already has a solution for — but we can’t see that from our distorted view of our circumstances. Sometimes our situations are magnified to us, but from God’s perspective, they’re incredibly small. Sometimes, God will instruct us to do something, but we feel like it’s too big for us. But if God called you to it, why wouldn’t he equip you for it? Make a habit of asking: “Lord, show me Your perspective of this situation. Give me Your perspective of myself.”

4. Don’t forget to pray.

Prayer shouldn’t be our last resort; it should be our first response. When we come to God with our cares, concerns, or burdens, there’s so much peace in being in His presence. We often pray for peace in the midst of turmoil, but peace is a byproduct of simply spending time with Him. Trust that He hears you, and when nothing seems to be happening, He’s moving.

Before you go, we want to leave you with scriptures to meditate on as you cultivate a heart of contentment:

Jeremiah 29:11: “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.” (NIV)

Lean on this scripture when you don’t know what’s next. Instead of getting flustered about what’s going on around you, rest in knowing that God is in control.

Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)

In every circumstance, remember: All things are working together for your good. You may not see it right now, but let this promise soothe your spirit in those challenging moments.

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (NIV)

This scripture pushes you to keep going! Keep believing, keep praying, and keep holding on to His promise. Your breakthrough is on the way.

To say we’re excited about the possibilities that 2021 may bring would be an understatement. By now, vision boards may have been thoughtfully crafted and S.M.A.R.T. goals have been set, but as we embark on a new journey, how have you positioned yourself for a purpose-driven year? When we say “purpose-driven,” Rick Warren, author of the New York Times bestseller, “The Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For?,” explains that “to be purpose-driven is to be driven by God’s purposes.”

There are so many resources regarding purpose available, but the only way we can be driven by God’s purposes is to directly consult with Him first. Before we map out our goals for the year and activate our ambition, we have to receive guidance from The One who directs our paths.

The Word tells us, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33, NIV). Those things you’d like to accomplish this year: a new career, flourishing business, a prosperous ministry — He wants you to have them! However, when we’re solely led by our desires, we tend to end up disappointed and drained. True freedom, joy, abundance, and peace comes from doing things God’s way. To be positioned for a purpose-driven life, we’ll need to walk through three fundamental steps. Let’s dig a little further into what that looks like.

1. Read God’s Word.
If you want to hear from God, start with reading His Word. The Word is living and it’s one of the ways God communicates with us. Develop a daily habit of spending at least 15 minutes reading the Bible. You’ll notice that not only do you have more clarity, but you’ll also have peace knowing that God has a plan for you — and it’s to gift you His best. In addition to hearing His voice through scripture, the Bible is a powerful weapon for spiritual warfare, equipping you with wisdom to conquer strongholds that attempt to destroy what God has called you to do. When you come across obstacles, having the Word in your heart gives you a firm foundation to stand on.

2. Strengthen your Prayer Life.
How is your prayer life? Oftentimes, when we’re looking for direction, we tend to turn to books, podcasts, and more recently, growing social platforms like Clubhouse. The perspective of experts can be helpful, but more importantly, we have access to an all-knowing God. Proverbs 21:30 reminds us that, “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord” (NIV). We don’t need to seek external sources concerning what we should do when God holds the plan for our lives.

Treat your prayer time as your opportunity to have a meeting with God. It’s your time to ask Him, “What would you like me to focus on in this season?” “How can I best serve you?” Whatever questions concerning the next steps on your journey, bring them to Him in prayer. When your prayers are rooted in faith, God is faithful to answer them. A key component of this step is also taking the time to listen to His still, small voice. In Priscilla Shirer’s book “Discerning the Voice of God: How To Recognize When God Is Speaking”, she explains, “If we’re always impatient, filling in the silent margins during prayer, in our decision making, and in every other aspect of life, we leave little space for God’s powerful direction to resonate in our already crowded schedules and hearts.”

After you have prayed, sit in expectation to hear from Him. Be sure to keep a journal nearby to take note of what God reveals to you during your quiet time. Lastly, don’t be discouraged when the answer doesn’t come right away. Before God manifests what you’re praying for, He has to prepare you. You don’t have to worry about falling behind schedule because His timing is perfect.

