spirituality

Ferocious Faith + Prayer with Pastor Cora Jakes Coleman - Author of Ferocious Warrior

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of chatting with Pastor Cora Jakes Coleman to discuss all things faith, prayer, and becoming a ferocious warrior. Cora opens up about her life, trials and tribulations and how ferocious faith and prayer got her out of the most difficult times of her life. A true inspiration, and woman of God, Cora now shares the tools for us all to dismantle the enemy, overcome obstacles and experience all God has for us in her latest book Ferocious Warrior.

we think consistency means every day at a specific time of day. But really, when I speak about consistency I’m talking about getting into a pattern with god. So if that for you is 2x a week let that be your pattern. If it’s every other day let that be your pattern. Do not let consistency be your excuse for why you will not get into a pattern with God!
— Pastor Cora Jakes Coleman

Who is Pastor Cora Jakes Coleman?

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I feel like when people get asked this question they respond with what they do and forget to answer the "who". So.. I believe that I am a compassionate person, a comedic person, someone who is brutally honest (chuckles), a very strong independent person. I am the type of person who would give you her last and just believe by faith that everything will turn out okay. I'm also a mom, I know that's who I am to the core of me. I believe that sometimes I can be more of a mom than I am a wife just because I love and adore motherhood so much.

How was it growing up in a religious household under the well known Bishop TD Jakes and phenomenal First Lady Serita Jakes where spirituality was the foundation? Did you feel pressure to uphold standards? or Were you able to live and develop into yourself freely?

Well, I think the pressure came from outside of the church, from church people and society. The world has its own idea and perception of what a preachers kid is, and that's whether you're a mega-preachers kid or not. There are stigmas and statistics around preachers kids in general, so the pressure was definitely outside of the home. Thankfully, my mother was very intentional about making our home "OUR home". A place of peace and a place of safety, where you could be who you wanted to be, and there was no judgment, no fear, no condemnation in our house. We grew up knowing to choose wisdom, to walk with wisdom and knowing that every now and again we all will fall short of the glory of God, and that falling doesn't have to be who you become but can certainly be a lesson to help you grow and develop into the person you want to be. So my mother and father did an amazing job at making sure we got the chance to just be children, teenagers, and young adults. Now, as adults, we choose to carry out their legacy. It's been tasking + terrific.

They raised us to speak well, not because we were black but because we were their kids, and they wanted children who spoke well. They wanted us to be able to stand up for ourselves, be strong and relentless.
— Pastor Cora Jakes Coleman

What was wellness like growing up beside the spiritual wellness? Was there much focus on physical activity and eating well?

Eating well? ... Umm well, you have to define "well" (Cora laughs). We ate "veryyy well". I can't speak to the HEALTH of our plates, but we definitely ate well. (Cora laughs and says light-heartedly).

I think that educational wellness was the second priority to my parents - that we had a great education and opportunity to a great education. They raised us to speak well, not because we were black but because we were their kids, and they wanted children who spoke well. They wanted us to be able to stand up for ourselves, be strong and relentless. That's something you now see in me and my sister Sarah, and in my brothers, though they are behind the scenes more than in front. We all have a great fight within us that my mother and father instilled. We had physical wellness and social wellness because there was so many of us (laughs). We have always been very close-knitted, very emotionally open and transparent with one another because we understand that if we can't find unconditional love outside of the house, or even inside of the church, we can always find unconditional love within our family. We've been able to stand strong on that value.

Grab Your ‘Choose Love’ Bracelet Here

I love that, that's beautiful.

So PCOS/Infertility is something that a lot of women within the black community deal with. How was the experience being diagnosed for you mentally?

Um, it was devastating... it was traumatic. There again, is this stigma that society places on you whenever PCOS or infertility is mentioned. And it's the shame and embarrassment that they put around it, that somehow birthing qualifies you as a woman and as a mother. It's difficult for that stigma to be the qualification of what it means to be a mother or a good parent considering we've seen such proving otherwise. I mean we've seen birth mothers throw their babies in trash cans. We have seen birth fathers molest their children. Birthing and carrying a child doesn't make you a parent. So when I found out I had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) I was absolutely devastated, absolutely depressed, and absolutely angry. I had to pull myself out of that by any means necessary. This is why I wrote my first book Faithing It, and even more so Ferocious Warrior after I won the battle and got my beautiful babies through adoption. I found even more tools and resources that got me through some of the darkest days and years of my life and I wanted to share that. That's what FW is all about. I did not let it break me, I let it build me.

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My good doctor would say “Between now and dead what do you want your life to symbolize?”. I didn’t want my life to symbolize depression, I didn’t want my life to symbolize pain and struggle. I wanted my life to symbolize the power that comes from that pain, the strength that comes from that struggle and the support you need to get out of it.
— Pastor Cora Jakes Coleman

Now I hear you say you had to pull yourself up out of depression by any means. What did pulling yourself up look like on a day to day basis?

