It’s First Lady Friday Featuring…Dorena Williamson, First Lady of Strong Tower Bible Church in Nashville, Tennessee!

Hello World,

During Women’s History Month, I’ve launched a new interview series featuring First Ladies! In thinking about my mother who was the First Lady of Central Christian Church in Atlanta, Georgia for 38 years before my father retired in 2017 and after reading Kimberla Lawson Roby’s final Rev. Curtis Black book “Better Late Than Never” which explored Charlotte’s desire to not be a typical First Lady, it dawned on me that I should feature First Ladies, which are revered positions particularly in the black church. Everyone is always talking about what the pastor of this church and that church is doing, but First Ladies are equally as important as the pastors to whom they are married! So once per month, on a Friday of course, I am featuring a First Lady. So if you know of a First Lady who should be featured, please e-mail me at because I’m looking for notable First Ladies to feature!

So with that being said, let me present to some and introduce to others the First Lady of Strong Tower Bible Church, Dorena Williamson…

Below is her biography followed by my interview with her. Read, enjoy and share!

Dorena Williamson is a Preacher’s Kid, First Lady, and veteran of cross-cultural ministry. In 1995, she and her husband Dr. Chris Williamson planted Strong Tower Bible Church, a faith community in Nashville that celebrates the beauty of God’s diverse kingdom. Dorena has written ColorFull, ThoughtFull and GraceFull, a series of children’s books that feature diverse ethnicity and helps shape perspective on race, disability and homelessness. A frequent podcast guest and speaker, Dorena co-leads Nashville’s Be the Bridge group, part of an international collective focused on building bridges of reconciliation. She is a featured writer for LifeWay Voices, and has written for Crosswalk, Parent Life, Home Life, and the ERLC. She works as a stylist with Evereve, a fashion brand that empowers woman. She and Chris have four teenage and young adult children.

1. How do you feel about the term “First Lady” and is Strong Tower Bible Church the first church where you have served as First Lady? 

I became the First Lady of Strong Tower Bible Church when Chris & I planted it in 1995. I was 23, pregnant with my second child, and didn’t wear suits and hats like most “older” First Ladies I knew! Within our diverse church, not all congregants even knew what that title meant, since it is a black church tradition for honoring the wife of the pastor. In these recent years, I’ve come to love it it – after 24 years in, I guess I’m old enough now! And it’s particularly sweet when our white members introduce me to someone as their First Lady!

2. What is the “job description” of a First Lady? Has being a “Preacher’s Kid” helped you to step into your role as a First Lady?

I believe my role is to be a servant leader alongside my husband. I am a part of  the church family, not above them. I also preach, provide direction, counsel, support, and am my husband’s key confidant, advisor, and companion.

Being a PK certainly helped me; I saw the ups and downs of ministry life, and knew that God was faithful to those He called. I’m so grateful for my parent’s steadfast faith and leadership; my dad never put church above his family, and my mom is a pillar of strength. I hope their legacy of loving people well is one that Chris and I continue with our congregation.

3. What is the best part and what is the worst part about being a First Lady?

There are sweet times when our body shows up to serve powerfully and loves one another beautifully.  And then there are times when misunderstanding and attack from the enemy can wear on my soul! But that’s ALL a part of being a family – we are a household of faith! And in the house, we’re not perfect, but at the end of the day, we are all precious children of our Father.

4. What are some misconceptions that people have about being a First Lady?

That I have it all together, and am always eager to help meet the needs of others. I am human, and I bring my struggles with me to church and must lay them down before the Lord just like everyone else.  And I need trustworthy friendships that pour into me as I diligently pour out to others.

5. You are the author of ColorFullThoughtFull and GraceFull, a series of children books that feature diverse ethnicity and helps shape perspective on race, disability and homelessness. How and why did you become an author? And how did you come up with focus of these books as you focus on race, disability and homelessness?

