Black Girls with Purpose Feature: Kellee Dawkins

Kellee Dawkins is from Oak Cliff, Texas and currently lives in West Dallas with her husband of two years, Dave. Kellee received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Texas where she focused on Women’s Studies. After graduation, Kellee decided to go into nonprofit work and help individuals with social disabilities. From there, she went on to graduate school and received her Master’s in Public Administration, with the expectation that one day she might be the director of a nonprofit.

She currently serves the Director of Communications and Events at Mercy Street church in Dallas, is the co-owner of Fight for Joy, a wedding and event planning business her and Dave started.

BGWP: Tell us how you got into the event planning business and how you and your husband started Fight for Joy with Us.

Kellee: During my first year out of college – I started helping a friend plan a wedding. She was just a coworker at the time. There were 400 people in attendance and we were there for 12 hours. I walked away and the bride and groom were so pleased and I remember thinking to myself “I could do this. People could pay me to do this.” So while I was in grad school I decided I would pursue event planning. I felt like the Lord called me to do it because it worked in my gifts.

Fast forward to the first year of [me and Dave’s] marriage and we asked ourselves “How can we be on mission together?” At the time my husband was an Art Director at a nonprofit. We took his graphic design background and my event planning background and created Fight for Joy with Us.

Our focus is to see couples and singles alike fighting for joy in the Lord, in their marriage and for the benefit of others.

BGWP: Because you’re in the wedding planning business before we start talking about purpose I must ask, do you have any general relationship tips for our readers? 

Kellee: While you’re single – Live your life as if you may never get married, you will not regret it. Don’t say no to God because you think you have a better understanding of your life than He does.

If God does send someone then thank the Lord but if not you won’t have lost anything for being single or living for the Lord.

While He designed marriage as a wonderful tool to advance his kingdom, not everyone is meant to be married. Being single gives you the opportunity to pursue different things that the woman who is married can’t pursue.

Marriage is not an accomplishment but it is a worthy endeavor. That’s what we’re trying to show in Fight for Joy. Not just to create a beautiful wedding day but a beautiful marriage as you focus on the One who brought you two together.

While dating – it’s good to be intentional. I think the thing so many women get hooked on is the “ideal”. IF the man who is pursuing you cannot make it known then he’s not the guy for you. Pursue the things God has told you to pursue.

In marriage – Be ready for challenges. My husband and I are total opposites. Two different backgrounds in how we were raised. What we value, what our families value. The Lord keeps us together because we’re so different. If you grew up spending money left and right and your husband didn’t that’s going to be a challenge. It seems like a common sense thing but we married and realized “man we’re not the same person.”

Be married and invite people into that. I was a whole being prior to this relationship and I will continue to be. Inviting others in allows them to see what marriage looks like and it helps them decide – they can say “this is or is not for me.”

BGWP: What does it mean to you to be a black girl with purpose?

Kellee: I’ve been toying with this idea since [a friend] introduced me to Black Girls with Purpose and I think all of God’s children are called to a purpose and really it’s to live in His truth. It’s understanding you’re saved through Christ alone and whatever you’re doing in your life should be a testament to that. Whatever work you’re in should be a reflection of that.

BGWP: When did you feel like you realized your purpose or first got a glimpse of what your purpose is?

Kellee: When I was studying Sociology and Women’s Studies in undergrad. [It] really opened my eyes to the plight of women and showed me to find different ways to empower them.

At the time I didn’t have a Christ perspective but I knew something was being formed and shaped in me. As the Lord continued to pursue me those things did not go away – I just developed a theology about what it meant to be a woman. Those things have developed over time.

You could say that women’s empowerment was part of the motivation of the #andme campaign Kellee and Dave launched last year in their business. The couple used a T-shirt design highlighting profound women of the Bible to encourage women to reflect on the very unique ways they fit into the lineage of Christ.

Kellee: I’d seen similar t-shirt concepts but they all had celebrities on them. I remember talking to my husband and thinking “how powerful would it be for us to feature women of the bible” then he added “and me.”

The shirt has been really popular in helping women understand they too are a part of the lineage of Christ. It changes the way you live your life when you know you’re [his daughter.]

BGWP: What is the hardest part about walking in your purpose?

Kellee: Believing lies makes it difficult. That’s a reality that reads true for men and women. I’ve true of the mind that Satan is finding the ins and outs of believing what is not true about them and what is not true of God. Having that understanding of God is reminds of us of who we are. He tells us that there are lesser pleasures that will satisfy.

BGWP: What’s your go to scripture when you find yourself lacking direction?

Kellee: Any scripture that points me to the character of God because then I don’t have to look inward. I can look upward.

Isaiah 40:28-31 – Have you not known? Have you not heard? That the Lord, the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the Earth faints not, neither grows weary. There is no searching of His understanding. He gives power to the faint and to them who have no might He increases strength. Even the youth will faint and be weary and the young men will stumble and fall but they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings as eagles. They will run and not be weary and they will walk and not faint. 

[When I read that scripture, it helps me remember that] I’ve got this minuscule problem and I serve a God that has all the answers. It’s a great reminder. Takes the focus away from me and my ability to problem solve everything.

BGWP: This month’s theme is all about endurance – how do you push through when you feel like you’ve hit a wall in your business? In life in general?

Kellee: I like to talk things through. I’m guilty of not going to God first all the time but I do try to have conversations with people who have God’s ear and challenge me to think beyond myself.

Worship is also a big piece of it for me. It’s me saying “I’ve come to the end of myself and I don’t know what else to do.” So I’ll put on a playlist, close the door and have at it. Those are probably the most memorable times in my life – [laying] prostrate before the Lord and saying I can’t do it anymore. I’m going to leave this at your feet. Just reflecting and thinking “man I have limitations but my Dad does not.”

Stay connected with Kellee and Dave by following their business page on Instagram

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About Brie Daniels

Author of The Black Girl's Guide to Living on Purpose and Executive Director of Black Girls with Purpose.