EP 103: How To Linger In The Presence Of God: Dr. Naima Bush

Diana WinklerPhysical Violence

We have my former music mentor on the show with us, Dr Naima Bush. She’s coming to talk about her new song Swept Away, and telling us about all her trials and adventures the last 2 years. She also shares her upbringing, her harrowing tale of an abusive boyfriend, and her wonderful music ministry. We will get to hear her music at the end of the show, so be sure to stick round!


Transcript below!


In March of 2016 I was diagnosed with liver disease, Cirrhosis to be exact. I don’t even drink and here I was labeled with the one disease that never entered my mind as a possibility. This past Spring I was incredibly ill and so frustrated. Here I was trying to live a life pleasing to the Lord, to share His love with the world and now I was facing possible liver transplant, my hair falling out, infertility, anemia, fibroids, potassium deficiency, enlarged spleen, gall stones and a 40% chance of death in the next five years.

My mother swooped in with prayers and a plan. My community rallied around me. My husband was a rock and my father a source of constant encouragement. The help that Jon and I received were the hands of Jesus on the earth. The doctors had no explanation as to why the illness had progressed so far so fast, maybe it was from fatty liver disease or maybe it is some exotic autoimmune issue. Nobody seems to know, all I could do was trust the Father in the midst of what seemed like an “untrustable” situation.

In the midst of this storm I have seen the face of God. I have been carried by the prayers of the righteous. And most importantly I’ve clung to the fact that God still heals today. My empty unfilled Diabetes and High Blood Pressure medicine bottles are a sign of that. The doctor reports that my liver is functioning and there is nothing to do but watch it, spurs me to reply, that I watch only for the manifestation of my healing to be revealed. My clothes are too big and the weight I use to carry has diminished since changing my entire nutritional lifestyle. And I feel great, look pretty cute to. If you knew how sick I was you would rejoice with me that my sluggish liver is starting to trot! Praise the Lord!

But sometimes those nasty little doubts whisper to my mind. So what do you do? First you call the devil a lie, proclaim the Word of God over your life and stand flat footed on the promises of Psalm 118 verse 17 – I shall not die but live to proclaim the work of the Lord! And did you know the liver is the only organ that can regenerate, that’s what I’m experiencing, a creative miracle in my own body!

Then you think of Morgan Freeman. One of his most famous movie lines is from the Shawshank Redemption, “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” Being sick will make you take a long look at your life and I saw some things I didn’t like. Fear that hindered me from pursuing my dreams full out, I saw missed opportunities, many moments I had lived unaware of the presence, the power and the beauty of the Lord.

And I decided no more… In the midst of my sickness, the Lord whispered to me to live! Live with joy, with passion, with a thankful heart and the belief that He can do all things and so the entire focus of Broken Box Ministries has changed. The Lord will satisfy me with long life and show me His salvation! And each moment I have I plan to live joyfully, thankfully and prayerfully. My new mission, the desire of my heart, is to teach others to do the same thing.

Website: https://dswministries.org

Email: diana@dswministries.org

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[00:00:00] Diana Winkler: Hi there. Welcome. How are you guys doing? Thank you so much for your support of the show and joining me today. Great to have you.

[00:00:16] And this time of the year in a September, which comes with a lot of changes. Now you’re probably experiencing some fall weather if you are on east coast of the US or could be like me that it’s still hot here, still a hundred degrees here. The end of September. We did get some rain. This is the only time of the year we do get rain.

[00:00:49] August and September. So we did get some rain and it doesn’t cool off here until the end of October, but [00:01:00] I’m out there planting for my fall crop. And other changes that we’re doing here is in a music room.

[00:01:16] If you are watching on YouTube, my hubby had the time to put together a background for my Zoom, so we’ve been moving stuff around in here in the studio. I don’t have the bookcase behind me with all of the books and my sign.

[00:01:42] I did have the background of my synthesizer and my music equipment, which that’s fine, but I really wanted to have my [00:02:00] logos up on the screen behind me to match my branding and make it look a little more professional, right? And so I have behind me my DSW logo and I have my podcast logo, and that is accomplished by a green screen behind me.

[00:02:24] I’m not gonna turn off, so you can see the green screen. But I actually didn’t have to buy a screen. I just bought some green fabric and it’s hanging from a PVC pipe hanging off the ceiling. And so that was seven bucks. So if you were wondering how to make your own, then that’s the route that I would encourage you.

[00:02:48] You probably have some green fabric around that you can hang up behind you and that’s how they make movies. And so I think it looks [00:03:00] great.

[00:03:01] It’s my branding colors and so thank you Brian for setting that up for me and

[00:03:12] other news. At church, we’re going through the book of Romans as a deep dive. We have a master divinity, Dave Linstrom at our church. He’s a founding member of my church and he has taught Romans for a long time, and that’s my favorite book. I can’t get enough of it. So I’m getting up early on Sunday mornings to actually go to church.

[00:03:45] And I really wanna learn some new things about Romans. So you can join me too. They are putting the notes and the audio on the church’s [00:04:00] website. That’s Red Mountain Community Church, that’s in Mesa, Arizona, where the church is located. I think it’s rmcc.org is the address. We’ve been talking about Bible study for weeks now.

[00:04:20] If you need some handholding while you dip your toe in the pool, this is a great way to do it. Our church has group Bible studies right now for men and for women, and you can go online and you can join the Zoom Bible Study groups. And it’s very welcoming. You don’t have to know anything, You don’t have to know anybody.

[00:04:47] You meet some new friends. You don’t have to be a member of the church, and you just come and ask questions and talk about the Bible. So, if you have any questions about that, be sure to contact me.

[00:04:59] [00:05:00] I go to the Ladies Bible study on seven o’clock on Tuesday nights, and so if you wanna join me, I would love to see you. It’d be awesome. We could study together. So just a resource for you.

