Leading and Mentoring with Natasha Sistrunk Robinson

December 21, 2022 00:54:35
Leading and Mentoring with Natasha Sistrunk Robinson
Lavish Hope
Leading and Mentoring with Natasha Sistrunk Robinson

Dec 21 2022 | 00:54:35


Hosted By

Rev. Liz Testa

Show Notes

From the Marine Corps and Department of Homeland Security to seminary, Natasha Sistrunk Robinson is a powerhouse leader. And she is following God’s call to raise up the next generation and create liberative spaces where everyone, especially women and people of color, can show up fully, share stories, and take risks.

In the season finale of Lavish Hope, she joins Rev. Liz Testa for a conversation about finding hope, staying grounded in Scripture, surrounding yourself with people who help you live into your God-given potential, and so much more. A sought-after international speaker, leadership consultant, mentor, and executive leadership coach, Natasha recently released Voices of Lament: Reflections on Brokenness and Hope in a World Longing for Justice.

Natasha is a doctoral student at North Park Theological Seminary and the founder of the North Carolina-based nonprofit, Leadership LINKS, Inc., where she cultivates an intergenerational and multiethnic network of leaders committed to using their skills and resources for the greater good of humanity.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:01 Welcome to Lavish Hope. I'm your host, Liz Tesa. In this season four finale, I'm joined by Natasha Citron Robinson, author of the recently released Voices of Lament Reflections on brokenness and hope in a world long in for justice. And a powerhouse leader who is blessing the world with her vision for raising up the next generation and creating liber spaces for showing up fully, sharing stories and taking risks, particularly as women and people of color. Natasha is a sought after international speaker, leadership consultant, mentor, and executive leadership coach, who's also a former US Marine Corp captain and federal government employee of the Department of Homeland Security. She's currently a doctoral student at North Park Theological Seminary and the visionary founder and chairperson of the North Carolina based 5 0 1 <unk> <unk> Nonprofit Leadership Links Inc. Where she cultivates an intergenerational and multi-ethnic network of leaders committed to using their skills and resources for the greater good of humanity. Natasha is also the host of the podcast, a Soja Nurse, truth Conversations for a Changing Culture. In our conversation, she touches on so many important inspiring ideas around finding hope, staying grounded in scripture and surrounding oneself with people who will lift you up and help you live into your full God-given potential. There's a reason Natasha Sis drunk Robinson is our season finale. So let's jump in. Speaker 2 00:01:42 Welcome to Lavish Hope, stories of Resilience and overcoming. I'm Liz Tesa, your host, and I am so delighted to be here today with a wonderful leader and sister in the Lord, and as she said, a disciple of Jesus Christ living freely and fully into her calling the Soon to be document. Yes, Nasha Sister Robinson. Welcome, Natasha. So glad to have you here on the podcast today. Speaker 3 00:02:09 I'm so glad to be here. Dr. Liz, thank you so much for having me. Speaker 2 00:02:13 I'm wondering, since our listeners love to know a little bit about who they're listening to, to our guests, if you would just tell folks a little bit about yourself, um, just maybe some of the projects that you have going on, but just a little bit of, of who you are and, uh, and what your calling is. Speaker 3 00:02:30 Who I am, I'm a a always star. I'm a black girl from Orangeburg, South Carolina, so I was raised in the rural south, and, um, that was very much a part of my upbringing and my foundation, um, not just culturally, but also, um, spiritually as as well. And, um, what I have going on in my, my calling, my calling is really at the intersection of, uh, my Christian faith and my spiritual gift of leadership. Um, so everything I do kind of, um, works at that intersection and, and, and I love that opportunity that God has given me to clarify that better, um, as I've grown with age and maturity and opportunity. Um, but I started my professional journey in as an officer in the Marine Corps. So I was a financial management officer. I graduated from the Naval Academy, and, uh, I transitioned from there to do some work at the Department of Homeland Security and eventually quit that job to go to seminary full-time in seminary led to writing, uh, publications and articles and things. Speaker 3 00:03:43 And so, uh, my work, when I think about it, is really my ministry work of writing and speaking and teaching and training. Um, I do that through my ministry. And then I have my small business. I'm, I, I consider myself a social entrepreneur, <laugh>. So I have a small business, um, T3 leadership solution where I solutions where I provide leadership, executive coaching, as well as consulting. Um, I do some di some diversity equity inclusion training and, and work, um, some mentorship and, and, uh, customized leadership development programs normally for small organizations, uh, schools, nonprofits. Um, and, and then I have, uh, a nonprofit, um, uh, myself where I started with some friends. And what we do is called Leadership Links Incorporated as we provide leadership education, um, holistically. So we say that facilitates impactful living character and spiritual development. So we are raising up the next generation of leaders. Most of those leaders are African-American girls and young women, and we're preparing them to lead in the marketplace. So that's the nature of my work. I'm married, uh, my husband of 18 years. We have a 15 year old daughter, and we currently live in Durham, North Carolina. Speaker 2 00:04:58 Wonderful. My goodness. That is so rich. There's so much there to unpack. Mm-hmm. And I'm sure now that as you're sharing with us some of the answers to the questions that we always ask here on lavish, hope that we'll be able to see glimmers of all of that. That is, I, I, I, I'm, I'm particularly interested as a second career, uh, ministry practitioner. I'm always interested in how God uses our first careers and then shifts us in. So mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I'm intrigued by that, uh, that piece that you said about going from working in the military and homeland security and then moving into seminary. That is very much part of calling, isn't it? Speaker 3 00:05:33 It is very much a part of calling Speaker 2 00:05:35 <laugh>. Oh my goodness. That obedience to the call when, when God suddenly shakes it up and says, okay, now we're gonna do something a little different from what you have been doing. