Women & Work

Podcast Transcript: Episode 14

Women & Work Podcast

Episode 14: Trillia Newbell


COURTNEY: Welcome to the Women & Work podcast, the show that inspires you to confidently step into your God-given calling & view your work as meaningful to the Kingdom of God. 


I’m Courtney Moore.


MISSIE: And I’m Missie Branch. We want to introduce you to women who through their own unique vocations are seeing what they do make an eternal difference.


COURTNEY: We pray these conversations will inspire you in your own calling to honor God, image Him to the world through your work, and leverage your potential for His glory. 


MISSIE: Thanks so much for joining us today.


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Missie: Well welcome everyone! Today, Courtney and I are so excited. We have a friend on the show, Mrs Trillia Newbell. We are so excited to have you today, Trillia! 


Trillia: Thank you- I’m excited to be here.


Missie: Trillia is an author and speaker and currently works as an acquisitions editor for Moody Publishers. This comes after serving for 7 years as the Director of Community Outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission for the SBC- Southern Baptist Convention. This is how I met you! She is passionate about issues of faith, family, and diversity. Her writings on this topic have been published in the Knoxville News Sentinel, Desiring God, True Woman, Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition and more. Her most recently published book is a children’s book called Creative God Colorful us. She has also written God’s Very Good Idea for children as well- which I give gifts at baby showers and your books are what I give. You can find Bible studies that Trillia has written on Hebrews 11 and Romans 8  (Romans 8 is one of my favorite ones)- as well as several other books she’s written. We’ve included all of those in the show notes. Her greatest love besides God is her family. She is married to her best friend and love Thern and they reside with their 2 children in Nashville, Tn. 


Trillia: Thank you for that intro. Just talking through it I was like…wow thanks


Courtney: Trillia, thank you so much for coming today.  I don’t know if you remember when you and I met, you were leading a breakout session at… Goodness, it was either LifeWaay, women’s leadership forum in Nashville or like a mom conference- I don’t know which one it was.– but it was at Long Hollow Baptist Church. This was like, not 10 years ago, but almost… And I was going through this season- our family was kind of in the middle of a suffering, we were kind of in the middle of a really rough season, and your breakout was on basically hope and suffering. And I was sitting in the third row right in the middle, right in front of you, and I just remember you were just giving scripture after scripture, hope after hope after hope. I just wept through your entire talk, and then afterwards you were so sweet to me.  And I tell people all the time, really, this is the truth, when I see your stuff on social media, I mean, I love you, but then when I’m… When I get to rub shoulders with you and chat with you, I always walk away thinking… She is more special than I remembered the last time I met her. You really just are so special, I don’t know another word, and so… I am so grateful for you to be here today. This means a lot to us.


Trillia: Well, thank you. You know, it’s funny, before we started, I said, I just am a weepy mess-and so here I am crying: I was trying not to, but because it is so encouraging and it’s interesting because I remember that because it was a massive conference. I was pretty new to speaking, and I think there were 19 people ther- it was a very small number of people were at my little break out because no one knew who I was, and when I remember thinking, Oh, there was one person who was there.It’s amazing how that works.


Courtney: Well and besides that, you were working at the ER LC then, and I was just… I was just trying to figure out how God was gonna use me. I didn’t know – women & work was nowhere on the radar at that point, and I was just dipping my toe and trying to write. And you were so kind and generous, you were like, Here’s my email, I want you to submit an article, send it to me and maybe we can publish it at the ERLC, and you guys did… That was my first kind of published piece on the inner webs, except for my own little blog, and that was because of you, and it just encouraged me to keep going and I just… You have such a special place in my heart. I’m really glad you’re here. 


Trillia: Well, that is such a… It’s so encouraging to hear.: And so thanks for sharing it with me. I love what I get to do, and especially now that I’m an Acquisitions Editor, I get to do that kind of thing every day. That’s amazing. I find people and get to help their gifts be not only just seen because we don’t want just gives seen- but experiencing  but allowing them to serve so broadly. so it’s so encouraging to


Missie: That is awesome. 


Courtney: Well as we jump into the interview, we ask… We laugh because we always say it’s rapid fire, but it takes a longer than we think- but it’s the same kind of fun get to know you questions that our listeners would probably be curious about, and so the first question we ask every guest is to you as a kid, what did you wanna be when you grew up?