[00:05:18] Now, today we have a musical guest once again, and this one’s special to me because she was one of my first music mentors back in the day when I was first starting DSW Ministries. I was just coming out of my abusive relationship, still healing from that, and I really wanted to get my music ministry off the ground.

[00:05:49] And so my guest today is Dr. Naima Johnston Bush,

[00:05:54] and you’re just gonna love her. I wanna tell you a little bit [00:06:00] about her ministry.

[00:06:02] Naima is an anointed, singer, songwriter, worship leader, author, and speaker. She uses her artistic gifts to encourage her audiences to live a life of exuberant joy, powerful prayer, and sincere gratitude while sharing practical lessons to assist them in living their lives. In the center of God’s will. Engaged in full-time ministry, Naima travels the country, singing and speaking for various groups.

[00:06:35] Sharing her powerful story and life changing stories. After an abusive boyfriend declared he would kill her, hide her body, and make sure no one found her. Naima gave her life to the Lord and is now on a mission to help women find wholeness in Jesus. Singing since she was a toddler, Naima [00:07:00] has created an entirely new musical genre that reaches across cultures spanning contemporary Christian music, urban gospel, and worship.

[00:07:14] She’s a singer songwriter who’s thought provoking lyrics explores life’s hopes, struggles, blessings, and disappointments. While giving glory and honor to the never failing love of the Savior. With a PhD in education from the Ohio State University, Naima has been ordained by pastors Terry and Tina Bell of New Vision Assembly in Jacksonville, Florida.

[00:07:45] Naima has written and produced her debut project entitled Everything.

[00:07:51] She is the wife of Pastor John Bush, who serves as the principal of Leeville First Assembly Christian [00:08:00] Academy.

[00:08:01] Naima has chosen. To embrace life, bully with a joyful heart, a thankful spirit, and rooted in prayer. Her greatest desire is to teach others to do the same. So yes, an impressive bio folks, and she has wonderful music. I have taken one of her courses, I have her books here on my bookshelf,

[00:08:33] and she recently adopted two children. She fostered them first. Her and her husband fostered these two children, and then a year ago, they officially had adopted the kid. So she’s gonna tell you all about. And what else she’s up [00:09:00] to.

[00:09:00] We’re going to hear one of her songs at the end of this podcast, so be sure to stay until the end. So I hope that you’ll enjoy my conversation with Naima Bush. Here she is.

[00:09:17] I’m so grateful to have my friend, Dr. Naima Bush on the show. It’s so great to see you after such a long time.

[00:09:29] Naima Bush: Oh God. I know. I know. It’s been forever.

[00:09:32] Diana Winkler: Now, we’ve talked on the phone, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen each other face

[00:09:36] to face.

[00:09:37] Naima Bush: I don’t think we have. I don’t think we ever have.

[00:09:40] We’ve talked on the phone quite a bit. You’ve participated in some of my groups and, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen each other actually.

[00:09:48] Diana Winkler: Yeah. Technology, isn’t great?

[00:09:50] Naima Bush: Yeah, it is.

[00:09:51] Diana Winkler: I just was reminiscing, we met in a Christian music community called Indie Heaven Radio.[00:10:00] [00:10:00] Naima Bush: Was it Indie Heaven Radio?

[00:10:01] Diana Winkler: Yeah.

[00:10:03] Naima Bush: Wow. I didn’t even remember that.

[00:10:05] Diana Winkler: Yeah, that’s how we met. And it no longer exists. It was pretty cool. I made some really great friends and connections. Right. And I took one of your mentoring courses, so I’ll have to say that you really helped me to define who I am as a Christian musician and.

[00:10:26] That ministry vision has evolved and changed over the years. We were talking behind the scenes here and but you taught me to be true to what God has called me to do and that I’m good enough to fulfill God’s call on my life. So I just wanna thank you early on for inspiring me to be my authentic self and for your example all these years.

[00:10:52] Naima Bush: Thank you for sharing that with me. I don’t hear that very often, so thank you very much. It really makes a difference cuz you do so much. Sometimes [00:11:00] you feel like God has called you to do and help other people and you don’t get any feedback from folks. Sometimes they just kind of go on and do off, go off and do whatever it is God told ’em to do and they don’t kind of turn around and say, this helped me.

[00:11:13] So I don’t know. So I’m glad. Thank you very much for sharing that with me.

[00:11:17] Diana Winkler: You’re welcome. I do try and encourage people because you’re not the first person to tell me that. Nobody ever says anything or gives me any feedback, or am I doing anything that’s changing anybody’s life? So right now, we’re gonna talk about your ministry and you have a powerful testimony to share.

[00:11:38] Let’s think about recent events first. You had the worst couple of years of anybody that I know.

[00:11:45] Naima Bush: Yes, I did.

[00:11:46] Diana Winkler: Forget the pandemic. You had stuff going on top of the pandemic, so, Right. Share what you want what you’re comfortable with.

[00:11:53] Naima Bush: First of all was diagnosed with non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.

[00:11:58] And they’re not sure why I [00:12:00] developed that because they said, I’m, you’re really young for it. So I was in the hospital, my liver was barely functioning, and my mom came in with this plan, this holistic health plan between her and the Lord, I was healed. And then we moved from Jacksonville, Florida, which is where we were living, to Louisiana.

[00:12:19] It’s tiny town in Louisiana. And I went from New York City. I grew up in New York City. So I went from New York City to Columbus, Ohio to Nashville, Tennessee, to Jacksonville, Florida. And then to move to, a town where it was 60 miles to, to get to the nearest Kroger. It was like, wow. And I found myself really isolated and upset, and I wound up gaining back a lot of the weight that I lost, like a hundred pounds.

