I was so thrilled to be in studio, behind the scenes, when Jully Black was in the See Hear Love kitchen. Not only did I get to hear her sing Oh, It Is Jesus, andHis Eye Is On the Sparrow, but I got to witness her amazing energy.

Most people know Jully Black as Canada’s Queen of R&B, with a powerhouse voice and dynamic stage presence.  Jully is also a fierce daughter of the King. And when she got to talking about her faith, she was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Jully first learned she could really sing in a Pentecostal church, and she believed that God gave her this talent for a reason. The youngest of 9 children and a survivor of abuse, singing provided order in her sometimes chaotic life. Singing also made Jully a star. She was producing albums, touring with her top ten hits, and writing for Nas, Destiny’s Child, Sean Paul, and Kardinal Official, among others.

Fame started to take a toll on her faith. She was so busy performing as the fabulous Jully Black that she started to lose touch with Jullyann Gordon – her childhood name – and her God-given identity. During this time, she rebelled and was not living authentically. Eventually, she found herself completely depleted: emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

At her lowest point, she reached out to church friends and took a temporary position as an assistant within a ministry. There, she was completely immersed in the spirit of God and started to rebuild her life.

Jully believes that every experience “has been a prerequisite to purpose,” training her to glorify the Lord. She learned from her mother that even during times of great trial, God is still faithful and you can genuinely say Praise the Lord.

Her faith gave her a huge sense of freedom to start taking care of herself in order to live out her purpose. She started taking care of her health: exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep. The better she took care of herself physically, emotionally, and spiritually, the better she was able to serve God. The body is the temple, and – as she hilariously put it – “If the Lord had to borrow your temple to live in would you want Him at Motel 6 or Ritz Carlton?”

She knew that she had a gift of motivating others and wanted to act as a bridge between the discouraged and the encouraged. She co-founded Empowered in My Skin with Nkechi Nwafor-Robinson to help women wake up every day happy with their SHAPE. SHAPE stands for spirituality, health, abilities, personality, and experience – all of the things that must be in balance to live the rich life God intended for all of us.

On October 14, Empowered in My Skin is hosting its fall conference in Toronto. Jully and her colleagues will help participants build a daily practice of prayer, healthy living, and connecting with other people. She wants all women to have a healthy sense of themselves as daughters of the King.

I experienced Jully’s encouragement myself. When I introduced myself, she asked me my role on the show.

“I’m just the blogger,” I told her, in my usual way.

“No just,” she said. “No ‘just the blogger.’ You aren’t just anything.”

She offered me a better alternative. “Instead you should say I AM the blogger,” she said, drawing her shoulders back and standing ever taller.

And so I stood a little taller myself.

Singer, encourager, daughter of the King: it was a pleasure meeting the fabulous Jully Black.