Welcome back to the Broken Crayons Still Color podcast! I’m your host, Shelley Hitz and today’s guest is Mimika Cooney.
Mimika has a heart for encouraging women to uncover their identity in Christ, pursue their purpose, and revolutionize their faith. She is an author, speaker, photographer, and business and branding specialist; who has a passion for sharing stories, building brands and encouraging others to achieve their purpose through her books, courses, events and consulting. She will share her story of one mother’s journey from fear to faith in today’s podcast.
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SHELLEY. Welcome back to the Broken Crayons Still Color podcast, I’m your host Shelley Hitz, and today’s guest is Mimika Cooney. Welcome Mimika.
MIMIKA. Well thanks Shelley for having me on your show, I’m excited to be here.
SHELLEY. Yes, and I just want to tell people a little bit about you before we jump into your story. Mimika has a heart for encouraging women to uncover their identity in Christ, pursue their purpose and revolutionize their faith. I love that. She’s an author, speak, photographer, and business and branding specialist who has a passion for sharing stories, building brands, and encouraging others to achieve their purpose through her books, courses, events, and consulting. So, she will share her story of one mother’s journey from fear to faith in today’s podcast. So, as we get started, and as you share your story with our listeners, can you tell us just a little bit what the Broken Crayons in your life looked like?
MIMIKA. Sure. Just like any other mom I’m sure that’s out there, we go along the journey of motherhood, we have all these great plans, and I’m a recovering control freak so I always wanted things exactly the way I wanted them. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, sometimes things happen, and I think that’s when God really stops things to get our attention. I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 16, I’m from South Africa, hence the accent. I’ve lived in Southern Africa, England, and the USA. Both my husband and I have been entrepreneurs since we got married, and I’ve always had a passion for building business, brands, and doing things, and being very much a go-getter.
When things like what happens in our families throw curve balls I found at one stage in my life, which is what has got me focused on my new direction now. I have three kids and my middle child is a son that we really struggled through his whole school career with attention and focus, and when he got to be a teenager we really struggled with him and depression. To me it really rocked my world, it was one of those things I couldn’t control. Now as someone who loves to organize things, a great planner and strategist, there just wasn’t anything that I could do. I realized this was one situation in my life where I truly had to decide what I believed. I had to really rely on living the Lord taking those broken pieces and making something beautiful of them, once I had learned to let go. That really has been a huge catalyst for me in what I’m doing today.
SHELLEY. I think so many moms can relate, because you care so much for your children, you want the best for them, and there’s many things you just can’t control. Now, in this situation, especially with your son and all the things that were going on, what would you say was your lowest point?
MIMIKA. At one stage, probably about three years ago, I had my business, I had a schedule, had things going, and everything was going great, and I went around to a conference. Things had, for the previous five years started to sort of unravel slowly with my son. Eventually I was speaking at a conference and I got a phone call from my husband and he said, “things are just not right, something is up.” I could just tell something was beyond repair.
By the time I got home my son had spiraled into deep depression, we couldn’t get him out of bed, he was threatening all sorts of self-harm, and really it threw me into a huge tizzy. It was something I realized I didn’t have the tools to fix. Usually I would think, “OK, I need this, I can do that, I can figure out this strategy or this thing.” This was something I had never experienced before, and I felt totally out of control. For me, I’ve always been a very confident, happy go lucky kind of person, but this was something that totally rocked my world.
Six weeks after that, because once I got back from the conference I realized we needed intervention and we started pursuing psychologists, psychiatrists, medication, and all the kind of things we try to figure out on our own, right?
MIMIKA. Trying to exhaust my own strength and my own abilities. Six weeks after that my mother-in-law passed away, and it was a huge… talk about physical grief. I’ve had family members pass away, but this was something that totally rocked my world because she was a woman of faith. She had a ministry where she would minister to other women with healing, she had her own local church in South Africa.
The hardest thing for me was she had passed away from cancer, but the last two years of her life were so… she had so much pain and suffering she ended up, from all the treatments, being in a wheelchair. She lost the use of her legs because of the radiation that destroyed the nerves in her spine.