Trillia:  Okay, I wanted to be a pathologist-which is hilarious. But I love the Human Body and I love… I just think it’s remarkable, it’s absolutely remarkable how we fire away and can speak and all the things that are happening right now… Amazing to me., But I also had this kind of investigator desire, so I did it, I think I was in the 10th grade, and I did a shadowing. I shadowed some detectives to see them, I shouldn’t have seen… I saw some pictures, I don’t know, I still can see the pictures in my mind. They told me all sorts of things. One of them told me about how he’s struggling with depression, and I’m like, This is 15-year-old (laughter) they were very open, I’ll just say that, very open. But then as I got older and started to get into biology and math, I was like, maybe my giftings… might have a different gifting. But that is what I thought I wanted to be as a kid. It didn’t last very long- once I got in my junior year, it all shifted because I discovered I loved research and writing


Missie: That’s good. A pathologist- Okay, okay, I’ve never even heard anyone ever say that that’s what they dreamed to be, so that was just like… that shows you really are one of a kind. So, okay. I’m interested in hearing this. So what was your first job? 


Trillia: Okay So that’s interesting because it just depends on what you technically call a job, because I have always been a little bit entrepreneurial in spirit. So my first fake job was I developed a baking business in… How old was I may have been in middle. Elementary, middle school. Definitely middle school. And all these different businesses bought my pies, I could cook. My mom was teaching me how to cook, and I remember doing… It would have been like all southern black stuff. So pineapple upside down cake. And people would buy it for their picnic, it was… And I know the… It’s not just black people who do pineapple upside and poundcake but anyways, that’s what my mom taught me. And so I did that and people though-t I couldn’t believe it, but I didn’t understand how to take care of money, so I would spend it and would go buy more supplies. But then TCBY- do yall know that yogurt? That was my first official job. : I would serve yogurt and I was… Yeah. 


Courtney: This was like when you were in high school? 


Trillia: It must have been a freshman or sophomore. I’ve always worked almost the moment I could… I started working, so work has always been a part of my life. So I was probably 15, once you could get a job, I was getting out of working a 16… Yeah, something like that.


Courtney: Well, looking forward to the end of your life, what do you hope to be doing when you’re 80?


Trillia: You know, it’s funny. With Jesus, I don’t… I cannot imagine life at 80. I don’t know, I have no idea. I also have it,-I don’t think it’s doom and gloom, but I don’t… I just have hard time imagining myself living that long… Past 80. That’s a long time. My grandmother did though, so I just imagine probably tilling my land- my garden and cooking for my kids and hopefully their kids… I don’t know if I live that long. I don’t imagine that I’ll have an employment, but I imagine doing stuff with my hands.


Missie: One of the creative answers we got to that question was that someone said that they wanted to be trying out, testing out beach chairs.


Trillia: I could take that job too. (laughter)


Missie: So What we  wanna do now is just get to know you a little bit more… So tell me a little bit about… Tell us a little bit about where you grew up, where you’re from. 


Trillia: Okay I’m from Knoxville, Tennessee. So East Tennessee, right now, I live in West. Middle Tennessee, I don’t live in West Tn. So Knoxville, which is a college town, so I grew up in the south, and I grew up in a really loving home, but not a Christian home. I didn’t become a Christian until the age of 22, and that in itself a story, and so… Yeah, I have three sisters. One with the Lord. So to two who are living and Yeah. So that’s it in a nutshell.


Missie: How did you come to know the Lord if you weren’t raised in a Christian household?


Trillia: Yeah, so I was teaching at a private camp and I was the lead instructor and I had an assistant, and we were in a hotel room together. And she opened her Bible, I was 19 at the time. She opened her Bible to have a quiet time, as she said, and I just, I remember being really defensive. Like you stay over there with that Bible because I wasn’t only not a Christian, I was opposed to Christians and christianity. My world view was pretty different than it is now. And I thought Christians were crazy. I didn’t wanna have anything to do with him. And so funny and so… But she was just like, I’m just gonna have a quiet-time. For some reason, I felt invited to talk to her and ask her questions, and she was also a little evangelist, I came to note, but I was… By the end of the night, I was on her bed confessing sin, she was sharing the gospel. But it took

two years and two broken engagements, and being humbled… I went back to her church at 22 and you know the hymn, Rock of Ages “wash me Savior or I die!”. That verse, I just thought I need a Savior, and the Lord saved me. And I remember praying with that friend and another really close friend still and another lady for me to be saved and the Lord, He rescued me right there. My life changed the trajectory of my life, changed my world view changed, my heart changed. He changed me. It’s amazing- I thoroughly believe that God can change anyone. It’s really radica  if you knew what the things I thought before.


Courtney: it’s so hard to believe that now knowing you now and all the fruit you’ve produced for Christ now.-It’s so weird to even hear you say that. 


Missie: Yes. 


Courtney: So Trillia, where did you end up meeting your husband?


