There are some times I'm getting ready to deliver a speech and I'm starting to get nervous. And, Lord, you know what, Lord, you sent me. And I just have to speak to you.
And as long as I speak the truth, then I'll be alright. That's Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears from Virginia sharing about how God guides her every day. And he's done so throughout her life, as you'll hear on today's Focus on the Family.
Your host is Focus President and author, Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. John, I had a great visit with the Lieutenant Governor at the state offices in Virginia. And Winsome Sears came into office last fall in a historic election. In fact, she is the first female Lieutenant Governor in the state and the first black female elected to statewide office. She is quite an impressive woman with a really interesting story.
But the most important thing in her life is her faith in Christ, and it comes out just about every time she gets a chance to talk. And you'll hear that as we discuss these things with her today. I think the listeners are really going to enjoy this. Yeah, I'm looking forward to hearing the conversation, Jim, along with our listeners and viewers. Here now, Jim Daly with Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears on Focus on the Family.
Lieutenant Governor, welcome to Focus on the Family. Thank you for having me. You never picture yourself talking with you, because I remember listening to Dr. Dobson and the other folks in the studio and just listening to the people. Your guests would just do something in me, and it was always such a blessing.
And now here I am doing that. I so appreciate that. That's the goal for us, you know, sharing people's stories, their lives, and it touches people's hearts. Today we're on your turf. We're here in Richmond, Virginia, and you have an amazing story. I'm so looking forward to spending a half hour with you and really unfolding that.
Let's start there. You were born in Jamaica. Yes, born in Kingston, Jamaica, the capital. And your mom and dad said, hey, we're going to go to the U.S. Describe that adventure. It probably felt like an adventure. How old were you when that decision was made, and how old were you when you got here to the U.S.?
So actually, Jamaica had gained independence in 1962 from England, but then my father decided to come August 11th of 1963 permanently, his first shot. And you know, you ask him, which I did, why would you come then? Because he came just 17 days before Martin Luther King Jr. gave his I Have a Dream speech. So it was the height of the civil rights movement, and I said to him, it was a bad time for us, and why would you ask to enter the country and go through the documentation to prove you are who you say you are, and the background checks and all that, and then you have to wait? And he said, because this is where the jobs and the opportunities were.
Ah, interesting. If I know the story right, and correct me if I'm wrong, I think he came with $1.75 in his pocket? Actually, he couldn't remember if it was $1.50 or $1.75, so I'm actually spotting him a quarter. I mean, that is courageous. Well, you know, when you're desperate and you want to find an opportunity, you will do what it takes, because he could not go home a failure. And he figured America for him was the promised land. Interesting. Isn't that amazing? Yes. And, you know, of course, his daughter grows up to become Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. Imagine that.
Say it this way, in the capital of the former Confederacy. Yeah. Yes. That's progress. That's absolute progress, and so that's why, when I was on the campaign trail, I said to people, listen, if we don't acknowledge that God has brought us a mighty long way, he might just take his hand off of us, and what do you do then?
Yeah, well said. I really appreciate that. Let me come back to the story, because it's so compelling.
I love it. You had a grandmother who loved you and was a believer, and she poured into your life. There are so many stories like that. Good old grandmothers who just take care of the family that way.
They have time. Describe her, though. Give me her attributes. She was a short woman, probably 5'1", but she seemed so big to me. And Mrs. Earle, she was a force to be reckoned with, and she was very political, but she had a kindness about her that we, as grandkids, we were very jealous, because we were thinking, doesn't anybody have grandmothers and fathers to help them?
Why does she have to help everybody? And when she came to America, she would buy shoes and clothes and bring them back for the kids. And I saw her one time. This man was high on marijuana in Jamaica.