3. Go on a Fast/Spiritual Detox.
Fasting prepares our hearts to hear God’s voice and really puts things into perspective. When you set aside the things that you desire, as well as the noise of this world, you’re able to solely focus on God and can hear Him speak more clearly. This is an opportunity to humble ourselves, repent, pray, worship, and seek the Word of God. Talk about divine rejuvenation and restoration! A great resource on how to effectively fast is John Eckhardt’s book, “Fasting for Breakthrough & Deliverance” which provides techniques to enhance your seasons of prayer and fasting. Fast as the Lord leads you and prepare yourself physically for fasts that last longer than a couple of days. If you have concerns about your physical ability to fast, consult your physician before fasting.

4. Stay Rooted in Faith.
When you ask God for direction, do you believe that He’s going to answer your prayers? We may not realize it, but sometimes, when we go to God for help, we don’t believe He’s going to come through for us. Doing things God’s way doesn’t always feel comfortable, and sometimes, it won’t make sense, but continue to stand firm in your faith. If you’re asking God for clarity in 2021, you have to believe it’s on the way. In those times of uncertainty, remember His promise in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. To give you hope and a future.”

As we gear up to have our most prosperous, abundant, and joy-filled year yet, we must remember to consult with God first on all things. Ladies, if you know it’s your time to be purpose-driven, let’s get in position with The One who directs our paths!

Summer is officially here. And, of course, this season would not be complete without the essentials – our 2019 summer reading list for visionary women! We’ve compiled a list of sought-after books by some of our previous WTAL speakers that will equip you to hone the distinct vision that God has prescribed for you. As you prepare to soak up the sun and sand at your destination of choice, you’ll want to add these books to your beach tote.  

In no particular order, here’s our 2019 Summer Reading List for Visionary Women:

1. Self Made: Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way by Nely Galán

Imagine if you shifted your mindset from operating in survival mode to a paradigm that cultivates healthy goal-oriented habits. Would you meet with investors to ideate how to launch your million-dollar dream? Would you realize the value of shifting your perspective from one of instant gratification in purchasing those signature red-bottom shoes, to one of deferred gratification in saving for a beautiful home?

Nely Galán, successful entrepreneur, speaker, real estate mogul, and TV producer has penned this book for visionary women like you! From sage advice unpacking how to save money, make money, and find money, Nely’s anecdotes will embolden you to become a phenomenal self-made woman. If you want to manifest your greatest aspirations, Nely says, “Don’t buy shoes, buy buildings!” So, before summer’s end, be sure to add this insightful read to your 2019 summer reading list for visionary women!

2. Ferocious Warrior by Cora Jakes Coleman

As a visionary woman, it’s imperative to realize that your most daunting battles happen in the spiritual realm. For those of you pondering how to defeat the enemy’s tactics in your professional or personal affairs, prepare for battle. Cora Jakes Coleman, sought-after preacher, author, and children’s ministry director of The Potter’s House in Dallas, TX, shares invaluable insights that will render the enemy futile…Every. Single. Time. Quite honestly, this dynamic book is not for the faint of heart. However, it is for leaders and entrepreneurs who are ready to dismantle the enemy’s most destructive attacks.

Throughout this intimate “war manual,” Cora delves deep into her personal struggles with depression, insecurity, infertility, and more, to effectively equip you to overcome your own battles. To reign victorious as a visionary woman, you must understand the anatomy and psyche of your opponent; a cursory approach will not suffice. It’s time to battle! And, when you arm yourself with the five principles of prayer, the enemy must surrender to the authority of Jesus Christ. Are you ready to become a ferocious warrior? Be sure to include this book in your 2019 summer reading list for visionary women.

3. Don’t Settle for Safe: Embracing the Uncomfortable to Become Unstoppable by Sarah Jakes Roberts

Making an appearance again on our summer reading list for the second year is an unapologetic read by none other than Sarah Jakes Roberts, one of today’s most influential Christian voices for young women. A talented author, successful business executive, transparent pastor, and dynamic speaker, among other roles, Sarah’s authenticity in Don’t Settle for Safe: Embracing the Uncomfortable to Become Unstoppable is a must-read for visionary women who are ready to embrace their divine mission (full throttle).

As the pastor of The Potter’s House of Denver and The Potter’s House at One L.A. alongside Touré Roberts, her husband, Sarah unpacks musings that expose the most vulnerable alcoves of her past and how those recesses empowered her purpose today. It’s time to stop disqualifying yourself from what God has already deemed yours so that you can become unstoppable in all areas of your life. Adding Sarah’s book to your 2019 summer reading list for visionary women is a decision worth making.

