Excerpt for The Bounce Back: Triumphant Stories of Resiliency and Perseverance by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

THE BOUNCE BACK:

Triumphant Stories of Resiliency and Perseverance



FOREWORD BY:

Sharlrita Deloatch




Pearly Gates Publishing, LLC, Houston, Texas






The Bounce Back:

Triumphant Stories of Resiliency and Perseverance



Copyright © 2017

Felicia C. Lucas



All Rights Reserved.

No portion of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any electronic system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise) without written permission from the author or publisher. Brief quotations may be used in literary reviews.


Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.


Library of Congress Control Number: 2017956450



Scripture references are used with permission from Zondervan via Biblegateway.com.



For information and bulk ordering, contact:

Pearly Gates Publishing, LLC

Angela R. Edwards

P.O. Box 62287

Houston, TX 77205

bestseller@pearlygatespublishing.com



Published by Pearly Gates Publishing, LLC at Smashwords.

This book is available in print at most online retailers.






Dedication


This book is dedicated to individuals who are facing the biggest storms of their lives and are seeking some inspiration in order to make it through.






Bounce Back Authors' Acknowledgements


Minister Felicia Lucas:


To my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: Thank You so much for blessing me with the desire to share my life story with the world. To Kelvin, the best husband a woman can have: I love you so much. You always keep pushing me towards my best possible. To my children (Isaiah, Kelsey, and Silas), family, and friends: Thanks for your unending support. To my Spiritual Daughter: You are a phenomenal poet. Keep allowing God to speak to you through poetry. To Pearly Gates Publishing and Angela Edwards: I am eternally grateful for this opportunity to be a part of your family. Thank you, Stevii Aisha Mills and Dr. Marilyn E. Porter, for making this connection possible. To my Co-Authors and Foreword Writer: Thank you so much for saying "YES!" to this project. I am so proud of each of you!


**********


Pastor Shamielle Alston:


To God: Thank You for loving me enough to allow me to travel life's journey! To Felicia Lucas: Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this phenomenal project. I am immensely grateful! To those who have/are struggling with faith: God sees you, He cares, and yes, He has a plan. Trust Him and walk into your greatness!


**********


Melissa Bridgers-Allen:


I would like to thank God for believing in me when I didn't have faith in myself. To Pastor Jonah Walston, Jr. and my son, Jay who never complained and to every individual and family member who played a part in my life to help Melissa find herself. Last, but not least, to my husband and soulmate, Montie, for being that man who understood me from the club to the church house.


"Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. The Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises to be fulfilled"

(Romans 15:4, NLT).


**********


Louvanta White:


I would like to take this moment to show my love and gratitude to those who have been on this journey with me. First and foremost, I want to give all honor and praises unto God. If it wasn't for Him instilling the gifts in me, this wouldn't be possible. I want to thank my wonderful family, my SESI family, my UPS family, my Friends, and I can't forget our visionary behind this whole project. Thank you all so much. God bless you all!


**********


Elder Lorrie Crawley:


This chapter is a result of two journeys of faith, trust, and healing. Like so many other things in my life, this accomplishment would not have been possible if it weren't for key people in my life. I am appreciative of my husband, Robert Crawley, Sr., who gave his quiet strength, support, and love. I heard you loud and clear. To my children: Kitara (who has completed her journey), Robert Jr., and Kaylom. To my siblings who were strength in my journey. To my mother, Virginia Hawkins; a true example of strength under pressure. To my Daddy God who carried me every step of my journey.


**********


Rayshoun Chambers:


At a time when so much joy was on the verge of being overshadowed by the spirit of doubt, my beliefs stood firm. Glory to God for being my Ever-After, my Protector, and Provider. I want to thank all of my friends, family, and hilarious coworkers who were there during my pregnancy for all of your support, pulling together, working hard to ensure the smile I had was the smile I kept. To my mother, Joanne Smaw-Asomugha, my father, Phil Chambers, and siblings, Lord Michael Chambers, John Gaines, and Corey Chambers: I love you. To my son, Cameron Lewis Chambers: God has already gifted you with so much. I love you always.