Trillia: Okay, so that’s a story. My second job was working for him, and I was 17 or when I met him. He always gets really like, Oh, please make sure it… So we did not start dating until you graduated.  But he was my manager and we met… I was just working for… I didn’t see him like that ’cause he was just… I just worked for him. But then my senior year, I was kinda like, Oh, I kind of think I like him. But obviously, I did not say anything. Then I graduated. We made some stupid bet like I’ll take you out to dinner if you do some… Anyways, it was some dumb bet, and so we went out to dinner that summer. We just started enjoying conversations and we started dating, but I was really young. I was 19, and he was 24-, he was ready for marriage, and I was ready for college and adventure. And so he asked me probably a couple of… Maybe a year later, if I’d marry him and I said yes because I loved him. But then I broke it off because I was studying abroad or just being a kid.  So then he asked again and I said yes. It was just really… poor guy.. 


Courtney: He really loves you. He really loves you. He kept coming back.


Trillia:  I know, he’s so sweet. Well, here’s the thing, neither of us were Christians. And he was agnostic? I was not agnostic, I believe that. Well, yeah, yeah, I would not have been agnostic, but I wasn’t a Christian. So it was the Lord’s good grace that neither of us- that we kept breaking up. So then after I became a Christian about a year later, Thurn did, and we barely talked, we were kinda… During that time, guarding each other’s heart. I put that in quotes for those who couldn’t… Can’t see me. So we broke, we didn’t talk to each other, and then a year later, he asked if I would date… I said no, because I was doing campus ministry at the time, and then he asked again. I said, Yes, we’ve been married for 18 years.


Missie: That was so sweet. Thank you for sharing with us. That is so great. Yeah, so let’s talk about you and work… Did you start out as a journalist, was that what your dream was or… ’cause I know not a pathologist, and yeah, share with us little bit about going to college and what your first work… Work was.


Trillia: Okay, so it’s interesting, I’ve worked all my life, so it’s hard for me to say I was… My first job job wasn’t a journalist, I was an educational specialist, I have a degree in Political Science, and I got it in law school. tThat’s just… So you realize the trajectory of my life was gonna be a really different… So I started my Master’s in Public Administration as I waited to see if I was gonna go to law school. I deferred it because I had just become a Christian and I wanted to make sure that I knew what I wanted to do. So during that time I was in education, I know I’ve done a lot on… It’s a wild wild world over here, so much as like, 


Missie: I mean- Why wait till you’re 80 to retire? Might as well go when you’re 60.


Trillia: Yeah, it’s been a wild ride! So I was a freelance journalist, I’m just gonna skip all the other things I did, and I was a freelance journalist after I gave birth to my first child. So I had written for my college paper, I knew that I could write…I knew that I was interested in journalism to some degree, however, I was mostly trying to find something that I could do and stay at home. And so as a freelance journalist, it made it pretty easy for me, I’d just either drag them to wherever I was going to just go for a couple of hours, write my piece and go. So I was a feature… I did a lot of feature stories, I did some… I did one business and one… But mostly what I was doing was feature stories. Which is an absolute blast. It was just such a joy to get to do that, and every once in a while, because then I was a Christian, she allowed me to do something random, like I interviewed John Piper for a massive feature for a secular paper on Father’s day. And then, yeah, so she would allow me to do different things every now and then, so what kind of led me into writing more was I just wanted to write from my Christian perspective, so I remember asking if I can write a column for my secular papers from a Christian perspective, and she said Yes. And so I did a column once, and then I started blogging, etcetera, etcetera, but I was a freelance journalist, and I have a lot of articles in a city paper. And really she was taking a chance on me in some ways, but I had- it took..yeah it was a- I think she would say that it worked out.


Missie: And how did you go from writing as a freelancer to doing explicit ministry? You know what I’m saying? 


Trillia Well, I was always in ministry in my local church, so I did college ministry as a… I was on staff at a church doing college ministry. Then I worked at a non-profit. I helped them with their grant writing because of my research background, and I also did some inner city ministry, and when I wasn’t doing that, I was always doing ministry.I  Just believe the local church is essential. So I was always doing ministry. So to become, I guess where it’s also my vocation, was when I… After that column with my secular paper, I realized I wanna do this, so I started a blog called Women of God magazine, like this design where I had people contribute, and then as I was writing, people took notice of my writing, and then I started writing for different organizations. And before I knew it, it was very… It was not. I didn’t seek it out. It’s really interesting.

 I was just being faithful.  Just use the gifts, God gives. And I knew I wanted to encourage people, and I knew I wanted to write from this perspective, and I had this entrepreneurial spirit.,which is why I started the magazine, but then once I realized that I might write more on my own, I stopped that and just concentrated on writing blogs and books. It started very quickly, but I guess it was… I’m trying to remember when it was, I can’t remember the date, but I would say that my public ministry really took off, if I… For lack of a better word, when I started working at the ERLC-  that would have been when public ministry became a clear path. Okay, I’m doing this now in a more official setting and way rather than just writing books. Which I had already started doing or writing articles, it became a job and a vocation.