[00:12:47] I’d gained back probably about 80 pounds of that. And so I got sick. And so I’ve been really sick and I’ve been fighting that trying to make a comeback, trying to lose this weight again. And it hasn’t been easy, [00:13:00] but I’m gonna get it done. I’m gonna get it done because my life depends on it. My liver doesn’t function very well when I’m heavy, so I have to slim down in order for it to function.

[00:13:10] But while we were in Louisiana, the pandemic did happen and we had always wanted children, and I was told that I couldn’t have any because of my liver. And so I had to mourn that, I had to look mourn that I kept believing and I was like, God, you can do it. You did it for Sarah, you could do it for me.

[00:13:28] It doesn’t matter how old I am, but the older I got, the more I had to realize that maybe that wasn’t God’s will for my life. So I had to mourn that I wasn’t gonna be a mom that way. And so my husband and I began the process of fostering and we got two babies, a two year old and a two month old brother and sister.

[00:13:47] And we got them the day after. We were certified as foster parents. So we didn’t have any time to get anything together. I wasn’t even in town. I was in Florida on tour. And my husband called me and [00:14:00] said, they called and said they have these two babies, what should I do? And I was like, get ’em.

[00:14:03] They need us. And so he got them. And at first we thought they were just gonna be with us for a couple of months because their mom only had a few things she had to do. But those few months turned into two years. And by the third year, the judge decided that it was too long. She hadn’t done what she needed to do, and so he terminated them and they were free for adoption and so we adopted them.

[00:14:26] So John Junior is now three, he’ll be four in November. And Shaden Grace is six. She just turned six in August. And they are a handful. They are a handful. So I was at home, joined a pandemic with these two babies, because we weren’t letting them go to school. They were going to daycare, and my husband was a principal at a school, but we wasn’t really letting them go out because they weren’t vaccinated.

[00:14:51] There wasn’t any vaccine at that point, and they were sick. My son was real sickly and so I didn’t want him exposed. So that [00:15:00] happens. So I’m at home, I’m gaining weight because I’m at home and I’m learning to be a mom and I’m at home by myself. I’m isolated from everybody I know. I can’t see my family because my family is in New York City.

[00:15:13] And then people started dying. My grandmother died and she died in New York City during the height of the pandemic in the hospital. So you can imagine what that turned into. She was probably on one of those refrigerated trucks. And was thinking about that all the time. And then a friend of mine committed suicide.

[00:15:32] And then my uncle committed suicide and then my dog died. Oh my gosh. I think my dog died. Really was probably the worst because I had that dog for years. I had that dog before I got married. That dog traveled with me. I loved that dog. I was like, I remember my first baby, Bianca. And so she died.

[00:15:51] She was almost 17, she was older, but still she got real sick and just died. And then my husband’s dog, we had to put him down a [00:16:00] couple months later cuz he was having heart failure. It was just like, oh my gosh. And then, I don’t know if you remember Donna I can’t think of her last name.

[00:16:08] I escaped me that quick, but Donna Lee, she passed away. I don’t know if you know that.

[00:16:13] Diana Winkler: No, I must have missed that.

[00:16:15] Naima Bush: Yeah, she passed away and so I was really hurt when she passed away. She was in the mentoring group with us. Yeah. And yeah, that really hurt me. And then, it was just like one after the other.

[00:16:27] All these people kept dying and I was just so upset. And then I was so isolated and my husband decided that we were gonna move back to Florida. And so getting everything ready to come back to Florida, but I realized that I had been fighting depression. I didn’t realize that I was depressed and that was the reason why I was gaining weight.

[00:16:47] And then I, I realized that I had forgotten what my house was built on. You know that scripture in I got it here, Matthew 24, I think it is Matthew [00:17:00] 7th, just reading. Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows, it is wise. Like a person who builds a house on a solid rock, though the rain come in Torrance and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against the house, it won’t collapse because it was built on Bedrock.

[00:17:19] I forgot that my house was built on Bedrock because if I would’ve remembered that my house was built on Bedrock, I would I probably would’ve still been depressed, but I would’ve dealt with it a lot differently. I would’ve spent more time in prayer. I wouldn’t have shut down. I wouldn’t have, and that’s what I did.

[00:17:33] I shut down. I stopped praying. Stopped fasting. I was all about my kids because they took up so much time. They were so young and I was in morning and I didn’t realize I was in perpetual morning because I had lost so much. , including my music ministry because not only had we moved to Louisiana, which I couldn’t get everywhere that I would was going when I was in Florida.

[00:17:54] And that was like everything to me. I was traveling, I was doing a hundred dates a year, [00:18:00] and then I went down to 50 and then I went down to 20, and then I went down to zero. . There were months where I haven’t done anything, and that’s how it is now. But I remember that my house is built on bedrock.

[00:18:11] My house is built on Christ. And so I’ve really made a turnaround in my attitude and in How I see life, and I have to find the joy again. And that’s what I’m struggling to do Sometimes. Some days I’m struggling to find joy, but usually I can catch it in the glimpse of my kids or playing with my babies or talking to my husband, or remembering that I do sing and starting to sing or write some music.

[00:18:35] I, I catch that joy again. I’m still so blessed. So that’s a long answer to your question.

[00:18:41] Diana Winkler: People that are listening, they’ve probably gone through some horrible things too, and it’s good to know that we’re not alone in this. Right. I thought it was bad when I lost my oldest brother on the week of Christmas, 2020.

[00:18:55] And it took 25 days for them to bury him [00:19:00] to him, get the body and we didn’t have the funeral till December 30th. And yeah. That was bad. And Right. We talked before the show, all the stuff that I had gone through. But yeah, you and I are both musicians and that’s even in the darkest times that has been my lifeline has been that music.

