Substance & Style: A Conversation with Dr. Medina Pullings

As host of Medina Pullings Live [now broadcasting on The Word Network], the international speaker, pastor, wife, and mom of 5 strikes just the right balance between the heavenly and the earthly good. Here, in a recent interview, Dr. Pullings talks about life lessons learned on her unlikely journey.

Tell us about early Medina. How did she come to know Jesus? What was her turning point?

  I was a teenager living in the Bronx River Projects in New York—notably, one of the worst. My mom raised us six children on welfare as a single parent. Dad was on drugs and I thank God today that’s no longer the case, but back then he wasn’t with us. It was very challenging. And though, it wasn’t as if everything was terrible [I had a host of aunts and uncles and a grandmother that lived in Queens], my soul was unsatisfied. There was this longing…something was missing.

 Fast forward to my introduction to the Lord. Accepting Him into my life made a huge difference. And while it didn’t make a big difference in my location, it made a huge difference in my internal location. I hadn’t just picked up and moved out, but there was a change. I can remember vividly walking down the block feeling like Mary Poppins! That joy like a river? That’s real!

And so, I started going to barbershops and train stations where I would testify between stops. People would get saved in between those train stops and they would pray the sinner’s prayer—though there were times I would get cussed out too [she laughs]. I was so happy to get cussed out for Jesus, it wouldn’t even bother me. Like I said, it wasn’t like I moved from my environment right away, or like my living circumstances were any different. Whether I was living in the Bronx or Queens, NY, there were always challenges, but my spiritual location had certainly changed.

 There is a place in God that has nothing to do with your location. And I’m so glad I was able to grasp that early on. Oftentimes we tell ourselves, “When I get out of this, I’ll have peace,” or “When I get out of this, then I can breath.” But no! You can have joy today. And that’s the part of the message that we need to share with people. Yes, God will bless us abundantly, and I thank God for that, but, you don’t have to wait until that happens. There is a place in God where you can be satisfied today. Have joy, today. Have peace, today. Right in the midst of it.

Did you always know that you had the capacity to accomplish this much?

 Absolutely not! I was terrified to preach! Right after getting saved and being baptized with the infilling of the Holy Ghost, I just remember being so thankful for this new place, this new peace, this new joy that I just wanted to do something for God. Like I wanted to clean up, I wanted to vacuum, I wanted to do something like that [she laughs]. And I said, “Lord,” (this was my exact prayer), “I’ll do anything but preach because that’s for the special people.” Back then, I didn’t have that understanding that the qualifications come through Jesus, and that it’s His blood which makes us righteous. I totally did not believe that I had the capacity at all to preach. And then, when you talk about being married to a preacher! This whole lifestyle, I just couldn’t imagine it! I even remember how after I started ministering, how I would stand on the front of the train platform and look out at a distance, and say to God, “Lord, would you allow me to preach that far?” And while I know that was poor grammar, in my mind, I thought of maybe ministering at a different borough, maybe like Jersey.

 It was not until years later as I was landing in another country, that the Holy Spirit brought back to me, “Remember that question you asked me?” And then He said, “Every time you land in a different place, I’m answering that question. I will take you around the world to share my Gospel.”

 I’ve discovered these things by being in His presence. The more we discover who Christ is, the more we discover ourselves. Our life is hidden in Him, and the way to find out who we are is to enter and focus on Him. Then He starts revealing things that are beyond what we can imagine. And you are entrusted to believe what He just showed you—because He is only showing you what’s already done [in Him].

How do you balance all that you do? 

  I don’t believe in balance, because all things are not equal. I believe in prioritizing because guess what, if you try to balance you are not going to succeed. You cannot give everything equal attention that is under your stewardship. So the bigger question becomes, what is God saying in this season? And sometimes depending on the season, you’ve got to bring something from the back, and pull it to the front and give it more attention because this is what the Lord is saying. It’s choosing the ‘God is saying thing’ rather than the ‘good thing,’ because even if there’s a lot of good things to do [and I have been guilty of this] then the God thing will suffer.