His eyes are bloodshot, I mean, high out of his mind. And he had been that way for a long time, and she saw him and brought him home with us and gave him a place to stay, cleaned him up, found him a job, and got him into adult learning, yeah, so that he could be literate. What a great story. Her death really impacted you. How old were you when she died? I was 18, I had just turned 18, and I was living in America. She was living in America, but she had gone back home for maybe 10 years prior. And when I saw her June of that year, yeah, when I saw her June of that year, no, March, I saw her March, and she was fine, but she said to me, you're not going to see me alive anymore.
And I said, don't say that, there's nothing wrong with you. And she said, no, I don't think you will. Well, in the meantime, I came back to America because I was just visiting in Jamaica. Came back to America, went to my college, got my curriculum ready, my books ready, everything to start that August, but she died that July.
But I looked at her in the casket, and I thought, if the purpose of living is to die, then all the love she'd ever loved, what's the point of it? And I just went into a deep spiral, and I said to my mother, well, I'm just going to stay in Jamaica and die. And I meant it, and my mother said to me, well, if you're just going to stay here and die, I've got rules. That's pretty good.
You've got to come in by a certain time, you've got to do this by a certain time. And I said to myself, well, I'm going back to America because nobody tells me what to do in America, and I'm 18, you know. But then I happened to look on her table, coffee table, and she had a jet magazine. And I opened it up, and it fell to a page, and there were the Marines, the few, the proud, the Marines. And I said, that's it, I need some discipline.
And they will give me the discipline I need and the reason to live. So I came back to America, joined the Marine Corps. Wow.
I mean, that was a big decision for you at that age of 18. Ah, yes. Where were you at spiritually? Did her death make that kind of spiritual impact on you? Or where did God start to say, hey, Winston, remember me? Well, you know, I was saved when I was 12. Right.
And I remember that day so clearly. It was a visiting Sunday school teacher in Jamaica who did that for me because he talked about Jesus in a way I'd never heard before. And, you know, I'm in church pretty much my whole life.
Right. And this visiting minister, I suddenly hear the Gospel for the first time. And what happens, I say to him, after everybody is dismissed, I ask him, tell me more about this man because I just want to know, why would somebody die for someone they don't know?
I wouldn't die for anybody, and what kind of love makes you do that? So I accepted him. I had to. He loved me like that. But then nobody in my family really lived that way.
You know, we'd see our grandmother kneeling by the bed with the sheet over her head like a tent, but nobody really lived that way. And so, you know, it didn't last very long. But there was a part of me that always knew certain things were right and certain things were wrong. I did the wrong things anyway.
Her death didn't help it. It's a good reminder where, you know, Scripture says, any person that's given to him that he has in his hand, he will not lose. And even as a child, making that commitment and how he kept wooing you. Now, I can tell you, I could feel him hounding me. But I wasn't ready yet, you know. Maybe if I had been discipled, then maybe I'm not. And I wasn't discipled, actually, until I had three children. I was, what, 25?
Right. And it was the Lord who one day, my youngest daughter, she was one year old at the time, and it was Sunday. She was standing at the door of the storm, the storm door, and I saw the sun just shining right through her.
And it's like a voice said to me, she's going to grow up not knowing me, and she's going to blame you. And I said to myself, oh, no, she's not. And I found a church. I lickety split. I was looking for church here, church there, and then I finally found a church, and I was discipled.
Yeah. What a great story. Now, moving toward politics. So what age were you? You said your grandmother was involved in politics.
So when did you have an interest in? Well, Jamaicans are very heavily into politics. I don't know why. This is how we are. And do you know that that prime minister destroyed Jamaica's economy? It took about a whole generation, 40 years, for it to come back. And they voted him back in, but only after he apologized for destroying Jamaica. Boy, you know, you think of the things going on today, and now you're the lieutenant governor.
And, you know, it's important for people who can be to be active and to pursue, I think, holy things in that arena. You know, this communism stuff, this socialism stuff, it doesn't work. Yeah, so why are we continuing to try it? I don't know.
If I knew that, you know, I'd be gone. Right. I mean, it's like we're the last ones on earth to try it. To try it, but actually we did try it.