Seeing someone you know and love deteriorate like that, and the fact that she was so far away. They really hadn’t had a chance to really say goodbye. So, even though I knew she was sick all the time we were believing, “yeah, the Lord is going to do healing,” everyone is praying healing, and we’re all believing for a miracle, and the miracle didn’t happen.
Talk about rocking my faith. I always believed God will always make a way, and I totally questioned everything. I felt like my whole life was imploding, everything that I knew. I lost interest in my business, it fell apart, I couldn’t maintain the pay set I was at. All I could do, and physically for a whole week I couldn’t speak without crying. For a good six months it really took me. I ended up feeling depressed, I was like, “what is going on with me? I can’t control this, everything is just falling apart, my son is a mess, I don’t know how to control the situation.” Some people call it the ‘dark night of the soul’ when reach the question. \
I’ve been a Christian when I was ten-years-old and always walked with me throughout my life. This was one stage when I really felt alone, like, “OK, God, where are you? you say you’re going to be here, but I don’t see anything.” Things just went silent. To me the silence was the worst. If you’ve made a mistake and you know you’re going down the wrong path and you have to self-correct that’s OK, but when you hear nothing? That was a huge challenge.
For me it was a matter of just building up the pieces and really looking at sitting and understanding again, “what does faith look like to me? Maybe what I believed wasn’t really on a strong foundation,” and really having to do an introspective look at everything as well as physically my body just didn’t want to let me. I’d been through a tremendous amount of stress immigrating country twice in five years, having a baby in between, my youngest was five at the stage, and it was just too much. Physically I had pushed myself beyond what I could bear. Even though I was like, “oh, I’ll make it work, make it work.” My body eventually just said, “time out. Physically, you just need to rest.”
MIMIKA. There was absolutely nothing I could do. The good news is throughout the whole situation God never left me. I looked back at my diary, I always love journaling and keeping track of what goes on in my life, and realizing that God was always there, but he was using that. Even though it was a very ugly situation he was using it to remold me, reshape me, and really build me up from the ground up.
That’s what I say to people, sometimes our worst experience becomes our best blessings because once we break down our walls of expectation. For me I was very much, “I’ll just do this myself. I don’t need anybody, I can handle this.” Realizing that, “no you can’t.” Also using wisdom and realizing I couldn’t keep myself going at that pace. God made us Body, Spirit, and Soul, and we can’t neglect one over the other.
I’m happy to say that through this whole situation, coming out to the midnight hour, through the midnight hours, definitely have given me a new lease on life and really helped me focus on really where I want to go and using the faith in what I do now. Before I was really very much in the secular section, marketing and branding. Now I’m really focused on helping other Christian entrepreneurs, speakers, and authors, and other people who have something to share with the world and uncover their own direction and gifts, so we can actually use what God has given use.
Throughout that whole process I’m actually in the process of writing my third book, but it’s my first one in the Christian genre, really about this whole situation and a mother’s journey of really understanding that you can’t live in fear and letting fear bully me throughout my years and making decisions based on that is really not a way to live. It all comes together at the end, right?
SHELLEY. Right. So, you had several different things happening that all kind of came at one point. What would you say was the turning point with the situation with your son? You’re in all of this stress, all of this grief, where was that turning point with your relationship with him turning from fear to faith, would you say?
MIMIKA. Honestly, I don’t think it was a particular moment, I think it was a slow development over time. When things, our business, I closed down my business and decided that I needed to take the pressure off myself, I just really dived into the Word and feeding on the Word and listening to podcasts, reading books and studying the Word, and just really embracing everything that I could and really learning what I needed to learn. Every day is like, as He says, we go from glory to glory. As I learned something and discovered something I could release the things that were holding me back.
As of today, we still haven’t had the final breakthrough with my son, which for me he is a prodigal and I’m really praying for his salvation that the Lord will change his life. Through this process I’ve learned to rely on the Lord and not my own strength. I now know where my hope comes from, that I don’t have to be sort of victim to my circumstances. Every time that he has a whoopsie, that I have a whoopsie, realizing that I have to have a firm foundation based on my faith and really just walk it out. You can’t get around it, you just really have to go through it.
