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Debbye Turner Bell

Source: Provided by Debbye Turner Bell / Debbye Turner Bell

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Today we welcomed veterinarian and an award-winning journalist and author Debbye Turner Bell to the Get Up Church. The winner of the 1990 Miss America Pageant just released a new book “Courageous Faith,” now available wherever you get your favorite books and she gives Erica and GRIFF the details.


Listen to the interview below:
Read the interview below:

Debbye Turner Bell: Good morning to you, Erica Campbell. Thank you so much for having me on. Good morning GRIFF.

GRIFF: Morning. Morning. Morning.

EC: Absolutely. Awesome to have you with us today. Now, listen, you were crowned as the third African American woman to win the Miss America crown. What was that experience like?

DTB: Oh, my goodness, it was surreal. And it was so long ago. It almost feels like a dream. But it was, it was, in many real ways a dream come true that most people thought would not happen. I was told that I could never be Miss America, after Vanessa Williams. And, you know, the controversy that happened with her, they thought they’d never let another black girl be Miss America. I was told that you know, my talent was too different that my faith was too out there. And in front that I you know, I’m not six feet and half of that legs, I’m certainly not blond and blue-eyed is nothing wrong with blond hair or blue eyes, but I just don’t. And so it took seven years 11 trials in two different states, for me to win, thank pageant and go on to the Miss America Pageant. And all along the way, there was a village of people who said, Debbye you can do this keep going. But more importantly, there was a village of prayer partners, including my mother, that surrounded me in prayer. And I remember one lady said, Debbye, if you won’t give up, God will elevate you to the top. And this was after I had quit because I quit a few times in those seven years.

EC: Of course!

DTB: I took a step of faith and I said, God, if this is your will, I’m gonna do everything I know to do. But then I’m like, get out of the way and let you do what only you can do. God is faithful.

EC: Yes, yes, he is. Let’s talk about your new book “Courageous Faith: A Lifelong Pursuit of Faith over Fear.” What inspired you to write this book?

DTB: Well, I wanted to tell my story. I mean, so often people see a finished product, they see an Erica Campbell, or, you know, you name it, Michael Jordan, or whoever you name the person, they see the finished product, and they don’t realize the time pain, sacrifice setbacks that went into that success. So I opened the book up with failure because I believe that every success is built on a foundation of failures. That means you’ve tried and you know, got knocked down and you but you learn to dust yourself off, get up and try again. And so many people try once and when it doesn’t work, they think, well, that’s not for me, or I’m not the right person or the system is rigged. But success and more importantly, significance is about persistence. It is about keep getting up even when you don’t know what’s gonna happen when you get up. And so I opened the book with my lowest point in competing in pageants and it was after I lost in this Arkansas pageant for a third time, I had been first runner up two years in a row. The crowd thought I was going to win the media said I was gonna win and I didn’t win. And I ended up in my hotel room in a fetal position sobbing, thank God I don’t understand because I did it because I believed that it was his will. And so I didn’t think he was gonna call me to do something that I would lose at, right? And so I was just heartbroken. And I remember after literally crying every tear out of my body, I heard the voice of the Lord I believe, speak to my heart, Debbye I’m faithful now get up. And it’s that kind of faith to get up. When you don’t know what you’re going to do next when you’ve tried everything when, when the system has failed you. Most people have faith but they usually have faith as far as they can see.

EC: I love it.

GRIFF: You better preach Miss America!

EC: We are talking to Debbye Turner Bell. Her new book courageous faith is available now wherever books are sold. Please tell people how we can follow you on social media.

DTB: Oh, thank you for asking. Yes. On Twitter. I’m at @DrDebbye. Dr. And you have to spell my name the way I spell it D-e-b-b-y-e. On Instagram. I’m @DebbyeTurnerBell again, D-e-b-b-y-e. On LinkedIn. I’m Debbye Turner Bell and on Facebook. It’s So please come follow me.




Debbye Turner Bell Talks New Book ‘Courageous Faith: A Lifelong Pursuit of Faith over Fear  was originally published on