This is my testimony..Faidra Washington-Gray
Updated: Jul 7
I am always honored to share my story, but I wasn’t always as excited as I am now. I admit that becoming strong enough to be transparent and vulnerable took some time. I got checked by God. He asked me if I was going to keep worrying about what people thought of me or trust Him.
While in college I started dating a guy that I thought the world of. The relationship was great, but the mask came off in layers. I was in love by that time and overlooked a lot of things I shouldn’t have – his lying, ignoring my phone calls, and cheating with multiple women. Yes, I overlooked all of that because I was a broke college student and comfortable with his financial security. Because of him, I always had a car to drive and, if I was in need of anything, he provided it. The last straw was being indicted by a jury for knowing he was a drug dealer, although I didn’t know any of his business dealings. I was naïve to the consequences ahead of me and ultimately, I was sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in federal prison. Life has a way of knocking you down, but you have to be willing to get back up. After being released, I didn’t know what to expect, but I prepared my mind for the journey.
I knew that many people were forced to return to prison because they weren’t given a fair chance to be purposeful contributors to society. They’re frowned upon due to their past mistakes and, to that extent, I was no different. I’d submitted hundreds of job applications with no responses. Even getting hired at a fast food restaurant while having a felony on my record seemed to be a task. I just needed someone to give me a chance. It was black owned business that finally opened their doors and allowed me the opportunity to grow, acquire different skills, and build my resume. While working full-time, I returned to school and kicked open the doors of corporate America, knowing that everything I went through wasn’t just for me, but also, for someone else. My story is for the one who has lost hope, who hasn’t forgiven themselves, the one who is having an issue with trusting God when you can’t trace him. I wrote a book about my journey, A Lesson Learned the Hard Way, and the response to it allowed me to see the need to speak more about my experiences. My pain pushed me into my passion of helping those with similar situations.
No, it hasn’t been a smooth road. It’s been rough. My advice is if you are hurting from a bad relationship, get out. If you can’t seem to forgive yourself, know that God will forgive you if you ask, so accept His grace and forgive yourself. It’s okay to be imperfect in our so called “perfect world.” If God has forgiven you then no one else matters, not even the small voice in your mind that tells you every so often that you aren’t worthy. Life is so much better when you let go, walk in your truth, and PERSEVERE. Yes, it’s hard, and you may have to get up from more than one fall, but the will to persevere is often the difference between failure and success.
My book can be purchased at www.alessonlearned.org