4. Crushing: God Turns Pressure into Power by T.D. Jakes

Calling all visionary women! What do you do when the vicissitudes of life overwhelm your strategic vision and aspirations to launch the next innovative offering? How does your business transform last year’s financial loss into this year’s financial win? If you’ve ever felt a crushing so crippling that you surrendered faith in your vision to the hands of foreboding, allow T.D. Jakes to illustrate God’s strategy for turning pressure into power.

At a time when embarking upon an entrepreneurial endeavor has never been more celebrated, T.D. Jakes, New York Times best-selling author, serial entrepreneur, and global thought leader, released one of his most intimate, empowering reads yet. This personal narrative explores the darkest hours in which T.D. Jakes felt helpless and crushed, with no reprieve. However, once he uncovered God’s strategy, he began to recognize those crushing moments as momentum for his most significant victories! Regardless of the endeavor, this New York Times bestseller is a must-read-in-one-sitting book for your 2019 summer reading list for visionary women.

We hope that you’ll make your way to your favorite brick-and-mortar or digital bookstore to explore these transformative titles. So, which books will you read this summer? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter via @MyWTALConf and let us know in the comments section.

While you’re basking in the sun this summer, consider the Faith & Family Caribbean Cruise in your upcoming summer/fall vacation planning! This is a phenomenal opportunity for you to connect with other visionary women from all over the world, while in the intimate company of Bishop T.D. Jakes and his family. And, cruising through the illustrious turquoise waters of the Caribbean makes for a memorable holiday getaway! Set sail with Bishop T.D. Jakes November 9 through 16, 2019, when you (and your girlfriends) secure your cabins via inspirationcruises.com/tdjakes.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, many of us are pondering thoughtful ways to celebrate the extraordinary woman in our lives on May 12, 2019. Whether you call her “mama,” “mommy,” “mom,” “ma,” or another mom-related moniker, one thing is sure – she is synonymous with all that is selflessness. With that said, it’s befitting that we offer our best Mother’s Day gift ideas for you to explore. Moreover, while there’s no gift more significant than a mother’s love, the simple act of giving back to her is sure to make her heart smile.

“Thinking about my mother and the many other mothers I know, along with numerous observations and experiences gleaned from other people about their mothers, I think it’s time to pay tribute to these most influential of educators – our mamas.”

T.D. Jakes, Mama Made The Difference

In no particular order, here’s our list of the 5 Best Mother’s Day Gift Ideas:

1. When Brunch and Art Collide…

Best Mother's Day Gift Ideas, Brunch at Decorative Table

From delectable bites at the hottest Spanish eatery to delicious cuisines at the newest Indian bistro, it’s time to take your mom on a brunch date! Whatever flavor she fancies, you can book your brunch reservation using the OpenTable app, or any app of your choice. Weather permitting, this is an excellent opportunity to relax on a rooftop terrace, as you catch up with mom over a delicious brunch spread and her favorite coffee or tea. Then, off to the theater you go. Whether your mom adores ballet or symphonies, this is the time to explore your local arts and entertainment district. So, how’s brunch and a live theater performance for one of the best Mother’s Day gift ideas?

2. Treat Yo’ Self…(Mom, of course)

Best Mother's Day Gift Ideas, Spa Getaway

Imagine the sweet aromatherapy of lavender and magnolia filling the air, as your mom is swept away by a spa experience unparalleled. Our mothers often sacrifice so much for us (and rarely request anything in return). Also, for single moms and/or stay-at-home moms, the duality of their roles often exacerbates the stressors of providing financial, emotional, and mental support to their children. Regardless of the spa day package that you choose, your mom will sincerely appreciate indulging in a rejuvenating experience. As one of the best Mother’s Day gift ideas, every mom deserves to experience a day of pampering at least once!

3. There’s No Place Like Home…

Best Mother's Day Gift Ideas, Serita Jakes Home Candle Collection

For those of you who prefer a more tangible, insert-gift-inside-giftbag idea, the Serita Jakes Home collection of thoughtfully curated candles is sure to warm your mom’s home and heart this Mother’s Day. The matriarch behind the collection, Lady Serita Jakes is a successful CEO and humanitarian, empowering speaker, devoted wife, and proud mom, among other selfless roles. To this end, it should come as no surprise that she has designed her candle and home décor offerings with timeless accents and exquisite fragrances. When you purchase a candle from the Serita Jakes Home collection, you’re gifting your mom an aroma experience that’s so inviting – you’ll want to reserve a candle for yourself! From water lily and geranium to vetiver and peony, we’re confident that your mom will agree that this is one of the best Mother’s Day gift ideas you could give her.