We tried it back in the early 1600s when we first came, remember? Yeah. And the concept that some people work harder than some and everybody reaps the benefits, it's not fair. Winston, one of the things that I've noticed in your leadership and your life experience, and I identify with this, difficulty has a way of shaping you. And I think oftentimes in a good way it gives you character.
It's kind of what Paul says, that suffering leads to, you know, eventually leads to perseverance and hope and faith. And in that context, your daughter had a tragic accident. You lost your daughter. Yeah, but I mean, I'd rather not go through those experiences, but apparently the Lord knows best.
How, describe the circumstances of that. How old was she when she passed? She was, and I try, it's not that I'm even trying not to remember.
I think the Lord has given me a certain amount of grace so that I don't recall too much. But she was about 25, 26 when she died, and the Lord made sure to say to me she didn't die, you know, because I would say when she passed away, passed away to where? When she left, left where?
He would say to me, finish the sentence. So she was bipolar, and she stopped taking her medication. And the funny thing is, though, that about a month before they left for heaven... Your two granddaughters went to that accident. My two granddaughters, yeah. Faith was the youngest granddaughter.
She was five. And she would say, grandma, we're going to get a big house. Jesus is going to give us a big house. And I kept wondering, what is this big house? And finally, my daughter dropped them off one night for Bible study, and Faith was praying, and she said, thank you, Jesus, for the big house. And when I heard that, I said, okay, they're moving, and Dijon, my daughter, hasn't told us where she's going. And Faith was drawing the big houses, and I said to my daughter when she came the next day, where are you guys moving to? Faith says you're going to have a big house. And she said, I don't know what she's talking about. I said, she says Jesus is going to give you all a big house.
Where are you going? Well, I know now that my granddaughter, five years old, she didn't know the word mansion. She meant mansion, but instead she kept saying big house. And the day before they left, she had asked a question of me. She was sitting on my right leg, my hip, and I don't know to this day what the question was, because I just remember after she asked the question, a voice filled the room and said, what are you going to do if she dies? And so I just studied her face. I studied the nose, the curvature of her eyes.
I just studied her because what the voice said, and the next day, the next day they were gone on home, all three of them. In an auto accident. In an auto accident because.
Winsome, that's not something we just pass by. That's an incredible experience. No, but the Lord knew that it would have devastated me that he and I have this wonderful relationship where he talks to me about so many things, but this he kept from me. And, you know, three months after their funeral, by the way, I was collapsing everywhere. It just, you know, yeah, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh, and I remembered all that, but I'm human. And if Jesus can cry, then I can cry too.
Again, I connect with that difficulty in that you learn so much. I know so many people, I'm sure you do too, that they don't have deep suffering. And sometimes in those people, you see that.
They're very superficial. Or they walk away. They walk away from the Lord. And that almost happened to me because I remember, you know, just grieving so hard.
Yes, I know the Lord. Your two granddaughters. And it's not as if they had cancer, you know, where I had time to say goodbye. It was just a knock on the door that your daughter is dead, your granddaughter is dead, and your other daughter, granddaughter is on life support. But because he had spoken to me, and he kept speaking to me actually throughout that time, for example, that night when we went home after we took the other granddaughter off life support, and, you know, maybe we had two hours of Shaddai, and I awakened the next morning, and I thought, well, what am I going to do?
What do I do now? I wasn't talking to the Lord. But he said to me, get up, get dressed, and focus on the children you have remaining. And he just kept going, and then finally he said, what do you have here on earth that's better than heaven? And then he repeated it again, what do you have here on earth that's better than heaven?
And then he was gone. That's so true. It's hard, though.
It's hard to process all of that. But how amazing that the Lord gave you that crystal question. Crystal clear.
Very clear. Come on, heaven's going to be far better than this earth. It's a great reminder for all of us to think about.
And see, if the Lord is wrong in taking my children, then where do I go after that? Boy, that's the ultimate trust. Either he's right or he's wrong.
