By LaVonda McCullough
God's Brave Women - LaVonda's Story
Another evening of pain and heartache… living a life of fear as a child poured over into a life of fear as an adult. Afraid to speak up and share an idea, afraid to ask a question in the classroom, afraid to disagree and not be accepted.
FEAR has had a way of trying to destroy my future.
As a child, I was taught that asking “Why?” wasn’t an option because of the fear that was instilled into me at such a young age.
This life long battle with fear began one rainy night when I dared to ask my mother “why” at eight years old.
My mother was angry with me for “talking back” and my punishment was to walk home alone in the dark.
This is not normal, I thought as I walked down the long sidewalk crying uncontrollably.
I could hear the voices of family and friends pleading with my mother to not force me to walk home in the dark on this rainy night as she drove alongside me in her car.
I knew I was the focal point of her unhappiness and a reminder of my father. I had grown accustomed to hearing, “You’re just like your father, and you look like him, too.” Her bitterness toward my father over a failed marriage from an affair and birth of a child caused her to lash out, directing emotional and physical abuse toward me.
It was now time to cross the two-lane road. It wasn’t at a lighted intersection, but a narrow two-lane road in North Carolina. I stood at the edge of the road. Stuck, afraid, alone, and unloved – trying to become brave enough to cross the street.
I took a few deep breathes before I started to walk across the road. She rolled down the window and yelled at me, “I said walk home, cross the street.”
The thoughts raced through my mind, Why does she hate me? Why doesn’t anyone love me? And why won’t someone stop her from torturing me?
“Cross the road,” she yelled again.
As I begin to put one foot in front of the other to cross the road, the car remained still. But as soon as I began to walk, the lights became brighter and now the car was accelerating in my direction. I started to run and dived as fast as I could into the ditch.
Screams filled the atmosphere.
I was alive – muddy but alive.
I could hear people asking, “Did she hit LaVonda?” and making comments, “Did you see how she is treating that child?”
But no one intervened to stop the abuse, no one spoke up for years.
Thank God for my grandmother. She made sure I was at Sunday School every week. God placed an angel in my life, my Sunday School teacher, who took a passionate interest in my well-being. She and her family showed me the love of Christ and welcomed me into their family and she mentored me.
I still hear her gentle voice saying, “Believe in yourself… Make something of yourself. You’re talented.”
Sister, you may have been a victim of abuse that has caused you shame, anxiety, and depression? Well, I’ve been there.
I was ashamed because I grew up in the ghetto. I was ashamed that I was abused. I didn’t have name brand clothes, and there were days that we had no electricity because the light bill wasn’t paid. And I was afraid that I’d say the “wrong thing” and end up with another strike across my face.
"I could have chosen to settle for anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and feeling unloved, but I know that God is Love and His grace covers everything – a multitude of sin. I learned how to fight on my knees, using God’s Word to fight my battles."
I could have chosen to settle for anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and feeling unloved, but I know that God is Love and His grace covers everything – a multitude of sin. I learned how to fight on my knees, using God’s Word to fight my battles.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” 2 Corinthians 10:4
I learned to trust and accept God’s love, but this didn’t happen until I learned to love myself. I had to change my mindset to believe that I am worthy of unconditional love.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
"As I reflect on my life, I know that God used my past to shape my future. The abuse didn’t destroy my life – it enhanced it, allowing me to become the woman I am today. A woman of God that walks in love and forgiveness, who walks in the fear of the Lord!"
As I reflect on my life, I know that God used my past to shape my future. The abuse didn’t destroy my life – it enhanced it, allowing me to become the woman I am today. A woman of God that walks in love and forgiveness, who walks in the fear of the Lord!
You may ask, “How could God love me and allow these acts of abuse to destroy my life?”
Friend, my life is not destroyed and your life isn’t destroyed either.
You are a Victor, not a Victim.
"You are a Victor, not a Victim."
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalms 139:14)
Embrace the uniquely beautiful person that God created you to become and not allow your past fears, hurts, and disappointments to destroy your future.
My past does not define my future. Your past does not define your future either.
"My past does not define my future. Your past does not define your future either."
Learning to replace bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness with peace, love, and forgiveness gave me FREEDOM!
Yes, I have forgiven my mother and we share a relationship focused on the future.
I prayed and fasted for my life to be transformed by the power of God’s love and
Sister, He did it! Allow Christ to do it for you!
I’ve been off anti-depressants for 9 years, and I am passionate about teaching other women about freedom in Christ and breaking through strongholds.
The enemy tried to kill me and destroy my future, but God has the final say and His Word does not return void.
"The enemy tried to kill me and destroy my future, but God has the final say and His Word does not return void."
I am His daughter, His prized possession, and Friend. YOU ARE TOO!
I am grateful that today I am unmasked and no longer am ashamed.
I remain on a brave and joyful journey.
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!
And by the way...
You are Brave!
No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means you are full of His strength and power. I would love to connect with you more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my lovely email tribe.
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LaVonda McCullough is passionate about teaching women about the power of God’s Word and has been a Spiritual leader and mentor for over eight years. Best known for her humor, authenticity, and faith-based teaching style at her RefresHER Retreats, Bible Studies, and Prayer Walks teaches how to reach their divine power within and discover true identity in Christ.
She is the author of 21 Days of Fasting & Prayer: The Beginner’s Guide to a Disciplined Life. She has traveled Europe and Africa speaking about the power of prayer and teaching the importance of Confession Scripture Praying to experience deliverance and spiritual breakthroughs.
LaVonda and her husband, Pastor Micah, are recent empty-nesters of three children, residing in Stuttgart, Germany with their two fur-babies, Prince and Biscuit. Connect with LaVonda at www.lavondamccullough.com, or on Facebook and Instagram.