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Through The Valley…And Lessons Learnt. A Life Changing Encounter with Death! Autobiography – Volume 1. First Edition Print copyright © February 2008 by Akino A. Davis. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. N.B. ALL REFERENCES TO SCRIPTURES ARE QUOTED FROM THE NEW LIVING TRANSLATION – SELF HELP EDITION OF THE HOLY BIBLE, UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED. ISBN# 978 – 976 – 8211 – 96 – 5 Published by: Address: Telephone: Website: Email: Company, Kingdom Coaching Company, Arouca, #7 Atherton Drive, Five Rivers, Arouca, Trinidad, Trinidad, West Indies. 868- 891-868886. 1-868-489-8844 / 1-868-337-5886. www.kingdomcoach.webs.com www.kingdomcoach.webs.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Editing and Proof Reading by: Dr. D. Ibeleme, A.A.T. Davis, S.R. Lowe, C.T. Ryan – Myers and M. Wong. Cover Design by Akino Davis. Printed in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
COVERING STATEMENT… DEDICATION… FOREWORD – Dr. David Ibeleme INTRODUCTION… page 5 page 7 page 9 page 11
SECTION ONE: THROUGH THE VALLEY.
Chapter 1: THROUGH THE VALLEY… page 16
SECTION TWO: REFLECTING ON THE WARNING.
Chapter 2: REFLECTING ON THE WARNING… page 43
SECTION THREE: ABANDONMENT, GUILT AND SELF-CONDEMNATION. SELFChapter 3: FROM SONSHIP TO A BASTARD… Chapter 4: ABANONING SHIP… Chapter 5: THE GUILTY FEELING… Chapter 6: CONFRONTING DEPRESSION… Chapter 7: LEARNING TO FORGIVE… page 49 page 53 page 58 page 61 page 65
SECTION FOUR: WHAT MAKES LIFE LIVING?
Chapter 8: FINDING LOVE ONCE… Chapter 9: APPRECIATING PEOPLE… Chapter 10: GREAT EXPECTANCY… Chapter 11: RESPECT AND HONOR… Chapter 12: EXPRESSION OF LOVE… page 71 page 74 page 78 page 81 page 84
SECTION FIVE: OVERCOMING THE PAIN.
Chapter 13: I’M SORRY… Chapter 14: WHAT MATTERS MOST? Chapter 15: WHEN PURPOSE CALLS… Chapter 16: STARTING YOUR JOURNEY…
page 88 page 92 page 95 page 99
Chapter 17: FINDING LOVE AGAIN… Chapter 18: TESTIFYING… AFTERWORD – Akino Davis UPCOMING WORKS…
page 102 page 106 page 110 page 111
“A MAN OF PURPOSE IS SIMPLY UNSTOPPABLE. HE KEEPS MARCHING TOWARDS HIS DESTINY, AGAINST ALL ODDS. YOU ARE A MAN OF PURPOSE!” “For the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance and he chose those them to be like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn, with many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to himself and he promised them his glory.” “What can we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can be against us? Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else?” “Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? Will God? No! He is the one who has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? Will Christ Jesus? No, for he is the one who died for us and was raised to life for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us.” “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or
threatened with death? (Even the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed everyday; we are being slaughtered like sheep”). No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t and life can’t. The Angels can’t and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s Love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Written By: Apostle Paul to the Romans. Romans chapter 8, verses 26 to 39.
Dedicated To: - The memory and contribution made and in honor of the Lives of my late wife VONELLE MELISSA DAVIS (23rd October 1979 died 5th May 2006) and my son JOSIAH DAVIS (Conceived July 2005 died 23rd April 2006). - For Vonelle who by persistence led me into the kingdom of Christ, supported me in everyway possible and helped me maintain a righteous lifestyle. - I am forever grateful. For Josiah who presented the opportunity for me to experience, learn and understand what true fatherhood is about. - All who have lost love ones and are yet to recover from grief. - My Mother, GLORIA WILSON-THOMAS For her WILSON-THOMAS. continuous support and Love towards me. - Apostle Emmanuel Vivian Duncan For challenging me to Duncan. march towards my purpose and produce this book. For stepping up as a true Father of the Faith to adopt me and spiritually cover me with a genuine concern for bringing God’s gift in me to blossom. - Doctors Spann and Williams and All the Nurses at the Seventh Day Community Hospital who genuinely attended to Vonelle. May God continue to guide your lives. - Vonelle’s Family: Mr. Vaughn Joyeau and Mrs. Carol Joyeau, Josanne, Jana, Kyle, Kelsey and Chelsea. - My Family: Dad (Alston Davis), Gary, Janelle, Aisha, Adisa
and Chelsea who stood by me during my time of grief and mourning. - My Friends who visited me and Vonelle at the Hospital during this time: Winston Simon, Delores Stapleton, Michael Doyle, Kevin Audain, Stacy-Ann Lowe, Cathy-Ann Hogan, Arlene & Ernil Moore and those who I have forgotten to mention, forgive me. - Apostle Wayne Haywood. For sewing the seed of God’s word in my spirit, baptizing me in the faith and for nurturing me in the discipline of Christianity. - Special thanks to Wendell Harewood & Kirk Hogan for donating blood to assist in meeting Vonelle’s medical needs. - Sheila Simpson and Simpson’s Funeral Agency, Couva. I am eternally grateful to Sister Sheila for performing the Cremation service for Josiah and for the excellent job in presenting the bodies of my wife and son in such a royal way. For her generosity and favor towards me, thanks. - All Husbands and Wives who waste time, not making the most of the time with the people God has given to us! - All who contributed financially, emotionally and otherwise to bring this book to life. - All who will read and receive the content of this book and real aspire to be equipped for the expected reality of the death of our loved ones and your life afterwards.
Reading “Through The Valley…And Lessons Learnt!” was a Lessons tremendous blessing to me personally. For many of us it is difficult to acknowledge our feelings and emotions and claim to walk in faith at the same time. This is because we have been generally taught that faith doesn’t recognize or acknowledge the negative situations we face in life. Many have felt that appreciating or admitting when we are experiencing tough, frustrating or painful times in our lives is a mark of unbelief. This book “Through The Valley…And Lessons Learnt!” helps us appreciate the scriptural truth that faith doesn’t deny the existence of problems or negative circumstances but rather, it denies those situations the ability to rule or govern our lives. I thank Akino Davis for being generous and brave enough to write this book which can be likened to a modern day “Job experience”. Though he takes time to take us through his pains, frustrations and depressing moments he never failed to keep pointing us to the fact that God and His Word are the keys to overcome them. More than the pains and suffering experiences, this book showcases and opens our eyes to the delivering Power of Almighty God. The book clearly focuses on God’s grace and mercy and continually shows us that there is no pain that is too great for God to heal. Akino’s writing style is very reader friendly and really makes the account come alive. I look forward to the possibility of this book being transformed into a motion picture or a theatrical stage performance. I also appreciate how he has allowed God’s power of forgiveness to help him overcome all the resentments he had against people who though close to him had hurt him a lot.
To you Akino, I believe that you demonstrated a high level of maturity in the way that you avoided mentioning the names of the people, whom you felt, hurt you. I am also grateful to God that you accepted His comfort and received beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. I can indeed say that you have become a tree of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified, in accordance with Isaiah 61: 3. I believe this book will encourage and comfort every reader and be a tremendous tool in leading people to the Lord Jesus whose love is truly unconditional. Akino, you are blessed to be a blessing. Stay Strong. Bishop (Dr.) David Ibeleme President VFM (Trinidad & Tobago)
This book is called “Through The Valley…And Lessons Valley…And Learnt.” It is the first release in a planned series of published experiences and testimonies of mine and forms part of the “Intensive Care Outreach Series.” it is in fact a compilation of multiple books merged to highlight the following: (1). The Experience (2). The Warning. (3). The Lessons Learnt. (4). The Naturally Expected Reactions and (5). Moving Onwards. This book has its origin from a daily diary of I kept whilst at the hospital. The diary notes were intended to merely remind and refresh my wife’s memory of the ordeal she endured, so as, to assist in her full recovery. Little did I expect that these diary notes would form part of this book, sharing with you what was recorded. The “Intensive Care Outreach Series,” was birthed from the thirteen-day wilderness experience my wife spent in a coma, in the intensive care unit of the hospital, battling for her life, a fight she eventually ceded to. It was at her bedside during these thirteen days (April 24th 2006 to May 5th 2006) that I was taken to school by the Holy Spirit and taught the most vital truths of life, at least as they pertained to my experience in losing my entire family. This book is written to share with the reader the high points and depths of living and the revelations understood by the reality of the death of our love ones. I would be cheating you if I didn’t share the inspiration for writing this book. As expressed in the covering statement on the first page, I believe
now that my purpose is one fuelled by the desire to minister to the heart-broken and the unaccomplished by sharing my opinions and the experiences I gained through times of grief and failure in spiritual, social and business aspects of my life. What began with my wife conceiving and becoming pregnant with our first child and the joy and excitement it created for us and this climax, ending in the still birth of our son Josiah and the passing soon after of his mother Vonelle, was just the catalyst that sparked my reasoning for the benefits and the greater plan of which God had for my Life. I have always aimed to live life according to the pattern that men perceive as the right standard for living; marry first, sex after and then family growth and climbing the corporate ladder all in good succession. I was never prepared for the mishap of losing a loved one, much less, losing the two of them that constituted my family. All things normal to me became weird and abnormal. My short-lived experience thus far as a husband being married for one year and eight months and father for nine months (mother’s pregnancy) and now living the experience as a widower and grieving father, brought a new found meaning to my short yet experienced life. At twenty-six years on the earth I have discovered the meanings of the roles, position and offices of the Husband, Father and Leader. It is with the slow passing of time and the healing process that continues daily, that have allowed me to overcome my fear of me not being able to counsel with and help those, who like me have had a hard time dealing with the “Lessons Death Taught … That Life Didn’t.” Furthermore, the inspiration for this book is the vital step I took in inviting the power of forgiveness to enter my life. If you are to really triumph over grief and move on successfully with your life, forgiveness is of paramount importance to your
progress, as is explained in chapter seven: Learning to Forgive. It is therefore my sincerest desire that you will allow the Holy Spirit or some form of conscience to search the ambitions of this book as you continue to read and internalize its content. I expect very much that by sharing my life, my emotions and my thoughts with you in this book, it will help you and all those who read it. I pray that this book will open the eyes of the leaders who neglect their responsibility towards those that follow them and for the people who take for granted the fine folks who grace our lives. Finally I pray that this book will stimulate change in attitudes, understanding and communication between friends and families; husbands and wives and parents with their children. Before each chapter is a covering scripture that forms the theme of the chapter. Following each chapter is a series of personal questions I asked of God, my family and friends and myself and the answer to each of these questions which helped me to recover and begin to live life once more in the perfect will of God for my life. Read on then, if you are ready to conquer your grief by traveling Through the Valley with me, learning and implementing the Lessons Death Taught Me… That Life Didn’t! Though chapters three and four are harsh in their delivery of my feelings during the period of my grief, it is an honest attempt to share what I felt and if I withheld these raw emotions it would result in cheating you from identifying with the objectives of this book and the healing power within its pages. It is therefore important to note that this book is not meant to intentionally hurt or embarrass anyone but it is the
truth, my truth… “and the truth that we know will make us free”.
SECTION ONE THROUGH THE VALLEY.
CHAPTER 1: THROUGH THE VALLEY.
“O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. So many are saying, God will never rescue him! Interlude But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory And the One who lifts my head high.” Psalms 3:1-3
It is only fitting that the first chapter of this book be one that recounts the final moments of the life of my wife and son and my life with them. This chapter is a transcription of the diary I kept from Monday 17th April 2006 up until Monday 8th May 2006. It is a very personal experience and it is meant to express the highs and lows of the emotions of a husband and father as he waits on a miracle from God. It is my hope that by sharing this experience with you, you will gain a full appreciation of my moments of grief, sorrow, anger and shock and truly appreciate my motivation for writing this book. Be challenged in your understanding of this chapter as I attempt to sensitize you to my walk through the valley of death. Monday 17th April 2006 – Friday 21st April 2006. At nine months pregnant and being previously admitted to the hospital the week before, Vonelle has once again been visited with an unexpected sickle cell crisis. A demon, a thorn in her flesh I presume, (just as was the case of the Apostle Paul as described in 2 Corinthians 12), to prevent her from becoming “puffed up” and to always remind her that she has to rely on Jehovah God for her sustenance. During this period, doctors and nurses do everything that was scientifically possible to treat with the condition, our family members visit and pray and some members of our church interceded on Vonelle’s behalf.
The imminent expectancy of our baby boy is foremost in my mind and for Vonelle; she just wants healing for the pain. Trusting God and having faith is easier said than it is practiced but as believers in Christ we must take our limits off God and allow him to control every situation. Saturday 22nd April 2006. Today I visited my wife at 11:00 am and we had such lovely fellowship, one could hardly expect what was to follow later on. During my visit we talked about our expected son and we planned for his arrival into this world. His room at home was already well prepared, clothes folded neatly and packed in the drawers of the crib we bought, the stroller parked neatly in the corner of the room and all the other items we had provided for our prince were placed on the toddler bed in his room. At 5:00 pm when I returned for the afternoon visitation period at the hospital, I has shocked and hurt to the core of my soul. Vonelle had slipped into a state of dementia, she did not even remember or recognize who I was and of what relation I bore to her. It was evident to me now that the sickle cell crisis had reached a critical state and the pain was unbearable. The blood count level as monitored by the doctors had decreased suddenly from 10 to 4 in a matter of hours and her breathing now labored. I agonized to watch my wife now restrained to the hospital bed by the nurses on duty, as if she was some sort of animal, in an effort to prevent her from pulling at the needles of oxygen and intravenous fluid tubes in her arms.