I’ve been a lifelong reader and love to journal. As I’ve walked with diverse families and seen the disheartening lack of justice that still prevails, I began feeling a call to contribute children’s books to the conversation from my years of ministry. It was hard to find books for my four kids that reinforced our faith AND featured representation they could relate to. The first seeds of thought went into my journal and then as I saw it forming into a story, I began the new adventure of educating myself on publishing, crafting, and querying. In God’s time, I published my first book ColorFull, April 2018. I am grateful for B&H Publishing opening the door for these stories to be out in the world and impacting so many.

I want to help parents, grandparents, and church leaders have relevant conversations and shape kingdom perspective for the children in their lives. We don’t need “taboo” topics; our kids need to have tools and understanding to see people of every race, ability, and background as fellow image bearers of God .

6. You are a co-leader for Nashville’s Be the Bridge group, part of an international collective focused on building bridges of reconciliation. Why have you chosen to be a part of this organization?

I found Be the Bridge during a particularly weary season. Being a bridge builder across racial, economic, denominational and political lines, is a unique calling that comes with great cost. You get hit from every direction! I was blessed to learn of LaTasha Morrison’s brave work, seeing white people begin to unpack systemic racism and white supremacy, and seeing POC strengthened for the journey. I loved the power of listening and learning conversations that this organization teaches. I met another sister who felt called to help form a group in our area, and we’re headed into our third year of bringing people together to learn and grow.

7. Aside from being a First Lady, author, community leader and mother, you are also a stylist for Evereve. What is the most glamorous thing about being involved in the fashion industry and what is the one thing that a fashionable woman must have in her closet?

Evereve is all about helping women find joy as they find their personal style! It may not sound typically glamorous, but focusing on body type is helpful for all women; it has been a tool to help me become more confident in my season of life at 48. I don’t want to look like my teen and adult daughters, but I do want to be stylish and confident. As a bonus, I am now well equipped in my wardrobe for the growing speaking and travel opportunities that have come from my publishing.

It’s hard to just list ONE thing a fashionable woman should have in her closet! But a great fitting pair of jeans is a staple. Many workplaces have instituted “dress down Fridays” so even for professional women, a quality denim piece is a smart choice!

Real talk: often we women are used to our husbands investing in quality pieces for their wardrobe. We get that nice suits, shirts and shoes necessitate more than “bargain basement” finds for them. But often we don’t give ourselves the same deserving investment. At Evereve, you can find comfortable, quality shoes; tops that vibrantly enhance your look, dresses that take you from work to church; and accessories that elevate any outfit. We deserve to put our best self forward and walk in confidence. It’s a great example for our daughters and sons, and I love partnering with Evereve to do that for every woman that comes into our store.

I’d encourage women to know that they are beautiful, and not to compare their body to anyone else, but seek to be whole, healthy and caring. Life is a treasure and we can make a difference in this world using the gifts God has given to each of us!

Again, if you know of a First Lady who should be featured, please e-mail me at because I’m looking for notable First Ladies to feature! And if you would like to have conversations about faith, relationship, pop culture and more, please click on this link to subscribe to my blog 🙂! Finally, if you missed the third  post of First Lady Friday, please click on It’s First Lady Friday Featuring…Denedriane Dean, First Lady of Word Ministries Christian Outreach Church in Harrisonburg,Virginia!

Greenleaf Recap Season 4 Episode 3: Visions and Dreams…

Hello World,

There’s levels to this… That’s what I got from tonight’s episode of “Greenleaf.” So let me explain why in this Greenleaf Recap Season 4 Episode 3: Visions and Dreams…

Vision of Love…

This episode begins in Phoenix, Arizona at the Desert Hope Work Release Center. Right after touching down in Arizona, Grace takes a cab to the work release center to see her son A.J. Delahaye. I notice a set of double doors have crosses etched in them. Hopefully, that means it is a Christian-oriented work release center. Grace goes straight to the person working at the counter and asks to see A.J. When the man asks her about her identity, Grace says, “I’m his mother.” Although visiting hours are over, the man calls for A.J. to come and see his mother. He is surprised to see her. “I thought you were just going to send the money.”

