This is my Dealing to Healing story. I hope as you read it that you feel inspired, that you know that there are no coincidences and God is real.
In 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia, I felt a shift in my life. I kept telling my sister, I feel a shift. I don’t have the words to describe what a shift feels like but it feels like a change is happening in your life. I felt this shift and journaled about it several times. At the same time, I was feeling this shift, my best friend had been diagnosed with cancer, my mother’s health was declining and I was in a lot of pain from heartache and grief. I’ve always considered myself a spiritual person but when you have two very important people in your life with serious health issues, you pray a lot more. I believe this is when I really started my spiritual journey.
In November of 2018, my best friend, Michelle passed. It was one of the worst days of my life, as I had never had a friend to die and she was more like a sister. It’s during this time that I started writing short stories and posting them on social media with the hashtag Sunday Sermon. I didn’t do many, I only averaged a few from 2017-2019. The Sunday Sermon was always a story of inspiration, encouragement, and spiritual healing. It was cathartic for me. I was telling my social media friends a story that was really for me. There’s nothing like aligning yourself in practicing what you preach.
In May of 2019, I received a phone call from a doctor in Nashville who told me my mother was being put on hospice. She had given up on taking her medication and she may have 6 days, 6 weeks, or 6 months to live but I needed to come back home to Nashville. And so just like that, I left my job and moved back to Nashville in June 2019.
In November of 2019, my mother passed 3 days after Thanksgiving. Another one of the worst days of my life. I was so stricken with grief and pain not only from my mother dying but from complete abandonment from my only sibling. My sister had told me and put in writing that she did not want to be contacted when our mother passed. I’m not going to elaborate or expand on this part of my story because that part is her story. I only tell you this part about my sibling because I want you to truly understand my pain. I was burying my mother solo. Within 12 months, I had lost my best friend, my mother, and my only sibling. My only blood family left now is my son.
As I struggled through the holidays that followed after my mother’s death and my sibling’s divorce from me, I pushed my way through my grief by working and spending time alone in my bed. I dreamed about moving back to Atlanta to leave the painful memories of Nashville. I consistently job searched to make my way back to Atlanta as soon as possible.
March 2020, Covid arrives, and now on top of grief, pain, and heartache, I’m getting my shifts canceled at my current bartending job and have been instructed to isolate due to a pandemic. My life was much like a layered cake. The layers just kept stacking and with every layer, the pain just got heavier. It is around this period that I wrote more of my Sunday Sermon stories. My pain is now really spilling into my social media pages. I find it cathartic and feel the release and healing as though I’m writing in my journal or telling my therapist. One of the stories I write is that I feel I’m channeling my mother, she was a writer. She wrote letters to family members, Elvis Presley, Dr. Phil, and many more. Growing up I remember she would get up in the middle of the night to write. Her words of wisdom flowed out of her and she felt a huge calling to help encourage people through her personal stories.
June 2020, I moved back to Atlanta to take a great corporate job that I had wanted for years. I thought it was my dream opportunity, I thought it was a blessing and I was over the top with excitement. For the first time in a couple of years, I felt hope. Not to mention, I now have income coming in. Remember back in March when I got put on leave due to the pandemic? Yes, that also means I had zero income coming in and without giving too much detail, I was not getting unemployment. It was a ping pong tournament between the states of Tennessee and Georgia to approve my unemployment.
It is now July, I’ve moved back to Atlanta, got my dream job and everything should be getting better. It looked great on paper. It sounded like a great opportunity. Unfortunately, it was only that! Within weeks of starting my job, I had a full-blown panic attack. Shaking uncontrollably, crying, gasping to breathe, all while trying to stay in control in a Microsoft team meeting with more than 60 other people in the room. I struggled for 7 months working from home with anxiety and panic attacks, along with depression. The depression came from so much disappointment from the last 24-36 months. I tried to stay on top of it by working out at the gym, reaching out to my circle of friends, and seeing my therapist via Zoom every week but it was just really band-aid after band-aid. My therapist gave me a lot of insight and hope but healing is painful. As she helped me manage my anxiety, depression, and pain, I still felt a struggle within, a void and complete discontentment with my life, as though I was not getting my soul food.
