Naked and Unashamed is here to encourage others to be vulnerable, shift their perspective and increase their faith through real stories of hope, faith, struggles and triumphs of extraordinary people in the community. It is my hopes that someone’s life is impacted, changed, shifted, healed and brought closer to the Father through the stories presented in this column.
Arkeria Wright serves as the CEO of U Source Me and a Children’s Advocate who has a unique ability to discover the hidden gifts of children and bring them out. In today’s interview, she shares with us some intimate moments of how her past has shaped her present and projected her into her calling. Take a moment to discover how she became naked and unashamed.
Tell us what sets your soul on fire and why.
There are two external factors that set me on fire internally: the manifestation of purpose in children and the fight against childhood hunger and abuse. It was beyond my understanding as a child why I was so drawn to such causes. Drawn to the need to befriend or help children that seem a bit withdrawn. It was like I could hear their souls crying something much deeper than what appeared to be their truth on the outside, they called me the “mother” growing up. I’ve always had an inner desire to nurture, to help. I later realized that I was the exact child, I was longing to save. I wanted my “soul to be seen” and so did my friends and the people that I had drawn into my life. As an adult, I knew that without the necessary essential needs being addressed and provided within children, there could be no true growth for them. I was always a giver because my mother was a giver.
See, my mom was that little kid too that soul needed to be seen. My work started in my classroom. Tapping into children’s learned experiences outside of the classroom with constructivist teaching. This teaching style I learned at Spelman, allowed me to understand the importance of facilitating the construction of knowledge. It was a bridge to conversations with children that were open and honest. I learned from my students each grade and every school, that there was a need to teach the whole child and not just accommodate the parts that were politically controlled. I brought in clothes for them, sanitary supplies, food, hair products/accessories. We talked about the struggle of living in poverty, in hurt, in loss, in lack, in confusion, in isolation. We provided a way out for one another and strategies for success. I let them know I experienced their pains as well and I will fight with them to warrior through them. They taught me so much about myself and now I seek more of those lessons from my very own children.
You can teach a child that is hungry. You cannot teach a child that has not found solace in his or her reality. Give a child hope and support them by truly seeing their soul, and I promise you God will reveal their gifts and purpose to the world. He did it for me, he has proven it to be true with my kids, and I’ve witnessed it time and time again from the children I’ve been blessed to encounter. I learned later what happens when the “soul fires” are not tended to…
What are you most proud of and why?
I am most proud of my consistency in this life. I have been on a consist journey of self-reflection and willingness to learn what is meant to be obedient to God’s call over your life. I am proud of how it has kept me from suicide or permanent depression. I am proud of how this consistency has helped me to stay true to motherhood and the call over my kid’s life. I am proud of not giving up on GOD! I have lived through childhood homelessness, molestation, neglect, attempted homicide, rape, poverty, career loss, homelessness as a mother with entrepreneur children, depression, and many of those times I felt disconnected from God. But his grace and his calling is greater than any one of these things.
Time for the naked truth: What has been your biggest failure and how did you rebound?
I believe my biggest failure was allowing my disconnection from God to stretch out in such a way that I reached a depressive state. I had left the classroom and living my purpose as I pursued the next phase of my ministry with the development of Greater Giving Ministries, Inc. Its purpose was to activate greater ministries in others through giving. We (my kids and I) focused on hunger and homelessness, specifically targeting children.
I offered free tutoring which focused on identifying strengths in children so that they can help to develop the weaknesses. Many people saw what I was doing and wanted to help. I began to listen to their ideas and questioned what God had instructed me to do. I stopped going to God for my next assignment and the plan to provide the finances for it. I leaned more on those that were there to “help.” The more work that needed to be done, the more the “help” fell off. I was disappointed and hurt. I took my eyes off of God and now I felt I could not find my way back to him.
I continued to finish up with my doctorate program, but I had slowed down increasingly from doing any nonprofit work. I didn’t pray as much and I went into a deep depression. This is the same year my daughter started her business. I was like, really God?! Why would you put more on me now? Why would you reveal her purpose right now? I am not ready for this! Do I need to take care of me for once? He would not let me rest so I pushed forward.
What I did not know was that I would hide behind the business, not truly dealing with my depression, for over a year. Within that year the depression grew, work was inconsistent, my mom was diagnosed with cancer and it was still all on me to be the strong one in the family. In the 2nd year of my daughter’s business, I started reaching out for help. Asking God to send me the help I needed because my health was also declining, I was forgetting things easily, and we were losing the fight to save our home. God sent Angels my way with help! I started therapy, I joined a Spiritual Master Life coaching and I was also gifted business coaching. Wow right! God covered all areas!
