I remember my first blog post – I was assigned to create a digital platform for a school project. Blogging came easy to me and mixing writing and fashion was a no brainer. My class was assigned to post sporadically but I ended up doing so every week. A year later, my readers nominated my blog as The Best International Fashion Blog in the Cosmopolitan UK Blog Awards and the judges named me a finalist! My school sponsored my trip to London and it was the very first time I knew God was up to something with Adorned in Armor.
I remember my first pageant. A young woman told me about how our university hosts one every year and that I would be a great fit. I wore my prom dress to the pageant for the evening gown portion and for talent, I tapped dance as I shared an original spoken-word piece about self-worth. Next thing I knew, I was being crowned by Miss New Jersey and Miss Teen New Jersey. It was the very first time I knew how much I loved pageants.
I remember my first official paid speaking engagement – I was 21 and a senior in college. Previously, in my teen years, I would minister spoken word poetry on YouTube and churches but that time was different. I studied in Washington for a semester the year prior and the president of American University invited me back to speak about my experience in their Journalism & New Media Program. I’ve dreamt of being a motivational speaker before but it was the first time I knew traveling and speaking was my calling.
I also remember my first heartbreak. I remember experiencing betrayal and persecution. I remember losing so much weight because I was depressed. I remember feeling like God wasn’t fighting for me – in fact, I remember feeling like He was against me. I remember feeling like a loser because I didn’t have a real job and couldn’t afford to take care of myself. I remember when I realized that the illness my mom suffers from does affect me and as the oldest of 4, I was holding too much in. I remember getting in touch with my emotions and learning to let myself cry. I remember the stroke she suffered during spring break, I remember when she could walk. I remember because I still witness my mother’s pain today. In fact, a lot of these feelings, I still experience.
Why? Because blessings don’t mean pain won’t come.
There have been numerous moments in my life where I felt God has failed me. Unanswered prayers and fresh hurts will do that to you. I wouldn’t look forward to things or put my hope in opportunities because there was always a possibility of being let down. I still struggle with this.
But the truth of it all is that I am here…and not on my own.
In the past decade, God has given me the opportunity to speak in front of hundreds of women. I graduated from high school wanting to pursue fashion but stuck to Communications instead. A few months later, Adorned in Armor was birthed through a school project and in one year, was a finalist as the Best International Fashion Blog in the 2014 Cosmopolitan UK Blog Awards.
God sent me brand collaborations I never even pitched and products I needed but I never even asked for. I went from studying in Washington for a semester with leading media outlets to interning with PBS and later, elle.com. I went from winning a school pageant in 2013 to becoming Miss Black New Jersey 2018. I went from graduating college summa cum laude with 6+ honors to being jobless. Forced into entrepreneurship, I went from being a Teen Vogue It Girl to a Teen Vogue Fashion Writer. I went from feeling directionless to obtaining my master’s degree as Syracuse. I went from not knowing enough about my heritage to falling in love with my country, writing for the Haitian Times and being featured, too! I’ve flown around the world to interview leading figures in fashion and film and I’ve developed a softened heart during church mission trips. I’ve gone from sharing my stories of struggles and victory to amplifying the voices of warrior women on @dressedforbattlepodcast.
The biggest surprise of them all is how God brought me FROM WRITING BLOG POSTS TO A TRIPLE BOOK DEAL ??
I don’t say these things to boast about myself; I say these things to brag on my God! He can do more than you can imagine.
These opportunities didn’t come because I made them happen. I merely positioned myself – the heavy lifting has always been His move.
I could go on about the moments I remember but then this piece would be forever. As I was looking back on the past ten years on social media, I began to laugh at the hideous photos but I also found beauty in the “aha” moments. There were the moments I spotted God’s hand. (Stay tuned until the very end for some more photos.)
In this past decade, I learned many things, including:
- Using my voice. I’ve gone from being the shy girl who was terrified of speaking up to telling the world of what God has done for me at every chance I get.
- I do whatever it takes to get my foot in the door but I won’t force it down. God will.
- God is intricately involved in our lives and everything ties together. We may not always know why certain things happen but we can trust that behind the curtain, God is in control.
- In the midst of the hardest moments of our lives, God will always provide us a glimpse of a miracle on its way.
- I may not know what’s next and I may not always understand what God is doing but I can steady my wild emotions and imagination upon the solidity of his love.
- Before elevation comes the escalation of problems.
- We are stronger than we think!
- He will keep coming through for you and me.
I love that I am able to look back and see how one moment connects to the other but I also find it beautiful that I have absolutely no idea of what’s coming next.
I think it’s fitting I’m reflecting on this before my book release. I feel a huge shift coming. And so I’m writing this so that when I’m discouraged with my journey, I may never forget where God has brought me from.
I wrote this for you, too.
Too often, we get hung up on the comparison game and feeling like we’re running out of time. But I hope this serves as a reminder that God isn’t finished with you yet. If you are still breathing, it is time to begin believing in the promises of God and play your part in furthering His kingdom on earth. We all need you.
And yes, the best is yet to come for you, too.
Comment down below if you believe it!
If you’d like to learn more about how God had led me from point A to point B throughout my life, I have multiple blog posts, resources and fun videos you can view below. Let me tell ya, they’re some crazy testimonies!
IMAGINE: My Word of The Year | Having Faith to Dream Bigger
The Reward for Your Obedience to God – What Are You Willing to Sacrifice?
Why You Should Trust God for Yourself
Thinking of Grad School? CRAZY STORY: God Told ME to Go
8 Reasons Why You Should Share Your Testimony (What’s The Point?)
Finding Your Purpose: Stepping Into Your Calling | My Career Testimony
Align Yourself with God’s Plan
Haiti: What The Media Doesn’t Show You
How I Landed a Three Book Deal (as a First Time Author)
8 Important Life Lessons
Cuba Mission Trip (Travelling Cuba in 10 Days) | Learning Haitian History In Cuba
On Set With Teen Vogue, Swarovski & My Mom!
Tap to Original Spoken Word at Pageant – “Lessons”
My Pageant Photoshoot – Behind The Scenes | MISS BLACK NEW JERSEY 2018
Adorned in Armor Meets London (Cosmo Blog Awards)
Be Proud of Where You Are
Claim Your Crown is available for preorder everywhere!
Okay, okay. Here’s what you’ve been waiting for! (I’ll be updating the photos of the past 10 years soon.)