This Is My Testimony...Dr. Danielle Penson
Updated: Jul 7
"Mommy, Mommy, what’s wrong? Are you okay?”
“Baby call granddad. Mommy can’t breathe.”
“Hello, Hi Nonie, mommy doesn’t seem like she is getting enough air. I think she needs to go to the hospital.”
“Okay, baby, we are on our way.”
This was the beginning of a journey through life that I call my “Personal Walk of Faith”. It was on May 26, 1989 when my mother was called home to rest forever with the Lord. I was an eight-year-old little girl who knew there was a God, but didn’t understand why he would take the life of a faithful servant. Many years later I begin to dissect myself and understand that many things in life are painful, but necessary.
Growing up as a motherless child was defined as unfair by me for a long time. Was there really a God? Does he really love me? After all I grew up faithfully attending church. After all my desires to serve God, he took my most precious gift, my mother. After my mother’s death, I stayed faithful, but I still had major confusion in my mind.
As I grew older, going to church wasn’t made an option. I was forced to attend even against my will. I became bitter because I still did not understand why I was being "punished." I attended a church where I was not learning and I had to go out of obligation. The preached word lacked biblical substance. There was a scripture provided at the beginning of the sermon, but the message was personal attacks on the congregation and constant financial pleas.
My family was very supportive and loving. They nurtured me, going above and beyond to secure my comfort. Right at a point of release, my aunt, my mother’s sister, who embraced me the most, was diagnosed with leukemia. It was a matter of weeks that she made her transition from earth to heaven. This experience was yet another piercing to my heart. I remember being so hurt, that I could not attend the funeral services. Once again I began questioning God.
By the age of 12, I had lost my mother, aunts and uncles, all of whom were very instrumental in my life. I kept telling myself that the only two things promised to us all was death and life. No matter how bad the pain, I had to keep moving forward. I was never able to rest in a place of comfort. As soon as I grew content, I was forced to relive the truth behind death.
Years passed and, when my teenage years came, once again I was faced with a traumatic death. At the age of fifteen my father died of a diabetic coma. By this time, I was really on edge about “The Man Upstairs.” I strived to get excellent grades in school, didn’t hang out in the streets, and I remained faithful to my church.
So why God? Why? Years passed and I reached a breaking point. I was tired of the continued pain and agony of death. At this point I gave up on school work and began focusing on things of the world, forsaking the foundational roots that I had grown to know. I prayed to God and asked why I had to encounter so much pain as a child? I recall pondering several Sunday school lessons that taught how God loves us. I recall singing songs that express God’s love for me. Yet, I was still bleeding inside from the pain.
After my teenage years, I was able to attend the church of my choice. I began visiting several churches and gaining a better understanding of God's word. Although I was still hurt, I could relate to teachings and scriptures that outlined why we go through various paths that lead to pain and hurt.
I remember opening a bible in my grandparent’s room and finding my mother’s obituary. She wrote me a few lines telling me to remain faithful in God. She said I was the reason why she started re-attending church and I was the reason she knew that once she left this earth that she would forever live with the Lord in heaven.
My grandparents told me that a dear friend of my mother went to the hospital the day she passed away. My mother told him to get a pen and paper out so she could write her obituary. She wrote about her life and she ended with love notes to her parents and two sisters, comforting words to my brother, and encouragement to me. She said God called her home once before but she pleaded with him, asking for a little more time so she could get things in order. My grandparents told me this as a teen and it stayed with me.
From that moment I realized that there was something unique about me. My mother knew that I was unable to understand at eight years old what was going on, but she realized that there would come a time in life that her last words to me would aid in my spiritual growth. Mothers always know when to say the right words to sooth rough areas. It wasn’t by chance that her friend was there to see her as she lay in her hospital bed. Things are strategically purposed by God for His fulfillment. We may not fully grasp or agree with His plan, but he has thought it through.
Reading my mother’s obituary gave me the courage to know that God is real and that he really does love me. Although I was faced with pain, He was always there to comfort and protect me. As I think about my walk of faith I realize that things could have been worse. I could have been on drugs, depressed, suicidal, or even dead. God kept me covered in His blood and for that reason I came out with my hands up! I vowed to God that I would never question His decisions because I now know that my journey was painful but necessary. My testimony will aid others who are on the verge of giving up and heading out!
Although my journey began as a child, I continue to walk the steps now ordered by God. Life for me has not always been a mirrored image of Christ, but I realize that my relationship with Him has made me the woman that I am today. God does not anoint those who say they were called, He anoints those who have accepted the call. Today I stand as an empty vessel saying, “Lord, I am readily available to be used by you.” My loss was His gain!
Revised excerpt from, FINDING MY TRUTH IN PRETTY a Journaling Journey authored by Dr. Danielle Penson