Free Falling

My Struggle from Survival to Success to Stepping out into Purpose
by Pastor Sally Davis

At the beginning of this year during prayer God spoke to me that I would be asked to write articles. Within two months, I was asked to write two, this was the first. I’ve been struggling about writing a book about my life and this is God’s way of leading me with baby steps towards that vision. I actually started a few years ago and told my story up until I felt it would be too painful to delve back into the memories of struggle and survival. Like at the edge of a cliff, I stopped writing. This invitation to write brings me back to the edge of that familiar cliff only it seems not so scary now that you are standing here with me. So come with me and let’s free fall into God’s indescribable grace.
My life is one of the “foolish things” that God uses to confound the wise. In all reality, I should be the L A S T person to be asked to write about anything that could encourage anyone. I should have been a statistic. But that wasn’t God’s plan. As I begin to step over this cliff it seems glaringly obvious that it was all part of His plan for me to struggle, succeed, surrender and step into a purpose that was never about ME. The thrill of this free fall makes me feel like I’d run back into hell to get what I came out with.

Growing up, my father was mean and abusive. He used to hit me in the face as a teenager and call me stupid. He didn’t just call me stupid, it came in the form of a question “You’re stupid, aren’t you?” My answer was pre-programmed after years of trying to appease an abuser, “Yes, sir, I’m stupid.” He forbade us to flinch when he hit us. We were commanded to keep our arms and hands down while he hit us in the side of the head, his preferred place to hit after school officials started asking questions about facial bruises. I remember how hard it was to brush our hair with the lumps and bumps, how hard it was to chew food when my temple was sore and bruised, but nothing compared to the terror of never knowing when he would explode again. Walking on eggshells was an understatement.

Little normal things set him off, like spilling something, dropping something, normal accidents and things kids just do. These things were not normal in our house, they carried a penalty none of us wanted to pay. So we all worked hard at being quiet and quick. Being slow at anything he thought you ought to be faster at drove him into a tirade. One time, I thought he was going to kill my sister as he held her by the ankles against the wall in our bedroom and kicked her in the face. I ran to the living room and screamed out the window for someone to help. Immediately, he came into the room and commanded me to get away from the window. This was the only time I ever made a sound while someone else was getting it. You never wanted to call attention to yourself when it was someone else’s turn to get beat up. I actually thought it was possible for him to go too far and kill her.

She was my older sister by only thirteen months. Her feet, ankles and two fingers were deformed at birth because of my father’s abuse of my mother while she was pregnant with her. She was tough. Even though they said she would never walk, after thirteen surgeries she learned to walk with casts on her tiny feet and later she ran track and played all star softball. She was tough and known as a fighter. Even the boys our age were afraid of her. She was usually the one protecting me from the bullies but this time, it was my turn to protect her even if it meant turning my papa’s fury on me. My screams for help actually stopped him, this time.

Hiding bruises and the mental torment from teachers and school mates was normal. I guess what I mean is, it was normal for me to try to act normal until one day I couldn’t and wouldn’t hide it any more. I didn’t want to dress out for gym because my legs were covered in bruises where Papa had beaten me with a fly swatter. You could see the waffle marks from the swatter in the bruises. It was obvious that these bruises were intentional and not from falling down or some other accident I quickly came up with a lie about. I asked to go to the principal’s office. I remember sitting there looking in his skeptical eyes as the truth came pouring out like a river. He sent me into the female counselor’s office to show her the bruises on my body as they began the almost robotic protocol for this type of report. The fear was overwhelming as they informed me that I would have to call him at work and let him know that I was not coming home while they listened on the other line. I was told to tell him when he asked why they were not allowing me to come home that “it’s because you beat me.” My dad’s response was so telling, yet non-incriminating, “I don’t know what you’re talking about” and he hung up.

