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Cora Jakes: “Keep Watching”

When we talk about modern women of faith or Black Christian businesswomen who are doing God’s work, it’s impossible not to mention Cora Jakes. The eldest daughter of the mega-preacher and New York Times best-selling author Bishop T. D. and First Lady Serita Jakes is a modest, but to-the-point powerhouse in her own right. 

Ever trailblazing, the life coach, celebrity spiritual advisor, ministerial director, and mother of two is redefining what it means to be a woman of strength. She is the author of books Faithing It: Bringing Purpose Back to Your Life and Ferocious Warrior: Dismantle Your Enemy and Rise

Last year, Cora announced her divorce from her husband of twelve years, R. Brandon Coleman, and it caused quite a stir over the internet. Consequently, the woman of God went on hiatus, but now she’s back! Cora no longer identifies as a pastor, but she continues her ministry through life-coaching. She is also the director of the children’s ministry at The Potter’s House Church of Dallas, Texas. It was an honor sitting down with her to discuss motherhood, faith, and her work as a life coach.

 

Fancy: In your own words, who is Coach Cora, and what do you do? 

Cora: Well, just call me Cora. I am here to spread joy and faith and help people get through their trauma and become triumphant in it. I have mentored and, for a long while, brought healing to people who have experienced sexual abuse. I have brought healing and reconciliation to those who have had bad marriages. I was a health coach, so I helped people hydrate, lose weight, choose better health, live better, and mind their business during this season. I am a mother at heart. I am a friend, a big sister, and honestly, just trying to be a light [in places] where there is so much darkness. 

Fancy: I love that because I always say, “I’m a light,” so I can relate to you there. But what made you decide to pivot from health coaching to life coaching? 

Cora: Well, I was doing life coaching early on, so I actually pivoted from life coaching to health coaching, back to life coaching. I enjoyed the one-on-one and personal connection that I could have with my mentees. Health coaching was very programmatic. In life coaching, I get to walk with you, fight with you, pray with you, be personally connected to the chaos in your life. I help you learn how to control yourself and your emotions while in the midst of the chaos. I enjoy that. 

Fancy:  Life coaching would allow you to help even more because a lot of those barriers may be impacting health as well. That makes a lot of sense…So I’m curious to know–being the daughter of legendary, world-renowned Bishop T.D. Jakes, did you feel any pressure to go into a Christian business or a livelihood where you were helping people? Did you ever feel obligated to do that, or is that something that just came naturally to you?

Cora: It has come naturally to me since I was a little girl. Literally, at my five-year-old kindergarten graduation, I said I would be a preacher just like my dad. I dedicated my life to studying him, his rhythm and just admiring his study, his connection, his anointing. I was wowed that I had that ability to tap into that anointing.  Being his daughter, I could replicate and continue his rhythm and hold up the legacy. Somehow, that was not something I felt pressured into doing. It was an honor. It was something that I wanted to do. I set myself up for it at five years old. 

Fancy: Wow, that’s really beautiful! Having that type of father figure sounds like an awesome experience. As for your clients, what do you often see as their biggest challenges or the most common challenges you see within those you work with? 

Cora: Oh, fear. If you’re coming to my table, it is fear. Typically in this season we are not necessarily afraid of failure. But, still, we’re afraid of the responsibility that comes with success. God may show us where we’re going or give us a snippet of what He would have for us to do. The success of that becomes so scary and overwhelming. If you measure your mantle based on your mess and not your message, then you end up feeling like you are not worthy of where God is calling you to walk. When you come to my table, I give you the map of how to see the things that try to make you a victim. I give you the map of how to get the victory out of [adversity], and how to find joy in the middle of the storms. I think it’s a very good strategy of mine to find out the method of my enemy. I am a secret weapon to my mentees because they’ll tell me a story or what they’re going through, and I automatically can see what the enemy is trying to do. So I give them a map. 

Fancy: I like that. I think it brings me to my next question. In your book, Faithing It, I remember you saying, “I don’t have to be perfect to help you find your purpose.” I thought that was such a monumental statement because often, even with my clients, everyone feels like they must have it all together. Usually, we don’t need to have it all together. What brought you to that point where you realized you did not have to have it all together? 

Cora: I think that moment came when I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and they hit me with infertility or the inability to produce. This is when it became very easy for me to understand that just because I may not be able to produce in one area doesn’t mean that I am not able to produce in others. There is a season for productivity. I felt it was very important for me to figure out how to continue to be fruitful, even though I was in a season that felt fruitless. It was a challenge. It was a challenge to my faith. It was a challenge to my mentality. It was a challenge to my heart. I think I had to really put myself in a position [to motivate myself] to say, “I’ve got to be productive; I’ve got to be fruitful.”

Just because I may hurt in a space doesn’t take away my power. Just coming off of Resurrection Day, I just tap into that power for a little bit. If we were to wait until we were cleaned up and perfect, then we would never get to the victory that God had for us to begin with. It came through bloody betrayal and denial and hurt and pain. Yet God, still in His sovereignty, showed a Power in Jesus’ bloodiness that no one will ever be able to replicate. That was Him broken, and that was Him bleeding, and that was Him hurting. If His story of being broken and bleeding and hurting for us can heal us and save us, then why can’t my story of bleeding and being broken and hurt not save somebody else? 

 

To read more about Cora Jakes, check out our digital issue, Women of Faith.

Francheska Felder
Francheska Felderhttp://swagheronline.com
Francheska “Fancy” Felder is an award-winning editor, publisher, publicist, and quiet Southern media mogul. In 2010, she launched SwagHer Magazine, an empowerment and lifestyle publication for the Black woman who likes to keep it real, which also doubles as a PR boutique. SwagHer Magazine uses positive media and storytelling to create new narratives and mindsets around Black women, their communities, and the businesses and organizations they lead, while the boutique strategically executes press and brand campaigns. The proud SU alum is also the publicist for Power Influence Radio and hostess of the CEO Chatter LIVE Podcast. Because she battles with bipolar disorder, Fancy is a proud mental health advocate.
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