My past does not define me

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

15 thoughts on “My past does not define me

  1. Kwayu Graham says:

    This is a great article and I good story for first blog. She is a true testimony of faith and what the Grace of God can do for you. Good job on this story.

  2. Edward J. Williams says:

    Cousin, I love you and your courage to be transparent with your life blessed me just as a confirmation that God is good and He is real. This is what people need-realness, truth. As you know, God makes your mess your message to a dying world and I know, you have blessed many that you will never know. Keep doing you fam!

  3. Trina Williams says:

    This is a testimony not only for Camilla but of the faithfulness of God love for us….Camilla’s testimony embodies the very fact that it does not matter where you are in your faith nor what walk of life you come from, God has no respect of person…I love this testimony Camilla it gives truth to the fact that God is real and in control and that miracles still happen everyday..Many continued blessings for you and your family I love you guys…

    -Trina Williams

  4. Kimberly Hopgood says:

    My Sis forever in My eyes!! Love u forever… This testimony is Amazing!!
    Thanking God for his Glory & Mercy on your life! Our Lives~~ Then & Always A Beautiful Lady inside & out! God is not done with you yet!!

  5. Anne Brown says:

    Such a touching testimony of how forgiving our God is. I know that the drug epidemic has touched most families in one way or another, and many users believe they have done so muych wrong that God can’t forgive them. Lady, you are an example and inspiration for many if they will accept the blessings. God bless you and your family. Continue to stay praised up!

  6. Searcy New says:

    What a testimony!!!! Proud of you Lady!!! Your athleticism has been passed on to your children! I remember the Jr. High and High School gal!!! Praise God for bringing you through all the darkness! Let His light continue to shine through you!!! Love you!

  7. Ella DuBose says:

    Thank you lady for your testimony! It takes a strong person to be willing to openly discuss life challenges. Keep praying and growing in your faith. We are proud of you. Continue seeking God’s will for your life; someone in this world is just waiting for the opportunity to be empowered by you through the grace of God. We need you at OVBC!

  8. Gloria Dowdell says:

    Job well done. Thank God that he does not hold our past against us. New mercies he gives us every day. He looks beyond our faults and sees our needs. Great testimony.

  9. Kari Turner says:

    This is why my ❤ smiles and what let’s me know there IS a GOD!!! The race isn’t given to the swift but those that endure til end!!!!

  10. Tamara Hardy-Jones says:

    She touched me again with her testimony. She let God use her and she is a living testimony of what God can do. Glory be to god!

  11. Robin Johnson says:

    There is nothing to hard for God! You inspire me chick!

  12. Jocelyn Heyward-Tharpe says:

    Proud of yoy Lady; I know you have been through alot and I am so proud that you kept the faith in God….He is definitely worthy to be praised

  13. Kristi Luethke-Hodge says:

    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~Jeremiah 29:11 Lady is a Beautiful Lady inside & out! I admire her testimony,strength & determination for her kids & grandbaby. Keep on keeping the Faith Lady Bug!! Jesus loves you!

  14. Cindy says:

    What an awesome testimony!
    Lady, thank you for sharing what God has done and continues to do in your life. You are loved!

  15. Travis Kirk says:

    What an awesome testimony oh how great our God is! His mercies are everlasting and His truth endureth to all generations! Thank you for selflessly sharing your story, Lady. Your resilience and persevering faith are an inspiration.

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