They discussed what to do with me and finally decided to take me to the local teen runaway shelter until CPS could do an investigation. The investigation included what seemed to be a young lady right out of college coming over to our house for an “interview” with the rest of the family. I could feel the tension and see the actors all playing their parts to avoid what would surely come after the interview was over but the college chick was clueless. She thought it was cool that we had bean bag chairs to sit on instead of regular furniture. She never noticed that we didn’t have a phone so no one could call for help in the middle of a beat down or that my step mother was lying through her teeth… no she was acting, and if the academy would have captured her performance on film, the Oscar certainly would have gone to her. She was a little larger than Papa, but that didn’t stop his cruelty on her. It was normal to see him hold her face and head against the wall and beat her face with his other fist because he said she rolled her eyes at him… all while, I’m putting my shoes on to run catch the school bus. She wouldn’t make eye contact with me while I begged her to please tell the truth so we can get help for our family. Her answer was, “Look at me. I’m bigger than he is. He couldn’t beat me up.” The investigator’s conclusion was that I was lying and put me back in the home.

I’ll never forget the first night back. I bravely informed him that they were watching our family now and if he put a mark on me, he would be in trouble. Pure evil glared from his eyes as he gritted his teeth and gave me his answer to that, “Don’t you worry, I can hurt you without putting a mark on you.” I pondered his words as I tried to go to sleep that night. Running away seemed a better solution that waiting around to see what his new form of abuse would be. I gathered a few things as quietly as I could and slipped out of my second story window and onto the roof. I made my way over the edge by sliding on my stomach until my 14 year old feet could reach the fence below. I was free. I had nowhere to go but I was free from Papa’s abuse.

Over the next few months I sometimes stayed with my only friend until her mother said it was time for me to go home. I’d leave and stay in the bushes, laundry mat, back porch, someone’s car, an abandoned apartment… anywhere I could find. I was homeless. I was a teen and I was scared. I fantasized that if I knew where my mother was, she would take care of me and I could have a normal life. My dad had stolen my siblings and I when I was eight and we hadn’t seen our mother since, except for a short afternoon visit when I was ten. We lived in North Carolina and all I knew was that Mama was somewhere in Texas.
After a few years of living on the streets and going back and forth to the runaway shelter, I finally went home. By this time my step mother was preparing to leave Papa. She couldn’t take it anymore. One night she came out of her bedroom and asked me if I wanted to call my mother. I was shocked! “You know where my mother is?” “Your father gave me this number to reach her in case anything ever happened to him.” She had known all along. All though the years. She knew how to find our mother and never helped us get away. I don’t understand now how she couldn’t have helped us before but at the moment I was just so happy that I could possibly talk to my mom. I left a message at the number she had. She called back in a few minutes. I was so happy to hear her voice, “I’ve saved a little money for a septic tank but I’ll buy you a plane ticket to come home to me tomorrow if you want to.” I was so overjoyed that when we hung up, I ran to my room to pack. I was in my closet getting my clothes out when the next thing I knew I was on the floor looking up at the empty hangers swinging above me. For a moment, I must have passed out. The empty hangers seemed to rejoice with me making a little melody as they danced together.
I made my way up and continued to pack all I had into a few cardboard boxes for the plane early in the morning. My heart was heavy knowing I would need to call my boyfriend to let him know I was leaving. We had only been going together for a few months but really loved each other. He began to cry on the phone and his mother got on the line to see what was going on. Just a month or so earlier she had brought him to visit me in the runaway shelter. I didn’t know this but she cried all the way home after that visit. She allowed him to come to our apartment for a late night goodbye visit. We sat in his car and both cried our eyes out until it was time for him to go back home.

I got on the plane that morning with so many mixed emotions. I was excited to see my mother but I wondered if we would even recognize each other. I was a very mature looking seventeen year old. Would she look the same? I had been through so much. I just couldn’t wait for the moment I would be in her arms and she would hold me and everything would be ok. That is not what happened.