[00:19:21] Right, Right. That the darkest places when okay, I don’t feel like praying, I don’t feel like reading my Bible, but I’ll put on that song and God can speak to me through that song. Like, I’m still here for you. Right. And the emotions start coming back up. And and we’d like to get into more of your story from your childhood.

[00:19:47] You are a survivor of abuse and our audience They’re all survivors as well. I know they wanna hear your powerful story. [00:20:00] If you could take us back to the beginning, to your childhood, where it all began, you set the stage for us.

[00:20:10] Naima Bush: That’s a good question. I think it began with my parents and my weight.

[00:20:15] It’s always come back to my weight. They wanted me to be small and so, or thin, not because they didn’t love me, but because they wanted me to be healthy and they went about it, I think in the wrong way. When you’re nine years old, you don’t wanna think about being on a diet, you wanna eat candy and, do what you wanna do.

[00:20:34] The thing that’s interesting is that they left my brother alone and he slimmed down naturally, but me, I didn’t. And I think that if they’d left me alone, I probably would’ve slimmed down some. So in that, I began to think that I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t worthy, and that opened the door for me to really become promiscuous from the time I was 14 to the [00:21:00] time I was oh, until I got saved.

[00:21:02] I got saved. I was 22. And I think that’s really kind of what set me up. It was that thought that I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t worthy enough the way I was, and it, I didn’t know that I couldn’t have put words to it then, but I just never felt right. I never felt like I fit in. I never felt beautiful.

[00:21:20] I never felt I never felt like lovely or anything like that. I just felt like a big. Blob, and so I, I’d give it away for free because, that was how I found love. And so what winds up happening is I went to college in Ohio. I went to graduate school in Ohio State, and I met this guy and he was a real work, he was a piece of work boy.

[00:21:47] He was just, he was something else. But I remember one night yeah, I remember one night, let me just tell the story. I remember one night we were lying in bed [00:22:00] and he did some things to me that I shouldn’t have allowed him to do. And that was really painful and then physically painful. And then the next day he asked me, we were driving in the car, he was driving my car, and he turned and he looked at me and he said, Are you afraid of me?

[00:22:17] And I said, What? And he said, Are you afraid of me? And before I could answer, he said, Because I’ll kill you. I’ll hide your body and nobody will ever find you. Oh. And I believed him. I believed him. Like I, yeah, I believed him. And he had already shown his true colors, by hitting me. And while he didn’t really hit me, he bit me.

[00:22:39] That’s what he did. He bit me, bit me up like a lot. So I got the strength to walk away. We were actually living together and I got the strength to walk away. And I found Christ soon after that, And as soon as I found Christ, he tried to come back and I said, he said I’m gonna be like a check.

[00:22:58] I’m gonna be like a credit card [00:23:00] application in your life. I’m gonna keep submitting myself to you until you say yes. That’s what they do. And I said, That’s what you think. You are denied and this bank is closed. I said, If you want to be with me, you have to come to church. And I never heard from him again.

[00:23:14] So that’s my survivor’s story. It was, it really was a thing about my self worth. My, my eating definitely came out of that, from being promiscuous at such a young age, at 14 years old, being talked out of my virginity. This guy talked me out of, he tricked me. And just after that it was just like a free for all because I had.

[00:23:40] Giving it up so freely the first time, so why not? And that’s kind of what happened. That has been faithful, that has been really faithful to me. And he’s restored me and he’s given me a wonderful husband. I thought I’d never get married and I got the best of the best. [00:24:00] [00:24:02] Diana Winkler: Now, I want to have you tell the folks about when you discovered your love of music.

[00:24:09] Naima Bush: My parents say, I came out of the womb singing. My mom tells this story about being in the crib and she kept hearing this noise. It was like, and she’d look, she’d come and she’d look around. She couldn’t find anything. She’s like, Gary what is that? Gary’s my dad. She’s like, What is that noise?

[00:24:23] And he was like, I think that’s the baby. And so my parents were all about music. My dad was in a band. He’s an artist. My mother’s an artist, so they were very artsy people. So there was always music playing when I was in the womb. And poetry, my dad’s a poet. And so, I got my love from music for them.

[00:24:42] I grew up listening to all kinds of music. Not gospel music at all. Not any kind of gospel music or Christian music. It was all like I grew up listening to Muddy Waters and Motown and let’s see, what else? Donna Summer, Anything you could think. Just different stuff, disco to [00:25:00] rock a Billy to hip hop.

[00:25:02] My dad played hiphop music pop music, anything and everything you could think of he would play. And so I got my love of music from my parents really. And I began singing, Like I said, they said, I began singing out of the womb and I was always one of those kids who was like, I’m gonna do a show.

[00:25:20] Sit down, come in my room, I’m gonna do a show. And my parents always sat there. They were so good about sitting there. They always would sit there and they, gimme a standing ovation after it was over. So I don’t want people to think that my had awful parents, cuz I didn’t. I was really blessed, I loved my parents and they did the best they could with what they had at the time.

[00:25:39] I think now, they know more, they do more, they do it differently. But That’s where my love of music comes from. My parents.

[00:25:46] Diana Winkler: It sounds like we had like a similar background as my parents had very eclectic music taste. Nobody in my family’s a musician. I’m the only musician in my family.

[00:25:56] I think I have a cousin that sings in choir. That’s [00:26:00] about it. Yeah, my parents exposed us to a lot of different kinds of music, and I did the same thing. Me and my sister would put on presentations in the living room. We do dance routines. This was back, during Michael Jackson era, and we did.

[00:26:13] Yeah. And we did little, little concerts for them in the living room and they did least sat there and clapped. And went to our choir what do you call it? Recitals. And I was in dance class. They came to all my dance classes.

