How Bernadine Barber uses her voice to be a vessel for God
A wise man once said, “Write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” And, that’s exactly what Bernadine Barber is doing. About eight years ago she discovered her love for poetry. And, through spoken word she has been able to inspire others to live the life God intended for them. As she continues to allow God to use her, she challenges her generation to do this same.
Bernadine is eager to share her God given talent with the world and she inspires others to live out their truth. Read our exclusive interview with Bernadine below.
What experiences helped shape the woman you are today?
Everything from my mother passing away when I was four to moving to America when I was seven, relocating coast to coast every four years or so due to military in the family and attending six different high schools in four years helped shape my worldview and perspective early on in life. I thank God for allowing me to be well-rounded because you sort of have to break out of your shell and make yourself an extrovert when you move so many times in so few years.
In San Diego, I was immersed in the art scene and really loved the city life. I grew up religious but it wasn't until I was 16, after falling into depression and even suicidal thoughts/attempt, did I truly surrender my life to Jesus and His will and plans for me. In 10 short years of my Christian walk, I've attended two years of college, worked at child care centers, volunteered in ministry, married, had two children and now my husband and I are youth pastors in Chattanooga, TN.
It was not until recently that the Lord directed me to focus on ministry, teaching and spoken word specifically. I felt like I didn't truly have direction as far as "career or purpose" in my life until then. All I knew was that I didn't want to waste my life (thank you, Lecrae) and that everything in this life has eternal consequences and opportunities for souls to be reached for the Gospel (thank you K.P. Yohannan and John Bevere).
I have made many mistakes and failed numerous times, but God in His goodness has carried me through every season and for that, I can thank Him alone. I have nothing to claim for myself. The fact that I'm even alive today is His doing. He is good and faithful even when we are not, so I believe the key is to cling to Him every day.
Growing up did you experience any insecurities? If so, how did you overcome them?
I absolutely experienced a lot of insecurities. Growing up, especially during my preteen and teenage years, I believed that my worth relied on external things and possessions. Like how many friends I had, what kind of friends I had, how many boyfriends I could claim to have had in the past, my clothes, my money, the house my family lived in, the car my dad drove, etc. And because we were more of a low-income family, I was frustrated that I was not as "cool" or as rich as other people, especially my peers and friends. So my self-worth was low. I'd date guys to feel like I was desirable. It was never about them, it was always about me and using them to make me feel better about myself.
And even now, every day, the Lord continues to deliver me from every ounce of insecurity He exposes that I still carry. I am freer than ever before. In Him, we go from one level of freedom to another! No seemingly tiny or "harmless" lack, sin, and brokenness is left untouched if we wholeheartedly surrender ourselves to Him. My security and identity rests in Jesus and His blood: His redeeming work and His laid-down life for us. I want to give myself to Him in response to His unconditional love. I want to be a living sacrifice.
When did you begin doing spoken word?
I began doing spoken word in 2008. That was the first time I was ever exposed to it, via YouTube. Since then, I've been writing and performing here and there, on and off. It wasn't until recently that the Lord really emphasized this for me and I am so excited for what is to come.
What inspires you the most?
It sounds generic, but scriptures. Scriptures, and then mix that with real life "world" news, issues, mindsets, the media, etc. They are basically blatantly opposites so to address this fallen world's mindsets against the backdrop of truth is striking and hard-hitting. And as His Word promises, delivering "The truth will set you free" and His Word "shall not return void." Once it is preached, shared, spoken, and written, etc. it goes out with power and when you cover that in prayer, God can do anything His heart desires.
What are some things you hope to accomplish in the future?
On August 1, 2016, I released my spoken word album on my website: bernadinebarber.com. You can also purchase the album on my website for just a dollar each. I have also begun uploading spoken word videos on my YouTube channel, the first one being “My Generation,” already up and running. I hope to do live events, bookings, sell physical copies of the album soon and even design and sell t-shirts. I am thankful for every single person's support.
Visit Bernadine’s website and stay connected with her on social media. Her Instagram @BernadineBarber, and like her Facebook page Bernadine’s Spoken Word.