By LaShae Roberts
Beauty and brains is how you can describe Carmalita Hawkins, JD. However, just like all women at some point in their life, Carmalita was sprinting an uphill battle that no one knew about. In the privacy of her home, Carmalita dealt with depression and thoughts of suicide. She was a bubbly and friendly person at all gatherings, but her alone moments revealed a broken woman who was not sure how to make it past the thick fog that captivated her thoughts daily. Even in the midst of this, God was using and continues to use Carmalita to bring healing to women and men who have felt abandoned and "not good enough". Through obedience, Carmalita stepped out on faith and penned her story in her new book, "Pressure Pain Promise: A Journey from Darkness to Destiny". With grace and wisdom, Carmalita gets naked before her readers and exposes the truth of her struggles and God's redeeming power.
If you're looking to find out how to turn your darkest moments into a glorious song, sit back and enjoy this interview with the author and prepare to be inspired.
PDWM: Who is Carmalita Hawkins?
CH: Carmalita Hawkins is a young woman raised here in Tallahassee, Florida. She is a graduate of FSU (1998) and FAMU College of Law (2007), a member of Truth Gatherers Community Church, and an entrepreneur. Carmalita Hawkins is a woman who is passionate about God, family, and helping others discover their passion and purpose. She is a flawed woman full of imperfections who refuses to quit and abandon her journey from darkness to destiny.
PDWM: You decided to share your powerful testimony of adoption with the world. At any point in writing the book, did you want to quit? If so, why? And what made you keep going?
CH: No, I never wanted to quit because writing for me was therapeutic. I continued to write because I understood it was necessary for my healing, and I also knew that I was on assignment. Writing the book was not necessarily about "me," it was about what God was and is doing in my life. Now, was it easy? No. It wasn't easy because while writing it, God was taking me through a process. A process of healing that I did not know was needed.
PDWM: Why did you believe it was so important to tell your story?
CH: I believe it was important to tell my story because for years I struggled in silence. I dealt with anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, and lost so many "things", that at times I believed it would be easier just to quit and say goodbye to it all. After years of denial and finally seeking help under the advice of a longtime friend, I discovered I wasn't the only one. Other professional women suffered from similar issues, feelings of abandonment and mental illnesses that they were afraid to talk about.
This "taboo" topic and "stigma" label held me captive for years – I never wanted to admit there was something else "wrong" with me…I was already adopted, thrown away – so wasn't that enough? But I needed to be healed, and I had to come out of hiding to do so. This is why I had to tell my story. I am a professional woman, 42 years old, who on the "outside" LOOKED as if everything was strategically and methodically well put together, but on the inside, every ounce of my being was falling apart. I just hoped that if someone read my story, they would begin to believe again as well and be empowered to "Go Get Their Life" (Pastor Joseph Davis, Jr.) and would begin to participate in their rescue.
PDWM: You shared some amazing words of wisdom. One paragraph, in particular, grabbed me. "A sacrifice can be anything from giving up watching television, or hanging out with your friends when you, instead, should be working on your craft or your gift. You could be a sacrifice. Are you willing to lay down your life so that others might live and be free?... Are you willing to get naked before the people if you knew it would save someone else from experiencing the same hurts you endured? Are you willing to tell your personal story of truth – even if your voice shakes?" What was running through your mind when you wrote that?
CH: While I was writing the book, I realized that some things still hurt. There were a few things that I had not yet been delivered from. Facing the truth is most times uncomfortable, and as I wrote, I began to think – Lord, everyone is going to know ALL about me! They're going to know ALL of my business. I won't be able to hide anymore. I felt naked and almost ashamed. So, as I wrote that part of the book, God spoke to me and asked me if I was willing to be the sacrifice. We often think of just material things when we consider a sacrifice, but there comes a time when we must BE the sacrifice. And that's what God wants to know – if we are WILLING to BE the sacrifice. Are we willing to be used by God even if it causes us to come out of our comfort zone? Are we willing to be vulnerable even if there is a chance that people will ridicule you? We must know that even though we may go through the fire as the sacrifice – God will NOT allow us to burn! When we come out, we won't even smell like smoke!
PDWM: If we were looking for Carmalita, where would we find her?
CH: In the field, like Ruth (lol).
PDWM: "You have to participate in your rescue." You noted a friend shared this with you some time ago. What did it mean to you the first time you heard it. And then how did you internalize it to start moving forward?
CH: When I heard the statement for the first time, it hit me like a ton of bricks! I said, "Whoa!" It was as if I had just "woke up!" I realized, it is not enough to just continue to "announce where you are". So many times we complain about where we are – what we don't have – what we need, etc., and I was at a point in my life where I complained about my finances and living situation – but that's all I did. I complained and as a result, nothing changed. When you participate in your rescue, you make a conscious decision to say, what can I DO to STOP drowning where I am? For me, that question went further to ask – what gifts do I possess that could help me get OUT of this financial distress? I was always good at helping other people connect with others, so I decided to start a small networking company – Kairos Consulting, and now, people pay me to do what I was already doing for free. I knew how to help friends incorporate their businesses, so I became a small business consultant… I started to allow my gifts to make room for me. Participating in your rescue means to take a self-evaluation of the tools or equipment you already possess that will prevent you from drowning. I had a life jacket, I just never blew it up nor put it on.
PDWM: What have you learned about yourself through this process?
CH: I have learned that I am stronger than I once realized and that no matter the pressure or the pain that I have experienced or will experience, God didn't create me to "break". I'm unstoppable. I'm unmovable. And I will not take No for an Answer.
PDWM: What advice would you give to young women struggling to see past their pressures and pains?
CH: Stop focusing on the pressure. Take no thought or serious consideration of the pain. This is a journey. The process is necessary. If you keep going and keep your eyes focused on the PROMISE, God will use your story for His glory. When I was writing the book, I thought the "PROMISE" would be the houses or the cars or the long-awaited husband that God would one day bring. I believed the "PROMISE" was the desire of my heart. But no, the PROMISE IS GOD. Everything you need falls under Him. You have to seek the BLESSOR, not the BLESSINGS. So my advice is to seek YE FIRST the KINGDOM of God and His righteousness and KNOW in your knowledge without a shadow of a doubt, no matter WHAT it LOOKS like, that all other "things" SHALL (without question, this is not up for debate), be added unto you. PERIOD.
PDWM: What has life been like since your book's release?
CH: Since the book was released, my life has been unpredictable. God has opened doors I did not have to push. He has created a platform for healing, not just for those who have been adopted, but to anyone who has ever felt abandoned. To anyone who ever suffered in silence and thought no one was watching. He has snatched the cover off of Carmalita so that others can boldly now say, "Me too." And others can be healed unapologetically because they know they too, won't be burned when they go through the fire to be healed and restored – they won't even smell like smoke! God's grace has always been and will always be sufficient – for in 2 Corinthians 12:9 it says, "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
PDWM: What's next for Carmalita?
CH: Whatever God says. God has truly been blowing my mind since the release of my book. I have been asked to speak at different engagements; I have been on the radio, etc. I am so amazed at how God is using my story to bless others. So I will be wherever God would like me to be.