**********


Malissa Stringer:


I am grateful for the love and continual support of my personal mentor, Sheila Greene, who has been a mother, sister, friend, and confidant all wrapped up in one. Thank you for never missing an important date. Last, but certainly not least, my children, Kris and Alex, for always pushing me during the tough times. I love you guys! This one is for you! Words could never express what you mean to me.


**********


Nena B. Abdul-Wakeel:


Thank you, Lord, for being the Strong Tower and Comforter in my life, particularly through my grief journey. I particularly want to thank four special angels in my life who supported me in this "new thing" called 'writing': My mother, Zaimah A, who unconditionally loves and supports me; Edna O. and DeAndrea D. for holding me up and pushing me forward when I doubted; and Christine W. who set an example and showed me that I could share my story in words. Lastly, to my sons Khalil and Malek, for always being in my corner.


**********


DuWanda S. Epps:


I must give thanks to Christ my Savior because all things are possible through Christ who is my Strength and Redeemer. I am thankful for all the people I have unknowingly inspired throughout the years and even today. To my loved-ones, few close friends, and my supporters: Thank you for believing in me. I will be forever thankful.


**********


Sharlrita Deloatch:


I want to thank God for allowing me to go through all that I've been through to help someone else and allow me to still be alive in the process to tell the story. Thank you to my wonderful husband, Anthony, and my beautiful children for always supporting me. I am grateful for all of my family and the many lives that will be changed by this book. A special 'Thank You' to my sister in business and life, Felicia Lucas, for thinking of me to be a part of her #1 Best-Selling book project.


"Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don't be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins!"

(Isaiah 58:1, NLT)






FOREWORD


By: Sharlrita Deloatch


We often hear the quote, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger". I say it has to make you stronger if God allows you to still be here while going through "it". Whatever your "it" is, it's only there to make you stronger.


For many years, I tried to run away from telling my story. I didn't want everyone to read or hear about that 'bad thing' Sharlrita did. I felt ashamed and embarrassed. Some of my family are used to the jail, probation, and being in and out of court; but when it happened to me, I thought I was just carrying on the family tradition—until I had my "coming to Jesus" moment while sitting in a holding cell awaiting my mom and stepdad to come bail me out. I made a decision to not allow "this" to stop or hinder me. I made a decision to not come back to this place again.


Fast-forward to 2014. I decided to tell and write my story—just like these ladies here. However, I told the wimpy story. I told the same story like every other woman who ever dealt with self-esteem issues. God said, "No: Tell the truth…the WHOLE truth!" From 2014 until today, I boldly tell my story of being a convicted felon in the state of North Carolina to being a thriving Woman Entrepreneur, helping women like me and those who desire to use their purpose to turn it into a business with a solid foundation. That's what you call a "Bounce Back"!


Just like these women in this book, you will read how they took their pain and 'Bounced Back'. You will read stories of bouncing back from sickness, brokenness, and all of the pitfalls that we find in life.


Read and congratulate these women for taking the bold step to write their stories so that others can be healed.






INTRODUCTION


Over the course of my life, I have often thought about the story of Job in the Bible. Job was an upright man who experienced extreme levels of adversity in his life, to include losing everything he was closely-connected to. Even as he was going through his experiences, he had a tremendous level of faith and even expressed it to God by saying in Job 13:15 (KJV), "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." Now, that is a powerful statement! At the end of the story, Job was able to 'Bounce Back'—and gained more than he had lost!


Have you ever gone through something in life that shook the very core of your existence? Have you ever lost something or someone who was very close to you? Have you experienced such a treacherous situation and had no clue if and when you would make it through? Have you ever given a lot in a relationship or to a company and were abruptly let go?


My vision for this book was to share triumphant stories of individuals from all over who had different stories but were able to survive and wanted to share how they 'Bounced Back and Persevered'. I wanted women who had experienced molestation, incest, rape, death, poverty, divorce, betrayal, fired, repossession, miscarriage, abortion, bankruptcy, suicidal attempts, abuse, church hurt, cancer, or domestic violence to come together and share how they were able to make it through!


