This interview spotlight is for all women who are seeking to inspire and motivate other women to pursue their passion. We want to hear real stories from people we can relate to and learn from. Hope you will be inspired, encouraged and motivated by what they will be sharing. This week we caught up with Shade Henry.
Hie Shade, Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi :-). I’m 26 years old, I’m from London, and I love writing, reading and laughing.
How did you come to know Jesus Christ and can you briefly share your Christian Journey with us?
For as long as I can remember Jesus has been a part of my life – in name, in memory, in word, but not always in my heart. I went to a prayer and Bible conference around the age of 13 and I made a decision to talk to God and read my Bible every day. By age 15 through the process of spending time with God, I had my conversion experience. As I got older I went through some rough patches, I have my struggles, but like Peter said to Jesus “To who else would I go? You have the words of eternal life”.
What is your significant life bible verse?
Isaiah 43:1-3 – But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for l have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For l am the Lord your God, the Holy one of Israel, your Savior;..”
What have been some of your joys and greatest challenges as a young christian woman living in this generation?
Some of my greatest joys have been seeing the hand of God working personally in my life – seeing changes in myself and the ways God is working to make me more like him. Also, seeing others come to know him. Seeing my brother give his life to Christ was one of the happiest days of my life. My greatest challenge has been my own sin and selfishness. Also, loneliness – I think being a Christian can sometimes be a very lonely place especially at a young age. It’s not easy being different to those around you.
Can you share some key lessons that God has taught you or that God is teaching you in this season of your life?
God is teaching me to relinquish the control I have over my life. I’m not where I thought I’d be – there are things that I wanted to happen that haven’t happened. I thought by this age I would be married, be certain about my career direction – none of these things have happened. It’s easy for me to be upset but God is teaching me to trust him. It’s a lesson I’m learning slowly.
What is your life work or passion? Or what you currently doing?
I’m a doctor. I love being able to help people and there is an intimacy you have as a doctor with your patients that no other job allows. People trust me with their secrets, in fact, with their lives and I’m slowly realising what a tremendous honour it is to be able to do this. There were times I wanted to leave this profession, but I’ve finally found a speciality I enjoy and I feel a sense of purpose in it. It doesn’t mean I will do this particular job forever, but I definitely know that my life’s passion is to be part of God’s work in helping others to be whole whichever way He directs.
What is a day in your life look like/Can you give us a glimpse into your daily life?
My days vary widely depending on which rotation I’m doing. At the moment I’m working at a small GP practice.I wake up at 6. I rush around like a crazy person trying to shower, eat breakfast, do my hair and makeup and get lunch together before rushing on the shuttle bus to the hospital on the other side of town. I get to the hospital and have around 50 minutes while I wait for my connecting bus. During this time I usually find somewhere quiet to pray and study my Bible. I get on another bus to work and start my morning surgery. I see a bunch of patients with different complaints . Lunch break is usually a time to catch up on paper work, take a walk, do some reading . Afternoon surgery begins – more patients. I get home around quarter to 7 and relax for a while. I like to do my workout in the evening and cook my evening meal. Some days I write on my blog. Some days I catch up with friends over the phone. It can be a lot to fit in!
What advice would you give to other young people who want to pursue a career in medicine?
Work hard, don’t lose sight of your goal and ask for as much help as possible. You have to plan early – before end of your GCSE’s if possible. You need to know what grades you need and start looking at the experience you need. Find a doctor you know to mentor you. Medical school is not the same as being a doctor. I hated it, found it really boring and was very close to dropping out and doing a history degree instead. It may take you a while to find your feet, but if you love it, it’s a great job! However, it’s not glamorous like TV. It’s very hard and it’s a tremendous sacrifice. It really can take over your life so be certain this is what you want to do. There are many other careers that are rewarding and less stressful, so choose wisely!
In the busyness of life how do you cultivate your spiritual growth as a young woman?
Being intentional about spending time with God. You have to decide that every day you are going to spend time with God. I don’t always achieve this but I’m getting there. Set aside an hour each day and don’t let anything intrude. Also, be careful what you watch, read and listen to. I’ve really struggled with this, and I have to be really careful about what I allow myself to feed on. There’s no point spending loads of time with God and then watching Scandal all the time – what we watch changes us. What we listen to changes us. Make decisions about what you want to be changed into.
What do you do spiritually and practically to maintain a Christ-centred approach in your work?
I pray quite a lot a work. Often for advice, often for patience with colleagues and patients! People try me, and I have a sharp tongue :-). Jesus is working on me. I also talk to my Mum a lot – she keeps me grounded and gives me advice on dealing with difficult people. Also, one of my best friends and I try to pray in the mornings sometimes. That’s a really good way of having accountability and setting me up for the day.
What are some ways the Lord has given you triumph in the midst of life’s challenges? And how would you encourage somebody else going through a challenging time in their life?
I’m going through a challenging time right now so it’s quite weird to speak about it. I haven’t quite figured it out myself yet but my encouragement would be to ask the simple question, do you believe God is who He says He is? Honestly answer, and if the answer is no (which for me some days it is), the answer is to get to know Him better. Talk to Him, bring Him your challenges and doubts. Also, have a support system. Choose wise people around you to encourage you. Be friendly, make friends, practice being vulnerable (I’m really bad at that). Thirdly, practice caring for yourself. DO something you like – a facial at home, your favourite tea, a walk in the park. These little things can help when we’re going through challenging times. Lastly, if you’re concerned you’re actually suffering from depression or anxiety, don’t be ashamed to see your doctor. It’s not a weakness to admit struggle it’s a sign of humanity and a testament to your strength that you are willing to confront your problems.
What advice would you give to a young woman who desires to go deeper in her relationship with Jesus Christ?
Pray. Read your Bible. Read good Christian books. Find community – a church, small group and group of friends. Find a spiritual mentor or guardian – someone you look up to, and ask them if they’re willing to be a guide to you.
What is your desire for the young women of our generation?
That they will reach the potential God has given to each of them and that they will not be stifled by tradition, human expectation or insecurity, but empowered by the grace of God to be fully themselves and fully His.
Who inspires you and why?
My Mum, my Dad, the rest of my family – so many people in my life that I love and respect. My parents taught me to love Jesus and to never be afraid of other people if I’m speaking the truth. I wouldn’t be who I was today if it wasn’t for them. My brother teaches me all the time to have a kinder heart. My friends are all so brilliant and unique in their own ways and they all inspire me.
Do you have any books or sermons that you recommend young women to read or listen to?
Anything by Ellen White, most things by C.S Lewis. There are a bunch of other sermons and books – I plan to write a reading list on my blog soon. www.girlwiththafro.com
What are some of your favourite things?
Reading – I love true stories, autobiographies, and anything on different cultures. I love spoken word and written poetry. I really like to laugh – that’s the way to my heart. I love food. I’m trying to give up cheese, every year I say this. If someone invents a good vegan cheese I’ll give them my favourite dress.
What advice would you give your younger self?
1)Start making spending time with God a habit.
2)Stop worrying about whether you’re ugly, you’re pretty you just can’t wear contacts yet.
3)All the people you want to be like now you won’t want to be like in 10 years. 4)None of the boys you fancy now will be marriage material in 10 years time.
5) Expect better of yourself instead of expecting better of others.
6) Yes, you’re smart but hard work and humility will take you further than high IQ and arrogance.
Any other advice that you would like to share?
Not really. Cleanse, tone, moisturise and try not to shop at Primark if possible. Oh, and Black is beautiful.