Airreia Pierce: A Joyful Mother of Children
Being a mother is a blessing, just ask Airreia Pierce. Airreia is our Millennial Mom for this week’s Motherhood Monday blog feature. Airreia lives in Greensboro, NC with her husband, Samuel (aka Sam), their 3-year old daughter and 8-month old son. This year, the amazing couple will celebrate their 10th anniversary and, as Airreia explains, it’s been a learning process. In the decade of their union, they have overcome doubt, discouragement, pain, and tremendous heartache to become victorious witnesses to the goodness of God.
Airreia and I met online during quarantine but it did not take long for me to recognize that she had a story to tell. You see, this young mom authored three inspirational books! I determined that this Mom had something to say and I had to find out more. This week, I reached out to Airreia to find that she and her husband have an amazing testimony of strength and courage. I am honored to share their faith journey with the Abundant Life community.
Prior to becoming a mom, Airreia and her husband silently lived with fertility problems that prevented them from starting a family. According to the Mayo Clinic 10% to 15% of couples are infertile. The Pierce family lived with this reality for more than 5 very difficult years. The experience was compounded by the fact that they felt so alone in their experience. Their requests for support went unanswered. Even their prayers seemed to go unheard. It was a heavy burden to carry.
Airreia admits that often the daylight sun seemed dark during this very difficult time in their marriage. Visits to Fertility Specialists offered little hope. As a family, it tried the couple’s faith, and their marriage bond. Depression was a blinding foe that often caused Airreia not to see the pain her husband was experiencing. Did he care? Was he affected at all? Of course, he was. Airreia explains that in those moments of misery, her own pain and grief prevented her from recognizing the hidden work the Lord was accomplishing in Sam. Some would say it was a “valley experience” (Read Psalms 23). They would struggle but, thankfully, would not succumb to the fears they faced.
The most profound impact occurred when Sam and Airreia joined a faith-based support group for couples dealing with fertility issues. As it turns out, this group was located in Chicago, Illinois but their on-line presence made it possible for families like the Pierce's to participate from anywhere. This group provided so much of what was needed. They learned to praise God as a healer. By faith, Airreia began speaking favor over herself, confidently stating, “I am a joyful Mother of children!” As a couple, Airreia and Sam developed a strong prayer life and, together, they spoke life over their temporary valley experience. In addition, Airreia learned about fertility health, the role of diet in fertility, and how black women are impacted.
Not too long after finding the fertility support group, their miracle arrived in the gift of a baby girl. “God is amazing and faithful!”, Airreia testifies. Not long after giving birth to their first child, the new parents discovered they were pregnant again. Sadly, they lost their second baby. In 2019, they conceived again and experienced the joy of giving birth to their first son. “God is a healer”, declares Airreia. “Amen!”, I respond, finding myself lost in her enthusiasm.
Unfortunately, talking about infertility is a taboo topic in some communities. Airreia acknowledges that it can be a difficult subject and encourages hopeful couples to seek support from faith-based communities like Fertilizing Your Faith . She knows that the stressors of infertility are great and can drive some couples to the breaking point. The added financial stressors can be disheartening, with Fertility Treatment options reaching $15,000. It’s a costly investment for many hardworking people.
I wanted to know what family and friends could do to support couples wrestling with fertility hardships. Of course, Airreia provided some helpful insights. For instance, many people with family and friends who struggle to have their own child, are too quick to advice them to “Just adopt”. While adoption is a perfect option for many couples, it is not the answer for everyone. It is important to allow married people to come to an adoption decision on their own. On a very positive note, Airreia recalls one very simple but unforgettable gesture. One day she received a card from a very good friend, and was delighted to find that it was a Mother’s Day Card. The card arrived on the weekend of Mother’s Day, years before Airreia had actually become a mother. Airreia cherishes that card to this day. She received the card in love and embraced it as an indication that her friend was trusting and believing with her. She appreciated having friends who were happy to hang in there with them without losing hope.
There is so much more I could tell you about Airreia. For instance, this busy wife and mama, is currently enrolled in a Doctorial degree program. Her decision to begin a doctorial program was only made after praying and earnestly seeking God’s direction. By faith, she decided on a program, received an acceptance notice, and earned a scholarship! God opened the door and Airreia has obediently followed His direction. “If he gives you the vision, He’ll give you the provision!”, Airreia wisely declares.
This Millennial mom is doing very well and looking forward to her next family vacation. Her favorite beaches are Atlantic Beach and Kure Beach. Whenever life gets back to “normal” (post COVID) Airreia looks forward to enjoying a 4-day beach vacation with her family. “Go during the week.”, she says and then explains, “More discounts are available during the week”. I, for one, appreciate cost-saving tips.