[00:26:29] Naima Bush: Right. And I also went to the Fame high school. The high school music, the performing arts. That’s great. I forgot. Yes, I did. I did. And I went there because my dad encouraged me first I went to the junior high, cuz that was before they had middle school.

[00:26:44] So I went to the East Harlem School of the Performing Arts for eighth and ninth grade. And then I went to the High School of Music and the performing arts for 10th, 11th, and 12th. And my dad was like, If you wanna go there, cuz it was far away from my house, I had to take the train. My dad was like, If you wanna go, there you [00:27:00] go.

[00:27:00] My mom wasn’t too crazy about me getting on the train by myself that far. Cause we lived in New York City, so I had to take the train. Pretty far down into Manhattan. We lived up in the Bronx and so I really got a lot of training there, a lot of, I met a lot of people, I did a lot of things. I sang at the Empire State Building for the 50th birthday.

[00:27:21] I sang at Tavern on the Green. I did a HBO commercial. I’ve done a lot, so I’ve been really blessed.

[00:27:31] Diana Winkler: Yeah, I I love Fame. We used to watch that all the time. And actually, one of my my good friends was on the fame TV show. I’ve got the music running in my head now.

[00:27:41] Thank you very much, theme song.

[00:27:44] Naima Bush: Imagine how it was at graduation. We busted into the song at graduation. Fame, I’m gonna live forever.

[00:27:52] Diana Winkler: Now you started a music ministry over the years. You’re a worship leader, you’re an [00:28:00] author and speaker, and you had a lot of highs and lows in your music ministry.

[00:28:05] You wanna share a bit about that?

[00:28:09] Naima Bush: Yeah. My music ministry, I started, I left my job. I just quit my job. I felt like the Lord said, Leave your job and go into full-time music ministry. And so I was like, Okay, how do I do that? Because at that time there was not, there wasn’t a bunch of organizations like there is now.

[00:28:26] There was no Facebook, there was no, I’m telling my age, there was no Facebook, there was no YouTube. I think YouTube was just getting started. I certainly didn’t know how to make a video to put on YouTube. Back then there was no iPhone, so you couldn’t just, there’s no Instagram or anything like that.

[00:28:42] So I I just quit and I started to call people called churches and asked pastors that I knew, could I come sing for you? And that’s how I got started. A lot of them said yes, and some of them said no. And that was always depressing. I had this wall in my office [00:29:00] called The Wall of Shame, and I would, every time I got a rejection, I would put it up there because to remind me that just because somebody said no, I was getting closer to somebody saying yes.

[00:29:11] And that’s one of the things I think for music ministry. Is that, or for any, anything that you wanna do ministry wise that you have to, that you have to ask people, Can you help me? Can I come? You have to remember that every no leads you closer to the Yes. God will open the door at the right time.

[00:29:28] And so he began to open doors. I had some really great opportunities and then he told me to move to Nashville. He said, I have something for you in Nashville. I was serving as a worship leader at my church, but I was singing and full time I was out. I’d pack up my dog and we’d go, and what I would do is I would go to a state, like in Illinois, and I would set up in the middle of the state in a hotel.

[00:29:50] I’d be there for two, three weeks and I would just travel out from that spot and leave my dog at the hotel. She was real good. She didn’t bark or anything like that, and [00:30:00] until my husband came along, then his dog was always barking, who’s always getting these notes, talking about your dog has been barking the whole time.

[00:30:09] So, yeah, that’s kind of where I started. With music ministry. And like I said, I’ve had some great opportunities. I’ve done some wonderful things in Nashville. I’ve sang it on some big stages. And I opened for Ashley Cleveland in Kansas and the middle of a runway. Yeah. Playing runway. It really was, it was worse in Louisiana,

[00:30:33] There was nothing out there, but Sunflower fields, I don’t even know how those people got out there cuz there was nothing out there. Yeah. And so I, I started writing books. My father is an author, he’s a poet. But I started writing books because people would always say to me I wish I could do what you do.

[00:30:50] And I’d say, What? Go out on a road and sing. And some of them would say yes, but some of them would say, Oh, start this ministry or start this or do that. And I said I’m gonna write a book. 13 [00:31:00] Mistakes to Avoid when Starting a Music Ministry because. I had all these mistakes that I made and I wanted to help people to not make those same mistakes.

[00:31:08] But one of the things that I always would tell people is that it’s never too late. As long as you have breath in your body, the dream may not look like it looked originally, but the dream is still the dream and God will accomplish his purpose. So you have to step out in faith no matter what it is you wanna start, no matter what it is you wanna don’t let your dream die with you.

[00:31:28] So, that turned into a book on recovery. My random life lessons, things that I’ve learned about being in recovery because, you can’t be a survivor and I guess you can be a survivor and not be in recovery, but I’m in, I’m still in recovery. I was going to celebrate recovery, I was going to OA.

[00:31:44] But I found that Over Eaters Anonymous was a little too secular for me. So I went back to Celebrate Recovery. And working my steps. And I find that when I work my steps daily I do a lot better. And, Yeah. Yeah. [00:32:00] [00:32:00] Diana Winkler: Wow. You’ve you’ve got so many books and I’ve got a bunch of them here on my shelf that I still look and read and remind myself of those principles that you just talked about.

[00:32:12] Cuz as we were talking about before the show, my ministry has pivoted and, to think and ministry’s over now and then God shows me, no, you can go and do this over here, or I can use you over here. It’s not over. Right. We’ll be able to use you doing something else or serving in a different fashion.

[00:32:33] Naima Bush: Right.

[00:32:33] And I think that’s one of the things that I struggle with when I became a mom, particularly at my age. And, I’m older, I’m 50 and I became a mom at 48, 47, 47. And so I had to stop. I had to come off the road and not, I had to come off the road because of the pandemic, but when it was time to get back on the road, I had to think, what’s more important right now?

