Blog: Heart of A Woman

The Ministry of Marriage by Jill King

Newlyweds Lee and Jill King.

Newlyweds Lee and Jill King.

People talk about marriage being hard all the time. They don’t necessarily expound on the claim, they just throw it out into the universe as a generic cliche. It’s an unfair thing to say without explanation, really. Do they mean that life is hard? Being single is hard. Being in a complicated relationship is hard. But how can marriage in general be flippantly classified as “hard” when each one is unique, just as we are unique individuals? Whether it’s the truth or not, I wish it wasn’t ingrained into the minds of young people who haven’t had a chance to experience it for themselves, it kind of puts a damper on such an amazing gift.

I wasn’t nervous, not one bit. Waking up that day was 1,000 times more exciting than Christmas morning. June 21, 2015 marked the one year anniversary of when I walked down the aisle to say yes to my man for-ev-er. My sheer euphoria protected my makeup from becoming tarnished by streams of tears. It was a fun day. I intentionally kept it as low maintenance as possible. Sisters for bridesmaids, no caravans of girls or video crews following all day to watch me transform into a smokin’ bride, no embroidered anything to give to my biggest fans. I had plenty of showers, and tea parties, and everything else short of a quinceanera leading up to my wedding, so my focus that day was all about family, old and new. It was exactly how I wanted it, and it was beautiful indeed.

After one year, my hope is that I’ve grown and matured, especially as I have ventured into this new role of becoming a wife. My desire is that I would not reinforce the euphemism that marriage is “hard” because it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Like any life transition though, marriage presents opportunities for pruning and growth. I haven’t come up with an extensive list of what I’ve learned or surprises I have encountered, but I have gotten a better idea of how God might use marriage to bless community, and God has been faithful to strengthen me through a Godly man.

Twenty-somethings are encouraged to savor their years of singlehood because it’s the most selfish time of life. Marriage is the proposed rude awakening of this said selfishness, and learning to be a selfless servant to one’s spouse is supposed to be real tough. But what I have observed is that married couples are perhaps more susceptible to struggle with selfishness together as one. The awesome thing about getting married is that, yes, two become one, but one marriage with double the capacity to serve others. When you are head over heels for someone, it should be natural to want to care for and serve them–it brings joy to make the people you love feel loved. But as a couple, we are called to become servants to others together. Marriage is a ministry. This doesn’t look the same for all families, but for Lee and me, we want to have an open home to others. We learned early on, in our tiny one bedroom apartment that we really enjoyed having people over for dinner above anything else on the weekend. It is easy when life gets demanding to retreat to the home as a safe and private space to escape the world, but when I dream about how God might use us as a couple, I think about having an open door to host and feed people who are hungry. My flesh fails when I seek the comfort of my husband and I stop sharing our home and closing off from others.

Another profound experience I’ve had within marriage is the daily walk with someone who sincerely lives out their faith. Being married to Lee has given me a healthy perspective of spiritual leadership within marriage that many of us have heard about growing up. Marrying a “spiritual leader” was also one of those ambiguous concepts that got tossed around but was not as clearly defined as a Proverbs 31 wife. It comes naturally for Lee because of his love for God and his desire to always grow deeper. We don’t have Bible study every morning before work, and he doesn’t check in on me or quiz me about my spiritual disciplines. He simply draws me closer to Jesus through his love and example. This can create an obstacle as well. Sometimes I have to re-center myself and see that I love Jesus in Lee, I can go to Lee with every concern because He is following God and listens to the spirit, but I have to remember to bring my cares first to Jesus. His example makes me want to strengthen my faith. I receive love in a brand new way from Christ because when Lee forgives me and extends grace, I know it’s because of Christ in him. It’s awesome. There’s no formula for spiritual leadership, it’s all about being drawn closer to one another as we draw closer to Christ.

Just like every other year of life, the road we have traveled since last June has been a winding one, but it’s been one of the most rewarding, transforming years of my life. I look forward to growing our family and our ministry, and listening for direction on how God would continue to use the King’s to love one another and our community for as long as we both shall live.

Jill RobertsJill King is the Glocal Impact local pastor at Northwood Church in Keller, Texas. She mobilizes the church to engage in the city through building relationships in the context of local ministry. Jill graduated in 2010 with a degree in social work from Baylor University, which is where she developed her passion and interest in engaging inner city populations. Follow Jill on Twitter via @ChristinaJill.

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About A Woman’s Business: Cierra Bickel by Renee Berry

Cierra Bickel, About A Woman's Business living life with purpose to model what's possible for others.

Cierra Bickel, About A Woman’s Business living life with purpose to model what’s possible for others.

Who: Cierra Bickel, 25 years old.

Where: I am from Reading, Pennsylvania.

What does your average day look like? My days mostly consist of working. I work two part time jobs which average about 65 hours per week. I am a sales coordinator which is the start of my career field and passion in life, hospitality. I have been working at a hospital for five years as a guest service agent. My days are long and most of the time very rewarding, fun, and exciting. Some days are stressful and full of ignorance, attitude, and frustration. I care for my autistic nephew and my nieces on a weekly basis when I am not working. I do try and get some time to myself or with my best friend Shaasia which I enjoy the most.

