Today we’d like to introduce you to Roz Thomas.
Roz, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My journey has been filled with ups and downs; however, I’m grateful for every lesson I have learned along the way because it has made me stronger and wiser. I think many times we see the highlights of a person’s life in social media and can sometimes lose sight that there is a story of sacrifice and obstacles that had to be overcome in the climb to success. My story starts in a small city named River Rouge in Michigan. This is where I was born and raised. This is where my journey began.
I have some great memories from my childhood. I remember taking bike rides with my friends in the summer, climbing trees, balloon water fights in the street, street block club parties, sleepovers, travel, Vacation Bible School and so much more… while there were some great memories, there were some challenges.
As a little girl in elementary school, I had a speech impediment that impacted my ability to effectively communicate. Additionally, I was cross-eyed. I was withdrawn at school because of the teasing and the struggle to speak. I remember going to speech therapy for a couple of years. Although my speech impediment was resolved and I had corrective eye surgery, I struggled with low self-esteem and the feeling that I wasn’t good enough and didn’t belong.
I never saw myself as a leader with any value to be recognized and accepted by others. Therefore, I became a follower of the wrong people and the wrong things. You see, I was looking for validation and acceptance in places that were starting to destroy my life. It seemed like in 8th grade everything took a quick downward spiral. I started hanging out with the wrong boys in high school, dated a drug dealer, skipped school, started drinking, left home for hours without telling anyone my whereabouts and my grades dropped. I was lost to the point that my Dad told me one day that I could no longer live at home. He told me that he was looking for alternative housing and help for me because of the level of rebellion that was steadily escalating in my life. My Dad loved me dearly and knew I was in trouble and needed help. I’m thankful for my Dad because at that moment his tough love woke me up.
I was at the end of the runway without any more road to travel on in the current path. I slowly started turning my life around externally but still had this void on the inside. Even though I was making better life choices and took on leadership roles at school and went on to college, I felt spiritually bankrupt and empty. My ‘doing’ looked great, but my ‘being’ or ‘inner me’ was still broken. I knew there was something more. Although I grew up in church most of my life, I never had a personal relationship with Christ. During my freshmen year of college, I had gotten into a little bit of trouble, and I prayed, “God if you get me through this, I will serve you the rest of my life.” He got me through it and that summer I made good on my end of the prayer. At the age of 18, while I was home for summer break from college, the love of Christ enveloped me, and I surrendered my life to Him.
That summer, God began to reveal to me that there was a call on my life to ministry. Slowly but surely, God was changing me from the inside out, and my path was coming into greater alignment with His purpose for me. I eventually ended up going to bible school and went into ministry full time.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not been a smooth road but following God’s plan has brought so much value and meaning to my life. As I continued to align my life with God’s plan, I knew I was supposed to leave Michigan and move to Atlanta in 2001. I moved here with approximately $300 in my pocket and packed my Chevy Malibu with everything I owned that could fit. If it didn’t fit in the car, I left it behind. All I had was a word from God that I was supposed to move and continue my journey in ministry here in Atlanta.
I worked during the day and volunteered in ministry after I got off work and on the weekends. I struggled financially and cried many nights because I didn’t have enough money to put gas in my car, buy food and pay all my bills. Going to get my hair done was out of the question because I couldn’t afford it. I learned how to get busy and do my own hair. I had no furniture for a while and slept on the floor of my apartment when I first moved here.
I remember my first year in Atlanta getting a couple of eviction and car repossession notices. When I got the second eviction notice, I thought to myself, this is it, I will have to move back home to Michigan. When I was at my lowest and my back was against the wall, God showed up in my life and sent help. I came into $3,000 dollars from an unexpected source and was able to pay my rent and catch up on my bills. Another door opened, and I was able to stabilize my finances and give myself fully over to developing and doing ministry full-time. Throughout my journey, I have seen the faithfulness and provision of God show up in my life. There are more stories I could tell of struggles and setbacks, but God has brought me through every time. I’ve seen and experienced His love, guidance, favor and direction.
My advice and encouragement to young women just starting their journey is:
1. Don’t quit. Don’t waste time. Don’t settle and compromise your standards. Don’t compare your journey with someone else’s. Don’t be afraid to stop, tweak, and adjust to ensure you are moving in the right direction. You can do it… I’m encouraging you to go all the way!
2. Everywhere you go, there YOU are. You’re the common denominator in every season of your life. Take time for your spiritual growth, matters of the heart and well-being so that you don’t reproduce and manufacture dysfunction out of any brokenness and pain in your life.
3. Get clear on your ‘why.’ Your life has meaning. The highest and truest expression of who you are called to be will manifest when you come into alignment with your God-given purpose. You are gifted with unique talents and abilities that are designed to function at maximum capacity in your purpose.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am a minister, specifically a teacher of God’s Word, speaker, and author. I am known for my teaching gift and unique gifting to write and develop curricula and books for spiritual growth. I have been in ministry for the past twenty years. My involvement in ministry has included counseling, small groups, single’s ministry, campus outreach, education and curriculum development for personal spiritual growth. I am passionate about people coming to know Christ and their value and worth in Him in such a way that it transcends every area of their life.
My journey of faith has given me a strong desire to not only encourage, but also teach people how to grow in their faith to be a light that shines and advances in the seven pillars/mountains of society (i.e. family, religion, education, business, government, media, arts, and entertainment). I have held Destiny and Next Level Pop-Up Workshops to empower people with the spiritual tools needed to discover and walk in their purpose. Also, I periodically offer free 5-day devotional campaigns and have free spiritual growth resources on my website. Recently, I wrote a book on destiny called, ‘My Destiny Is Calling’ which is a 6-week interactive workbook and started a Destiny Club to help people identify the mountain God has called them to occupy and how to be a light for Christ to transform lives and shift the culture.
I continue to teach, mentor, write and expand the reach of the ministry God has entrusted to me to transform lives here and abroad. One of the goals and mission I have is to build orphanages and safe havens for endangered women and children in Asia.
Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
I started working at the age of 12 because I was determined to develop a stream of income to have money for the things I wanted to do. Working at such an early age taught me valuable lessons about responsibility, integrity, timeliness, organization, and discipline. I have a very strong work ethic and sense of discipline today which I can trace back to lessons I started learning at the age of 12.
- My Destiny Is Calling Workbook (Available on Amazon & Barnes & Noble) – $14.99
- Join the Destiny Club! Visit here for details: www.rozthomas.com/destiny-club
- Website: www.rozthomas.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @rozlthomas
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rozlthomas
- Twitter: @rozlthomas
Alex D. Rogers Photography