Posts Tagged ‘Domestic Violence’

This is the face of a victim: DEAD

 

This is the face of another victim, her assailant:fOOL

Amazing how he already had a mug shot or two floating in the system……

The first picture was once a mother of two young girls.Her body was found the other day only minutes from my apartment.  The report says that the children were returned without harm obviously before the worse could be done to her.  How could they assume no harm was done to the children? I mean even if their mother was alive at the time they were let go, they will still have mental and emotional scars.   My son was four years old when he witnessed me being beaten!  Only now have I even considered that it wasn’t just one punch after all…that he did repeatedly punch me.  As if a broken nose weren’t enough, my glasses and the coffee table had to match I suppose.  He’s 18 now and still remembers.

There was definitely harm done. There was definitely a reason for alarm.  Obviously I am angry with this situation, but not just because of the outcome.  I’m angry because I know that there were signs.

There were signs I ignored in the beginning.  I guess I even ignored them up until that last night.  Even now as I recall events,  I tried to seek help to no avail.  On a day that should have been one of my happiest, it was one of my most miserable.  I had just graduated from the University of Memphis with my BA in Communications.  That afternoon I had been warned.  My mother flat out told me in the parking lot after the ceremony, “Mark my words, that “n” word is gonna kick your a$$!” I didn’t want her to be right.  Yet, mere hours later, I found myself running down the hall trying to barricade myself in the bathroom to get away from my mother’s “rightness.”  He didn’t punch me, but he grabbed me by the back of my neck and forced me to the ground.  I was seven months pregnant with his daughter.  I don’t recall his words, but I remember being grateful that my son was a hard sleeper then.

Now, however,  he wakes at the slightest noise.  He’s never awaken without a start.  His other 12 year old daughter witnessed this first fight.  Even she asked me on occasion, “Why are you with my daddy?”

He took me to the hospital that night because I faked contractions.  I thought that if I could just get in the public I could get help.  Still, he was more clever than I assumed. The nurses thought he was just concerned about my and the baby’s welfare, but he only wanted to stay close enough to prevent me from telling the truth.  I wonder if Zeneatrice Crawford had tried to tell her truth before she was brutally murdered by this monster.  I felt like the nurses’ staff failed me that night.  I suppose much like I thought the Memphis Police Dept failed me on 05/08/2003.  I’m more convinced now however, the fallacies that interfered with my safety were no fault of the people involved, but of the system that wasn’t.

This story and so many others like it have pierced my heart to its core and I’m tired of just saying what I will do. I’m going to do what I’m going to do. There are too many ways to provide the right help and I understand now why certain logical ways hadn’t been in place before.  I’m supposed to bring it together. My why is simple: because it’s not okay.

©2016-2017 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

 

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I really thought that I was done writing about this subject, but of course, God has decided otherwise. I saw the article the other day about Christian rocker Trey Pearson coming out to his fans in an emotional letter and tried to ignore it. For those who have been following my blog a while you may recall a few posts I wrote about homosexuality and Christianity. For those who have not, here are the links to those posts:

https://1betternotbitter.com/2015/04/28/newsflash-god-loves-homosexuals-too/

https://1betternotbitter.com/2015/06/29/can-a-christian-be-gay/

https://1betternotbitter.com/2015/05/23/grace-for-the-gay-life/

So I felt the need to revisit the topic again anyway because it seems that we Christians are definitely split on the issue. I admit that at times I have even been split myself. I don’t condone the lifestyle. However, neither do I condemn it. I used to wonder why on earth a woman would choose to be with another woman who looks and acts like a man. I used to wonder why on earth a man would be with another man who looks and acts like a woman. And I really had no intention of ever writing about the transgender public toilet issue, but as I learn to be more obedient to the Holy Spirit I realize I have little choice in at least bringing the issue to light.

