5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Marilynn Griffith, editor of SistahFaith

JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Marilynn Griffith, editor of SistahFaith
(Howard Books/Simon and Schuster)

SistahFaith is about healing. It’s about women–holy women, smart women, women in leadership–lifting their skirts and showing their scars. It’s about nodding slowly to the woman who comes in church with a black eye and a skirt that’s too tight and whispering to her that it will be all right, telling her you know because you were her once and God made it all right for you.

It’s about keeping it holy and keeping it real. It’s about testimony.

Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write SistahFaith?

Marrilynn Griffith: As for the idea, I didn’t come up with it. Not really. It was 2004, and God was doing something. It was a healing season. I had a blog and a friend of mine, Claudia Mair Burney, had one too. She was bleeding over there, saying things that women weren’t supposed to say out loud.

I wept in front of my laptop and whispered, “Me too.” By phone, another friend, Dr. Gail Hayes, was getting to the root in her way. “Why do you say that? What happened to you?,” she’d say now and then. It was a year of testimony, a time of truth. I went and spoke a lot that year.

Often, women in fine suits and long skirts would whisper into the folds of my clothes, “Me too. That happened to me too.” I began to see that there was a secret sistahood, a sistahood of shame that had to be broken, to be turned into something bright and beautiful. So I didn’t come up with it, not really. God did.

JP: What sets SistahFaith apart from others in its genre?

MG: There are many wonderful story collections that minister to women, but this time we wanted to get REAL about the thing. There are stories from celebrities like Bunny DeBarge and well-known authors like Sharon Ewell Foster.

But it wasn’t about a who’s who, it was about coming together and testifying of what God has brought us through so other women can know that they don’t have to be ashamed. God’s grace is shameless!

JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to SistahFaith getting out to the public?

MG: We’re doing a lot of online promotions, including the blog tour with TyWebbin Creations that you’re participating in. The book is the title of the month in our SistahFaith Book Club on our Ning community as well.

We’ll be doing face-to-face events as well like the Garments of Praise conference in Fayetteville, NC, March 26-29 (http://ladylifers.com/Page_2.html). Churches, book clubs, prison ministries, women shelters…all types of organizations will be using this book to bring hope, healing and restoration to women.

JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish SistahFaith?

MG: This book took a lot of time. First there was the living all of us had to do to get to the place to be able to say the types of things we had to say in these stories while still being uplifting and encouraging.

Then there was the writing, the selections, the ups and downs… Truly it’s been a journey. The whole thing started about six years ago.

JP: What’s next for Marilynn Griffith?

MG: Thanks for asking! I have a novella in A Million Blessings, an anthology with Angela Benson and Tia McCollors, that releases later this month. After that? I’ll be working on whatever God says is next. Thanks so much for having me.

Facebook: marilynngriffith or SistahFaith

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16 thoughts on “5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Marilynn Griffith, editor of SistahFaith”

  1. Joey, first, thank you for hosting SistahFaith and thank you for lending us your attention and your influence.

    What sets SistahFaith apart and what got SistahFaith published is that it is 25 very accomplished women doing what successful people don’t do. They are shaking off their weaves, stepping out of the heels, and shrugging off their robes to show their scars. These women are not hiding that they were suicidal, abused, drug addicts, raped, or bore children without being married. They are not doing it to throw a pity party.

    Instead, the women in SistahFaith share their tragedies and their triumphs so that another sistah–someone who feels alone or is bearing a secret that has gotten to heavy to carry–can know that she can make it.

    We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the power of our testimonies. We don’t triumph to hide our shame, instead through Christ we find the courage to tell our stories, our testimonies, so that another sistah (or brotha) can overcome! We want our sistahs to know that they can be healed! We know it because we bear the scars!

    Again, thank you, Joey, for your graciousness. Blessings to you.

    Sharon Ewell Foster

  2. Thank you so much for stopping by, Sharon. You are so right, this book is a boost to the literary choices available to women.

