Last week, my Trusted Assistant and I attended the former First Lady’s talk at the Essence Festival.
During her time as First Lady, I witnessed her serve with grace knowing the difficulties faced. I also observed some similarities between us.
I was the First Lady of a Baptist Church and now Always a First Lady. She was the First Lady of our country and now called our Forever First Lady. So together, we are Always and Forever.
Our husbands were both born August 4, we were born three days apart in January. We both were married and raised children in a climate that is not always pleasant. But ultimately did whatever necessary to make our family’s life as normal as possible, while living under a magnifying glass. Her husband had a “slow Hawaii walk”. My Man of God was never in a hurry, he had a certain swag.
I am taking this opportunity to be a part of the conversation with Gayle King where she drops Her Truth. My responses are the similar and the same golden Nuggets that I have been dropping off for years.
Her Truth: People "don't remember how many punches we took to get" to become President and First Lady.
My Nugget: They see the glory and want it, but they don’t know our story.
Her Truth: "For a minute there, I was an angry black woman who was emasculating her husband"
My nugget: Early in our ministry, the word was My Man of God was henpecked, meaning that I ruled him. My Man of God brilliantly responded to the negativity, “It’s okay to be henpecked as long as you like the hen doing the pecking”.
Her Truth: "As I got more popular, that's when people of all sides -- Democrats and Republicans -- tried to take me out by the knees and the best way to do it was to focus on the one thing people were afraid of: the strength of a black woman."
My Nugget: When people betray you, friends and foes, they show you they are snakes. When they walk away, you don’t have to and hey miss their time with you. So, when you are speaking at the arena, they get tickets from tickets.com. My friends get backstage passes.
Her Truth: "Everyone says this -- forgiveness is real, forgiveness is for you and not for the other person,"
My Nugget: Forgiveness is a choice. You don’t have to feel like it. You just make a conscious decision to forgive. You continue to audibly say, “I forgive”. Forgiveness frees you.
Her Truth: "I fear at times Barack made it look easy -- I guess it's kind of like if the black guy can do it, anybody can do it ... and that's not true. It's a hard job,"
My Nugget: We made 30 years of service look easy because we were anointed by God for the assignment. You don’t want this position without it.
Now, this is not where the parallels end this is just where I end.
Our Forever First Lady served graciously for eight years and shared her family with the nation. At this new juncture she is telling her story, reaching the masses, and still looking out for the best for others. As she said, "the Obama family is doing fine," but "Barack and I aren't living our best life until we're all living our best life,"
From One First Lady to Another, thank you for your work. It does not go unnoticed or unrewarded.
After 30 years as the First Lady, my life was changed with the passing of my Man of God. But a new chapter of ministry was birthed. Always a First Lady: Transforming Lives with Faith and Wisdom Principles for Wholistic Living. Sharing my story globally, through speaking, teaching, writing, and transformational coaching will make the next 60, stunning and stellar. Still serving the people, still sharing my life but in a different capacity, in my own way, on my own terms, blond curls and all.
30 years deserves respect, but I don’t demand respect. My presence and walk with God commands respect.
Harriet Noel Jones