In what special way do you stay connected to family?

 When I first got married and we had the church, big doors started opening up for me to go and travel—but I was not quite that enthused, because I’m more of a let me go into the neighborhood and knock on doors kind of girl. I can’t say I wasn’t warned though. One day while in prayer, God spoke to me and said, “Ready or not,” and He was dealing with me, knowing that I was not really looking forward to that. In my circles, I hadn’t seen many female ministers who were doing all three (being wives, mothers and ministers), and I wouldn’t recommend this unless God really called you to it. Because if He calls you, there is grace for it. There is no way that I could function and be in my right mind—with this amount of responsibility—without the grace to do it. It’s all in His power and His strength. And you learn as you go, that it’s all about quality. I have a trigger word, and when I come into the presence of my husband and kids, 

I mentally tell myself the word “priority.” Because remember, they are my first ministry. By that, I’m saying to myself, all that you are thinking about, and all that you are working on you need to readjust right now because it’s about them, and it’s about the time that we spend together.

In your personal arsenal for making things work, what is your greatest tool and why?

That would be prayer. If I don’t have alone time with God, you won’t like me. Prayer is my center. Sometimes I hear people say, “Oh, I got to go to the spa,” or “I got to go do this,” and that’s all good stuff—but I could go to the spa and still be crazy [she laughs]. I’ve got to have uninterrupted alone time with God because there I get centered, and I function from there. If I don’t have that, everything is thrown off. A personal love relationship with Jesus is the center of my life. Yes, you can take your prayer closet with you and talk to God all throughout the day and you should always pray, but it is not the same as when you are not answering the phone and you are not working on something else at the same time. There has to be a time with God that is uninterrupted.

Please tell us about Medina Live, your new show.

 I’m so excited about it! It’s a live show that is both spiritual and practical. I find that we get these prophetic words and we say to ourselves ok, what do I do next?  And so, with this show, I wanted to inspire people to believe what God has revealed to them, get closer to Him, and then learn practical ways to walk out what God has called them to do. We have singers and various guests who have overcome all sorts of situations come on and let our viewers know, that they
too can overcome.

Could you tell us about an important life lesson you’ve learned in your journey?

 When my grandmother passed away I was devastated. And while I saw how God tried to help me, I was determined to be extreme, and ended up in what you could describe as a bottomless pit—and I couldn’t get myself out. I learned through that situation to never ever allow anything to take the peace and the comfort that God gives. It was through that situation that my value for peace skyrocketed. We have been through some crazy things—but I’ve had the peace of God through it all because of the lesson of the bottomless pit.

What piece of advice would you give the younger women trying to become better wives and mothers?

  I would tell them to guard and protect their personal relationship with the Lord because it is first. From that place, everything that needs to be done and everything you are called to do will be done. You have the ultimate life coach who is the Holy Spirit living inside of you. So don’t look outward to figure out who you are, but look within and allow God to show you who you are and who he has called you to be.

There are so many things around that will try to lock you into boxes or religious systems of what people think you should do. Recently, I had the privilege of ministering to nearly 100 female pastors and one of the things I was sharing with them was that you don’t have to preach unless God has called you to. Don’t allow the pressure of what people think you should do, make you go down the road that was not created for you. And so, live from within. The kingdom of God is within you. And your best life ever is in Christ. It is a beautiful amazing journey so don’t allow the enemy to steal the joy of the journey, because he will take that same prophetic word God gave you and choke you with it in a season of contradiction [or testing]. So enjoy the journey. You’ll get there!

Whatever God has told you is already done. It’s going to happen, but don’t forget to enjoy the journey. Don’t compete with other people. Don’t look at what’s going on in social media, because no one is posting their worst day. Don’t allow other people’s photos and posts to get you off your post. Your post is to be centered in Christ, and from there you will exist and impact the world. 

 As told to  J.C Manigault 

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