I got off the plane in San Antonio and followed the rest of the passengers towards the baggage claim. There was a roped off area where people could come meet your plane in those days. There they were at the rope. My mother, now a little older but a bit worn out looking, my granny who was just as round as she was tall with thick glasses that made her eyes look like saucers, and my little brother, Johnny whom I had never met. He was the one who saw me and knew who his sissy was. He ran under that rope at full speed to give me a hug he had waited his whole little life to give. He was five and had grown up only hearing about his older siblings. Quick awkward but long awaited hugs followed from Mama and Granny. I was not a little girl anymore. I was more of a woman. The struggles of life had grown me up way too fast.

There was a hardness about Mama that I didn’t remember. The helplessness of losing her kids and the trauma of my father’s abuse had taken its toll on her. She had become a bitter survivalist. She worked as a go go dancer for several years which I’m sure added to the stew on her face until she became pregnant with my little brother I was just meeting. She had spent the last five years working two waitress jobs for less than minimum wage. The look on her face was a mixture of sad, mad, determined and by God I will kick your butt if you mess with me… all mixed with a rare genuine look of joy and accomplishment that she had gotten one of her daughters back!

We went to the little snack bar to get a soda and reacquainted while we waited for my boxes, when Johnny spilled his soda on the table. My mother’s response shocked and terrified me at the same time, “Now look you little bastard, look what you’ve done!” My heart sank. I wondered if I had just flown two thousand miles to be in the same situation I just left.

Mama worked at a diner during the day and a disco at night. Over the next few weeks my older sister and younger brother joined us. My mother had been reunited with all of her teen age children with the exception of one brother who was being raised by my grandparents. We all lived with her and granny in the tiny single wide, two bedroom trailer she had bought with her own hard earned money. It was tiny and cramped and dysfunctional with a capital D! There were at least 12 cats, four dogs and a parakeet also sharing slot 52 at the trailer park. Mama spent so much time working her two jobs that we had no supervision or order. It was chaotic and crazy. We were all about half crazy. You can’t go through that kind of a struggle and not come out a little twitchy. I wondered how I would go to school and struggle to seem normal from my new abnormal living arrangement. I felt hopeless and longed for another escape. I needed a home. I needed some stable people. I longed for a relationship with God but didn’t know how since my life seemed so consumed with survival and struggle. Where was God in all of this? I began to wonder if God could help me.

We made friends around the trailer park. One friend I met invited me to spend the night in town at an apartment where we could hang out. Any escape from the chaos was welcomed. I went. I was settling in on the couch for the night thinking about my situation when I decided to pray. My prayer went like this… I sat up and looked up toward the ceiling and said, “If you’re all I have, how can I understand about you and your love?” I felt God there. I heard the still small voice of God speak to my spirit. He said, “Go over to the door.” My friend had gone to bed in their room but their roommate was not home and God was asking me to go to the roommate’s bedroom door. I reluctantly went. I stood there and God said, “Open the door.” I opened it and stepped back against the wall outside the door. When I did that , the light in the living room shone into the dark bedroom. There was a Bible on the headboard and the light shining in the room made the gold letters on the side shine in the darkness, “Holy Bible.” I went over and picked it up. God said, “This is the key to understanding Me and My love.” At that moment, I knew that God knew where I was and that He cared enough about me to answer my prayer to Him. He spoke to me and what He told me was not as important at that moment as the fact that I knew He heard me and would and could answer. I prayed for help. I needed a home. I needed a place to live and be cared for. I slept with a peace that night that had escaped me for my whole life.