Aw man... I wish I could tell you it was a 12-step program and that would be an easy way to explain it, but I truly had to embrace the unbearable pain of what I was going through. I had to stop running from it and really look myself in the mirror and tell myself hard truths of what I've been dealt with. My good doctor would say "Between now and dead what do you want your life to symbolize?". I didn't want my life to symbolize depression, I didn't want my life to symbolize pain and struggle. I wanted my life to symbolize the power that comes from that pain, the strength that comes from that struggle and the support you need to get out of it. Whether it was counseling or girls night out,

I wanted to make sure that I did not feed my depression what it was looking for so desperately which is isolation, negative thoughts, negative opinions, and people. I had to change the way I was seeing myself so that I could change the way I was feeling within myself.

In a previous interview, you also mentioned dealing with some form of sexual abuse. Our next digital mag will be focused on healing from trauma. The healing process is, of course, different for us all, so what was that process like for you?

It was very long and very vulnerable. I had to be extremely honest with myself about what was going on and what had happened to me. And it wasn't about trying to place the blame or pick someone to take the pain away, but just being very honest. I could not start the process of healing until I first acknowledged and embrace the... yes this is what happened to me ... the yes, I went through the pain and hurt. Again, going to a counselor and girls night out. It was about experiencing the truth versus the lies the enemy was trying to build around me. I got around people who would tell me the truth. I figured once I did that I could set myself free.

That’s powerful.

So we have this book Ferocious Warrior! What inspired you to write it? Why now? and What is a Ferocious Warrior?

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Yessss!!! - A lot of things inspired it but one of the biggest things has been Charisma House Publishing, and specifically, Jason from Charisma who reached out to me and said he wanted to know what was on my heart and spirit as it pertains to whats going on in the world right now. And it had been pressed on my heart that we are living in a time where the fight is being suppressed, and the power that comes from our pain is being suppressed. We're being told be quiet and silent, and I just got tired of the "under-the-rug" mentality. I got tired of the enemy using shame and embarrassment as a tool to keep us from being the best version of ourself. So when I told them that I wanted to kind of dismantle the devil's tactics and strategy my Aunt Jan of Dupree Miller and Associates, my literary agency said, "well you know you are a ferocious warrior " .. and Jason from Charisma said, "that's the name the book!". So I said okay...the people have deemed me as a Ferocious Warrior. (and so it was written).

And I believe it's because the people have been introduced to me through my strongest weapon which is prayer. For a long time, people knew Sarah, knew who she was, seen her on tv and was very familiar with her. But when my dad decided that he wanted me to open up at Woman Thou Art Loosed... I did that prayer and people were like "Oh my goodness, who is she, where has she been!" My prayers have always been very ferocious, very intentional, very faith-filled. I wanted people to understand that if you see me as ferocious, I am only as ferocious as the faith I choose to attach myself to and you can be just as ferocious. There's a Ferocious Warrior inside all of us. Once we realize it and begin to rise, the enemy will begin to be defeated. I'm ready for warriors to rise, and for us to just shut the enemy down. It's our time, it's our season to get what God has for us and Ferocious Warrior is going to help that be accomplished.

... we have to stop being conditioned for next, and start preparing and understanding that we are a NOW generation! Things have to start rising now, armies have to start rising now, prophets have to stat rising now.
— Pastor Cora Jakes Coleman

Yes! I absolutely love that! I actually grew up in a spiritual household as well, and my mother would always say this is a spiritual warfare that we're fighting. What tools can people apply to their lives to help them fight the enemy, eliminate distractions, and live in their truth and purpose?

Well, I think one of the biggest things that limits us from living in our purpose is fear. One of the greatest things we can do to eliminate fear is to increase our faith, and the way to increase our faith is through the reading of the word of God. To begin to consume and understand the word of God. Then we're able to use it as a weapon against depression, against anxiety, against those fears, until we see that God has not given us the spirit of fear but power! Once we acknowledge that we have been given power then we can tread and trample all over the enemy. So worship is our weapon, praise is our weapon, prayer is a weapon, fasting is a weapon. The word of God and understanding of the word of God is a weapon. Millennials... it's our time now. We got so used to hearing next, that we didn't prepare for the "NOW". So we have to stop being conditioned for next, and start preparing and understanding that we are a NOW generation! Things have to start rising now, armies have to start rising now, prophets have to stat rising now. This is the generation that's going to do it.

I believe that one-hundred percent. There's a lot of us in this generation who struggle with consistency, being specific in prayer, and building an authentic relationship with God. What advice can you give to help others commit to discipline and routine? Where should they begin?

Oh absolutely!

