Growing Into Grace with Javacia Harris Bowser

Javacia Harris Bowser

Growing into Grace is a life elevating series on growth, grace, and womanhood. Grace has been the most pivotal part of my coming of age. Daily I give thanks for grace and constantly I am working on giving myself and others the same grace that God gives me. In this series, join me as eight amazing women give their insight on the 5 Things They Know for Sure and their take on “Grace, not perfection,” and what that means in their lives currently. Feel free to comment below and share their insights on social media!

Javacia Harris Bowser is the founder and editor of See Jane Write which is her online space that not only showcases her work, but is also a network and community of talented writers. She has written for publications that include USA Today, Birmingham Magazine, and a weekly column for B-Metro Magazine. A teacher by day and night really as her work helps women blossom through their writing, Bowser is a booming voice among creatives in the South. (Her crew practically filled our morning session at Be Blogalicious, so I know she is offering something special.)

Javacia Harris Bowser, See Jane Write 

When I think of “Grace not perfection” I think of Matthew 11:28, which reads, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  When I chose “grace” as my word for 2017 both my blog followers and friends were shocked. I can’t blame them. I’m sure they figured a word like “hustle” would be my pick instead. I’m a girl with goals galore and a “Go hard or go home” attitude about pursuing my writing, blogging, teaching, and business aspirations. But sometimes grit and gumption aren’t enough. Some days I need magic. Every day I need grace.  As I grow into grace I am learning that, despite being a woman of faith, I’ve been trying to rely solely on willpower, when in my heart I know I can’t do this without a higher power. As I grow into grace I am learning to trust. As I grow into grace I am learning to finally give myself a break.

CLICK TO TWEET /// As I grow into grace I am learning to finally give myself a break.- Javacia Harris Bowser

5 Things I Know for Sure 

You can’t pour from an empty cup. There was a time when I repeated this aphorism to urge myself to rest, to ward off guilt when I decided to let loose my title of Javacia “No Days Off” Bowser. But as a writer I’m learning this pearl of wisdom also speaks to the need for inspiration. Good writers read good writing and your input determines your output. Whenever I’m having a hard time writing something I’m proud of or writing anything at all, it is usually because I haven’t been spending enough time reading and living -- the two things that inspire my work.

She who writes teaches. As a professional educator, the African proverb “She who learns teaches” has been a mantra of mine for years -- reminding me to never stop learning and to never stop passing on that knowledge. But I’ve spent most of my education career trying to keep my teacher life and my writer life separate despite the fact that many of my students have stated on feedback surveys that they were more motivated to write and to listen to what I had to say about writing when they learned that I freelance and blog. I have come to realize that writing is a form of teaching -- every essay and every blog post a carefully crafted lesson plan in this curriculum called life.

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All women have a story worth sharing. I believe a woman’s story is the one of the most powerful things she possesses. When a woman shares her story to those open to receiving it she is reminded that she matters and that there is purpose in her pain; and those who hear it or read it are reminded that they are not alone. This is why I write. This is why I blog. This is why I interview and write profiles of women for various publications. And this is why I started See Jane Write, a website and membership organization for women who write and blog. Proverbs 18:21 states that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Our words have the power to tear down or build up. Will you use your superpower for evil or for good?

We should all be feminists. I’ve been told I can’t be a feminist because I’m black. I’ve been told feminism is a movement for “rich, racist white women.” But as the poet and essayist June Jordan once said, “I am a feminist, and what that means to me is much the same as the meaning of the fact that I am Black: it means that I must undertake to love myself and to respect myself as though my very life depends upon self-love and self-respect.” Feminism is the belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes, but is also so much more. Feminism isn’t about hating men; it’s about loving myself. And intersectional feminism -- which recognizes that gender, race, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, and religion all intersect -- is about loving other people and realizing that I’m not free until we all are.

CLICK TO TWEET /// Feminism isn't about hating men, it's about loving myself. -Javacia Harris Bowser

Loving others as we love ourselves is the greatest act of worship. This I know for the Bible tells me so. When asked which commandments were the greatest Jesus said we should love God and in Matthew 22:39 he stated, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” To be honest, when it comes to faith, I have more questions than answers. Though I identify as Christian and go to church because I love Jesus, organized religion confuses me. It always has. It probably always will. But I am sure that my life should center on loving others and loving myself. This is why I consider my marriage a ministry and my feminism a divine calling. When I love my husband, when I join hands with the women of my tribe to help them make their dreams come true, these are holy acts. When I share pillow talk with my husband, when my friends and I share secrets over a bottle wine (or two), this is communion.


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