Sunday 23rd April 2006. At just past Midnight early Sunday morning I was summoned back to the hospital as a matter of urgency by Vonelle’s cousin who coincidentally was a co patient on the same ward with her. The hospital needed my consent to perform an emergency surgery to remove our son from within his mother’s womb, so as to save his life, a procedure we had been pleading for them to perform all week long prior to this. At 4:00 am word came that our son had died in the womb and my wife was now in critical conditioned having suffered a lung failure during the procedure. It hurt me to see Vonelle in a coma and helpless to the situation that befell her especially knowing the fighter that she is. Now having to plan a funeral for our first son, born dead, it is an expectation that no father would ever want, I can now identify with how much God really loves us, for he sent his only son as a lamb to be slaughtered for our salvation. I could feel the presence of God, his Spirit, telling me that something went wrong in my attempt as a husband, something I must be held responsible for, something I will now share for those who are willing to read on. Monday 24th April 2006. Though Vonelle’s condition remained critical we (the family) had more hope to hold on to. By now Vonelle was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit of the Seventh Day Adventist Community Hospital and My Mother flew in from overseas to lend her support. I had demanded residency at the hospital in a determined effort not to leave until Vonelle left the institution alive and well. After the morning visit, there were signs of response. As I spoke to her and declared prophetically over her life and the situation, I felt my wife squeeze my hand. I sang a song from a local gospel artiste she liked and saw her feet kicked
and felt another squeeze of my hand. The doctor on the ward informed us (the family) that the vital signs were as follows: - The blood pressure was in the range of 130 over 75, almost a normal level. This was good because she was admitted with the blood pressure at over 250 on the upper reading. - Heart rate was coming closer to normal. - Respiration at 30 – 40 breaths per minute. This wasn’t normal and was faster than the normal rate which is around 18 breaths per minute. On the other hand, - Fluid was detected in the lungs and pure oxygen was administered in an attempt to successfully dry out the fluid in the lungs. - A culture harvest was taken from a scraping of the lungs and sent for testing to detect the type of lung failure. Anti-biotic drugs is continued to be administered in the short term to fight the bacteria. Today we had a lot to look forward to and a lot to thank God for. Vonelle’s condition was on the mend and recovery was swift. Later in the evening while most of our immediate families gathered, we were soon joined by three other Christian believers and what began as a time of socializing and support, evolved into a session of serious fire-breathing, tongue speaking, prophecy declaring prayer and worship session. Tuesday 25th April 2006. My morning visit even more exciting than yesterday, though I prayed with Vonelle aloud without her responding physically I could sense that her spirit was still fighting. The doctor indicated then, that she was still very much critical and all her vital signs of
life were slowly normalizing. After I prayed, sang and spoke to my wife as I would each morning, I left the hospital to attend and witness the autopsy of our deceased Josiah. On arrival at the mortuary, I was informed that the body had not yet been released from the hospital and in haste I made over to the maternity hospital to question the delay for the release of Josiah’s body. Imagine this, on my way to the hospital, my baby’s body was also on route to the mortuary and I made that trek in vain, you could imagine my frustration. This angered me because the autopsy had now been postponed until the following day. At about 1:30 am and along with my mother we had the opportunity to visit with Vonelle again. As we greeted Vonelle her physical response to us was immediate. Her eyes began blinking rapidly and movement was occurring in both her feet. These reactions were very refreshing to our faith (those of us who still believed) and I also believed it was a direct result of spiritual intervention. You see, although I was absent, Apostle Vivian Duncan, had visited her and prayed with her just after midday and it was at this moment that Vonelle first began physically reacting to the sound of voices she knew, by blinking rapidly and breathing heavily. Anyways, while mom and I were by Vonelle’s bedside, one could sense the eagerness in her wanting to regain consciousness; eyes blinking, limbs moving and now, her voice was groaning. It was unclear if the groaning were a sign of pain or not but what we knew was that the groaning were a new sign of expression and response now being demonstrated. After a long day of ups and down, excitement and suspense, I returned to bed a little after midnight with the assurance from the doctors that all Vonelle’s vital signs were stabilizing, and her response to sound was heightening.
2006. Wednesday 26th April 2006. This day proved to be such a long day. During my regular morning visit with Vonelle along with my Mom, it was the first time during this period I was not my usual bundle of joy. Nevertheless I composed myself and entered the Intensive Care Unit and stood by my wife’s bedside as I would routinely do. My mother did most of the speaking this morning and did try to do as I did always. I held unto Vonelle’s left hand, acknowledged the presence of God with a prayer, then I told her how pretty and beautiful she was this morning. I also, as usual, told her that I had two friends with me, who came to visit her; they were Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit who came to promise her that they were always by her side and that she will never be forsaken. I left the ward at about 9:30 am because it was time for the nurses to administer the morning doses of medication. I subsequently left the Community Hospital and made my way to the Medical Sciences Complex in east Trinidad, where the body of our deceased son laid at the mortuary awaiting the scheduled autopsy. After an hour delay, the autopsy was performed and Josiah’s cause of death was determined. “Fetal Hypoxia” was the medical term for saying that our baby was starved for oxygen in his mother’s womb; the medical staff took too long in removing him after Vonelle went into shock. Imagine I spent the entire day thereafter in the process of obtaining the death certificate. On receipt of the certificate I checked the time to realize it was already 3:30 pm and I didn’t even have time to visit the St. James Police Station to obtain permission to cremate Josiah’s remains at the Crematorium. I returned to the Community Hospital which had now become my home with Vonelle. At the time I returned, Vonelle was being attended to and I had to wait before I could visit with her.
In the mean time I responded to and answered numerous phone calls, entertained the barrage of well-wishers that came and fellowshipped with our families at the hospital’s waiting room. The doctor attending to Vonelle eventually reported that she was now 80% reliant on the respirator machine; for the most part, she could not breathe on her own ability. This though was a 20% improvement from the day before when she relied 100% on the machine. I took this report as good news and it renewed my faith and joy. The only thing that bothered me was the super-protective stance of Vonelle’s mother concerning the visitors that came by the hospital. Her apparent concern of evil-doers with intention to further hurt her daughter spiritually and what I considered a lack of faith in the ability of God’s Angels to protect Vonelle, did indeed anger me. I later realized and understood however that the same instinct I displayed at the maternity hospital when Josiah died was indeed the same paternal and even maternal instinct Vonelle’s mom was exerting. I retired to bed later this night awaiting the morning time to give God new praise and continue with my prayer and fasting in anticipation of visiting with my wife. Thursday 27th April 2006. The reservoir of strength appears to be running dry this morning. So many negative thoughts are running through my mind. For this is the first time I awoke and visited Vonelle without a word of encouragement to share with her. I instead needed a word. The reality just registered and the pain of watching my wife helpless began to pierce my spirit. I knew that this freeze in my spirit could not only be detrimental to Vonelle and me but also to the families and well-wishers who looked to me for strength. I discovered this morning how much power
there is in the name of Jesus Christ, I found strength to pray with her and speak life to her, even in my despair, which soon disappeared. I left the community hospital after my visit with Vonelle this morning and made my way to the maternity hospital to have Josiah’s body transferred to the funeral agency. A spirit of boldness overcame me to approach the throne of God Believing in faith, causing me to praise, worship and pray with energy and sustained effort like never before. I prayed from Mt. Hope to Cocorite for about one hour and ten minutes during the evening rush hour traffic. I’m sure God spoke to me this evening and it was there and then I realized how important and the difference that prayer with fasting makes when communicating with God the Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, God’s Son. My evening visit with Vonelle was a good one after such a throne room experience. I didn’t say much to Vonelle, still unconscious, but deep in my spirit I knew I didn’t have to say much this evening. I felt the comfort of knowing the Holy Spirit was ministering to Vonelle even in this moment. Satan doesn’t give up easily you know. As Vonelle’s family visited and we declared her healing and at this time when we all should be united, I begin to feel aggression and resentment towards them. Two nurses on the ward at the time used by God ministered me back into Christian wisdom and values and I quickly overcame the selfishness that consumed me. I conceded that I along with all our relatives were equal stakeholders in this situation. I asked for the families’ forgiveness. At 9:55 pm I concluded tonight’s writing and begin to seek the face of God. Having already read my bible as my daily devotional had me do, I thanked God for keeping Vonelle in
perfect health and peace, our families in perfect peace and myself in perfect faith. Friday 28th April 2006. Last night I prayed reverently asking God to speak to me, to show me a character in the bible that sinned in the worst ways and became transformed from an encounter with Christ. Furthermore, to show me this character who went on to lead a life as a powerful servant of God. As I awoke this morning I was lead in the Holy Spirit to Philippians chapter 2 verses 14 which reads, “In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing”. I chose to read on and the discovered that the author of this book who was Paul (formerly called Saul) was the example of the perfect character of whom I’d ask God to reveal to me the night before. God used this example to show me that I was not the only sinner who could be later used to effect purpose on the earth. During the course of the day I was able to obtain permission to cremate the remains of our son Josiah’s body and to pick up the items of clothing necessary for the funeral home to prepare for the cremation. I chose a cute bear outfit that Vonelle had purchased previously. I returned to the SDA Community hospital at approximately 4:30 pm after the appointment with the funeral director was cancelled for tomorrow. My first attempt to see Vonelle was futile. It wasn’t until 6:00 pm I had the opportunity to visit my wife after both our mothers had visited with her. I had time only however to tell her how much I still loved her and how much God loved her and also declared God’s power over her. Remembering God’s power to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt and his power to raise Christ from the dead and into Heaven and Christ’s ability to bring Lazarus back to life, I
declared with authority the healing power of the blood of the Lamb over Vonelle. I had to leave the room after this for the doctors attending to begin x-ray tests and a host of other checks they would routinely perform. From here on I spent the evening entertaining visitors and stealing a look at Vonelle ever so often through the crack of the door opening until the visitors left and I eventually retired to bed at midnight. Saturday 29th April 2006. I awoke at 8:00 am after tossing and turning in bed for the last four hours, gave thanks to Jehovah God for this day and commenced my daily diary logging of today’s experience. On Friday 28th I was inspired by God to find the most soothing scripture, Philippians 2:14 “Do all things without complaining and arguing”. Gods wants us to endure whatever situation we arguing”. encounter with a spirit and attitude of faithfulness, believing that he is God and there is nothing we go through that he isn’t already aware of. Today as I visited with Vonelle at about 10:30 am and began speaking, immediately Vonelle began to react to the sound of my voice. My mother was also present in the room and as I spoke to her she smiled from ear to ear showing all her teeth, even attempting to speak, making larger gasps for breath and a deep piercing stare from her jaundiced yellow eyes penetrated through my soul. My spirit was grossly enriched as this response was unprecedented in the six previous days of her comatose state. So much so of a surprise it was that my Mom and the nurses present were all very elated at the situation; so much joy abounded that they all expressed how happy they were. Although I have recently felt a sense of animosity from the
persons who I expected to support me through this situation, I, nevertheless, called Vonelle’s home to tell them of the good news. I’m smiling now because I know that all is well with Vonelle. After visiting with Vonelle and accompanied by my mother, we journeyed to Couva (an upcoming town in central Trinidad), to attend to the appointment with the Funeral Director attending for the preparation of Josiah’s cremation. After settling the financial terms and handling that responsibility as a good father should seek after his son’s interest, we were invited to see his body. His lifeless, cold, body lay neatly wrapped in a blanket for me to hold, looking as though his mother had just bathe him and about to breast feed him; my son looked as though he was asleep and at this point I couldn’t believe he was actually dead. Tears sprung to my eyes and I fought to retain them from streaming down my face. As my mom observed his resemblance with me and played with his hands and feet I couldn’t help but imagine how blessed as parents Vonelle and I would have been, were we graced with Josiah’s presence in our lives for a little while longer. When my mom held him in her arms she began to cry, meanwhile I was taking pictures of my son. I then embraced my son for the very first time and desperately needed Vonelle to have this experience also even before I did. Josiah felt so alive in my arms. I had my mom take more photos for the preservation of his memory for when his mother recovered from the coma. I felt duty bound to do this as giving Vonelle the closure she would soon need, not having the opportunity and experience to embrace Josiah. As her husband and partner as a parent I felt confident and justified that I represented Vonelle as a mother to Josiah Davis.
We left the funeral home with the satisfaction that justice was served on my grief and assisted in providing a cushion for Vonelle to overcome her grief with more strength and resolve. I left behind a cute outfit for Josiah, his mother’s favorite. It was a full body teddy bear suit we called “Onesy” splashed with colors and animal characters and finished with a little head cap with two ears on it. On the way back to the hospital I remembered that I had ran out of underwear so we visited a male apparel store to purchase some then I dropped Mom off at the family home, for the first time since the 24th April after she came into the country on hearing of Josiah’s death. I felt my mother’s sorrow and her sympathy towards us (Vonelle and I). When I returned to the hospital and immediately sought after Vonelle but I had to wait because she was undergoing muscular physiotherapy. Because she was bedridden for the past six days in a coma, Vonelle needed every bit of exercise she could get. When I did get to see Vonelle it was after her mother, sisters and their guests did. I went in to see her before the shift had changed over and the same nurses that witnessed her miracle response to me this morning were again present on duty. They warned me about exciting Vonelle again like I did this morning since I brought some sense of familiarity to her. Vonelle though was fast asleep for as I spoke words of love and prayed with her, I could tell that her sub-conscience was soaking in everything I said, to be replayed at another time. I left the room for about thirty minutes to resettle in my room at the hospital and returned at 7:30 pm to tell my wife goodnight. All her vital signs were better than the days before, in fact, they were the best the nurses had reported thus far. I kissed my hands and touched her forehead, hands and feet. I said to her goodnight and declared a word from God over her, instructing
her in responding to the miracle power Jesus had given us to overcome. I retired to my room to sleep but instead wrote to you today’s account that you just read. I guess now I can read the scriptures then retire to bed. I can sleep sweetly tonight because God has given me a reason to do so. He has strengthened me and increased my faith by demonstrating his power to me and for Vonelle today-8:20 pm. Sunday 30th April 2006. One of the three mobile telephones I operated all week long rang early, at about 7:45 am, awaking me. It was my mom calling to enquire of my welfare. Soon afterwards, Vonelle’s mother called with an invitation for me to attend church with her as ministered to her. I declined the invitation to attend the service and rightly so because approximately forty minutes later, in walks Vonelle’s father, intoxicated and accompanied with his mistress. This was his way of dealing with the situation and I had to be there to support him as well as his daughter. As a husband I had let my guard down before by the simplest of sinful nature and it was up to me to not be caught off guard a second time. I was determined to be her priest, prophet, protector in the spiritual, emotional and physical realms. You see I couldn’t trust anybody around my wife, definitely not her father in his present state and his companion who I didn’t know of. I entered the intensive care unit where my wife was housed and began to pray and invite the presence of the lord to saturate the atmosphere. What if I had emotionally chosen to attend church this evening, I would not have been able to supervise the operations around Vonelle’s bedside and speak against every illintentioned demon force.