Airreia and Sam experienced a lifetime worth of trials, all before their 6th wedding anniversay. It is evident they have allowed their experiences to strengthen their faith and fill their hearts with hope. Learn more about Airreia's experiences in her book entitled Pinky Promise: Journey of Faith in the Waiting's.
Aria Transformed by Grace
The Abundant Life Chronicles honors the very personal and profound testimonies shared by people of faith. Today, Aria has agreed to share her personal story of love and healing with the Abundant Life readership. Please keep her in prayer for abundant blessings!
One year ago today, I got baptized. I want to talk just a little about what’s happened in just one year’s time. One year ago, I was incredibly broken. I felt like I was surrounded by complete darkness. Everything felt overwhelming. For two years I had been searching to know Jesus but I was still pretty lost. I had little guidance but my heart was open and I wanted to live my life for Him.
I was in a time of suffering because I did not know my identity in Christ. I knew He loved me because He saved my life in 2017 but I did not know who He made me to be yet. I lived my life with this huge void. I was always seeking to fill this empty space. It was like something was missing within so I searched literally most of my life up until then to find things to fill that space.
Tattoos, crazy hair, excessive makeup, revealing clothing, drinking, buying excessive amounts of clothing, piercings- these were all the things I would use to make myself “feel” better because I thought if I made myself “look better” or “different” that I would be happy and look like I had it together. I convinced myself these things made me happy but I was still hurt, lost and broken because I was seeking outside sources to fill a space within that only Jesus could fill.
One year ago, I couldn’t hear about someone being pregnant without sobbing and being seriously triggered. I was so incredibly traumatized from recurring miscarriages and several years of being in waiting seasons trying to get pregnant. My “problem”, my “want”, my “earthly situation” made it IMPOSSIBLE to see outside of that fog of hopelessness.
I THOUGHT getting baptized wouldn’t change anything, as far as I was concerned, I had already given my heart to Jesus and this was ONLY a public declaration to show my commitment. But little did I know it marked the beginning of a crazy transformation.
One month after I got baptized (maybe only 2-3 weeks?) I felt this impression on my heart to change my hair color back to a natural color. I thought I just got “bored” and out played every other color possible. Two months after I got baptized, I started to get “bored” of excessive makeup. I would still use a lot but it began to decline. I used to have this feeling ALL THE TIME that I wanted more tattoos, I would never have enough, I wanted to cover my entire body. I’m not sure when it happened but I realized I no longer had this constant urge or “need” for more.
On December 24, 2019 I was doing my makeup and Jesus clearly told me “my daughter you don’t need all this extra stuff. You are beautiful and I want my light to shine through you as your source of beauty. I want no distractions.” So, in that moment I put down my makeup and I began to “learn” how to navigate a more subtle, natural makeup look. (I just want to say I am NOT saying any of these things are wrong in any way. I was convicted on many things on my outer appearance because I used all these things as my identity and Jesus taught me my identity is found in HIM).
After all my outward things from my previous “identity” was stripped away, a deeper, inward transformation also took place. Now, it was also going on while my outward identity was being made new, but once the outer was addressed, it freed up even more time to go deep within. In August 2019, God told me my purpose was to bring hope to the hopeless through sharing the goodness of Him and how our hope is found through Jesus. This seemed crazy to me as I was literally sobbing feeling like my hope was gone. But I had already made the decision to learn how to surrender (this was a daily effort and hard task in itself) and walk in obedience so I trusted Him.
I could go on and write for ages but, in short form, the Holy Spirit healed so many traumas and insecurities. I learned that my identity is found through Jesus Christ and my identity is “child of God”. I was taught and challenged to lay down EVERYTHING that I previously found my identity through. It wasn’t always easy, and I’m still being deeply worked on and developed but it’s been AMAZING. I have learned that I have great power and authority within me through Jesus. I have been raised up to live and act boldly in faith and to live by His Spirit not my flesh.
I was lost and now I’m found.
I was broken and I’m now restored.
I was a sinner and now I’m forgiven.
I was hurting and now I’m healed.
I was hopeless and now I’m FILLED with living hope.
I was weak and now I live through His strength.
I was dead and I’ve been raised to beautiful life.
I believed enemy lies and I now live set free in truth.
I was in darkness and I now shine in light.
I lived in despair and now flourish in His love.
I am made whole. I am a new creation.
This has been the best year of my life (yes even in waiting when outward things didn’t change) and I cannot wait to see how He continues to mold me. I am SO grateful that He taught me not to get distracted on earthly situations and to continually keep my focus on Him and heavenly things.
Jesus is EVERYTHING.
