I believe that many women today are yearning to know and to fulfill God’s divine purpose for their lives. They ask themselves, ” Why am I here and what am I called to do?”
As Women Encouraged enters into its third year, I wanted to start by talking to someone who can give us a little glimpse of insight into living life on purpose. Over the years, I have observed her progress from one level to the next level of ministry. Her steps are ordered by the vision that God has placed within her. She never ceases to amaze me and others of what she will do next. Come and join me in this interview…
Tracy: Pastor BJ, having known you for quite a few years now, there is one thing that I know for certain…you are a woman who lives life on purpose. Has it always been that way?
Pastor B J: Fortunately, yet unfortunately no it has not always been this way. The reason I say fortunately is because I now recognize the significant difference and unfortunately because there was valuable time which could have been used more effectively.
I believe that most of us want to know and fulfill God’s purpose for our lives; however, it can often be a challenge to confidently know where to begin. Are there ways that we can identify our purpose?
Pastor BJ: For me, I can identify my purpose with the divine passion that I have for developing, mentoring and provoking others to greatness. Locating within- the value of your gift and your character will allow each of us to assist in the development of others. Taking an honest assessment of strengths and weaknesses gives each of us permission to err with grace and correct with honor.
What factors do you believe hinder women from reaching their fullest potential?
Pastor BJ: Fear and insecurity are key factors which can be ultimate limitations in wholeness and reaching potential goals of success. The fear of the “unknown” can be crippling, while the insecurities in one’s life may cause a dysfunctional reality of who they are destined to become.
What has been some of your challenges as you’ve followed God’s plan for your life?
Pastor BJ: Some of the challenges I have faced as I have followed God’s plan has been the devious attempts to bring harm to my inner peace. I have experienced wounds which have been so painful, had it not been for the presence of the Lord, divine intervention and his mercy, this interview would not be taking place. Being placed in an atmosphere of betrayal caused me to re-evaluate how I reacted to the “fiery darts” which were launched against my past. Ignorance can be a painful lesson. Being reared as an only child, I was not familiar with wounds, betrayal, and jealousy in relationships. Therefore I had to quickly adjust my thought process to “guard my heart”… for out of it came numerous issues of life.
How important is it to have the support of others during the high seasons but in the low seasons as well?
Pastor BJ: A strong support system, I believe, is essential to formulate molecules of strength and encouragement and to stimulate positive actions in our lives. Cheerleaders during the high seasons and caretakers during the low seasons are both essential in diverse seasons in our lives. It is comfortable to have those around you who celebrate your accomplishments and applaud the achievements which are monumental in your life. However, it is also very important to surround yourself with those who understand, recognize and embrace you during the times of discouragement, despair and despondency. I am encouraged when I read the Beatitudes (Matthew 5), as when Jesus was teaching the disciples he addressed the numerous emotions which we all would be faced with and he taught the disciples how to address the diverse areas of life.
Were there ever times when you realized that you had taken a wrong path or made a mistake in your pursuit of purpose? If so, was there something still gained in the process?
Pastor BJ: Most definitely, the abuse of alcohol dulled my senses and delayed my arrival. The substances caused my delivery to not be appreciated. I knew inside the path that I was ordained to take; yet I succumbed to the detour by allowing alcohol to become the prevalent factor in my life. Once I became aware of the sobering fact that I was a functioning alcoholic, I began to take strides to correct my path and gained the respect I so deserved. If anything was gained in the process, it was the fact I can now share with others the pitfalls and encourage others to seek help and guidance and realize your arrival may be delayed, however it is not denied.
What has been most rewarding in living life with and for Jesus?
Pastor BJ: The most rewarding gift for me is to know without a doubt that I am forgiven. I am forgiven from the bad decisions I made in my past. I am forgiven for the situations I placed myself in which were non productive in my life. I am also thankful that the Lord demonstrated through His Word the fact that I must forgive myself. I forgive myself for not treating my body wisely in my youth and for not “listening” to sound advise and Godly counsel. So, yes the most rewarding gift for me is the act of forgiveness in every facet of my life.
What would you say to the woman who feels “stuck” or unfulfilled in her life?
Pastor BJ: I would speak to the vibrancy within her, which the “enemy” has tried to dim with despondency, disillusions and despair. I would speak to the soul of her very being and say, “Arise, for within you are the jewels which the Lord has placed to shine during the darkest hours.” I would say come forth, and I would speak to the wealth of power which lies within her heart. I would say “Breathe”, and speak life to the things which appear to be destroyed, and I would stand in awe as she sheds the spirit of heaviness and adorns herself in the garment of praise.
What words can you leave with us that will encourage and motivate us to make 2011 a year of new direction and purpose?
Pastor BJ: I believe in order to be aligned with the direction and purpose God has for our lives, we must be focused and faint not. Focused; grasping our divine assignment and pursuing our goals with the pant of passion which escapes the heart of those longing to succeed. Secondly, to faint not; giving up is not an option. Frustrations may arise, but I can’t stop. Detours may present themselves, however I cannot cease. It is imperative to remain diligent in the direction the Lord has placed in your life and be disciplined to the purpose in your life. Rev 2:17, states “…To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna…” I desire divine manna from heaven in 2011, and in order to receive this, we must become overcomers. I’m ready what about you?
Tracy: Pastor B J – THANK YOU! As always, you are a blessing.
Dr. Relefourd Co-Pastor’s Vision of Life Ministries with her husband, Pastor Marion Relefourd. She is host of the blog talk radio broadcast Walking in Power, co-host of Gospel Touch television program, Founder of Women of Power and The Acts of Women of Power magazine. She is the proud mother of 2 and nana of 3. You can visit her website at www.women-of-power.org
*This interview was originally published in 2011. Photo Credit: Pastor Marion Relefourd.