A Word of Encouragement

I want you to meet the men and women in my life who have
encouraged, mentored, challenged, and empowered me
throughout my journey.

As they share a bit of their wisdom, journey, and heart,
May their words provide hope and power to you as it did for me.

( I will try to update every time I post so stay tuned! ☺)

OLIVIA K. | Attorney

Advice to my younger self:

Live for the audience of one and see yourself the way God sees you.  God knows everything about me, the good and the bad, and He still calls me His beloved child. Although I am not perfect and He knows my shortcomings, He still loves me deeply.  The opinions of others don’t matter anymore when I know that I am seen and loved by my creator. 


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that God has a plan for me even when I don’t know those plans.  I was always the one that liked to have a plan and be in control.  It gave me a sense of comfort because I felt like if I methodically planned my next moves, I would never be caught off guard or unprepared.  However, I have come to learn that there is no way I can plan my next steps to perfection because I don’t know what lies ahead of me.  I have come to learn my limitations and have realized that I can’t rely on my imperfect plans, but I need to live with vision and guidance from God.  This is so incredibly humbling but also so comforting because I have come to learn that God’s plans are perfect.  Instead of relying on my imperfect plans that give me a false sense of security, I choose to trust in God’s plans and timing for I know they are perfect. 

1. What advice or word would you give you your younger self?

Such a tough question.There is so much i would tell the younger me and this list would be endless. I would tell myself to study more, to not be lazy, to not make this dumb decision and etc. However above everything there is just one thing i would want relay to the younger me and it is to spend time to truly find yourself. Spend time exploring your heart, your soul and grow confidence in who you are in this world but most importantly who you are in him. Chase after and be hungry for that certainty and live out whatever it is he reveals to you the best you can.

2. What is a truth that has encouraged and/ or anchored you in your life?

A constant truth that has gotten me to where i am today and that allows me to keep moving forward is in Matthew 7:13-14. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life and those who find it are few.” Living this life God gave us was never meant to be easy because if it was, to me it wouldn’t be worth it. It is the growth through the struggles and hardships that allow me to truly become more of the man he has intended for me to be. It is a life where nothing in this world worth having becomes easy.

When I reflect on a truth that has encouraged and anchored me thus far in this life I am brought to this simple and yet complex idea that I am seen and known by God, that God sees the individual amongst the collective. You see, growing up I’ve always deeply resonated with this idea that I live on the outliers, the outskirts of this life. Always within and without. I wrestled deeply with the understanding that I am made to understand and yet not be understood. There are probably many different aspects of life that have contributed to this innate feeling of never really being quite understood or seen by others. Perhaps life experiences like being a CODA (child of Deaf adults), being raised by a societally marginalized community, being the oldest in my family, or being a female of color has contributed to this internal struggle of experiencing what it means to be seen and understood by God or by others. Regardless, I found great solace in reading the stories of individuals and collective groups of people who were relegated to the margins of society and were still tangibly seen and known by God. Stories such as Naomi and Ruth, Raheb, Hagar, and Hannah, brought me encouragement that individual experiences of being seen by God are important and necessary to the story of us all.

This truth has been reflected to me time and time again. Through the seasons in which I felt the least seen, heard, or understood, God has made evident that it was indeed the opposite and that He saw me and was going to see me through. Whether through a word or gift from another person or through His divine word in our conversations, that feeling of being on the outside looking in was always brought to a peace knowing that I am just as much a part of the story. I recall each instance of blessing so vividly because it was a profound reminder that there is a place for me here, a purpose not as just an individual but connected to the greater whole as was originally intended. In this way I feel grounded as a believer that regardless of where I find myself, I am seen. That is the truth that I would encourage you with today that no matter where you find yourself, you are always somehow seen, known, and understood. There is a purpose to you, to us, together. Even further, we are often how He chooses to ensure that all of us are seen. 

I hope you might find that same encouragement in the story of Hagar as I do. Hagar lived on the outliers of her society and was cast aside quite easily. However, she was seen by God in the desert and as a result was blessed with entire generations, an entire community borne from her. Genesis 16:13 13 So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,”[d] for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”[e] 

1. What advice or word would you give your younger self? 

Don’t regret the past. Don’t worry about the future. Just thank God for the blessings He gave you today (even if you feel like you can’t count any) and trust in Him. He holds your world in the palm of His hands. He is faithful-He was, is, and is to come. He is the great I am. He is the best architect that can design your life. Just thank Him for who He is and enjoy what’s given to you right now!

2. What is a truth that has encouraged and/or anchored you in your life? 

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2. 

