#LBVtestimony

Share Your Story: Attitude of Gratitude

 

I want to begin by saying MY GOD IS AWESOME! He has blessed me with a loving husband and 3 beautiful & amazing children. I love being a wife and mother. I feel that it's one of the most precious gifts (among others) that I was given. But I must say that this journey has not been easy.

 

On August 16, 2009 my faith was put to the ultimate test. It was a beautiful summer morning. My oldest son was 7, my daughter was 2 and my youngest son was 9 weeks old was home from the NICU. This was the 1st morning that I woke up without a massive headache. So I decided to enjoy the day with my kids. Then my hubby and I got a sitter and decided to go watch a movie. Well.... this was the quiet before another big storm...

 

During the movie my headache came back, and then I realized that my right leg felt like it was falling asleep, it felt weak. I kept shifting then told my husband that I didn't feel well. We decided to leave and head home. As hubby was hailing a cab, I began to experience the worse headache of my life. This scared me! I said a silent prayer. My ultimate fear was happening but the doctors and specialist that I saw since giving birth, said that I was too young for this to happen. Even the one a specialist I saw the day before told me I was too young to have a heart condition.

 

My husband had to carry me up 3 flights of stairs to our apartment (which was not easy being that I just gave birth, I was so heavy). My leg was too weak and my pain was excruciating. He laid me on the bed and ran to get me some pain medication. I remember calling out to him from my bedroom and he couldn't understand me. When I tried to say something to my oldest son he couldn't understand me either. That's when I realized what was happening. I reached for my cell phone to put my thoughts in text.. tears filled my eyes as I realized that I could not lift up the cell with my right hand... I quickly grabbed the cell with my left hand and typed CALL 911 I AM HAVING A STROKE! 

 

As I was being rushed to the emergency room I remember my husband saying "My wife is only 30". At the emergency room the doctor told my husband that I was having a stroke. This was the first time I had ever seen him cry. I remember thinking.. who is going to care for my family? My kids were so young. I was in the stoke unit for a week then had intense rehabilitation as an inpatient at the hospital.  I was the youngest stroke patient on the floor. I had to learn how to walk and use my right hand again. I kept praying, fighting and focused on getting back to my kids. 

 

Not being able to do the simple things that we take for granted daily like scratch my cheek, feed or bathe myself, stand up, walk and hug my kids was the worst ever. BUT GOD!!! It took me a year and a half to be strong enough to walk on my own without a cane. Lots of support, self-love, family love, prayer & strength got me through this fight. I appreciate the second chance that God gave me. Sometimes you have to be cut down to your lowest so that God can build you to your strongest. Appreciate every day that you are given. Have gratitude. Time is a precious gifts. Never loose faith. 

 

Thank you so much Jasmine Bernard-Straker for sharing your story. We appreciate you being open with your testimony and reminding us that God is a God of second chances. May God richly bless you and your family!

 

For His Glory Only,

XOXO

Danielle J.

Share Your Story: Empowered to Live Again

God can heal and restore any loss you experience in life. In 2008, I went through a heartbreaking divorce, foreclosure and unemployment with a 3 year old and 1 month baby in my arms all in the same year! I found myself broken, confused and in despair. I fell into a deep depression.


Crawling out of my black hole was the hardest journey of my life. I had to hold on to all the messages I've heard growing up and the verses I read in the Bible to keep me going. The only problem was that I was so broken I was mad at God. I didn't know why I was going through so much and I question him everyday. I sought help from a Christian counselor and prayed every day that the nightmare would end. I felt as if my life was over. When I accepted the fact that what I was going through was real and that I had to move on with my life things begin to change. I stopped being mad at God when I realized that man make their own decisions apart from God because he gave them free will. I begin to work on forgiveness because anger and bitterness overwhelmed me. It was through the process of inner healing that I was able to rise again.


Forgiveness is not easy especially when the people who hurt you are your loved ones. But when you experience this type of heartbreak think about Jesus . He left his heavenly kingdom and came on earth to die for our sins so we may have life. Now that's great love 


If you are determined to get back up when life knocks you down then I’m here to tell you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m healthier, wiser, and stronger then I’ve ever been in my life. I want to encourage you to decide to become an over-comer today. Look forward to a brighter tomorrow and LIVE AGAIN!