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I wondered initially why in the world would God place this title on my heart.  It seems so heartless, but I realized that I had heard the song, knew it was an oldie, but had never really paid attention to the lyrics before.  I found an interesting parallel to it and the way we seem to treat people of faith who admit their truth to the world.  Check it out here:

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/queen/anotheronebitesthedust.html

I couldn’t help but consider the way we gun down our own so quickly.  Now granted, initially I was disturbed by the headline about Trey Pearson. Yes, I am a Christian and yes, I said I was initially disturbed. However, I suppose I was most disturbed by it because I’ve known so many people over the years who have battled with the cover up.  It helped me feel more comfortable with the content of the remainder of this post when I saw the snippets of his interview from the View.

And when I say the “cover up” I don’t mean just covering homosexual desires.  I mean any type of secret sins.  You know the church girl who’s really addicted to sex, the deacon who really has a drug problem, the minister who’s committed adultery multiple times, and yes, the Christian struggling with homosexuality among others.

It seems the church is the only place where we kill our wounded.

Well, about the “coming out issue.”  A while ago, I befriended a young lady and we hit it off great. I’ve never been ashamed of discussing Jesus with anyone and let my kids tell it, I “make everything about Jesus!”  I used to shrink back because of them saying things like this, but hey I do and I will continue to do so.  Of course I’m not bashing folk over the head with the bible, but somehow I tell a little of my testimony everywhere I go.  I guess when you have lived through as much as I have gratitude just seeps.

Anyway, this young lady was married and had a 15-month old daughter when we met.  We’ve since lost touch and that’s really the only reason I feel comfortable sharing this.  a9974907b605006c10dca8a9239c9c88

At the time, I immediately noticed the smile on her face didn’t match the sadness in her eyes when she spoke. It was a façade.  However, at the time, I thought her mask was one hiding domestic violence and not that she had been  struggling with homosexuality.  As a matter of fact, in our first interaction, I mentioned this blog and I commented about how God was allowing me to minister in the strangest ways to all sorts of people. She is a Christian too.

For the record, Christianity has absolutely nothing to do with religion. It is a relationship with God through Christ!

Moving on….

I recall now that at some point in that initial interaction I mentioned I had been called to even assist those struggling with homosexuality, but I hadn’t understood how yet…that I really believe that avenue will be handled by my son as noted in one of the posts above.  I guess I was in my talkative zone and didn’t notice her gaze at that moment.d4c77a23ae75d87212a22a76bdb183a8

Fast forward a few months…we only spoke a  few more times when I’d talked with her about my writing, my kids, my desire to visit Nigeria to which she mentioned that her husband is Nigerian.  Well, the last contact I had with her struck me.  Though it had been a while since we spoke.  I guess seminary had me touch and go.  Anyway, I knew that God put her on my heart for a reason so I texted her to see how she was doing. She quickly responded that she had been going through.  I felt the need to send a message something like: “If you just need someone to listen, I’m here.  No judgement.”

Boy was I in for a surprise!  I just knew she was going to say something about her husband hitting her or some junk, but she dropped this bomb instead:  “My husband found some nude photos of a woman in my phone and I was entertaining it.  He knows that I was sexually involved with women before we got together.  He is really hurt.”

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I just sat in the parking lot in awe.  However, my response  to her admission was that nothing is too hard for God and then I found myself sharing what I am about to share here with you.  “Well, we have all slipped out of God’s will, and while I have never been in a lesbian situation, I have no idea how many men I have slept with! Yes, it’s been that many! If God’s grace could cover me, He could change anyone.” She responded with relief and gratitude.  I prayed for her and her marriage.  I prayed for God’s mercy and His guidance. However, most importantly before I ended our conversation I made sure that she knew that God loves her and that I did also.

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I’m only sharing this now because I lost touch with her after that and I feel that someone out there needs to know this.

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I hope and pray that things are going well for her now, but only God knows the outcome of that scenario. What I do know is the outcome of my scenario and what I have observed so far in this scenario with Trey Pearson.

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He is being exactly who he believes God made him to be.  It’s really not for us to understand his mind and heart. As for that acquaintance, she was obviously struggling with a sexual situation or even a soul tie. That in itself is from the enemy just as I had been. I used sex as an outlet because I didn’t even understand how much I was worth.

Now I did notice that Trey mentioned that he had been “attracted” to men since adolescence.  It seems that it would have a sexual aspect to it on the surface, but who knows? God does and yes He will judge accordingly.  Regardless, he will also judge everyone else for the lies, fornication, adultery, idolatry, murder, etc.  No sin is bigger than another, but all too often we surely try to make it that way, don’t we?