Courtney: So I feel like we all… Just like you said, we all feel like we got to know you through your job at the ERLC, and so your title there was director of community outreach. What did you do? What was your job there? For those seven years, we saw you doing it, but what was it you’re doing…


Trillia: Yeah, so I did a lot of writing and speaking and developing resources, and so what I did there translated very well to what I do now… So I would develop book concepts and I would help with conferences, obviously not developing the conference, but speaking at the conference, and every now and then, speaking into workshops or various things or speakers- but that is what I did. I was kind of outward-facing and doing a lot of writing and speaking and developing ideas and thinking through some of the future, especially with women. I did a lot, a lot… I think we did gatherings and different conversations and thinking about what the future would hold. Now, some of those things were never realized because a lot of us moved on, and so we had a lot of ideas and plans that have not yet, they may later. If the ERLC decides to do them. But that was a lot that I was doing. a lot  of developing an ideating also writing speaking.


Courtney: Okay, well, that makes sense now with your… And just how… You mentioned that what you do now as an Acquisitions Editor at Moody ’cause in my mind, it sounds like… Oh no, when I think of the ER LC, I’m thinking public policy, I’m thinking speaking to the culture about all these ethics things, and even though we saw you speaking about all these other things, it sounded like, Oh no, this is a big transition, but it really hasn’t been, it sounds like that much… Tell us about your job now at Moody…


Trillia: Yeah, it actually is not at all a big transition. One because I’m an author, which is different. An author is different than being one who acquires books and things of books for the broader, not just evangelicalism, but just for the church and a… Just trying to think through what’s the cultural pain points. But right there, being a part of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, I had to be aware of what was going on in the church and some of the churches needs, and… So as an Acquisitions Editor, I develop authors, I look for authors, and then I help them think through different potential topics and books, it goes deeper. I will help them shape their book as well. As just a acquisition editor part, however, we do have a developmental editor who goes deeper into that editing which I’m grateful for… I love the developing, encouraging and kind of ideating.  Let’s figure out where it is that you’re gifted and how to put this together to make sense to help the church. And so Moody is about discipleship. And I get to do that all day long. It is an absolute blast to look authors and really help them make disciples that make disciples.


Missie: So, transition is a big thing for women. It was a big thing for people, and it seems like this… No one can say that. 20-20, 2019, 20-21 was not about transition. . So as we navigate the various seasons that the Lord has us in, how did you know this is the right time to transition from this job to another job, or it’s okay to transition from this space to another space, because often I think that’s where the… We know it’s time to go, or we feel like we should be going, but we don’t know how to take that step or to make the actual transition happen.


Trillia: A lot of people are in transition and praying through transitions. For me, one of the things that helps is that I’m not isolated. I don’t make decisions in isolation, I’m talking to my husband, I’m talking to friends, talking to my pastor. So there are people around me that help me make decisions. And I think that’s good. Of course, I’m also talking to the Lord, so I’m asking God for direction, for help, but one of the things that keeps people from actually moving sometimes in faith is that they’re waiting for some big God to come out of a cloud. And well, that’s just probably not gonna happen unless he’s returning. So what I really have to do is have faith and trust that whatever step I’m taking, that he’s gone before He’s  ahead of it, and… So yeah, so for me, it’s just not making sure, one making sure I’m not making any emotional decisions, and 2- making sure that I’ve communicated with someone,including the Lord; and then taking that step of faith,. I also try not to make decisions hastily. Sometimes I can overstay my welcome It’s good. I think it’s good to really wait, especially if there are some emotional… You know, a situation and you… And you could be reading it through a lens of hurt or pain or so you gotta really pray through those things, however, there’s so much freedom, and it’s a joy to be able to just do… Trust the Lord and do what you want,


Courtney: I love that. Well, the other thing that a lot of women are thinking through transitions and all of that, but with covid especially, I feel like we are all doing so much more remote work, and I imagine that the authors you’re working with are spread all over the place. I mean, Moody itself, it’s kind of… Hub is in Chicago and you live in Nashville. So how has it been? And previously at the RLC, that was just local, I don’t know how often you went to the office, but I imagine you’re working a lot more from home, how has that adjustment been and are there just any tips or rhythms that you’ve discovered in this last bit that you would say, This has really worked for me. It might work for women listening today.


