Foreword by T. D. Jakes
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Copyright © 2006 by Jacqueline Yvonne Jakes
Foreword copyright © 2006 by T. D. Jakes
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Scriptures marked KJV are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
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First eBook Edition: May 2006
There are so many to acknowledge when writing a book. A myriad of people have encouraged me and offered prayers and hope for the completion of the project.
The people who readily come to my mind are: my baby brother, T. D. Jakes. Bishop Jakes, thank you for all your brotherly, fatherly wisdom and for the inspiring work that you do for God's kingdom. It has propelled my life all of these years. I am so proud of you.
Cheryl Thomas, you are such a consistent blessing to me. Thank you for keeping me organized, copyedited, and encouraged. Thank you for taking the time to comment on each chapter and to provide me with your words of encouragement. At times you were the midwife while I pushed, grunted, and struggled to flesh this book out and onto the pages.
Mrs. Annie Thomas (Cheryl's mom) from New Beginning Church in Gainesville, Florida, I appreciate your prayers so much. Many times I hit a wall and felt empty, and I'd say to Cheryl, "Please ask your mother and her prayer group to pray." God was faithful to answer your prayers.
Debby Boyd, you are anointed to encourage others and you do that so well. Thank you for reading some of these chapters and providing words to support me through the process. You are a fabulous, uplifting person, and I am blessed to know you.
Tom Winters, you did it again! Thank you for making so many wonderful things happen in my life. I praise God for your wonderful heart and refreshing spirit.
Rolf Zetterson, thank you for the opportunity and the privilege of writing another book for Warner. Warner Faith is doing a great work for God, and I am glad you allowed me to be a part of the mission.
Holly Halverson, it has been delightful working with you. I've enjoyed our conversations and I applaud your editorial skills. Thank you for shaping the pages of this book. God bless you for your kind words to me, your work on this manuscript, and your insight and spirit.
Sister Viola Mays, I thank God for each time you called my office and prayed with me about this book. Thank you for your prophetic words and your words of encouragement. You are a positive lady and a prayer warrior. Thank you for being on my side.
Mother Alice Barksdale, I praise God for you and for the many prayers you prayed over my life and for the completion of this book project. Thank you so much.
Rosa Brown, many times you passed me in the hallway or on the staircase at work and inquired about the new book. You kept encouraging me, saying that it was going to be great. Little did you know how much those words counted and helped me to press on.
Carla Williams, I appreciate you so much for your interest and belief in this book. Thank you for your prayers and the prophetic words spoken over my life.
Dr. Angeliene Stewart-Pete, you are my friend and my medical doctor too.What a blessing.Thank you for responding to my medical inquiries to help write this book and thank you for helping me to transition back into believing again in the medical profession.
I couldn't close without acknowledging the ladies who allowed me to tell their stories.
Mary Washington, I appreciate your spirit and your testimony. Each time I see you, you are beaming.Thank you for being a beautiful witness in God's kingdom.
Paula White, you are a jewel in God's kingdom and, of course, one of His Trophy Women. Thank you so much for graciously opening your life to my readers. I've found you to be consistently pleasant and a real woman of God. I applaud you, woman of God, for all you are and for everything you do for God's people.
Joni Eareckson Tada, you are an amazing woman and I am proud to share a portion of your outrageously victorious life. I know my readers will be blessed beyond measure to read your testimony.
Annette Hightower Grenz, I am so proud of you and so happy for you too. God has done so many great miracles in your life.Thank you for letting me share your life with other women. They will be blessed and renewed to learn about your faith in God.
Evangelist Juanita Sapp, I always enjoy our phone calls sharing God's Word.Thank you for allowing me to showcase your outstanding life and give a portion of your testimony. None of us can tell it all. Keep on walking for God and preaching His Word. Your presence alone is a blessing to many, many people.
Isaac, my delightful grandson, I will always remember how you held my hands and prayed a beautiful and special prayer for your Nana and the success of this book.
It's hard to name each and every individual who impacted my life while writing this book, but to all of you, who prayed for me, or who from time to time simply asked, "How's the book coming along?" I thank you.
JUST FOR THE TROPHY
Give her the reward she has earned, And let her works bring her praise.
In my den sit numerous awards my daughter, Kelly, won throughout her school years. Some of her trophies are for college math and science competitions; others are for literary accomplishments, Bible fact contests, even beauty pageants. She received her first and smallest trophy for selling the most boxes of oranges to raise money for her Christian school. At six years of age, she understood the significance and special treatment she could get by competing, winning, and having something tangible to show for her efforts.
Isn't it ironic how we can remember the trophies we've won, yet we can't recall last year's Christmas presents? There is remarkable distinction between receiving a gift and winning a prize. The addictive and delicious scent of fought-for victory is intoxicating; it brings us pleasure and motivation for years to come. The prize won is more treasured and valued than any handout could ever be.