[00:32:55] Is it my kids or is it me getting on the road? And I had to mourn that too [00:33:00] because it was a loss of part of my identity. But what I’ve discovered is I can still do it. I just need to plan accordingly. My kids are old enough now that I can take them with me. Yeah. To some extent. My little boy is wild.

[00:33:14] He’s all boy, he’s always jumping off of stuff and climbing on stuff, and they’re not in bed now. It’s just terrible.

[00:33:21] Diana Winkler: But I heard them in the background.

[00:33:23] Naima Bush: Yeah. Yeah. They’re up with their dad, so,

[00:33:27] Diana Winkler: Do you have them sing? Do they know how to sing at all?

[00:33:30] Naima Bush: Yeah, they’re learning. They love music. They love music.

[00:33:35] Their favorite one is Fight My Battles. Yeah. That’s their favorite song right now, Playing My Battles and Way Maker they love that song.

[00:33:47] Diana Winkler: Love Waymaker. Wow. Yeah. That’s good Song gets stuck in their head at a young age. And but you know, you said to me that you have new music that you [00:34:00] produced and released.

[00:34:02] Tell us about that.

[00:34:03] Naima Bush: I have a song, new song single that came out. It was like last year. I have. Money is tight, because of the pandemic and we still are recovering from that. And so I can’t do a full album the way I used to. And so I’ve been saving up and doing a single, saving up and doing a single, So I’m recording a single now, but the last single I did was is a song called Swept Away.

[00:34:27] And I wrote it because I was, yeah, I was looking out the window, it was raining and so it was raining really hard and I was like, Man, I’m gonna get swept away. I don’t wanna get swept away. And I was like, Wow, that’s a song. It’s raining again. And I don’t know if you can hear me. So it was a song of doubt, but a song of hope also cuz it was about, do you hear me, Lord?

[00:34:56] No matter what though, I know my anchor is on you, is in you. [00:35:00] I’m not gonna get swept away no matter what happens. I, you have seen me through too much to let me drown. Which let me go under. And so, Yeah.

[00:35:11] Diana Winkler: Didn’t you survive a hurricane or something?

[00:35:14] Naima Bush: Oh yeah. We weren’t home. We left, we, Eva we evacuate whenever, my husband is from Texas and so when they start talking about hurricane, he’s like, Let’s go.

[00:35:23] So we had left, but when we came home, the tree, that was a tree on our house and it had, was crushing our garage. And it had been on our house. It stayed on our house for like four months, four or five months. It took them almost a year to fix it. Cause we were renting. Yeah. Yeah. And I was like, I got kids and they were foster kids at that time.

[00:35:45] I, I, And so I was like, they don’t come take my kids. This is not a safe environment. Y’all got to do something. So

[00:35:53] Diana Winkler: That’s terrible.

[00:35:55] Naima Bush: Yeah. Yeah. That was Irma, Hurricane Irma. Oh

[00:35:59] Diana Winkler: yeah. That [00:36:00] was bad. My husband lived in Florida for many years, so he has hurricane stories too. Yeah. But so it sounds like you have a lot of big, life experience that you’re putting into your songs, which is usually how they’re birthed,

[00:36:14] Naima Bush: right, right. I always look at what’s going on, how I feel, what I wanna express, and what I feel like the Lord wants me to share with people. And so my songs are hopefully songs of encouragement and hope. I tell more stories from my perspective than I don’t, I write worship songs, but they’re more, my songs are more about what’s going on with me because I want people to relate to them.

[00:36:44] I want them to speak to them, I guess in the situation that they’re in. And I’m not saying worship music doesn’t do that because like I said, I love to sing worship. I’ve been a worship leader. I’ll sing a worship song. I’ll write a worship song. One of my favorite songs on my last album is a worship song is called Linger.

[00:36:59] [00:37:00] But but even that, in that I wanted to express to people what I was going through, I wanted to learn to linger in the presence of God. And so I was praying and I was like, Lord, I wanna learn to linger. I wanna learn to sit in your presence and I wanna hear you speak to me. And so I remember sitting there for a good five minutes and then I was like, open my eyes and I was looking around, I was like, Lord, you’re not speaking.

[00:37:23] And so I got up and then the next day I sat for about 10 minutes and I was like, Lord, you’re not speaking. And then the Lord, like I heard him laugh. It was really funny. I heard the Lord laugh, like after this was going on for about six or seven days, and he was like, If you wanna hear me speak, you got to linger.

[00:37:39] You got to sit there and give me a minute. And I was like, Wow. Okay. So let me be quiet and let me sit here and let me wait to hear you speak to me. And he did. He did. And that was how that song was birthed.

[00:37:53] Diana Winkler: That’s good stuff. For me, we’re in such a hurry and I’m extremely busy and I, [00:38:00] Oh, God’s never laughed at me as far as I know.

[00:38:03] Maybe when I tell him my plans, he’s laughing at me. But I’ve definitely have had to learn to sit a while and don’t be on such a hurry to read your Bible, do your chapter and your Bible, and then do your prayer list and leave. We need to sit and chew on Right. Use his word and actually wait to hear what I have to say to you.

[00:38:23] So, yeah, that’s good stuff.

[00:38:27] Naima Bush: Now I’m in a season now where I can’t linger. Very long because I got kids, I got a three year old who’s, what are you doing? What’s going on? And I know the Lord understands that. But yeah, they just going by my room. I don’t if heard, need to get in bed. That’s what they need to do.

[00:38:51] Diana Winkler: Super cute. And we wanna hear about your your music later before the podcast ends, but we all love a [00:39:00] good love story. So wanna hear about how you and John met, how you fell in love, and you mentioned that you struggled with singleness and that season of life. So that was a good love story.

