Black Pearls Magazine Interview: LaShawnda Jones, author of My God and Me: Listening, Learning and Growing on My Journey
My God and Me: Listening, Learning and Growing on My Journey is a collection of snap-shot narratives of my life, concentrating mostly on the years I underwent a spiritual transformation. A few years ago I moved to New York City from Milwaukee, WI. Alone. No family, no friends and no job. I learned without a doubt how to trust in the Lord. I did odd jobs around New York City for six months. There’s no rational-intellectual explanation of how I was able to feed and shelter myself. But I had a place to lay my head every night and not one day passed that I wasn’t well fed. The Lord provides! My God and Me is full of illustrative stories of how He holds me, guides me, teaches me, provides for me and loves me. It not a story of lack, it’s a story of how I’m being prepared to reap a spiritual abundance!
Q. What led you to create My God and Me now?
My God and Me is derived from blogs. When I started blogging in 2006, my only intent was to be entertaining. My goal was to promote my VoLux Full-Figure Calendar. My early posts were about plus size fashion, body image and self-esteem. Somewhere in that mix, my exploration of my self-esteem exposed a struggle with my self-confidence. Did my strength come from my physical connections or my spiritual connection? The deeper I dug for the root of my insecurities, the more I desired a deeper connection to my Source. I describe this struggle in detail in Self-Image is Everything, a piece in my book.
I blogged for three years. Throughout that time I didn’t have a complete picture of my transformation. During the fall 2008, I realized I had nearly one hundred blogs. After categorizing them, I had enough material for three different books. But I wasn’t interested in publishing just any three books. I wanted to publish something that said something… that spoke to people. Truthfully, I had no idea what was in the midst of those one hundred blogs.
The Holy Spirit led me to create My God and Me. That’s truly the only explanation I have for what has been delivered through me. There was no conscious effort on my part to come to the finished product I came to. The cohesiveness of the message is amazing to me. It’s like I wrote it from beginning to end, when in actuality it was pieced together from different stories throughout the years, from various areas of my life.
Q. Who should read My God and Me: Listening, Learning and Growing on My Journey and why?
My pastor’s wife read an advanced copy of My God and Me and wrote this note to me when she completed it: This is EXCELLENT!! Your writing is a gift from God. There is something in here for all Christians – single, married, male, female. I love you even more!”
I also believe there’s something in there for non-Christians. This book is about seeking…. Seeking love… meaning…purpose… acceptance… satisfaction. It’s about life. It’s a very Christian book in the sense that I use Biblical scripture in nearly every piece. But it’s more spiritual because the message is all encompassing.
Q. What impact will your book have on the community?
I think this book will bring people closer to their true selves. It will encourage a personal honesty and transparency. When we are able to be more truly ourselves, we are able to be more present in our relationships. Better relationships improve our quality of life.
Q: What issues in today’s society have you addressed in My God and Me?
The destruction and life complications for victims of rape and sexual exploitation are addressed. Women who completely give up their lives for their husbands and/or children only to develop a corrosive resentment because of their decision are profiled. Our relationship with our bodies and how our ideas of perfection are shaped by family, friends and society are covered. Overall, finding a balance with our humanity and spirituality is the primary theme of My God and Me.
Q: Who did you write My God and Me for? Why?
After I completed the book, I wrote A Blessing for My Daughters which is the first piece. My daughters aren’t yet born. I wrote this book for the future. For everyone who is here now to sow into their futures.
The blessing is a synopsis of the lessons I’ve learned up to this point. My desire is to share my knowledge and perspective with others so their walk will be eased and enriched in some way.
Q: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp and share?
We have a responsibility to share our humanity. We were created as receptacles and vessels of love. We need to love each other.
Q: Thousands of books are published each year. What sets My God and Me: Listening, Learning and Growing on My Journey apart from other books in your genre?
Many Christian and self-help books are telling you how to improve your life. Do steps one, two, three and your life will be perfect. Most of them create the illusion of a conclusion.
There is no conclusion to my book, but it’s complete. There’s no theory on what’s right, but there’s evidence that all things work out for the best. My God and Me is a series of stories that contribute to a larger picture. It’s a book detailing the process of one individual’s growth. My growth. That’s not to say your growth and evolution will be the same. But in the process I am open and honest about how I dealt with all the changes my life and relationships have gone through thus far. It’s a book about human frailties becoming supernatural strengths when covered by the love of God.
My God and Me is a book of examples.
Q: What was the most powerful chapter or scene in My God and Me for you?
Better Than You Should Be. I struggled over revealing certain things in that piece, but it’s probably the one narrative in My God and Me that explains and ties everything else together.
Q: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in My God and Me: Listening, Learning and Growing on My Journey?
It’s not mine to change. I realized early on that I am a vessel and I am quite awed by the message that has been delivered through my experiences.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Write. Get critiques. Re-write. Improve. Follow your dreams. If your dreams don’t fall in line, create opportunities to bring them to fruition.
Q: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. Also share with us your online contact information.
My God and Me: Listening, Learning and Growing on My Journey is currently available on Amazon.com and BN.com, retailing for $15.00USD. I am actively seeking events to participate in and invitations to read and discuss my book at your special function. I also facilitate self-esteem workshops, incorporating anecdotes from My God and Me.