It’s time for another Unabashed Woman post! This post is extra special to me because it was a comment that Tona left on this post that inspired me to start The Unabashed Woman Series. Two big things stand out to me about her testimony. 1) Despite failure she never gave up. 2) She continued to seek God through it all. Enough of me chatting, here’s her unabashed story. . .
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Embracing Failure One Step at a Time
How It All Started
A special poetic gift was imparted upon me on the day I received the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior.
Now of course this gift wasn’t recognized immediately. But over time, it was soon recognized. It all started with me making up silly songs in the car as my siblings and I passed the time. It then turned into short devotional songs for my younger brothers and sisters and writing poems for anniversaries and birthdays for close friends and family. And, finally, into my first book.
These poems and songs easily came to me. As I got older and more seasoned in my faith, I started journaling my prayers—which most times turned into separate poems. Journaling my prayers was necessary for me because it gave me the chance to really pour out my heart to the Lord. I wrote many poems during these times, and as time went on I started to become more intentional about writing them at least once a week. Currently, I write one poem at least once a month.
Embracing Failure Along the Way
You may be asking what actually lead me to write my first book. I can tell you that it didn’t come without many failures along the way. It started with a wall art picture from a store called: Kirkland Home.
My husband and I went out to buy decorations to put up in our home. After a week, the wall art still sat in the corner of our living room, and we realized we probably could have used the money on something else. So we traveled back to Kirkland Home and sat in the parking lot of the store debating on whether to take it back or not. We quickly realized that we should return the items.
It was during this discussion that we came up with the idea of creating our own wall art. We thought if we took my poetic gifts and my husband’s gifts of photography and technology, we may have something special. Long story short, we created a few mockups and showed them to friends and family. Instantly, people wanted to purchase—at least in the beginning.
We took our talents to the masses and sold photography and poetry online. It took many efforts of trying to capture our target audience, as well as being pleasing to the eye. My husband developed a total of three different websites—all with the hopes of selling off our wonderful products. We paid money for our logo, advertising, business cards, supplies, and a yearly fee to a company that could ship all our products to our customers around the country.
With all this effort, do you know how many people actually bought from our new improved site? Just three people. We made a whopping grand total of $6.00. This was probably one of our most devasting experiences because we both, especially myself, felt like failures.
My husband, though, always remained optimistic. We continued to seek the Lord. After a year, we finally realized it was probably a good idea to cancel our services with our website provider. It was a hard decision, but it was the right one. I had to be honest with myself—this wasn’t working. We needed to close up shop and get back to seeking the Lord.
During our “Be Still” phase, my book “Seek Him First” was born. Our hiatus from business allowed us to really become earnest in our prayers to the Lord. God placed it upon our hearts to take all of my poems and develop a devotional book. During the development phase, I was going at a very slow, nonchalant pace, but finally realized that I needed to be obedient and just do it.
I gathered all my poems from previous journals that I had written in throughout the years, and started typing them out one by one. My husband created the book cover, formatted the content, develop the ebook, and everything else technical things that go into creating a book. On July 19th, 2015 the book was published and placed on amazon.com, people were actually purchasing the book. And not just friends and family, strangers too!
One of the best feelings during the first two weeks of the book release, we made more than $6.00, and from the Amazon reviews and personal e-mails people were really being blessed and encouraged by this book.
What I have learned about God through this process.
I have learned during this process that you have to always trust God, despite the failures you may encounter or experience along the way. I also learned that God is faithful and rewards those who diligently seek Him.
Once you get to know Tona, it’ll seem like you’ve been knowing her all your life. Energetic, with a passion for servanthood for the kingdom of God, Tona has dedicated her life to helping others grow spiritually, by utilizing the gifts and talents that the Lord has given her. In her new book Seek Him First: A 31-Day Devotional with Journal, Tona has found a unique and creative way of connected individuals to the foundational precepts of God’s word through poetry.
Tona is a gifted writer and speaker. As the oldest of seven brothers and sisters, Tona developed leadership potential earlier on- which has translated to her 15+ years of teaching and mentoring young adults on the high school level. As a member of The Moody Church, Tona serves in many areas (Children’s Ministry, Community Outreach, Activities) and participates as a regular in Dr. Michael Rydelnik’s Light & Life early morning community class. Read more about Tona. . .
If you are interested in sharing your testimony, won’t you consider guest posting for The Unabashed Woman series, check out this post on the submission guidelines.
And, as always, go love well, friend.
If you liked this post, check out these. . .
Come Share Your Unabashed Woman Story
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