By Dr. Chisom Unegbu
Linda Lisulo, a wife, mother, and minister of the Gospel, was born in Zambia. She has a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s in degree in ministry and counseling, and a second master’s degree in divinity. She is currently working on doctoral studies in Education with a focus on organizational leadership. Mrs. Lisulo married in 1996, and she and her husband, Pastor Lisulo Lisulo, reside in Maryland. They have four children, three girls, the oldest child, a daughter who is 21, and a set of twin teenage daughters, and their 12-year-old son. Mrs. Lisulo has been in ministry for almost three decades. She recently talked with Ivery Arie to discuss what it means to live with purpose. The following are her interview responses.
Ivery Arie: How would you describe what it means to live a life of purpose?
Mrs. Lisulo: The whole idea about purpose is to exercise your own gifts and personality. In our current culture there’s the tendency to want to be someone else, someone that we’re not. We forget to be who we uniquely are. Being who you are gives you place a fulfillment. Purpose is being all that God has called you to be. There is a lot of positives in personality. For women, we tend to struggle with our unique personality. You must discover who you are. If I don’t know who I am, I end of living someone else’s purpose. Discovery of your identity and gifting should come together. When you experience wilderness moments, do not despise that time, because it is when God is defeating the enemy on your behalf. From such experiences, you will come out of that wilderness moment with power.
Ivery Arie: What do you believe is God’s purpose for your life?
Mrs. Lisulo: When I think about my purpose, I think of exhortation. I love encouraging women. Seeing someone finally live the life that God has intended for them, is exciting to see.
Ivery Arie: Describe a time when you felt challenged as to whether you could fulfill your purpose. How did you overcome that challenge to push through?
Mrs. Lisulo: My transition to the United States from South Africa was one of the most challenging for me. My husband and I had a church in South Africa, and it was doing well. Our ministry was thriving. I came to America feeling hidden in a new place, and I dropped almost everything I knew when I left South Africa. I left someone to lead the women’s ministry at our church. My early experience in the United States was a time I was quieter and felt more alone. Adjusting to life here was my wilderness season. It encouraged me to have more alone time with God. I was away from people I loved, was thrust in a new place, and at times felt alone and misunderstood. It was an adjustment. I am a people person, and it was hard to retract to a place of solitude. The wilderness was not pleasant, but I knew God was with me even in that season. I overcame by submitting to God and saying to Him, ‘God do what you want for my life.’ It taught me to yield to God’s guidance and direction, and that made the difference.
Ivery Arie: Who are some women of purpose figures you admire from the Bible, or in modern day, who have exhibited purposeful living?
Mrs. Lisulo: Hagar in the Bible immediately comes to mind. She was a woman who found herself in an odd situation. She had the purpose to live, despite almost dying in the wilderness with her son, but in that difficult situation God showed up during her struggle. I’m not like Hagar, or have been in her situation, but we may find ourselves in a circumstance we never put ourselves in. She made it, and her son made it. She was an outcast, but still mattered to God who sees and cares. My grandmother is also a great woman of purpose to me. She was married off at 14 and had eleven children. She was able to raise and educate all her children and raise her family in the Christian way. Even if she is not known to the world, her legacy lives in me and my family. In honor of my grandmother, God birthed in me the Nancy Choices Pregnancy Center in my native Lusaka, Zambia. My grandmother was married off because of financial circumstances, but today is different for some women who may have find themselves unwed and pregnant. The center provides prenatal care and educational services, so young women who find themselves in such circumstance can be equipped and empowered mothers.
Ivery Arie: What advice would you give women who are in discovery of their purpose?
Mrs. Lisulo: Learn to be quiet and to see what is around you. Get with God and get with yourself. Part of purpose is self-discovery. Listen to God and listen to yourself. We need to look at ourselves. Once you find your purpose and personality, be comfortable being you.
Ivery Arie: What Biblical scripture translates purpose to you and why?
Mrs. Lisulo: Psalm 90:12 says “teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Wisdom comes in numbering our days. You’ve got today. Before you think about tomorrow, think about today. Sit down and take inventory and make sure today counts. What you do today is the seed for tomorrow. Purpose is not just found in tomorrow. Purpose is found in today.