I was blessed to connect with a group of phenomenal women who have experienced different stories but had one thing in common: God brought them through some very dark places in life and they were able to overcome—just as I did! My desire is this: As you read each of our stories, you are inspired and encouraged to hang on and know that out there in this world, there is someone who has a similar experience and ultimately 'Bounced Back'!


One of my Spiritual Daughters captures the essence of resiliency and expresses her personal 'Bounce Back' story through the following literary interpretation.


I introduce to some and present to others:

'The Sway Poet'



"A Heart of a Rose"


I guess you can compare my life right now

to a rose blooming in the Spring.

I see new sights, new beginnings, and I'm reaching new levels;

But just a few months ago, where my very heart laid,

was getting stepped on.

Trampled by people who I thought loved to see me bloom.

They would stare in amazement

and point out all the beauty they saw;

But the moment I began to wither and die,

they no longer saw my importance.

So, I disappeared. I faded into the dirt.

I blend well with it because I begin to

turn brown from the inside out.

My heart rots from the sheer disappointment

their eyes speak at the sight of me.

It turns out I'm not as pretty as they thought.

It turns out I'm not as strong as my story shows me to be.

It turns out I get weak, too.

So, they forget me until they begin to see the sun again.

They look for me when my stem has strengthened

And the smell of me brings bees and honey.

They see me when the sunlight shines

on the petals of my skin.

Oh, now you see me!

Well, these last few months I've refused

to focus on how you see me.

My priorities shifted while I was enduring

this extremely cold Winter.

I tried everything to feel some kind of warmth.

The only place I could feel it was when I looked

beyond the sun to the heavens.

So, now I'm blooming. I'm strengthening and

stretching to reach You, God.

I plan to grow as far as You allow.

And when my Winter comes again,

I will still embrace the warmth you bring.






TABLE OF CONTENTS


DEDICATION

BOUNCE BACK AUTHORS' ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

FOREWORD

INTRODUCTION

I DIDN'T KNOW MY OWN STRENGTH

MY TUNNEL OF GRIEF

THE TWO JOURNEYS

BOUNCING BACK AFTER A PERSONAL LOSS (RESOURCE CHAPTER)

AGAINST ALL ODDS

FORGIVENESS LED ME TO LOVE

I AM A STRIVER, BELIEVER, AND CONQUEROR!

THE GIRL WHO MATURED TOO FAST

AWAKENED

STILL YES!

THE BOUNCE BACK AUTHORS' BIOS

REFLECTIONS (JOURNALING SECTION)






I Didn't Know My Own Strength

By: Minister Felicia Lucas



As I look back over my life, there are several situations that I have experienced in which I didn't know how strong I actually was. There have been many times (as I was going through) I knew it was God who carried me. I am sharing two specific times in my life when He gave me the strength to persevere. I pray these experiences encourage your faith in Him.


A Letter to My Unborn Seed:


I carry a tiny 3x2 card in my wallet which reads: "In loving memory of Baby Lucas. 6-2-2000. We celebrate your short life. As we grieve over your loss, we know that your spirit is with God and one day we will meet. Even though we only knew of you for a short time, you will always remain in our hearts. Love, your parents!"


It was very difficult to share with your siblings about your existence. In their young minds and fragile hearts, they found it hard to comprehend the thought of losing a sibling they never met. At Christmas, we hang a stocking for you to remind us of what had occurred. I sometimes wonder how I was able to bounce back after experiencing a miscarriage, but with God's help and the love and support of your father, I was able to do so.


I remember sitting on the edge of my bed waiting to see the results of my pregnancy test. I had started feeling nauseous and my upper chest area was quite sore. I recognized my monthly cycle was late and I was most likely pregnant. Your older brother was six months old at the time. I anxiously went to the restroom and looked at the results. It read that I was POSITIVELY PREGNANT. I was so excited! I waited until your father came home from work to share the news with him. We were going to be parents again! I was ecstatic! I remember telling him the news—and he was happy, too! I immediately contacted my OB/GYN to set up my prenatal appointment.


