Dear Well Watered Women, I have a treat for you.
Today we have a guest blogger, LaTara Ham-Ying.
LaTarah is one of the most authentic women that I'm blessed to know.
God has blessed her to not only live her life in an authentic way but to help other women do so as well. LaTara's passion is to help others live the authentic life the Father has called and created them too.
Please join me in welcoming LaTara to the Well as she walks us through a portion of her journey.
The Wonders of an Epiphany
For me life is always about self-discovery because with that discovery comes growth, power, and strength to move forward in life. My Creator did not give me life to just sit back, twiddle my thumbs through my experiences, and learn absolutely nothing about myself and what He is doing in, with, and through me. No, it always about knowing who you are, where you have been, and where you are going. And most of all you must understand the why.
Last summer I felt compelled to read Maya Angelou: A Glorious Celebration . It is a celebratory biography in honor of Ms Angelou’s 80th year of life. For many of us we would look at 80 as life ending, but I saw life beginning and so much more as I read this wonderful depiction of a life truly lived; and one that continues to live.
I was taken into the world of a woman who I have admired for years and who, through her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings , gave me hope for healing from an abusive past. I have loved Ms Angelou for years and though I have never met her, I always felt that my soul connects to hers in some strange way. Through the words in the book I learned this weekend why I was so connected.
Maya Angelo, who looks very much like my 75 year old aunt and matriarch on my father’s side, is the definition of a self-made woman. Funny thing is so is my aunt who I also greatly admire, and, who many say, I am very much like. We are women with a quiet strength that roars like a lion.
Maya never attended college ( I attended but did not get my degree) but has received numerous honorary degrees and is a college professor. She has traveled the world and never let anything stop her. Her life has become ours through the series of autobiographies and poems she has written over the years. She has shown us what is means to be a Phenomenal Woman and how to stand tall and say “Still I Rise” in the midst of adversity and strife.
For years I thought that Maya Angelou’s fame came at an early age. While it did in so many ways, what she is known for today came at a much later age. She was first a singer, a dancer, and an actor. But is was writing that won her heart. Maya Angelou was near or in her forties, when what we know as fame found her; although she had come into her own in so many ways from the time she was a little girl.
As a little girl, Maya, then known as Marguerite Johnson Angelos, was raped by one her mother’s boyfriends. He, after his trial where she testified, was found dead. He was the victim of unknown assailants that many believed to be her own family. Maya says in the book that she felt like her voice had killed him and so she stopped talking for about 6 years. It was through poetry that she found her voice.
What struck me was the fact that I too found my voice through writing, poetry to be exact. However, that was just one parallel that helped me to see why we I felt so connected to a woman I have never met. We both love people, relationships, making a difference, and our children with a passion. We love having gatherings, cooking, and sharing about God who is our Creator without judging others. We are transparent, open, and ready to share our experiences to help our fellow man.
It was during my weekend of connecting to Maya through words that I had an epiphany of Who I Am as I rounded the corner to the end of the book. As I was reading the last chapter, tears started to flow and I couldn’t help but to just say thank you to God. It was as if my life opened up before me and I felt a peace that truly does pass all understanding. I was truly in a moment with God as I read each word. Of all I read in the last chapter, it was the words of Ms. Angelou’s son, Guy (written as a dedication to her in his first book), that struck me the most, causing an overflow of joyous tears:
“You have taught me there is no end of learning, to growing, to reaching higher, to pursuing the right path, and perhaps greater, that all pursuits are lost if there is no love, no investment in others”( Guy Johnson, Standing at the Scratching Line, Random House, 1998)
That is when I knew, this is Who I Am. I strive to learn, grow, and reach everyday. I have been on a discovery of self for quite some time and thank God, today I really saw it. You see I am more than wife, a mom, and someone’s daughter. I am God’s creation first and foremost with a sure destiny and purpose; and then, I am ME. I can never forget that. If I lose who I am then I lose all that God has created me to be.
I love making a difference in life and sharing who I am, in hopes that I too can show someone that all is not lost. You just have to get up and go find it. It is waiting. I too believe that to be in pursuit of something for selfish gain, is a lonely way to live and means absolutely nothing if you don’t care about others along the way.
Writing is like breathing to me and that is why I know I could never give it up. I may never be a famous writer as I hope to be; that depends on the road God has for me. However, like Maya I will never stop using words to make a difference.
God has given me the skill and talent of creative communication with the gifts of encouragement, leadership, wisdom and discernment to know ho to use it. Right now it is through natural health and proactive living; and yes, even in my poetry that I still dabble in.
This is who I am!
Let me encourage you today, my sister, that if you are reading this and you are in the midst of discovering who you are in God’s eyes and in your own, there is a path that is yours and yours alone. You can have an Epiphany just like I did. Start creating your map today! Join me over at Pathways to Authentic Living and let’s start creating your map today.
LaTara Ham-Ying is a wife, mom, entrepreneur, and authentic woman living for God. As a Bible Study teacher, Christian curriculum creator, women’s speaker and devotion writer, LaTara has worked many years simply trying to do what God wills for her life. Her latest project is Pathways to Authentic Living http://www.pathwaystoauthenticliving.com