Today we’d like to introduce you to Tamika Fussell.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Tamika. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
I was born in Miami, Florida to Jerome and Joeann Fussell. I have three brothers and three sisters. My father died when I was about 12 1/2 to lung cancer. He was an entrepreneur who owned a snack bar and pool hall. It became a bit of struggle when he died. My mom had to go on welfare and work two jobs until she found steady work with benefits. I have to say I gained an all new respect for my mom and single moms alike. It’s by the grace of God that kept us. We never missed a meal, and we never went without.
I was born and raised in the church. My baby brother and I were in church at least three times a week. We did not have an option. It is during this time that I learned about the bible and grew a love for the Lord and His word. As I became older, I wasn’t always so “churchy” if you know what I mean. I had one foot in and one foot out. It was during a near death experience that brought me back in. The Lord led me to a new church that I still attend today, New Jerusalem Primitive Baptist Church and it is through this ministry that I gained my strength and yearning for the word.
It is also through this ministry that I acknowledged the call on my life. I ran for ten years, but it was September of 2009 that the Lord literally grabbed me and beat me in front of the church during an alter call and told me no more. I did my trial sermon in June of 2010, and I guess you can say the rest is history. I have been blessed with the privilege to preach at churches outside my denomination as well as facilitate workshops at various conferences.
I started my own ministry with the leading of the Holy Spirit in 2016, TLF Ministries which is a mobile ministry, we move as God leads. It is a ministry that promotes empowerment, encouragement, and enlightenment to all. It started with my first t-shirt, Pretty Girls Preach which led to my first brunch Pretty Girls Rock Your Pearls. It was a sold out event. I was beyond humbled by the response. I now facilitate at least three to four empowerment events a year ending with my favorite Woman and Her Well, which is a beach event.
Last year, I had over 60 women to register. During this time we bond in sisterhood through songs, prayer, and conversation., burning our troubles away and casting it into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). Everything we do is symbolic. I will definitely say it’s all God how I got here. I am shy and prefer working in the background, but the Lord seems to have other plans for my life. This year I am in the process of rebranding. This process is going to push me to be more vocal. God has shown me new visions as well as a new direction in which He is leading me. I can’t share too much, but I am excited.
I am currently a high school guidance counselor in Broward County. I am a graduate of St. Thomas University where I earned a bachelors in Elementary Education with a minor in Religion and a double Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and Guidance Counseling. I also earned a certification in Loss and Healing. My education has been a big help with counseling people I encounter as well as being able to see the glass half full. These degrees did not come easy.
It took me almost ten years to earn a bachelors degree that is because I had trouble with math and dropped out. I took several years off and worked as a Manager for the clothing store Express. Again, I have to give props to my church, it was my Pastor, first lady and who I call my angel, Ms. Pauline Darling who encouraged me to go back and finish up. It was Ms. Darling who literally walked me through the process at St. Thomas. My Pastor arranged for me to get a tutor and it was smooth sailing after that. I graduated in December of 2006.
The following year, I started my master’s program and was put on probation after the first semester of failing a class but God. I had to write an appeal, pray and fast. I never told anyone this story other than my boyfriend at the time, but I feel led to share to let someone know it’s never too late and you can defeat any obstacle that comes your way. I can go on, but I’ll stop with that as it was many other obstacles and hurdles that came my way during this process. I am extremely blessed to have Jesus and my mom among others in my cheering corner.
Has it been a smooth road? I shared some of my educational challenges. Now let me share some other challenges I have experienced during this journey. Like many African American Women, I deal with Fibroids. They have caused many other challenges. There was a point when I had to decline speaking invites because I could not sit for a full hour without soiling my clothes. I had fear of embarrassment.
In 2014, my hemoglobin dropped to a two which is extremely low and dangerous, and I lost oxygen to my brain causing me to lose some of my vocabulary. I only found this out because I was having repeated headaches and tightness of the chest. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I drove myself to urgent care who then rushed me to the hospital.
My attending doctor said to me you must know a Higher Power, according to your tests you should be dead or full of tubes. During the surgery, they removed 33 fibroids leaving two behind. In recovery, I almost died. I can definitely say I saw the light on that day. For some reason, they could not find a vein to insert the IV. It was one of the scariest moments of my life.
I could not speak or move my limbs, but I could see the fear on the nurses and the anesthesiologist as my pressure was declining and I was zoning in and out. Ther