After my wife’s father had the opportunity to visit with her, his first born daughter, his very right as a father, I then continued to speak with her. Her hair was groomed in an upright pony tail, her eyebrows were neatly marked as with a razor blade and she was wearing a sexy lip gloss. It seemed as if she was prepared for a special time with me! I did not hesitate to tell her how beautiful and sexy she was and how she really appealed to me this evening. Then I prayed, declared healing over her body and touched her breasts, massaged her arms, legs and stroked her forehead. She was still my wife, the one I often made love with and I just couldn’t resist touching her. Vonelle began smiling, I could tell she was happy for my visit this morning and then that I was stepping away for a while, to return later, in order to allow her to have some rest. At this time I am confident that my decision to remain at the hospital at my wife’s side this morning was the right decision to make. I felt in a good spirit on being able to cover her with my prayer and love and to see her respond in such a way that no one else witnessed but me, thank God for this experience. Soon after I left her bedside Vonelle’s family, her mother and two sisters arrived. I testified of her progress. Also visiting at this time was a friend from church who came to support us. Two by two they were instructed to visit with Vonelle and each came out the ICU with smiles on their faces. It turns out Vonelle is very receptive this morning. As the evening passed on further attempts to visit with Vonelle proved futile as doctors and nurses prohibited such as a result of the high level of Vonelle’s response to the presence of her loved ones at her bedside. The doctor informed me that she was becoming very restless and ready to awake from her slumber. In fact they informed me that they had cause to further sedate her in an attempt to prevent her from tugging at the various tubes connected to her body. Sedation was necessary because she
could not yet breathe on her own due to the lung failure and her continued reliance on the respirator. The bible speaks in Deuteronomy chapter 11 verses 8 to 32 about the blessings of obedience and the promises attached to that obedience. I’m confident that Vonelle, I and our future generations will benefit from this act of obedience today. I needed all the comforting I could get but I neglected the comfort from the family and everyone else at church to pick up my shield and cover my wife. The time is now exactly 12:00 noon, 30 seconds past. After sleeping for almost four hours, I awoke and am now outside sitting in the lawn grassed area at the front of the hospital. I am able to meditate on the word of God (the Bible) and make some notes as I was led to. My family which included my father, mother, sister and niece came to visit at about 5:00 pm. We all sat under a tree until about 6:00 pm then we all went inside to visit with Vonelle. What we witnessed then was extremely remarkable. Vonelle seemed awake with both eyes wide open. In fact she was so active that she seemed to be attempting to remove the needles and tubes stuck in her flesh. The doctors and nurses had to restrain her limbs unto the bedsides to prevent her from causing pain to herself. We were ecstatic to say the least, thankful to God also for working in his mighty and powerful way and for working in Vonelle’s favor. My family left the hospital and not to long after Vonelle’s family left also. I retired to my room happy and confident that God was indeed working in Vonelle, “to will and to do his good
pleasure”. (Philippians 2:13).
Monday 1st May 2006. I awoke this morning with mixed emotions. It is 9:00 am and I’m caught in the middle of two realms. Realm One: Happiness and Enthusiasm emanating from Vonelle’s progress made yesterday and the anticipation that she will wake soon and Realm Two: Sadness and Grief. Today at 1:00 pm our son Josiah Davis will be cremated. I’m saddened, extremely so because his mother never had the opportunity to embrace him before he died and now he was being cremated before her recovery. Can a solution to my dilemma be found? I would hurriedly embrace this solution. One cannot imagine how broken I feel. The responsibility and consequence of the action I’m taking to cremate Josiah’s remains at this time, without his mother’s knowledge, is one I’d have to live with for the remainder of our lives. The faith to believe that Vonelle will understand what I have chosen to do; I do it out of necessity and in selflessness. By God in Heaven, if there is any other available way of preserving our sons body for his mother to see, I would do it. I visited with Vonelle at about 11:15 am and like the evening before, she was bubbling with activity. Vonelle was doing great. The platelet count in her blood as well as the actual blood cell count was excellent. The only area of her health that needed to show improvement was the lung infection which was clearing slowly and all vitals otherwise were stable according to the doctor and she was demonstrating a desire to wake up. I told her that I was stepping out for a short moment and I subsequently left the hospital to attend Josiah’s farewell.
I made my way back to my room at the hospital to make ready for the cremation service. On arrival at the crematorium, it was surprising to see the tremendous show of support from family, friends, co-workers and parishioners who attended the celebration of Josiah’s short life. At the end of the service I led my son off to the incinerator whilst tears streamed and sobs of farewell echoed from our families and friends. The service though, was one to remember as Josiah’s life was truly appreciated and duly celebrated. I thanked the Funeral Director for performing an excellent service in the absence of my Apostle and spiritual covering. I thanked her also for preparing Josiah’s body to look its cutest best! I returned to the hospital were I practically now resided, and observing my wrist-watch at 3:40 pm, I retire to bed to seek a much needed rest from the days activity. I didn’t get the opportunity to sleep; not for one minute. My family came by to visit us at 4:30 pm until 6:30 pm followed by the arrival of Vonelle’s family and other well wishers from our church. While our friends from church visited we witnessed the dead body of a patient being carried out from the Intensive Care Unit, the same place Vonelle had been warded, to the mortuary. This was the second death I witnessed in my already ten day stay at the hospital. At around midnight when our visitors were about to leave, I stole a peek at Vonelle to say goodnight. She was still a bundle of activity as has been the case recently, moving her head from side to side and kicking her feet as though she was readying to walk a mile and a half! These were excellent signs of progress and they made me happy. Everyone is gone now and as I retire to bed its now 12:25 am Tuesday morning. I can now sleep easy. With Josiah cremated and Vonelle well on the way to recovery, I had everything to rejoice over.
Tuesday 2nd May 2006. As the previous day closed with a good report, so to also today begin. After waking I take a bath and devoted myself to prayer, I could feel the release thereafter that Vonelle would make significant progress today. I made my way to the Intensive Care Unit to say my daily tidings to Vonelle and to declare Gods power over her life. That I did with total confidence and conviction of heart. I wasn’t allowed to stay for very long; in fact this visit lasted all but five minutes. Vonelle was resting comfortably and maybe she needed this time to rest up and communicate with her Creator. I left for the day soon after to pay some bills and attend to the insensitivities of some of our business clients. The reality that business was unsympathetic hit me, on realizing how heartless one client proved, extending very little grace, even during this difficult time. I returned to the hospital after visiting the office and picking up new items of clothing at around 5:00 pm. On my arrival I took a peek into Vonelle’s room and was blessed to see her moving her head and feet. The doctor greeted me then and proceeded to inform me of my wife’s progress, as follows: - Oxygen Saturation stable and in the high 90’s - Jaundice and Berebulin levels decreasing significantly - Lung infection clearing quickly with an excellent x-ray report earlier and - Continued demonstration of wanting to awake. I tried soon after to visit with her again but was unsuccessful in this attempt; however her father did pass by and had a peek at his daughter. He was too afraid to speak to her and asked that I tell her that he was here. Within the ten days gone by, I must admit that today has been my most calm day, even after the
cremation of our son. I continue to credit and thank God daily for his generous provision of strength and guidance. I was granted my right to visit with Vonelle at 7:30 pm. What a relief and a lovely sight to behold. My wife was now at an 80% reliance on the life support machines and all her vital signs were quite stable. Increased body movement was also a motivator for me and I know I would now be able to sleep easily tonight. Vonelle’s family nor my own didn’t visit this evening and for justified reasons they provided and which I accepted. Three persons however, visited the hospital at some minutes past nine o’clock, two of these people were on my least likely to visit list for my own suspicions. I didn’t allow any of these visitors to enter Vonelle’s room and a peek through the glass pane of the door was all I allowed. Wednesday 3rd May 2006. At precisely 3:00 am I was arrested in the Spirit and awoke crying and travailing. After worshipping, praying and crying out to Father God on Vonelle’s behalf and on my own behalf also, I began to understand what was really taking place around me. An unfriendly spirit was roaming the hospital and I had been awoken to pray and cover my wife. After one hour of praying, just as the presence of the roaming spirit arrived and I awoke, I fell back to sleep in the same sudden manner until I re-opened my eyes at 8:00 am when I began today’s writing with this account. Whilst writing I had a light breakfast and paused briefly to take a bath, before I set of to check in on Vonelle. Today is already proving to be a frustrating one for me. In fact, the most frustrating day of all my stay here. I was only able to see Vonelle through a crack in the door, where I stole a peek. Soon after though, I left the hospital to pay some bills and after returning
from these activities, I still find it a problem to get a visitation with my wife. The nurses excuses were that a new patient was admitted to the ward and they had to quarantine the area. It is now 6:25 pm and I hope that I will get the opportunity to see and speak to my wife as well as to get an update of her progress today. At 7:00 pm I was finally allowed to see my beautiful wife and this made me really happy. When I announced my presence, she responded with a smile. I then declared again, God’s healing power and as usual I complimented her on how beautiful she was. I stood over my wife full of faith, expecting that very soon she will be up and about God’s business. Vonelle’s mother and two of her sisters had left prior to me going in to see her. Her mother had a brief chat with me though and she left some information for me to read and with which to educate myself. I’m thankful for the inspirational reading materials. On leaving Vonelle’s room I had a visit from a dear brother in the Lord and as always he encouraged me so much, even more so than the men who professed to be spiritual fathers and brothers to me, (no disrespect intended). It is 11:45 pm, I took a last peek into Vonelle’s room for the night, declared sweet sleep over her and retire to my bed now to seek God’s face and get some sleep. Thursday 4th May 2006. I had a long rest during the night and I awoke at 9:45 am this morning. By the time I prayed, ate and got dressed, it was already 11:00 am, at which time I proceeded to Vonelle’s room. You see I had gotten so accustomed to sleeping with her in the same bed, that I had taken it for granted that it was indeed a pleasure to see her first thing in the morning. When I got to her
room I was only allowed five minutes for visitation. The nurses were making preparations for the physiotherapist to begin his daily exercise session with Vonelle. These sessions as I was informed, became necessary to prevent muscular dystrophy (wasting of the muscles). I prayed with Vonelle and told her of God’s promise to her which is, “to have life and have it to the full.” I told her again how pretty she looked this morning and then I told her today’s date and the time. After leaving the hospital to pay some bills and taking care of some client needs, I returned to the hospital at 4:30 pm. The oldest of Vonelle’s sisters was already here and her mother arrived shortly thereafter. They had not yet been afforded the opportunity to see Vonelle but I was determined that we all would see her soon. I did not get to see Vonelle; in fact none of us present had the opportunity until later the evening. What I saw on entry of the room disturbed me, I was startled. By now I had learnt to read and interpret all the machines connected to Vonelle’s body. All the vital signs were wrong and very negative. I began to pray on these observations for the vitals to improve quickly. I spoke words of life into my wife’s hearing. When I looked at her eyes, they (the eyeballs) were extremely jaundiced and swollen, almost to bursting. All who visited including Vonelle’s family and those from my family also, agreed that she didn’t look her usual best. After this episode I went back to my room to meditate and ponder on what I just observed, disturbed and enquiring of the Almighty. At approximately 9:30 pm the senior doctor attending to Vonelle came down to my room. This is a very strange occurrence since it was unusual for doctors to come to the rooms of live in relatives. He informed me in the Following: “Vonelle’s condition has suddenly worsened and that from a
medical standpoint, we have done all that we could possibly do since she is receiving all the medications required but simply just not responding to the treatment.” Knowing exactly what the good doctor was implying, I calmly thanked him for his efforts and as soon as he left the room I began making calls to inform the family, friends, intercessors and everyone else I could remember praying for us. By 10:30 pm the gathering of support at the hospital’s waiting room was tremendous. People I never knew were present. Our families made the journey back to the hospital and we all began praising and worshipping God for the better part of two hours. The devil tried to raise his ugly head when I almost had a confrontation with the leadership of the church I attended and this nearly caused the session to erupt into a fracas before he decided to leave the hospital in an attempt to preserve the peace. I understood now more that ever that I had a responsibility to preserve the holiness of my wife before God and at this delicate moment in her life I was no longer prepared to toe the line. I instead chose to step out of the line and become the prophet, priest and the king in this situation. Even though most visitors remained at the hospital tonight, I returned to my bed at 12:30 am Friday morning. When I lay down to rest, I could feel as though someone was watching me. Throughout the early morning hours I could barely sleep. Each time I settled into a sleep, I was awoken by the aerie presence that seemed to be hovering over me. Friday 5th May 2006. I awoke early this morning and sought the Lord’s face as had become my daily ambition. Soon afterwards, people I knew little of started showing up to join with the family in the praise and
worship that was still ongoing on Vonelle and the other patients’ behalf. It was now 8:00 am. As we prayed and worshipped God, I guess all of us, especially me, had a sudden jolt in our expression of faith. We prayed even more reverently and with a renewed passion and confidence.
At 9:50 am as we were still praying, a nurse whom I remembered attending to Vonelle, entered the waiting room where we were conducting our session. She gently tapped me on my shoulder as if not to disturb me, asking my audience with Doctor Spann who was awaiting me in Vonelle’s room. As I approached the room, I could already hear the continuous beeping noise, (the flat line noise we hear in the movies when someone at hospital dies), being sounded from the assortment of life support machines in her room. Already in denial and hurt, the doctor said to me in a very sad tone of voice, words I would never forget for as long as I lived. His exact words to me were: “I’m really, really sorry but her
heart just stopped beating. Vonelle really fought but we lost her.”