Then the young man practically recites a soliloquy. He tells her that he is not her “science experiment,” that she can’t leave him in a drawer until she is ready to take him out and how she didn’t want him the first time he came looking for her. He then tells the man at the front desk to not let her back in should she wander in there again. All of that simply meant that A.J. still loves his mother Gigi despite the fact that she gave him up for adoption. If he didn’t care, he would have said nothing and had no reaction.

Back in Memphis, Bishop and Lady Mae, who are slowly finding their way back to love, discuss a dream that Lady Mae had. “The Lord gave me a dream,” she tells Bishop. Apparently, the setting was a museum. She heard a scream and followed a guard to find out the cause of the outburst. Bishop was standing next to a painting of Jesus Christ that had been ripped down the middle. Blood dripped from the blade of the knife that Bishop held in his hand. In the dream, Bishop said he was sorry to Lady Mae. After that, she woke up, Lady Mae said. She says to her ex-husband, “You have to apologize to the church for everything.” But as much as Bishop is trying to please Lady Mae, he aine tryin’ to do that. He says, “I’m going to tell you like Reuben told Joseph. Keep your dreams to yourself.”

Kerissa tracks her husband down at Calvary since he is an associate pastor now. Although Jacob has told her he doesn’t want to sell the land the two own across from Calvary, Kerissa is determined to wear him down. A commercial developer is interested in buying the land from Jacob and Kerissa and is willing to pay more than what they paid for the land, she says. Although Jacob asked for a week to pray about his decision, Kerissa has declared and decreed that the commercial developer’s offer is the answer to prayer.

In another part of Calvary, Charity meets with Carlton, the choir director. They listen to a song that Judy Whitmore, Bob’s daughter, has mandated that all of the Harmony & Hope churches sing. Charity is not amused, calling it the “whitest piece of ear trash.” In addition to the melody of the song, which kind of has a country twang, the words are disturbing to Charity. “He comforts me with his rod,” she says in disbelief. I’m not sure why she is so upset, that line is in the Bible.  Well, Charity aine having it. She wants to get Judy told via e mail immediately, but Carlton tells her about Grace’s mandate. Grace has said that before anyone “bother” Judy, Grace must be told first. I’m sure that made Charity want to contact Judy even more because “Grace is not the boss of me,” I’m sure Charity was saying in her mind. Charity loves her sister, but right now, her vision is elsewhere.

And in yet another part of Calvary, a distraught Misty Williams shows up and approaches Karine regarding her appointment with Grace. Karine tells her that Grace is out of town and Misty is perplexed as to why Grace didn’t tell her she was going out of town. And then Phil DeMars shows up. He spirits Misty away to his office! But Karine still has love for her former pastor Lady Mae and tells her what happened.

You Make My Dreams…

One of the good things about Jacob and Kerissa and their family moving back to the Greenleaf estate is that Jacob has a chance to get close to his father again. Jacob probably never thought in his wildest dreams that he and his father would be the enemies they were in a previous season, but now they are friends again. Jacob shares with Bishop about Kerissa wanting to sell their land so they can buy a house in Germantown. Bishop refers to the land as  a “Piece of Paradise” that Jacob “boldly acquired” when Jacob raged against his father and mother. He tells his son to just tell Kerissa no. “Land is the closest thing to having faith in this life,” he says. He explains that having land is how “the rich stay rich.”

But Jacob is ready to do anything to just Kerissa quiet. Still, Bishop tells his son that buying a home is not what Kerissa is really dreaming of although she thinks that is the case. “She wants to know that she has a home with you” after that Tasha Skanks scandal. “Love her more and let her know it,” Bishop advises.

Speaking of knowing, Karine lets Charity know that her big sister is in Phoenix, Arizona and Charity wonders if she is in Phoenix meeting with Bob Whitmore. Since Karine also told Lady Mae about Misty Williams, Lady Mae wants to go up to the church and meet with Misty and Fred Williams. Bishop, who says his ex-wife is looking “like the girl I married,” wants to accompany Lady Mae there. He tells her he will be ready in 15 minutes, but Lady Mae tells her son that Bishop won’t take a mere 15 minutes. And when he does reappear, he will come out looking like Billy Dee Williams! LOL Billy Dee was very handsome back in the day.