Trillia: Okay, so yes, I was… Mostly, even when I worked with the ERLC, I was pretty much remote. I would only go in once a week. This however is unique in that I am supposed to fly to Chicago every three months or so, but Chicago is on lock-. Just remains on lock down. They lifted restrictions, and then they bring back and they lift and come back. So that has made travel unrealistic for going to Moody-, which is okay. ’cause we’re all in the same boat. And we’re all working remotely. So for me, I have made the decision and really been intentional to have a work space. Bcause what happens or what can easily happen, is I could work anywhere, when you’re working from home, you can work from… So I try to stay in that work space so that it’s… When I get up, I know that I’m going to work.  I’m going to my office. And then when I’m done, I shut it down and I leave that office and I don’t come back in. And that, to me, has helped me keep real clear boundaries set that I’m not working all throughout the night  or during times when I’m not supposed to, or when I’m not asked to, or there’s a lead for it. Especially because the home is the home, I’m still at home while working, this is really helps that because what I have not done… So this is a tip that I’m about to start implementing.  I have not done the get up and get dressed for work. I only do that on special occasions, most of  the time, it’s… Well, I’ll just put on my sweat pants and get to work, and… So that works for maybe a year, but now that I realize, No, this is… Our reality. We’re here.: I have made the decision that for my own joy, I am going to get dressed, because otherwise I will never get dressed.  I want to feel normal.


Missie: I met a lady- To really understand that metaphor, the lady was like, It’s so hard getting used to my hard pants. She meant she wears sweatpants all the time.


Trillia I love that- my hard pants. and it’s true, it’s true. And full disclosure, and yall can see it, I am currently wearing sweat pants. So it is like, huh. That is my next goal is to start getting up and I get up plenty of time, I’m a 5 AM, get up and get going, kind of do, but I don’t get dressed,. I don’t know. So that is my next goal, and that’s a tip, and it’s the one that I’ve heard with Jo Simons, I don’t know if you’ve spoken with her, but that’s one of the things that’s helping her to thrive, and a lot of people I’ve spoken to that… It seems so simple.


Courtney: Sure.


Trillia: But it’s helping them to thrive and to… If we’re gonna be stuck here, then kinda getting some of those normal rhythms of life back.


Missie:  And make the most out of it.


Trillia: Yeah, absolutely, and I use the word joy on purpose. It would bring  me joy to be refreshed and to fill in… There’s a real transition from bed to office. I have this uniform outfit for everything- it’s hilarious. The first part of 2020 that was my reality and that’s something I think is important. Right? Yeah, and so that’s something I think that’s important. And everyone has to ask themselves What refreshes you and what brings you joy and I think that will be something that will be hopeful.


Missie:: Here’s another question-and the goal of it is not to be spicy, this is really to understand. So another difference that you’ve experienced in your job transition is that you no longer work for a denomination or for an entity head, and has that been strange to you or has it been amazing? (laughter) And what I mean is just not being so heavily involved in some of the traumas that have been known to be lingering in backgrounds,


 Trillia: Full disclosure. And honest, it’s been a refreshing time. I think I absolutely love the denomination, I love the people. So that hasn’t changed obviously, and I am still involved with the people/ There hasn’t been this weird cut off, just like where I’m not talking to people and that’s weird.. In terms of my work environment, it has been a refreshing season to have a different focus and the organization, and this is not a comparison- this is more just an encouragement of Moody. It is very healthy and our leader is very pastoral and so it has been a balm my soul to… And our books, though there are many that deal with controversial touch points, we’re looking for things that are going to be meeting 10 years from now, so that means I’m not always on controversy because we’re about discipleship, so it’s a different focus. It’s just on my mind is refreshed as well, I’m not thinking about all the cultural pain points constantly. Or in the controversy, there’s so many on drivers all the time, it’s just not the… The way we roll, it’s not our role in general, it’s just- that would be very odd. So it’s been a refreshing time, but… Goodness do I pray, do I think of… And do I mourn so much that I see in the SBC. I just… Yeah, I just can’t… Yeah, it’s a burden that I should carry as a friend to so many and for being in there for seven years. But one that I also am casting onto the Lord and weighing.. Okay, what’s my responsibility now and what’s not… And a lot of it’s not. So I mostly just pray and so yeah,.But it’s been refreshing time.


Courtney: From the outside in you… Your contribution to the SBC is… I don’t even have a good adjective, we’re just so… All of us are so grateful for what you have contributed and the value you brought as you worked for the ERLC, so just… Thank you for that.


Trillia: Thank you. It was a joy. When it was hard, it was hard. And when it wasn’t, it wasn’t. I just want to make that clear. We did a lot of good work. So I’m grateful. 


Courtney: Well, transitioning the conversation now, one of the things we talked about is that one of your big passions and you’ve written about, spoken quite a bit about, is your heart for just seeing diverse ethnicities valued, celebrated, and so we’re just curious- how did your passion for this begin and really share with our listeners, especially maybe who have never really heard a good reasoning for just God’s heartbeat behind differences.


