The Church That Helped Design Me

When I reference my unique design, I simply mean any part of my life up until about 18 years-old. Prior to that time, I didn’t have much control in my upbringing. I was born a female. I was born African-American. I was born with curly hair. I was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. Etc. This is a quick reflection about being raised in the church.

Elim Christian Fellowship of Buffalo, NY was the church that raised me. I remember my grandma, church greeter for almost two decades, would pick my brother and I up every Sunday morning. I would hear her car outside before she got to the house and before the sun cracked the sky. Since she was my ride home, I would stay for Both Services. If I went to sleep during service, I was sure to get a good poppin’ and would have to put extra money in the offering. Needless to say, I didn’t go to sleep often and I’m blessed to have a God-fearing Grandma <3.

I was heavily involved in my church up until I moved to Ohio for school. In many ways, Elim has clearly shaped me for my mission; Ways I will share in blogs to come. Aside from what I’ve done in the church, I realized during my visit home for Thanksgiving that two things were unconsciously shaping me my entire life.

1. Our Rally Cry

After almost every service, sort of like the benediction, we would say Acts 17:6. The Bishop would start by saying: “And these are they who came to turn the world..”, Then the congregation will join in saying: “Upside Down!”. So when you look at me in disbelief when I say: “I’m an Evangelical Civil Engineer” or “I’m trying to break cycles of poverty”, understand my church has been hyping me up for almost 20 years! 😉

elim-logo-with-shadow-purple-w300-o

2. Our Mission Statement

Nostalgia crept up on me as I was walking into the church a few weeks ago. I looked at the church van and read the beautiful logo I’ve seen so many times. It reads: ‘Equipping The Saints To Evangelize The Nations. Immediately my face contorted, I rapidly shook my head, and paced in a mini circle… I was having an Ugly Cry! A month prior, God told me that the last 25 years of my life uniquely equipped me for my purpose. A month prior, God called me to become a full-time evangelist (actual title I use). A month prior, God told me to work with Engineering Ministries International (and I’m currently preparing for my first missions trip to Zambia, Africa as a Civil Engineering Intern)!

I thank God for making Elim Christian Fellowship a part of my unique design! Thank you Elim!


This blog was very uplifting. However, most of my Unique Design blogs will highlight how my design should make it difficult for me to live out my purpose. The devil probably rejoices when I view my design (and the design of others) as a negative/failure/flaw/etc. My Ugly Cry reminds me daily that I’m designed in God’s image,1 for a purpose,2 and Jesus died so my past (or the past of my ancestors) no longer has the power to control me!3 And guess what… That applies to you too! Yeah you!

My Prayer (join me if you’ll like!)

“Father God, I thank you for fearfully and wonderfully making everyone in this world. I thank you for knowing and designing us all for a unique purpose. I know you didn’t mess up creating anyone or anything.4 God please fill my heart with the peace of your spirit and knowing that the sins of my past can no longer control me.5 I thank you for loving me sooo much that you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for my sins.6 I thank you for reminding me through Ugly Cries that Jesus’s pain was for a purpose. I thank you for reminding me that my pain has a purpose. I’m forever in awe of your unfailing love.7 Amen”

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog! On Tuesday (12/20) I will post a special holiday blog titled Getting Through The Holidays Broke. Make sure you are following my blog so you don’t miss it! Follow me on social media @UCUnfiltered

With God’s Love,

Jamara Beard ❤


Bible References

1. [Genesis 1:27]
2. [Jeremiah 29:11]
3. [Romans 6:6]
4. [Psalm 139: 13-16]
5. [Romans 8:2]
6. [John 3:16]
7. [Psalm 13:5]

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