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, um, so anyway, thank you so much for sharing a bit about yourself and your calling, uh, so intriguing. So let's dive into the questions. So our first one that we ask is what does resilience mean to you? And then we also ask, how has it been shaped by your past and then maybe been changed and deepened by your experiences? So that sort of Sankofa looking back to look forward Yeah. Around what resilience means. Speaker 3 00:06:10 Yeah. I feel like resilience and perseverance really goes together. When you think about actions of faith, and this is the thing, real faith does require action, right? James tells us that. So it's not just about what we say and what we speak and what we proclaim with our mouth, but it's also what we embody and what we practice with our, with our lives and our actions. And I think that's very important. And so resilience is just about, um, I, I think, you know, recovering, bouncing back, continuing on the, on the journey, particularly when things get hard. Um, and I think that's important. Cause I think theologically, unfortunately in the West, we've done some, uh, theological work and, and I think have probably, uh, some, some of our black leaders would say, so people a bill of goods and like, you know, if you come to Jesus and then everything's gonna work out and everything's gonna work in your favor. Speaker 3 00:07:03 And so when those things are not materialized for people or they're not materialized as quickly, then I think you have people falling away from the faith because we haven't told them the truth. Right? And the, and the truth is, there's a common grace to all of us and for all of us. And the truth is that, uh, life and the hardship of life and the suffering of life is real to all of us. And if we didn't know that before this global pandemic, certainly we know it now. Um, and I think the, the, the thing we need to do as, as adults in the room, is that we need to be honest about those, uh, things that cause us suffering and, and our wilderness. What I write about is our wilderness experiences as our valley moments, um, because we are in a culture, especially for our young people, where they're only getting to highlight reels. Speaker 3 00:07:48 And so, um, you know, the comparison is there, um, the, the anxiety is there, the depression, the depression is there, um, them wanting, uh, a quick instant gratification for what they see, um, other people getting and not realizing what people had to go through to get those things. And so I think it's important that we, um, provide that teaching instruction, encouragement for this next generation about what's actually real in opposed to what we see <laugh> and project to be real about people's lives. Um, and I, and I think for me, what has shaped, um, my resilience, it's, it's been a lot of things. I think, um, ultimately though grief has been, uh, a huge shaper, um, of my journey, and my family had just suffered a lot of it. Um, I write about this quite a bit in my memoirs, so journal's truth, but, uh, my first significant loss, um, of someone like I was like deeply connected to that, that I, you know, I felt it was, um, I was 18 and it was my, my maternal grandfather, and then that was the beginning of 16 years where we lost 11 close family members. Speaker 3 00:09:01 Hmm. You know, and so I was just like going home for, for funerals. And, and that was not the end of my grief, but that was very, you know, you think about a young person in their formative years. Um, and, and I lost people that had a significant impact on my life, young and old people, um, that I'd grown up with. And that was very much shaping. Um, and, you know, I was in the environment in the military at the time where you just really didn't have the, the, the luxury or the privilege to quit. Um, and so I graduated from the first class of, um, miss Shipman of students from the Naval Academy post nine 11. So we were at war. Um, and so, you know, all these things we are doing in work required us to be fully present and be on and ready and alert and vigilant all the time. Speaker 3 00:09:52 And so this is how, you know, things were happening, my personal and spiritual life, but also my professional life made demands on me where quitting was really not an option. Um, like checking out was really not an option, um, because the work that we were doing was just so extremely important. And so I think, um, to some degree that professional training wasn't always healthy, honestly. But, um, it also taught me how to get up and go, you know, how to finish a thing, how to continue on the mission and get the job done. And, and, and then I think just kind of, for me as a child, a lot of that was shaped cause I was a competitive athlete. And so I, I ran track. I started running track when I was in sixth grade. And so I learned how to push myself. I learned how to win. Speaker 3 00:10:41 I learned how to get, um, be disciplined early, early in life. And I say to, um, young people now, especially that it's because those hard decisions that I made early in life, because I took those risks early in life because I did the challenging things early in life that I feel I have so much freedom and flexibility to make different choices, you know, in, in midlife. And I think that's important as well to, um, share with them. So those are just some things that have shaped me and allowed me to be resilient on the journey, but also what I try to teach and train and model for people, whether I'm discipling or doing Bible teaching or doing leadership, um, development instruction and coaching about, um, um, I, I, I just think it's important right now because I see so many people, you know, with our mental health crisis, um, checking out and, and, and I get it. I get it. And I think we, we have to, as people of faith, um, be able to marry what we know to be true in the word and the convictions that we have, and providing people the support and encouragement and help that they need, um, for, for their whole being to be, uh, well, so that they can continue to show up and be the people that God called them to be and do the work that God has called them to do. Speaker 2 00:11:57 Amen. My goodness. That will preach, <laugh> <laugh>, it kinda is right here on lavish hope. I love it. And it's so important. I so appreciate everything that you shared. And one of the things that really resonated for me, and, and it's clearly part of what you're addressing is, you know, for our, for our young people, but also for everybody right now, this is a, like, this is a crushing world we're living in right now. Absolutely. All of creation is groaning, and we are doing the best to make our way. But what I am seeing is, you know, there's burnout. