PHOTOS: Your Shining Moments of 2013

In our December issue, ESSENCE highlighted "Our Shining Moments of 2013"—moments when Black women showed the world how resilient, intelligent, compassionate, fearless and truly inspirational we are. We then asked our Instagram followers to do the same and share their shining moments of the past year. Check out our favorite submissions.

Dominique Hobdy Jan, 03, 2014

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Graduation Photo! In May of this year I received a Master's in Business Administration from Hampton University! #ESSENCEShiningMoment

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2013 marked the year I married my one true love, my best friend and the man God truly made just for me. Words cannot describe the feeling of walking down the aisle knowing at the end of it all I would be a Mrs. Nine months have already passed and I'm loving every minute of this journey xo #essenceshiningmoment

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2013...What a year. There isn't enough room or a grid sufficient to reflect on God's awesomeness this year. The impossible was manifested in my life & my faith has skyrocketed to a new level. From flying across the coast, to to flying across the globe, serving God & His people, enjoying family, seeing lives changed, souls saved...using the gift of song on stages unimaginable, doing outreach & missions that changed me more than the lives I hoped to change, coming within 3 classes of my Masters Degree & doing all these things simultaneously; babies born, friends' dreams realized, stepping out on faith to pursue my passion & calling, meeting new and wonderful people, being inspired by & meeting amazing artists, writers & producers & experiencing growth as a Christian & as a woman through intimate breakthroughs...my soul cries out in humble gratitude to the God that delivered me & favored me so much. I owe Him with every thread of my being, which makes 2014 something to be excited about! Thank you Jesus! #2013 #Missions #Music #Ministry #Growth @essencemag #essenceshiningmoment #Miami #Malibu #Kenya #Africa #Undeserved #Favor #Grace #Jesus #Singer #Songwriter #GospelArtist #Future #Legacy #Vision #Moretocome

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2013 was definitely a year I'm most grateful for! As a single mother moving to Cuba for seven years where I studied medicine I was able to successfully graduate bilingual with my MD and enter an amazing Family Residency Program in California! Before arriving to Cuba I was told it wasn't possible, after i had my daughter while in medical school I was told the odds were against me. However, I kept pushing and dreaming. Never give up on your dreams especially when obstacles arise! Be your own motivation and find mentors who believe in you also! It's only impossible until you do it! #essenceshiningmoment

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I got my Pilot's License this year! #ESSENCEShiningMoment

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2013 has been one of the most fulfilling years for me thus far. Graduating and becoming a Holistic Wellness Coach has changed my life and I look forward to all the endless possibilities of helping people through health and wellness. #Essenceshiningmoment

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We would like to thank @essencemag for providing women a platform to share their shining moments for 2013. Our shining moment... #operation_headstart collaborated with the NYC-Chapter of #blackgirlscode, raising funds & awareness to empower girls of color to become innovators in STEM fields, through exposure to computer science & technology via coding. #Essenceshiningmoment

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Graduating from grad school and studying abroad in Paris. #EssenceShiningMoment

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Deciding to quit my job and pursure teaching yoga and health coaching. #ESSENCEShiningMoment

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As I reflect on 2013, so much has happened for me. One of my biggest and proudest moments was my 3 appearances on @fox2detroit's Style File. #ESSENCEShiningMoment

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My #ESSENCEShiningMoment of 2013 is the day I married my best friend!

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#ESSENCEshiningmoment Graduated with my masters of science in Nursing to become a Nurse Practitioner. I accomplished more than my parents who never graduated college. Thank you God! 

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Here's my @essencemag #ESSENCEshiningmoment - I lived my dream as a producer! I raised funds to take my first play on the road, traveling, housing, feeding and providing stipends for 11 cast/crew to go to Atlanta Fringe Fest and eight for the Chicago Fringe Festival. I produced, was a writer on and aced my first short film, currently in film fest consideration and had a 95% female crew for the project. I threw a gathering of sister girl friends on the full moon and it caught on to become a great support system for women of color to harness their instead of demons power. And lastly, i embraced my beauty and was featured on the People.com website for most beautiful people. Yep I was shining!

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My favorite moment in 2013! It's going to be an exciting 2014. Happy New Year! #myengagement #engaged #bridetobe #imready #bahamas #fowlcay #exuma #2013 #essenceshiningmoment #love 

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My 2013 Essence Shining Moment is publishing my first book under my very own publishing company.

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 #Essenceshiningmoment #essenceshiningmoment2013 I've been a shy introvert with big dreams for most of my life so last year I decided to stop being a spectator in my own life & to go out there & pursue my dream of being an actress! I had the great opportunity to be a extra on The Game & although it may not be much to others, it meant the world to me! I'm not where I want to be yet but I'm definitely closer to my dream!

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When you look at your life family is the season to all we do. The legacy of the family transcends space and time. Remain close to those that matter most to you. Build a habit of loving devotion. I can't properly reflect on my year without highlighting my husband and daughters, the ones I would give my final heartbeat. #Family, #FamilyLife, #Reflection, #Love, #Relationships 

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 My baby and I are working hard to create and live her dream of being a designer! #moda #mylife #future #designer #believe

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#essenceshiningmoment performing at the Nuyorican Cafe in NYC!

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@essencemag #essenceShiningMoment thanks @naturallyredefined for this moment!

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Overjoyed and excited at the same darn time! #Starfish #Love #essenceshiningmoment

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I auditioned to be on America's Next Top Model and find out if I made it soon!! I want to inspire the younger generation of girls and show them that no matter where you're from, your dreams can come true! You just gotta try and let nothing or anyone hold you back! #essenceshiningmoment