4. Your New City Awaits…

Best Mother's Day Gift Ideas, Open Road and Mountains

If you’re feeling adventurous and seeking new sights to explore, taking your mom on a fun-filled day trip could prove beneficial for her spirit (and yours). One of the great perks about this trip is that you get to spend quality time with your mom. Moreover, depending on where the road leads you, you could end up amidst the backdrop of lush greenery and serene waterfalls. To help your mom maximize this trip, be sure to do most of the heavy lifting, including packing nutritious food and beverages, toiletries, picnic blankets, and more, for her. The last thing you want your mom to worry about is whether she has essential road trip items in tow. With the proper planning, this is sure to be one of the best Mother’s Day gift ideas. Once you arrive at your destination of choice, enjoy a bed and breakfast venue, nature trails, local boutiques, and most of all – the company of your mom!

5. Set Your Sights On Woman Thou Art Loosed…

Best Mother's Day Gift Ideas, Diverse Group of Women Smiling

Now you can give the gift of women’s empowerment when you register your mom for the upcoming WTAL Vision 2020 conference in Atlanta, Georgia! If you missed last year’s sold-out WTAL Master Class in Dallas, TX, be sure to secure your seats early for this upcoming WTAL Vision 2020 event. Bishop T.D. Jakes, the visionary and chief architect behind WTAL, is inviting the brightest women from around the world to join him for this women’s conference. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, tech investor, or financial analyst, WTAL Vision 2020 will embolden you to take action and realize your vision! Are you ready to invest in your mom with one of the best Mother’s Day gifts from WTAL? If so, set your sights on this highly anticipated women’s conference and join us when you save your seat today.

Mothers tend to us as young children and help us develop into exceptional women. Mothers are executives, doctors, educators, entrepreneurs, and so much more. Most of all, they are always there for us, cheering from the proverbial sidelines as our greatest supporter and confidante. Whether you grew up under the guidance of your mother, grandmother, or another motherly figure, the wisdom that you gleaned from her is worth its weight in gold!

As a society, we designate one day to recognize our mothers each year. However, we shouldn’t relegate honoring these remarkable women on Mother’s Day; know that every day is a perfect day to celebrate her. For more inspiration, be sure to follow WTAL Vision 2020 via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @MyWTALConf. #WTAL2020

“My mother’s gifts of courage to me were both large and small. The latter are woven so subtly into the fabric of my psyche that I can hardly distinguish where she stops and I begin.”

– Maya Angelou, Mom & Me & Mom

WTAL, Women's History Month, Women celebrating International Women's Day

On the heels of Black History Month, we’re kicking off Women’s History Month by highlighting diverse women on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2019! Undoubtedly, we’re honored to showcase some of the most influential women leading the charge across arts and entertainment, technology, and grassroots activism, among other spaces. These phenomenal women are mothers, sisters, daughters, and nieces primed to cultivate a long-awaited gender balance in areas once dominated by a male-centric narrative. Our Women’s History Month list of the top 10 women leaders and muses consists of women who have made history, as well as those who are currently making their cause known!

Ladies, in no particular order, here’s our Women’s History Month list of the Top 10 Women Leaders and Muses for your #GirlBoss, #BalanceForBetter, and #WomensEmpowerment inspiration:

“International Women’s Day is a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.”

1.Emma Watson, actress and activist

As one of the trailblazers for the HeForShe movement, Emma Watson continues to inspire women of all ages to stand for a cause greater than themselves. The HeForShe movement is a solidarity campaign, initiated by the United Nations, for the advancement of gender equality. Since its inception in 2014, the HeForShe movement has ignited 1.3 billion social media conversations, realized 1.7 million HeForShe commitments, and galvanized others across 1.1 thousand community events.

2. Malala Yousafzai, activist

This human rights activist is quoted as saying, “I tell my story not because it is unique, but because it is the story of many girls.” Through Malala Yousafzai’s resolute spirit and vision for girls’ education, she received a Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy efforts that resulted in her attempted assassination by the Taliban. Today, Malala Yousafzai continues to raise awareness regarding education rights for all girls.

3. Gertrude B. Elion, biochemist and pharmacologist

One of the most pioneering change agents in the realm of medicine is Gertrude B. Elion. In 1988, she won the Nobel Prize in physiology for her innovative efforts and research methods that aided her launch of a drug that would later lead to the development of the AIDS drug AZT. Today, countless individuals are able to live relatively healthy, long lives as a result of Getrude’s research.