THE PRIZE WON IS MORE TREASURED AND VALUED THAN ANY HANDOUT COULD EVER BE.
Why? Because everyone loves a winner. And because we value what we have to work for. As a young girl growing up during the fifties in the hills of West Virginia, I said to my mother that I'd love to play an instrument in the local junior high band. After all, I had been playing classical piano for a few years, and musical accomplishments seemed to come naturally to me. But in a state that was less than 4 percent African American, I knew my chances of competing and entering the band were slim—and I said so.
My mother would have none of it. She was a forward-thinking woman who didn't let opposition prevent her from accomplishing whatever goals she set. After all, she was one of fifteen children and a graduate of Tuskegee University!
So off I went to tryouts. I entered and integrated the school band that year and later, in high school, integrated that band as well. When our bands won competitions and we received letters to affix to our school sweaters, I wore my gold and blue, and later orange and black, raised letters on my clothes with pride. I had won a symbol of excellence and had done it against the odds. What seemed an ordinary accomplishment to many other students was a special achievement for me. I had my trophy.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
For years I've kept ribbons, trophies, school band awards, and other indicators of accomplishment from my school years. I treasure my tributes from competing and winning. You are probably like me and have an old dresser drawer or a special box in the attic that contains tokens of your successes.
Or maybe you feel you've never accomplished anything noteworthy, or that you haven't become adept at any skill. You'd be amazed at how many things you are capable of but don't take seriously. So many women say to me that they can't write books, but these same women can whip up a dinner that would be applauded at the White House. They may not know how to edit a manuscript, but they can design a hairstyle fashionable and fine enough to wear to the Emmy Awards. I've seen women who could sing until you wanted to dance around the church. So many women don't have confidence in the wonderful things they can do because their gifts don't match those that another sister has.
God has given everyone something. Not all of us have medals and trophies to show for our talents, but nevertheless, each of us has excelled in some area. Whether we have received recognition or not, God knows where our strengths lie. What is important is that we use the talents God has given us and perfect those abilities He has gifted us to possess.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS THAT WE USE THE TALENTS GOD HAS GIVEN US AND PERFECT THOSE ABILITIES HE HAS GIFTED US TO POSSESS.
MASTERING YOUR SKILL FOR A PRIZE
Over the years, I have watched my baby brother, T. D. Jakes, amass innumerable trophies, awards, and tributes for his speaking, writing, and service to people. None were handed to him; he worked hard for and earned every reward he has.
You've watched the Olympics, haven't you? The hours and hours of nonstop competition for the gold are mesmerizing. We hold our breath as we watch each amazing competitor strive to be recognized as the best in the world. We love to see someone win. It gives us hope and makes us proud. It encourages us to go on ourselves and achieve greater things.
The Olympic athletes practiced and competed in smaller contests in hopes of being selected to compete in the Olympic Games. The long, arduous hours of exercising, the consistent drilling and disciplined rehearsals, the strict adherence to special diets conducive to building strong, healthy bodies: all are for just one moment in time, and just for the trophy. Like my brother, these athletes earn each of their prizes through plain hard work. And this is certain: the recipient of the gold, the silver, or the bronze medal finds all of the pain and suffering worthwhile. Those early years of life spent in training, the time devoted to master their skills, prove extremely meritorious to the winners.
I've mentioned that as a young girl, I took classical piano lessons. At eight years old, after I came home from school and completed my homework, I had to practice piano for one hour. While other children ran out to play ball, jump rope, skip, and make up games, I was practicing scales on an old upright piano. I had to memorize sometimes eight- and nine-page piano scores.
You see, I was preparing for recital—the presentation to our parents, teachers, other students, and adults that displayed our progress in the world of music. You'd be shocked at how proficient you can become at a talent if you work at it for one hour each day. Oh my, I'd love to have the time to practice and perform like that today!
The apostle Paul understood races, prizes, and mastery: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever" (1 Cor. 9:24–25). And again: "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13–14).
GET A CROWN THAT WILL LAST FOREVER.
The apostle Paul wanted to win. He understood his mission, and it was for the prize that he ran, strained, and was persecuted. Later he tells us: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day" (2 Tim. 4:7–8KJV ).
Trophy Women struggle to win as well. We too desire to receive an award of merit. As Christian women, we know that for our faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for our belief in His work of redemption, and for our good works and character, we expect to be rewarded now and in the world to come. Even in this present world, both believers and nonbelievers have confidence in a system of reward. Look at the Grammys.
The Grammy is the music recording industry's most prestigious award. Annually, this ceremony gathers thousands of creative and technical professionals from around the world to witness who will be named Entertainer of the Year. This momentous event is telecast to millions. The awards symbolize contributions, skills, and activities of significance.
Our church group, The Potter's House Choir, has been twice nominated for a Grammy. It is an honor to be nominated and an even greater honor to become a recipient. We were elated when the choir did indeed win the award for its music project, A Wing and a Prayer.