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there's also some, um, as you're saying, you know, you're trying so, so much to be able to infuse in young people these strategies, right. For how to rise and how to be strong. And so when you said quitting is not an option, I wonder where do you find resilience when you don't have it? So like you, you said quittings not an option, but for those who it is an option, like it's their, yeah. They just, they don't have it in them. How, how do you find resilience? Speaker 3 00:12:56 I think the communities that we have is very important. And, and, and I wanna say this too, I did grow up in a culture where quitting was not an option. And I know now there are some things that do, you do need to quit <laugh>, right? Let me say that there, there are some things that we need to quit. So I think that's important to, to name. But even in that discernment process and seeking of that wisdom, we need community, we need elders. We need people who have traveled before us to provide us with some wise council. The Bible encourages us to do this. Yes. Um, so we know that, I think the other thing community provides for us is a mirror. Mm-hmm. So a lot of times, you know, the Bible refers to the enemy of our souls in a lot of ways, but one of the ways that he's referred to is the adversary and accuser of the brother and the sister. Speaker 3 00:13:55 And so a lot of times, um, this anxiety is induced because all these voices in our heads are telling us things about ourselves that are not true. And so we don't, we are not clear about our, our own identity. And so, um, that can be just difficult as well. And so I'm anchored in that. And so being anchored in that gives you confidence with your yeses and your No. But if you're not anchored in that identity. And so I think community can help us, um, if, if it's a good, healthy, loving, strong, supportive, affirming community, then what it could do, uh, what the people in our lives can do. And I write about this a lot in, in my, uh, discipleship work, but also in my memoir. Like, leaders are shaped by pa people and places, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so people can help us see things about ourselves that we might not see. Speaker 3 00:14:54 And so when we start to doubt ourselves, or we don't believe it's people in our community that can say, Hey, that's not really what I saw. Um, that's that, you know, you don't see this yet, but I see this, like, I see that seed that's been planted or, or they're watering and, and, and there's, they're, they're encouraging along the way, um, so that God can get a, the increase from the work that's being done. Um, and I don't mean just physical work, I mean the transformative work that's happening in your life. And so I think that's, that community is very important. And then also I think we just have to get more honest with ourselves and with each other. So for example, you know, when people are quitting on themselves or they're quitting on life, you know, I think we have to ask ourselves like, do we like the results that we see <laugh>? Speaker 3 00:15:40 I think we just have to be honest about that. And so we can say, oh, well, I'm not gonna take this, or I'm not gonna do that, or I'm not gonna, um, go to this job and I'm not gonna do this thing. It's like, okay, you, you are a free agent, <laugh>, you have a choice about, you know, the things you wanna do in life. And so, but, but answer. Let's have an honest discussion. Do you like the results? Like, do, do you like the results that you see in your personal life? Do, do you feel that you have healthy relationships? Do you feel that you're meeting whatever, um, goals you feel that you have professionally or however you define success for yourself? Do you like the results? And if the honest answer to that is no, it's not until we have that conversation with ourselves, can we have a conversation about what things that we could possibly look at to change or do, or, you know, or do differently. Speaker 2 00:16:37 That is so rich and I, I so appreciate that because there's this whole thing, right, of the mask. And I think we just have so many people that are hiding behind that mask, that facade. Yeah. And so that's what it feels like you're really helping, um, invite people into that conversation. Um, and that's so, that's so important for, in today's world especially. So I'm wondering, do you have any stories of resilience and overcoming that you'd like to share? I know you already referred to a few there, but do you have any more that you might be able to just, um, just to illuminate some of this, uh, rich content that you've been sharing with us? Speaker 3 00:17:11 There's a lot, but I will say, I shared in my memoir as a journalist truth, and, and I, as you can probably hear, like, my heart is really, I mean, I've worked with all kinds of leaders, but I'm just, some things I'm preparing for in the coming weeks. I'm just really thinking about young people, um, our next generation of, of leaders and, and what they need and what they, um, may not know that they need and what they're, they're missing. And the gaps are. And so I share in my memoirs a journalist truth, a story about when I was in college. And, uh, I come from an environment that was, um, predominantly African American. So in my, my high school, I'm, I'm like probably 98%, maybe even more African American students. Um, it's a small town. Uh, everybody knows everybody. So like my community and my family, they're intertwined. Speaker 3 00:18:02 Um, it's a town. We have two historically black colleges and universities, one private, one public. And so the black excellence was there. Um, the, the push for education was there. Like all these things was celebrated. So I left that small town not feeling small at all. I left feeling proud to be black and a woman. And then you go to the Naval Academy where some people don't like you cuz you are a woman and some people don't like you cuz you black and some people don't like you cause they don't like black people or women <laugh>. Right. <laugh>. And so it's predominantly white environment. It's predominantly male environment is predominantly affluent. Not everyone, but a lot of people come from money or wealth or some kind of legacy and just was not my story. And so there were areas and instances for sure where I, where I doubted. Speaker 3 00:18:56 Um, but you know, there were, there was a time where, um, a a woman, a student who was supposed to be training me, um, she said to me when I was in training in my freshman summer about how she didn't want me to be there. Uh, she didn't think I deserved