Trillia: Yeah, okay, so it began the day my mom gave birth to me. So I grew up in the South and my father experienced some deep, deep racism from being beat., I was a teenager, had a rock thrown out the window when I was walking with a fellow band member to a convenience store, and the “n” word was shouted. I experienced  extreme racism, lots of things. So I had no choice but to look this in the face from the beginning. And so I have… I don’t remember a time in my life where I hadn’t been thinking about, Okay, what does it mean to be not just human, but to be in a world where I’m surrounded by majority white people? So that was my upbringing. And so I can’t remember a time…I also grew up very justice-oriented. So I remember marching at the Martin Luther King Junior Day parade as a kid, as a teen, going to different celebrations. I was just… It was in me. And then even at a college sophomore… It was before I became a Christian, I was thinking I was a sophomore. I was in student government government at this 40000, it’s a massive college that I went to, 40000 people or something, and I was in student government and I was… I can’t remember what I put… I don’t remember what I was doing, but I do remember this. I hosted coffee talks where I invited people to talk about race on the college campus. And we would openly have conversations about it. So I just… I think people know me as doing this work now, like I write about, I’ve written several books, but it has been my work… It has been what I’ve done before I was a Christian, this is what I did. And my dad. Again, as a Christian principle, but without Christian doctrine, he would… He taught us to love. And so we had this idea growing up that we needed to love people. We wouldn’t have said,  love our neighbor as ourselves, but we would just… We need to love people. And he instilled a sense of forgiveness and it was just a really… it was interesting, just growing up. So it’s part of me, it’s been a part of me.

When I became a Christian, I realized, Oh, this wasn’t my idea. This is actually better than what I imagined. And I started reading the Scriptures, I just… The Lord just brought so many things to life from Genesis 1, the Imago-Dei and I started to understand- Wait, we’re all made equal, and this was from the beginning. This is Him! Just throughout the Scriptures and understanding the race transcending Gospel, understanding the multi-ethnic mission, understanding the veil of hostility being torn in the body of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2- all the Acts going to the ends of the earth.  People being rebuked for their racism and Jesus interacting with women who, culturally speaking, you shouldn’t. They’re Samaritan. That’s a dog. You don’t talk to them. Those kind of things that I just, I’m reading and I’m like, Oh, the Lord speaks to this and He speaks a better word. He speaks a better word. And so the scriptures not only enlightened me, but it just transformed the way I viewed  this -my world view and the foundation for it. So no longer was it just… My dad told me, You need to love people. It was like, Oh wait, my Father said this. So that kind of answers both of those questions, but it’s always been something that’s been a passion and a work, like I’ve always done something in my community, it’s… So yeah.


Courtney:  Well you kinda hit on some of your personal experiences that you… The racism you’ve endured. What about working in… Would you say it’s fair to say that you have really worked in predominantly white spaces… I’m just curious, how has that been? Have there been certain challenges that as a black woman that you have particularly felt simply because of your race? And then I would love for just our white listeners, women listening to have an awareness of that so that we can make our friends in the office who don’t look like us, just have a better work experience, how can we serve you? What has your experience been and how can we serve you better, basically.


Trillia: Yeah, so it all depends. It’s interesting, I have… Yes, the answer is yes. I am very… How can I say this? It depends on the work environment, I can be pretty assertive and just kind of… I’m confident-if the Lord has called me somewhere, I’m gonna do the job. And so I’m not gonna beg for a place and you’re gonna… I’m there, so what do you need me to do? I’m gonna do the job. So that is one of the things, however, that some people are more… Who would maybe be more timid or fearful or concerned… Wouldn’t just do the job. So I would say making sure that they have a place at the table if they’re- depending on what that table looks like. And don’t make them say it, don’t make them ask for it, don’t make the fight for it. That is one of that… That’s so un-dignified is… People should not have to do that, people… If you have called them to lead, then you better let them lead. Give them that space. Or whatever. Yeah, so it all just depends on what it is that someone’s doing, because here’s the thing, if we all have different roles in our jobs… So one of the things, for example, I love Moody, I love Moody so much. I’ve not had to fight, I haven’t even had to… There’s not been this feeling that my voice isn’t heard or valued at all.  My voice is valued, it’s heard, and there’s just… It’s the culture. The culture is such that I don’t… It’s not been something I’ve questioned. And I’m trying to think of what’s different because it’s still majority white, and I think one of the things is that my role is such that I am a leader. And so I haven’t had to fight for that leadership, and I’m encouraged and entrusted to do the work that I’ve been asked to do. And so I’m not sure how that could encourage other sisters.


I guess if you’re white and you have someone in your realm who is a person of color, there’s a few things, One, remember that we’re not monolithic. So we’re not all the same. And we don’t all have the same experience. And we also do all have the same convictions about how to handle these things… That’s important. So maybe the first thing to do is get to know your neighbor rather than make assumptions about them and what they need, because… That can actually do more harm than good. I remember, I don’t remember where I was… Well, I’m not even gonna say that. Never mind.


