Today, Andrea speaks to us about working through anger, healing, making room for tears, boundaries and poise.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I was surrounded by the arts. I grew up in Shaker Heights, OH which is a suburb of Cleveland. Cleveland is a city known for music and the arts, and I was planted right in the middle of it all. Whether that was through dancing, modeling, acting, or playing an instrument, I was in it-and loved it. Outside of school, I was acting in theatrical productions, modeling for commercials, and performing in dance competitions. My parents enrolled us in music, science, math, and literacy programs that enriched our minds and allowed us to express ourselves creatively. Inside the brick walls of Lomond Elementary School, I was hiding in the library writing stories, reading books, and studying in my purple Bible. Recess was my time to be by myself and recharge because I knew a lot of people and could easily make friends. I only liked to be outside for recess if I was left alone to admire the flowers, read a book, and write peacefully in my journal. I loved Sunday mornings because that meant my grandmother, (we lived on the same street as my mother’s parents), would be picking us up to go to church. But on Saturdays, rather than playing the latest video games with my siblings or watching an episode of SpongeBob on Nickelodeon, I was scrapbooking, crocheting, writing songs and poetry. I was nurturing my imagination. This did not make me any better than anyone else, but I knew I was different for my young age. I enjoyed sitting at the feet of my elders to listen to their stories, even if I wasn’t supposed to be in the room. I was fascinated by how my great-aunts dressed and carried themselves with such strength, poise, and dignity. I was enamored by the diction in my grandmother’s voices. I studied the manner in which my grandfathers greeted one another and worked tirelessly with their bare hands. I was constantly inspired by the many things around me and in my environment. My siblings and I were very creative and adventurous children. I wrote everything down in the many journals I carried with me. My childhood is the reason I have such a vast imagination. I also encountered Jesus Christ at a very young age which has resulted in me being so grounded in my faith to this day.
“I enjoyed sitting at the feet of my elders to listen to their stories, even if I wasn’t supposed to be in the room. I was fascinated by how my great-aunts dressed and carried themselves with such strength, poise, and dignity.”
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: I would like to share two: Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Isaiah 35:1-2, “The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.”
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Recently, someone close to me gently expressed that I have anger inside of me, and I broke down crying. I never thought of myself as an angry person, but I am so easily irritated. The Bible speaks specifically on anger, and I was in denial. I did not think I was still angry at the people and situations that hurt me or caused trauma in my life. My spiritual growth focus at the moment is leaving anger, resentment and the need for control at God’s feet.
Profession/Mission: “A seed of poise planted on purpose.” I have a degree in Cinematic Arts/Film & Video with an extensive background in the performing arts. This includes acting, modeling, singing, dancing, and writing. I own Poised with Purpose Co. which is a small business platform created to inspire, uplift, and educate people all over the world through literacy, style, etiquette and faith-based topics. I produce journals, prayer cards, video content, jewelry, and other stationery items on my Etsy shop and YouTube channel.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? I actually would have to keep this idea to myself! My memoir is an ongoing work in progress! I hope once it is finished in my latter years, you will support and read it!
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I have had God at the center of my life since I was very young. I remember being around 6 years old reading a book in my granny’s home that I thought was simply a fairytale storybook, but go figure! I was reading the Bible! Although the stories fascinated me, I was also terrified. I did not understand Jesus’ crucifixion, so I asked a lot of questions in vacation Bible school, to my parents, and my elders. I also talked to God through nature. On one particular day, I decided to study the trees and ask God questions. He would answer me through the trees. I know it sounds strange, but what was even more peculiar was there wasn’t any wind. The branches and leaves would dance and swing around whenever I asked Him a question. I was filled with so much peace, gentleness, and understanding of His character just from those conversations. I kept a journal and instead of addressing it as “Dear Diary,” I wrote “Dear God.”
How would you describe Jesus? Jesus is the best friend I could never find in any human being here on Earth. He is the greatest, truest, and purest love I have ever known. The author and finisher of our faith couldn’t be truer!
How has your relationship with Him changed you? I have a better outlook, perspective, and understanding of who I am in Christ. I do not have to defend myself to those who continuously and purposefully misunderstand or betray me. My boundaries, morals, and self-respect are all rooted and grounded in Him. I am no longer concerned about being right or explaining “my side” to people. God has broken so many chains in my life for me, like the bondage of anxiety. He is renewing my mind, heart, and spirit daily. He has shown me forgiveness countless times, and He continues to show me how to forgive others quickly. I no longer have the desire to compromise my relationship with Him to fulfill a friendship, relationship, career goal, or achieve temporary earthly success. Even though I have some really depressing moments, I have everlasting joy in Him.
“My boundaries, morals, and self-respect are all rooted and grounded in Him. I am no longer concerned about being right or explaining ‘my side’ to people.”
