"When you learn, teach. When you get,give." "But still I rise, like dust, I'll rise." "I'm not on top but I call it swell if I'm able to work and get paid right." I'm a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that's me." Maya Angelou. "People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway." Mother Teresa. "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time." 1 Peter 5:6.
I, like so many others, are greatly enamored of women who have done extraordinary things; accomplished so much in their lifetime. Of course, these women are blessed and have a special calling on their lives (in my opinion). Suffice it to say that I do not consider myself to be in their category. Hold on, I am not putting myself down, I am just not lifting myself higher than where I feel I belong. It's complicated. Anyway, on March 4, 2023, I was honored, along with several other women, by Bronx Triangle, Inc., as a phenomenal woman. The ceremony which included breakfast and entertainment was absolutely fabulous. I received a delightful crystal plaque and a citation from the Bronx Borough President, Vanessa L. Gibson. Wow!
It is not easy for me to accept accolades; it has to do with my upbringing. I have stated often that my old fashioned Pentecostal grandmother reminded me and my siblings that without God we could do nothing. She was making sure that we did not forget where our blessings came from and who deserved the credit. She did succeed in my never getting a "big head." She let me know without a doubt that whatever I have or will accomplish is because of God's grace and mercy. I did begin to understand that God has a purpose for my life and living out my purpose involves service to others. Service sometimes does come to the attention of others; people are affected and even helped and just want to show gratitude. It is in this vain that I accepted this award. My longtime friend Deb (34 years of friendship), had nominated me. Throughout my life and my career of working with children and in the church, I sought to lift others, served to the best of my ability, and to give back. Who knew anyone was watching.
Opening line of my acceptance speech: Good morning. "First and foremost, to God be the glory for all that He has done in my life." As I stood there, I realized once again how wise my grandmother was. She said that if you are humble, God will elevate you in His own time. James 4:10. This was certainly one of those times. Although, I did not feel worthy of honor, it did mean that those who had benefitted from the work/service that I had done/provided over years could show appreciation. I was both humbled and honored by this show of appreciation.
Phenomenal by definition means remarkable or extraordinary. When I think of phenomenal women (this is women's history month), two women instantly come to mind; Mother Teresa and Maya Angelou. Mother Teresa because she devoted her life to those who were below the bottom rung of life.; the poorer than poor, the sick, the handicapped, etc. She served them with love and humility. She was truly a phenomenal woman.
Maya Angelou because she not only survived, racism, oppression, and rape, but she thrived to become world renowned and was able to give back and to influence generations of young woman and young men to keep going even in the face of incredible odds. She was truly a phenomenal woman. Although not famous, I am going to add one more (and there are many more phenomenal women, I cannot list them all here) to the list. This one is personal. Evangelist Mary Jackman, my grandmother. I did not understand that by her living out her faith and sharing it with me that this would be the strong foundation on which my life is built. Thank you grandma for being steadfast and unmovable in your faith in God. Most importantly, thank you for imparting it to me. You were truly a phenomenal woman.
This past Sunday I taught my church school class and the topic was "The Greatest in the Kingdom," Matthew 18-1-9. Jesus's disciples wanted to know who was going to be the greatest in His kingdom. I suppose they were evaluating the roles that each had played in His ministry and probably felt in some way deserved to have a position in the kingdom of heaven. They were confused like many of us are. The person who appears to have everything and has seemingly done everything is not necessarily the person of greatest merit. Jesus set them straight. He taught them a lesson in humility. "Therefore, whoever takes the position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." Matthew 18:4-5. The disciples needed to change their assumptions of greatness from the world's criteria to that of God's kingdom. The questions to ask are: "Is your heart right? Are you practicing humility? If you answer in the affirmative, you will know and understand that God will put you in the position He has designed specifically for your life where you can walk in your purpose.
Being phenomenal is not a one-shot deal. It is a way of life. Most people we consider great do not wake up in the morning thinking they are great (at least I don't think so). I believe they wake up with purpose and determine that they are going to live out that purpose. Closing line to my acceptance speech: Whether I feel phenomenal or not, your being here with me today to celebrate this honor makes me feel special and confirms for me that I am walking in my purpose and in some small way, I am making a difference in the lives of others. Again, I thank you and to God be the glory! We are here to live out our purpose. What's yours? Are your walking in it? Pray about it.
Are you Phenomenal? Do you want to be?
Live a life of service.
"There's a higher level of fitness that exceeds satisfaction with numbers or achieving a look, it's one of service for God's calling." Kim Dolan Leto. In all that you do, seek to help someone else. It is what we were all called to do. You do not have to wait for a special commission, it is the right thing to. We are commanded to love God, love ourselves and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Love is an action word. It involves service. It is okay to be good. It is even better to do good. Acts 10:38 Be about it!
2. Be Kind.
"Be the somebody that treats everybody like a somebody." #Bekind. We are all worthy of respect and dignity regardless of our station in life. "Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done. Proverbs 19:17. One act of kindness can change a person's life. "Sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person's life." Jackie Chan. You never know what people are going through and even a kind word can lift their spirits and give them a new outlook on life. Practice or do random acts of kindness. You will be surprised how it can also change you.
3. Give Back.
"I absolutely believe in the power of tithing and giving back. My own experience about all the blessings I've had in my life is that the more I give away, the more that comes back. That is the way life works, and that is the way energy works." Ken Blanchard . "It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving." Mother Teresa. Don't forget why you have been blessed; to bless someone else. You did not do a solo journey. You may not believe me; one day you will. So, look back to see who you can bring up; make their life better or at the very least share your blessing so that someone sees the love and generosity of God in you. Trust me, by doing so you will blessed beyond measure.
4. Be Thankful.
In all things give thanks. 1Thessalonians 5:18. Remember, it is because of God, we live, move and have our being. Acts. 17:28. We can do nothing without Him. We need to remember this always and give thanks. Be thankful in every circumstance for this is God's will for us, and in everything we know we have Him with us and to get us through. So, give thanks.
5. Be Humble.
Remember, you had no say in anything; not in picking your parents, where you were born, or if you would be born, etc. There is no reason for any conceit or bragging on your part. In fact, this should humble you. For those of us who have reached a level of achievement, the same rules apply. Were it not for God, you would not be there. For those of us who believe we deserve more recognition, trust God, in due time He will allow this to happen. In the meantime, keep thanking and keep serving. James 4:10.
There are many Phenomenal people (men and women) who continue to serve under the radar. To them we are most thankful, and I pray that God will continue to bless them and to honor them in His time. We owe a debt of gratitude to you for your selflessness and the love that you provide through service. Godspeed!
So, I ask you, are your phenomenal? Only you can answer that. I am sure that you are. I thank you all for the great honor of Phenomenal Woman bestowed upon me. I will endeavor always to live up to such a high honor. To God be the glory!
Thank you always for your love and support. You can comment at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your thoughtful comments and insights are greatly appreciated. May God continue to richly bless you.