I first heard Natasha Sistrunk Robinson’s name when she was interviewed on the Truth’s Table podcast (from March 29, 2019). I was so impressed by her and her passion for mentoring, I immediately followed her on Twitter and ordered her book, Mentor For Life.
A Sojourner’s Truth is her story of growing up in the South, going on to the United States Naval academy, earning her MA in christian leadership from Gordon-Conwell Seminary, and starting the nonprofit Leadership LINKS Mentoring Program.
Natasha felt like a kindred spirit, wise mentor, hospitable guide, and the kind of female leadership I continually long for. She has leaned into her own story, leadership abilities, and experience of racial injustice with an obvious love for Bible study, spiritual formation, and her unique calling to intentional discipleship.
Her engagement with Scripture was insightful and faithful. Paralleling the story of Moses, Natasha unpacks the broader wisdom of the Biblical narrative with practical application to our current context in the United States.
She also ties those same truths to the historical events following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda including the restorative justice approach used to bring deep healing there.
I recently read a Frederick Buechner book where he was told, “you have stewarded your pain well.” I kept thinking of this phrase while reading this book. Natasha has stewarded macro and micro pain well. From her own personal stories of prejudice, pain, and loss to the weight of collective, ongoing trauma. She names it, gives space for the humanness of grief, and shares the intentional steps she has taken for healing and wholeness.
In her words, “The problem is, I don’t want to just survive in this life; I want to thrive, flourish, and live free! Giving myself space for healing and regeneration has been a gradual process toward this end. It has included stepping away from traditional jobs and making moves to trust God completely. It has meant asking for help, going to counseling, and seeking spiritual formation. It has included removing chemicals from my hair and allowing it – and me – to move about the world just as natural, free, and strong as the Lord made me. Healing has meant gaining confidence in my own voice and trusting the gifts, passion, and convictions that God has placed within.”
Ever since the events in Ferguson wrecked me in 2014, I have tried to read African-American voices with intention. This is a book I wish I had read then. And it is definitely a book I would love to engage others in as an introduction and invitation to redemptive living now.
What a privilege to sit at her feet. I was appropriately challenged, grieved, and discipled by this book. Each chapter ends with reflection questions, Scripture meditation, personal affirmation, call-to-action, and a prayer.
It is ideal for group discussion. The affirmation and call-to-action of the final chapter are, “I am committed to making the changes that lead to life. You go now in freedom to learn, to know, to speak, and to courageously live the truth.”