My first book, Sister Wit, was eventually made into an audiobook. The audio was nominated for an Audie,an award of excellence. I would love to say I took home the trophy, but I didn't. Still, it felt so good to have been so close to receiving it. Again, it is partly my brush with winning that spurs me on to accomplish other feats.
Not long ago, I sat in the audience with family members, friends, and thousands of other people waiting to see my brother, T. D. , receive the President's Award at the NAACP Image Awards Ceremony. Gathered in Hollywood, all of us were dressed in the finest of clothes and jewelry. Excitement filled the air as the name of each nominee was called. Finally, we heard the name of the honoree for the President's Award. We rose to applaud my brother for winning this honor. Needless to say, our row was clapping hands, stomping feet, and shouting words of celebration to show our support. He and his wife, Serita, walked the red carpet, and history recorded a tremendous event.
It is no small thing to win a trophy. It is a symbol of achievement. It is a tangible recognition of success. It is a sign that reveals the difference between victim and victor, losing and winning. It is an outstanding indicator of significance and mastery.
THE DEEP REWARDS OF WINNING
Just imagine it: You are the winner of the highest award an organization gives. You receive a trophy to symbolize and celebrate that you have competed and won. Your satisfaction is great, because you alone know how hard you strove to obtain the prize. You endured brutal training and fierce preparation to win. Winning the award denotes greatness and victory.
WINNING THE AWARD DENOTES GREATNESS AND VICTORY.
This is why, year after year, football players work to build more muscle mass, endure countless practice sessions, continue a restricted diet, and maintain a positive attitude. Imagine the hard work of those competing for the Heisman Trophy. The Heisman is awarded to this nation's outstanding college football player. The work involved is unimaginable. The commitment to stay in the game in spite of sore muscles and aching bodies is tremendous and impressive. Winning takes hard work.
In the movie industry, millions of dollars are spent to produce a first-class work of art and to bring home a trophy: the Oscar. That small golden statue is the final word on who is the best that year. Each nominee hopes to walk away with a visible declaration, a sign, an announcement to the world of his or her talent. To be the recipient of an Oscar is to be marked with the industry's seal of approval.
Whoever receives the small golden statue would never sell it. He wouldn't throw it in the laundry room. He wouldn't set it on the balcony or lay it on the porch. It won't be splashed with gravy in the kitchen window or gather dust in the attic. The person who receives this trophy displays it in a prominent and a safe place for all to see. The trophy has value. The trophy is a message to others proclaiming triumph.
As I write this, I have just hung up from a conversation with a young woman, now graduated from a prestigious university, married, a mother, and gainfully employed. When I told her about the first chapter of my book, she reminded me of her own childhood. She was a second-grader in a single-parent home, living in a substandard house and watching her mother recuperate from a life-changing illness. She began to describe how she felt as a little girl making fires in the fireplace to keep the house warm: her little hands hurling the big logs and huge chunks of coal into the wood-burning stove—a task for someone many years older. But for her, it was an opportunity to help her ailing mother.
The days were dark with sorrow in her tiny home, so she used every opportunity to be cheery and to make her mother laugh. Laughter was priceless to them. Both she and her mother continued their journey through the foreign season, praying, praising, and believing the Word of God.
No one had prepared my friend to live with an ill mother. From day to day, she did not know if ultimately her mother would live or die, but she watched her mother grow closer to God and she grew closer to Him too. Out of the ashes and decay, many, many long years later, she now realizes her salvation, personality, character, and perception had come into existence, had been, in fact, shaped by her experience as a child dealing with adult issues. Today, as a strong Christian woman, she says it was trusting God to keep her mother alive and to make her little life better that prepared her to successfully embrace her own journey through life. She endured the adversity God called her to face, and she became a Trophy Woman.
So many of us do not regard God's individual pathways for His women. If we are believers in Jesus Christ, all things work together for our good. We have to know that if God allows some struggle, some tragedy, or some imposition in our lives, He must have a greater purpose. Pay attention to what God allows to happen to His children. He is a Master Planner. Nothing escapes His review, His architectural rendering, and His ultimate plan. Ladies, if we are blessed and highly favored, we trust He is in charge at all times and over all things. He really does have the whole world in His hands, and that includes you and me.
MEET A TROPHY WOMAN :JONI EARECKSON TADA
This is really a wonderful place for me to introduce to some and to reacquaint others with a remarkable lady who knows firsthand trouble and testing, yet she continues to overcome every obstacle. I first heard of Joni Eareckson Tada some years ago. I remember seeing some pictures of a young lady in a wheelchair with a brush in her mouth, who created exquisite paintings and pictures. I was amazed. I am still amazed that she was able to do that. You see, Joni is a paraplegic. She is a Trophy Woman in a wheelchair.
- On Sale
- Feb 28, 2009
- Page Count
- 224 pages