Danielle's Personal Testimony
Hi, I'm Danielle, a wife, mother of 2, entrepreneur and skin care formulator. Life is good, but that was not always the case.
Before I get into a snippet of my crazy story, I want you to know that I grew up loved. I grew up confident. I graduated from high school and college with Honors. I’ve always had a job since I was 16. I was extremely independent and driven and had lots of friends. I loved to go out and party. I loved to travel. I loved to shop. Overall, I had a great life and I enjoyed my life.
In the Fall of 2013 I was single, well sort of. I was in between talking to someone and keeping my options open because “he didn’t want to be in a relationship.” So I was enjoying my life when I randomly received a Facebook message from a guy that said he knew me from high school, but I had no idea who he was. We started talking on Facebook Messenger for several weeks. Then we started meeting up together with different friend groups for happy hours and eventually hanging out 1 on 1. Everything seemed to be going great. He had it all together, and so did I.
Things started moving quickly. We entered into a relationship and within a couple months his lease was expiring so he moved into my 2 bedroom condo. In early 2014, a few months after we started living together, he proposed. Things were moving so fast and the red flags were right in my face but I felt ashamed because I had allowed this person to move in with me, and now I had said yes to marry this person.
Then to top things off I got pregnant in Summer 2014. I was 26 years old and felt like my whole life ended. It's important to mention here that I never had a desire to be a mom when I got older. Of course as a child, I had 28 baby dolls and I took care of all of them but the thought of being a mom and losing my freedom was not appealing and was not at all what I wanted. None the less, I was pregnant and I was having a baby despite being asked to have an abortion.
After I found out I was pregnant, things got even worse. That’s when I really started to feel stuck. I tried to leave the relationship so many times but I just kept going back. Even after all the calls to the police for domestic violence and the restraining orders. I wanted a family. I wanted a normal life. I wanted to go back in time and start over. But it was too late. I hope you aren’t thinking “she is stupid. She should have just left.” It’s not that simple, or at least it wasn’t for me. The cycle of domestic violence is real and it manipulates you into thinking half of this is your own fault. None of it was my fault, but I thought I could "fix it". I thought I could "make him better".
There I was pregnant, in an abusive relationship scared every day that I would lose my daughter from stress. Fortunately, other than stress and anxiety, I had a really great pregnancy. My daughter was born healthy in 2015. 6 months after she was born I moved to Atlanta with him to start over and support his dream. I had no job but I was hopeful that things would turn around in a new city.
It did not. After we settled in and both got jobs things got worse. The “new”ness of it all wore off. After being there about 6 months, he eventually broke up with me. He always said I was not creative enough, and I didn’t understand him because all I would ever do is work a 9-5. His words hurt my confidence and although I was happy he ended things, I felt insecure. Was I really not creative? Was I just meant to clock in, and clock out? Not that there was anything wrong with that, but was that all I could do, even if wanted to do something else? Was I not smart enough or good enough to dream I could do more? Did my life have any kind of purpose? Those are the thoughts that stuck with me with me for years.
I needed to figure out what to do. My plan was to stay there and just live on my own but that never happened. Right after he broke up with me I went out with some work friends I made in Atlanta. My mom was in town and she was watching my daughter while we were both out for the night “separately”. I ended up staying at my friend’s house and coming home in the morning. I was welcomed home by being choked out just a few feet away from my daughter. That was the moment everything changed.
That day I decided to leave, for good. I called my best friend at the time and she pretty much told me I had to leave, so I listened, which wasn't easy to do because i rarely listened to anyone.
I want to pause and take a moment to help you understand why I believe that sometimes people are only in your life for a season. This was a tough concept for me to understand and I'm sure others as well. Her and I were best friends since 5th grade and a few months after I left, our relationship changed. She was in my life to get me through one of the hardest seasons of my life, and I trust that I was in her life for a reason as well. I'm not sure what God has in store for a future relationship but I wish nothing but the best for her and still have nothing but love for her.
Okay, back to my story. After speaking to my best friend, I mustered up the strength and decided I wasn’t going to raise my daughter around violence and I never wanted her to be in that situation again. My mom and I got a hotel that night and the next day we packed the necessities and I headed home to live with her and my step dad. My mom drove the Uhaul while I followed behind in my Chevy Malibu with my 1 year old daughter. That was the most peaceful and scariest drive of my life. So many emotions, good and bad. I knew this was the end for me and I would never get back in a relationship with him again.
Everything that you thought may have happened did. My life (and hers) was threatened multiple times, my tires were slashed, my mom’s door was kicked in, my entire life was spent looking over my shoulders. I spent countless nights not sleeping. I spent countless hours with attorneys and in court. For several months I was scared to shower or go to sleep but then I woke up thankful to be alive, but wondering when this would end?