The first thing is… we think consistency means every day at a specific time of day. But really, when I speak about consistency I'm talking about getting into a pattern with God. So if that for you is 2x a week, let that be your pattern. If it's every other day let that be your pattern. Do not let consistency be your excuse for why you will not get into a pattern with God! So that's one tip - to really change the way you view consistency and put it as a pattern. I tell my husband I love him every day because that's our relationship pattern. You have to build a relationship pattern with God.

Now specificity... you want to make sure it comes from an honest place. I think our grandmas, and great aunties and em' told us so much that we couldn't do with God that we pushed our selves out of having real conversations with God. It was always you cant do this, you can't do that... so you feel like well I'm just not gonna talk to God because there are so many restrictions... but there really isn't. You can tell God exactly what is on your heart. You can simply say "I don't know what to say, I don't know what I'm doing, I need your help, help me be more specific." So again, it goes back to getting into that pattern with God and being completely open and vulnerable with God in such a way so God can impart into you and you'll begin to have that authentic and genuine relationship.

Yes… You just dropped a word! (Cora laughs)

So what can we look forward to within this book and what can we look forward to with you this year?

If you read Faithing It, I ended each chapter with a prayer. It was me praying for the readier. In Ferocious Warrior I ended each chapter with a prayer, but this time I made it so the reader is praying for themselves. So some of the things to look forward to are those chains being broken off of you, some of the things you don't have the words to speak but know your generational bloodline needs is in that book. Look forward to blessings coming into your life, look forward to finding yourself more connected to God. Look forward to your faith being ignited. Look forward to God doing a miracle for you just because you decided that you don't only want to have a relationship, but because you want to be a ferocious warrior. And not a lot of people are not ready to take on that fight and do it wholeheartedly, but if you grab the book it's your season to do so. So I'd say look forward to the ferocious warrior that you're going to be.

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I'm going to be doing a lot of podcasts, and a follow-up book to Ferocious Warrior. Wherever I'm traveling I'll be promoting Ferocious Warrior, so I'm just gonna’ be ferociously touring (chuckles). Letting everyone know the devil is a dummy (#thedevilisadummy) ... and warriors are rising.

Lastly but not least… What does being Black + Well mean to you?

Oh wow, well that's an open-ended question (Cora laughs) ... I believe it is about embracing your flaws and the beauty that is you. It is about accepting a wholeness that may have some narrow ways, that may have some dents…and just walking in the truth of who you are emotionally, mentally, physically, and most importantly spiritually in such a way that it inspires others. Your black is well when you are walking in a way that your life can inspire someone else.

[Insert finger snaps]


5 Spiritual Lessons to Live Your Best Life!

8 min read….

Every therapist was the same. After an hour of baring my soul, they would summarize my feelings without any depth and attempt to offer an immediate solution. Don’t get me wrong. I understand the power of processing my emotions in the moment, yet practitioners often minimized my experiences to one moment alone. I was tired of telling my story of abuse and disruption with little inspiration for a new perspective, ultimately craving a purposeful transformation. Four therapists later, I met someone who nurtured my wholeness in a way that invites the clarity whispered in my prayers. Whenever I found myself saying “I am trying”, my therapist replied— “You are doing the work”. I was learning to make peace with my trauma because entertaining toxic relationships, feeling chronically broken, and struggling with my self-esteem had to be worth something.

Curiosity led me to chat with spiritualists, from an intuitive in New Orleans to a Babalawo in Havana. I soon embraced the path forming before me; one that is adorned with crystals and thrives on healing through Reiki, tarot, oracles, and divine intervention. Something as simple as journaling takes on a new life when we understand the energy that surrounds us and we choose to divine through intentional practice. I am unafraid to profess that my spiritual awakening shifted how I embody wellness. This is a piece about how to vibrate higher, open communication channels, and provide ourselves with information to be different for the sake of the higher self. Here are five spiritual lessons to master for maximum wellness shared through small tales of my personal journey.

1. Synchronicity is an omen.

An omen isn’t inherently good or bad because our response shapes its nature. The catch is acknowledging the opportunity for change before the message intensifies and impacts our ability to adapt. If your spirit guides are anything like mine, gentle nudges turn into Groundhog Day to demand our attention. After spending four years with someone who ignored me at his leisure and reminded me that our relationship was some favor, I found myself believing the ugliness he saw in me. I justified every level of abuse despite quietly wanting better. Future situations were eerily familiar. I continued dating men who had nothing to offer for nearly 10 years because I thought there was little I could reciprocate. My self-esteem clearly required nurturing so I could determine my own value. These days, I recognize my participation in the chaos and am grateful for the omen that brought forth my truest self. I choose to protect my peace as adamantly as my spirit guides directed me. I cannot unsee these changes now that my awareness is heightened and the synchronicity of my experiences remind me that I am on the right path. Anyone fortunate enough to enter my space must be in alignment.

