Just after midday Tuesday, Tonia Woody took to her Facebook page.
There, the opportunistic Woody sensed it was the appropriate time to encourage the masses.
Said Woody in a rather inspiring, thought-provoking post:
“You are an incomparable person! Just like everyone, you’ve got many strengths and weaknesses but you definitely have much more strengths! You are not ashamed of all your character traits and that’s exactly what makes you so unique. You are a strong person and nothing can get you down easily!”
For Woody, a 44-year-old corporate America professional and native of Memphis, growing up, never was she taught to become a product of her environment. If nothing else, she was taught to set the standard, to raise the bar, the see from where she was.
You know…to maximize her fullest, God-given potential.
Given the immense strides she’s made both in the natural and spiritual realms, it’s safe to assume that Woody has steadfastly gone to great lengths to possess and savor the abundant life Christ to give us.
“I was raised to believe in the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit,” Woody told longtime journalist during a recent interview.
And because of devout, assertive, bend-but-don’t-break faith in Almighty God, she’d be the first to admit that her life has never been the same.
In Jesus Name.
Having been raised in a Christian-oriented household in which attending church regularly wasn’t merely an option, but rather a pre-requisite, of sorts, for not enduring the wrath of her parents, Woody doesn’t shy away from the notion that her life has never been the same ever since she sold out completely to God.
That’s because today, unlike never before, Woody has adopted the mindset that suggest, among other things, she’s destined to exercise her faith regardless of whatever trials and unfavorable circumstances surface in her life.
In other words, come hell or high water, no one can make her doubt Him because, well…you know the rest.
“My mother always said no matter what, we will be at church on every Sunday and very active in the growth of my spirituality,” Woody explained. “(I was in) Bible study on Tuesday night. I was on the usher board and I also was in the choir.”
More than two decades removed since the death of her mother, Woody, to her credit, clung to the pivotal life lessons by which her mother taught her.
For starters, she functioned diligently in the ministry, having served as an armor-bearer/adjutant to her spiritual mother, Elder JoeElla McIntyre.
“I was taught to believe in God’s word and that prayer always solves any issue that arises,” Woody said. “Regardless of how I feel, God is all-knowing and He is with me always.”
Such a notion surely rings true to this very day for Woody, a 1990 Memphis Northside High graduate.
Although she is actively seeking a ministry that will greatly enable her to help advance the kingdom, Woody is a licensed minister, having cleared yet another spiritual hurdle her parents had envisioned ever since she was child growing up in the inner city.
“My father always taught me to always be true to myself and to love me,” Woody said. “He taught me to be independent and to always depend (on God. (Following my mother’s demise) my dad was my supporter. (He often said) ‘If you not going to do right by it or be true, do not mess with it.’”
Having accepted her calling at 21 years of age, Woody admittedly has held faith to the wisdom and wholesome advice of her father, particularly as it pertained to enduring adversity and hardships in the ministry.
“My testimony is overcoming obstacles of church hurt,” Woody explained. “When you feel that you should be covered and to be treated with respect and dignity, and find out that your covering really doesn’t care about you nor pray for you, church hurt is a devastating issue.”
Still, in the wake of having witnessed her faith be placed on trial through ministry, Woody would be the first to tell you that the way her life is set up, she’s armed with that proverbial God-infused power to cross-examine any of the enemy’s customary attacks.
Heck, truth be told, that’s practically how she was raised.
Anyway, it’s business as usual for this dynamically beautiful, godly woman of color.
“I love to serve and this is my calling and my passion,” Woody said. “And whatever gift that God has given you, nurture it, protect it and flow through it with the power of the Holy Spirit, and never allow yourself or anyone to put you down or say that is not your gift when you know God says it is.”
Let the church say Amen.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are a pastor or minister, entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, or model who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter for the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Johnson is the former chief adjutant to Elder Andrew Jackson, Sr. of Faith Temple Ministries COGIC in Memphis. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, call him at 901-690-6587 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.