Instead of interviewing a woman who has “been there” this week, we’re doing things a bit differently. We talked to Justine Elyse Green who, at 25, is just beginning her career. When Justine emailed Diane to tell her how reading Work, Love, Pray blessed her life, we emailed Justine right back to ask if we could interview her and find out more about her story.
4word: Tell us about yourself! Where you’re from, where you work, etc.
Justine: I’m originally from Thomasville, Georgia. In my senior year of high school, we – that’s my mom, younger sister and I – moved to Newport News, Virginia. I went to college at Norfolk State University, where I majored in journalism and public relations. I planned to work in sports for the rest of my life. I’d been cheerleading since third grade, and during college I worked for the Mideastern Athletic Conference and the Norfolk State Athletics Foundation.
After graduation, I didn’t want to stay in a little town, so I applied all over the place and wound up getting a job in New York City. I’ve been here since Memorial Day 2008, and I have a love/hate relationship with the city. It has definitely been an experience living here.
Right now, I work at Leader to Leader Institute as Director of Events and Engagement. I also coach cheerleading at the College of Staten Island. I’m in my second season, and I know now it’s where I was called to serve. College was a trying season that shaped who I am today, and now I can minister to women in that same phase of life.
4word: What was it like moving to a new city?
Justine: New York is definitely its own beast. What I found to be most helpful was to try to find where I fit in, to find my niche. The first thing I did before finding a house was to find a church, and that was so helpful in my transition here.
I go to a really large church, The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York, so I found my niche there too. I joined the young adult and hospitality ministries. I’m also active in the graduate chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho. I formed friendships within those smaller subcultures, and it helped me tremendously to adjust to living in a huge city. Instead of trying to conquer New York, I found where I fit into it.
4word: You mentioned in your email that you haven’t had a date in 3+ years. Can you say a little more about that?
Justine: Because I’m a Christian and a southerner, my values and expectations of men are very different from a lot of people in the city. That makes it a little difficult. Then again, there are so many places to meet young men here. I’m out and about with friends, I go to events, and I spend time doing community service. I told a friend, “I always look nice, smell nice, makeup and hair done, so I don’t know what it is.”
But I always remind myself that God has made all these wonderful promises in His word. The one we say over and over is Jeremiah 29:11, but we really have to believe and trust that His promise to us is true. I know the thoughts He thinks toward me are wonderful. In the midst of me not being on dates, He is preparing me for what He has planned next.
4word: What has this period of waiting taught you about your relationship with Christ?
Justine: I love Him to pieces, but sometimes it sucks. Sometimes you just want a hug. But I’ve learned tons from my pastors at church. Often, the world says, “You’re a half. He’s a half. Together you make a whole.” But I’m not a half. God made me a whole person, and I want to get together with a whole person.
No one’s perfect, but if it will take me until I’m 30 and him until he’s however old for us to get to where we need to be before we are together, I’d rather take that time. I want to make sure I’m preparing myself now: learning how to let things go, to compromise, to be less selfish, to care for others.
I had a conversation with my grandma the other day. I pointed out that there are no successful marriages in our family. I don’t want that generational curse on me, so I’d rather take the time now to strengthen myself and my relationship with God than to jump into marriage. But it’s not always easy!
That’s all we have from Justine today. What about you ladies? Have any of you experienced the same things Justine mentioned: finding your niche in a new city and wondering when your next date will be? Tell us about it in the comments!