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I am so happy and honored to showcase this week’s “Read A Book” featured author, Carol Mackey.
You know how there are some people in the world who are gracious, warm, kindhearted, and have a wonderful spirit? Well, that is Carol. She is one of the most amazing and powerful women I have ever met. She’s positive, encouraging, and always supportive. That is why I am so happy to feature Carol this week and her new book, Sistergirl Devotions.
Through her book, Sistergirl Devotions (Revell – May 2010; $12.99), Mackey speaks to these and other hurdles that working women face through a collection of 90 insightful and inspiring readings. Using Scripture, conventional wisdom and stories from her own experiences, Mackey teaches readers how their faith provides timeless and trusting answers to these daily struggles. Each devotion also offers a “Power Move,” which gives readers actionable tips for applying these principles to their own lives and careers.
Topics that Mackey addresses through these devotions include:
- Making the most of your opportunities at work
- Establishing your identity at work
- How to serve your way to greatness
- Standing up for what’s right
- Managing conflicts and toxic coworkers
- Confronting painful situations with grace
- Bouncing back after a setback
- Keys to managing others
- Striking a healthy work-life balance
- Discipleship on and off the job
- Watch God multiply your talents and gifts
- Remain humble as you achieve success
Carol M. Mackey is editor-in-chief of Black Expressions Book Club, an award-winning book club and the largest African American club in the nation. She has been named among the 50 Most Powerful African Americans In Publishing by Black Issues Book Review and has been featured in Literary Divas: The Top 100+ Most Admired African American Women in Literature. Widely recognized as a leading expert on African American book buyers, Mackey sits on the Board for the National Book Club Conference. She has appeared on CBS-TV’s morning news show in New York and is often interviewed by other media outlets on the state of African American publishing. She lives in New York with her family.
I sat down and spoke with Carol about her new book and what inspired her to finally write her first inspirational book for women:
TD: You are editor-in-chief of Black Expressions Book Club. What prompted you to write this devotional book for women?
CM: I always wanted to write a book…someday. But with my hectic work schedule, it was one of those “back burner” goals. I never gave myself a timetable to write a book. I enjoyed promoting other authors’ books. But God works in a mysterious way. My former boss and good friend Andrea Doering (who became my editor on this book) actually came to me with the idea. Over the years, I had shared with her many of my experiences and testimonies of things that had happened at work and she suggested I write a devotional for Christian women in similar situations. Little did she know that for years, I had longed to write a book about how my work-life had been affected by my Christian walk and vice-versa. That’s the Holy Spirit for you. He brings things full circle in your life. I didn’t want to alienate the average working woman, so I chose the title Sistergirl Devotions because although I’m a corporate woman, I’m a “sistergirl” at heart. As a black woman and as a Christian, the workplace can be a minefield. You’re juggling a cultural difference and a spiritual disconnect in most cases. You want to do the right thing (as God would want you to) but may be confronted with situations that militate against all your values, cultural and spiritual, and you have to balance them all. It’s tough. So I wrote Sistergirl Devotions to help women get through the tough days with grace and know that God loves them and has their backs no matter what.
TD: What life lessons have you experienced personally that have nurtured and shaped who you are today?
CM: Good question. I’ve learned many things, but one of the key lessons is that just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean you’re immune to heartache, misery or pain. I came into that realization many years ago and it definitely helped me cope when challenges and setbacks came my way. I didn’t blame God or feel like He was “punishing me.” Life just happens—the good, the bad and the ugly. There will be bumps in the road, but it’s all good. Jesus said we’d have tribulation (worries, sorrows and tragedy) in this world but to be of “good cheer” because he’d overcome the world (John 16:33). That’s the consolation. Christ is with us every minute, even during the worst of times.
TD: What is, or are, some of the common mistakes, or mis-informed choices that prevent women in developing spiritually, or building positive relationships?
CM: I think one of the things that can stunt your spiritual growth is jealousy or envy. Women have unbreakable friendships and our sisterhood is like no other, but at the same time, we can become very catty and demeaning with one another. One of my devotions is entitled, “Don’t Be Hatin’” because we short-circuit our blessings when we aren’t genuinely happy for others when they succeed. People don’t realize that there’s no lack in God’s storehouse. There’s more than enough of everything—money, rewards, promotions and raises to go around. It’s all in your belief system. Plus, we want others to be happy for and support us when it’s our turn, so we should start by being supportive of others.
TD: What are you hoping women will take away from your book, i.e., personally, professionally, and/or spiritually?
CM: First and foremost I’d like women to realize that they are important to God. On a spiritual level, so many of us, especially church-goers feel that we are not contributing to the Kingdom because we aren’t in full-time ministry. But the truth is, wherever we are, Christ is, if He is within you. So when you’re on the job, He’s there with you. You are His hands and legs, eyes and mouthpiece. So it’s up to us to show Christ-like love in every situation—even the unpleasant ones—at work. On a professional level, I want women to realize that you should bring your “A-Game” every day. Being mediocre is never okay. You should strive for excellence in all you do—whether you clean hotel rooms or run a multi-million dollar enterprise for a living. God is watching, 24/7.He’s your ultimate Boss and He expects you to do your best. On a personal level, I want to help women set their priorities. Most women, black women especially, feel like we should do it all—keep the hubby happy, nurture the kids, have a banging career and hold three positions in the church. We can’t. It’s too much. We’re only one person. So we put a lot on our plates and then crash and burn. We don’t know how to ask for help. So I encourage women to balance their priorities and just say no. Believe me, the world won’t stop. I know from experience!
TD: What is next for you? Do you have plans to write other devotional/spiritual books, and how can readers reach you?
CM: Honestly I’m not sure Terrance. I’m a “wait and see” type of girl. So far, I’m feeling led to nurture this “baby” (the book) first before I decide to “give birth” again. One kid at a time! All jokes aside, I’d love to write another book one day. Not sure when though. I’ll let the Lord lead me as He did with this one. People can reach me at my website, www.carolmackeyonline.com. I have some fun things planned for the site and want to share as much information as possible. And I want women to share their ideas, praise reports and testimonies with me too. We’re got to be here for each other.
Now, you all know how we roll. Carol has agreed to give-away five signed copies of her book to the first persons to email me at: email@example.com. But, you must first answer this question: On Carol’s Black Expressions website there is a list of the top 100 bestsellers. What is the title and name of the author of book number 77?