GirlTrek's Black History Bootcamp
By Morgan Dixon + Vanessa Garrison
GirlTrek's Black History BootcampDec 01, 2023
A Special Healing Conversation with Iyanla Vanzant
The great spiritual leader, Iyanla Vanzant joins the co-founders of GirlTREK in a powerful conversation about generational healing and walking forward in faith. A must listen for anyone looking for inspiration during uncertain times.
Special Edition | Victory Lap | Season 2023
Together we will reflect on our journey together, reinforce and uplift what is important to us, and honor the work of the people who power this movement.
Let this be a personal moment of pause and praise for all that you have have personally mastered, learned, and walked through this year.
Special Edition | Prayer Trek | Day 9: SELF-CONTROL
Think about control. We control the smells in our homes with incense and plugins. We control bacteria with Lysol. We try to control viruses with vitamin C. We control our babies. We'll burp, we'll reprimand with pinches. When you're at church you get pinched or you get the side-eye from the choir stand. We are good at controlling because we know the past and we’re responsibly fearful of the future. When we thought about self-control and knowing that control has been our superpower, from binding our bellies up to our hair to everything we know, controlling our femininity so that people don’t attack us. We know how to control. When we are trying to control the world around us, it's like a mightiness. It is a tightness, and when you do it for long enough, it is exhausting.
Self-control is knowing now that you have everything in your power because you are divinely connected.
Because all you have is right now. It is not the fear of the past. It is not the anticipation or fear of the future, but it is the power of right now that you can choose every moment of your life to get more and more awake or to fall deeper and deeper asleep. We are here. God has not given us the spirit of fear. Self-control is fearlessness. It is knowing that I have a constant choice every morning. Self-control is the mechanism by which we employ all of the other Fruits of the Spirit.
Eternal, all-wise, all-knowing, loving, matchless, creator, God Lord almighty, you are wonderful. You are loving. You are the beginning, the end, the Alpha, the Omega. You are our everything, Lord God and we love you. We love you Lord, and we lift up our hands to worship you, oh Lord, for our heart longs to be closer and closer to you.
You ask us to bring our prayers and petitions to you so we can tell you right now to give us the power that we need, to give us the love that we need, and to give us the self-control and self-discipline that we need to move and do the work that you have called for us to do.
We ask, oh Lord, that you continue to hide this work within our hearts so that we can continue to be strengthened to move closer to you, so that in those moments where we lack control of our minds, of our bodies, of our thoughts, we can automatically be brought closer to you so that the control we seek you take over for us. Lord God, it's all about your power, your power that gives us courage to do all that you called us to do.
"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Special Edition | Prayer Trek | Day 8: FAITHFULNESS
You have to know that the calling placed on your life will mean you will have to navigate many rocky terrains, many dark places, facing many attacks, because we wrestle not against flesh and blood. The enemy only targets those who are doing good works. When you face these trials and tribulations, you will feel the urge to quit, to give in, or to act out of your character. That's when faith comes in. Faith is the idea of going beyond your fears and acting on what God has instilled in you. It’s about taking the first two steps and God taking on the rest. It’s about continuing to move forward, because you know that victory is on the other side.
Remember, as adversity comes, know that in the end you will be able to tell your testimony and encourage others to stay faithful.
God, we thank you for protecting us, for answering our prayers. God, we thank you for our faithfulness to you because without that, we can't commit to anything. God, we love you, we honor you, we praise you. We are all making sacrifices, God, and we hope that you see that. It can be daunting to think about even getting out of the bed and doing other things, being a mom, a wife, a sister, a friend. We work every day and try to carve time out in our lives to be healthy, God, but we know that everything that is great is because of you, God. We ask you to give us strength and courage.
Most of all, give us courage to know that we were made for this, we are made to be great, we were made to worship you, we were made to be just in the image of you, God.
We are always going to be careful to give you the praise and the glory, and the honor belongs to you, Jesus. In your name we pray, Amen.
Special Edition | Prayer Trek | Day 7: GOODNESS
You know the saying. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. But what does it mean for us to be good? Is it simply obeying the rules or being nice, or is there something else? We think it means actively choosing the kindest, most loving response in any situation, and doing it without expectation of recognition or praise. We are good, because God is good to us, and God offers goodness through grace and mercy. Think back on the times where it could have been, should have been you, but you were spared.
Right now, in our living and breathing selves, we believe in God's goodness. Goodness that we haven't earned—goodness that we cannot earn—but this goodness, once we receive it, we can, through our actions of love, give away to other people.