Being a single woman at 25 is great, yet very stressful, as I focus on my career yet feel pressure to settle down and meet that “perfect one”. Balancing everything is the most challenging. I am a recent graduate of Drexel University with a bachelors in Hospitality Management. Though I do love my job, I miss college life, as adulthood is definitely harder than I expected. I am striving to be a National Sales VP or President of a large company one day but for now I live my crazy lifestyle paying off enormous amounts of student loans and all my monthly bills that come along with being a responsible adult.

What inspires you? My inspiration comes from my nieces and nephews. I have 13 and just found out I am going to be a great aunt this coming December. I am the only one of my brother and sisters to graduate college and have a career path. My nieces and nephews are so important to me because I want to be their role model and show them all the possibilities in life they have and can have. I strive to complete my life goals, stay positive, and give them good guidance in a not-so-perfect world. When I have thoughts of how hard life is, or why something bad happens to me and makes me want to give up, I think of them and all the opportunities I have already opened for them and it makes me push even harder.

What cause is close to your HEART? Autism Speaks is dear to my heart. My nephew Donavin has been diagnosed with mild autism and I fight for him.

Do you have any Advice for women today? To all young woman out there who feel their situation is bad and they can not get out, just push, it’s possible if your willing!

Heart of a Woman Blogger Renee Berry.

Heart of a Woman Blogger Renee Berry.

Renee A. Berry (formerly known as Renee A. Simons) is a newly married, lifestyle writer and member of the AWB Network, serving as a blogger for the “Heart of a Woman” weekly blog. Her loves include family, friends, design arts, fashion and a growing obsession with hair and its impact on today’s media, culture and community. Her quirky personal stories, plus hair and beauty product reviews, can be found on her blog “Curls and Clothes,” as well as the websites of Old School 100.3 and Praise 103.9 Philadelphia radio stations. Connect with Renee on Twitter and Instagram.

Have a story idea or feedback about something you read on “Heart of a Woman”? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Contact us at or leave a comment.

A Life Well-Lived by Zandi Mqwathi

handsIn the mid-1970s, apartheid, a system of racial segregation, was firmly entrenched in South Africa. Leaders of anti-apartheid movements had been imprisoned or forced from the country following the 1960 banning of the African National Congress, leaving little organized internal opposition to the government. This changed after the Soweto uprising of June 1976.

The Soweto uprising, also referred to as the Soweto riots or Soweto rebellion, began as a student protest against an act mandating that students learn Afrikaans, which South African blacks saw as the language of their oppressors. Beginning in April 1976, many students in Soweto started boycotting school. A group then organized a mass protest for June 16th. That morning, thousands of students began walking to the rally’s meeting place, the Orlando soccer stadium.

I currently live in Soweto which is home to a lot of heroes and heroines of the struggle of liberation, where sadly what began as an innocent march ended in tears and death still felt by many. Every June, our nation takes the time to commemorate the 1976 Youth of Soweto so last month I considered it an honor and a divine appointment when I was invited to the Sowetan Dialogue to reflect on the freedom of today’s youth.

Unfortunately, I had to leave early to attend to my recovering son. However the encounter that followed turned out to be the real “divine appointment” as I met a lovely, graceful woman in her old age, maybe in her late-80’s. Her wrinkled, fragile, yet calm, hands seemed so skilled as if they were an archive of experiences, which catapulted me into my own personal reflection: Are the South African youth of today really free? In what ways have we benefited from the toil of this woman’s hands? Has it been for selfish gain or to accomplish something we will be remembered for?

I began to challenge myself, asking, what I would need to do in order to live a meaningful life while enjoying my youth so I have no regrets in old age? Will media, friends, trends still count me worthy in her age or will I just be an old woman who used to live an exciting life once upon a time? Will my ex-boyfriends even still remember me and if they do, what exactly about me will they remember?

My beauty? No dear, that fades away like a rose in a garden, here today and gone tomorrow.

Oh, I know! They will remember my sense of style, my taste for all good things. No! That will also be gone, that will be the “once used to be” sassy, stylish and trendy.

Well I know they will remember my passion, intellect and capacity to speak and reason. No! Not even that! Since people will have access to information at their fingertips.

I know. They will remember my devotion to my Maker, how even though I struggled, I committed to living for Christ, serving Him with my skills and talents and how I finally became a good steward of all that He blessed me with, a good, godly wife and mother who shared all she learned with other women and men for true liberation against the struggles of poverty, depression, confusion and self-sabotage.

That ladies, is a life well-lived. At least, I think it is.

What legacy do you want to leave for generations after you? How will you be remembered?

dF0zp2tv_400x400Zandi Mqwathi is a dynamic young leader residing in Soweto, South Africa with passion to empower girls and young women. Currently a full time scholar at Drama for Life, Wits School of Arts in the field of Applied Theatre and Drama, Zandi is working towards an Advanced Diploma in Arts while serving as a blogger for the International Press Service (IPS) and a part time consultant for Soul City Institute.

I’m ready for a Revolution.