to be at her school. She was gonna do everything she can to get me kicked out and write up my paperwork. And, and she took action on that. I mean, she actually followed through on what she wanted to do. Um, but it was mean going back to this identity thing and saying to these young people, I knew who I was when I got there. Right. She didn't know who I was. And that was to her detriment. Like she actually failed. If that was her goal, she failed in that mission. Right. Because I came knowing who I was with the history of what my ancestors had already done and what they had overcome and the prayers that had been prayed for me to be who I am unapologetically and to rise into that. Speaker 3 00:20:07 And so when I was doubtful or fearful or unsure, um, that's what I remembered. Hmm. That's what I remembered. And so, um, when she was telling me all these things about what she was going to do and what she, where she thought I belonged or did not have a right. A places I didn't have a right to be, I'm reminded of, okay, I will show you better than I could tell you that's where the resilience was as well. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because your words in my life, your perception of who you think I I am your definition of where you think I have a right to be, that is not the things that I'm accepting Right. Into my, you know, for myself. I'm accepting the words and the truth that were spoken to me for people who know and love me <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:21:05 Right. Speaker 3 00:21:05 Again, this is where the community comes back again. Yes. Like I have to believe the words of the people who know and love me more so than some stranger I just met who doesn't, you know, clearly doesn't mean me any, any good. And so it's that, it's that anchoring that really helped me, uh, move forward. And what I wanna encourage our young people to be mindful of our story is attached to the stories of those that have come before us. And it's gonna be the stories that carry those who come after us. And more importantly, as people of faith Christian people, we want to understand that we are a part of God's redemptive story. And so when we are showing up fully as a people, God called us to be doing the work that he's purposed us to do from the very beginning of time, that we are actually fulfilling part of the redemptive story. I'm like, we are writing history right now. Right. You know, we're in that gap between that now and not yet kingdom. Like we are already in the kingdom and yet the full kingdom has not yet been revealed and all of our stories are gonna be attached to that great big narrative. Um, and that's the thing that I didn't know that at 20 something, but I'm starting to understand that God was doing something greater in my life than me just taking classes in college and, you know, graduating with a degree. Speaker 2 00:22:38 That is a good word. That is an encouraging word. And I love that you've connected this redemptive work, right. That that this, we're part of God's big story. And I think that is what young people today have lost sight of that in so many ways because it's like what's right in front of you. I also wonder if you have any thoughts on how in, in the work that I do, I have seen that it's also part of our western mm-hmm. <affirmative> societal construct. Absolutely. Speaker 2 00:23:05 It teaches individualism. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So even as you're talking about community, there's, there's also in many places in the United States and in the western world in general mm-hmm. <affirmative> where people are taught, like detach yourself from your community, forget about. Right. You know, they take, they take two two, like, uh, two literally the forget the former things. Right, right. Uh, that scripture tells us. And that, like, if you look at it through that biblical lens, you see that that doesn't mean throw everything out and throw the baby out with the bath water. That's not what that means. Right. Right. So I'm wondering what, what advice you might have for people about that piece. Um, that has to do with like, and, and I'm also wondering too, the other thing that I, I, I'm, I'm curious about is there's some folks that don't come from that sense. Like they don't have a community. When, when you said this beautiful, um, yeah. Thing, I had to write it down cuz it was so good. Is believe the words of people who know and love you. Right? Yeah. Yeah. What if you're a person who doesn't, who doesn't have that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, how do you then mm-hmm. <affirmative> move forward Speaker 3 00:24:04 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. And I, and I, this, I think this is one of those things that grieved the hearts of God, right? And I think, you know, we have to go all the way back to the beginning and remember, and I think there's two things. So one, when we see Adam and Eve getting married, what we would say they're, they're making a covenant relationship that we don't have that language yet. That's what's happening, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, you know, he, he should leave his father and mother and the two should become one flesh. There's a union, there's a oneness that takes place in the marriage that we see between Adam and Eve. And what we see is that there's a leaving, you know, the Bible talks about the leaving in the Cleveland. And my point is that is shot not just for marriage. There's some communities that are not healthy that we just need to leave. Speaker 3 00:24:52 There's some families that are toxic and dysfunctional that we might need to leave. But the idea is that you clea to something, some people, cuz you know, no one person will fulfill every need that we have aside from Christ. Um, no, no spouse will do that for us. Um, but this idea that we are cleaving to other people, and so maybe, you know, maybe, um, the family, the foundation, the community that you were born into, it's not your people. And that's lamentable and it's sad. And that does not mean that nobody wants you and nobody loves you, and there are not people out there for you. And so this is where you pray and ask the Lord, who are my people to cleave too. I think that's important. And if we go back even before that, I think we want to understand that when Eve is brought into the scene, it is not because Adam was, um, lonely or Adam was, you know, needed somebody to do his dishes or Adam, you know, um, was wanting sex. Speaker 3 00:26:09 Right. Like that the Bible says that God said it was not good for Adam to be alone. God. And, and, and, and in a series of verses where God is continually to say that what he was doing was good, like that his work in creation was good. The only thing that God said in creation was not good was for Adam to be alone. And again, I want people to understand this is not just about marriage. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, really, if we don't look at just the English transitions, it's not good for humans to be alone. And so this idea of individualism, of isolation, of pulling ourselves up our own bootstrap, it, it's all, it is very Western. I would say also it's also very white cultured <laugh>. Um, and again, not talking about a people group, but but this, this, this systemic and structural and social construct of whiteness. Right. Um, it, it's very individualistic and, and, and again, I think we should ask ourselves, how's that working for you? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Right. Right. It it's not, it's not working. And, and, and we know that. And so we want to lean into what God says is good and what God has made possible for us. And that is for us to be in union with God and for us to be in union and community with each other. And the only thing that breaks that fellowship is sin. Speaker 2 00:27:35 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, Speaker 3 00:27:36 That's the only thing that breaks that fellowship. And so, you know, God wants us to be in community with other people and you know, uh, that means one, we can pray and ask God to help us find those people. And that means two, that we also need to take the risk because it is a risk. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? People messy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right. People messy, you will get hurt. You know, we will need to forgive. The reason you forgive people is cause offense has happened <laugh>. Right, right, right. The Bible talks about this because we know. And so there is just not a thing of, you know, you get in community with people, you get in relationship with people, you will never be hurt. No one will ever hurt your feelings. Everything will be perfect in the world. It says that we will get better together. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's what is offered to us when we are in a community that is safe, that is loving, that is, um, honoring, seeking God, Jesus, um, as our center, um, for, for fellowship. And, and this is what it means to live out the greatest commandment. Right. To love God and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Speaker 2 00:28:44 So powerful. Thank you so much for just expanding on that. I just think it's so important for people to hear that message of the importance of community, however you are called to create it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that, that, that whole individualism, it's isolating that I I I I I say that exact thing of like, to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. That's a lie. The enemy <laugh>, we are taught that we're supposed to do that, make it on our own. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it's just not how we're hardwired. And I think for many of us that come from where our cultures of origin, we're all community based Yeah. Or some that can feel oppressive, but yet, you know, how do you then live into it in healthier ways? And I just appreciate so much some of those strategies and tools that you share. I think that's gonna be really, um, we got a lot of folk out there that are gonna be very inspired by that. And I'm sure we're taking good notes. Um, so I'm wondering, where is a place that you find hope? Speaker 3 00:29:37 I'm finding hope in a few things. One, you know, as I read the word, and as I pray, I know that what we see, however dark and bleak and discouraging, it looks like, I know that's not the end of the story. Mm-hmm. So I always find hope in the word of God in that way. Um, that's extremely encouraging to me that this is not the end of the story. I find hope when I see like God gives little reminders. It can be a note of encouragement. It could be looking at someone's face as they change when you're speaking or proclaiming the truth of God's word. When God provides those encouragement, those winks, um, that you are on the right path that you, that, that he's present in the work, that the Holy Spirit is empowering, like fanning the flames. Right. You know, you see sometimes when you speaking the truth to people, you see the light going on. Speaker 3 00:30:55 Um, and them being able to rise up into who they are, them being reminded of who they are, them dreaming again. Um, and, and I've seen this a lot over the last few weeks as I'm kind of teaching the word and, um, speaking and sharing about, um, some of the, the work that I'm doing. I'm seeing it happen all the time. And God just, um, reminded, oh yes, I I I still have my hand on that person. I'm still at work in this area. I have not forgotten about this thing. Like, you don't have to, you know, put this aside, be encouraged is not there yet, but it's coming. Right. Um, so I see I get hope from that. Like every time I see that happening, I've been seeing it happening quite a bit. Um, and, and that's, that gives me hope and encouragement too, to keep on the journey. Speaker 2 00:31:47 So you mentioned that just soaking in the word of God, just dwelling in the word of God was part of that hopefulness that you're able to, um, just embrace. So I'm wondering what, uh, favorite, you've alluded already to, to a few, but do you have a favorite verse, uh, that inspires you to embrace, um, resilience, overcoming hope or quotes could also be Yeah. From authors or other theologians? Speaker 3 00:32:14 Yeah. You know, I was thinking about this because, um, I don't have a favorite verse, but, but there's a couple verses that came to mind. I do wanna read them if I can. And one I'll, I'll share a short story with, but one is, um, Romans chapter five versus one through five. And so, uh, my subheading in my Bible says, peace and hope, and I'm reading out the N I V. So it says, therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace, which in which we now stand Paul rights. And we boze in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our suffering because we know that suffering produces perseverance. This is the resilience that we're talking about. Speaker 3 00:33:05 Perseverance produces character. And character produces. And hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. And there's just so much there. That's a whole sermon that I can't get into. But I wanna say this, Paul writes about this a lot, even when he's writing in First Corinthians about, um, now abide these three faith, hope, love, and the greatest of Jesus, love, um, faith and hope are intimately connected. And