Yvonne Yeboah is a singer and developer by profession. She resides in London, United Kingdom. The process to bloom grew into an opportunity for Yvonne to feature and express her journey with God in aide to empower other women.
I was born into a Christian household and grew up in church. At a young age, I was taught that God is the foundation of it all, this meant attending church more than Sunday’s. Christianity became a routine. I started to feel out-of-place and would intentionally miss church. However, after many years I began to lose the zeal for God, for the word and church. I would still go but something felt weird. I then realized that my relationship with God was based on and channeled through my parents. Although this was alright as a child, after a certain time this was not good enough.
I tried going to another church to see if I would feel different but that was not the case. So, I quickly realized that I needed to work on my communication and relationship with God. My Father and I, no middle man but a true authentic relationship just the way God intended. Now this decision was easy but the action of it was not so easy – But who said the road would be easy.
THE ACTIONS I DECIDED TO TAKE WERE:
1. Have time to analyze myself and my walk-in faith – see areas of improvement and take steps
2. Having consistent time with God to learn and receive from him
3. Be consistent in Prayer
4. Utilize the Gifts that he has placed in me.
“Now even with these actions in place, I won’t say I am perfect.
But I do try, and by God grace I will keep growing.
The process to bloom is continuous.”
One major aspect that pushes me is my walk with God is using the gift that God has given me to serve. To know that I have been trusted with something so precious, gives me great focus. Leading worship through music takes the spotlight off my life, my issues, my shortcomings and elevates the greatness of God above every situation.
The beauty in it all is that our journey with God is unique and beautiful. God doesn’t want carbon-copies but wants to have experiences with the children he loves.
Rebekah Swindal is a 20 year old lover of coffee, family + friends and Jesus. She is currently studying Public Relations at Oral Roberts University in Greenville SC, USA.
When I think of my process of blooming, I honestly chuckle a little bit under my breath because to say that I have fully bloomed, that I have fully “become” is to ignore my current struggles and my great need for God’s grace. So with that being said, my story is not one that screams, “I have arrived”, but rather, “Here I am. Failures, mistakes, flaws, and all. I am choosing to show up and embrace my process. I am still growing.” And that’s just me being honest.
If there’s one thing I am for certain, it is a dreamer. Ever since I was little, I’ve dreamt about doing big things, to make a difference, an impact. Now sitting here at age 20, it’s crazy to think that some of my dreams have actually come true, but most of them have yet to scratch the surface and that can often be discouraging. I have to be really careful most of the time because this is the area in which I want to bloom the fastest.
In our society today, (and if we’re being really transparent even just within the Christian sphere of influence) there are so many women out there doing incredible, glorious things. And while everything inside me wants to celebrates with them, there is still a part of me that whispers to The Lord, “That’s so great for them. I truly am so happy for them… but God, when is it my time? When are you going to make something beautiful out of me?”
When these questions arise, The Lord often takes me back to the story of David. As some of us already know, and some may not, David was a simple shepherd boy. He could be found out in the fields tending to the sheep, day in and day out. And as we see in scripture (1 Samuel 16), one ordinary day, David is chosen and anointed to be the future King. Now while this seems like such an incredible, overnight promotion, that’s not exactly the story. See, before David was anointed King, what was He doing again? Oh yeah. He was tending sheep. He was remaining faithful. He was allowing the Lord to root in Him pillars of faithfulness and a heart of great character. David’s story was not that He woke up one day and suddenly became King. He had in secret, served the Lord and steward what was in his hands, well.
And friend, I believe The Lord is drawing us to do the same thing. There is a process of rooting that we must first go through. We must allow The Lord to create in us a character that will one day be able to sustain us through our calling. If David would’ve never stewarded what was given to him well, He wouldn’t have had the foundation that He needed to be the future King. He had to go through a season of hiding and rooting so that when exalted, He would be able to look back and remember what God had brought Him through, that He would be able to look back and give God the glory.
He wants to make sure that we will steward the seemingly little things well first before He hands us our God-given destiny on a silver platter. There is great reward to be found in stewardship and there is great reward for faithfulness.
So when I look at all of the women I long to be like in today’s society- personally for me, those who are leading worship + leading people into the presence of God through song, or the women who walk onto stages in front of thousands proclaiming the love of Jesus and His beautiful goodness, or the creative women being put in the spotlight (let’s just be real)- I have to stop myself. I have to remind myself to not look to the left or to the right, but to seek first Jesus and HIS kingdom, not my own. I have to remind myself that it isn’t about the thousands, but about the One. It’s about Jesus. I have to get really honest with myself and ask myself hard questions like, “If The Lord never gave me another opportunity to lead worship ever again or never gave me a platform to speak to a crowd of women, would He still be enough? Would the audience of One satisfy?” Insert your dreams into those questions and get honest with yourself.
Yes, the dreams and desires that burn brightly inside of us were given to us by our Creator God but if He never gave them to us, would we still remain faithful or would we turn away because we were actually just serving Him for what He could do for us? If the answer is the latter (+ I have been there so many times), we’ve got to be careful because that concludes that we’re only interested in God because we’re waiting on Him to eventually exalt us for our own glory which defeats the whole purpose of the cross. Yikes. I know, I’m being convicted too.