I’m now remarried to an amazing supportive husband, mother of three beautiful children and a successful mentor. I believe that if  it wasn’t for God who was on my side I would not be here today encouraging you all. I now understand and have accepted the fact that my pain was meant to encourage Others. I now understand the verse that says "all things work for the good of those love the Lord"" (Romans 8:28).

 

Michaelle: Thank you so much for being so transparent and sharing your story & testimony with us. As we are working through self-examination this month we needed to hear about both mental and spiritual health. You sought out a Christian counselor and knew you needed to forgive in order to heal (heart check). So amazed by your resilience and the work you are doing in the kingdom.

 

Please check out Michaelle's website "Empowered to Live Again" here. She is doing awesome work within the community and for the kingdom of God.

 

For His Glory Only,
XOXO

Danielle J.

Share Your Story: God's Plan is Best

 

Life has a crazy way of not going the way you planned it. And God has a crazy way of giving you peace through the chaos. I had to learn the hard way that my plans can’t supersede God’s plans.


It was a perfect day in June when I (thought) met the man of my dreams and prayers. He was everything I had asked God for and more. We met on Instagram and although he lived in another state I was willing to make this work. So we talked on the phone and skyped before meeting a month later. The minute we first talk we went full speed ahead without consulting God truthfully. He traveled down a day before he said he would to surprise me with roses and a sweet love letter. I was so certain that I found my prince charming! We had the best weekend, but it wasn’t short of our share of arguments. About two months later we saw each other for the second time, this time I went to meet his family. I felt like his family and friends became a part of me. He made the decision to finally move to Atlanta Thanksgiving weekend. So I traveled back to his state to accompany him as he drove down to Atlanta.


Pause in the story quick lesson, before anyone makes a huge decision you both should pray diligently and ask God to speak past your flesh and emotions. When we left his house ready to make the trip to Atlanta, I asked him a question when we stopped to get gas before hitting the road “what is a secret no one else knows?”. He paused unsure as to if he should really tell me his darkest secret. But I explained that if we were going to become one there is no way we could keep secrets from each other. I’m not sure I was ready for this secret, the one he told me about that was a huge sin and could affect our relationship forever. But I thought nothing of it and felt that it was his past it would never happen again. Boy was I deceived. In our relationship we didn’t have any accountability we felt that we could do this alone.


Two days after moving to Atlanta he proposed, and at that very moment I stood there in shock in front of my closest friends and family because I was confused because it was all moving so quickly. I said yes but not one tear fell from my eyes. Not everyone will date for a year and I understand that, but for us it was moving way too fast. We had only seen each other twice! He made me question our relationship even more when he said he wanted to get married within a month. I started to feel like “well maybe he really just wants to marry me”. But when it was time for pre-marital counseling he didn’t really seem interested and expressed that no one should have a say so in our marriage.


I think at this point I started to push all red flags to the side and proceed with something I knew I was still questioning. His anger became a terrifying characteristic, but I would buck up (because I’m here for the thug life lol). So one day one of my God daughters (who is 13) was riding with us and she hadn’t spoken to him so he told her “I will choke you up and leave you on the side of the road”. I couldn’t believe it because I’m a youth pastor and always have kids around me so he knew I loved kids. On another occasion he screamed and told me how hard I was to love as his fist were balled. To add another I began to pay his bills and he stated that he wouldn’t have a job by the time we got married. Huh, ladies if a man is depending on you to provide everything, please question his motives. I owned the house, paid his bills, cooked and cleaned for someone who didn’t live with me. I was a girl-wife, someone who doesn’t have the full privilege of a wife but has the responsibilities of a wife.


One day my spiritual mother checked me. She asked me to really pray about this relationship because she, my senior Apostle and other spiritual leaders were both getting a check in their spirit. I sat there in tears because I really wanted to get married. I felt that I had said yes in front of so many people I couldn’t call it off now. I realized it wasn’t about everyone but about what God wanted (or didn’t want) for me. So I locked myself into my prayer room until I heard God. Well I really didn’t hear Him at this time but He showed me (like a movie) every red flag He was trying to warn me with. So at that moment I couldn’t hold it in and told my fiancé’ that I had to end our relationship. Of course he was mad but I had to do what God told me to do. He blamed it on everyone except acknowledging the face that God told me NO! It was so hard to contact each invited wedding guest (just a week after I sent the invites) and tell them the wedding was off (three months before the wedding).