Now imagine sparing someone in your life through your own goodness. Our faith walk should bring us in union with God so that we can be living, breathing examples of His goodness on earth.
God, you are so good. Let that goodness run through me like a river and overflow into every area of my life. Let me actively choose to offer goodness in place of judgment, scorn, or ridicule. Let me be selfless in my offerings, not looking for praise or credit, but knowing that it is pleasing to you when I walk in accordance with your will. May goodness find me and follow me all the days of my life.
Special Edition | Prayer Trek | Day 5: KINDNESS
Kindness begins with having self-compassion. Because you can't extend what you don't give to yourself. Being compassionate to yourself and understanding, I'm not perfect and I have to be able to forgive myself for things so that I can then extend that to other people. This is important, especially as women and Black women, for sure, because we give, give, give, but who gives to us?
Who gives the superhero the voice, and when does the superhero get a chance to recharge?
There's a connection between not being kind when we feel tired and depleted, and being very kind when feeling abundant and taking care of ourselves. The kindest gift we can give to ourselves is to intentionally pull away, take the time to replenish and fuel back up. Whether it is taking a nap on a Sunday afternoon, or forgiving yourself and knowing that it's okay that you don't have it all together. It may not always be the easiest thing to do, but it is always the kindest.
God, we thank you for today. We thank you for a time of coming together and gathering in your name to intentionally seek you, to know that without you we can do nothing and with you we can do all things, including taking care of ourselves. Right now, God, we commit to renew our devotion to ourselves. We thank you for loving us with the gifts of our bodies. We ask that you would help us to be kinder to ourselves that we might radiate that kindness and love to everyone that we come into contact with.
We thank you, God, for loving us, and for demonstrating kindness to us even in your acts while you're here with us on the earth. We thank you, God, for this opportunity to gather as women, strong women, women committed to do something bigger and better than we already have. We know that you have great purpose for us and that great movements have happened through women simply moving their feet. We love you, God. We magnify your Holy and majestic name, and it's in your name that we pray and ask all of these blessings.
Special Edition | Prayer Trek | Day 4: LONG-SUFFERING
Today's topic is about long-suffering and when we tell you that Black women know long-suffering, we ain’t lied. We have turned a kind of slow burn of pain into muscle, into magic. Every Black woman we know has made long-suffering and patience an art. The ability to practice patience in the face of hate is a virtue of God. It’s one of the Fruits of the Spirit. It's hard and it's why Black women are ready to lead. Patience or forbearance or long-suffering is not passive. It is staying the course of your most amazing life every single day, and that requires muscle. It requires discipline for loving yourself.
We know what it's like when you have the kind of fire that threatens to burn you down. You can let it burn you down or you can stoke it and let it live in your belly and let it fire you and propel you through your suffering.
In practice, this means creating a muscle of being mindful and grateful for every single moment and garnering the strength of generations which has brought you here today. We have fire from the long-suffering of our foremothers. It is time for us to stay in lockstep until we are ready to activate. That is what long-suffering is. It is the muscle of magic.
We thank you, Lord God, that regardless of the situation and circumstance, in trial or tribulation, that you give us the ability to stand. We thank you for this character trait from you, Lord God. We thank you for the ability to dance in the rain and stand in the storm and rejoice in our sufferings. Right now we ask that you equip us with your armor, with the whole armor of God. The armor, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the belt of truth, and the sword of your spirit. We ask that you give us peace that passes all understanding, in the name of Jesus. We ask you right now to come into the mess of every woman and child who is standing at your feet. To the only wise God, our savior and glory and majesty, dominion and power both now and forevermore.
Walking Meditation Songs:
Special Edition | Prayer Trek | Day 3: PEACE
Peace is about wholeness. It is about completeness. It is a state of being. Sometimes we think it's affected by what's external and what's happening all around us. The Hebrew word for peace is Shalom. Sometimes it can be a state of affairs, sometimes it means being concerned about the well-being of your fellow human, your neighbor. Peace or shalom signifies value. As you look at everything that's happening in our country, it's easy to be distracted and it's easy to lose heart and it's easy to lose joy and love and peace and not focus on the Fruit of the Spirit. It's easy to cry out for peace when there is no peace. There's a disconnect between what we're saying with our lips and what is actually happening internally and around us and in our hearts. One of the ways we can keep peace in the midst of all this chaos is to look to our ancestors through Sister Harriet and Sister Fannie Lou and Sister Parks and all of those who have gone on before us.