At this very moment I felt as though my entire existence had crumbled around me. I calmly said words of thanks to the doctor and the staff present and asked to see my wife’s body. As I held Vonelle’s life-less feet, I asked her very angrily why she gave up; why she died on me? I left the room with tears welled up in my eyes unable to cry audibly and as I made my way back into the prayer circle, I, suddenly being empowered to speak, uttered aloud: “To God be all the Glory because all the Glory is His!” I then proceeded to tell all present that Vonelle had passed on at approximately 9:45 am, that she had left us and that God’s will had prevailed over ours!
Reactions of grief struck so swiftly and severe. Screams mixed with weeping filled the air. Eventually all present were allowed to have a final look at Vonelle and to say farewell before the coroner was called to remove the body for an autopsy to be performed. I used this opportunity to telephone those who visited throughout this period to inform them of the tragedy and loss of their dear friend. The subsequent stream of visitors that came to the hospital was unbelievable, in the worst way. I was angered more to see people who never contacted me throughout this ordeal and those who never visited showing up to visit at Vonelle’s death bed. I immediately sank further into a realm of disbelief, anger, hurt and grief. The family and close friends also expressed how they felt about this late show of support by some. I escaped to my room and while waiting on the funeral agency to arrive, I began to pack my belongings to leave alongside my wife. I did say on her admittance that I was not leaving until she did, unfortunately, she was leaving dead and I alive. I was somewhat happy and appreciative however, that my spiritual father did return to the hospital to console me on hearing the news of Vonelle’s death.
Another Unexpected! Another
As I was packing word came to me that my mother had suffered a heart attack in the waiting room where we were keeping our prayer session. At this time I could only feel that I would lose everyone that mattered to me. First my only son, then my wife and now my mother. Imagine being caught between having to escort my wife out the hospital to the mortuary and my mother to the emergency ward at the same time. The coroners understood my plight and held on for a few minutes so that I could see that my mother was attended to before they left. I was able to see Vonelle off but I didn’t leave because of the new
situation with mom. The doctors attending to my mother, after diagnosing the situation, informed us that she had suffered a very mild heart attack and that they had to administer some medication and had to put her in a sleep for an hour to allow her to rest and destress. Even after the body left the hospital and mom was awoke, visitors still streamed into the hospital, we had really lost a good soul, and I had lost a good wife, friend and lover, gone to soon!
Conclusion: What you have just read was indeed the daily transcription of my diary during this period. Now that you know what it was like walking through the valley, I now invite you to read further to discover the lessons I learned while I passed on through.
SECTION TWO LOOKING BACK AFTER BEING WARNED.
CHAPTER 2: LOOKING BACK AFTER BEING WARNED.
“Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had leprosy. During supper, a woman came in with a beautiful jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head. The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste of money,” they said. “She could have sold it for a fortune and given the money to the poor.” “But Jesus replied, “why berate her for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you but I will not be here with you much longer. She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. I assure you, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be talked about in her memory!” Matthew 26: 6-13
As I look back after the funeral and after everyone has gone back to attending to their lives, I suddenly have a lot of alone time to reflect and question God, seeking answers to what had happen to me, a real Job experience I reckoned, though nothing that occurred was making any apparent logic to me. Two weeks of severe depression could have been enough to send anyone insane but as I look back now at the warning I could make sense of what took place. I could remember lying in bed for these two weeks, I did not bathe, shave, eat or sleep during this period and one can imagine the stink and the depressed mental condition I was in. Like the disciples in the opening passage of scripture, I realized that I had been forewarned of the situation that befell me, that is, the death of my family but I was blinded to understanding the revelation.
It began on the Sunday before Easter Monday. While applying the final coat of paint to the baby’s room, with the expectancy of Josiah at any day now, Vonelle made two requests of me. Her first request was for me to stop working, take a bath and come “make love” to her. She said she was in that mood and needed my intervention, as was her right as my wife. Secondly, she asked that after our moment of passion, she would like to go to the beach; to Blanchiseusse Village on the North Coast, where she spent a lot of her childhood vacationing at her father’s relatives. I was too engrossed in finishing the baby room and I neglected to fulfill both her requests of me. Oh how I regret those decisions looking back now. I never had the opportunity to physically romance my wife again and it is a regret I live with to this day. Anyway, Easter Monday rolled around and again Vonelle asked to be taken to the beach at her father’s hometown. She was so persistent and kept disrupting me working on the room for Josiah that I eventually ceded to her requests. When a pregnant woman craves for something, I was learning to give in to her, whatever she requests. We reached the Maracas Bay at approximately 2:00 pm but she did not want to be in Maracas and asked to be taken where she requested. We met up with her sister and her sister’s boyfriend and journeyed further up road. We arrived at La Fillete Village, a small village before our destination at approximately 3:30 pm. On reaching La Fillet, Vonelle expressed that it was getting late and she could settle for coming this far. We found a secluded beach and I had a bath before journeying back along the main road to our way home. Vonelle’s action that hereby followed baffled me to the point where I was confused but supported her nonetheless. Still in La Fillete Village, Vonelle alighted from the vehicle and began
almost spontaneously to visiting the homes of every villager she knew from her childhood. She walked from house to house as I drove slowly behind her, to the community center and basketball court also greeting everyone she knew and didn’t see for a long time passed. After satisfying herself and I guess becoming exhausted from the walking, being nine months pregnant, she re-entered the vehicle, saying “I had to do what I just did Akino.” We then made our way home. Looking back now I can associate her actions with those of that woman who poured the expensive perfume on Jesus’ head. Like the disciples I complained at the waste of resources, in this case, a waste of time, since our journey home to Tacarigua was a long one. After we got home, settled down and had dinner, Vonelle ask me the most appropriate but unusual question. She asked, “Babes when was the last time we read our Bible together?” I responded, “A long time girl” and asked her to bring a Bible for me. Vonelle returned with my Bible, the one I valued the most because she had bought it as a gift for me. She sat next to me on the sofa and opened the Holy Book. The Bible was opened on Job chapter one, almost as if Vonelle had a bookmarker at that page. I proceeded to read chapters one and two and on completion I said to Vonelle, “Girl I just realized that when everything befell Job it happened all at once.” You see I had just realized that after reading this story so often that all of Job’s drama took place within one day, for while one servant was giving a bad report, another came with a bad report. And while that servant was sharing his report another came with bad news. We prayed together and retired to bed at 9:30 pm. During the night I passed my hand on the bed and realized that Vonelle was not in bed. I searched the bathroom but found her sitting in the dark of the living room. She was crying, I switched
on the lights and realized it was 11:00 pm. I naturally asked if she was ok and Vonelle responded by uttering a phrase that haunts me even up to today, her reply was: “I’m ready!” My immediate reaction was that the baby was coming and I hastened to have Vonelle ready and I took her to the hospital. She never
Vonelle never said what she was ready for and it is at this time that the walk through the Valley begins for me as the details in my diary (chapter one) explains. All the signs were clear and visible but the scales on my eyes, like Saul of Tarsus, were thick and blinding me from the realities that were awaiting me. Looking Back After Being Warned I now understand the reality, why I didn’t recognize the signs. It is here, at this juncture that I learned the most valuable lesson along this journey called Recovery. I realized that I didn’t have a personal relationship with Jehovah God, I knew about him but not who he personally was and this cost me dearly. I can now understand why Jesus had to put his Disciples’ minds at ease when they saw the woman anoint him with the perfume. You see, they didn’t recognize who he was and maybe didn’t have a very personal relationship with him because they did not understand what was taking place by the woman’s action. In the same way, I didn’t recognize what was happening when Vonelle alighted the vehicle at La Fillete and greeted everyone she knew. She was preparing for departure from this earth in almost the same way that Jesus was preparing to leave earth when he had dinner with Simon who had leprosy and I too realize that I really didn’t know until this time whom and whose Vonelle was; An Angel of God!
- Have you ever had warning signs you ignored that led to a
- Do you really understand who God is and do you have a
personal relationship with him? Question: - Do you truly know who our loved ones are and why they grace your life?
SECTION THREE ABANDONMENT, GUILT AND SELF-CONDEMNATION. SELF-
CHAPTER 3: FROM SONSHIP TO A BASTARD.
“When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance and made plans to kill him… Judah said to the others, “Let’s sell Joseph to those Ishmaelite traders. Let’s not be responsible for his death, after all, he is our brother!” And his brothers agreed.” Genesis 37: 18, 26 –27.
Be prepared to be sold off, abandoned and discarded when you encounter your periods of sorrow. I had a rude awakening to this reality and in more ways than one, this reality has proven more priceless to me than any other of the experiences I had. If we recall in Genesis 37 and in the following chapters, Joseph, a young man who shared his dreams with his brothers almost lost his life for doing so, in fact they sold him off. Imagine what it feels like to be left alone, without support, when the ones you trust the most, leaves you for dead. Joseph was suddenly removed from his father’s house and left without a covering, without his fathers love and affection. He suddenly moved from Sonship to being a Bastard! From being the most loved of his brothers by his father to being forgotten. Not that I was the most loved in the environment I enjoyed but being a leader in the ranks, I thought that holding such a position added value to my contribution towards the success of those I supported. I realized that it is easy for people to abandon you, even try to assassinate you (and your character) when they feel threatened, for whatever reason. This is the same reason Joseph’s brothers had plotted to kill him, he had dreams shared it with them and they foresaw that they would live to serve Joseph.
My state of immediate grief and shock and the fact that I thought I was not afforded the treatment that I expected made me feel like I had moved from Sonship to being a Bastard. This is exactly how I felt. I felt as though I was “left to hang,” for the vultures to eat me alive. I was now without a spiritual covering, that which I trusted with the spiritual responsibility and nurturing of my family and me. Joseph being abandoned by his brothers, confused and hurt; I can identify with this historical recording of bible event. Though hurt and confused, I began to see things differently. I began to see the hand of providence. You see if Joseph was not sold off and abandoned by his brothers he would not have been brought to Potiphar’s house as a slave. He would not have had the opportunity to interpret dreams and be promoted. Joseph would not have gone to prison as I found myself in an emotional prison likewise and he would not have met with the Pharaoh. Most importantly, If Joseph didn’t encounter the selfishness of his brothers who sold him; he would not have become the Prime Minister of Egypt. Likewise if my expectations were not met by those whom I trusted, I would not have had the experience I gained, I would not be able to overcome my grief, would not have learned forgiveness and understanding, I would not have developed a total reliance in God, Christ and the Holy Spirit and most significantly I would not be able to testify of God’s grace to me, the grace which has allowed me to write this book to help those who lose themselves when others betray their trust. In the end Joseph’s brothers all ended in his courtyard, with Joseph saving them from starvation and they served in his country. I used this story to demonstrate that when it seems as though men disown us, God will never forsake us! I truly believe
“that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his will for their lives.” (Romans 8:28).
From Sonship to a Bastard is probably the harshest road you would encounter whilst going through the Valley but the early understanding of the good that follows grief, the silver lining around the clouds after the rains, is what will guide you along as it did for me. I was still able to find hope and guidance in the short term from another “man of the cloth” just as Joseph did while at Potiphar’s house, the guidance that encouraged me to produce this book. It is essential that we search for these types of Fathers, the ones that will own up to their responsibility and take care of their children. The ones who will not leave their children exposed to be sold into slavery at the most crucial times of their lives. The father who embraces the success of their sons. In the end “being sold and accepting being a bastard,” led me to realizing that the call on my life was real, has strengthened me to continually seek for a relationship with the heavenly Father, who will never disown us! “The will of God will never take us where the grace of God will not protect us,” just as it did for Joseph and it did for me, in the same manner it will happen for you in Jesus’ name.
Question: - How did you deal with being disowned and abandoned? Question:
- Can you bring yourself to forgiving those who betrayed your
trust in them? Question: - Have you come to the place where you can embrace the loneliness and convert it into a blessing?
Question: - What is preventing you from reaching this place?
- Solve it! – Remember 1 Corinthians 10:13 and James 1: 2 – 7.
CHAPTER 4: ABANDONING SHIP.
Then the Lord told Abram, “Leave your country, your relatives and your father’s house and go to the land that I will show you. I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous and I will make you a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12: 1-3.
I must admit that when I was inspired to write this book I had very little idea, in fact I had no idea of where I would end up after transcribing my diary in chapter one. As I prayed and sought direction, it has since taken me one year and eight months to get to this point of writing the manuscript, which was originally chapter nine before final layout and believe me when I say that it has not been easy coming. This chapter is a difficult one writing since it will involve some of my most personal thoughts. In writing this chapter I battled with the fears that I may cause serious injury to the character and reputation of the persons whose integrity I questioned in the previous chapter as well as the fear that this chapter may cause me to be on the receiving end of stern condemnation from those offended, and not be endorsed by those I depend on to endorse this writing. The fact that this chapter made it to print as part of the final copy which you now read, is an indication that the works have been seen for what it is. My truth; expressed as I experienced it. This chapter, Abandoning Ship, have been at this point the most challenging to write. Challenging not from an inspirational
standpoint but it has proven challenging from a standpoint of integrity. Integrity of the church, its leaders and the ideals of those leaders who, like the captain of a ship or leader of an organization, are ultimately responsible for the lives of people that follow them and serve with them. I discovered though that every person however, is ultimately responsible for themselves! There are certain choices a person will have to decide on when faced with betrayal. One of these decisions is making up your mind in whose company you will remain. When you are let down, by individuals or an institution to the point where you are robbed of your soul and spiritual integrity, you have to be prepared to switch allegiance. I was now faced with one of the most important decisions I ever had to make in my life. After accepting the feeling of being rejected I had to seriously question my allegiance on serving in the ship I had sailed for the past years. I began realizing that I was no longer in tune with the vision that led me to this vessel and my identity with this vision had changed without me even noticing it. When I experienced this change I knew that if I remained onboard, I would be exposing myself to dying a sure spiritual death. I must take time out to state that one must be extremely careful in removing themselves from an environment in which God has planted us. That environment can be a job, home, under a spiritual covering and even your country. If the spirit of the Lord or some other form of deep spiritual conscience and conviction has not instructed you to leave your environment; THEN DO NOT MOVE! It is extremely foolish and dangerous at that and the risk of exposing yourself to further grief and torment and inviting all of the other relatives of grief into your life is now heightened. I saw too many a movie about the pirate ship that when overrun
and attacked by invaders and too damaged to sail, the captain issues a command to abandon ship. At this point in the movie, all the sailors would either board the smaller boats and sail off or plunge into the sea hoping to reach safety. I didn’t know of any other ship to board at this time so I plunged out into the sea, hoping to find safety, which I did eventually. I made the plunge because the place where I resided became a place of bitterness and hate targeted towards its leadership and rather than running the risk of mutiny, I chose to leave. Abram was faced with making a decision that in the eyes of many seemed ludicrous. He was instructed by God to leave his relatives and his country. Furthermore, he had no idea where he was to go, where he would end up but he obeyed anyway. Abram became weary of the customs of his family, the idol worshipping, etc and sought more of his current state of existence. Besides this he was without a child in his old age and wanted more for his household. When Abram conveyed his instruction to his family he was called crazy, chastised and attempts were made to dissuade him from leaving. He left anyway. When you disassociate yourself from the monotony of the traditions that manipulate and dictate your life, make no mistake you will be persecuted. I had my share but I decided to leave anyway after first seeking the counsel of some people I trusted. I felt the need to disassociate from deep within me so that I could take time apart to recover from the disorientation I found myself in. I couldn’t function properly, think clearly and I just didn’t identify with the ideals anymore and I had to leave. You too will be faced with such a decision when you lose someone dear to your existence and experience the rejection from those that you trust and depend on.