When I spent those hours in my prayer room I asked God “what do I need to do to stop all of these heart breaks?” And in that moment God spoke so clearly, “that’s the problem you’re always trying to figure out what you can do, and not surrendering your love life to me”. I had a full conversation with God, I was like “naw God that’s not true, I’m waiting, I’m in church, and growing my relationship with you I have surrendered it”. He said “no, you know how to work for the car, the house, the degree, the job, but this you won’t be able to work for”. I was floored (like God had shut me up man). He was so right we can earn everything else but God has to bring us the right mate at the right time and we can’t speed the process up in any way.


You see, I had made marriage an idol and didn’t even realize it. You see I had the house, the car, the dream career and the degrees and felt like the “next step” was marriage. But God many times has a different timeline and checklist than us. If we would align up with what God wants for us we would be able to avoid many heartbreaks and failures.


We all have that 20 page list of things we want in our one day, perfect, heaven sent, knight in shining armor husband. Well maybe not 20 pages but you get the point. There are some deal breakers that are really selfish and some that aren’t deal breakers that should be. I felt that if my (soon-to-be) husband had a title in the church that he would be the “one” for me.  But I’ve had my fair share of pastors, minister, pastor’s kids and all. Just know someone can still love God and be anointed without a title. God checked me on that “list” and told me to destroy it (now that may not be for everyone) because I was looking at this list a checklist instead of a guide to some things my husband should have. I also had to realize that God doesn’t send us someone who mimics us, but rather someone who compliments us. So just because he isn’t exactly what you want doesn’t mean he isn’t the best for you. Psalm 84:11 says, For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.


So I say all of that to say, really take some time and ask God (if you’re in a relationship) is this the person you would have me to marry God, show me their heart Lord. And if you aren’t in a relationship ask God to send you someone whom has the heart of God and character that would complement and challenge you. So I am praying for your journey and that you would live life on purpose for God!

 

SabineThank you so much for being transparent and sharing your story with us! You have illustrated the importance to seek God prior to engaging in a relationship and trusting Him in all aspects of our lives.
 

Please take the time to follow and support Sabine via Instagram as she continues to minister to our generation.

For His Glory Only,
XOXO
Danielle J.

Worth The Wait

The moment you realize that everything that led to this point [wedding day] …. was worth the wait.    I was single for SEVEN years!   Singlehood is not a disease or a plague  . Through singleness I learned so much about myself and others. I learned my likes and dislikes, and the things I would not compromise. I learned so much about relationships, friendships but most importantly I learned so much about God. God taught me to rely on Him and not what others thought, learning to ignore unsolicited opinions and hurtful actions.  Most of us have our lives mapped out for the next year, five years or even ten years. Then God throws us a curve ball. My curve ball came in the sense of ending a relationship with my now husband, and being single for seven years. We ended things not because our relationship was bad, but because of bad timing. Prior to my relationship with him, I was in an on/off again relationship with a gentleman who ended up cheating on me. After that incident, I recall grabbing a prayer rug my mother gave me and cried out to God. I recall stating that the “next man I dated, I want to marry”. When I met my husband [Woody] I wasn’t looking to be in a relationship. After six months of courtship, he stole my heart. During the six months – the way I felt for him couldn’t compare to the prior relationship I was in for 2-3 years. When things ended, I was heartbroken. Partly because of the prayer I did before meeting him.  During those seven years of singleness, I went through so many ranges of emotions – anger, anxiety, being stagnant, and sadness. Don’t get me wrong there were so many great things happening in my life during that time. We are sometimes guilty of focusing on the wrong things. Although other areas of my life were moving along wonderfully, I felt like I was missing something. I was angry at God at times because I was doing everything right to the best of my ability and was not receiving what I truly wanted. Like, how do you get angry with God?! At 26-27 I was ending this cycle of going on dates with random guys that my friends, peers or coworkers thought would be good for me. I think that was my pitfall. I wanted to be married at 27 years old and have my first child by 29. Here I was saying “God not my will, but yours” and I was taking matters into my own hands. I made a decision that there would be no more dates. I would earnestly seek God and His direction. Then came the tests and obstacles, and fighting the anxiety. My plans were not coming to pass. Here I was at the age of 28, no man in sight. I had to learn to deal with negative thoughts and emotions, rely on God’s word and trust in His plan.  Woody and I reconnected in the weirdest way after seven years of not dating. We picked up seemingly right where we left off. We reconnected November 2013. I was engaged by February 2015 and married on December 20th, 2015. I often laugh and say “Look at the difference a year makes”.  This blog post is for those women and MEN who feel that they are in the “waiting”. I just want to reach out to you and let you know that God has not forgotten about you. I was once where you are. Hearing people say “You’re almost 30! When will you have kids?!” … and so many other hurtful things. Being reminded day in and day out, you are not where you want to be. Keep focused on the end goal! DO NOT SETTLE! Singlehood is your time to establish a great foundation in Christ. Get rooted in Him. You cannot properly love someone else until you first learn to love yourself and Christ.  I can honestly say that those seven years were needed. God needed to break me down. He needed to remove my need of control. He needed to mold my heart to reflect His. He needed to change my character and get me to the place where I had to simply trust in Him! I can say this now – those seven years were worth the wait for the man that I married and also for the woman that I have become.  I am not sure why you are in the waiting, but I know one thing … If God gave you the desire to be married it will come to pass. Hang in there! Stay strong! I am praying for you!  P.S. In another #WifeyWednesday I’ll share our actual “love story”. Trust me, it is best if you allow God to write your love story.  For His Glory Only, XOXO Danielle J.

