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‘You are God’s masterpiece,’ Barbara Warfield assures women

RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)-“You are God’s masterpiece.”

That’s the message Barbara Warfield delivers to African American women in conferences and through her book, “Going Through the Change: A Black Woman’s Journey Through the Cycle of Life.”

“We don’t have a lot of people tell us we are God’s authentic masterpiece,” said Warfield, a writer, consultant and co-founder of In His Will Ministries, based in Nashville, Tenn. “That’s my ministry at this time.”

She makes her point as she tells her own story of an early 10-year abusive marriage, a battle with depression and struggling to be Superwoman. “What I’ve discovered in the last 10 years or so is how closely my journey parallels my sisters’ journey,” she said.

“Even though we put on our Superwoman capes, we are dying under the cape,” Warfield said. “Some of us are wearing masks. We don’t want to walk around looking like we’re not Christians. No one can see the brokenness behind the mask. No one can see the unhealed wounds underneath the cape.”

While getting out of her first marriage and keeping her family intact, she said she gained the reputation of a survivor.

“I got caught up in everyone telling me I was a survivor, but I was infected with a hate infection,” Warfield acknowledged.

Later, she was diagnosed with manic depression and “became a shell of a person wrapped up in a big blue fluffy robe,” Warfield wrote. “As a race of people, we don’t have a lot of patience for or understanding of depression.”

She said she tells her story not to call attention to herself, but to illustrate the power of God.

“I don’t have any secrets left,” Warfield laughed. “But there’s something great about being able to say the truth. It’s liberating. I don’t have to wear a cape or a mask. The truth is that I love the Lord, but sometimes I don’t feel good.”

Warfield, now happily married to Steven Warfield, also believes African American Christian women must join forces to love and encourage one another, to believe in themselves as unique creations loved by God and to be able to be loved by others.

“I didn’t understand God had a plan for my life while I was in my mother’s womb. Some of us have settled for something less than God’s plan for our lives,” she said.

Crises and struggles have caused some women to lose the ability to feel compassion for others, Warfield said. They have what she termed “clogged compassion channels.”

“Change won’t happen if we don’t really want it,” she said. “God doesn’t charge us overtime for the work he does in our lives.”

Part of the work God had to do with Warfield, she said, was help her stop blaming others and take responsibility for past mistakes. Through her relationship with God, she has learned to accept herself as his unique creation.

“I know, number one, that I am God’s child. That is my identity. You can’t help anybody until you know who you are,” Warfield said.

As she has learned to love herself and others, she believes she is “a much better woman, wife and soul mate! The present is a great place to be when there are others you love and who love you to share it with!

“I live each day with a sense of expectancy in anticipation of the future, believing that God has so much more for me to do and experience,” Warfield wrote.

“When God created me, he didn’t create another one just like me. I am God’s authentic masterpiece.”

Warfield spoke to 1,400-plus people attending Black Church Leadership Week at Ridgecrest (N.C.), a LifeWay Conference Center, sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, Woman’s Missionary Union and Annuity Board.

    About the Author

  • Linda Lawson