When I decided to leave I communicated such with my captain. I don’t have to tell you that an attempt was made to change my mind. However, like Abram, I was firm in my convictions and departed. In fact I commend him for not attempting to force me to stay onboard but instead allowing me to take control of my own destiny. Many other captains might have waged a desperate war to imprison me further. Sometimes you have to be prepared to change environments after a tragedy. When your loved one(s) die your life is no longer the same and will never be the same again. I learned this the hard way when I abandoned ship but I never regretted the decision to do so. Abram knew if he remained in the company of his kindred he would never experience the blessing from God and the breakthrough for a child he desired. His name would not be changed and he might not become the father of many nations. In the same way I recognized that my desire to fulfill my purpose, especially based on this experience I now encountered with the loss of my family, might never be developed fully if I remained in the present environment for any moment longer. I was not worried about where I would end up or what blessing I would gain, all I was concerned about was the ability to touch the lives of the people who could identify with my newfound experience. As the opening scripture shares the promises God made to Abram, so too I believe that he will reward the obedience of all men. I discovered when I abandoned ship, that everyone needs a captain in their life. Abram had Melchizedek the High Priest and I quickly realigned myself with a sincere man of God. It is easy to fall to destruction without a good captain in your life. A good captain will ensure your accountability to God and His will for you and prove to be a good mentor and example to follow.
As I write this account also I remember Peter and Paul in the New Testament section of the Bible. Paul parted ways with Peter when he realized that his method and belief of what ministry should be, was different to that of Peter. His decision didn’t change the fact that Jesus Christ came and died for our sins and that both he and Peter had an equal job to do for the Kingdom of God; Paul instead decided to change his method of delivery to be more direct towards preaching his message to the gentiles and in keeping with his purpose. He was not prepared to hide behind his experience encountered on the road to Damascus. Again, when you decide to abandon ship, you must be prepared to suffer as Abram did, as Paul did and as I did. I am in no way placing myself in the same league as Abram and Paul but merely using my name alongside theirs to simplify your understanding of my situation. Be assured the peace of mind, spirit and soul is far more beneficial than remaining in the confines of the status quo. Selah.
Question: - Are you at the place where the only decision left is to abandon ship? Question:
- What are you going to decide? Are you prepared to deal with
the detractors? Question:
- Are you prepared to leave behind all the baggage and press
CHAPTER 5: THE GUILTY FEELING.
“Come now, let us argue this out,” says the Lord. “No matter how deep the stains of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.” Isaiah 1: 18.
As sure as the night is and the day comes, I assure you that you will not escape this feeling of guiltiness. I found myself convicting me for my wife’s death and that of my son also. Vonelle had a deep affection and respect for me which I believe was misunderstood by her family and friends. Many thought I had some strangle hold on her but far from the truth; in fact, it was my love towards her that had a hold on her. Because I knew that I was not always understood and indeed misunderstood, it didn’t take too long for me to start blaming myself for the tragedy. I started blaming myself from the moment complications arose at the time of Josiah’s birth. Self blame is not an easy weight to shed. It consumes you like an infection and before you know it, you’re past the point of healing. The guilty feeling led me down a path I would never wish anyone to travel. The guilty feeling is just but the beginning of your worries; it is the access that Satan will use to enter your soul during your period of grief. As the guilt set in, it became hard for me to shake it off. Accompanying the guilt are its close relatives called Shame, Confusion, Depression and Suicide. I spent two weeks locked in my home without bathing, sleeping, eating and at my life’s end contemplating my next move. Guilt became Judge, Prosecutor
and Jury of my existence and I’m sure, had I spent one more day in this condition I might have willingly ended my life. I remember asking God each night to take my life and at morning when I awoke, I remember arguing with him for keeping me alive. It is easy to become guilty for the deaths of your love ones in the face of no apparent justification for them dying. When there is little or no reason for their deaths you automatically blame yourself. I found all the reasons to blame myself, the failures of the medical system didn’t qualify and the lack of support from the church membership didn’t qualify either. The only thing that qualified and made the perfect target to blame, was me! It became necessary to give Vonelle’s family the satisfaction of knowing that I was responsible for all their grief as well, after all I was her husband, the one with responsibility for taking care of their Vonelle.
Do you believe in miracles, I still do! A miracle saved me from do! the harm guilt was causing in my life. Whilst lying in the mire one evening, I saw a hand reach out of the ceiling and held me by my throat. The words spoken thereafter were so crisp, clear and refreshing. The hand literally lifted me off my bed whilst the voice uttered “Get up! You have work to do!” and I fell back down in the bed. In fright I urinated and defecated myself during this encounter and was perspiring beads of sweat. I knew I had just encountered an angel or the Lord himself and his saving grace and it scared the guilt out of me! As Isaiah 1:18 explains, the Lord in his grace is waiting to cleanse us of all guiltiness. And as I argued with him concerning my guilt, he made me clean as freshly fallen snow. Though I have never yet seen it snow here in the tropics, I imagine if ever
that takes place, it will indeed be a sight to behold. As I write an old gospel chorus comes to mind…
“What can make me white as snow? Nothing but the Blood of Jesus…”
When faced with guilt the only thing that will save us is an encounter with the Lord. I indeed was crying out from within and the Lord heard my cry, I had to remind him of who I was; my name is Akino Davis and though I felt I was a sinner I begged him to remember me still. Having a personal relationship with God is imperative if you are to overcome the guilty feeling and survive grief. To be forewarned is to be forearmed!
- Are you blaming yourself for the death of a loved one?
Question: - Does arguing with the Lord make sense? Question:
- Have you tried it?
CHAPTER 6: CONFRONTING DEPRESSION.
“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40: 1-3.
Waiting on the lord to respond to your cries is a sometimes long and trying period. This, I believe is designed this way for a reason; to teach us patience. This chapter is written for those who have already sentenced themselves with guilt and now consumed and confronted with depression. Depression is demonic. It is the very battle for your mind, body, soul and spirit. Depression occurs during that period of time that haunts you just before you decide to do something stupid! It is very different from guilt. In fact depression is urged on by the feeling of guilt. When I sank into depression it was a very different place to be. Confused and disoriented most times, I often became disillusioned with life and the Creator. Depression is a tool designed and used by the enemy to slow your journey towards fulfilling our purpose on the earth. I can say this because of my experience. Although I had experienced all these tragedies, my family still drew strength and encouragement from me. I hardly cried publicly and for them this provided a wellspring of encouragement to draw from but for me it stored a volcano of feelings of depression and hurt that I know would soon erupt.
Depression usually set in when you are alone and there is no activity to demand your concentration. I hardly had time to grieve over Josiah because I still had to attend to his mother for whom I harbored the hope that she would recover from the coma. But after Vonelle’s funeral, after everyone went back to their lives and the environment became ultra quiet at nights, depression snuck into my life. I would drive throughout the length and breadth of the country at nights to escape the insomnia and depression but that didn’t work. I ended up learning my country “by depression.”
An Angel in my midst!
I didn’t really comprehend why my mother returned to Trinidad to be with me on receiving the news of my son’s death. At least I thought that it was the emotionally right thing to do but as I write this book now, I fully understand why her presence was made available to me. My mother insisted that she stay with me at the hospital during the days that Vonelle remained in the coma and she did. My mother also stayed at my home with me even after Vonelle’s burial and yet still I thought nothing special of these gestures until now. I realize that her presence in my space at these times were the catalyst that prevented me from doing something really stupid to myself. She was my guardian angel and although I didn’t speak to her much during this period, her naturally caring and kind heartedness towards me was very effective in my confronting depression. I want to let you know that you cannot confront depression on your own. You will need the assistance and intervention of probably the next closest person to you after your loved one whom you are grieving over. What my mother provided for me was a shoulder to rest my head upon, an ear, in fact both her ears for listening to me when
I did speak and her able hands for taking care of me; making sure I ate and had clean clothes to wear. It is much easier to confront and overcome depression when you can afford to focus on the pain only. For me not having to worry about the stuff my mother took care of for me made my load a lighter one to bear. So how did I confront my depression? I faced the reality! When it became abundantly clear that Vonelle and Josiah were not coming back to me, except for the memories that I would hold on to, I realized that I had to move on with my life. It made no sense lying around wasting precious time and besides for me I realized that my mother was now doing some of the things that Vonelle did and she would not be able to do all things that Vonelle did. This is when I decided to shake off the strongman called depression and try to salvage what was left of my mind. In order to confront depression and overcome it I did the following: 1. I faced and accepted the reality that now existed. 2. I argued with the Lord (though not a smart thing to do, I did it anyway). 3. I allowed my mother to get into my space (I opened myself to receive help). 4. I waited patiently on the Lord. I realized also that when we argue with the lord and wait patiently on his reply he will answer. Believe it or not, it was actually during my period of depression that this book began. My thoughts and desire to share my experience was birth alongside feelings of committing suicide and struggling with depression. How happy I am today that I challenged the bull by its horn and slew it!
- Will it depress you more to call on the Lord?
- Are you patient enough to wait on his response? He usually
- Is there anyone else (a human being) that you can rely on?
- Why are you waiting to invite them into your space?
CHAPTER 7: LEARNING TO FORGIVE.
“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in Heaven will forgive your sins too. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in Heaven forgive your sins.” Mark 11: 25-26. “You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3: 13. “Resentment is like drinking poison and attempting to kill others!” Nelson Mandela.
In the original manuscript for this book, this chapter was written for section five, The Important Stuff. However whilst preparing the first draft, I was led to move this chapter into this section and at this particular junction. I have always heard preachers and other distinguished men of God lecture on the importance of forgiveness and how necessary it is for people to forgive each other. If I had known better, I would have avoided wasting the mental, emotional and spiritual time and resources I did by harboring hate, resentment and un-forgiveness towards others. My humble advice to you at this time is, whilst reading this chapter through to the end, make a list of mental or written notes of all the
people you have an animosity against and remember the list, you will have to forgive these persons if you are to seriously triumph over grief and all its relatives. Before I communicate to you my experience on this matter of Learning to Forgive, I hope that you have noticed that this chapter breaks from the traditions of all other chapters and quotes two verses of scripture and a non-scriptural quote at the beginning of the chapter instead of one. As I deliberated in prayer on the two separate verses, the Holy Spirit would not allow me to just choose one of the two verses and I was also reminded of a remarkable quotation by Nelson Mandela I had heard before and instead I am compelled to quote both verses of scripture above and Mr. Mandela’s words because the issue of forgiveness is a complex one with many scopes. After going through the blame, shame, depression, rejection and self-condemnation phases of grief, I had by now bankrolled a huge savings of grudges in my heart against many people. I will admit now that I held grudges against the medical staff of both hospitals that attended to my family, against the leadership and members from the church I attended, against Vonelle’s family members and against other people of whom I expected to receive more support from. I confess to you with a pure heart, clean hands and clear conscience that I have firstly ask for and received the forgiveness of Almighty God and secondly I have forgiven everyone and every system that I had held grudges against. Whilst hurting, I was tempted on numerous occasions to consult my lawyers to file a legal suit against the hospitals and the Ministry of Health for malpractice. Indeed these feelings are naturally expected of anyone grieving, trying to make sense of such immense tragedy. I had to dig deep in my spiritual reserve
to call on God, asking him to deliver me from such temptations of exacting revenge. Think about this, if I hadn’t ask for and gain the ability to forgive, I might still have a legal battle ongoing in the courts spending thousands of dollars to fight such a revengeful cause and I would have not been able to spend much time and money to produce this testimony for you to read. I discovered that the key to truly overcoming my grief relied solely on my ability to forgive everyone whom I now held in my heart. Un-forgiveness is a disease that eats away at our existence. It blocks the ability of God to communicate with us, to release his blessings to us and to really shepherd us. Lacking forgiveness in heart is a blockage that we simply cannot afford. Your progress towards recovery can be seriously hampered if you refuse to forgive others as I discovered. It took me a long time to realize this truth about the application of forgiveness to another. I spent months taking long drives at nights, traversing around Trinidad, haunted by an uneasy mind and troubled spirit. This period of torment ended at a medical center in the east, having had to check myself in for psychological and physical treatment, brought on from lack of sleep and insufficient nutrition over a four month period. Four months is a long time to waste and if I had known how precious this time was, probably I would have forgiven everyone sooner. I had bowed to the point where the baggage was too severe to carry around anymore. I learnt the hard way that un-forgiveness was indeed a very high price to pay in exchange for progress in my life. The largest percentage of the hate in my heart was held against my then spiritual leader. I felt his absence to truly support me in my time of need had cause me to lose all respect, love and appreciation for him and the organization which he led and the institution of church on a whole. Let me hasten to say that it is
very easy to find someone to blame, someone to apportion a reason to blame for our hurts, pains and grief. In order to produce this testimony to share with you, I had to forgive my then leader for his treatment towards me, I forgave him for intentionally or not intentionally holding me in his heart and mind and I had to personally go and voice my disappointment and hurt, sit at his feet and ask his forgiveness towards me. I also had to forgive him in order to be set free from resentment and activate the new start in my life and to be able to release this book to you. This was my most triumphant moment of my journey Through the Valley and forgiveness proved to be the most important of all the Lessons Learnt! Indeed if you are to overcome your grief or for the very least, live through it, it is imperative that you forgive those who have trespassed against you and to ask the forgiveness of those whom you have trespassed against. As both verses of scripture reveals to us; we cannot expect our Father in Heaven to forgive our sins if we don’t forgive others and release them from our hearts. I intentionally quoted Nelson Mandela at the beginning of this chapter. For me there is no other example of a living person who can be attributed with the uttermost capacity to forgive others. In fact, Mr. Mandela forgave his entire country and the prejudiced regime that governed South Africa that imprisoned him for some twenty seven odd years. He lamented that “resentment is like drinking poison in attempting to kill others”. I gather from this statement of this gentleman of iconic stature, that to not forgive those who hurt us most is like ingesting a poisonous substance (which would surely kill us) as a means to kill someone else. It is therefore very important that we don’t become vengeful terrorists committing suicide by harboring resentment towards our fellow man. I learnt to forgive, so can
- Are you prepared to forgive your trespassers?