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I don’t condone homosexuality.  I’ve just grown in my faith enough to know that sometimes the only way to persuade others from the error of their ways is to love them through it.  That’s what Christ did for me and to me.  In fact, I was the main one condemning myself and then He allowed me to put myself in the place of the women caught in the act of adultery…oh yeah, I’ve been there and done that too..TWICE!!!  So I guess if I could end this post with anything that needs to be said it would be what Jesus said to her/me:

John 8:8-11 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Then He stooped down again and started writing on the ground. They listened [to His reply], and they began to go out one by one, starting with the oldest ones, until He was left alone, with the woman [standing there before Him] in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She answered, “No one, Lord!” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more.”]

BAM!!! And  there it is folks.  I figure I should let that whole deliverance from sexual and relational addictions out there before the enemy has the nerve to think that I care about the things I’ve done in my past.  However, I realize that I’m no longer ashamed because I’ve been delivered from the desire to “need” an illicit relationship to feel complete.  That’s what true wholeness it about.  I’ve finally got it and I’m not giving it up for anybody.

confident one I just love this pic of me!!!

All that said, when it comes to people who struggle with sin regardless of whether it is on display or covered, we as Christians are not called to condemn them.  We are to love them so at least then another one doesn’t have to bite the dust.

©2016 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

 

This is really random…I’ve been contemplating for several days what I’d post for today. Would I post a generic Mother’s Day message or would I dare bring up that fateful day I experienced 13 years ago again. Two days ago, I assumed I was beating a dead horse with my reason for leaving Memphis the first time…but I was awaken from a nap yesterday afternoon by a scene that sounded all too familiar to let things go unsaid.  I wondered why God wanted me here. Not just in Memphis, but specifically in this part if town.  The neighborhood’s not the best, but when I inquired of God where He wanted me…this is where He decided…so today I finally put up my pictures. I’ve been hesitant to unpack because I’ve moved 4 times within the passed year. I’d hoped that this place would be very temporary, but the other day I was reminded that I was being humbled. I’d witnessed the pain of domestic abuse at all levels before…this time I contemplated dialing 911. The dispute was just outside my front window….the kids were crying…she was cursing and I heard the blows…how he proved his words with his fists…how the children kept jumping in and out of her car…obviously unsure whether the car was safer than the apartment. I didn’t want to witness a death. I didn’t want her children to witness one…I laid in bed…frozen considering whether he too was packin’…so many nights I’d heard the shots fired…one morning after…the police and an ambulance drove by slowly….only one thing could be said of an ambulance in no rush…the morgue was the obvious destination…hearing this young mother’s screams made me wonder had anyone heard mine and done nothing as well. When I finally got up…she’d been driving off with her kids in tow…so today while I’d love to celebrate Mother’s Day by applauding all mothers…I believe I owe a standing ovation for those who survived an abusive relationship and who protected her kids at the expense of her own safety. Still this reminder brings a bittersweetness for me. I’m glad to be a survivor of domestic abuse…blessed because God allowed my children and I to escape the trauma that we endured…a little grieved because my own mother got her wings last year…still I’m better.

I expected that I would because there have been times when the silliest things get me emotional, but I didn’t.

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As I rolled onto the parking lot and observed the familiar scene I wondered how long had the apartment community had that name.  It had since changed, but the address remained the same. I saw cars parked in front of the dwelling I once shared with a man who broke more than my nose when he punched me.

I’d hoped the area was condemned somehow…I didn’t want to think that another soul could possibly live comfortably in a place that I’d known only as hell on earth.  Then I imagined the place where I live now and wondered had there too been “incidents” that were merely covered up with fresh paint and new carpets.  Flashes of the scene remained vivid as I considered parking there.  I kept going.  I drove further around back surveying the area…attempting to gather if there were any possible way I could have been able to escape it had I just moved faster that night.

