I’d seen Kendra Norman-Bellamy’s
name on book covers before, but it wasn’t until I saw that she’d read
my book on Shelfari (and loved it) that we became online friends. I was
so touched by Kendra’s heart for the Lord that I asked her to share
with you a little bit about how she started writing fiction, and about
how she found her purpose through pain. So here she is, Kendra
I’ve often heard people testify
that they became aware of their life’s purpose as early as childhood.
How awesome that must be to know your destiny at such a tender age and
to be able to get a jumpstart on the road to fulfilling your passion!
Although I’m not one of the fortunate ones to have been enlightened so
prematurely, I am eternally grateful to God for placing me on my
designed path to entertain while spreading His Word through fictional
novels. It may not have happened when I would have chosen for it to,
but it happened in His divinely elected time.
the quintessential “church girl,” I grew up in a staunch Christian
household where both my parents were, and still are, ministers of the
gospel. Years ago when I heard the saying that some find their purpose
though pain, I never considered that such would be my fate. After all,
what kind of pain could a girl possibly have to endure if she’d grown
up walking the straight and narrow for most of her life? I was taught
to be a respectful child; how not only to have respect for
others, but how to carry myself so that I earned the respect of
others. By the example of my mother, I learned how to grow into a
respectable woman, a virtuous woman, a woman after God’s own heart.
Because my family was so heavily
involved in ministry, I and my four siblings (three sisters and one
brother) didn’t participate in many of the activities that our young
friends did: ball games, overnight fieldtrips, school dances . . . not
even our senior proms. So as a child, I fostered my own form of
entertainment by writing poetry and short stories. But even then, I had
no clue of my destiny.
At the age of twenty, I fell in
love with one of the handsomest, most talented young men I’d ever
known. At the age of twenty-one, I married him during a beautiful
ceremony that took place in front of a church packed with well-wishers.
At age twenty-three, I gave birth to our first child. At twenty-five, I
birthed our second. At the age of twenty-nine, I was widowed.
But let’s back up.
Two weeks after giving birth to
our baby girl, my husband suddenly fell ill. He was unable to eat or
drink. Finally, dehydrated and undernourished, he was rushed to the
hospital. After several tests, the doctors gave us the horrible news.
My husband wasn’t just sick, he was dying. The prognosis was beyond
grim. He had full-blown AIDS. According to test results, he’d had it
for seven to ten years, and because he’d never been treated, the
disease had progressed into its final stages. He now only had three
days to three weeks to live.
What? How could something like
that happen? No warning signs. From living life to a statement of
pending death—just like that. This kind of thing doesn’t happen in the
lives of girls who are raised the way I was, right? Wrong! It can
happen to anyone.
Through it all, the God we
served showed that, ultimately, life was in His hands. He brought my
husband out of the hospital and
him to full weight and
strength—all to the doctors’ amazement. And though they gave him three
days to three weeks to live, God gave him three years . . . and he
never got sick again (not even with a common cold) until a few days
before his transition. And although we’d been married for four and a
half years and had two children prior to the diagnosis, the Lord, with
His infinite mercy, shielded me and our daughters from infection. He’s
an awesome God!
So, how does all of that tie
into my purpose, you ask? Well, threeyears later, I remarried, but
hadn’t realized that I’d never properly grieved the death of my first
husband. In the midst of being strong for his family, my family, and
for our friends, I forgot to grieve. My current husband (now of eleven years) purchased me
computer one day, and I sat down in front
of it and began writing, purging myself of all of my hurt, pain, anger,
fear—the whole nine yards.
And then it happened.
During my ongoing therapy
sessions with my keyboard, God made my purpose known. He allowed me to
see that just as my writing had brought me healing, encouragement,
happiness, and life, it would do the same for those who read the novels
He would inspire me to create. And it has. So I thank Him . . . even
for my pain. For without it, I may have never found my purpose.
is the founder of KNB Publications LLC and an award-winning, eight-time
national bestselling author.
Beginning her literary career in
2002 as a self-published writer, Kendra’s works are currently made
available through the respected publishers of Kimani Press,
Moody Publishers, and Urban Books. She
and her titles have been featured in Essence, Upscale, EKG
Literary, and HOPE for Women magazines,
to name a few. She is a member of American Christian Fiction
In 2005, Kendra established The
Writer’s Hut (an online Yahoo critique group) as an avenue
for serious writers of African American literature to actively support
one another in their writing journeys. Additionally, she is the founder
of The Writers Cocoon Focus Group a multi-cultural
interactive writers’ community that Kendra created as a means to share
her education, knowledge, and experience with aspiring and up and
coming writers. Finally, she is the founder of Cruisin’ For
Christ, a groundbreaking at-sea ministry that celebrates
Christian writing, gospel music, and other artistries that glorify God.
Among her most recent
recognitions, Kendra’s titles have graced Essence
magazine’s Best Seller List multiple times, and she was
presented with the 2008 Best Christian Fiction Award
and the 2008 Best Anthology Award by the African
American Literary Award Show in Harlem, NY.
A native of West Palm Beach,
Florida, and a graduate of Valdosta Technical College, Kendra resides
in Stone Mountain, Georgia with her family. She is an active member of
the Iota Phi Lambda Sorority.