From Bitter to Sweet by Denise Alexander

Early in life I experienced a lot of negativity. I was teased , I was told I wasn’t good enough, and I didn’t belong. I never let no one define me, I was determined to overcome whatever challenges were in my path. Now, I’m proud to say that I am an over comer, and I can do all things thru Christ who strengthen me. With God as my guide, I have successfully raised two kids with whom I’m proud of . I have worked in banking/ government for over 10 years. (Manager). Owner of Niecy‘s Homemade Treats. Also, I’m a realtor with Keller Williams.
I chose to believe in myself. Don’t let other people’s baggage stop your success. What God has for you is for you.

-Denise AlexanderImage may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing

 

My Past Propelled me by Constance Latimore

I was the product of a teen pregnancy! Shortly after my mother got pregnant, she and my father ended their relationship. My mother is a strong woman and was determined to succeed in spite of the circumstances. She taught me how to be a strong woman and not allow your start to dictate your future. She later married my daddy and they raised me and my 2 sisters to be confident women of God.
I am a philanthropist, insurance professional and proud owner of Peturion Communities (formed to fight for those directly impacted by incarceration). My past has propelled me and I continue to build a stronger relationship with my biological father.
God has blessed me with the support system I have because my destiny requires the good, bad and ugly to ensure I receive all He has stored up for me.

Constance Latimore

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(w)holehearted: By Sara Bawany

I grew up in an abusive home and struggled with depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Those sleepless nights and worries somehow helped me turn to reading, writing and poetry as a way to cope. I always knew I wanted to be an author but I wasn’t sure how I would achieve it. Several years later, I published my first poetry book “(w)holehearted: a collection of poetry and prose.” Additionally, that scared little girl grew up to be a social worker who counseled people through mental health illnesses, advocated for victims of domestic violence, and more recently, started working at an organization to investigate abusive religious and community leaders. I don’t always feel like I have life figured out and sometimes I am overwhelmed by how much further I have to go, but I know that if the younger version of me was so resilient, the older version of me must be too. So here’s to turning our pain into poetry. Here’s to turning our pain into power. 

Sara Bawany, LMSW, MHFA

Social Worker

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Tuesday, May 17, 2017 10:30 pm was a night that changed my life forever. My soon-to-be ex husband who had become addicted to crack, a man I once knew and loved, kicked in my back door, and headed into my daughter’s room where I was hiding and begin to choke me and beat me until I passed out. The inexcusable reason for this is because he wanted the keys to my car so that he could run from whomever was chasing him.
At this point…. I saw my life flash before my eyes, I thanked God that my 4- year old daughter asked to stay at her great-aunts’ that night. I began to pray Psalm 91 out loud. When I opened my eyes I realized there was a bullet hole in his head, but despite this grave injury he had great strength to do what he was determined to do. I still continued to pray as he continued choking, dragging, and punching me until we made it outside……all while he held a butcher’s knife at my throat. The more I prayed aloud, the more he became enraged. He started raping me in my car and at this point surviving seemed almost impossible. However, by the grace of God, he left. The next morning he was arrested.
Fast forward….This now started the process of ending what I thought was a great marriage to an awesome man. I was mad at God! I was mad at my ex husband! I was mad at myself! I was mad at the world! The five years leading to that moment was a series of trials and heartache. My daughter almost died during birth. A month later, my younger brother drank himself to death. My father was dying in prison. The hurt kept compounding and my heart was literally tearing to pieces.
Then on November, 2018, despite the hurt and failures, God resurrected my entire life. God showed me that He was in control. Despite my wrong thinking and my disobedience…..God was still my saving Grace. Stay tuned my story has just begun!

Forgiveness is not for you, it’s for them.

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I often say, If you knew my story, you’d understand my praise….. Being teased all throughout high school because of how you look, you begin to develop somewhat of complex. I believe they call it low self-esteem. I would be in a crowd and want to shrink. You know blend in…. That’s kind of hard when you’re 6’2 and a girl. High school was really tough. The kids were so mean. My home life was not the best. Growing up, my Dad was in the home but he wasn’t. I am thankful that I had a strong Mother that did everything she could to keep us afloat. She showed me how to make things happen. She provided everything we needed and sometimes some of the things we wanted. She also showed me what real love looks like through all of the sacrifices she made while I was growing up. My neighborhood was tough. I used to be upset because I could hardly ever go outside. Because of the bullying I endured during high school, I dropped out for an entire semester. I saw my mother cry. I had never really given my mother a problem before. She was in complete shock. I went to day school and night simultaneously to catch up in order to graduate on time all while holding a part time job. Upon graduation, I joined the Army and embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Twenty-one and half years later, I developed self-confidence, I was promoted to a rank I never thought I would achieve(Master Sergeant), I traveled the world, learned many life skills, I learned many job skills, I made many life-long friends, and now I’ve been able to retire. I graduated with my MBA in Human Resources and I am currently working on my Doctorate. I own multiple properties and I’m looking forward to opening a business (Something Tall). I’ve modeled. I’ve mentored. My biggest accomplishments are raising productive children and being able to take care of my mother. She has no worries. #BUTGOD😊 He kept me! In my darkest days!! He kept me! In my weakest moments! He kept me! When I didn’t think I was gonna make it! He sent Angels!!! He kept me!!! When I didn’t know what to do! His Mercy and His Grace!!!! He made me with a forgiving heart and soul!!! I will tell you that I thought I healed from all the bullying that I endured but MY GOD knew better. One of the bully’s that tortured me the worst inboxed me just this year and asked me for forgiveness. When I tell you it broke me down because I was not expecting it but I knew from my reaction it was “Heaven Sent” and exactly what I needed to heal. Of course I told him I forgave him because the truth is, I forgive them all. I appreciate God for sending him to help me along in my journey. “Forgiveness is not for them, it’s for you🙌🏾”