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There would have been nowhere to hide with a 4 year old and 6 month old in tow.  I was trapped and considering the what ifs and maybes are pointless now.  Still, I tried to do just that. Minutes later I was in front of the old mail center.  That night I had actually considered that place an option.  Still it was wide open, but I considered perhaps he was not smart enough to look there because it was in the opposite direction.  So I parked again and snapped a picture.  Perhaps the dark of night would have covered me and my children then after all.  No, how could it have done so?  That night started for us before the clock made night evident….Daylight Savings Time worked against us all that evening.  Night came too late to hide. Yet, when it arrived finally, that was the time when I longed for daylight…any light.  Even the blue lights failed me.  Six rings the 2nd call to 911 before bloodshed.  Less than 2 miles from the police precinct, yet he arrived before they did.  I could be angry with law enforcement and in retrospect, I suppose for a long while I was, but…

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Even as I type these words, I still haven’t shed a tear…I’m actually sitting here smiling.  And no it’s not because I know that the perpetrator is behind bars.  In fact, that was only a recent development and discovery.  He was never convicted for my assault.  It actually makes my heart ache for his soul.  He’s in jail for a separate crime.  Aggravated rape and assault.  I suppose old habits die hard for some indeed.

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I could take this time to cry for the other victims that came after my attack, but I won’t.  My run for my life was for my life…so no I did not testify…I disappeared and started over with the clothes on my back…I surmised at the time that I had a right to be selfish with my testimony…God was patient with me.

He allowed me the time to hold my testimony to myself for 12 years…I bled long enough so as He leads…I’ll share…as He prepares I’ll bear…

I have no reason to cry anymore…I’m not wounded…It doesn’t hurt, but not because I’m numb…I haven’t cried because I forgave

©2015 Nadia Davis.  All Rights Reserved.

Today is a day of firsts! The first day of the month and the first day in over 12 years that I’ll dare set foot on the scene of the crime…the one that momentarily left me with the inability to feel I had a reason to smile like this: image

Yet…for no particular reason…I’ve learned to smile often…thankfully it’s no longer to hide pain, but to embrace promise, potential, and every opportunity within reach.

I accept what happened years ago as a learning opportunity…Albeit, physically painful and emotionally jarring I can finally agree that by God’s grace, I’ve thrived beyond domestic abuse…today is also the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month…so I pray every post going forward encourage a lifestyle a little freer than the day before…whether you consider yourself a victim of abuse…a former perpetrator of it, or someone stuck in between…I hope this post is a start to the healing process…I actually penned the latter part of this post yesterday so it’s tone is a bit random, but no less from the heart of one who’s been there…done that…a free to be the me I was meant to be…
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Warning, this is one of those spur of the moment posts that are bound to have typos and run-ons and stuff.  It’s random and off the cuff…I came, I typed and there you have it….but I’m learning to at least get this stuff out…I leave the editing for later.

Do you consider yourself an agreeable person?

If you answered yes to that question, you probably are thinking pretty well of yourself, huh?

Well, time to bust your bubble.  If you are or better yet if those who interact with you consider you an agreeable person, you might be susceptible to a certain danger than has claimed the lives of millions.  Yep, you just might be co-dependent!

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I know I know.  Isn’t it good to be “agreeable?” In certain situations it might me a fitting trait, but there comes a time when you simply must have and USE a mind of your own. And before you think that I’m pointing the finger here…let’s just say I, like many of you reading this post, have had the unfortunate displeasure of being codependent before.  Whew!!! Glad I got that over.

First, let me explain for those who might not know what codependency is.
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It would seem that the wording alone should be enough but then it could easily get misconstrued that co-dependence suggests that there is a healthy level of dependence on another individual of which you are in a relationship with….Wow…didn’t that sound all important and stuff…Anyway…it’s actually the exact opposite…

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For those who could care less about the scientific definition or application….it basically means you’re a people-pleaser or “agreeable.”  It even almost suggests that you don’t allow yourself to have a single thought without considering the impact that it will have on another individual…oh and then abruptly changing that thought to make sure it’s what they want even if you dont… AWWW…I know again you’re probably thinking…isn’t that just being thoughtful or compassionate.  Don’t all relationships require sacrifices? Yes and No….of course the purpose of this post is leaning on the “no” of it so follow me…

People pleasing to the extent that you lose your own say is not healthy.  I know because I lived it for far too long…You might say….I felt like busting loose and I’ve been slowly trying to get my “no” as tactful as possible lately.