The moment you realize that everything that led to this point [wedding day] …. was worth the wait.

I was single for SEVEN years! Singlehood is not a disease or a plague. Through singleness I learned so much about myself and others. I learned my likes and dislikes, and the things I would not compromise. I learned so much about relationships, friendships but most importantly I learned so much about God. God taught me to rely on Him and not what others thought, learning to ignore unsolicited opinions and hurtful actions.

Most of us have our lives mapped out for the next year, five years or even ten years. Then God throws us a curve ball. My curve ball came in the sense of ending a relationship with my now husband, and being single for seven years. We ended things not because our relationship was bad, but because of bad timing. Prior to my relationship with him, I was in an on/off again relationship with a gentleman who ended up cheating on me. After that incident, I recall grabbing a prayer rug my mother gave me and cried out to God. I recall stating that the “next man I dated, I want to marry”. When I met my husband [Woody] I wasn’t looking to be in a relationship. After six months of courtship, he stole my heart. During the six months – the way I felt for him couldn’t compare to the prior relationship I was in for 2-3 years. When things ended, I was heartbroken. Partly because of the prayer I did before meeting him.

During those seven years of singleness, I went through so many ranges of emotions – anger, anxiety, being stagnant, and sadness. Don’t get me wrong there were so many great things happening in my life during that time. We are sometimes guilty of focusing on the wrong things. Although other areas of my life were moving along wonderfully, I felt like I was missing something. I was angry at God at times because I was doing everything right to the best of my ability and was not receiving what I truly wanted. Like, how do you get angry with God?! At 26-27 I was ending this cycle of going on dates with random guys that my friends, peers or coworkers thought would be good for me. I think that was my pitfall. I wanted to be married at 27 years old and have my first child by 29. Here I was saying “God not my will, but yours” and I was taking matters into my own hands. I made a decision that there would be no more dates. I would earnestly seek God and His direction. Then came the tests and obstacles, and fighting the anxiety. My plans were not coming to pass. Here I was at the age of 28, no man in sight. I had to learn to deal with negative thoughts and emotions, rely on God’s word and trust in His plan.

Woody and I reconnected in the weirdest way after seven years of not dating. We picked up seemingly right where we left off. We reconnected November 2013. I was engaged by February 2015 and married on December 20th, 2015. I often laugh and say “Look at the difference a year makes”.

This blog post is for those women and MEN who feel that they are in the “waiting”. I just want to reach out to you and let you know that God has not forgotten about you. I was once where you are. Hearing people say “You’re almost 30! When will you have kids?!” … and so many other hurtful things. Being reminded day in and day out, you are not where you want to be. Keep focused on the end goal! DO NOT SETTLE! Singlehood is your time to establish a great foundation in Christ. Get rooted in Him. You cannot properly love someone else until you first learn to love yourself and Christ.

I can honestly say that those seven years were needed. God needed to break me down. He needed to remove my need of control. He needed to mold my heart to reflect His. He needed to change my character and get me to the place where I had to simply trust in Him! I can say this now – those seven years were worth the wait for the man that I married and also for the woman that I have become.

I am not sure why you are in the waiting, but I know one thing … If God gave you the desire to be married it will come to pass. Hang in there! Stay strong! I am praying for you!

P.S. In another #WifeyWednesday I’ll share our actual “love story”. Trust me, it is best if you allow God to write your love story.

For His Glory Only,
XOXO
Danielle J.