Charity, who doesn’t rely on the wisdom of her parents nor the advice of her co-worker, emails Judy.

In Phoenix, Grace and A.J. still continue to feel each other out. The two go to an apartment where AJ hopes he can stay. He notes that he will be the only one staying there. “I haven’t been alone in a long time. I used to dream about it.” But before he can get his hopes up to high, he is told that he cannot move in as he is an ex-con. He hopes to find someplace decent as an ex-con. He explains that the reason he went to jail in the first place is that he broke into a house to find something to sell. He wanted to sell the item to have money to buy food…How sad…And then, since he knew the owners were on vacation, he took a nap. He was caught while he was sleeping. The matter cost him 5 years in jail. Grace says something that up until now has only been said by Grace in A.J.’s dreams probably. She says she will continue to help A.J.  find a place. “I won’t leave until we find a place for you to stay.” A place that is “cold, quiet and safe.”

I don’t know if Zora’s new dream is to wife an NBA baller but she is acting like that’s the case as she waits for Dante Saunders of the Memphis Red Devils to show up at her father’s office at Calvary. But when he does show up, he’s got his girl Nicki, a tough-looking young lady who wears swinging cornrows, with him. Nicki stares at Zora like she knows Zora wants her man, but once Dante steps away to speak with Jacob, the atmosphere between the young women changes. Zora mentions that she lives in a cabin on her grandparents’ estate and Nicki, who has the “juice and the sauce,”according to Dante, wants to see for herself. Once at Zora’s place, Zora shows off her natural hair styling talent on her new friend. Nicki says she should host a class entitled “Lay Them Edges 101” and calls her a “boss.” After Zora’s relationship with abusive boyfriend Isaiah, her confidence isn’t what it once was, she tells her new friend. And then Nicki reaches out and touches Zora’s hair and necklace. I think Nicki likes boys and girls, but before my suspicion is confirmed, Dante shows up at Zora’s cabin.

Speaking of house calls, Lady Mae and Bishop opt to stop by the home of Fred and Misty Williams to determine what did Misty speak with Phil DeMars about for two whole hours. But since Misty has already shared her heart with Phil DeMars, she doesn’t feel like rehashing the scenario with Lady Mae. Believing that Misty needs some privacy before she shares with Lady Mae, Lady Mae sends Bishop outside to warm up their vehicle. Misty does share that she is disappointed that Grace didn’t tell her she was going out of town as Grace had promised to come to a drug intervention for her daughter. But in her place, Phil DeMars will be there. But Lady Mae continues to push until Misty shares it all.

She tells Lady Mae that she prefers Phil to Lady Mae, who wanted to stand in for Grace at the intervention. She says one of the reasons that she voted for Harmony & Hope is that Lady Mae had to know that her brother Mac was molesting those girls. Speaking for herself and her husband, she says, “It was you we wanted gone.” Lady Mae had envisioned that the church loves her, but now she realizes that not every person is rooting for her as a pastor.  In a near panic, Lady Mae calls her daughter. “When are you getting back here?” she asks. “Aside from Karine, nobody is minding the store. Phil DeMars is one wrinkly-eyed smile from taking over this church – my church.”

Speaking of Phil, he confronts Charity about emailing Judy. She explains that the song sounds like it “came straight from satan.” Phil DeMars reminds her of her dream. “Do you want to be AP or not? Then grow up.” However, Phil is pleased when Charity shares that she knows that Grace is in Phoenix.  Phil DeMars ponders whether Grace went to see their boss Bob Whitmore in Arizona.

