Vonsia Garris Talks Faith or Fear? You Can't Do Both So I Choose Faith to Inspire
By: Vanessia Morgan
Photo Credit: Vonsia Garris
Prior to this interview, I scoped out her pages and noticed a young lady that was both beautiful inside and out. That became more apparent as I interviewed Ms. Vonsia Garris the Founder of the blog Vonsia Inspires and author of the 30 day devotional “Pray Through It.” Let’s take a look at what this young woman of God has to say about being a first time author, self-publisher, and overcoming fear to inspire women in today’s society.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I currently reside in Raleigh, NC, I am a graduate of Shaw University and I currently work in the Clinical Research Industry. When my parents divorced, my mom, brother and I relocated to Raleigh and in dealing with the divorce I began to write. This was my outlet to get things out about how I felt. So that’s what led to my book “Pray Through It.” I am also very into my church. In 2011, I was baptized and it was more so a “calling” when you know you are supposed to be doing something but you try to avoid it. However, it just kept coming back full circle. For instance, I would have people coming up to me in Target asking if I could “pray for them” or if I could “say something encouraging to their daughter or son.” About 2 years ago at 3am, I received an email from my 3rd grade teacher to be the Women’s Day speaker at their church. From there, I had things flowing out of me that I didn’t even know were in me. That’s when Vonsia Inspires was birthed in 2013 and with that I call it a movement. I use this to teach women to know their self-worth, walking the walk, and not having to rely on a man to get them somewhere.
So did the divorce itself play some aspect of it? Where you learned not to “rely on a man” to make you into who you are supposed to be?
Yes, I would agree 100%. My brother and I took the divorce really hard. Relocating to Raleigh from Virginia was really hard. So being in Raleigh, being able to write and being around women, more so my friends, they were coming to me about relationships, being single, heartbroken, and asking questions like “When am I going to find the one?” That’s when I starting understanding that it’s not about “waiting on finding the one” but instead the focus should be on pursuing your goals and your dreams and he will come when he’s supposed to. It’s about keeping God first and setting your own goals and achieving them.
I love that! I feel that a lot of times in relationships, for this generation at least, we have allowed a lot of stuff to go on and we have dropped the standards therefore allowing ourselves to be treated any type of way. I’ve heard that “a man will treat you how you allow them to treat you”.
Yes, indeed you set the tone at the very beginning. I must use my relationship for an example. Before I met my boyfriend, I was single for 4 years and I say you know what, I’m going to do me, I’m going to reach all these goals . The crazy thing about it was that my boyfriend and I went to high school together, we spoke here and there, were members of the same church but we never corresponded. He reached out to me while I was on a trip and we did dinner. I believe that when you set the tone from the beginning you become best friends and that’s what it lead to. I feel as though with the relationships now the women seem to be doing all of the pursuing and If I’m not correct that was supposed to be the “man’s role”. So it’s all about setting the tone in the beginning just as you stated he will treat you how you allow him to treat you.
So tell us in your own words the steps to building self-worth:
When it comes to building self worth I will have to take it back to my mom. She instilled that in me a long time ago. She began telling me “Vonsia you are this and you are that” and when you get to certain age you will start to realize that. It also reflects in your crowd (who you are around) usually the 2-3 people you are around the most, those people attract who you are. However, my mom set the tone regarding my self worth, in how I was supposed to carry myself as a lady. She taught me to recognize how I was supposed to be treated. When I talk to young ladies and they are down and upset, I tell them “you have to know your self-worth; you have to know that you are very valuable and you are giving someone the privilege to even talk to you. I think it starts at home and some women are fortunate enough to have that. Therefore, you have to find someone in the church, a close friends or role models. These would be positive role models like Lady Michelle Obama or Sanaa Lathan these are the women that I can look to online and read their articles that will guide those footsteps for you.
You just mentioned “Media.” Tell us qualities to look for in a positive role model.
I love fashion and all that, however, I say one key aspect would be modesty. It’s ok to dress and look “sexy” I’m so for that however, you don’t reveal and show everything. Lady Michelle Obama is a great example because for instance, I brought a dress from Target and 2 weeks later she spoke in that same dress. You couldn’t tell me anything lol… Besides the look, the way they speak and carry themselves, keeping God first in their life and friends they have. There is a young lady from Grace, I can’t recall her name however, I listen to a lot of her speaking engagements that she does and she’s all about women’s empowerment, being the best that you can, enhancing your goals, and achieving your goals.