Right, and his timing's his timing. Boy, that really strikes me, because I lost a friend late yesterday. And so even what we're talking about is resonating with me. I hate to make this shift, but our time is kind of limited, and I want to talk about your role in politics and where you're at and what you see. I think the first time we met, I walked through the door right there. We met in this room, and you said, hi, I'm a white supremacist.
That's the first thing you said to me, and I was like, what? But talk to that issue of bigotry that occurs for you, because you're a black conservative woman. I like to say I'm a black Christian woman.
That's even better. Or I'm a Christian who just happens to be black and a woman. The thing about all of that is there are certain people who derive their power from keeping us at each other's throats, and because I destroy that narrative that black people are victims and they can't be, then they come after me because they must, because if they don't, then it means that I'm helping to foster independence, and other black people, immigrants, women, will look at me and say, well, if Winston can do it, I can do it too, and in fact, that's what's happening. And so I'm threatening their power.
But it's not me they're fighting. It's the Lord, because I never wanted to be lieutenant governor. This was the Lord's idea. This is really critical, because so often our passions kind of spill over, and we as Christians can kind of lean into our flesh and fight this battle with worldly tools. I'm constantly battling that myself. Being able to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, goodness, mercy, they're not effective worldly tools, but God uses those tools to change a heart, doesn't he?
He does. Sometimes I'm getting ready to deliver a speech, and I'm starting to get nervous, and I say, Lord, you know what, Lord, you sent me, and I just have to speak to you. And as long as I speak the truth, then I'll be all right. I just view my life differently, and it's been a long way for me to come that finally I understand that everything that I do is going to burn up, except the good, and it has to be the good that God wants. I'd hate to get to heaven, and it turns out that I did something good, but there was something better that he wanted. And as Moses said, Lord, if you're not going, don't send me. And that's what I, Lord, if what I say in my speech, if you don't hear, if you're not listening, then I have wasted my time. If you don't approve of what I'm about to say, I have wasted my time.
It just doesn't matter. What an amazing place to start, to put that in your thought before you speak. We'd be a far better nation if everybody, no matter the vocation, did that. I'm not always good about that, because I've got some zingers, and I've got some really good things, and the Lord says to me, and what do you do after that? After you say that, then what?
That's wisdom. Let me ask you specifically with Virginia, because there was a wave here, people that were really upset about schools, what schools were teaching. That was something that the national media picked up on, and Governor Glenn Yonkin came in under that. You as lieutenant governor came in, and I believe even the district attorney. The attorney general, yes, we were all of the same mind. We run separately. The governor doesn't choose his running mate and neither. So we all were singing from the same hymnal, if you will.
Which is amazing. So when you look at that, and you look at the theme that education played in Virginia, what was happening there, and why did it catch fire in Loudoun County and across the state? Well, I'm the former vice president of the State Board of Education here in Virginia, and I know where to look for the scores, and so it has gone downhill even since I was in that position, and the problem is our children aren't learning, and COVID really allowed parents to see that, because now their children are sitting before televisions. Yes, sometimes the television screen or the computer screen, and they're seeing the curriculum, the schoolwork come up, and they're realizing that doesn't make any sense, and why are they teaching them this about this kind of race and that kind of race? There's a way to teach about history in terms of not demoralizing the children, but this is not the way that they were teaching it. Everything was about racism, and if everything is racism, then nothing is racism, and you cheapen those true times when people are genuinely hurt by racism, and we have a saying in church, and it's I may not be what I'm supposed to be, but I ain't what I used to be, and that's America. In fits and starts, she's getting there. She may not be what she's supposed to be, but she certainly ain't what she used to be. Otherwise, I couldn't be here. Right, and your election was historic as the first African-American woman.
Well, the first woman, period, to be elected. Well, that's another one, then. That's great. That's beautiful. Okay, so you made history.
Well, that's one day. Now you have to govern, yeah. The Lord is saying, so what? Now you have to govern, and how are you going to govern?