The day of the appointment finally came. They took bloodwork and a urine sample. My doctor confirmed the pregnancy test. We left the doctor's office so excited about the next leg of our parental journey. I immediately called a close friend to share the news with her. She was happy for me as well. All of that week, I was getting used to the fact that we were expecting. On that Friday, I started to spot, so I called my doctor. I had to go to the office for another appointment. His office then informed me that I had a 'Spontaneous Abortion'. I remember saying to the nurse, "No. I didn't have an abortion!" She explained to me that I was experiencing a miscarriage. I can't even begin to put into words the thoughts I was having.


Did I do something to cause this?


Was God punishing me for something?


Am I a bad mother?


Why, God? Why?


The initial shock of the experience gradually faded. I then became sad. Sad to never have met you. Sad to see the look on my husband's face. Sad that your brother would not have you in his life.


The "Serenity Prayer"—'God, grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference'—was very real for me during this time in my life. Slowly…ever so slowly…I began to bounce out of the sadness.


One day, my husband said to me, "We still have our oldest child". He was so right! Yes, we experienced a loss but we still had a perfectly healthy six-month-old son who still needed his parents. In that moment, things changed and I began to focus on who was here. It was okay to be sad but it was vital that I shifted mentally so I could be there for my son.We were thankful for this opportunity to be chosen as parents. If God allowed us to conceive again, that would be wonderful!


Fourteen months following the miscarriage, we conceived again. We were so happy! We did not tell anyone of the pregnancy until we were almost three months. I was so afraid of miscarrying again, so I was cautious about everything during the pregnancy. At the time, I did not have any pregnancy health insurance—which meant I had to self-pay at my doctor's office. They set me up on a sliding scale for the physician's bill. We were able to pay the required amount prior to the delivery. I went into labor and delivery with the anxiety of knowing this huge hospital medical bill will be ours to pay after the birth.


God blessed us with a healthy baby girl and we were ecstatic! The hospital bill ended up being over $20,000. We did not have that kind of money. I just knew the payment arrangements that the hospital would propose to be paid monthly would be expensive. I reluctantly called the hospital to speak with the representative in accounts. They pulled up my account and told me I did not have a balance. I asked, "Are you sure?" They stated my account had been cleared! No balance due! Praise God! He made a way!


To my unborn seed: I often wonder what you would have been when you grew up, what your favorite food would be, and if you would have liked sports as much as your siblings. I know our family dynamics would be quite different as a family of six rather than five. The reality of not knowing you has gotten better over time. You see: God helped us 'Bounce Back'! Because of my faith in Him, I know I will meet you one day. Until then, I love you forever! Mom.


**********


I Didn't See This One Coming:


I remember the last time I saw you. It was at a family gathering. If I had known it was my final time, I would have hugged you much longer.


Fast-forward two months later. I remember you and I on a phone call that Sunday afternoon. You told me you weren't feeling well. Two days later, I was informed you had to be airlifted to a hospital in a nearby city because you were very sick. I had no idea you wouldn't pull through. In my mind, I had told myself that one day, you and I would reminisce about your hospital stay and I would say to you, "Yes, you were real sick but look how God healed you!" In actuality, God did heal you—but it was not the healing I wanted.


I was asked to sing at your funeral. Boy, was I nervous, sad, and honored—all rolled up into one! I had rehearsed my piece acapella and was prepared to sing it that way but the church had an organist who immediately found my key and accompanied me musically. I selected a most appropriate song for the occasion, which is sung by Beverly Bam Crawford: My Help. I belted the words of the song from deep within my belly as God gave me the overwhelming strength to sing:


"I will lift up mine eyes to the hills

From whence cometh my help;

My help cometh from the Lord.

The Lord which made Heaven and Earth.

He said He will not suffer thy foot,

Thy foot to be moved,

The Lord that keepeth thee.

He will not slumber nor sleep,

For the Lord is thy keeper;


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