Beautiful friend, let’s go back to the beginning. Let’s remember why we were created. Let’s remember that we exist to be loved by the Architect of humanity and to love others out of the overflow of His love for us. If we existed only to see ourselves exalted and glorified, then we would’ve been created out of the expectation to succeed and accomplish.
But because we were crafted by Love, Himself, we have been set free to dream for the glory of Jesus because He loves us. He takes all the pressure off of us and walks with us to change our hearts to look like His.
Like David, we are only meant to steward what is front of us, well. It is in God’s perfect timing that He will guide us into our next assignment. We can trust that He is a good God with good intentions and that He knows what He’s doing with us. As we continue to tend our “sheep”, as small and insignificant as they may seem, He will be faithful to exalt us at the right time (1 Peter 5:6). So whether that’s being a loyal friend, a trustworthy daughter, or showing up to our 8:00 class with a smile on our face, we are to remain faithful. It is easier said than done but like Isaiah 40:31 (MSG version) states, “those who wait upon GOD get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.”
God is not withholding good from us. And though you may feel like He is sometimes, He is only protecting you from being crushed by the weight of your own destiny. “Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!” (Luke 12:48 MSG) He is taking His time with us because He knows that rooting us first is best. That way, when we are faced with winds and waves, we will not be shaken. Our character, our heart, and our spirit will have gone through the necessary process it needed to sustain us through this life.
You have been called to extraordinary, supernatural, beautiful things. You’ve just got to be willing to allow The Lord to work in you how He will. His intentions with you are pure. He wants to exalt you more than you want to be exalted. But His timing is best. Remember, He is for you, not against you. He is with you, He hasn’t forgotten you. Rest in being rooted. Rest in the truth that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6). He will continue to bloom you in His perfect timing.
I believe in you, girl and He does even more. You’re doing such a great job. Keep going. Lean on Him. Trust in Him. He is good. Remember, He gave His life for yours. Keep dreaming, just let Him take His time with you.
And hey, He’s so proud of you. He loves you. Believe it.
Glancing at the Asa today, you would’ve never guessed that I once had a hole in my face. Instead of prancing through zoos and playing on jungle gyms at McDonald’s, I spent my moons in surgery and rehabilitation at Children’s Hospital. I was born with a craniofacial disorder-cleft lip and palate.
Since I was 6-months old, my grandmother raised me. She taught me how to pray, love God and the purpose of fellowship in church. Throughout my childhood, I was always outgoing, bold and extraordinary but I would always be made fun of, underestimated and mocked because of my terrifying scars. Kids would be afraid to play with me, teachers would eagerly register me into remedial courses with lame excuses and my classmates would push up their lips to mock my scars.
I grew insecure about my scars, my academic ability and I would literally pray to look like the girls in my class who had “good” hair and lived in a normal life- with their parents, a big house and a dog. But little did I know there was beauty in my brokenness. I had no idea, the disorder I was born with was going to re-order my footsteps according to His purpose.
As I grew older, God led me to use my talents of singing, dancing and acting to find confidence in myself. From ages of 5-13 I would organize plays and concerts in my church. I would write script plays, sing and dance for my church while also teaching the other kids in my church. I began to share with my pastor and first-lady my eagerness to have a children’s ministry and when I didn’t see progress I took the initiative to save my birthday money and allowance buy journals, Bibles, kids Christian books, candy and snacks to gather the kids and lead everyone to sing church songs and color Bible stories.
As I began to serve God and express my love for Him at that young age, I began to find my identity in Christ. I learned how to defend myself physically and spiritually. I would remind myself of His promises through my songs, dances and skits. I loved singing at the top of my lungs “ YES JESUS LOVES ME!!!” all over the house and in the car.
Fast forward to today, I give God the glory for protecting me and keeping me at the center of His will. People seem to forget that every person has a story and or struggle they don’t post on social media. Everyone lives a “unposted life” sometimes because of pride or fear. Regardless, we have to learn to how to embrace who we are and what we’ve been through.
One of my proudest accomplishments thus far was being a first-generation graduate from Kean University with a 3.8 GPA. Not only did I earn my degree, God blessed me opportunities of a lifetime! Throughout my studies, most of my expenses at school were covered, I traveled to China, Hong Kong and India. I worked with CNBC, the New York Stock Exchange, CBS, BET and honorable people in the media industry! I grew my relationship with Christ even deeper than I could imagine.
“God will turn your tears into praise! Won’t He do it?”
I close with this, The struggle is real, but so is God! The process to bloom isn’t always fun, easy or smooth. It’s a process that will shake you, break you, mold you and create you into everything God called you to be. I always tell people, “there’s beauty in your brokenness” because in every challenge we’ve been through, we’ve gained wisdom and grew stronger. For when we are weak, we are strong (2 Corinthians 12:10) Looking back, I’ve realized everything I’ve been through is apart of the manifestation of who I am today. As a little girl, I reminded myself of God’s promises by reminding myself of 2 Timothy 1:7 and Philippians 4:13 and as I continued to remind myself of God’s promises,
“God continued to water my faith so I could bloom!”
Scriptures for Devotion:
2 Timothy 1:17
Praise & Worship songs:
For Your Glory- Tasha Cobbs
Victory- Tye Tribbett
Gracefully Broken- Tasha Cobbs
War- Charles Jenkins
Has Anybody Seen Love? Lisa Mcclendon
Daddy’s Home-Travis Greene
May you bloom into the woman God created you to be.