Runnin’ Down A Dream…

After Bishop has had some time to think about Lady Mae’s dream, he goes back to her to discuss it. But Lady Mae says, “You weren’t wrong. The dream was for me. It was a warning.” While looking at picture of Faith on a slide, she shares what happened at Misty’s house. “Do you think I knew what Mac was doing with Faith and those other girls and the money?” “Of course not,” Bishop says. Lady Mae wonders if on some level she knew even if she did not know consciously. She cries on Bishop’s shoulder. I think she did know at some level, but she did but did not want to admit it. And I think she was abused too as a child although that detail hasn’t been focused on in a while.

In Arizona, A.J. believes he is about to wake up from his dream when Grace tells him she has to fly back before the two have a chance to find a place for A.J. to stay. He tells her that he is “sorry I called you and bothered you. I’m sorry I exist.” A.J. really needs Grace and she needs him too although she may not fully realize that yet. Phil calls someone to find out if Grace was seeing Bob Whitmore in Arizona, but we know that was not the case.

Back at the Greenleaf estate, Jacob brings a bouquet of flowers to Kerissa before explaining that they will not be selling their land. Later that evening, the family gather to look at old family slides, which includes plenty of their photographs from when Grace, Jacob, Faith and Charity were children. The first slide is of Faith. Despite this, the gathering is a jubilant one. Lady Mae asks Gigi,”Is there anything going on that you should tell me?” Gigi says no. The two are so much closer than they were in seasons past.

And maybe now that Gigi and Lady Mae finally have a good relationship, Gigi is hopeful the same thing will happen with her estranged son. After the family gathering, she calls A.J. and says, “I want you to come home.”

I had been thinking about this all along. It’s time that A.J. meet his family…It would be a dream come true and a vision to behold if the Greenleafs, all of them, finally united. And maybe that is what has to happen before Calvary can be returned to their care.

Thank you sooo much for reading my Greenleaf Recap Season 4 Episode 3: Visions and Dreams… and my other recaps so far. If you would like to keep up with OWN’s “Greenleaf,” and my recaps, please click on this link to subscribe to my blog 🙂!

Any thoughts?


Pastor Jamal Bryant’s Ex-Wife Gizelle Bryant Says the Divorced Couple Are Back Together!

Hello World,

My Word! I thought it was enough that Kanye brought his Sunday Service to New Birth Missionary Baptist Church on yesterday, but the real tea is that Pastor Jamal Bryant is ready to make his first lady Gizzelle Bryant his First Lady yet again! The exes Pastor Jamal Bryant and Gizzelle Bryant are dating! I guess he is heeding my advice to him given through Al Gore’s Internet! See my post Why Pastor Jamal Bryant Should Get Married Following Tweet’s Announcement That She is Done With Church…

Maybe that is another reason why Tweet was in her feelings regarding her relationship with the new New Birth pastor. She sensed he still had feelings for this first wife! And for the record, I think this is great news! As I said, I think Pastor Bryant should be married and if he can reunite his family then that is the best outcome possible! In case you don’t believe me, Gizelle confirmed their new relationship on with ex-husband Pastor Jamal Bryant during Part 1 of the RHOP Season 4 reunion last night!

According to Bravo, what she said is below…

However, when Andy asked at the reunion if the mystery man was her ex-husband, like he had heard, she confirmed the gossip and said she and Jamal reconnected last year.

Gizelle admitted that the transition from married couple to exes back to dating hasn’t been easy for her and Jamal’s three daughters, Grace, Angel, and Adore. “You know what, they’re a little confused, to be honest with you, because they’ve never seen us together in that way. We got divorced 12 years ago,” Gizelle explained. “So when he comes into town and he wants to take me to dinner, they’re like, ‘Wait a minute, aren’t we all going?’ Because that’s what we normally do.”

I wonder what brought the two back together? I haven’t read My Word as of yet, but the written word is powerful. Maybe reading their fictionalized relationship from her point of view opened his eyes to what broke down their marriage. Or maybe being in Atlanta and away from his ex-wife and their daughters made him realize that being with her and his family is what he wants and needs. Whatever the reason, as I said before, bringing a family back together is the best outcome! I hope his congregation lifts them up in prayer because the devil stays busy, but I do think a new thing is being done at New Birth in more ways than one!

Any thoughts?