The next night I went with my mother to “Close Encounters” the disco she worked at. There was a pay phone in the lobby so I took the opportunity to call my boyfriend back in North Carolina. The DJ was playing the Bee Gee’s at disco level so even in the lobby it was very loud. I could hardly hear his voice on the phone. He asked me where I was, “I’m at the disco with my mom.” He was shocked that a seventeen year old would be allowed in the disco. His mother took the phone away from him. She had been waiting for an opportunity and this was it. She said, “Sally, you tell your mother that you are coming back for a two week visit here before school starts. I’m going to send you a ticket and pay for it myself. But you are NOT going back. You are going to stay here with me and my family. You will be like one of my own young-uns.” Since she had brought her son to visit me at the runaway shelter God had been dealing with her heart to get involved with my life. I thought that God had just answered my prayer but He had been preparing this for me without me knowing. I felt a little bad about deceiving Mama but it was time for me to make decisions that would be best for my life. It was hard but I knew it was best. Once again, I packed my little bit of belongings up in boxes and made the trip half way across the country again.

I became one of the family. They had five children and a living room they had never decorated or furnished. We went down to the barn and got an antique bed and dresser that had been stored in there. I was delighted since I loved antiques. One of the children gave me a green Living Bible and I began to read it as often as I could, desperate to understand the love of God that had just answered and rescued me. God began to speak to my heart. I felt an overwhelming desire to be used by God even though I had no idea how to be a Christian. He assured me that one day He would use me in a glorious way. I couldn’t imagine how or why but I had a seed in my heart of knowing that God had a plan for me. Survival was still very much a part of living. I was 17 but needed a job.

I missed so much school while I was homeless that the last grade I completed was the eighth grade. During the ninth grade I took the California Achievement tests. I scored 99% higher than the nation’s ninth graders in language expression and 85% higher in space relations. Based on those scores, they allowed me to enter 10th grade but homelessness didn’t allow me to attend so I dropped out. Neither of my parents would sign for me to go back to high school when I moved in with my new family. They told me if I wanted o go to school I would have to live with one of them. That was not an option. I decided that I would later get a GED. It was my best choice. I needed to get a job so I could support myself while I lived with the Russell’s.

After working at McDonald’s, Kmart and Woolco for a short time at the age of 18 I got a job as a telemarketer at Olan Mills Portrait Studios. I worked about four hours a day and made commission for sales. I enjoyed the job and the hours. One day the studio manager came back and asked us all to wrap up our calls so they could make an announcement. “Our photographer just quit and we need to refill the position quickly so we do not have time to run an ad. Would one of you like to apply to be the photographer?” No one answered. Then the manager turned to me and said “What about you?” “Me?” “Yes, you. We would give you three weeks of on the job training. You would do great.” I reluctantly agreed asking, “But if I’m no good at it, can I get my job back?” They assured me that I could so I hung up my telemarketing job to give it a try.

The three weeks of on the job training turned into one week when the photography trainer got called away to another studio. I had caught on rather quickly and really had a knack for it. It seems the California achievement scores were right and oddly enough photography had been my Papa’s profession. So whether it was in my genes or just a God given gift I was really good. After a year the district photography supervisor came to share my studio photography score. I was only eighteen so she started out by saying, “Now don’t let this go to your head but your studio scored number one in the entire district.” They scored on film consumption and consistency of lighting, posing and creativity. I guess the little homeless girl was not stupid after all. I began to believe in myself a little more. Children were my specialty, I loved them and quickly learned how to get great expressions in a very short amount of time. Since they scheduled three appointments for every fifteen minutes, I had to work fast but still capture great images.

After three years I was twenty two and really missed my family, especially my sister who had just had her first child. I was an aunt and wanted desperately to see my nephew and live near my own family. My sister and her husband drove all the way to Charlotte from Houston to get me. Once again I packed my things and was moving back to Texas only this time as a grown woman with a career path ahead of me.
I got settled in and started working for a local studio. It was a family business so I was involved with more things like marketing, sales, backdrop design, scheduling and of course studio portraits. The owner made me the head studio photographer in a short amount of time. I worked hard. I was a more than just what’s required person. I poured my heart and soul into everything I did. This studio was accustomed to scheduling one portrait sitting an hour. Since I was so used to working fast that I spent most of my time waiting around for people to change clothes for outfit changes. Especially during Senior Portrait season it seemed like I was literally just waiting around. I came up with an idea. I went to my boss and told him that I could double his income with about a $100 investment. He was all ears. I figured if I could hang a thick curtain in the middle of the dressing room, I could do two shoots at once. I could photograph one while the other was changing. I doubled his income that Senior portrait season and I did not ask to be compensated for it. Now I know that I should have but it never occurred to me then. I was working the principles of the Word without knowing it. I was being faithful over another man’s so God would be able to bless me with my own.