- Have you asked God to forgive those who have hurt you?
Question: - Are you prepared to risk dying instead of choosing to forgive?
SECTION FOUR WHAT MAKES LIFE LIVING?
CHAPTER 8: FINDING LOVE ONCE.
“If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn’t love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13:1
I found love once at a very young age, that love was the “Eros” (erotic) type of love having not yet known the Christ as Lord and Savior. I fell in love with Vonelle, whom I later married and in whose honor this book is written. This love led me towards the “Agape” love that I discovered when she introduced me to Jesus Christ at age 18. This was an age when I was expected to be wild and irresponsible and beginning to experience all the bad things in life that lead to destruction but looking back on the last eight years of my life, I realize that at this tender age was the moment at which my life changed; for better. Vonelle knew how to love people and she did just that, planting the seed in the heart of many and allowing us to find the love that she came on earth to share. Having lived all of her short life with The Sickle Cell Disease (a blood disorder), she was always privileged to receive special care and attention and it was from this experience of receiving special attention that she learnt how to find love in people. Even I, having had the experience in caring for someone who at times couldn’t help herself, discovered what love truly was and what it was worth. We search for love in so much places and from so many individuals that we develop scales over our eyes that block our vision as to where love really resides.
I believe now and fully endorse the concept that those of us who receive love are equally motivated to share love with others. However I also believe that many of us look intensely for reasons to share love with others when there really should be no apparent reasoning to do so. In fact I believe the reason why many of us never find a way to love is because we are to busy receiving love that we become unaware that someone else needs us. Remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). Sons loved by their Fathers grow to demonstrate the loving relation they had with their dads towards their sons, etc. It goes with saying that the good experience of an expression of love provides the possibility that those on the receiving end will carry out the same expression. A chain reaction of sorts, a trend, that continues until fulfillment. The love I found in Vonelle at age 18 was always one to be honored and repaid. Love when found must always be rewarded. You can’t say you love someone and not do something for them, love is a verb – a doing word. It is not a noun – a name. Because she introduced me to the love of Christ I was able to love her in return. I never had the bold outward expression of love shown from my immediate family, we knew we loved each other but just didn’t show it plainly and the fact that Vonelle loved me openly, so much so that she shared her Lord with me, demonstrated the true love that was in Christ Jesus. We married when I turned twenty-two and Vonelle at twenty-four years of age and had the privilege in further finding love in becoming pregnant with Josiah, our late Son, for his nine months of fetal living. When we find love in others it must not be confused for any other emotion. It must be recognized for what it is. Be careful
not to mistake someone’s attempt to impress you with true love. True love is not always seen but it can be felt and appreciated. Love is the only thing that will remain after everything else fades away. It is the only factor that keeps our families together, keep friends in love to each other and maintain loyalty in any camp and camaraderie in any society. I pray that when you find love you will protect and preserve it. It can prove to be the most valuable asset that you can develop and invest in over the long term. Love is more valuable than a life insurance policy, because even after you die the impact of your love in the lives of those who found love in you will live on forever. When you find love you will become a Legend. Just as Christ became the greatest legend.
- Have you ever found love in anyone?
Question: - Can you say for sure that anyone has found love in you? Question:
- Do you think you still have the capacity to love again?
CHAPTER 9: APPRICIATING PEOPLE.
“Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions. It is by actions that we know we are living in truth, so we will be confident when we stand before the Lord.” 1 John 3: 18 - 19
How often do we experience the loss of loved ones, friends or colleagues? And after their deaths we often find ourselves in pits of sadness and lack of fulfillment because we never expressed physically or verbally, how much we truly appreciated that individual. I have heard it said before that, “some people come into our lives for reasons, some only for a season and others for a lifetime lesson!” My late Wife and Son were both Angels in my life, for reasons I don’t yet understand, for a season I wished had never ended and both leaving lifetime impacts with their presence. Although Josiah (my late son) never breathe the oxygen of our atmosphere, having being “still-birthed,” those of us who had a role in nurturing him in his mother’s womb, knew without any doubt that his cameo performance during the nine months of his incubation, has left us all with a lifetime of memories and appreciation. For me, I had the distinct and irreplaceable experience of supporting Vonelle (my late wife) and taking care of them both. As husbands and men and also as fathers we are charged with the responsibility of applying the full measure of appreciation towards our family. Vonelle was indeed a gem to everyone who knew her. Having close to five hundred people attend her funeral service and interment was evidence enough that those
who knew her appreciated her and no doubt she had appreciated everyone whom she had a friendship with. When you appreciate someone, it requires that you add value to his or her life. A lack of appreciation shown is called a “depreciation or devaluation” as it is known in accounting practices. Depreciating is the opposite of appreciation and subtracts value, in fact, it is taking value from. As the opening passage of scripture quotes: “let us stop saying we love each other; let us show it by our actions.” Actions of appreciation speak louder than words. Showing appreciation requires an effort, a conscious effort; it also requires energy, more than just the purchasing and presentation of gifts on special occasions and holidays. It demands a selfless approach to honoring the person that deserves it, with your love, commitment of time, your skills and services. I chose to be a spouse, companion, helper and friend. To be a father and prophet, a priest and provider. A king and a counselor and last but not least, I chose to be caring towards my family. Failure to recognize and appreciate the people who matter most to us can often result in some sort of disaster, heartbreak or regret. The last thing I needed was to continue living with a heart filled with regrets for every time I failed to communicate my appreciation for Vonelle. The Lord Himself had to deliver me from such feelings of regret. I had to submerge myself totally in his love in order to overcome. It is the only way I found a release. Even the people that pass so quickly through our lives like my Son did, deserves a significant level of appreciation.
Take the story that chronicles the life of Lot in the Holy Bible; Genesis chapters twelve, thirteen, fourteen and nineteen. From
Lot’s humble association with Abraham his Kinsman, to the destruction of his family in Sodom and Gomorrah, demonstrated evidence of his lack of appreciation for his uncle Abraham. Even after the visitations by the Angels passing through the towns forewarning Lot of the impending destruction, Lot’s wife showed total contempt for the instructions not to turn back. This lack of appreciation resulted in her death. I infer then that the failure to appreciate the genuine instruction from loved ones (not from selfish ambitioned individuals) can lead to our demise. Having and showing appreciation must stem from a spirit of self-less-ness. However, we must become extremely careful; I can’t help but stress how imperatively; we must not confuse appreciation for the worshiping of human beings. This is called idolatry. We see it In the New Testament (Acts 14), when Apostle Paul and his companion in ministry Barnabas journeyed to the Towns of Lystra and Derbe. There they activated the faith of a crippled man, enabling him to walk; the crowd that gathered saw this miracle and immediately likened the men to their Greek gods and attempted to sacrifice animals unto them. Paul in his eagerness to prevent the people from this act and also in an attempt not to tempt God was quick to state that they were both mortal beings like everyone else in the crowd and it was God only who deserved the glory. This being said, it is important that in the actions of appreciating others; men and women of high offices, that we maintain the balance in worship and adoration towards God. We must remain cautious always of how affectionate we demonstrate our affection to our spouses, friends, public personalities and our men and women of God in Ministry.
I encourage you to appreciate the contributions of those we encounter throughout our lives; from the most important to the least significant. There are rewards associated with such worthy actions. It might be the transfer of wisdom, life lessons or even a blessing or favor. Failure to appreciate may result in a devaluation of oneself and others, leading to a lifetime or a long period of regrets, depression, sadness, lack of fulfillment, lack of motivation and in the case of Lot and his wife, a loss of life. I hope that this chapter has added value to your level of understanding in Appreciating People. ppreciating
- Who do you appreciate most in your life?
- Do you think you do enough to demonstrate your appreciation
to this person? Question:
- How can you improve your demonstration of appreciation
towards this person?
CHAPTER 10: GREAT EXPECTANCY.
“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. God gave his approval to people in days of old because of their faith.” Hebrews 11: 1 – 2.
Living life without an expectation is useless! Moreover, having little or no faith is just as bad. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). In all of his wisdom, Heavenly Father has given to us life, a scenario built with an expected end. A Great Expectancy of rising again in Christ Jesus to be seated with him in the Heavens when Christ returns for his believers. I believe that each individual must have a hope in life. For me I could live three to seven days without food and water but I know that I cant live two seconds with hope! When I got married, my greatest expectancy was that I would grow old with my wife and father eight lovely children by her, bringing each one up in the fear of God. Furthermore when she became pregnant with Josiah our first, the expectation for him was that he would become the Heir to the engineering firm we had just started. I wanted him to be a superstar athlete, a national footballer and I desired to give him all the benefits, privileges and things that I did not have in my upbringing. More than anything else I expected that he would grow to become and accomplish more than I ever would.
What I did not expect, was having to bury both my Wife and Son so soon into my great expectancy for our lives. I never took
the time out in all of my desires and fantasies, to enquire of God what was his expectancy for their lives much less for mine. You see, I have learned that the Greatest Expectancy one can have for his or her life is the Expectancy that God has already determined for it. I have now come to understand that our lives are not ours to determine or to expect anything other than God’s purpose for establishing us on the earth. I never expected my marriage to last only one year and eight months, cut short by death nor expecting to lose my first born son. Finding our purpose for being born is probably the greatest expectancy we should pursue. Forging our faith towards the fulfillment of this expectancy is what I believe should be paramount to us. Because I had so much expectancy towards the family God gifted to me, I neglected to develop the things that God expected me with. Don’t get me wrong, we have every right to want the best for and of our loved ones, it is only natural. Besides this we are to occupy the earth, which literally means to work, doing God’s will until the coming of the lord. What was extremely devastating for me was the fact that I now believe that I had more expectancy in my Wife and Son than I actually had in God. Having such lack of balance in faith in man as opposed to faith in God has taught me such a heart wrenching lesson. I expected so much, I expected that my Wife and Son would still be with me today, I expected that Vonelle would be healed of the blood disease she was born with, I expected that Vonelle would have gone on to give birth to seven more children for me, I expected that she would become the Matriarch of our home, the center of love and care to all our relatives, I expected to give her all the material resources that would make a woman happy. I expected that the members of the Church we attended would
have demonstrated a greater appreciation towards us and really been there when we needed them; I expected that the doctors and nurses would not have let them both die. I expected to boast of my son to my friends. I expected to take Josiah to the Barber’s Saloon on weekends, teach and discipline him, guide him along in academics and in sports. With all of these expectations one can see why it was so easy for my life to fall apart so rapidly after the passing of Vonelle and Josiah Davis. As I write this page today, it is almost one year since Josiah Died on April 23rd 2006, today is April 13th 2007 and as I look back now at the expectations I had for my life one year ago and now I can truly acknowledge that God’s Expectancy for me now, is the Greatest Expectancy I now Have. Expec
- Can you list all the expectancies you have for yourself and for
your love ones? Question:
- After listing the requirements of question one, are you confident
that these are the expectations that God has for your life? Question: - Can you identify the expectations that God has for you? Question:
- Where is your faith?
- On whom or what does your hope rely?
CHAPTER 11: RESPECT AND HONOR.
“Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and no longer enjoy living…Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young , before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed and the pulley broken at the well. For then the dust will return to the earth and the spirit will return to God who gave it .” Ecclesiastes 12: 1, 6 – 7.
Out of all of the twelve commandments given to us, ten through the law of Moses and the two By Jesus Christ himself, the only one that has a promise attached to it is to “Honor thy Mother
and Father so that your days on the earth shall be long and go well with you”, paraphrasing. Even in so doing one cannot
respect and honor another individual without first respecting and honoring themselves. Whilst in meditation devoted towards the revelations in this chapter, I realized that this commandment concerning honor is the only one that has a significant benefit towards us on this earth. Having long life and a good one at that is the essence by which we all desire to live. Why then does this commandment carry such high value of reward? I believe that the human man was created to dominate all other life forms on the earth except another human being (1 Corinthians 9:27). Therefore whether child or adult, it requires a phenomenal effort for a human being to subject himself (both genders) to totally respect and honor another human being. In fact I believe that this requirement given by God to us is the ultimate test by which we
are measured in our ability to Respect and Honor God the Father. Again this measuring standard is spoken of again in the Bible where it is asked “How can you say you love me who you cannot see, yet you hate your brother whom you see”, paraphrasing again. To respect and honor someone demands a level of personal humility and gratitude that unfortunately many of us don’t display. I had a deep respect and honor for Vonelle and I can write to you with the confidence that I knew she had the fullest of respect and honor for me. I believe that Vonelle honored every hair on my body just as any devoted wife should, I believe that she did in fact see me as a type of Christ (the Husband) loving her as he loves his church and bride (my Wife). One of the most disappointing feelings one can endure is the one of which you expect those that you respect and honor to support you when you desperately need them to, in my case, I had deposited so much respect and honor into a system that didn’t bring the desired return on investment. I spent so much time in devotion to the works as commissioned, that often times I would neglect my very wife in whose honor this book is written. Respect and honor were due to Vonelle, if not to me also and to not receive it was heartbreaking. I am no longer surprised at that shortcoming because as Christ said to his disciples at the last supper, “if the world persecutes you remember that it hated me first.” Jesus Christ himself and the miracles he performed were not even welcomed and he was without honor in his own home town. Now, I have no problem in showing the same level of devotion towards men again, the only thing I would do differently is to
accurately use the measuring standard given to us, which is the capacity to respect and honor another human being and apply it to my relationship with God the Father, even to a higher level. As the opening scripture admonishes, we have to be careful and guarded that we don’t let our focus shift from the honor and respect of God. We are to ensure that from our youth we demonstrate a level of honor that cannot and will not be compromised, even in our darkest hours and in times of despair.
