“Ain’t I a woman?” the famous 1851 speech delivered by Sojourner Truth at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio served to be a rallying call for all women seeking to fulfill the destiny of equal citizenship for women in the U.S. Born into bondage in New York State in 1797, Isabella Baumfree took her fate and future into her hands when on June 1, 1843 she changed her name to Sojourner Truth and told her friends, “The Spirit calls me, and I must go.” On that day she became a woman of destiny traveling the country and preaching about abolition and women’s rights.
Over 150 years after Sojourner Truth gave her acclaimed address, another anointed woman from New York has created a beacon all women can use to harness their power and begin claiming their future. In September, Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook published Becoming a Woman of Destiny Turning Life’s Trials into Triumphs! through Tarcher/Penguin. Dr. Cook, better known as Dr. Sujay, has led a life of blazing trails. In 1996, she founded and served as the Senior Pastor of the Bronx Christian Fellowship until her retirement in 2009. She was the first black woman to become the Senior Pastor of the American Baptist Churches of the USA and was the first female President of the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference. But her list of firsts does not end there, Dr. Sujay was the first woman appointed Chaplain of the New York City Police Department and the first female Baptist minister to receive a White House Fellowship serving with President Clinton. She is also empress of the lunchtime worship service, initiating the “Lunch Hour of Power” service for city, civic and court workers and the “Wonderful Wall Street Wednesday” service.
Dr. Sujay has provided mentorship and spiritual guidance to many, including Presidents Clinton and Obama, and authored nine previous books. With her 10th book, Becoming a Woman of Destiny Turning Life’s Trials into Triumphs!, she now applies her extensive knowledge and experience to create a masterful template for women in transition. As women we were are gifted with the task of bringing forth generations – becoming the first teachers of our children, as well as becoming life partners to our husbands. But Dr. Sujay knows that God has placed us here to be more than wives, mothers or even professionals, and is cognizant that during the myriad seasons life holds, one might have issues moving from one season to the next. For women facing the uncertainty of change, Becoming a Woman of Destiny holds the key to unlocking their fate.
Dr. Sujay uses the biblical figure Deborah as a model. Deborah was a highly respected prophetess, judge, wife and warrior – accompanying the army of Israel into battle. Deborah is also an ancient example for what women refer to today as a superwoman – a woman that finds strength, balance and harmony in performing the various roles she is allotted in her life’s journey. Dr. Sujay applies Deborah’s life in the development of four pillars (intelligence, spirituality, action and community) which a woman can utilize as she discovers her path to a greater self. The pillars are divided by chapters, with two chapters dedicated to each pillar. Women learn that during a transitional period, we are sometimes beckoned to walk a path we did not know existed and can use times of adversity to generate fresh possibilities. Women grasp the understanding of the importance of prayer, quiet moments with self and following intuiton as well as how to conduct themselves with honor. Lastly, they ascertain the significance of relying on other women by initiating destiny circles – building a sisterhood that can support one another in achieving goals. Each pillar begins with a prayer and a series of prayers and meditations await the reader at the end of the book. Also each chapter ends with questions and a checklist to be used in destiny circle meetings.
With Becoming a Woman of Destiny Dr. Sujay shows you how through faith and belief in God you can bring out the best in yourself and find the true purpose of your life by employing the talents the most high has blessed each of us with. It is the gospel for the new millennium woman. As a woman, I find the stories Dr. Sujay shares and the advice she dispenses to be invaluable and have already started to apply the book’s principles to my life. The holidays are always a time of transition as an old cycle ends and a new one begins. New promises are made and I encourage everyone to purchase this book as a gift to themselves or for a cherished woman in their life. The benefits that come from Dr. Sujay’s expertise can only be compared to a never ending well.
Humans are the Lord’s vessels – each of us has a specific path in life we must travel. When Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in 1820, she did know her route would take her from master’s home to the Underground Railroad leading over 70 slaves to freedom. Dr. Sujay has already been compared to Harriet, another iconic figure that symbolizes the embodiment of a destiny fulfilled, when The Rev. Dr. Gardner C. Taylor stated that she was the Harriet Tubman for women in the ministry. After reviewing Becoming a Woman of Destiny and discussing it with destiny circle members other readers will come to know what I know – Dr. Sujay is not just a Moses for women in the ministry, she a Harriet Tubman for all women, assisting each of us to find our own predetermined promise lands with wit, wisdom and a whole lot of grace.