[00:39:15] Naima Bush: This is a good love story. What wound up happening was, I went to Nashville. I moved to Nashville. The Lord said to me, Go to Nashville. I have something for you there. And I said, Okay. So I packed up and I went to Nashville, just packed up, left everything, and got an apartment and moved to Nashville and went to Indie Heaven and just started, going out downtown and going to writer’s nights and really getting involved in a lot of Christian activities and music ministry opportunities.

[00:39:47] And my husband says that he did a search. He was having a concert at his church. He was a gospel promoter. He was having a concert at his church. So he gospel, he Google, he put [00:40:00] in Google. Search for Christian artists. And my name came up first and I think that’s real weird that he would put that in Nashville and my name would come up first.

[00:40:09] I hadn’t lived in Nashville, but two months. And so I was like, after he told me that, I was like, I know that was the Lord. Because yep, there are thousands of people who live in Nashville who sing, who’ve been singing there for years. Oh, million. So , Why, why me? But anyhow, so he called me and he asked me to come and sing.

[00:40:30] And so I said yes. And so I went to the concert and I remember afterwards he was supposed to pay me and he couldn’t pay me because the kids had stolen the money. They had stolen the offering. The neighborhood kids had stolen the offering. and I didn’t get a meal. They had fed everybody. I didn’t get a meal because the church ladies didn’t wanna feed me.

[00:40:53] It was just crazy, and so I was leaving and he was like, I wanna thank you for, for [00:41:00] coming. So I’d like to take you out to eat. And I was like, And show you around town. And I was like, Show me around town. So I’ve been here for two months, I don’t need you to show me around town.

[00:41:08] Not thinking he was asking me on a date because I have been single for so long. I was clueless at that point. I was 30, 38. I was 38 cuz we got married when I was 39. So I was 38. And so I was like, What are you talking about? And he was like, I wanna take you out finally. He didn’t even say that.

[00:41:27] He just kept saying, I wanna thank you, I wanna take you to dinner or lunch and I wanna show you around town. And so I, he said, Can I call you sometime? And I said, Sure. I said, But I’m leaving for New York City. So you’ll have to wait to see me. This was in October. And I didn’t tell him that I would pack up my apartment in.

[00:41:45] November and not come back to Nashville until January. I would spend the entire Christmas season, holiday season at my parents’ house in New York because when you’re a full-time ministry, you can do that. I just went home to New York for eight weeks and so he was calling and I wasn’t [00:42:00] home cuz that’s when we had answer machines.

[00:42:02] And then finally he called and told me that his aunt had passed away. And so I called him back and I said, I’m sorry I didn’t speak to him, but I left him a message and then I got back, it was like late January cause my dad had retired so I had spent a little extra time in New York for his party.

[00:42:20] And so we got back, I got back to New York, to Nashville and. I called him to tell him I was back on Valentine’s Day, day before Valentine’s Day, and he was like, he I’m not calling her back because she just wants a date for Valentine’s Day. And so I was like, Whatever. So he called me like the day after Valentine’s Day and we went out and we went out three times.

[00:42:47] And on the third date he asked me what I wanted in life. And I told him, I want these things. I wanna be in ministry full time. I wanna have children, I wanna, I was just going. Going through this list. And I said, what do [00:43:00] you want? He said, I wanna look across the table from you in 30 years and say, Baby, let’s go see our grandchildren.

[00:43:06] And it floored me. I was like, What? And he was like, I’m gonna marry you and I’m gonna marry you before this year is out. And I was like, No, you ain’t stalker. That’s crazy. Cause you know, we had only known each other like we had been on three dates. And he was like determined. He was determined he was gonna marry me before the year was out.

[00:43:24] And I was like, Uhuh, I don’t think so. But he kept pursuing me and he kept taking me out. And then I told him he had to talk to these, the three men in my life. He had to talk to my dad, he had to talk to my brother and he had to talk to my God brother and if he could pass their test, then we could talk about marriage maybe.

[00:43:43] And he talked to all three of them and passed their tests and yeah, that’s a whole nother story. Interesting. Yeah. But then He asked me again to marry him, and I told him I wasn’t ready and I was praying about it, and the Lord shared with me, He laid [00:44:00] it on my heart that I shouldn’t be afraid because the man he was is not the man he was going to be.

[00:44:07] My husband has his own testimony, he’s been in prison. He, but he’s been he’s been out in the streets. He’s run the streets. He’s just been, he’s, he has his own testimony to share and it’s amazing how God is faithful to his word because he just got in the mail today, his MBA degree.

[00:44:27] So when I met him, he didn’t have any college degree, but he went to college, he went to undergrad, and then he got an MBA. And today we got the actual degree. And I was like, Wow, Lord. You said, the man that I married, Was not going to be the man that I wound up with. And so, and it wasn’t that he wasn’t good to me.

[00:44:46] He was great. He’s always been great. I’ve never felt more beautiful than I have with my husband. I know he loves me. I know he thinks I look good. He loves my stinky breath in the morning. He thinks I’m great. He tells me I’m beautiful all the time. He buys me [00:45:00] flowers. He just really is attentive to me.

[00:45:03] He takes care of me right now, especially because I’ve been so sick and yeah. But I see him developing as a man of God. I see him developing in terms of his prayer life. I see him developing in his own ministry. When we first got married, he didn’t have any of that. He didn’t have any education.

[00:45:22] He didn’t have any ministry, But now he does. And I see God moving in him. Now he wants the pastor. And so I’m just real excited for him and our future and yeah, that’s our love story. But we, Oh, we got married though. Let me tell you this. So I told him yes, finally I would marry him and then he flew to New York in May of that year.