4. Patsy Mink, lawyer and politician

For those of you who are interested in exploring a career in law and/or politics, Patsy Mink should serve as a source of inspiration during Women’s History Month. Patsy Mink is one of the first non-white women and the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress. Throughout her congressional career, she advocated for women’s issues, chiefly equal rights. Patsy Mink’s most significant win was the Women’s Educational Equity Act, which provided $30 million annually in educational funds for programs to promote gender equity in schools.

5. The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, human rights organization

Under the leadership of Estela Barnes de Carlotto, an Argentine human rights activist, The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo is uniting global communities for a greater cause. This human rights organization was developed with the goal of finding and reuniting stolen and illegally adopted children during the Argentine dictatorship. To explore more about this human rights organization during Women’s History Month, visit Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo.

6. Winnie Mandela, activist

Although Nelson Mandela was revered globally as a revolutionary and political leader, among other roles, one of the most influential women in his life was none other than Winnie Mandela. As a South African anti-apartheid activist and politician and ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, Winnie was affectionately known as the “Mother of the Nation.” Although she was imprisoned on various occasions, her perseverance inspired women to cultivate an unwavering spirit of determination that has influenced today’s women’s rights initiatives.

7. Brittany Barnett, attorney and criminal justice reform advocate

Founder of Buried Alive as well as Girls Embracing Mothers, Brittany Barnett is charting a path for women to follow in 2019 (and beyond). Brittany Barnett is the daughter of a formerly incarcerated mother. To this end, she leverages her personal experience with criminal justice to address mass incarceration for women. Her life-changing work has achieved executive clemency for seven of her clients under former President Barack Obama.

8. Nelba Marquez-Greene, activist

When a mother’s worst nightmare unfolds, as it did for this mother of a Sandy Hook Elementary School student, significant shifts in social justice ensue. Nelba Marquez-Greene started The Ana Grace Project, an organization to address social isolation and social justice in schools due to gun violence, after her 6-year old daughter was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting.

9. Reshma Saujani, CEO, activist, and attorney

As the founder of Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization aiming to support and increase the number of women in computer science, Reshma Saujani’s efforts have reached almost 90,000 girls of varying races and ethnicities across all 50 states. Currently, Girls Who Code is on track to realize gender parity in computer science by 2027. To explore more about Reshma and her organization during Women’s History Month, visit Girls Who Code.

10. Theresa Malkiel, activist

Concluding our list of top influential women leaders and muses is the creator of International Women’s Day, Theresa Malkiel. As an activist, Theresa worked to raise awareness for women’s rights, particularly with regards to labor rights. Ironically, she penned Diary of a Shirtwaist Maker only a year prior to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911, which was the deadliest industrial disaster in New York City’s history. [

WTAL_Women's History Month_Women Celebrating International Women's Day

We hope that you have found our Women’s History Month list of the top 10 influential women leaders and muses empowering, as you celebrate International Women’s Day and the remainder of this celebratory month!

And, for those of you ambitious women who are primed to elevate your wheelhouse and influence, the Woman Thou Art Loosed (WTAL) Conference is returning to the great city of Atlanta for WTAL Vision 2020! So, get ready to gather your girlfriends and join us in September 2020 for this highly anticipated women’s conference in Atlanta, Georgia! Sis, what are you waiting for? Explore WTAL Vision 2020, today!

Two white women throwing confetti in the air; Things to Let Go in the New Year

Now that the confetti and party favors are nestled in the holiday storage box, it’s time to reflect on the year that was, and muse on the endless possibilities for the year that is 2019!

Every year, countless individuals aspire to commence the new year with grandiose goals that fail to nurture their souls. If you want to realize your best year yet, you’ll need to assess those unappealing behaviors and malignant relationships that have kept you bound to years past.

With that said, here’s our list of the Top 5 Things to Let Go in the New Year (in no particular order):

  1. Grudges

White woman looking at her phone with blank stare; Things to Let Go in the New Year

Whether you’re 27 years old or 57 years old, you’ve probably encountered someone who was less than considerate toward you. Perhaps a close friend tried to engage you with banter that triggered a somber memory. Or, maybe your spouse failed to remember your anniversary. Whatever the offense, it’s neither here nor there. When we hold grudges toward those who’ve intentionally or unintentionally hurt us, we allow the offense to flourish, keeping us tied to the past. As we recalibrate our mindset for the new year, it’s time to let go of all grudges that we’ve held from 2018 (and previous years). So, pick up the phone and schedule a coffee date with the person who has offended you. In doing so, you’re not only releasing negative energy from that person, you’re also releasing it from yourself so that you can walk in God’s light. If calling and/or meeting with the person isn’t feasible, you can still forgive that person (and yourself) during your prayer time.