Christina Tinsley : Life with Coach and the Kids
I am happy to introduce Christina Tinsley as this week’s millennial Mom for Motherhood Mondays. Christina is married to Kennedy Tinsley and she is the mother of 3 beautiful daughters and one little man she lovingly calls her “sunny son”. Currently, Christina lives in Greensboro, NC, but not for long.
I caught up with Christina during a time of transition for her and her family. You see Christina, on top of holding down a family and her own business, is a Coach’s wife. This year, her husband was hired as the Head Coach for the Mallard Creek High School Football team. Given that Mallard Creek High School is located in Charlotte, NC, Christina and her family are preparing for a move from Greensboro to Charlotte very soon. It’s a big move and one they are ready to make.
Before becoming a Coach’s wife, Christina tells us that her personal journey of faith has included a number of challenges along the way. In fact, her journey is on going and continues to unfold before her. Christina grew up in Akron, Ohio and was baptized at 12 years old. However, she acknowledges that she would not fully embrace her faith until becoming an adult in college. At that time in her life, she began attending church services at the Sharpe Road Church of Christ. The Bible messages spoke to her and, even more so, she treasured the love and lasting relationships she was blessed to find there.
Another very important part of Christina’s faith journey is her relationship with the Lord. After some reflection, Christina admits that becoming a mom has been a game changer. She explains that, as a new parent, it all became real when she suddenly realized she was “responsible for a whole person”. That alone is enough to make you a more faith-filled child of God. With four children, Christina and Kennedy, make sure they are all in church and in Sunday school class each first day of the week.
Christina is rarely short on words. When I inquired about her style, she quickly responded, referring to herself as a “Millennial Motherhood Minimalist”. On most days, she jokingly says she does a good job sporting the “she’s let herself go” look. However, she did express that she knows how to dress to impress when the occasion requires it.
After giving birth to four children, I had to ask Christina the question everyone wants to know. So, I did it. I asked her, what her ideal birth experience would be. (That’s what everyone wants to know right?) Without hesitation Christina replied, “Pain free!”
Christina is passionate about the new chapter of life she is about to enter with her family. As a busy hairstylist, she will continue to provide the best haircare services for her new clients while maintaing services for her most loyal clients. On Friday nights, she will be ready to wear the Mallard Creek High School colors whenever the season kicks off. And, after the season concludes, she will be planning a child-free cruise with her husband.
The next big thing on Christina’s calendar is a couple of birthdays. First, she will make time to celebrate her own birthday this month and, then, a few days later, she will have a birthday for her daughter. Christina’s birthday wish this year is to close on her house in Greensboro and, then, find the perfect home in Charlotte.
I, for one, pray everything goes exceptionally well for Christina and her household! As it turns out, Christina is my hairstylist , my daughter-in-love and her children are my grandbabies! I highly recommend that you visit her business website on curlsbychristina.com.
The Abundant Life Doula aims to support Christian authors who chronicle the love, faith and hope of God in their writings.
If you are a Christian author and want to be included in our next showcase contact me here.
Monday Chat with Mom, Maritza Smith
If you ever wonder where Maritza is, I can tell you. She is never very far away from family and friends. Today, Maritza is our featured mom for Motherhood Mondays. She is married to her husband Andreas and this year, they celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary. Maritza and Andreas reside in Orlando. Florida with their three children.
I have known Maritza since she was about 5 years old and, in recent years, I would describe her as a devoted daughter and mother. Her style? She prefers a style that is laid back, comfortable and loves kicking it in her favorite pair of flip-flops. But let’s be clear, she can glam it up when she wants.
Maritza is passionate about her work in event designing. Most recently she launched Alexander Dior, a high-end event designing business in Orlando, Florida. Alexander, as it turns out, are her son’s middle names and Dior is her daughter’s middle name. Her choice in a business name is no mistake. Alexander Dior is a family endeavor because family members, as Maritza states, support one another. They are all in it together. As a family they are led by collective family goals and a willingness to invest in one another. In fact, the next big events on her calendar are birthday parties. One party is for her daughter who will soon be 5 years old. The second party will be a Hollywood themed sweet-sixteen affair for her younger sister, Adair.
During our chat, I talked with Maritza about my work as a Doula and inquired about her ideal birth experience. She reluctantly admitted that giving birth to her three children could have been even more special. Reflecting back on her birth experiences, she is convinced that having a Doula present would have been very helpful. With only her husband and a Doula on her support team, a more intimate and memorable environment would have been possible.
Maritza’s exposure to the Bible and spirituality began early in life. In fact, she grew up going to church services with her mother, Adriene. However, her faith, Maritza explains, grew from her own personal trials and tribulations as an adult. Maritza is a member of the the West Orange Church of Christ in Winter Garden, FL. She enjoys books by Christian authors and, recently, began reading a book by Beth Moore, a well-known Christian author.