What 3 things can you offer as practical advice for those who are struggling to face their failure and start again?
- Self-care is of #1 importance: we can not offer our gifts to the world if we are not taking care of our own needs (spiritually, physically, emotional, and mentally).
- Listen to your inner voice and pay attention to how it makes your soul feel.
- The spirit of poverty is not real it is an illusion. Do not subject your kids to such a belief. Change your mind-state and you will change your life!
What is something that you are unashamed to share with others?
I am unashamed to share with others that my daughter was conceived because I was raped by a man I had dated through a family members’ introduction. I was too familiar with him because of the introduction so I was horrified when he raped me but mostly disappointed that I didn’t make the right choice in dating him in the first place. I am unashamed to share that I heard God after finding out that I had not contracted a disease from the rape, but I was indeed pregnant. I am unashamed to share that God told me that the baby was a gift and I was not to abort it. Who would of knew that he would reveal such a gift in her at such a young age? She is truly a gift to this world. She is the kindest person and a manifesto of her own journey. I love her (and my amazing son) dearly.
What was the tipping point on your journey that allowed you to become unashamed?
God lead me on a journey to dig deeper into why I was so disconnected from being affectionate toward my daughter. I started therapy to figure out what was wrong with me and that journey led me to more soul-searching. I traveled back to my childhood. I had to deal with the molestation, the lack of parenting, lack of attention to protection and security, the hunger, the homelessness. Once I started to break down barriers in those things, I could truly be who I was meant to be to my daughter at the time and now to both of my children.
When it comes to your faith, what have you learned the most?
Faith is just what it is. It is one the hardest things you have to master but it reaps the greatest rewards. I tried to do it my way so many times in my 35 years, but nothing that I’ve ever accomplished had come to be until I finally let go and let God. He reminds me at that moment that although I had convinced myself that I was fighting in this life alone, that I was never really fighting the right battle at all. He had already won the fights for me! I’ve learned that I have only Him and have always had only Him. I learned to be grateful for who He puts in my life for those seasons of my life. I am now continuing to faith forward with trusting him in this new journey of homeschooling my kids, growing my business as a child advocate and custody visitation supervisor, matters of relationship, and spiritual growth.
In three words or less, The Father is:
Our Father is a HEALER!
What service(s) do you provide for the community?
I provide resources and assistance for children that need care as it surrounds hunger, education, neglect, parental relationship, and personal growth.
Because of your commitment, what is the greatest success story you can share?
My children are my success stories. They are kind souls that are using their gifts to change the world as we know it. They have learned that hard times just make you stronger in faith, more focused, and points you in God’s direction. They’ve become faith-walkers and an inspiration to other kids showing them that believing in their gifts and working hard to pursue their dreams reaps supernatural benefits.
This has truly broken some mighty generation curses as we have traveled this journey and it is a true testament to what I believe true success looks like!
Do you have any upcoming events, products or updates that you would like to share and how can the audience help support your efforts?
Yes, I have just relaunched my company which is an extension of U SOURCE ME, LLC called The Children’s Advocate. We support families and children that need advocates to join forces with parents to advocate for their child on the basis of custodial support and/or special education support services. You can find out more at www.thechildrensadvocate.com and follow on all social media platforms @usourceme
Greater Giving Ministries’ Need To Feed Campaign is looking for people that would like to sponsor low-income families with children, with a week’s worth of groceries during the week-long holiday break from school. If you would like more information on how you can sign up to be a sponsor please contact us at www.greatergivingministries.org . Thank you.
My children are growing within their baking businesses and as authors. We have a new book coming out in October, Bakeology 101: A guide to baking with STEAM. Which is a recipe book and S.T.E.A.M to introduce science, technology, engineering, arts, math (and business) through baking? The kid pastry chefs also cater parties, weddings, banquets, and office meetings, etc. You can find more information at www.cookmeupanotch.com and follow their journey @cookmeupanotch and @coolege_academy on all social media platforms.
Where can people connect with you online (website and social media information)?
U Source Me: The Children’s Advocate www.thechildrensadvocate.com
Greater Giving Ministries, Inc. www.greatergivingministries.org
Cook Me Up A Notch, LLC www.cookmeupanotch.com