What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? God has been there with me through every single trial, tribulation, mountain, and downfall. I have experienced a plethora of traumatic situations, but the most recent dark moment in my life was a battle with depression last year. There are people who have hurt me horribly in my youth, and all the way through college. From being called a “devil child” by an aunt, to mourning difficult deaths and a national murder case, to back-to-back friendship betrayals, to healing from sexual assault, to dealing with a traumatic four-year college experience, the list goes on and on. I was truly deceiving myself when I was convinced I’d already dealt with my unforgiveness, anger, and bitterness.
Everything had begun to build up, and the pandemic was the cherry on top. I was unable to film my Senior thesis for my last year in college, and I had become very ill. There was a lot I was dealing with, and I felt as though I would never be free from the cycle of overthinking about the situations I could not control. I have always had to be the “strong” one, holding myself together as well as everybody else. I was in a pit of darkness, and I knew something was wrong. I did not believe in a future for myself anymore, and all I wanted to do was stay in bed. I could hear the whispers from the Holy Spirit, but I felt completely numb to everything. God was there every step of the way and so were my loved ones. Now that I am in a better headspace, I am able to see God’s hands in it all. I knew God was there, but I had to hit rock bottom in order to release my need for control. Overthinking and having a heart of unforgiveness will lead you down a road of depression, but if you put your trust in God, He will deliver you. He has done that very thing for me, and now I have another chapter to share in my testimony.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Believe it or not, crying has helped me grow. One of my favorite Bible verses is Ecclesiastes 3:4-14 which says, “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.”
Holding in tears does no good for one’s soul. I conditioned myself not to cry for years after all of the trauma I had experienced. After I begged God in prayer to help me to cry again, I have been crying so much more often. Although it may not feel good at that moment, it has helped me to grow and move through pain in a healthier way. I run to God will my tears and He feeds, replenishes, and comforts me.
“I run to God will my tears and He feeds, replenishes, and comforts me.”
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I recently read through a faith-based book called “A Lovely Life” by Melissa Michaels. I learned that in every season we’re in, we can experience joy, choose joy, and glorify God in all that we do… even in how we decorate our homes!
Top three essentials:
● Bible & prayer
How did God speak to you recently? God told me to walk away from a job that was no longer supposed to be in my season of life. It was a real slap to the face the way the situation occurred, but I know God has something better for me. He always knows what is best, and I had to listen to His “go.”
Hobby: I suppose anything to do with scrapbooking, poetry, crafting, and creating! Poised with Purpose Co. started out as a way of combining all of my passions and hobbies. I also discovered I am pretty decent at playing pickleball!
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
● Remain constant, consistent, and persistent in prayer.
● Talk to and journal to God daily about any and everything.
● Have a community (in-person, online, church, family, etc) that will hold you accountable, pray for and with you, and encourage you.
Favorite person in scripture? My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? No matter how broken, damaged, sensitive, lonely, depressed, or sinful you are, God loves and cares for you. He protects us and redeems us. You have never strayed too far away from the God Who created you. I want people to see God’s light, His sense of humor, and His lovingkindness when they look at me. I also want people to know that God will not be mocked, and that vengeance is His. The strength of the Lord sustains me, and I want people to learn who their Savior is through my platform.
How do you engage with your community? I would like to be able to engage more with my community! Growing up, I volunteered in nursing homes, participated in vacation Bible school, and joined gardening clubs. Due to the pandemic, it has been difficult to feel comfortable being around larger groups of people again, however, I aspire to get back into volunteering. What I do now is create greeting cards/prayer cards for co-workers and neighbors through my small business. I engage with my online community through YouTube and Instagram the most!
Favorite holiday? Thanksgiving and Easter are tied!
A goal you have? To film and produce my senior thesis film “Solace”.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: During the Christmas season, my family always pulls out my grandmothers’ recipe box to make Christmas cookies. We use the recipes from that box for all of the Christmas dishes as well! I hope to continue it in my future family.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? Can I just hug you, Lord?
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Conviction and shame are not the same thing. Shame and negative connotations come from Satan. Conviction is a good sign that the Holy Spirit is thriving in you, and that you need to repent, (to turn away from sin). The road of repentance is a good thing in the eyes of the Lord.
What does your morning routine consist of? Mornings are my favorite part of my day because I am an early riser and I can accomplish more in my day when I have a gentler start. I am subscribed to a Youtube channel called “Grace for Purpose Prayers,” in which I try to listen to a video every morning. I send the videos to my loved ones as well. I also study in my devotionals, complete a page in my Bible word search, chat with God, journal, and read the Word. Sometimes I do this while having breakfast. I like to open my curtains in the mornings to look outside in our backyard. After that, I prepare to do my skincare routine!
What is on your nightstand?
● My Bible bag consists of: my Bible, 2 devotionals, 2 journals, a Bible Word search, and a pen;
● A mason jar of water; and
● Artificial flowers and my favorite books.
Define Christianity in a sentence: The lifelong, narrow-pathed journey to salvation which means a life of repentance, picking up your cross, and building a relationship with Jesus Christ.
For more Andrea:
Business Instagram: @ poisedwithpurpose.co
Canvas Rebel Interview.
Voyage Ohio Interview.
Until next time, keep witnessing!
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