When Maritza is not busy with family events and her new business, she enjoys vacationing with her husband. One of her favorite destinations is Jamaica. While in Jamaica she and her husband enjoy the beaches, waterfalls and mountains. On one adventure she rode up a mountain with Andreas to discover that it was much higher than she had expected. Looking down was pretty scary, as she recalls. Happily, everything worked out fine! She looks forward to enjoying more adventures with her husband in the future.
Amy Julia Returns to talk about White Picket Fences
As a woman of privilege, Amy Julia is not satisfied to rest in the material comforts of her life. Instead, she is inspired to look more closely at privilege with honesty and uncomfortable truth. As a student she excelled. The time she sacrificed was hers and the accomplishments she made were based on her work. Amy Julia makes it very clear that privilege does not mean that people of privilege don't work hard. What she conveys is that privilege provides advantages that are not readily available to others. In fact, in the case of African Americans, advantages are denied in order to maintain exclusive white privileges.
As an African American woman, I can appreciate Amy Julia's honesty and I welcome the research findings she shares. She is a mother, who, in caring for her children has reached out beyond her own family to offer love to her neighbor. Fear could have been an obstacle but Amy Julia's faith led her to conclude that love is stronger than fear. In addition, in her efforts to be a bridge, she has found healing.
Amy Julia acknowledges that she can never know what it is like to be an African American. That barrier, however, has not stopped her from seeking to understand the black struggle. I would say she has made understanding a priority over being understood. In her journey to be well, she has, in some respects, become a healer. If hurt people hurt people then healed people, can certainly heal people. And that can make all the difference.
A Sense of Accomplishment
My happiness list begins with the following: A sense of accomplishment. I love the feeling of setting goals and meeting or exceeding those goals. That sense of accomplishment makes me happy. There are many things that give me a sense of accomplishment. However, the one thing I decided to do was focus on enjoying a fit body! I love feeling strong and fit but, over the years, I have let my fitness slip away and failed to maintain an exercise regimen. The good news is regaining a sense of fitness does not take long but keeping it up is certainly a challenge. Of course, I have devised a plan.
Morning Glory Fitness Plan
I have participated in many fitness programs in the past. I even know how to bring myself back from a fitness slump. I don’t recommend that anyone start a fitness program without consulting their doctor. My doctor had already checked me out this year and cleared me for exercise. I am healthy, with no reason not to increase my daily activity. Normally, I am content to get in a 30 minute walk every other day or so. This was sufficient but it was not enough to make me feel fit and it was not challenging. I could do more.
This week, I implemented the Morning Glory Fitness Plan. In July, sunrise is at 6:08 am and the temperature is an amazing 72 degrees! Around 6: 15 am, the bright rays from the sun act as a silent alarm clock, gently nudging me awake. It’s a great time to get up and get going. I never use my backyard but was inspired by my Instagram friend and mother of two, @viannajenise, who often uses her backyard for weight training, cardio and trimming her core. This morning I used my backyard to set up five exercise stations. The stations included a mat and fitness ball for core, kettle bell for whole-body strengthening, free weights and an exercise bar.
Consistency is key. For consistency sake, I made this weekly workout schedule:
Sunday: Light workout ending with a 1-mile walk – 40 minutes
Monday: Interval training with 5 exercise stations and intermittent running
Tuesday: Cardio - Zumba, 30 minutes, and 20-minute walk (African Zumba)
Wednesday: Interval training with 5 exercise stations and intermittent running
Thursday: Cardio – 40- minute bike ride
As a Doula, supporting mothers and families can be physically demanding. I look forward to enhancing my fitness so that I am able to continually meet the demanding nature of the work I love doing.
Have you tried the 30-Day Happiness Challenge? How did it work for you? Share your journey to daily happiness on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/abundantlifedoula.
40 Days to a Legacy of Love
is an E-book currently available for download:
40 Days to a Legacy of Love is a devotional dedicated to parents, Bible Teachers and other ministry leaders who desire to deepen their walk of faith. Take 40 consecutive, transformative and life-affirming days to devote yourself to this daily reading. But don’t simply read. Reflect on the passages and earnestly seek understanding and guidance as you study. I recommend you keep a journal for notes, questions and prayers.
The studies in the book delve into godly wisdom reminding us of the power of our words and our conversations. This is meant to be a stress-free devotional. There is no expectation that you have to know everything in it or be a perfect example of everything it holds. Instead, it should guide you to understand God’s great love for us and truly see his never ending grace, mercy and wisdom. Ideally, you will gain greater understanding and wisdom that you can share with others.
Over the next 40 days, this devotional will provide one look into how the tongue can be used to frame conversations that promote peace and unity, and lead to a legacy of love.
Download the devotional here.