Are you going to be righteous, or are you going to join everybody else? You know, let's touch on that for a moment, because with the Supreme Court on the issue of life, the Dobbs case, again, a disproportionately impacted group is African-American children. They die at a much higher rate through abortion, and yet it's almost like Planned Parenthood's founder, Margaret Sanger, has achieved her vision, which was for minority babies to be targeted. And yet we sit back, and we don't even recognize that, speak to that issue of life and death through abortion and what the country's battle is all about today. You know, unfortunately, black mothers are aborting their babies in unheard of numbers, you know, what, 50, 60 percent, when we are only, what, 13 percent of the population?
Right. It's just the KKK could not have been more pleased. Wow, that's such a heavy statement. To bring it home, if I were to say I'm going to try to make it law that only black women could have abortions, only black women, suddenly we would say to ourselves, wait a minute, that means only black babies are going to die. Why don't they want black babies to be born? You see, so we can see that there is a wickedness about that.
And unfortunately, we're not listening and we're allowing that to happen, and I don't know, I can't explain it, except we do have to pray that the Lord removes the veil from their eyes, and He has, but people are deliberately making the decision, and they're very proud of making the decision to abort their children. We have to make a decision. Either life is life or it's not. I mean, what is the mother having? Is it a lizard?
Of course not. That's a baby. And this thing struck me where the Lord really brought this passage home to me, Psalm 139, where David says, you saw my unformed body, and I thought, wait a minute, unformed, unformed. How did David know that there was not a little tiny baby there that would eventually grow and grow and grow to the size that it was? How did he know that there was nothing there? And it was because, of course, the Lord told him, because we didn't know that until the electron microscope showed us what that looked like, and then He said in that same chapter that you knit me together in my mother's womb, and when you look at the cytoplast as it's dividing, as the cells are dividing, that's what it looks like.
They're knitting together. Interesting. And you couldn't know that again until you had this powerful microscope. Yeah.
Well, this has been terrific, and I think people hearing that, they go, wow, when's she running for president? Oh, no, I can't remember. I wasn't born here. That's right, you're from Jamaica.
That's not Jamaica. Well, listen, you're doing a great job. Yes. Again, I just love the discussion of how to blend being active in the political sphere with your Christian commitment, and you've done it so well, and we'll be asking people to pray for you and just let the Lord use you in such a beautiful way. And Christians all over in politics need it because it's a very sometimes lonely road, and the other side, they don't quit, and we can't quit either because we know that we are on the side of right, and we are going to be held accountable, and thankfully we have a God of love who helps us. Amen. I'm so glad you've been able to sit with us on Focus on the Family when you used to listen for all these years. Thank you. Great to have you. Have the cassettes still.
Give them away. Good to be with you. Thank you. Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears on Focus on the Family from a recent conversation recorded in Virginia, and there was a lot of fun and energy in that, Jim. Boy, she brings the energy, John, and it was a very good visit. I so appreciate her love for focus and her strong convictions to do what's right. Wouldn't it be great if more people in government had that as a goal?
Let's do what's right. I also appreciated her eternal perspective, reminding us that life here is short, but we need to remember that we're going to something, right? For those who know the Lord, we have so much to look forward to in Heaven and with Christ for eternity.
That's amazing. You know, we finished the discussion by talking about pro-life issues, and I want to give you an opportunity to do something really great on behalf of preborn babies through Option Ultrasound. And the program provides ultrasound machines and training for pregnancy centers and allows for women to see a high-definition image of their child in the womb. Fifty-six percent of abortion-minded women decide to keep their baby after seeing their sonogram and receiving counseling. So your gift of $60 today will save a baby's life, so I encourage you to call us and donate now.
Now is the time to seize this very pro-life moment in our culture. Call and donate. Our number is 800, the letter A in the word family, or stop by the show notes, and you'll find the links right there. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. To learn more, go to FocusOnTheFamily.com and click on Seize Your Moment. That's FocusOnTheFamily.com slash Seize Your Moment.
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