How would you describe yourself?
I would describe myself as a mother. I have birthed seven of my own: one son and six daughters. But ‘mothering’ began much earlier before then; it began with my mother giving me motherly responsibilities at a young age. I understood that she was going through a lot but the result of that, consequently, gave to me a ‘motherly mindset’ that remained with me throughout my life. I noticed that even before my children and even now, I would nurture persons who cross my path – it comes naturally to me.
Motherhood is a great experience and the best job ever, but to do it right, it takes more than just providing basic needs – it requires a lot of sacrifices. That’s why I would caution every mother that I meet “take care of your heart and soul because it will affect the way you handle EVERYTHING else”
But why motherhood?
Although my experiences could have deterred me from having children, God stepped in and gave me the scripture – Isaiah 54. He gave me this chapter years before I had children, even before I knew my two first pregnancies would fail. So, when I eventually birthed ‘my 7’ (I call them my 7), I purposed in my heart to take care of them like it’s my only career.
On 27th October 2021 God said to me “I gave you 7 children, that is your purpose and you’ve done well!”
So, the simple answer is just that- Because that’s my God-given life purpose.
What has it taught you?
I learnt that I am stronger than I realized.
The most difficult part was me surrendering to God my plans and learning to truly trust and rely on Him – not in my own strength. So, when He blessed me with five more children than I expected, it was a lesson of surrender, obedience, and sacrifice. My empathic nature and motherly heart have always allowed me to feel and care for others; this, added to my life experiences and surrendering to God,has taught me who I am, whose I am, and why I am here.
Tell us what H.O.P.E stands for and what it means to you.
H.O.P.E stands for Holistic Outreach for Parent’s Empowerment. In short H.O.P.E exists to assist and empower single parents to balance motherhood while helping them find themselves and their purpose in the process.
Because my needs were not just physical, H.O.P.E is not publicized as an organization that just provides basic needs. While my children are an important part of my life, they are not the reason why hope was created.
H.O.P.E is about Verlandas’ journey to finding out who she is, and while navigating motherhood I had to stop and examine the patterns in my life, in my family, and the generations before me. Some things weren’t adding up, so I knew that there was something I needed to investigate. I remembered my niece saying to me “Aunty, the heart is very sensitive, so you cannot go through painful changes and be fine – your heart needs healing” so that confirmed to me that I needed emotional healing, I needed to talk about and address the issues that’s in my heart.
That’s why H.O.P.E takes a step deeper to assist single parents in discovering who they are and break unhealthy emotional patterns so that they can in turn help their children, families, and then in turn the nation.
Yes, H.O.P.E have and will continue to help meet basic requirements; but to fully experience what hope entails, we must look within. At H.O.P.E, we provide resources to assist single parents to find themselves amidst all the obligations of motherhood – H.O.P.E is created to be what I needed in my search for myself.
Why single parents?
I was never technically a single parent, but I was single-handedly managing my family, and this caused me to think about others who was carrying the same everyday obligations but was doing it all by themselves. As a result, I have empathy for single parents because I understand how difficult the journey can be when you are alone.
So, why create an organization?
Long before H.O.P.E was an idea; it was a tune that always played in my spirit. The song ‘Go Light Your World’ by Kathy Troccolli spoke to my spirit in its entirety but most specifically the line that says, ‘Take your Candle, Go Light Your World’. Despite my deep desire to help others, I didn’t fully comprehend what it meant at the time, although I knew it was a call to share what was in me, I had to first recognize and see it in myself. So, it was a process, it took some time to understand and walk in that path.
Something else that always resonated with me is Isaiah 61 -This is God’s personal mandate to me as an ambassador of christ and now more than ever I can see it playing out in my life. That’s why I say that founding H.O.P.E has been a process – a long time in the making.
Although my life experiences are unique – as life happens to us all; I wish to share some light on my experiences in hope of helping others navigate life’s challenges.
Can you give a word to single parents?
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the demands of parenting and lose sight of who you are. I strongly advise you to spend some time figuring out who you are and what your purpose is.
Just like my niece said to me I will say to you – “the heart is very sensitive; you CANNOT go through painful changes and be fine – your heart needs healing” Sometimes the issue is so subtle that you don’t see it, but it can have unhealthy effect for years. I would advise you to deal with the issues that are on your heart, get healed and whole from childhood pains because parenting from a place of wholeness is the best gift that you can give to your conscience and your child(ren).
Remember that and let it light your candle (heart) and encourage you to deal with your issues (we all have issues) and watch your smile will move from your heart to your face. You will shine brightly, and the world will be a brighter place.
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