Question: - Name the human being you respect and honor most? Question:
- Do you believe that the deposit of respect and honor is
appreciated? Question: - Can you be satisfied that God is pleased by the manner in which you respect and honor his will for your life?
CHAPTER 12: EXPRESSION OF LOVE.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7.
For me there is no other description ever written or recorded of what Love is or what the Expression of Love is. Paul defines it perfectly in 1 Corinthians 13 and it is by this model or standard we should aspire to live by. I had spent so much time falling short of this standard, hardly following this manual for expressing my love to Vonelle when it really mattered; all the time. I wish that the hands of time could be reset so that I could be patient, kind, secure, humble and not rude. So that I could be satisfied with my wife’s genuine effort to please me and not become irritable when dissatisfied. I wish I could go back to erase all the records I kept against her, all injustices ever committed and to take back the lies I may have told during our time together. As for keeping faith and endurance, I thought now, that I did demonstrate a fair bit, however it shown most at a time when Vonelle was dying. It goes to say that “you never miss the water until the well runs dry!” As I witnessed my friends, married and unmarried, waste precious time hurting each other, some deliberately offending each other, it pained me, knowing that I too wasted time doing the same. If only they could see the pain, hurt, resentment and regret I was now enduring. It took a
situation as drastic as losing my family, for me to realize that the expression of love to someone else is probably the most significant deed one can do. As I expressed in an earlier chapter, Love is a verb and not a noun, it is a doing word and not a naming word. Despite my failure to always live by the standards as set forth by Paul, I resolve within myself that Vonelle did. She would cook, clean, wash, sew curtains and sheets, work professionally, listen to my complains, support me in everything, all sometimes at her own ambitions and desires. If she was fatigued, I still made physical and sexual demands of her and she never complained to me about it. What more expression of love could I have asked for, what more? Often times it becomes regular. Regular for us to not notice the way those close to us express their love to us. For me the Kingly treatment became so normal that I neglected to recognize the significance of that level of love as was expressed towards me. I now value all those deeds dearly; indeed, they are the memories that drive and motivate me to share them with you. I know now that we should never wait or postpone expressing how we feel about our loved ones. It is now only after the water in the well has run dry, that I realize how precious that commodity was. For someone to overcome grief in the shortest possible time, it helps tremendously to know that you are satisfied and justified by the manner in which you existed with your loved one. This feeling of knowing that your mate died assured that you really loved them will help you more than you imagined. I had to battle with doubt and questioned myself on numerous occasions as to whether or not my wife knew of how much I loved her. I learned that regret cannot save you; I’ll go further to say that regret can kill you!
The full expression of love can and should be seen as an investment towards your mental and emotional future. Unless you have already attained old age and you have concluded that your days for companionship are over and you reside to enjoy your grandchildren, then this lesson I learned is vital to you. You see, when you are young like me, twenty-six years old at the time I wrote this book, a “pension plan” is important to your future existence. This “pension plan” is the peace of mind gained from knowing that you did your best at expressing your love to the now deceased. This assurance will aid you in time to come as you seek and pursue loving someone again. An Expression of Love is valid in the Past tense, it is valid at Present and is essential for your Future, especially for overcoming the grief and moving forward with the life that God continues to grant.
- Are you justified that you expressed your love genuinely?
Question: - Is their room for improvement? Question: - Can you recognize the love as expressed by others towards you?
SECTION FIVE THE IMPORTANT STUFF!
CHAPTER 13: I’M SORRY!
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land. I will listen to every prayer made in this place, for I have chosen this temple and set it apart to be my home forever. My eyes and my heart will always be here.” 2 Chronicles 7: 14-15. I’m Sorry is my way of making things right with everyone I’ve
ever wronged, those I remember and those who escape my memory at this time. When you have reached to the point where you are confident that you are well on the way to recovery, then it becomes easy to repent to God for mistakes made along the way as well as to apologize to everyone else who have earned your trespass. This chapter as part of section five constitutes the important stuff. Its important to say sorry when we know we’re wrong and acknowledge that we may have done things to deliberately harm others emotionally and otherwise. I’m Sorry Vonelle, for failing in my responsibility to be the protector that I was supposed to be as your husband. I realize that I failed you by not being in the spiritual place that was expected of me as the prophet, priest and king of our home. I’m sorry for not being able to ensure the best possible health care for you. I’m sorry that I wasted so much precious time arguing and disagreeing with you on trivial matters, if only I can recall these times and maximize it. I’m sorry. I’m Sorry Josiah, for not being able to provide the best opportunity for you to breathe the air of life. I’m sorry I didn’t
get to be a father to you, to teach and train you in the ways of the Lord and to give you all the things you would have needed. I’m sorry. To My Apostle, I’m sorry I held hate in my heart towards you. Although I have never used my lips or actions to encourage anyone to leave your ministry, I understand that my decision to leave has influenced an exodus of sorts and I am sorry for this. I’m sorry. To My In-Laws, I’m sorry for your losses in Vonelle and Josiah. If I could bring back your daughter and her offspring I would have done that a long time ago. I am sorry that I did not become the son-in-law as was expected and I’m sorry that our relationship was not always genuine in affections towards each other. To everyone else because of space for writing, I’m Sorry!
I’m Sorry – Composed by Akino Davis. For all of the wrong things I have done, I am sorry, If I ever trespassed against you, I am sorry, If I ever hurt your feelings while you were around, I am sorry, For all of the wrong things, yeah baby, I am sorry, Cause I am sorry, cause I am sorry, I apologize to you even though you are not here to accept it, I am sorry whoa whoa, I am sorry yeah yeah, Even though you’re not here…please forgive me… So please forgive me…please forgive me… For all of the wrong things I have done, I am sorry, Please forgive me…baby please forgive me… Even though you’re not here…I am sorry.
Could have done many things different in my life But all I use to think about was just me and I, Could have done…things so differently… but all I used to study was me, Never took time out to appreciate…all the things you have done, Always finding fault and criticizing you… that’s why I have to now sing this song, To tell you I’m sorry…to tell you I’m sorry, Appreciation…and gratitude I want you to see… I am sorry whoa whoa, I am sorry yeah yeah, To tell you how I really really feel, please forgive me, So please forgive me, whoa whoa, Please forgive me, yeah, yeah, Please forgive me whoa whoa…for every wrong thing I have done against you, I am sorry… And even though, your not hear to appreciate what I sing, I ask you from deep down inside, To forgive me…yeah yeah… So please forgive me, please forgive me, For every wrong thing I have done please forgive me, A sober melody… I... Rest in peace, I’m sorry. Question:
- I was moved to apologize to the point where I composed a song,
have you come to the place where you are ready to apologize?
- Have you retained that mental list of persons I asked you to
compose at the beginning of this chapter? Question: - Will you apologize to them now?
CHAPTER 14: WHAT MATTERS MOST?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29: 11.
There are two things that matters most in my life now, they are: 1. Forging a personal relationship with God and 2. Discovering fully and executing the expressed will of God for my life. However, it took me a while to discover these two important disciplines for my life and I discovered the hard way What Matters Most to us. During the six years I spent going to church, I came to know a lot about the works of God and how much blessings he had for us but I had not known who God really was. I did not have a personal relationship with my maker and that was exposed during my period of crisis. As I write this chapter, I remember reading in the scripture, Jesus saying in Luke chapter 13 verses 24 – 27:
“The Door is narrow. Work hard to get in, because many will try to enter, but when the head of the house has locked the door, it will be too late.” Then you will stand outside knocking and pleading, “Lord, open the door for us!” but he will reply, “I do not know you.” You will say, “But we ate and drank with you and you taught in our streets.” And he will reply, “I tell you, I don’t know you. Go away all who do evil.”
I had qualified as one of these evil doers Jesus referred to in
Luke Chapter 13 above since I ate and drank in his presence, went to church where his teachings were taught but I still did not know who he was. I thought that by participating in the weekly routine that I would automatically benefit from the grace that is freely afforded to us that believe. It has taken me all of the past year and a half to understand that having a personal relationship with Christ the savior is the single most important thing anyone should aspire to. Following this one should desire to discover the expressed will of God for our lives on earth and passionately pursue this purpose. Amidst all the chaos, tragedy and grief that have past, I have now come to understand the purpose for which I was born. Suddenly now all things that I have lived through is now making sense to me. I wondered why the Lord would have me experience such pain at this young age, why I was able to stand strong and come out with a testimony. I now realize that walking the path that purpose would dictate I follow required that, life unraveled exactly as it did for me. When I thought I had issues in my life, it became clear that there were others who had worst problems than I did and I had survived my ordeal for a reason; more important than I could imagine and place a value on. What should matter most to us in our lifetime should be in living our lives with those we love to the fullest expression of God’s will for us. My experience and your experience would be in vain if we cannot discover what truly matters most and maximizing on its warranty while we enjoy the company of those whom God has graced our lives with.
Question: - Have you discovered what matters most in your life? Question:
- Do you have a personal relationship with God and if not are you
ready to change that? Question:
- Are you prepared to discover and execute the expressed will of
God for your life? Question: - Can you ask him to reveal his will to you now?
CHAPTER 15: WHEN PURPOSE CALLS.
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. No dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.” Philippians 3: 12-14.
There is one thing for sure, when purpose calls you can try to hide from the calls, try to ignore it and even avoid the reality but you will be arrested by it some day. And perhaps if you avoid God’s privilege to fulfill purpose, Father God will raise up someone else to inherit your purpose for being born. Somewhere deep within myself I knew that this tragedy that befell me had to have some special significance attached to the experience. At the time when I was grieving I was blinded from recognizing that the call on my life was now apparent. A dear friend lamented to me that when God himself calls you to work in the harvest field you can’t hide. He went on to explain that by occupying ourselves otherwise is likened to hiding behind a rock but since God owned the earth, he can remove the rock from shielding us and when that happens what will be our next move. As far as an example of a man who defines the answer to the purpose call on his life, I look up to Apostle Paul, who may be
considered to be the greatest of all Apostles. Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus was a murderer of believers in Jesus. He campaigned relentlessly as a roman advocate against all those who believed in Jesus as the Messiah, killing probably hundreds of people in his campaign. In fact he was a feared man in his day, a biblical Bin Laden if you may call him so. But as Acts chapter nine details the conversion of Saul, on an ordinary day in his life whilst traveling to Damascus to fulfill an execution warrant, Saul was literally knocked off his “high horse.” Jesus the Christ appeared before him and instantly he was blinded by the Lord’s splendor and brilliance. My friends when one has to be so violently arrested to answer the call of purpose on our life, a dose of physical crippling usually follows. Some may become blind like Saul did, others may get a limp like Jacob suffered when he wrestled with the Lord and like me I had to be humbled by the loss of my family. I learnt that “all things work together for the good of those who
love God and are called according to his expressed will for our lives,” to paraphrase the Bible scriptures, however when
swamped by our circumstances that purpose call is shielded from our vision. Speaking of vision, I discovered that When Purpose Calls the only vision that matters most, is God’s Vision for our Life. Vision as I came to understand is the ability to see the End before the Start, to see further than our natural eyes could see! In other words, it is the ability to finish something before you even begin the task. If I could have seen this stage of my life twenty years ago I would have done everything possible to avoid the life that followed me.
When I analyze how my purpose has followed me all along I remain amazed at this mystery. To begin with, I’m a professional in the construction industry specializing in Building Design and
Project Management. I recall not wanting to be a Civil Engineer, my desire was to be a Mechanical Engineer to pursue a career in our oil and gas industry in Trinidad and in fact Machine Shop Craft was the only discipline I excelled at in school. I missed the registration process to pursue mechanical engineering at tertiary level and reluctantly enrolled in the civil engineering program, where I excelled in and now make a living from Architectural Design, Structural Detailing and Construction Management. Why is all this history about my education necessary to explain the call of purpose? If I may explain why, Architectural Design and Structural Detailing is the process by which a house, building or other structure is designed and the “blue print” produced. In essence this process is actually completing the building way before a price is attached to the project and before the construction works begin. By now I hope that the picture is becoming clearer to you now. You see I had absolutely no influence or control over God’s Vision for my life. All along my educational and professional path, I was being trained and prepared for this moment in my life, a call to purpose which I have now embraced and am willingly living. I wish I could continue to paint the perfect picture of the purpose call on our life. The truth however is that once you decide to pursue your purpose you better make up your mind to endure confusion, persecution and trials. I understood that I ran the risk of being called disrespectful and a radical but by drawing inspiration from Apostle Paul I press towards the prize of the higher calling in Christ Jesus, respectful of the views of all men but not prepared to become imprisoned to the opinion of anyone regardless of their stature, designation or title. Paul valued the opinions of Peter and the other Apostles but he did not let them box him in from preaching the experience he had and sharing the message to the Gentiles immediately after his encounter with Jesus.
I could go on and on but in the end I just really want to encourage you to be vigilant and prepared When Purpose Calls.
Question: - Are you ready to embrace God’s purpose for your Life? Question:
- Do you understand the importance of your experience with
grief? Question: - Are you prepared to be chastised or criticized?
CHAPTER 16: STARTING YOUR JOURNEY.
Then Peter called to him “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you by walking on water.” “All right, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But then when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Instantly Jesus reached out his hand and grabbed him. “you don’t have much faith,” Jesus said. Why did you doubt me? And when they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Matthew 14: 28-32.
