Post Author: Minister India Reaves
November 9, 2005, is a day I will never forget! It was the day that I became a member of my illustrious sorority, Zeta Phi Beta. It was a day that I’d dreamed about for years and it was finally here! I was so excited that I was finally a part of this sisterhood. During the time leading up to becoming a sister of Zeta Phi Beta, I learned a sorority poem entitled, “A Sister Is A Sister.” Here I am almost thirteen years later, and that poem still means just as much to me now, if not more than it did in the fall of 2005.
The poem was very simple. It begins:
A sister is a sister
A sister loves a sister
A sister takes care of a sister
The final line of the poem is held in confidence by members of the sorority.
While I learned the poem in the context of a sorority, it speaks not only of my relationships with my sisters of Zeta, but of each one of my friendships that are much more like sisterhoods. Growing up as an only child, my friends have always played a crucial role in my life. At an early age, my mother taught me about choosing my friends wisely. We talked about what it meant to be loyal, trustworthy, honest, and what it really meant to have someone’s back. She told me to always be the friend that I wanted and needed and the universe would repay me…she was right!
Our society has such a focus on independence; many people feel as though they can do this thing called life by themselves. We often hear people use phrases such as, “I don’t need anybody else,” or “All I need is me.” That is a lie from the pit of Hell! We all need somebody. Life is much sweeter when you have people (especially sisters) that will help you navigate through the trying terrains of life.
Sisters are there to pick you up when you fall. They celebrate you when you succeed. They check you when you’re out of line. And, for me, they hold me accountable to my purpose and to my destiny. Sisterhood is by no means a walk in the park. Just like any other relationship, sisterhood has its challenges. From disagreements to fall-outs, to getting things back in order, sisterhood has it all. This is why it is imperative to make sure that we tend to and maintain these relationships.
The fact of the matter is that each one of my (your) sisters has their own life. We all are going through something, dealing with something, or just trying to figure out something in our own lives. And to be completely honest, those moments often take a toll on us, to the point where we forget to tend to our sisters, and that’s normal. However, at some point be sure to check on your sis. It’s usually these moments when my sisters and I need each other the most.
Whether we realize it or not, as sisters we can become mentors to one another. When we are intrigued by each other and have a desire to learn from each other, that’s the beginning of mentorship. The thing we must understand about mentorship is that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You have to be in it for the long haul. Mentoring is not an easy feat and isn’t something that should ever be taken lightly.
As someone who has and still is a mentor and a mentee, these are some of my most trying relationships on both sides of the spectrum. As a mentor it’s not always easy to chastise or correct someone you love. However, I think that it is the love that we have for mentees that causes us to say or do those things that are uncomfortable but are necessary. I’ve also been on the receiving end of this exact same scenario. It’s not always easy to take correction. The mentor and mentee both must be committed to the process of mentorship.
When the Bible speaks of “iron sharpening iron” (Proverbs 27:17), I think of both sisterhood and mentorship. When you need to sharpen a knife you grab another knife to sharpen it. As you sharpen the knives, the sound is excruciating, it looks painful and it seems like it would be uncomfortable, but in the end the knives are able to do their best work and can be utilized to their full potential. Sisters and mentors do the same thing. We sharpen one another. Even though it may be painful and uncomfortable sometimes, the quality of our lives are better because of the presence and position in each other’s lives.
Tenacious. Determined. Strong. Tough. Just a few words to describe India N. Reaves. Having faced many obstacles in life – from losing both of her parents just 16 months apart to surviving unhealthy, destructive relationships to being a functioning drug addict all before the age of 30 – she has an incomparable will to keep pressing forward, overcoming any situation, and defeating all odds.
Speaking at conferences, church leadership assemblies, and education gatherings, India is quickly building a name as an author and empowerment specialist, one whose messages invoke hope, faith, and confidence for all to pursue their very best life. She has served as the commencement speaker for Carver High School’s 2015 graduation, and designed the curriculum for and facilitated a professional development seminar for two major childcare centers in Winston-Salem to assist in rebranding their business. India’s first book, a 60-day devotional, is entitled, I’m T.O.U.G.H.which stands for “Tackling Obstacles and Unleashing God's Hope.” In November of 2014 India debuted her blog site, www.imtoughenough.com and is currently working on the follow up book to I’m T.O.U.G.H.
Image by: India Reaves
Used with permission