I was terrified that each day would be my last. No one could help me in terms of my fear. I knew I needed God to help me because I had no where else to turn. I had believed in God since I was a little girl but I hadn’t been talking to him. There is quite a big difference, and even though it’s been a slow process, I’m grateful for His grace during my process.
It was during those chaotic and fearful times I started going back to church. I started trusting God to make a way. I started praying more than I ever had. I asked God for protection and peace all the time because at any moment I thought my ex would show up. I think I expected God to make everything go away, but really what happened is I rebuilt my faith in him.
Each month I would be short hundreds of dollars but I always wrote my check to pay my tithe. You know how people talk about living check to check? I wasn’t living check to check. I was living in a deficit every month for a couple of years. I always tell people there was an angel at the bank because I never recall any overdrafts or not being able to pay any bills on time. I paid my tithe and I trusted that God would provide. And he never let me down. He used those around me to help me and me or my daughter never once needed for anything. It's crazy. I can't explain it but that's typically how God works.
I know you’re wondering what changed? How did I go from living like that to being where I am now?
In between all the chaos, I met someone at a work conference out of town. We started dating and traveling back and forth 4 hours each month to see each other. He was so kind and respectful to me. He treated my daughter with love like she was his own. I knew God sent him to us. I knew that I had to work on myself to have a relationship with him because this is who I was going to marry. No lie. After the first time I went to visit him for the weekend I knew he would eventually become my husband. And he did :)
You see back then my attitude was on another level. I have always loved to talk, but if you made me mad I was going to say whatever I felt about the situation and would not think twice about how it made you feel. That came with lots of cuss words. I knew that wasn’t going to work this time. I had a talk with myself. I said “Danielle, you aren’t going to be able to act like you used to act. He isn’t going for that.” And so I didn’t.
I didn’t want to be her anyone. I didn’t want to allow my past to define my future and keep me from being in a healthy relationship. Most of the time we allow our past experiences to become excuses for why we do the things we do. I knew I was going to block a healthy relationship if I did that.
After almost 3 years of traveling long distances to see each other I eventually moved. We bought a house together and started our life under 1 roof. I remember he asked me before I moved, “do you want a house or a ring?” I told him both. I wasn’t moving without confidence that he wanted to get married.
So we got the house. I found a new job that I loved. He was doing amazing in his business. Oh yea, I forgot to mention my boo is an entrepreneur. I always thought that was funny. My ex said the only person who would ever want me would be someone who worked for someone else. Sad because I believed him, until God showed me different.
About 7 months after I moved, my boo proposed to me. During this time the Holy Spirit was really convicting me about living together out of wedlock. Both of us had already done things so backwards by having kids before marriage so I wanted to start living right, and so did he. We were talking about a wedding but neither of us wanted to plan or spend money for a wedding. Then Covid hit and it was a perfect storm for us.
We decided we would get married right away and that’s what we did. He hit up his friend that was a pastor and he did our marriage counseling and married us at a park on April 28, 2020. It was beautiful, inexpensive and stress free. The only thing I wish is that my mom and step dad could have been there but they were on FaceTime so thank God for technology.
Right around this time, I quit my corporate job to help my husband run his business. It was so hard for me to quit my job. I loved my job and I loved the stability. But it was one of the best decisions we have ever made together. God blessed us so much financially and we had so much freedom.
This was also the time that I launched my first online skincare business. You remember when my ex said I would always work for someone else? He was wrong. I felt like the chains came off. I realized I was creative. I was smart. I could be an entrepreneur. And I finally was!!! It was a crazy time and I loved every second.
For the first time the crazy was good. So much good stuff was happening at once.
In March 2022 I expanded my skin care business to wholesale to help other business owners start their business. How crazy is God? He takes a girl (me) who thought she would never be good enough to run her own business and now she helps other women start their own business. God never ceases to amaze me.
Of course life is not perfect, but I'm blessed and extremely grateful for the life that I have.
In the past 3 years so much has happened, good and bad. People think that once you give your life to God you are exempt from anything negative happening to you. That is a lie. The good news is my faith has grown stronger through everything that has happened.
Yes, I still have fear. I still have a ton of healing to do. I still mess up. But I know that there is grace for me. I know that God is with me and he gives me strength.
My story is still being written. I don’t know what all God has planned but I do know that he gave me this testimony to share with anyone who will listen. He is the answer to all of our problems. He is our source for wisdom, joy and peace. He is the reason I’m still here today.
I encourage you to share your story of what God has done for you. You never know who you could help.
Thank you for being here. I love you and I hope my testimony helps you.
P.S. I would love to hear your testimony. Click here to share what God has done for you!