  1. Jealousy/Envy

Black woman and white woman standing with their arms crossed; Things to Let Go in the New Year

How does it make you feel to witness your sibling receiving more attention than you? Are you genuinely happy for your best friend’s engagement? And, what about your close friend’s six-figure business deal? If you feel anything other than positive emotions toward your sibling or friends, you may be experiencing jealousy and/or envy instead. Additionally, do you know the difference between jealousy and envy? Jealousy occurs when something we already possess is threatened by a third person. Envy is a reaction to lacking something that someone else possesses. A feeling of jealousy and/or envy can arise when we compare ourselves to others, or desire to possess what others have. While these feelings are natural, it behooves us not to entertain them for extended durations. Otherwise, we subsequently become bitter toward others. Remember that God’s plan is to prosper us, not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). And, someone else’s blessing does not negate yours! Stay focused on the wonderful qualities that you have to offer and how you can leverage those gifts to realize the greatest impact in your own life, as well as the lives of others. Will you commit to these things to let go in the new year? May 2019 be the year that you release jealousy and envy from your spirit so that you can experience genuine joy and happiness when God blesses someone else.

  1. Perfectionism

Black woman looking to her side; Things to Let Go in the New Year

Easier said than done, perfectionism is a trait that we must let go in the new year. This characteristic is often cultivated during childhood. To this end, the young child who has to maintain straight A’s in every subject, score goals at every soccer game, and appear perfectly well-dressed at every event will enter adulthood with the same penchant for perfection. For those who struggle with perfectionism, life can feel like an endless theatrical performance, and you’re the star! While it’s praised to showcase your best offerings in all that you do, discerning when to not be hypercritical of yourself will help to alleviate unnecessary stressors in your life. In an effort to overcome perfectionism, you must disrupt the “all-or-nothing” mindset. Oftentimes, perfectionists entertain this unrealistic dichotomy of “black-or-white” thinking that fails to accommodate other possibilities. For example, if you haven’t launched your website because you cannot find the perfect blue background, business opportunities may continue to overlook you, for lack of having a website. Things to let go in the new year include perfectionism (and an absolute, “black-or-white” mindset). Afford yourself opportunities to be imperfect and forgo lamenting on unrealistic goals, while still loving the person within.

  1. Procrastination

Black woman looking at her cell phone; Things to Let Go in the New Year

Interestingly, procrastination and perfectionism pair well together. If you’ve ever delayed starting a project, the underlying reason probably stems from perfectionism. Since most perfectionists have a chronic fear of failing at everything, they don’t start anything until the last minute. One can only imagine how this perpetual cycle of procrastination exacerbates anxiety so that projects are never completed properly. Are you ready to finally rid yourself of procrastination? To overcome irresoluteness, you’ll need to divide your project into micro projects so said project doesn’t seem as overwhelming. Once you’ve completed one portion of the project, praise your accomplishment with positive self-talk. Then, proceed to the next portion of the project until the entire project is complete. Additionally, allow yourself to make mistakes along the way so that your best work can rise to the top. In other words, sometimes it takes five iterations before the final masterpiece is crafted. In 2019, make this the year that you retire the phrase: “I’ll stop procrastinating tomorrow.”

  1. Toxic Relationships

Black woman looking outside her window; Things to Let Go in the New Year

Are you currently in a relationship that leaves you feeling mentally, spiritually, and emotionally drained after every encounter? Do your friends exhibit continuous disrespect toward you and your boundaries? If you answered yes to these questions, you’re probably in a toxic relationship. While feeling drained and disrespected are just a few of the signs that you’re in a less than desirable relationship, the Holy Spirit has probably revealed other signs to you as well. Of course, no relationship is designed to be perfect. However, it behooves you to know the signs of a toxic relationship and devise a plan to remove toxic people from your life in 2019. Ending a relationship is never without complications. But, if your mental, spiritual, and emotional health is compromised due to a toxic relationship, you must practice self-love and say goodbye to that relationship! It’s time that you assess your friendship circle. In this new year, surround yourself with people who support you and leave you feeling energized and loved.

To succeed you must overcome grudges, jealousy/envy, perfectionism, procrastination, and toxic relationships. These are the things that hinder you from fulfilling God’s promise. So, here’s to getting out of your way and opening your heart to everything He wants to do for you in 2019!

Black woman smiling with her arms raised high; Things to Let Go in the New Year


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