Missie: The one thing that you say that sort of touched was dignity, and I do think that sometimes hiring someone who just because they’re black can be hard because when they’re not proficient at the job or they do have to beg because they were just hired from there, because they’re black, it actually winds up not being good for the work environment or for the person, and then there is a dignity issue that does come into play, and so I would encourage people to… When you’re looking at hiring a person, hire them for their skills, minority or not, because it’s not good for anybody when the person just got hired ’cause of what they look like, that don’t mean that great at their job. 


Trillia: And one of the things, especially if there’s an executive -make pathways for them, so if… One of the problems that a lot of… For example, I was talking to a pastor who was like, Man, I would love to hire an African-American male… Well, I’m like, Well, where do you go? And he named a certain college, that’ so white, it’s so white, and I was like, This is a white private college. If you’re setting up shop only at this white private college… You’re gonna have a hard time recruiting people of color. And then all of their leadership is majority white, and it’s because they pull up or hire up from within. So if you’re starting with majority white-and so I said, Well, the problem starts with your recruiting and your training. So if you’re never gonna train someone. If you’re not gonna go to an HBCU, a historically black college, or if you’re not going to look for a college that maybe has people of color, if you’re never gonna recruit that, If you’re not gonna be intentional there, then you’re gonna have trouble. You’re not going to be able to diversify, and then you may have that problem where the tokenism that Missie is talking about, where you hire someone just because…But then you’re not actually equipping or developing training. Women experience this in the local church, we talk about this all the time, how the men may have certain programs and they’re being trained, but the women aren’t. And so we see that same disparity all over place, and so we need to make sure that we’re being very intentional so that we don’t have those gaps. And I think that helps build dignity also, but it will help your organization in the long run. You have to be thoughtful and intentional about how you recruit and where you’re recruiting, and I’m assuming there are women who are executives, so thinking through that. Thinking through how you’re going to be intentional about that from the beginning will help with some of the things that Missie. was talking about.


Missie: One off the questions I have for you. So I work in a predominantly white space, and one of the things I know is true is that just because it’s white doesn’t mean it’s dangerous. It doesn’t mean it’s bad. Those are things that are misnomer, and I work with a lot of wonderful, incredible people who have given me a lot of incredible opportunity, but in the midst of that, you do run into those people that you’re like, Wow, okay. There’s a moment. Okay, you’re unique. And I’ve had comments made to me, some of them I was very… I was able to use them for great teachable moments, some of them were just designed to be hurtful or embarrassing or things like that, and I have seen you because you’re public receive a few of those things on social media and… So what is it that you do to continue… I know you talked about your father and The Father teaching you to love, but what would you say, what has allowed you to persevere and not let it eat away at you, so that you could continue to serve in ministry when you get kind of those… What are attacks or crazy remarks?


Trillia: Yeah. Okay, so theology matters. It’s so important. And one of the reasons why I can continue is because I know God… I don’t know just about God, but I know God. I love Him and he loves me. I know that He will never leave or forsake me. I know this, I also know that He created me and he thought it was good, so I really… He gave me dignity. And no one can take it away. These things seem so trite at face value, but when you’re faced with blatant racism, it’s very meaningful. All of a sudden it becomes so real. So what has kept me to continue in this race and continue is to remind myself of this… Of who I really am, in light of who God says I am. However, I have also lovingly corrected and rebuked at times, and knowing when to do that is helpful. But one of the things that I’ve learned from experience, all of this for 40 years is that it’s not usually my burden to bear. In other words, there is something really really dead, wrong and sad going on in their life. And so often, though, I have had moments where I’ve cried many tears.

Often, I have felt sorrow more than anything. What a sad thing to have such anger or to have such hatred… That is such a burden to bear. I believe Dr. King said it and it’s true- that kind of hate is a burden. It’s burdensome. And so I don’t feel bad for me- I feel really bad for them because it’s so sad. So that to me helps. It’s not my burden to carry and I feel such sorrow for them.

Missie: I love all of that, and all of that is because what you started with, theology matters.


Trillia: I think- don’t think so. I know so. Really knowing God and knowing about God, understanding who he is really helps when you’re trying to… When someone tries to curse your identity, well, you gotta be grounded in something other than yourself.


Courtney: Just hearing you say that, I see. And I were chatting before you came on this morning, and she was just sharing me even some specific things people have told her, and it is so shocking to me to hear… To me, it’s shocking to you, you’re like, No, like No, this happens, but I think for so many women, so many white women it’s just… We can’t… I’m glad that you’re talking about it because it’s just hard for us to even imagine someone attacking, just like you said, they are attacking your identity, who God made you, and it’s appalling and… We wanna love you. Well, I wanna love you call. And it’s sad. You’re right, it’s sad. It’s on their part it’s sad/


Okay, well, a couple of more questions. Show you, thanks for being here. Okinawa, you say there is a difference in leading in a distinctly Christian environment versus a secular environment, like how would a Christian woman go about these two categories?  Okay, here I am speaking to a Christian world. Here’s secular world. How can we navigate that? Well.