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Codependency is not just in romantic relationships either….it can even be at work!!!!   Yep, I admit, the first step towards my escape of co-dependence started on 05/15/15.  the day I gave my 2 week notice to my former employer.  Now I’m not bad mouthing them or anything….the ministry is great and the coworkers were really like family….but I knew I had to go….There was no growth there for me and while parting was indeed sweet sorrow….my right now gives me joy in spite of the irregularity of a pay check!
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I really hope somebody gets this for real….download (1)

Yes, there have been some things that I had originally committed to that I have since recanted because I have to be mindful of my own well-being first.  Now, I am not advocating that you trot off thinking that it’s all about “you” because it’s not.  I am, however, suggesting that you seriously consider your options before you make any rash decisions.

And oh but the bible says….Yes, about that…Blessed are the peace-makers for they are the children of God…yes, Mathew 5:9 of the Beattitudes….Yes, Jesus said it and that settles it…..

Don’t get it twisted please….being a peace maker in no way means that you surrender the very mind, actions, and soul that God gave you to please another when you’re slowly dying on the inside.  I know that might seem a bit drastic, but obviously this subject is dear to me…consider this scripture instead if you find your self stuck in between all the time:

James 1:8 New Living Translation

Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

Yes, there are times when it is going to be necessary that you bear one another’s burdens, but there must be balance.  And that my friend is exactly what a co-dependency lacks.  There is no balance because for that to occur there would have to be two sides holding equal weight.

That’s why I emphasize so much the importance of wholeness before you enter into a relationship.  You’ve simply got to know your limits…have some boundaries…and understand the consequences of YOUR decisions.

So people, this is not some expert moment about being delivered from co-dependence overnight or even in a few months….It’s really about choosing the best option for you and your family.  Yes, compromise is sometimes needed, but at some point you should develop and stick to your convictions as God allows.

There is absolutely no way that I would have been able to get this far in my mini analysis had I not began to defer many of my decisions to the Lord for direction. That said, I’ve made some drastic changes and it has been daunting, but in the long run I know I’m getting better. So yes, I’m learning to just say no to things that aren’t in my best interest…I want to encourage you to choose to do the same.

©2015 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

The abuse I endured just over 14 years ago left me with more than a broken nose and bruised ego.  I had a broken spirit.

That same broken spirit morphed into a mindset of resentment and callousness that I only recently disowned.

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Not long ago, I shared my pain with a stranger.  When I worked in customer service, a young lady called to talk about how messed up her marriage was and explained the details of abuse and self-loathing she’d experienced before I could barely say ” I am not a counselor.”

However, when she asked me, “I mean what would you do in my shoes?” I found myself saying, “I wore your shoes…I walked in them for years.”  I was supposed to have been gone for the day but she was my last call.  It was my wake up…

Before that call I’d still had unforgiveness in my heart.  But revealing myself helped me more than it did she because that’s when the shell began to break.  I surrendered.

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When she mentioned how she’d been cursed out and cheated on and constantly berated by her husband…how her mother seemed to make her feel worse for marrying him instead of helping her…again I allowed the Holy spirit to breathe on my wounds to heal them…they were no longer festering and oozing beneath the masks I’d perfected over the years.  For 23 minutes, I explained to that lady how God delivered me from being unequally yoked…I found myself explaining how I’m not an advocate of divorce and how God hates divorce…how divorce is an easy out and that’s why God admonishes us to carefully consider the cost of marriage before we enter into it…how even in an emotionally abusive marriage God gave me joy and how my children and I were thriving…how my husband left after I’d finally surrendered for God’s will to be done…thCAL4RJTH

I recalled the prayer as if it had just been uttered, “Lord, just make him leave!  I can’t raise my children to believe it’s okay to be treated like this…that it’s okay for my daughter to believe it’s okay to be called a “B” and have my son believe it’s okay for him to do it to another woman”  That night tears soaked my daughter’s bed as I’d knelt to pray there for some reason…I wonder even now if she understood what I was going through…she was five…ready for bed…was supposed to have been praying with me but felt the need to stand beside me instead.