After five years I felt I was ready to leave and start my own studio. I’ll never forget the day I told my boss I was leaving. He said, “What would it take to keep you?” I said, “You couldn’t afford it.” He said, “Try me!” For a moment I thought about throwing a great big number out but I would still be punching his clock. I wanted to free myself from someone else’s schedule and work my own. It occurred to me that where I had just worked so hard to get to had become bondage because I had gotten a glimpse of the next level. So once you get a glimpse of the next level don’t ever be tempted to stay where it’s comfortable. Sometimes comfortable is bondage.

I had scheduled one daycare for me to come set up for the day and shoot pics of all the kids. Remember I was a beast at photographing children so that’s where I decided to specialize for now. One daycare wasn’t going to sustain me so I literally got in the yellow pages under daycares and starting making calls. One of the first ones I came to was in the “A’s”… Abercrombie Academy. Mrs. Abercrombie spoke with me on the phone and said, “Actually our photographer just quit so if you can come show me your work today we can get you scheduled for next week to shoot.” She loved my sample pictures and I was scheduled to shoot the next week. I had no idea that this was a very prestigious school. The Elite of this area of Houston sent their children there. Professional Athletes, local celebrities and highly successful people sent their children to this school. It took an entire week to photograph them all. On the last day of the shoot a little third grader named Preashea Hilliard came out for her photo. Her parents were Pastors of a mega church in Houston called New Light Church. They like others, loved their childrens pictures and called me to schedule family portraits. More abou t the Hilliard’s in a bit.

It was about this time that I married a pastors son and surrendered my heart and life to Jesus. I began to serve in church anywhere they would let me! I literally wore out Bibles in my search to know God better. I would write out Scriptures over and over to memorize them. I was so in love with God and He was quickly teaching me His word. I began to tithe and give offerings. I would often leave $100 bill on the pulpit just to bless my pastor. When God says that He will open up the windows of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not be able to receive it… He means it.

I got so many calls from clients who wanted studio sittings that I knew I needed a studio. I happened to find a little building in Old Town Spring that appeared to have been vacant for some time. It had a “for rent” sign on it. I told one of my friends about it. She quickly shot me down saying that I could never afford a building out there. It was a very popular place to shop and the truth is it was an expensive place to rent property. But I felt like this was a little place reserved just for me. I could see it refurbished. So when she shot me down… Something in me rose up and said, “Well it’s free to make the call!” I’m glad I did. The rental company told me it had been vacant for some time and if I would just rent it, they would give me six months of free rent and the rent would only be $300 for the entire building!. Sometimes we are held in bondage by the fear of rejection or “can’t afford it”… but it’s free to call. Someone reading this needs to just make the call!

In that six months of free rent time, I was able to build my business up to the place where I was booked six months in advance. By June I was booked through Christmas. By January they were booking for July. I had twenty seven pages on a legal pad of names and numbers of people hoping and waiting for a cancellation. My cup was running over. God was blessing the homeless girl. And not just me. God says we are blessed to be a blessing. I had so much overflow that I had to send people to my friend’s studios because I couldn’t handle all the business. Their studios blew up with business just from my overflow! People didn’t just come from my City, they cam e from other Countries to have me photograph them. God made my name great.