So getting back to “Vonsia Inspires” you launched this in 2013, from that point you’ve been speaking, allowing God and now you have a book. So what was the process of birthing the 30 day devotional “Pray Through It”.
The book was written over four years ago but I was afraid to put it out. Something my mom always tells me is “Faith or Fear you can’t do both it’s either one or the other.” I kept finding things wrong with it and was continuously “tweaking” it. One day my mom read it and she said “Vonsia it’s ready, it’s time.” I love to journal, I love quotes I love anything that is positive and encouraging because I’m all about law of attraction. The things you think are the things you attract, those positive thoughts or negative thoughts. One day I started writing and didn’t stop and another day I started reading it and I started thinking that I know I’m not the only woman that loves quotes and positive pictures of quotes. So once I started reading it, I reached out to my high school teacher Mr. Walker and he read it and finished my manuscript in about a month. He told me “You’re ready.” I then self-published it and I’m telling you it was trial and error through it all but it’s truly a blessing. The picture on my cover I love sunflowers and on the side of the road off of Falls of the Neuse Rd in Raleigh, NCthere were sunflowers. I jumped out of the car and even though I had a photographer this picture was taken by my boyfriend with his I-phone. Things then continued to fall into place. I was always worried about things not turning out right, not finding a certain type of graphic designer but I can honestly tell you that once I stepped out on faith everything started lining up from the graphic designer, to the photographers. Once it was completed, I had to submit it 3 or 4 times to get different proofs. When it came back and they told me it was ready to be published I was just blown away! This was truly a blessing from God. The headaches etc… were all worth it. I started crying. It’s been doing very well, it’s on Barnes & Noble and Amazon. There is a meeting with Barnes & Noble coming to get it inside of the store because right now it’s just online but it’s doing very well. I’m very humbled by it. I receive text messages and emails regarding the book. I read a 30 day devotional by Joel Osteen. I thought to myself if I had something to pick and read for 30 days each day with something positive that would help me through my months.
So out of the book “Pray through it” we are getting 30 days of devotions, quotes…
Yes, you are getting devotions, quotes, and scriptures, some of my scenarios that I went through in college, relationships ending and how to deal with it. It is a quote in there “row your own boat” “know your worth” “faith of a mustard seed” I also draw from talks with my girlfriend’s listening to things that they have gone through. It’s hitting on so much.
Amen what a wonderful word to encourage someone! Along with writing and speaking, I’m looking and you and you look phenomenal. Is fashion somewhere in the future? What’s next?
Thank you! I love it! What’s going on next is Women’s Empowerment, The African American Festival and my goal in the next few months is a “Slay and Saved Brunch.” I want to get some women together to empower, mix and mingle, have brunch and share things. It can be heartbreak, promotions or even engagements it’s just these milestones that need to be celebrated. Also, my boyfriend and I are discussing writing a book together.
You have brought the boyfriend up a few times. How long have you been dating?
April will be 3 years and I’m very happy. I won’t say lucky I will say blessed and he’s my best friend.
I love that you can work together. What you do is ministry, so I will also say you work within ministry together. That in itself is a beautiful thing and shows that you both keep God first.
Yes we have to. He is my biggest supporter. He pushes me to the end. If I don’t feel like doing something or something isn’t right he says, “Come one get up, you have people that are depending on you.” I haven’t been blogging as much as I should be. He put me “in check” 2 days ago and said “someone is depending on your blog and you haven’t even blogged what’s going on?” He’s right! I have a book full of blogs that I haven’t even typed. I will be getting back to that tonight!
Any last words for your audience or someone you would like to inspire:
If you are going through something, keep the faith and keep pushing forward knowing that God isn’t through with you yet. Remember that God gives his toughest battles to the strongest soldiers he is with you! I’d also like to say my book are available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.
Thank you so much for interviewing with The Lux Blog NC we appreciate your story, words of encouragement and you time. We again pray continued blessings upon you and look forward to what’s NEXT! - Vanessia Morgan
You can follow Vonsia Garris on IG:@vonsiainspires or @vonsiagarris (personal). Email firstname.lastname@example.org and FB: Vonsia Inspires