in a world of people who do not honor God, hope that is dark hope can appear to be foolish, but hope is really an exercise in our faith, right? Because we're looking towards a world that has not yet been made new, and yet, um, is still yet to come. And so I wanna say that again, that hope is an exercise in our faith. Speaker 3 00:34:10 And what we see is that in these passages, is that even when we suffer, as we persevere, our character is strengthened and our character produces that hope. And we don't have to be ashamed for being hopeful people when things around us look like it's on fire and burning because the Holy Spirit is at work in our hearts and giving us what we need to continue to persevere in this. So I'm, I'm thinking about in the context of our conversation today. I thought that those verses were extremely important, um, to share, not necessarily my favorites. I love a lot of verses, but, but I, I thought in context, I thought those verses were extremely important to share. And then I'll share this last one because it was just, it's a conversation I've been having with a frame, um, recently. So one of the projects I just released is Voices of Lament, and one of the contributors on there, uh, she and I were talking a, a few days ago about the Book of Revelations and my church, we just finished a sermon series on the Book of Revelations. Speaker 3 00:35:17 And so she said, she said, um, I just think Revelation's such a beautiful book. I was like, I don't know if I was saying a beautiful book, <laugh>. I was like, I said, I dunno if I would describe it in that way. I said, but it is hopeful. I I actually said, I said, it does gimme hope. I I will just read to you, you to what we see, you know, uh, the subheading of my verses the New Heaven and a new Earth. So just like in these first four verses of chapter 21 of Revelations, John is sharing these visions that he's getting from God. And he said, I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth, that's where we currently live, had passed away. And they were no longer in a sea. He said, but I saw the holy city, this new Jerusalem coming down from heaven of, from God prepared as a bride, beautifully dressed for her husband. Speaker 3 00:36:17 And so then I thought, I said, oh, this is what she mean by beautiful. Now this is beautiful, right? Anybody who's been to a good wedding, you know, you have all the feels like the, the, it is coming down a dressed beautifully as a bride for her husband to be received. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, God speaking, look, God dwelling place is now among the people. And he will dwell with them and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. And this is the thing for me, for someone who has suffered so much loss and so much grief in life, that he will wipe every tear from their eyes and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things have passed away. And that gives me hope for every loss that we've experienced, for every suffering, there's so much in this life that is lamentable, it's worthy of grief in our tears and, um, our mourning and our crying and so much that has caused us pain, that God says what gives us hope, what we have to look forward to is that those things will be no more. Speaker 3 00:37:48 Hmm. Those things will be no more. And in this new heaven and new earth, it will be like a wedding feast every day all the time and all the fields that we have for that, when we go to a wedding that we are excited about <laugh> mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, that's the kind of rejoicing that we were experiencing. And that's the, that the, the beauty that we will exchange for the ashes that we've gotten. Speaker 2 00:38:22 Thank you for that. That is, it's, you know, I think many people think that hope is this kind of bright, shiny thing. And I just appreciate with both of your examples, just how deep, um, and how that hope comes with, you know, it's like how do we understand the battle? Uh, how do we understand the victory if we don't, didn't have the battle? And some people, you know, struggle with that idea, but I think that there is this, you know, we will not have struggled in vain. So I just really so appreciate how deeply you've invited our listeners to, to engage with those texts and to consider how hope shows up there and shows up in our lives. Speaker 3 00:39:03 Yeah. Speaker 2 00:39:03 It's, it's so rich. Thank you so much. It takes cultivating hope. That's, that's what it says in my little question is how are you cultivating hope today? I mean, it takes that term, cultivation cultivating to a whole new level. And, and I think that's something that when you talk about dwelling in the word, that's what you're talking about. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> is that opportunity to really see where do we get that? Where do we get that encouragement from the word? So, so thank you for that. So I am wondering then about how you are cultivating hope today and what projects you're working on. I know you've already mentioned your voices of lament. I know you're in the middle of, of that project, but just share with us where are you cultivating hope? What are your projects? Speaker 3 00:39:46 Yeah. Cultivating hope mostly on the road these days. Speaker 2 00:39:49 <laugh> <laugh>. Speaker 3 00:39:51 No, we are, we are wrapping up a national, uh, book tour of, uh, my most recent project, voices of Lament. Um, the subtitle is Reflections on Brokenness and Hope in a World Longing for Justice. It features 29 women of color writing about Psalm 37. And Psalm 37 is a Hebrew a tic poem talking about how God deals with the wicked and how God deals with the righteous. And so I'm just very proud of not only this product that is the book, but the community that these women of color have cultivated over the last couple years. And, and so we've been cultivating hope in community over the past couple years as we've been writing and now being able to go all across the country to share both the project and the community and the messages of hope and justice and lament and truth telling, um, with the communities where so many of these women of color are working and serving. Speaker 3 00:40:50 And so we've been all across the country and, um, have a couple more stops before we wrap that up. We just really glad to share it. And so we'd love for people to support that, that you can find out about all of my projects on my website, Natasha, um, s robinson.com. And then, um, right prior to that, I released my, um, bible study on the book of Exodus, um, called Journey to Freedom. In the subtitle is Discovering The God of Deliverance. It's an eight week bible study. It is for, um, the whole church. I like to say that is a project that men and women can sink their teeth into, um, but also very intentionally. I think you heard my my heart about this early in the, in the conversation. Um, this is important, um, in intergenerational work. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, because I, I, I just think that so much of what we see in Israel's story is that God first revealing himself to Moses at the burning bush as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Speaker 3 00:41:51 Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and him telling them basically that I am the one who has been with your ancestors, and now I will be with you. And, and then as he's given Moses this charge for leadership, he also tells them, I'm gonna provide you some support. Your brother Aaron is gonna, you know, partner with you. You need to go and tell the elders right away. Right. And so, um, Moses wasn't sent out on this journey. We like to elevate him as an individual. He was, he wasn't dynamic leader, I believe. Um, but what I'm saying is, is that he was cultivating, um, this new world that they were called to live in as God's chosen people in community, um, with, with elders and judges and his brother and sister. Um, and I, I just think it's important that we not forget that. And he was very intentional too in the mentorship and discipleship he offered so that a Joshua can rise up, um, to be the succession plan and the next, uh, leader, um, of, of, of the people. Speaker 3 00:42:50 And Joshua's able to lead faithfully and serve confidently and boldly because of that mentorship and leadership that Moses offered. And so I just think it's very important that this is a study. Um, I've written it as a layperson's commentary, um, that, so, so it's accessible. Um, it is heavily researched, but it's very accessible to people, um, like I say in the pew. Um, and I want people going through this, you know, um, with the, with the whole church. I really, really do. Because I think it will bless you, um, to do that in such a way. And then I think, uh, lastly, I, I have some, some other projects as well. But lastly, I will say that my memoir of So Journalist Truth, um, where I chart it, it was really like the catalyst for the exit Bible study. But I chart my life and leadership journey, um, cuz we talked a little bit prior to this Dr. Speaker 3 00:43:40 Liz about, um, you know, women in, um, their, their, whether or not they see themselves as leaders. And so I, I racially in my memoir, a journalist truth chart, my life in le in Faith in Leadership Journey alongside Moses and the Exodus narrative. And so, um, you can buy that in print form, but also just this fall we released it an audio book. And so I'm reading mm-hmm. That audio book. And so people who like to read the Audi I'm reading that way you can get the audio book. Um, now. And I like to use, and I encourage people cuz I quote from urs Truth in the Weekend reflections of the, um, journey, the Freedom Exodus Bible study. I tell 'em, you can kinda listen to it as part of your reflection, um, or meditation as you are doing the, the Exodus Bible study. And so those are the recent projects, but I have a, a whole bunch of others, um, that you can access to my, on my website. Speaker 3 00:44:35 And then, um, if you wanna continue like, conversations, hearing from me and talking to other people, talking with other people like this, then I have my, my podcast, um, that we have, uh, launched this season. Yeah. I love, I love that. We are, we are. Um, and, and I think it's important, the reason I bring it up here is not just, uh, promo, but particularly because of the topic we're talking about hope, resilience, and overcoming. So this season with our podcast relaunch, we have an extended season. Um, so we are, it's called a Urist Truth podcast. A subtitles is Conversations for a Changing Culture. But we're talking about grief this season. And so I think we've had a lot of people that have suffered a lot of grief, um, partially cuz of pandemic, but also maybe you didn't have a physical loss or death in the pandemic, but you've experienced that isolation, that anxiety, that uncertainty, um, that maybe you feel like you lost your footing. Speaker 3 00:45:28 You just don't quite know what to do. So I have people talking about all the things we grieve, all the ways we grieve, um, and how they have overcome, how they've been resilient, um, how they remain hopeful in this. And so, uh, we are into the second segment of that. And then we'll continue that all the way through the new year. So, uh, we have an extended season this year, and so I think some of those conversations that we're having on a Sojo Journalist Truth podcast this season will be very encouraging to your listeners as well. So I encourage 'em to go subscribe their, um, like, and you know, join a paint drawing community and all those things. Speaker 2 00:46:04 That is so amazing. I love that. I love that. And, and that's part of when you were talking about keeping it real, I love that you are creating space where it's all the things that you've been talking about and then you're doing it through this lens mm-hmm. <affirmative> of the contemporary setting that we're in this context that we're living in right now, this time this, it's troubling times. And so giving people a place to be able to be equipped and inspired about the grief we everybody has, everybody's got grief of some kind. Yes. I mean, this pandemic has not left anybody unscathed. And if they think they haven't <laugh>, they just need to take a little time mm-hmm. <affirmative> to just really, uh, lay bare what it is that they're kind of stuffing, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> like we wanna, we wanna Right. Encourage people to be able to engage. Speaker 2 00:46:48 We wanna normalize it normalizing grief in this season For sure. So there's so many things there. Um, your voices of lament is so rich and, and I, I'm thinking particularly, I've got a whole, um, part of my audience base that's part of this women's transformation and leadership ministry mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's part of the, she is called <unk> mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, outward facing ministry that we have throughout the world. And just thinking about, um, those, uh, you know, from those women of color who are sharing those stories mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's something that we very much honor here. And so I I I feel like there's so much there that our audience will really appreciate, and I'm very interested in this intergenerational because we talk often in and within, within within my ministry context, we have