When I was 20 weeks pregnant with my second child, I had severe pain in the lower abdomen that triggered me to go into Labor & Delivery ward. For over 15 hours, the doctors and nurses couldn’t figure out what was wrong. After lots of blood tests and ultrasounds, we found multiple kidney stones on both of my kidneys and the biggest one being 1.4cm. The doctors said that I needed an emergency procedure STAT to remove the stones– otherwise, there will be complications. The doctors scheduled an emergency surgery for the next morning. I never had any medical procedures done in my life, so I was scared for myself, but more than anything, I was scared that should anything go wrong, I would lose my 20 week old son before even meeting him; and that my 2 year old daughter will lose her mother, and my husband will be widowed. If I died…I was afraid that my parents would be devastated, and my brother full of anger. 
The night before my procedure, I was left alone in my hospital room (hospital wouldn’t allow my 2 year old to stay over night so my husband had to go back home). I was SCARED for my life and my baby’s life. I was in complete chaos. But then… suddenly, in my heart, I began to hear the hymn “Turn your eyes upon Jesus”. It goes:Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look Full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace. After singing this hymn over and over, I gained complete peace and I opened my Bible and the first verse that came into my sight is Isaiah 12:2. Nothing else matters in the perspective of eternity. What matters is that God is my salvation and in Him, there is nothing to fear. I was emboldened and encouraged by my faithful Father who whispered to me as my fears completely subsided… “My precious daughter, turn your eyes and look at me. I am here. I love you.” 

What advice or word would you give your younger self?

“Carpe Diem”

:enjoy of the pleasures of the moment
without concern for the future

:Seize the day

What is a truth that has encouraged and/or anchored you in your life?

” This too shall pass”

JOYCE C. | Phd Student

Advice to my younger self: 

After being on the better end of some difficult trials, I can only tell my younger self to practice breathing and maintain integrity. Life has its ways sometimes; God does not reveal exactly what His plan is, but there are certain truths that I know: God is faithful, God is all-knowing, and God has a plan. If I step into this wild adventure with God, I am equally called to deal with the ups AND downs. While I can say I’m pretty good at thriving (living my best life, lol), I also know I’m struggle with the unexpected/lacking control. All is well with soul today is because I learned to breathe and dive in. 

On the other hand, I wish I really knew that it was okay to be true to myself. The lies of the world and uncertainty somehow creeped into my life at times, but I am who I am — the world has to accept me as I accept me. 

Truth I am anchored on: 

There are so many truths that have anchored my life, but the verse I live by is John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” After learning that God has come to bring peace, love, joy and all the good stuff, I committed to living my life fully. In other words, I try to live without regrets because God has given me this life on Earth as a privilege. This doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes; I pretty much stumble my way through life. But, as I walk my life with him daily (though I’m guilty of not acknowledging him daily), I fundamentally believe that God has called me to choose life — and to thrive in it

What advice or word would you give your younger self?

What wouldn’t I say to my younger self haha. My husben works with athletes in a college ministry and something they tell their athletes all the time is “Play for an audience of One.” I would tell my younger self the same thing, “Live for an audience of One.” It’s not about how popular you are, it’s not about what people think of you, it’s not about them and it’s not even really about you. It’s about Jesus and how you are living and serving for Him. Live for an audience of One. It takes all the pressure off and you get to live a life of freedom. 

What is a truth that has encouraged and/or anchored you in your life?

Even still, God is good. In the midst of seasons of blessing, it’s pretty easy to say to agree with “God is good.” It’s hard not to see the goodness of God in those moments. But when things are hard, when life is hard, when there’s deep injustice in our country and the world, it is way harder to say “God is good.” But the truth of the matter is, even still, He is good. He is faithful and good. I may not understand it, I may not see it, and I may never understand or see it in my lifetime, but its a truth I need to hold onto to walk this life in all its chaos. 

Check out Val’s Blog: https://valerieawpierce.com
Her amazing business: https://kindredandco.net/kindred-planner

What advice or word would you give your younger self?

You don’t need to seek the approval of man. When you seek the approval of man you burn out, fear man, and can stop the Spiritual things from happening – not worth it. Resist the temptation for approval or recognition. But make every effort to have the right attitude of servitude. I don’t “have to,” but I “get to.”

What is a truth that has encouraged and/or anchored you in your life?

Life has never been easy for me, but I keep pushing through because I believe that those who kneel before God can stand against anything and anyone! And on those days when I do slip into the dark …where I feel so small, unworthy, and alone, I remind myself that God loves me so much that He himself came down to earth to rescue me. That my life cost Jesus’s life. Therefore, the life I live is not my life. It is God’s and every day I strive to give my full dependency to Him.