Starting anything is always the most difficult tasks for any enterprise action. After all is said and done, after you have braved the worst of the storms, you will be required to start your journey out of the valley. This chapter is dedicated to the individual who by now has triumphed over the grief and sorrows that came with losing your love one. The journey back to sanity, back to the real world, back towards fulfilling purpose and destiny is one worth traveling. Whether or not you travel this road alone is a decision you will have to make on your own. It isn’t wise though as I learnt, to start your new journey with extra or unnecessary baggage. I remember reading a gospel fiction called “The Pilgrims Progress” when I was younger. The story as I recalled, chronicled the life of this fellow who set out on a journey into the world. Along the way he engaged himself in all manners of sinful acts and encountered all manners of evils and obstacles. He had started on the straight and narrow but somehow ended up walking the wide and winding path. At the end of himself he
turned back unto the straight and narrow approaching the cross of grace his load began to fall from him. Now lighter and refocused, re-energized and delivered from the mire, the young man returns to his original course and restarts his journey. This story is pretty much what you may encounter as you start your journey. Be prepared to encounter distractions along the way. As I said before in a previous chapter: “to be forewarned is to be forearmed.” My distraction to starting my journey and completing this book came in the form of women. As I craved comfort and love, I began to falsely engage the company of women, some I knew and some I didn’t. No worse “kryptonite” than what crippled superman in the comics. I thank one particular lady though for being honest enough with me to tell me to my face that my approach to recovery was not the right approach and that I needed to seek guidance from God because only He and not any woman could help me. I thank God daily for this intervention from this lady whom I had forged a personal relationship with. Our refusal to continue an untimely relationship proved to be the most decisive turning point for me along the journey to recovery. I was now able to spend the desperate time with God and re-focus my energies and emotions to seeking out his Love. I pray that like me your life will be blessed with the intervention of someone with a conscience and a genuine desire to see you through to the end. Starting your journey requires great faith. The type of faith that enabled Peter to walk on the water like Jesus did, the type of faith that as small as a mustard seed will cast mountains into the seas. I am truly happy today having started my journey and though life is no longer what it used to be and void of the people who I once built my existence to support, though the going has been a tough one, I am satisfied and accomplished when I know that my choice of a new direction in life contribute towards
changing and influencing the lives of people, who can use my experience as an example. In spite of all obstacles I now approach life with a simple motto: What’s Next! Your strength may not be in writing or singing just as I doubted I was able to do but my faith in the experience that God has led me through, has not prevented me from becoming an author and from preparing to record a music album. I urge you to not sit on your experience but to instead start on your journey!
- Is the road you are traveling on presently leading you along your
life’s true journey? Question:
- Have you considered the effect your delay to start your journey
may have on those that depend on your experience? Question: - Why not change course if it’s not?
CHAPTER 17: FINDING LOVE AGAIN.
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes your joy will overflow! I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. And here is how to measure it – the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends. You are my friends if you obey me, I no longer call you servants, because a master doesn’t confide in his servants. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father has told me.” John 3: 9-15.
I didn’t expect to fall in love again, so soon after losing my family but I was literally and spiritually swept of my feet by Jesus. It was love at second sight. Christ’s love which has always been available to me was not my first choice when I set out to find love again. The truth is, not too long after things had passed over, I found myself in an ill timed relationship. As I mentioned in an earlier chapter, I was blessed enough that I had been advised by my friend at the time that a relationship with her was the wrong medium for receiving the comfort that I needed. Any normal woman would not so easily step out of the relationship but God bless her heart continuously because this unselfish action and with her plutonic total support as my friend, I found the refreshing embrace of God’s Love again. You would realize after reading the first paragraph, that the love I found again was indeed a spiritual one. It was the saving grace of God to me that has kept me until now, forgiving me for the
many mistakes I’ve made along the way and guiding me in every decision necessary to make improvements in my life. I recognized that I was indeed loved of God, because his Son, our Lord Jesus the Christ, has told me through the Holy Bible, all the secrets of his Father in Heaven. Jesus had laid down his life for me and as such I was his friend and did not even recognize it. Not knowing who he really was had really disadvantaged me from the benefits of his love. I found myself in almost the same position as Christ did when he hung on the cross; laying down my life for my friends. Indeed this is what I do having accepted this challenge to share with you my experience and my life for the past two years. I now find myself loving you so much that I’m driven to share my experience with you, that you may be able to escape the darkness that follows losing a loved one and that you continue to quickly be healed and live as God would desire of you. You too will find love again, whether it be human or of divinity that is unknown to me. What I know is that the divine will comfort and heal you from your pain in a permanent way as opposed to the human intervention which will only offer a temporary escape but surely you will find yourself searching again. It is important to take time out after losing your loved ones to thank God for the life that he continues to grant you. Another thing I learned was that when I thought I had
problems, there is always someone else with a bigger problem than mine.
You will need to decide how quickly you will chase after love again. When you find love again though, it will be even more refreshing than the love you had for the one you are grieving over. All this sentiment about God’s love to me doesn’t mean that I have given up on finding love from another woman. Far from it, I desire a female’s love again. My marriage was fabulous
and for what it was worth I want to experience it all over again. In fact there many women and men that may fill our hearts again but as I learned prior, when you go looking on your own
(without God) for a spouse, only one thing is waiting to be found; TROUBLE! I therefore choose to wait for love to find
me just as it did before and you to should wait also. You shouldn’t think that finding love again is besides you, in fact because you are now on the receiving end of pity, sympathies and condolences, you now become a magnet, attracting all sorts of people who will throw themselves at you, some intentionally and others not. I spent the greater part of the last two years warding off and avoiding becoming engaged with women just because I didn’t want to invite trouble in my life and thwart the works of God in my life. Some women have called me hermit, gay, confused and a host of other names in their frustration at me not falling for their advances. I now have the privilege to choose my spouse carefully and it is a privilege I embrace because I now value the Love of God so much that finding a woman who will value God’s Love also as much as I do is critical to both our purposes. The person, whom you will love again, will have no issue with you treasuring the memories of your deceased or departed, instead they too will value those memories because they will understand that your experience in life has divine a purpose attached to it. I urge you then that when time is right; go after finding love again it is what your “lost” one would want for you. While alive, Vonelle and I would often comfort each other by telling each other that we would be okay without each other when death called either of us. Both she and I would also command each other that we should find another who would love and treat us in the same manner or better than we did treat and love each other. This is my confidence in finding a spouse again. I no
longer have to battle with the guilty feeling anymore or worry about what people would say if I suddenly moved on with my life. Many have questioned why I have not started dating again with some believing that I am doing so in secret, well after two years I don’t have a spouse yet but I believe this is all by divine design. There is nothing wrong with moving on with your life, albeit when the timing is right. In fact it is the best recommendation for some people to do so. For me I recognize that I am now called to work as a laborer in the field which is now ripe with crop for harvesting, the crop reading this book, the crop that is yet to accept that it is okay and possible to find love again; a work for which workers are few and some even overwhelmed by the task at hand. I therefore encourage you to pursue Finding Love Again, always trusting in and relying on God, who gives grace that will allow us to make the correct decisions as we continue living after losing our loved ones.
- Are you interested in Finding Love Again?
- Are you prepared to allow God to lead you on your search?
Question: - Do the opinions of everyone else matter most to you or are you willing to trust and follow the leading of your heart? Question:
- What do you think will make your Lost Love “smile in their
Question: - Are you moping around wasting time mourning or are you picking up the pieces and moving on with your life?
CHAPTER 18: TESTIFYING.
Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people – blind, lame or paralyzed – lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew how long he had been ill, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” “I can’t sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I am trying to get there, someone else always gets in ahead of me.” Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your sleeping mat, and walk!” Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up the mat and Began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath day. So the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! It’s illegal to carry that sleeping mat!” He replied, “The man who healed me said to me, ‘Pick up your sleeping mat and walk.’” “Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded. The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” Then the man went to find the Jewish leaders and told them it was Jesus who had healed him. John 5: 1-15.
Friends, there can be no testimony without an experience! John chapter five verses one to fifteen defines me! It’s my life as plain and straight forward as it could be at least the last two years of it. Everything written in the past seventeen chapters have been written to explain the significance of this chapter. When I recognized that the pain of losing my new family was no longer devastating, when I became healed as the lame man Jesus encountered at the well, I knew I would have to testify of the account. Testifying though doesn’t come naturally. It follows a process of refinement and tribulation, having to confront your fears of communicating and facing judgment from others will most certainly cause you to think twice of sharing your testimony.
Like the lame man in John chapter fifteen, I had endured interrogations from family, friends and apparent foes about my miraculous recovery from grief. More than miraculous to me recovery was but it was also somewhat comprehensive. I had a clear understanding from early on that my family was not coming back to me, Vonelle didn’t go to the office to return and Josiah wasn’t waiting to be picked up at the nursery. I understood that the only hope I had of seeing them was in the “sweet by and by.” Never the less though I didn’t allow cynics to stop me and like the lame man was now healed I now move on with my life by sharing this account with you. When you testify about your situation, be prepared to face the leaders or other people who will seek to discredit your testimony simply because they may not have influenced your development. You will also encounter people who will seek to capitalize negatively on your testimony. Ask God to help you identify these unscrupulous men and women before they too end up causing you grief. Don’t be discouraged though, if indeed your effort to share your experience is genuine, it will survive the persecution.
This book made it to print for several reasons, they are: 1. I knew this experience I had wasn’t mine to sit on selfishly. I had resolved in my heart that I had to now “lay my life down for my friends” because I loved them. 2. I had become motivated to influence the change in the life of anyone else who has a difficulty confronting and recovering from grief. 3. My ambition to share with you the account of my recent life is an honest and genuine one. 4. I was delivered from seeking the approval of men but rather had learned that men can only provide confirmation of what God had already moved me to do. Testifying is now the most fulfilling path my life has traveled. I now find solace and joy in knowing that my experience will help people. Don’t sit around after you have been made well, get up! Sin no more and go tell the people that you have been healed. Continuing in sin as Jesus warned the lame man, as it applies to us now is the one thing that can render our healing ineffective. It is imperative then for us to lead clean lives in order to make our testimony truthful and effective. Be encouraged.
Question: - Are you ready to testify? Question: - What is holding you back?
“As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me – the crown of righteousness that the Lord, righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return.” 2 Timothy 4: 6 – 8.
I have finished my course, I have run the race well and it is indeed a bitter-sweet moment for me to inform you that this book, my journey Through the Valley…And Lessons Learnt, A
life Changing Experience with Death, Autobiography – Volume with 1 has ended.
I thank you for taking from your resources to obtain this book, the time and effort dedicated to read its content and I pray for your complete restoration in body, soul and spirit. That God through his Son Jesus the Christ will love you like you have never experienced, that along with the presence of The Holy Spirit will lead you along your journey Through the Valley…And Lessons Learnt along the way will cause you to be blessed and become a blessing to everyone else. AMEN. Akino Davis Yours truly
The Intensive Care Series is continuous outreach via Kingdom Coaching Company (Publishing, Coaching Seminars and iRadio Broadcasting). While writing this book I realize that God continues to grace me with some intelligence and have allowed me to begin work on some new projects. It has become my desire to continue writing, singing, broadcasting, lecturing and narrating, in the hope that men, women and children will adopt the Kingdom way of life on Earth as Christ lived by the example of his very life on earth. Here is a preview of the upcoming works soon to be released through Kingdom Coaching Company. Continue to visit our website (www.kingdomcoach.9f.com) for future and further updates.
Audio Edition Release on Compact Disc. Full Version of Print Edition made available for the individual whose lifestyle won’t accommodate for regular reading time. Listen at home, in the car or at the office and be blessed! For those already in business and those wanting to start a business. This book will be made available in print, audio and a downloadable eBook. It is ideally suited to anyone with a desire for business. Learn how charitable principles, simple organization and discipline can guarantee your business start-up and survival and ensure future rewards. Written specifically for persons aspiring to live at a respectable standard of life; having all things at all times. This book chronicles how Akino’s early life in poverty changed and shares some principles learned along the way. This book will truly challenge you to Change Your Circumstance!
Today’s Leader is a revolutionary outlook of what it takes to be a Leader in today’s world. Learn how to influence and impact your environment, influence your sphere, motivate followers and implement succession planning.
Before And After Marriage is a revelation and guide for couples courting and aspiring for marriage. Guaranteed to help you recognize and choose your spouse, a decision you should make and not regret! Researched and compiled from the Author’s own experience of life before and after marriage and from interviews obtained from friends, family and strangers living either secular or spiritual ways of life.
The Intensive Care Outreach Series:
THROUGH THE VALLEY…AND LESSONS LEARNT!
A life Changing Encounter with Death – Autobiography Volume 1.
A book to truly transform your life! In my search for answers and comfort after my wife and son died, God has blessed me with a tremendous outpouring of his Knowledge and Love. It is this Heavenly Wisdom that answered my questions and healed me from the grief that ate me from within. There is a special blessing within each section, each chapter and on each page to truly heal and deliver the grief stricken and broken hearted. As you read this account, expect to be set free from the clutches of grief and be motivated to continue living as God desires you. Akino Davis.
Authors Profile: Akino Davis is the third of five children born of Alston Davis and Gloria Wilson-Thomas and is a qualified Civil Engineering Project Manager and the Managing Director and owner of several businesses in Trinidad and Tobago. A charitable young man, Akino has co- founded and is actively serving as the Director of the Diego Martin Secondary Student and Sporting Management Association. A widower and proud father of one (deceased Josiah Davis) Akino has now gone on to establish The Kingdom Coaching Company through which he will continue to produce books, music albums, conduct live seminars and coaching sessions for communicating and addressing the issues that confront so many people as individuals and business participants. About The Kingdom Coaching Company: The Kingdom Coaching Company which includes three (3) core areas of delivery; Publishing, Coaching Seminars and iRadio (live internet radio broadcasting in development) was born from the wilderness experience of the past two years and is focused to communicate and counsel with all peoples concerning every aspect of life on Earth. This media outreach incorporates print, broadcast, live seminars and web based avenues to promote the well being and edification of mankind.
ISBN 978 – 976 – 8211 – 96 – 5
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