“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed at the revelation of His glory.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
All along, over the past year or so, while situations and circumstances seemed bleak and she seemed on shaky ground, one the of things about which Yolanda Townsend was thoroughly convinced was that nothing really strange was taking place.
All things considered, she sensed all along that it was all of a part of God’s strategic plan, His plan to exalt and elevate and promote her unlike never before.
His plan to give her hope and a future. His plan to give her an expected end.
“This past year had its numerous challenges, but also the Lord’s favor,” Townsend said during an emotional, tear-jerking interview-turned-testimony Wednesday morning. “Even though I still have the pain from the car accident in May and the vivid memory of the house fire in September, I have life. Only the joy of the Lord can cause me to rejoice in tragedy and use it for triumph. It reminds me that we are overcomers through His grace.”
Because of her unyielding, bend-but-don’t-break faith, coupled with her tireless desire to press and navigate and maximize her potential, Townsend’s well-publicized contributions to the Body of Christ — particularly in the wake of her adversity — have gone virtually unnoticed.
For her resilient, immeasurable efforts, the Anderson, South Carolina native was named Making Headline News’ International Women’s Day Woman of the Year for 2017.
Originally called the International Working Women’s Day, this day is celebrated annually on March 8 and customarily commemorates the movement for women’s rights.
According to www.internationalwomensday.com, organizations and individuals around the world have collectively become committed to helping women and girls achieve their ambitions, challenge conscious and unconscious bias, as well as call for gender-balanced leadership and value women and men’s contributions equally.
In addition, this day was designed in part to create inclusive flexible cultures. From awareness-raising to concrete action, organizations rallied their people to pledge support to help forge gender parity on International Women’s Day and beyond, according to a spokesperson for IWD.
The second year for an honor that was spearheaded by longtime journalist Andre Johnson, Making Headline News’ Founder and Publisher, Townsend was surprised after learning she had been named Woman of the Year.
“My reaction upon learning that I was selected for such a prestigious nomination left me speechless and in tears,” Townsend said. “I am a sister who encourages others in the faith. I believe in lifting my sisters and brothers up in spirit and in prayer.”
The Assistant Pastor for Empowerment Worship Center Church in Greenville, South Carolina, Townsend is widely known for having founded DIVAS 4 Christ Ministries in April 2010, a progressive kingdom-based organization that prides itself on the featured slogan, “The women are ministering in bondage and need to be reminded that HE is a healer of all pain!”
FOLLOW PASTOR YOLANDA: http://www.divas4christministries.org/.
The purpose for Townsend’s DIVAS 4 Christ Ministries is — but isn’t limited to — breaking the chains of generational bondage from families that have endured abuse, whether emotionally, physically, mentally, or verbally.
“Our purpose is to instill in our sisters of today the true meaning behind the scripture: ‘Fearfully and wonderfully made,’” Townsend said in referencing her ministry’s purpose.
Despite the assortment of unfavorable circumstances that had arose in her life as well as that of her family within the past year, amongst the things about which Townsend deems mostly gratifying is how she had gone about clinging to unwavering faith with God, her Helper, leading the way.
“Sometimes your work appears to go unnoticed, but God has His way of encouraging you just when you need it most,” Townsend said. I am humbly grateful and honored to receive such recognition. I cannot take any credit. I will say to God be all the glory for the things He has done.
“The Lord reminded me that we are to use every situation for the good. I am an overcomer by choosing to stand as a living example of what God can do…meaning He can take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it to work for my good. He can turn your sadness into joy. He can turn your mourning into laughter.”
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Andre Johnson is Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to email@example.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.