Be reminded that wherever we are today, this is not the first time we've been at the crossroads and this time will not kill us. It will not break us. It will not be the end of us.
Encourage yourself that you can continue, you can go on, you can be at peace and we will find rest for our souls that are sometimes weary.
Lord, I thank you that you are the God of peace. That you've told us that in your Word that you can give us a peace that transcends all understanding even when we don't understand or we don't know. You know all things. You know how to guard our heart. You know how to condition and discipline us so that we can maintain a state of peace. That of wholeness, that of completeness within our own self because we are connected to you who is the source of our peace. We thank you, God, that you are faithful to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we can ask or think. So I ask, Lord, that you will guard our heart, our minds, our bodies, our actions into the way of peace. Help us to know the ancient path, Lord. Help us to walk in it, for your glory.
Special Edition | Prayer Trek | Day 2: JOY
Joy is like a tickle on the inside. It's not on the outside. Joy doesn't have to be social, because lasting joy is the kind that comes from within. Sometimes you just have to fight for that joy, but know that it is always there. There are seasons when you mourn and when you grieve, but that season does not last forever.
As you reflect on yesterday’s word of love, remember God loves you.
When Scripture says weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning, sometimes those nights seem like forever. But you have to hold on. Hold on to your faith and know that God loves you. It's your faith that will take you through that. When you're in the midst of grieving, the thought that you'll be laughing and joking again is hard to imagine, but it comes. It's there. That tickle is there.
Take a moment to think. How many times did you feel thankful yesterday? Try to count. Three times? 30 times? 300 times?
Is it possible to worship without ceasing–-with every breath? Unspeakable joy?
What fills you up?
We are satisfied when we are full. We are full when we are steadfast in the stories we tell ourselves. Do you feast on stories of problems or possibilities? Pain or praise? Brokenness or blessings? Grief or gladness?
Joy is a net asset. It is the conversion of test to testimony.
Lord God, my heavenly Father, we praise your Holy name. We thank you so much for the gift of laughter. You knew we would need it. Thank you, Lord God, for your 100 scriptures about joy because you knew we would need it. Thank you, Lord God, for just offering your gift of joy, and today, this day, we're going to take it.
We're going to take that joy. Lord, we know weeping may endure for the night, but your joy comes in the morning. So right now, Lord God, as we speak your Word, we pray for any woman who is in a night stage, who's in a season of depression or grief, Lord God, or mourning, Lord God, we pray that your presence shows up in a mighty way to let her know that joy comes in the morning, Lord God, for her to cry out, for her to take off that mask and say, "Lord God, I need your help. Jesus, help me, Lord God."
Special Edition | Prayer Trek | Day 1: LOVE
When we think of love, and especially love as it relates to the Fruit of the Spirit in the Bible, we always think that we ourselves are taught how to love others. We're taught how to be nice to other people. We are taught how to be compassionate, to be compassionate friends, to be dedicated partners, to be great sisters and mothers. We're taught to respect other people, to be great stewards of our land and our world, but nowhere are we taught on a daily basis the practical ways in which we can love ourselves. That must be the foundation for all the love that we give to other people. It reminds us of this quote:
"If I asked you to name all the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?"
Because you cannot say I love you without the implied foundation of, "But I love myself first." If you don't love yourself first, every time you have ever said I love you, part of that love was a lie.
If our soul is fully aware that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in God's image, that He did not make a mistake, that every single thing about us is divinely ordered, then we can have love for ourselves. If we don't have love for ourselves, that means we are doubting the scripture, that we are doubting God's love for us, that we are doubting the way that He made us. Our hope is that every single woman reading this today is aware of this Truth and never doubts it.
Today is a renewal or new beginning. Lord, you are a God of comfort, and we send comfort right now in the name of Jesus. God, we send peace and we send hope. We pray right now especially for our mothers that are raising daughters. We pray that you will bless them to teach their daughters to have self-worth, God. You would teach them, Lord God, to have self-esteem. We would teach our daughters to know that they are beautiful and they don't have to look for validation from anyone. We want to raise strong, powerful daughters, in the name of Jesus. We pray for those of us who came from a background where we weren't loved and we weren't nurtured. Lord, we pray today a healing would go forth. We pray that women would no longer suffer in silence. God, we pray that you will go down and heal the hurt, God. Bind up the wounds. But we must uncover our wounds and we must uncover our hurt in order to be healed. As we pray today we say:
“Today, I will change. Today, I will start. Today, I will begin. Today, I'm walking in a new season. It's a new me."