[00:45:49] We had started dating in February of that year. In May. He flew to New York. He spoke to my dad and my dad was all, all on it. My dad was like, That’s fine. I like you. Which was [00:46:00] surprising to me cuz I thought my dad was gonna be like, no. And then we got married in September 5th. So what he said was true, he said he was gonna marry me before the year was out nine months.

[00:46:10] It took nine months. But I married him and I don’t regret it all.

[00:46:16] Diana Winkler: Amen. That is a great story. And he gives hope to those listening that those of us that have been through abuse and have, or relationships in the past, we feel like we’re never gonna find anybody good out there. But there are good guys out there.

[00:46:33] Everybody knows me and Brian’s story. He’s been on the podcast a few times, and we’ve told our story and we are just so grateful. The Lord bringing us together. And we’re not perfect, but we enjoy each other’s company. We don’t fight. We’ve, it’s taken so long for us to find each other that we don’t, never had a real fight in the 13 years of [00:47:00] marriage that we’ve had.

[00:47:00] And we serve the Lord together and we both have grown in different ways, just like you and John, Right. Brian’s not the same as he was when we met, and I’m not either. And There are good guys out there, there are good women out there. I have male listeners too. So,

[00:47:15] Naima Bush: Yeah, I would encourage people to wait on the Lord, don’t settle, don’t, and don’t think you can change somebody.

[00:47:20] That was my big thing, my husband had some quirks that I was like, Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I can get over this, because, he was from the streets. And so I was like, What am I supposed to do? And the Lord was like, Don’t try to change him. Don’t try to change anybody because all you will do is mess yourself up.

[00:47:39] You, you’ll be disappointed and you’ll be defeated and y’all will wind up breaking up. But if you go into it knowing that you can change ’em and you are willing to live with that. I always tell people, don’t, I told my brother this the other day, I said, Don’t marry the person that you can. How did I say it?

[00:47:58] Don’t marry the person you [00:48:00] can live with. Marry the person you can’t live without. Mmm. Because that’s what makes the difference. And so, and you pray about those quirks and you ask the Lord to fix you first and foremost. Yes. Before you ask the Lord to fix your husband or your wife. And you’ll find that you become more tolerant, that you change.

[00:48:18] And as you change and you’re more loving and you are more accepting, then you find that they begin to, they become more willing to change. . So that would be my advice

[00:48:27] in that area. Excellent advice. I’ve had to unlearn some of my behaviors from my first marriage, my abusive marriage and the Lord’s had to teach me.

[00:48:39] Diana Winkler: I think I have more flaws than my husband.

[00:48:42] Right. Brian is so funny and good natured, and we get along great. And I just, I made a few mistakes with blowing up in our beginning of our marriage. I’d react to certain things and I’m getting better. I’m not perfect. I’m definitely [00:49:00] getting better at it.

[00:49:00] Right. Amen. There’s hope. There’s hope for all of us with the Lord. Right. And I know we talked about a lot of stuff, and I know we only touched the surface. Give our listeners some closing advice before we hear your song. Recovering from an abusive relationship and coming out on the other side.

[00:49:27] Naima Bush: Okay. I would say that you are not what happened to you. You are and you are worth it. You may have made some choices, but it’s not your fault. And so give it to the Lord and leave it in the Lord’s hands. And I know it’s hard. I know we go back and we pick it up. I know it’s easy to beat ourselves up, but.

[00:49:47] I was reading in my devotionals, my you version devotional was saying, Whose thought is that? When you have a negative thought, whose thought is that? Is that your thought or is that the thought that the enemy has placed in your mind? [00:50:00] And so, if you think about it that way, whose thought is, am I thinking right now?

[00:50:03] Am I thinking God’s thoughts towards me? Am I thinking the devil’s thoughts towards me that really halt you? It’ll really stop you and make you think. What I need to do next. And so I would just encourage everyone to think that, whose thoughts are you thinking? Are you thinking God’s thoughts?

[00:50:20] Are you thinking the enemy’s thoughts? Don’t give the enemy any more power than he needs. I think we give the enemy more power than he even has because I think a lot of times he trains us to do things and then he walks away. And so we continue to act in that way because that’s what we know. That’s what we used to, That’s what our go back to.

[00:50:38] That’s why I think I gained my weight back because that was my go back to, I didn’t stop and say, Okay, Lord, how should I handle this? I need you to hold me. I need you to hold my heart because my heart is broken. And had I done that, I think I’d be in a different place. But even in that, I’m not gonna beat myself up because great is his mercy towards me.

[00:50:57] Great is his faithfulness towards me. And [00:51:00] all things work together for the good of them that love him according to his purpose. And I know I’m called according to his purpose. So, That’s what I would encourage everybody to know, that you are called to according to his purpose.

[00:51:15] Amen.

[00:51:16] Diana Winkler: You are such a blessing. Everything you said today was just like gold, and it was so worth the wait to have you on this show. Can you share your resources, how they can connect with you?

[00:51:29] Naima Bush: The best place to go is my website.

[00:51:31] It’s www.ministryofnaima.com. And Naima spelled n a i m a. That would be the best

[00:51:42] way. And everything’s right there. Yep. Everything, All my music, all my books, everything.

[00:51:49] Diana Winkler: So announce your song for us. What are we going to be listening to?

[00:51:54] Naima Bush: You’re gonna be listening to swept Away and was produced by Evan Sealing.

[00:51:59] [00:52:00] He’s amazing young producer outta Nashville. Yeah, he’s just great. He really pulled a lot of me out, so it’s called Swept Away.

[00:52:10] Diana Winkler: Amen. Thanks for coming on this show. So good to see you. Love you, sister.

[00:52:16] Naima Bush: You too. Love you too. Thank you for having me. I so appreciate it.

[00:52:22] Diana Winkler: So enjoy Naima’s song. God bless you all.