    Instead of being impersonal and clinical, SistahFaith is straight-forward and realistic.

  3. Wow, Sharon E. Foster is one of the first authors I read in the Christian fiction literature…this is a beautiful thing. Also, I heard her interview on Chocolate Pages today with Pam Perry (such a visionary and who I want to grow up to be like).

    Keep the faith.
    Adrienna, author of the Day Begins with Christ

  4. To leave my two cents, there is nothing wrong with the empowerment of women as long as it doesn’t lead to feminism. I am glad that this work is spiritually driven.

  5. I would love to read this book. I have been listening to the different authors, who have read snippets or told something about what and why they took part in such an inspirational book of overcoming major life obstacles.

    As always great interview.

  6. Just got this message in my in box on the space and can’t attend, but decided to come here and read the interview any way. Great Job Joey—And also great answers from you Marilynn:) This sounds like a great book as all truly revealing books should be. And perhaps because I’m a male, I’m thinking a future project for you might be to do one in the same line, but that is dealing with men.

    In one of my recent poems this line came to me… “You can run from a mirror, but you can’t run from how you feel.”

    Sounds like this book is a testament to that and nothing makes people feel more accepted, than to realize they are not alone in what they go through. Best wishes for your success with this one:)
    Chase Von:)

  7. Hello Joey: Thanks so much for hosting SistahFaith.

    I am blessed to be one of the contributing writers. Two of my life stories are included: Confession Is Good For The Soul which is in the form of a letter I wrote as an adult to my dad divulging my long held secret. The 2nd story is Amazed by Grace which is about another secret that I survived while in college.

    Both secrets were at the root of my later life hopelessly addicted to heroin. Hopeless, that is until one night i heard a miraculous message that changed my eternal destiny and set everything in motion that led me to be set free from the bondage of active addiction.

    I am a strong proponent of Revelations 12:11 which my sistahs here shared on the blog before me. “We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.”

    In SistahFaith, I was given the opportunity to share my voice amongst the voice of others who understand and live in that scripture. 4Real sistahs and brothers, bold and solidly bonded to Jesus. Marilynn, Dee, Sharon, Carlean, Claudia, Melodie, Wanda, and the list goes on and includes my 12-step sponsor for over 20 years, Dorine P, and my son, Mike (let the children lead them) –let me tell you–they are “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!”

    There is power in telling our life-stories. While secrets grow in the dark; they die in the light of exposure. Spiritually, we come to believe that we are not alone—that we are more alike than different. We come to understand that with faith we can overcome anything and go on to do great things.

    My purpose and passion lies in helping others develop amazing faith that overcomes low-self esteem, doubt, and inertia—an empowering faith that frees us to discover and live our best lives.

    Together, we can do what I could not do alone.

    SistahFaith is a movement that begins and ends with God. At least this is the way, I’m experiencing it.

    I pray that God’s extreme favor saturates your life and the lives that your ministry touches.

    God is blessing us, right now!
    Stanice Anderson
    SistahFaith Contributor, Author, Inspirational Speaker, Performance Artist (by God’s grace)

  8. Thank you both Joey for the interview and Marilynn for bringing this vision to fruition. Reading this book is not just so we can ‘know’ about these women but so that we can know that we are not alone and gain the courage and faith to step into the healing power of Jesus.

  9. This seems like this will be an awesome read whether I win or not, we have just reorganized our women group at church and I think this will be a great read for all of us because we all have some things that have happen in our lives and we are banding together to help each other, and we have also created a young woman group for our teenagers at church I think this will help all of us..I will be purchasing…

  10. Hi,

    This was a very nice review. I enjoyed reading her processes and how she opened up because someone else opened up. Being transparent often has that effect. But mostly on those who are ready. Those who are not think, “I could never do that or say that in public,” and continue hiding and stuffing their feelings and emotions!

    I look forward to learning more about this author on a personal and professional level as we have some things in common.

    Peace and Blessings, Vivian Gale

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