I shared with that anonymous lady that after my prayer, the next Tuesday my now ex-husband left.  I explained to her further that she must consult God first…I explained that even after he left…I remained married to him for three years because I condemned myself for “failing God again” given it was my second divorce.

Her response was one of gratitude but still more self-hatred.  I was shattered not because I felt like she wasn’t listening, but because she wasn’t hearing…she was blocking out what God was trying to tell her just as I’d been blocking out what He’d been trying to teach me through my trials with these people I mentioned.  However, her next words made it clear to me why.

She said, “Well, what would you do differently if you were given the chance again?”

“Nothing!!!”  I said to her almost before she finished the question.

I then began to recount why I wouldn’t change a thing…

I would not know God like I know Him…that I am worthy of His best…I would not have prayed and been able to minister to you today…I explained to her that the beauty of God’s love is that while He is fully capable of “making everyone” follow Him, He allows us the choice to do so.  Had everything gone perfectly in my life by the world’s standards, I wouldn’t know I need a savior in Christ…

I know this is post is a bit all over the place, but I figure God wouldn’t give it to me if at least one person out there didn’t need the reminder that the only true remedy for wholeness is in Christ.  Without Him, I’d still be just a bunch of broken pieces.

©2015 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

Just say no…to the promotion????  So the other day I declined a promotion I’d been vying for since last September.
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I prayed about my decision that morning and the days prior.  I knew the extra money would help considering the financial struggles I faced last year, but I just didn’t have peace with saying yes.
I suppose I’ve always known I was meant to be a leader so opting to follow again is starting to get old.
I planned to request a meeting with those involved so that I could clarify my intentions face to face, yet the moment the issue came across my mind last Thursday, I received an email from the trainer wondering why I had abruptly stopped my training a few weeks prior.
Immediately I began this response:
 
Thank you for checking in with me. I was just about to get in touch with you in person.  However, since you’ve contacted me I suppose I should share this via email instead.  It pains me to tell you that I will not be able to complete the training as I don’t have peace with the transition.
 
While I love the prospect of helping people and even mentoring people, at heart I’m a writer and advocate for those torn by domestic violence so while I am working in ministry here, I know that God has called me to do more with my gifts.
 
While I will continue to do my duties here for now, I can no longer allow my time to be divided from what I vowed to God long ago.  I am currently working on other projects related to my ministry that demand my immediate attention.  I’m sorry for not letting you know sooner, but I wanted to be sure I was making the right decision.  I’ve prayed about it and I am very sure that this decision is God’s will.
 
Please know that I am eternally grateful for your consideration, but I must respectfully decline the opportunity and be obedient to the Father.
Blessings, 
Nadia Davis

That response sat in my inbox as a draft for the entire weekend.  I pressed send Monday morning after receiving confirmation from my pastor’s sermon as well as the following scriptures I came across the other morning:

1 Kings 19:13-15 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

14 And he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”

15 Then the Lord said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria.

Until I’d read those words, I hadn’t consciously decided that my time at this ministry would come to a close so soon.  Yet, the more I thought of the assignments I’d be given and the tasks that would be required of me, the more out of place I felt.

I pondered whether I would state in that email that I would not be there much longer, but I didn’t include it.  I wasn’t being honest with myself or with my employer.  Yet, a mere day after sending it, there I was in my one on one meeting spouting it off without warning.

“This time next year, I will not be here.  I’m working on four books!”

My immediate supervisor acknowledged that he wasn’t surprised by my email and was glad that I could focus on one thing…then reiterated the need to prioritize appropriately. I’m grateful to have encountered such Godly people at work considering the wireless inferno I had been imprisoned in before being blessed to work at the ministry.

I admit, I’m nervous about where God is taking me.  I truly feel like Abraham…going to an unknown place with faith as my guide.  Yet, since He designed my destiny before I was formed in my mother’s womb,  I’m sure I can trust Him to get me there. Regardless from now on I’m determined to be decisive about my destiny!