2.Manifestation requires honesty.

Excel spreadsheets, office politics, and slacks. These are a few of my least favorite things. Yet I found myself enamored as if they were symbols of a fruitful career. After earning a Master of Communication degree in Australia, I returned home in search of a corporate job. That’s what this expensive piece of paper was for, right? I worked with two multinational media companies before joining an equally known social media agency. I felt secure and excited to work with high-profile clients. That is until I felt unfulfilled one year later. The amount of social media likes and comments that translated to potential revenue no longer motivated me. Sitting in an office all day felt stifling. I needed more purpose (and flexibility) in my professional life. The decision to transition into the nonprofit industry wasn’t easy, but necessary for my happiness. What followed was two AmeriCorps terms serving the local community to advance environmental stewardship and educational programming. These opportunities even included field components that freed me from my desk! There was something undeniably set in motion. Currently, I work remotely with an organization that literally saves lives daily. The moment I chose to be honest with my desires, the universe made space for me to take meaningful action. I attracted everything I asked for because I was truthful and didn’t waiver in what was meant for me.

3.Discipline is a major key.

My obsession with journals started in middle school when I’d beg mum for the next one before scribbling on every page. I didn’t know then that my experiences as an adult would leave me feeling incomplete like those notebooks. In 2017, a spiritualist advised me to find a therapist for long-term support; this is when discipline took the place of avoidance and I was set on a path to wholeness. Shoutout to the Therapy for Black Girls directory, where I found my incredible therapist. The version of myself that showed up to the first session was filled with confusion, loneliness, sorrow, and found solace in victimization. My therapist and I met weekly unpacking traumas and triggers through powerful assignments. I’d meditate before journaling on questions like “Who taught me what about love?” Epiphanies surfaced and led me to identify the root of toxic patterns, appropriately name my emotions, establish boundaries, determine how (and where) I assign value and better understand Who I Want To Be. The greatest lesson thus far has been the integrity of choice. Today, I write this story feeling confident, grounded, joyful, and accountable for my actions. Our sessions have since moved to a monthly schedule because my discipline in doing the work unlocked constant growth.

4. Vibration grows with trust.

If someone told me I would become an entrepreneur, I’d question their thought process. Perhaps this was just a product of my own low-level thoughts. Now I understand that my spirit guides had greater plans than I could immediately envision. During my first Reiki session, the healer did a one-card tarot reading. The Child of Wands. The message was to address my creative restlessness and be confident that I have the prowess to bring my ideas to life. My ancestors also delivered a personal message to the healer, advising she share the I Ching oracle with me. I sat with all this new information and energy, divining with the oracle before brainstorming ideas I had neglected for years. Within two hours, I developed a business plan for what soon became a registered LLC. Whenever I am doubtful of my capabilities or unclear on the next steps, I consult the divine through these tools. I always receive what I need, affirmed by blessings and the angel number 444 which symbolizes spiritual guidance. My thoughts continue to vibrate at a higher level in direct correlation to my growing trust in the universe. Another way of thinking about this is I trust my highest self is unconditionally supported by my spirit guides and our open communication.

5. Everything happens in divine order.

Divine order is similar to the divine calendar as nothing happens before its time. The universal flow is always at work for our greatest good and brings as much grace as we allow. This concept helped me make sense of the most jarring experiences. In 2013, I was misdiagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder. The psychiatrist suggested I was a textbook case so I set off to take medication, join support groups, and own this identity fully. Other times, I was deeply disappointed by the healthcare system. Two clinicians later confirmed I was just a young woman who didn’t know how to deal with all the trauma endured. Although those five years forced me to own a false narrative, I was also pushed to pay attention to my emotions while becoming aware of how I relate to others. Since then, I sought a career that integrates empathy, learned to ask people how they are feeling, recognized pain where signs are otherwise missed and became dedicated to promoting personal healing. Without my own rich experiences with mental health, I wouldn’t be able to acknowledge the various spaces that emotional wellbeing exists. I wouldn’t have discovered the power of spirituality and connection. I wouldn’t have become a healer.

These spiritual lessons strengthened my commitment to self. I eventually honored myself as the source of change and divine communication. From romance to business endeavors, this dynamic improved many parts of my life by highlighting the synergy between spirituality and wellness. And as a result, I discovered different parts of myself and learned how to nourish each one uniquely. I’m now able to mindfully assess my needs, paying close attention to all the information available. I’m not my past experiences, but I damn sure learned from them. I celebrate the woman I’ve become daily and proudly make decisions that answer the calls of the universe. Finally, I get to live my best life.


CONTRIBUTOR BIO

Nya Wilson: Wellness Advocate + Reiki Practitioner. Founder of Dialogue Nyne, dedicated to cultivating emotional wealth and energy renewal within black communities. IG @dialogue.nyne

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