Trillia:  I’m really glad you asked that because…as Missie jokes, what am I gonna be doing when I’m 60? I was a manager at a fitness facility where I managed about 50-60 men and women, and that was the task. But it was… It was a joy but it was a task. And so I would have to do conflict resolution, I would have to… There was lots of things that I was terminating. There was a lot going on. And so ask the question again, so I can make sure that I answer correctly. Sorry, yeah, I mean.


Courtney: Just how to manage that well, is there a difference… I mean, you’re still a Christian in both environments.


Trillia: So the difference is in a Christian environment, you really can go straight to rely on call out text infrastructure in the Bible, right. So that’s probably one of the major differences is that in a Christian environment, you can appeal to their Christianity. This is who we are, this is who we need to be, and this is why. So that’s a different kind of appealing and managing and thinking. In an environment that is not Christian in so far as they have not labeled them such as such, it makes me think of what’s the… Oh, I can’t think of the person who wrote basically, not every good endeavor, that’s him Keller, but the… thought that every square inch. We are still a Christian wherever we go. Right, so although my environment has changed, my personhood has not. I’m still… So as I’m thinking through how I’m gonna communicate to someone who is not a Christian, I still have to love, I still have to communicate in grace and truth, I have all sorts of commandments for how to engage this person. I need to still be slow to speak right? And slow to anger and abounding love, and these are…these commandments still apply to me. So as I’m engaging, I’m still gonna extend grace, assume the best. Speak truth in love. Those I’m implementing. And I remember one particular situation that was very difficult, and the Lord allowed me to do these things, and by the end, we were talking about the Lord.  I mean… Because I think that there was something different in the way I was communicating with her. And she was like, I remember her being softened and opening up, and it was really, really kind of the Lord. However, obviously, every situation doesn’t end that way, but I think that’s the command I’m given. It doesn’t always happen, because we’re human and sinners and then in that case, I have to ask for forgiveness. But does that make sense? So I think the way that we incorporate, and I’m mostly thinking relational, I’m not talking about management skills…That’s a different topic. And that doesn’t…I don’t know that there’s a Christian way to organize a calendar it… Well, that’s not true. But do you know what I’m saying? So I’m mostly thinking, Okay, how should I operate relationally? And I think the difference lies more in me than in them. I’m not going to expect someone who’s not a Christian to apply Christian principles, though to a certain extent, however, some of these Christian principles to treat people how we should be treated, not to gossip those things across those boundaries, and I think they should be able to implement.


Missie: Oh my goodness. My friend has good. Yes, that’s good. You know what, it’s so crazy as your life really has been a lot, ’cause then when you said to manage people at a fitness center, I was like, My gosh. She needs to write down everything she’s doneWe need to bring you back on just to talk to your resume. No, that is so funny.


Trillia: Well, I think I’m mid-40s, so…


Missie: Right. Life’s experience, yes. And when you live life to the fullest, you have a lot of experiences, so that’s great. Unfortunately, we have to close. What I would love to… The raw love to close each one of our podcast is to ask for one piece of advice that you would want women that you wanna leave with women who want to honor God through their vocational calling. What is the thing that you would say? This is what God has shown me. And this is what I’d like to give to you.

Trillia: ‘m not gonna tell you some of the easier ones, right. Praying, Wait on the Lord. Those are… You’re gonna probably do that. I’m gonna tell you something that I think a lot of you will probably struggle with, and that’s: go and do. Step out in faith. Do the thing to the Lord has called you to do.


Missie: Go and do it. Amen.


Courtney: I think that’s really it is because I think we kinda get stuck and either fear gets in the way, or we don’t think we can do, or We don’t have the faith to go and do… There are so many reasons why we don’t or we’re lazy, we might be lazy.


Trillia: before the foundation of the world, He had good work plan for us, and of course, that these good works are ultimately being transformed from one degree of glory to the next. However, there are other good works and so just step out and do them in a… So great, let’s do it.


MISSIE: And thanks to our listeners for joining us today. Be sure to check out our website at women work.net for today’s show notes. There will be more information about today’s conversation there.


COURTNEY: While you’re there, take a look at the Women and Work podcast discussion questions. We’ve provided those so that you can lead your friends from work, your neighborhood, or your church into useful conversations that will encourage you as you take  *your* next step of faith into your calling. 


MISSIE: If you enjoyed today’s show and don’t want to miss an episode, please subscribe in Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. We’d also love for you to take a minute to rate and review our show so more listeners can find us.  


COURTNEY: And with that, we hope you’ve been inspired to more confidently step into your God-given calling and view your work as meaningful to the Kingdom of God. 


See you next time!