I enjoyed the fruit of my labor and continued to grow in God. I was faithful to my church and worked in almost every department. I sang on the praise team, ran sound for women’s ministry, worked as youth pastor, decorated and worked on a hospitality team. I literally did anything they would let me do. My pastor taught us to use our faith. He was a man of faith and walked by faith. He taught us to work the Word of God. He was powerful and one of the greatest influences in my life. I soaked it all up and began to live by faith. I was only saved three and a half years when he unexpectedly went to be with Jesus.

About a year before he died we were at the rodeo and he had just bought a horse at the auction. They gave him a purple halter for the horse that we were supposed to take to claim the horse with the other documents. He insisted that I carry the halter. It was an honor he bestowed on me to feel special because everyone who saw me would know that we just bought a horse. I really felt like a princess and my pastor and father in law loved me. It was a way of God putting back the father daughter relationship that had been stolen from me as a child. I was in my thirties but I felt like I belonged to a daddy who loved me. My heart was broken when he died but he had taught us to walk by faith so that’s what we did.
My husband and I stepped out in faith to start our own church. In our search for a spiritual covering we decided to go visit the Hilliard’s Mega church. While we were there God moved on our hearts and we knew that Bishop IV and Pastor Bridget Hilliard were God’s choice to cover us. Bishop is so much like my first pastor that it’s uncanny. His tenacity and diligence to walk in faith and obey God was just what we needed to have as our example to follow in our next level of life and ministry. One night while we were there, Dr. Fred Price was ministering the word. After he finished he walked right over to me and asked me to stand up. He began to speak a word from the Lord over me, “My child, My child I have heard the cry of your heart and I have seen your desire to do My will and I say to you my child don’t fret or be concerned because your future is about to change. That which you have been believing me for and that which you have been working towards shall blossom out in such a way that all who see you shall come from the North, the South, the East and the West. All these months… all these years that the word has been stored up inside of you… the dam is about to break and the water is about to gush forth and so shall your life be made glad and all others who come in contact with you so also shall their lives also be made glad.” I was so shocked but his words seemed to wash over me and connect to the desire I had as a teen in that living room in that antique bed begging God to use me. He just spoke it out over me and at least 3,000 witnesses. I memorized that word. I wrote out sections of it and put in frames so I could look at it and believe it. I photo shopped a picture of myself in the middle of a flyer with every woman preacher on tv I could find. I was writing that vision and making it plain so I could run with it. Pastoring became a joy as we applied the principles we learned from the Hilliard’s to our own church.

I still worked at my studio and could hardly keep up with the demands of being a new pastor and a business owner. I trained excellent photographers to take my place. You could not tell the difference between our pictures they were that good so I began to step back and work more in ministry while others ran my business. I felt God calling me out to minister more and once again I had a glimpse of the next level so where I had fought so hard to get has again become bondage. I began to pray for God to show me how to make the transition to full time ministry.

One night I went at around 8pm to the studio and said out loud, “My heart is not here anymore. I’m ready to sell this studio.” At that exact moment the phone rang. I felt compelled to answer it. It was a high school student that I had mentored. She said, “I heard you were selling your studio?” I had not told anyone that I was selling my studio. I just said it for the first time right before the phone rang. I said, “Yes as a matter of fact I am.” She said, “Well My aunt has been telling everyone that she is buying your studio.” I told her to have her aunt come up there that night and look at it. I had not put it on the market yet but if she wanted it she could buy it for my asking price. She came to look at it. Thirty days later she had the keys and I was in full time ministry.