something we call the equity-based hospitality collective. Yeah. And one of the ministries, so we have race relations, we have women, we have people with disabilities, and we have NextGen. Yeah. And one of the big things that our NextGen leaders are talking about is the importance of intergenerational relationships, mentoring connections. And so I really am inspired by how clearly you're articulating this Exodus study as for the whole church. And when we're saying whole church, you're talking about intergenerational. Speaker 3 00:48:03 Absolutely. And, and, and, and here's the thing, <laugh>, this is why I think you asked earlier. Like, like I first said, like I'm a disciple of Jesus. Like my very first book that I published is Mentor for Life Finding Purpose Through Intentional Discipleship. Hmm. And so what I do in that book is outline biblical principles, um, to connect mentoring that we need, whether that's professional, personal, or otherwise to what biblically and spiritually we call to, which is really inviting people to become students, followers, learners of Jesus. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and I do that in a way that outlines how mentoring can be a leadership pipeline for people. So that includes succession, that includes all those things. Um, but also, um, when we mentor people, well it helps them understand like, I just got a text this morning, like somebody is saying, you know, I need some help discern de discerning my, my purpose. Speaker 3 00:48:59 Like what is God calling me to? And so I think people young and old are asking that question all the time. We talked about this early, even when they're switching careers, you know, midlife, you become a empty nester. Um, maybe the career you started is not the career you want anymore. I mean, there are all kinds of, um, life shifts and transitions that happen unexpectedly or not. And I think what we, um, see when we already have those relationships cultivated, um, there's a trust built and discipleship is happening so that all of us can be on mission and on purpose for first who God has called us to be, which is the disciple of Jesus, but then next that vocational calling of what he's called us to do, like what God has put us here for. And when we have people on mission for that, then the church is actually operating as a healthy body, metaphorically Right. Speaker 3 00:49:57 In the way that God intended. And I think that's why it's so important for me. I think the reason why the church is not as effective, um, in this time and, and <laugh> when we have so much challenge and so much opportunity is because we have not discipled people. Well, that's just the bottom line. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so until we get back to that fundamental work, then we are going to be irrelevant in a culture. Because if we are trying to show up like everybody else and do do what everybody else is doing, look, they're not getting the results <laugh>. Right. And the beautiful thing about our work is that we're not responsible for the results and we actually just do the things that God called us to do and powered by the Holy Spirit. Then God's spirit is responsible for getting the results. Like we plant some of us, some of us water. And what is about say that God gets the increase, the harvest is plentiful people, laborers. Yes. Yes. The laborers are people. Speaker 2 00:50:56 Yes. Yes. Yes. And you know, I just taught on Priscilla and Aquila this past weekend, and so I'm just thinking when you're talking about, you know, your, your whole scriptural reference about the, you know, it's, it's a Apollo is, is is to the watering, and you think who instructed a palace? And so then that was mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, in the correct, uh, you know, knowing about baptism and mm-hmm. <affirmative> knowing about Jesus, uh, was Priscilla Aquila and so mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like as you start to unpack that sort of knowing where you've come from, knowing who these ancestors are, who have been, you know, and how we build generation by generation. Yeah. It's, it's so rich and, and I think in our society today, we've forgotten we've forgotten how to do that and we're not rewarded for that. Right. So that goes back to that individualism. So it's that way of cutting mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, where we've come from and, um, and we need more of it. So yeah. Commending for everyone in the new year do the exodus study <laugh> Yeah. Avail yourselves of all these wonderful things that, um, that you're, that you're working on and to do it together in community. So important mm-hmm. Speaker 3 00:51:59 <affirmative>, yeah. Speaker 2 00:52:01 So soon to be Dr. Natasha, thank you so much for peace here. You have been such a blessing for us, and I know that our listeners have been edified, uplifted, inspired by all that you have shared and that they will want to continue to learn more, uh, through you and all of your wonderful resources. God bless you. God Speaker 3 00:52:20 Bless. Thank you for having me. Thank you Speaker 2 00:52:21 So much. Continue to do all the things so much that, that God has you on assignment doing my goodness. And a big blessing for the world. So thank you so much for being on the podcast today. Speaker 3 00:52:33 Amen. Amen. It's been my pleasure. Speaker 0 00:52:45 Thanks so much for listening to this season finale of Lavish Hope, season four. I hope my conversation with Natasha has offered insights into what lavish hope, resilience, and overcoming can mean for your life's journey, as well as those around you. If you'd like to connect with Natasha and all her excellent resources, you can do so via her website at www.natashasrobinson.com. This episode is brought to you by faith word.org, an online learning community where you'll find ideas for living out your faith and living into your calling reflections on scripture and church, self-guided courses on topics like contemplative prayer and equity-based hospitality and lots of discipleship resources for your faith community In English e Espanol, such as the she is called <unk> Women of the Bible Study series. The Lavish Hope Podcast Executive production Team includes Maria Orr, Lorraine Parker, grace writer, and me, Liz Testa, sound design and editing by the amazing Gareth Seyer. In a spirit of embracing the now and not yet of our world today, I pray that you will always find ways to cultivate lavish hope and build resilience each and every day. It's just as the angel Gabriel said to Mary all those many years ago, for nothing is impossible with God. God bless you now and always.

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