Suicidal thoughts, feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem don’t generally make for popular brunch topics or dinner conversation. But Tamisa Hunter, Founder of Women Like Us, Inc. has used difficult but familiar subjects to found a ministry which seeks to deliver women from all of the negativity that threatens to destroy their lives.
It can be easy to see Tamisa as a successful wife, mother and businesswoman, but totally miss the struggles that have brought her to this point. She deals daily with the mental and physical effects that remain from her Paris, Texas upbringing.
“My mother didn’t want me, she said I shouldn’t be here,” Tamisa confessed, “and my father wouldn’t claim me.” The memories from those early years hurt nearly as much today as they did in her childhood. “When your parents don’t want you, you search for love in any place you can get it.”
Towards the end of her high school years, Tamisa became an easy target for a local drug dealer who showed her token affection. “As warped as my mind was, it was the first time that I felt like someone loved me.”
But he didn’t. The abuse started almost immediately. It was frequent. It was violent. It was painful. “He hit me with anything he could get his hands on,” Tamisa said, recalling the physical abuse she endured.
One day he hit her across the face with a two by four. Another day he pulled a branch off of a tree and struck her in the back of the head. “These scars you see on my body are the result of that one relationship.”
After years of abuse and close calls with the law, Tamisa knew she needed to leave but could never manage to see it through. She asked God to intervene and a strength came over her that she had never felt before.
Tamisa finally broke free and spent the next eight months living with her mother. During that time she found the love she had been searching for: love from God, love from herself and love from her husband Jonathan whom she met and has been with for nearly 25 years.
She and her husband moved to Dallas in the late 90’s and Tamisa started working in fast food before eventually finding a career in the telecommunications and financial services industries. The entrepreneurial bug hit in 2011 when she started the plus sized clothing line J’Niche. The tag line for the company was ‘Be You, Be Audacious, Be Bold.’
When she started hosting casting calls seeking ladies who could help promote her new brand, Tamisa noticed something strangely familiar about the models who showed up. “The girls had so many issues,” Tamisa said. “How can you represent someone’s brand when you can’t even represent yourself?”
Rehearsals turned into ministry sessions. It was as though she was looking in the mirror. The models at J’Niche were dealing with the same challenges Tamisa had been delivered from years before. “God put those women in my life so I could help them, so I did,” she recalls.
Tamisa was led to initiate a series of empowerment workshops which laid the foundation for her nonprofit ‘Women Like Us, Inc.’ The organization has grown into a place for women to share their struggles, overcome barriers and create the future life they are destined to live. This happens through bible studies, brunch sessions, vision board parties, prayer calls and girls night out events.
This August, Women Like Us, Inc. will deliver a powerful event that has been in Tamisa’s heart for a number of years. The Unmasking Conference will take place in Dallas and will allow women to discover God’s truth for their lives.
The one day conference will allow ladies to hear from inspiring speakers, enjoy an exclusive performance by gospel recording artist James Fortune, and be empowered through sessions and fellowship with other sisters. “My prayer is that women from across Dallas-Ft. Worth will join us in taking off our masks and basking in the glory of our true selves.”
The Unmasking Conference, August 10th starting at 10am at Vouv Event Center in Dallas. For more information visit www.womenlikeusinc.org.