I was accustomed to having plenty of money from my business. Now I was in ministry with no salary. My husband made a small salary and we sacrificed for years to build the kingdom and save money to step out and purchase a building. We tried every bank in Texas to finance a building we felt was perfect for us while we rented it with our money we had saved. We were so certain we could get it financed. We even got several letters from banks accepting the mortgage. After eighteen months of negotiating we could not get it financed and had to move out and share a church building with another church. We were heartbroken. I was so upset with God. In fact I was so upset, I refused to teach Bible study or do Women’s Ministry anymore. After all, I had given up everything I had worked so hard to build to work full time in ministry. I didn’t think it was fair for us to fail. I went to Pastor Bridget’s women’s conference and poured my broken heart out at the altar. I said, “God all I’ve ever wanted to do is serve you.” God answered quick… He said, “Will you just trust Me?” I got up with my passion back. I began to teach a Bible study series called “How to make a successful comeback.” I thought the comeback was from what had just happened but God was preparing me and our church for a future that was about to change.

My husband and that pastor of our church suddenly began to tell me that he did not want me, our life or ministry anymore. The disappointment of our failure with the building was too much for him. He had been just showing up to church to preach but privately he was a mess. I discovered that he had been unfaithful in our marriage and I watched seventeen years of marriage drive out of the driveway. I was heartbroken and disappointed but not ready to give up. I had come too far and worked too hard in life to go down. God had promised me that my future was about to change and here it was. I had just never imagined myself in Gods vision for my life without him. I never saw it that way. I never saw my future without him. But friends, the truth is some people will not make the cut to your destiny.
I wanted to die. I wanted to pull the covers over my head and let depression swallow me up. The first morning I woke up without him a thought hit my heart, “Oh my God! What am I going to do about the church?” God said, “Don’t worry I’ve already prepared the hearts of the people to follow you.” Even though I wanted to cry, it was not time to cry. If God had prepared people to follow me, I had to get up and go lead. I got myself up and stood in what was left of my life, made my way to the bathroom, washed my face, anointed my eyes with some make up and had a talk with myself. I reminded myself how far I had come. If God was able to get the homeless girl to here, He can get me all the way to destiny! I focused on what was left of my life instead of what was gone.

I got myself dressed and called the leaders of the church to schedule an emergency meeting for that night. I walked in with courage and stood behind the pulpit and told the people that their pastor was not coming back but that I am here and we will still do everything we ever said we would do! I began to pastor our church alone that day. A courage and bravery settled over me that I knew was from God and not my own.

On purpose, I had to focus forward to the future and hope that God promises to give us. It was something I chose to do, definitely not what came natural. In the natural I wanted to give into depression and bitterness but in my heart I allowed hope to rise up over it. I knew that God was not through blessing me! I was a good wife. I was faithful and had not done anything wrong. I wanted to be married and I wanted a partner in ministry. I did not want to pastor alone.

I prayed from 1 Samuel 16:18 for a husband that would be like King David, a man after God’s own heart. The very day I prayed, I got a call from Pastor Jerry Davis. Davis actually means “Son of David.”
He and his wife, Melinda who had recently passed away from cancer were ministry friends of ours. He was calling to check on me since he had heard that my ex-husband and I were going through a divorce. In the midst of his own grief he was reaching out to see if he could help someone else. We were both going through a season of horrible grief and became a huge comfort to each other. It didn’t take long for either of us to see what God was doing. Rather than having to go through the “dating” process, which can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Instead, God just handed us both the needle. We fell hopelessly in love and married a few months later.

Since Jerry was an evangelist doing disaster relief all over the world (63 countries to date) neither of us saw him becoming a pastor with me but he came to my church where the congregation fell in love with him and he with them. One of the most miraculous things about our testimony is that Jerry already owned a church building that was not being used. It was debt free and unoccupied. We moved our church in and began to pastor together. We are a baby church only six years old but still have many of our original members. Strangely enough, it has been this testimony of heartbreak and restoration that has opened the doors for stepping into destiny. I travel and speak at women’s conferences all over the country. Sometimes destiny is waiting on the other side of a huge giant that just needs to be conquered. For me it’s been many giants, but I’m here. God’s indescribable grace has held me through the free fall of life. It has become a thrill and a joy.
He has made me glad.

The seven mountains are: business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education the family and religion.

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