Having faith in His plan
You don’t have to chase opportunities; if it’s meant for you, God will open a door at the right time.
Such has proven true for Patrina “Power Girl” Paynter.
The 41-year-old got her first taste of the public spotlight as a young girl singing gospel music with her mother Pat O’Connor.
Now a radio host and the managing director of local charity Big Brothers Big Sisters, watch her tonight as emcee of Gospel v Cancer, a concert featuring singing duo Last Call.
Mrs Paynter said: “I accepted Jesus into my life at an early age and one thing He’s taught me over the years is that when God has a purpose and plan for your life, things do fall into place.
“God’s plan for my life has been beyond my wildest dreams. Last year, I was recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List and my first thought was: ‘Why me?’ I felt so undeserving. It wasn’t something I had ever set out to attain, but here it was this amazing opportunity and testimony to God’s grace in my life.
“Then that same year I was nominated as the Most Fascinating Person of Bermuda for 2016. I was in shock! I didn’t ask for nor expect this honour. I was just walking in the path that God had for me and being authentic to who I am.”
Being confident wasn’t always easy.
At Berkeley Institute, she struggled to fit in and fell into the trap of trying too hard to be part of the crowd.
“I got tired of being the odd one out so I started trying to fit in and became someone I wasn’t,” she said.
“I was doing things like hiking up my skirt an inch or two, flirting with guys and not doing my school work. So in my third year I ended up having to stay back. I wanted to switch schools but my mom kept me at Berkeley, which was humiliating.
“This forced me to re-evaluate my actions and realise that trying to fit in was not going to get me ahead in life. I had to get real and honest about who I believed God had created me to be. I also had to stop being concerned about everybody else.”
She turned things around by getting involved with groups such as the Leo Club, Keep Bermuda Beautiful and the student council.
“It was then I started focusing on my community service activities and really giving back,” she said. “That’s when I started emceeing and stepping more into my ‘calling’, which at first wasn’t my comfort zone.”
Even with that boost she continued to struggle, often feeling that in order to be successful she had to look or act a certain way.
“For so much of my life I felt so insecure, like I truly didn’t fit in,” Mrs Paynter said. “I wanted people to like me and it hurt to know that they were still talking about me behind my back after all these years. Over time God has shown that the purpose and plan he has for my life far outweighs the opinions of others.
“There have been positions that I didn’t get and I’ve been told ‘no’ on many occasions. I have seen other people get opportunities that I wanted and I’d say, ‘God, I thought that was meant for me’. However God had other plans. And to be honest, his plans are way better than any plans that we have for ourselves.”
One of those moments was in 2008 when she was looking to leave banking and chart a new career path.
Mrs Paynter applied for a dream job, one she felt confident she would get, but wasn’t able to express herself well during the interview.
“I left the interview feeling very upset, like a complete failure, but God said, ‘Look up, wipe your tears. That’s not where you need to be’,” she said.
“To be honest, I questioned God on this one because I really believed that job was made for me. But I had to trust him.
“Not too long after that someone came into the office and said, ‘Patrina, have you seen this advertisement for Big Brothers Big Sisters?’ I had always wanted a job where I could give back and do something that was helping the youth of Bermuda so when they called me in for the interview I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘Are you serious?’”
Although enthusiastic about the job, she was terrified the interview would mimic the one a few months before.
“I didn’t think it would work out,” she said. “I didn’t feel like the most qualified person for the job and had never worked for a non-profit before. But Big Brothers Big Sisters obviously saw something in me. That’s when I realised what God has for you, is for you. It was a real lesson in trust.”
Mrs Paynter is excited that tonight’s concert will showcase talented young men proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“I love Adrian [Jones] and Tricray [Astwood] and their music,” she said. “I’m really excited to be a part of their concert and encourage everyone to come out and receive a blessing.
“Another reason I really wanted to be a part of this concert is because it is raising funds for Bermuda Cancer & Health.
“My mother and brother are both cancer survivors so this hits close to home for me. The title of their concert, Gospel v Cancer, is very powerful and resonates with me as I believe that God is a healer.”
• The 6.30pm concert takes place in the courtyard at CedarBridge Academy. Tickets, $35, are available at the door. Big Snipes, Toni Robinson and the Southampton SDA Inspirational Choir will also perform. Proceeds will go to the Bermuda Cancer & Health Centre’s Equal Access Fund
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