Trust in the Lord Always. For the Lord God is the eternal rock. Isaiah 26:4
If you look on the Facebook page of Ms. Camilla Stewart, you will most likely see a scripture like this one on her page each day. Camilla Stewart, also affectionately known as “Lady” or “Tee Higgins mom”, is a member of Oak Valley Baptist Church. She joined Oak Valley under Oak Valley’s former Pastor, Hardil Thomas, in 1999. Camilla has a strong faith in God and prays continuously for guidance as she walks through her journey of life. Though her faith is strong now, Camilla’s faith has been tested and she will tell you herself that she has taken a long hard road to get to where she is now in her relationship with God. Camilla says “I have always believed in God, but it was shook”.
Camilla was born and raised in Oak Ridge. She attended Oak Ridge High School where one may argue that she could have been one of the greatest basketball players known to come out of the program. Camilla played as a freshman at Oak Ridge High School until she was forced to stop playing when it was found out that she was pregnant with her daughter. Camilla went on to graduate from Oak Ridge High School. She beat the odds, but; her trials did not stop there. Ultimately Camilla would go on to live a life of disappointment, doubt, and depression before happiness and peace could find her.
Camilla began to use drugs. She describes her addiction as something she just couldn’t shake. “Yes, I still believed; but I also wanted my drugs. At one point, I would even pray for some dope.”
Drugs took over her life, but didn’t take her life; at least not directly. Camilla did have a brush with death. In October, 2005, Camilla was in a domestic violence altercation with a former boyfriend; that left her with a bullet in her head. Camilla went on to survive, with very little physical limitations; but this wasn’t enough to make her re-evaluate her way of living. “I made it but that wasn’t enough to stop me from using”.
On August 18, 2007 Camilla was arrested and charged on a drug charge. She was selling drugs to support her drug habit. While in jail, she began to reflect. She read her bible and stayed prayed up. “I realized that I had a grandbaby that I needed to be there for, and I couldn’t”. “I wasn’t able to be there for my children”. “I had gotten to the point where I didn’t care if I lived or died, but this opened my eyes.”
From jail, Camilla went on to a treatment program for approximately 10 months. “I have a very supportive family and they have gotten me through, along with my faith in God. This year marks her 10 years of been clean and sober. “I’m a good person, in spite of my reputation”.
Today, you can find Camilla yelling on the sidelines at a basketball game or football game of her son or her grand-daughter. “They are my world”. Camilla’s son will go on to play Football for the Clemson Tigers this fall. Her daughter recently graduated from MTSU where she, too, played basketball.
Camilla has not let her past define her. “I only hope my story can help encourage others to continue to stay prayed up.” Camilla continues to attend Oak Valley where she is under the care of Pastor Derrick Hammond. “I love the way he preaches, he is just real and that’s what I need”.
Author: C. Graham