Eventually my bills and worries got the best of me. So I decided to get another job to help supplement the income I was getting from the Amsterdam News. I needed money and fast, so I applied to a number of jobs on Craigslist. I found a gig as a telemarketer at a company that was a little less than trustworthy. Who am kidding? The company was flat out shady. At this particular job I had to do a lot of cold calling selling subscriptions to a social network. And as if that wasn’t nerve racking enough, I had to build up enough rapport, so that by the end of the conversation, the client would trust me with their credit card information. Needless to say, the turnover rate there was a high one. People would come and go so much that it created a deep anxiety within me. I constantly wondered if I would be the next to get laid off. The job also conflicted with the stories I had to cover at the Amsterdam News. There were many times where I couldn’t even arrange over the phone interviews. My schedule just didn’t coincide. Slowly but surely my writing for the Amsterdam News decreased. Then my editor stopped contacting me. I guess she assumed I was too busy with my new job. I got accustomed to getting a steady pay check so I never followed up with her either. But I made a long lasting relationship with two publicists. They constantly invited me to their events and I covered them when I could. I tried offering the stories to the Amsterdam News, but I got no response. By this time, the work that needed to be done for Ayana Productions had completely fallen off and I hardly prayed anymore. I was too busy trying to get by lines into Amsterdam News and keep my job at this shady company. One day I got called into the conference room about the sales I was making. You guessed it. I wasn’t making enough. Instead of taking it to God in prayer, I grew more and more worried. My blood pressure increased tremendously. I started selling Avon products as a back up to my back up job just in case they decided to lay me off.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.
Sometimes Satan can influence people and get them to influence you to get you off the track that God originally wanted you on.
As previously stated people were being fired left and right. One day a co-worker of mine started talking to me about a network marketing company that he was involved with. The sales I was getting at Avon weren’t all that great, so I went to a few meetings with him and before I knew it I was an independent business owner at this company I had to pay weekly dues to. While I believe my co-worker meant well in what he was doing, I don’t think that was the direction God wanted me to go into. So here I was with four different jobs. My focus was completely taken off of Ayana Productions all because I let my fear dictate my actions.
Then I got laid off. I had to let Avon and the network marketing business go. You want to know what was left? Ayana Productions and the relationships that I developed with the two publicists’ I met through Amsterdam News. God always has a way of getting you back on the right track.
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched out his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, why did thou doubt?
Unfortunately, I allowed my extenuating circumstances to take my mind off of Ayana Productions. The harsh reality was that bills were piling high. In addition to writing what was assigned to me, I covered anything that I thought would be of interest to Amsterdam News in an effort to help make ends meet. But not all my stories made it into the paper. Eventually things got so bad that I sometimes couldn’t afford to get to and from interviews. Those stories resulted in over the phone interviews. Constant fellowship with God was what got me through to this point, so I fell on my knees and I prayed. And I mean I prayed hard. In the midst of prayer, God spoke to my heart and said, “Keep your eyes on me and I won’t let you sink.”
Knowing that God doesn’t lie or go back on His word, His word gave me a new found strength. So I laid my circumstances at His feet, focused on God and continued to work steadfastly despite the issues surrounding me.
When God says Yes don’t let anybody tell you No
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
On the verge of hitting rock bottom, I was naturally eager to speak to my new editor about my first news assignment. I got my writing samples, a cover letter and my resume together. I sent it to her by email assuming that she would get back to me right away. But then a day went by and then another day. I didn’t hear from her. Two days can feel like a lifetime when you’re low on cash. So I decided to follow up with her by sending another email. Then another two days passed and nothing. I certainly didn’t want to be a pest but I didn’t exactly want to give up either. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what God was doing and why He was allowing this to happen. But one thing was clear. I know I heard God say Amsterdam News.
In prayer I expressed to God that my back was against the wall and I was confused as to why things were going the way they were going. But God spoke to my heart and told me to keep trying. So I persevered and a few more emails and telephone calls later, I got my first news assignment.
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God has already prepared the way. All you have to do is trust and obey.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made.
By now I was down to a weeks’ worth of money and my refrigerator stopped working. I had to get some form of income right away. I was in a place where I had to depend on God. Each day I asked God for direction in terms of employment. Then suddenly, one day, God whispered in my ear, Amsterdam News. You have to love it when God gets specific with you. I got to work right away. I prepared my writing samples and my resume and I personally took it up to the office. I’ll never forget my first day there. Apparently the staff was having some kind of celebration. I walked in on that hot July day and right in front of me were staff writers eating cake, laughing and talking. I hardly felt like this was the appropriate time to barge in with my resume and writing samples. But I had a limited amount of money and I was in no position to be choosy about the circumstances. To my left there were steps leading up to an office where there were staff members busy at work. I decided to take my documents there instead of the party. I explained to a gentleman there that I was looking for a writing position.