It was over, probably, a good six-month solid period of just pressing in and waiting on the Lord, spending a lot of time in prayer and studying. He reformed my identity because I kind of felt through my whole process of my life I had a sort of skewed view of my own spiritual identity, like it’s an identity crisis, and had to realize I couldn’t have my identity based in what I did, like a title, what kind of job title I had, where I was ,what kind of station I had in life.
Putting our trust in ourselves we soon find that it’s very fickle, there’s only so much you can maintain. When we put our faith and trust in the Lord, and identity is based on who we are in Christ and not based on what we do, or thinking it has to be through works. “If I’m a perfect mom, then the Lord will bless me.” Or, “if I’m a great entrepreneur, then I’ll be successful.” Those are real sort of fleeting sand foundations, they don’t last. The Lords’ been able to rebuild me and my identity, and realizing who I am in the Lord, have things really started to turn for me. So, I would say it’s more of a process than an overnight thing.
SHELLEY. Yeah. I think you made a good point, sometimes our circumstances don’t change, but God changes us in the midst of our circumstances, and you’re still waiting for the answer to that prayer, you’re still waiting for the breakthrough, but you’re a different person.
MIMIKA. Oh yeah, for sure. Where I was two years ago to where I am now, it’s like I had a complete makeover. Realizing that I don’t have to be beholden to whatever the circumstances of the day, or the mood of the day, always putting things I wanted to do on hold because I thought, “well when I get there I’ll do that.” Really just learning to live in the present. A big thing is also gratitude, being grateful for where I’m at and not always hoping and wondering for something out there. Just realizing that there actually is joy in the process. Even though my circumstances on the outside don’t look very different, I’ve really gained the tools, gained the faith, and gained the fortitude to dig my heels and say, “no, I believe what Christ says about the Word.” I’ve questioned this and you either believe it or you don’t, and I know if that’s what it means to put my faith into action… It’s just finding the hope in every day and just taking one step at a time, I think, is key.
SHELLEY. So you gave a lot of really great advice. Was there a certain scripture that really encouraged you during this time in your life?
MIMIKA. Oh yes, and it almost sounds cliché, but every day, especially during the hardest times, and I still do it today, just keep confessing. It’s Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Even those days where I felt like I just didn’t want to get out of bed, I felt tearful, tired, and just depressed in all sorts of different ways. I just knew that I had to realize that my strength was not from my own efforts, but it was through relying on the Lord and letting Christ’s strength in me knowing that, “OK, God, you want me to do this today, you have to fill me with your strength.” Then it becomes less about me and more about him. Then my focus is less on my failings, on my achievements, and more on what God has really don for me. That takes the pressure off, it’s actually so much more relaxing.
SHELLEY. Yes, that is. It’s amazing when you really just surrender things to God. Surrender is my theme for the year. It’s such a freeing thing. Thank you so much for sharing with us. If people would like to learn more about you or your upcoming book, where can they find out more about you?
MIMIKA. Everything is at my home base, which is my website, which is http://www.MimikaCooney.com. I have a whole bunch of goodies that they can go and get for free. I love to provide some stock photos to help them build their online platforms and Instagram. I also have a free video training that I include called the Purpose Video Training Set. I know I recently had you on my Purpose of Power Summit, which was awesome with you sharing your story. They just need to come to http://www.MimikaCooney.com and they can hear more about you too there.
SHELLEY. Yeah, that would be awesome! It was a great, great summit. So, I definitely recommend checking out all the resources that Mimika has and being on the lookout for her upcoming book. Do you have a title yet for your book?
MIMIKA. Yes, it’s Worrier to Warrior: A Mother’s Journey from Fear to Faith. In actual fact we’re working on the cover art and it’s all very exciting, because it’s the first time I’m doing self-publishing, the first two books of mine were in a different genre. This is a whole new world for me, learning to do this for myself, but it’s a great journey.
SHELLEY. Awesome. Well, in closing, I just always want to remind our listeners. Mimika’s story is just another example of how God can turn our messes into masterpieces. Thank you all for joining us today. If you or someone you know has a powerful story to share, I would love to have you on this show. You can apply to be featured at http://ShelleyHitz.com/Story
Thank you so much for being here, again, Mimika.
MIMIKA. Thanks for having me.
SHELLEY. We’ll see all of you next time. Bye, bye!
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