February 2021, after 7 months of struggling with my job, and a lot of prayers, an opportunity came that I will forever be grateful for. I got an opportunity to partner with one of my friends. She was not just a friend, she had been an angel in disguise for many months and before, she had been in my circle of close friends since 2009. This opportunity quite possibly saved my life. I finally have a job that I love however the void still exists in my life. It is at this point that I acknowledge and know that life is more than just about working, making money, getting the account, the sale, getting the job done, buying all you need and want, experiencing life through travel and adventures. At the end of the day, we are here to help others. What is it that I am contributing to someone else, what is my purpose, what is my calling, what is this struggle that I feel to do more? All questions I’ve been asking myself since 2017.
May 2021, the day after Mother’s Day. I had traveled to Nashville with my son who had come down to Atlanta to visit me for Mother’s Day. After getting to Nashville around noontime, I had a conversation with my son’s father. He had been to the dentist and we had a brief 15-minute talk. He sounded fine. Nothing he said sounded different or unusual. His speech was fine. How was it that hours later, my son called me to say his dad had suddenly passed? If the earth could spin off its axis, it was at that moment. This was the 2nd worst day of my life. If you are wondering the first, it’s when my dad passed in 1999.
A few weeks after the passing of my son’s father, my grief is still unbearable. It was on a Sunday morning sitting in my bed while watching Bishop T.D. Jakes at The Potter’s House church, that I broke. I had been having church in my bed since 2010 via the internet. I had given up on brick-and-mortar churches due to the overall production, the business side of the churches. I had been to the churches that people used as a business platform to pass out real estate cards, teach Sunday school classes on finances, bring in elite country music artists. None of it was for me, amongst other things that I won’t get into. On this particular Sunday, I broke into a rare and audible prayer that I told God, I would do whatever he wanted me to do. I was tired of struggling with the pain, the grief, the heartache, fighting my purpose, my calling, I was tired of feeling the shift in my life. I said, “I will do whatever you want me to do but you are going to have to send the messengers because I am not smart enough to hear your voice.”
Two weeks later after praying that prayer, I was drinking my coffee early one Monday morning while scrolling through Instagram. There was a woman that I had been following for years, she had been an ABC affiliate reporter in Atlanta. I had always been intrigued with her beauty and talent and was often curious about what she was doing. As I followed her to keep tabs on her career, I noticed her platform on social media had changed. She was posting about spiritual things, motivational quotes, pictures of love, posting about God. I liked so many of them and often felt like she was talking to me. This particular morning I reached out to her to say, I liked the way she was posting and I felt she was speaking to me at times. I didn’t expect a response due to she has over 17k followers. To my surprise, she came right back and told me that what I said had made her very happy because she felt her calling was to empower women. She continued to tell me her story, her past struggles, and her pain. As I read paragraph after paragraph, my heart hurt for her. It was proof to me once again that no matter what the outside looks like, everyone has a story to tell. As she opened up to me to be transparent, I in turn became transparent with her about my story. I told her my story which included I had started writing a book during the pandemic and my hashtag Sunday Sermon stories. I told her I had a calling in my life but struggled to know my purpose. She told me instead of writing a book maybe I should consider hashtag Sunday Sermon on a larger platform and gave me examples of what she thought it might look like on a larger level. She also told me to go to a name generator app and find a name to use across all platforms. When we finished our direct messaging on Instagram, two hours later. I had wet spots on my balcony where the tears had fallen like a waterfall. I knew from everything she had said to me, that she was a messenger to confirm what I needed to do. I immediately jumped on my computer and researched “name generator”, since I was clueless. After a few minutes of research, I started putting the name, “Sunday” “Sermon” “Sunday Sermons” and every possible name that I thought I could build on. Nothing was available that I loved. After about 30 minutes I became frustrated and took a time out. I went to the bathroom to just regroup and when I came out, it was like a lightning bolt hit me, I heard “Dealing to Healing”. I ran to my kitchen island and wrote it down on a scratchpad. I then put it in the name generator app to learn that the name was available as a domain name for a website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. I was so taken back and overwhelmed that I questioned it. I didn’t know if it was coincidental if I was crazy or this was God revealing the name. I remembered this woman on Instagram telling me to stop and think and pray over the name. And so I just did that. I told God if this is you, then the name will still be there when I know it’s really for me. I laid it on the altar and left it there.
