Mamas At Work: Tasha Cobbs Leonard On Juggling Kids Ages 2 To 21 And Writing Her First Book


Courtesy of Tasha Cobbs Leonard

When Tasha Cobbs Leonard, award-winning gospel artist, pastor, and mother of four, decided to write her first book, Do It Anyway: Don’t Give Up Before It Gets Good (WaterBrook), she was inspired by one of the last lessons she received from her late father, Bishop Fritz Cobbs.

Ahead of the Grammy Awards in 2014, her first, and where she would receive her first award from the Recording Academy, her father told her that he wouldn’t be able to travel with her to the awards show, but he wanted her to go forward and cheerfully have the experience without him. She recalls him saying, “Daddy’s not going to be with you in LA, but I want you to go anyway.” It’s a message that stuck with her, especially after his unexpected passing before the ceremony.

“I realize that he was telling me that when life gets hard, you don’t understand, but then you have to dig deep within yourself, Tasha,” she tells ESSENCE. “I want you to do it anyway.”

“So I got up seven days after my dad passed, and I flew to LA, not knowing that I would win a Grammy. I won a Grammy that year for ‘Break Every Chain.’ I often think, I wonder if he knew, but that lesson, I’ve taken that with me,” she adds. “I realized there are so many different stories where he not only taught that to me, but he exemplified just having faith, having the strength to reach down and dig deep and do it. That’s where we got the title of the book, from the last lesson my dad left with me, and I want to gift it to everyone who will read it.”

Cobb Leonard is clear, though, that the book is about overcoming obstacles at every stage in life, the valleys and the peaks.

“There is a chapter that’s about being in the limelight because even when you’re walking in purpose and everybody thinks you’re on a mountain, sometimes those are the most challenging seasons to forge forward,” she shares. “And you won’t have everybody in your corner; everybody won’t be applauding you. And sometimes it is very challenging to even live on the mountain or walk out your purpose. So it’s not necessarily just about those difficult seasons or when it looks like it’s not going to happen for you, but would you choose to do it anyway, even when your promises are coming to pass? Because it gets hard.”

Mamas At Work: Tasha Cobbs Leonard On Juggling Kids Ages 2 To 21 And Writing Her First Book
WaterBrook

She’s the perfect person to deliver an inspirational message of this magnitude. Being vulnerable in an effort to help others is something Cobb Leonard has done for a long time. She has previously been open about dealing with depression and her experience with infertility.

“I feel like sharing your testimony; there’s a scripture that talks about how we are overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. I believe that people are waiting on our testimony so that they can overcome the seasons that they’re in,” she says. “During that season of infertility, I was thinking about a lot of women who may be challenged with this, and they may not have anyone in their life who can understand, who could relate. And I felt like, well, maybe I could be that one.”

During that time, she created the song “Got to Believe,” which started as a short performance for NPR’s Tiny Desk series during the pandemic when they sought to encourage understandably weary people. They reached out to songwriters for original compositions, and Cobbs Leonard was one of them.

“My label was like, ‘Hey, this song is just so powerful, we would love to share it and put it on radio.’ And I was like, okay, that’s cool. And the song literally just shot up to number one,” she says. “And in thinking about that, I was like, man, this was a story. It was an encouragement that a lot of people needed during that time, but also I believe it was for those people who may be in that season of infertility and not knowing what the next step is going to be. That song was encouragement to them.”

In 2021, her joyous next step was welcoming her baby–her promise come to fruition. Cobbs Leonard and her husband, Kenneth Leonard, shared the news that they adopted a baby boy they named Asher. He joins the couple’s three other children from Kenneth’s previous relationship. Now a mother of four, ages 2 to 21, all while being a singer (she just finished her latest tour), new author, pastor (at The Purpose Place Church in South Carolina), and entrepreneur, she admits that her hands are full. But when it comes to her definition of “balance,” she has a great perspective.

“I feel like the thing in your life that needs the attention the most will make itself known,” she says. “For instance, we have a lot of businesses and a lot of children, and if I see one of our children just acting out of character, doing something completely out of character, then that is where all of our attention will go.”

“I think we all have this conscious understanding that though we carry a lot, that thing that needs the attention the most, it’s going to scream at you,” she adds.

Knowing all that she carries presently, when asked if she thought she might try again to carry a child, a fifth in total, she confidently says no.

“I’m good. People ask that all the time, though I am open. My husband and I are both open to God’s will, but it’s not something that we’re necessarily pursuing, as Asher is more than we could have ever hoped for, dreamed for, or asked for. He is just everything,” she shares.

And her attention is also fully on her bonus babies. “One is graduating college and one is graduating high school,” she tells us, proudly before listing off their accomplishments. Cobbs Leonard is honest about the fact that getting to this point, of having a happyily blended family, required a lot of learning, listening and leaning on her faith.

“I think just like any other season in life, there comes a time where you realize that this is bigger than me. This is much more than I can handle,” she states. “And it was in those moments where we would run to God and lean on our faith to say, Hey, can you help us navigate this conversation or navigate this season? And He was always super faithful in that.”

In her journey as a parent, including to a very active toddler, Cobbs Leonard says she’s learned to be intentional about “times of refreshing,” scheduling vacations with her husband at least every three months. She’s learned to do away with her previous workaholic ways. She’s learned to celebrate big and small wins and to find joy in a simple bowl of butter pecan ice cream while watching NCAA women’s basketball and Netflix miniseries. And she’s learned, perhaps most notably, to take some aspects of life less seriously. There’s so much to be grateful for.

“Asher has taught me that a lot. One of the things that I’ve learned from motherhood is to lighten up. It is not that serious, Mommy,” she says, with a laugh. “Nobody can teach you that better than a kid. They will take their plate and just throw it on the floor. Those first few times, I was like, oh my God, why is he doing that? But literally, it’s not that serious. And that alone has taught me much more than I can express. Just take the pressure off and sit down and have a laugh, eat some ice cream, and enjoy life.”

Do It Anyway: Don’t Give Up Before It Gets Good hits bookshelves on May 7, 2024.





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