“Are you looking for an internship?” “No I’m looking for a paid writing position,” I replied. “Well you have to speak to the editors. I think they should still be downstairs.” One of the interns nodded their head in agreement. “Yeah try talking to Elinor. She’s the Editor in chief.” I thanked him.
I turned around and with every single step I took, I dreaded walking into that office interrupting the celebration for my job search. I almost walked out and went back home. At the last minute I turned back around. I knocked lightly on the side of the open door and apologized to the woman sitting there. She was so laid back and down to earth. I never would have guessed that I was speaking to the Editor in Chief, Elinor Tatum. With her mouth full of cake, we had a brief conversation about my writing abilities. In the end she suggested that I contact the hard news Editor. She handed the contact information over to me.
Maintain your God given purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles or discouragement.
I was riddled with doubt and under the attack of the enemy by the second episode of the my news & entertainment series. But the fact remained. My back was against the wall. I had shaken all the trees and had no other options. God was a the only way out.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Satan was beginning to attack my environment. I did just about all of my work from home and I was attempting to turn my basement into an office space. I moved my printer, my laptop, my desk and my equipment to the basement. Not long after, the basement began to flood more than ever before. Not willing to let it break my stride, I continued to work. But the opposition didn’t end there.
Unfortunately, on the street where I lived, I had some neighbors that were never that great at keeping their yard clean. But as soon as I began to do the work that God instructed me to do the litter they dropped increased. So much so that half the street was lined with trash. Pretty soon even the alleyway was overwhelmed with garbage. I mean chip bags, candy wrappers, soda cans, beer cans, you name it. Some of my other neighbors and I tried to clean up the trash but it became too much for us to keep up with. Before I knew it, the street was being overrun by wild animals. I could hear them scratch on the walls while I was trying to work. It was nerve-racking.
I decided the best thing to do was move everything back upstairs and pray. By now the fact that I had wild animals that seemed to be hell bent on getting into my home, my depleting funds and the possibility that perhaps I shouldn’t have quit my job seemed too much to bare.
1 Peter 5:7
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
I prayed and laid my worries and concerns at God’s feet. It was a definite relief. I then made more of an effort to look at God and not the circumstances. It was then that God renewed my strength and I was able to cover a Guinness Book World Record event of the world’s largest piñata and tour the Air and Space Intrepid Museum.
Sometimes when you’re praying and waiting on a word from the Lord, you don’t always feel God or get an answer right away. But don’t fret. God has not abandoned you.
I came back from the 2011 Essence Music Festival excited about the footage I acquired. I planned the first episode of my news & entertainment series, decided what clips would go where, what I would say, put it all together and uploaded it to the internet. I promoted the show on every social networking site I could think of. But then a week went by and the views were not where I hoped they would be. So I promoted the show more but the numbers hardly changed. I was afraid. I had quit my job, had a limited amount of money and my camera and laptop were sub par. I didn’t have the equipment to do the job God told me to do. Questions and doubts raced through my mind. Did God really tell me
to start this company? And if He did then why isn’t it yielding the kind of financial results that will sustain me?
I got back on my knees and prayed. I asked God why He was allowing this to happen. It was at that moment that I couldn’t quite put my finger on what God was doing.
Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? It is not I, the LORD?
Now go; I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say.”
I had fallen prey to the circumstances surrounding me. But I had to remind myself that God wouldn’t tell me to start this company if He knew I couldn’t be successful. I continued to pray on a daily basis worked on covering my next event.
Sometimes when God wants to make a change in your life, He makes you uncomfortable with where you are.
“You still work here?” a client of mine said to me in disbelief. Lowering my head in shame I replied, “Yes.”
I applied to what felt like every job in the book but I got no response. A recent college graduate, I felt helpless. I was fed up and knew it was time for a change. Months later, I was having a really tough day at work. I
passed one of my co-workers and grumbled under my breath “I’m so sick of this job.” Then she stopped me and asked me “Do you think God wants you to be unhappy with your job?” I shook my head no. “Then you need to take a chance and fall back into Him.” At that moment I felt God tug at my heart. It was undeniable.
I went home that day extremely excited with those words ringing in my mind “Take a chance and fall back into Him.” Not sure what my first course of action would be, I decided to pray. I expressed to God that I was at my wits end. I told Him that I shook every tree and I didn’t know what else to do.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
I was praying every day and it wasn’t that God wasn’t answering me. I just couldn’t believe the answer. I never considered starting my own media company. I didn’t have a lot of money, limited equipment and I was afraid. But I stepped out on faith anyway, quit my job and covered my first event in New Orleans, Louisiana…The 2011 Essence Music Festival.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.
Putting God first when you’re running a media company is no easy task. I mean let’s face it. You’re going up against one of the largest and most powerful platforms in the world. The media world as a whole has an agenda and it is not Christ like. Join Ayana Productions on our journey as we make God our first order of business!