The next Sunday, I posted a Sunday Sermon on Instagram. Before posting it, I had prayed and asked God to show me again that if this is what I am supposed to be doing, I only wanted one person to like the post that had never liked anything of mine. I was not concerned about my close circle of friends or my usual suspects liking it, I just wanted to know that I had touched one life with this story. To back up just a couple of weeks prior, I had met a man at a baseball game. We wound up sitting side by side and getting to know each other. After that evening, he started following me on Instagram. For 2 weeks on Instagram, he did not like any of my posts. This particular Sunday, he liked my Sunday Sermon. He was definitely that one person that I had asked God to reveal to me to show me that I had touched just one life. He was another messenger. Same Sunday, I posted the same Sunday Sermon on Facebook. Two of my friends, one from high school and another I’ve known since I was 19 years old had liked my post and asked me to make it a public post so they could share it with their friends. Now, this was extremely challenging for me. I’m a very private person and I keep everything locked down on my Facebook and Instagram accounts. As I’m struggling with the decision, I feel like God may be speaking to me and saying that if this is my calling, if this is my purpose, then I must share it not with just a select few friends but with the world. As I changed my setting from “friends” to “public”, I felt as though I was closing my eyes and jumping out of a plane. I thanked those two friends for wanting to share my Sunday Sermon and told them I was just trying to touch one life with one post at a time. They replied that my stories inspired them and I was succeeding with my goal of touching one life, one post at a time. These two friends are two more messengers.
The next Sunday, I posted another Sunday Sermon. Again, I had a friend who rarely comments or likes any of my posts, she asked me to make it public for her to share. I private messaged her and thanked her for sharing my post and that I was just trying to touch one life, one post at a time. What she said to me next was so empowering. She said, “Absolutely true and God will definitely use you to touch the right person, keep on doing what you are doing. You have a great talent with words and writing! Everyone tells me I should be a writer, you my friend are the one that should be a writer. You should look into publishing Dana’s Sunday Sermons! 💗” I’m using her quote because when I said I was not smart enough to hear God’s voice, I believe that he used my friend to not only speak but confirm what my calling is to help others. I knew she was the fifth messenger. Tears streamed as I knew my prayer had been answered and I had zero doubt. Later that evening in Nashville, I shared my story with my angelic friend that I also worked with in business. After telling the story, she replied, “what are you waiting on to lock down the name, Dealing to Healing?” The next day I came back to Atlanta and locked it down.
Now, I’ve locked down the name and started my social media platforms, I’ve told less than 10 people and just a few are seeing my posts on my Dealing to Healing pages so I’ve posted the stories on my personal pages and made them public. I’ve told myself that I can’t tell my story until I have my website done to blog. And since I’m not an expert doing a website, that may be a while, but no rush because I’m not ready to share my story with the world. It’s difficult to be transparent in a world full of judges and critics. It’s especially challenging when you are a private person. I’ve always considered myself more in the role of a director or producer but never on stage as an actress. Being on stage does not interest me. I’d rather be the wind beneath the wings.
Friday, August 13, one day before my birthday. My son had come from Nashville to visit me for my birthday weekend. That evening we had gone to a football game, after returning to my home, I sat down in my mother’s leather chair and told him my story. Tears streamed because I can’t tell my story without being overwhelmed with emotion. As I tell it and he remains quiet on his bed, I’m thinking that his interest is pretty low. After all, I’m his mom and I’ve done a lot of things in his lifetime and this is just another “thing” to him. To my surprise, he told me he’d do my website. On my birthday he worked tirelessly to finish it and wow am I ever so proud. I have no more excuses. I have every base covered and the time has come for me to share my story with you and the world. I do not doubt that all these years of not feeling fulfilled, not knowing what my soul food was in life, not knowing my purpose, I now know that everything I have been through in my life, and this is the short version, has prepared me for Dealing to Healing. I agree with the words of my therapist, “I share your excitement. Your whole life has prepared you for your “dealing to healing” project. Very much looking forward to hearing it all. With love, respect and many blessings, your favorite shrink.”
I hope you have read this and felt inspired and know that struggles in life can birth new life. I pray that you read something on my blog, on my social media that gives you hope to never quit or give up, to continue to look for answers. When I was searching for the name, I felt I needed a name other than Sunday Sermon because I truly felt in my heart that I was not just trying to reach people that wanted a sermon on Sunday. I was not trying to reach just the Christian religion. My goal was to share my stories and find others, like me, that have pain, disappointment, grief in their life from abandonment, childhood traumas, addiction, anxiety. They are also dealing with struggles all while trying to heal. Isn’t that what we’re doing, dealing while healing? If you feel inspired, please leave a comment, like my blog, or check out my personal stories and life experiences on my social media platforms at the following:
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