I had asked my sweet friend, Raychel Davison, to share her testimony on our church's ladies ministry page on Facebook. After I read it, I knew that her words needed to be heard here on the blog and that it would fit in perfectly with our "Set Apart" series. Raychel is one of the funniest people I know. She has a heart of gold and such a strong love for people. I'm so excited to share her with you!
When I was first asked to share my testimony I was thinking, “Oh man, what should I even say..?” I’m not going to lie ya’ll, I was kind of dreading if it ever came time for me to be asked. I was sitting in my car and had just gotten back from my lunch break and immediately God interceded and said, “You have plenty to share and I’m only asking for a snippet to encourage the women of your church family.” This is a bit long, so bear with me, ladies!
For those of you who don’t know me, I am Raychel Davison. I’m the goon that sings and slaps/plays the Cajone on our worship team. I grew up in the great city of San Antonio,Texas. I went to a private Catholic school growing up and was an Alter Server. Church to us was a staple in our household and I got to go at least twice a week; see what I said there? "I GOT TO." Ever since I can remember I have been super outgoing. I love to entertain. I grew up in the pageant world, baton twirling and was obsessed with dance! I only got into dance classes because I snuck in my leotard from twirling practice and had convinced my teacher that I was registered for the after school dance program. I know "Naughty Little Raychel." My mother wasn’t too happy with the call from school saying she owed money for the dance classes I was never registered for, but she soon couldn’t deny my persuasiveness. Like I said before, I was super outgoing and made friends easily. I had 2 really close friends that I did everything with from preschool all the way up until we hit 4th grade. Both of my close friends had ended up moving about a block or so away from each other, and decided they did not need me as a friend anymore. So much so, that I was bullied so badly that my teacher told my mother I needed to be removed from the school. I remember being so thankful for my teacher, Ms.Calveresi, who allowed me to eat my lunch in her room every day. As a kid that was world shattering to me. Ms.Calveresi was soon fired after I was transferred to public school; and she told me I wouldn’t change it for the world. That no one deserves to be treated that way and she didn’t want to work for a school that enabled that behavior. In all honesty, I will be forever grateful for her and how she defended me. I tried to remember that as I grew up to not let anyone steal me from me, but we will get to that later.
Fast forward a few years, we moved to Wyoming for a year and then Colorado the following year. I had pretty normal middle school and high school years. As a family every Sunday, we would first go to the Catholic church and then to Northern Colorado Cowboy Church until finally we made N3C our home church.
Going into college I had met a guy who I ended up dating from our youth group. The first year to a year and half of that 3 year relationship went pretty well, just getting to know one another and enjoying each other’s company. It was the latter part that ended up really throwing me for another life lesson. We started to drift apart as I really wanted to do well in my studies so I could become a nurse. He would beg me to stay out late or spend 5 more minutes watching TV or what have you, and it was showing in my school work. I almost failed out of my freshman year. I remember telling him that I really needed to focus on school and he would tell me, “No, you need to focus on us. I am your future!”
Okay, ya’ll, RED FLAG!
But I was 20 and in love (or just complacent!) in our relationship. As our relationship continued, it got more abusive emotionally and sometimes physically. I remember one night at his house, I was just about to leave because we had been in an argument and he held me against the wall by my wrists and told me I couldn’t!
"Umm...okay, little Raychel, here is where you remind yourself don’t let someone steal me from you…!"
I had wrestled with God for quite some time on leaving him and I kept holding on with a "pinky grasp," as Pastor Lynette once preached on. One night, I remember lying in bed thinking and praying for an answer and I thought, "There is NO WAY IN HELL if this guy ever asked me to marry him I would say, 'Yes!' So what in tarnation am I doing…?"
God was like, "DUH! You finally understand." It was like a Big Red Fire Truck that was sent to me to run me over and reverse right back over the top of me, NO LIE! God was saying, "Let go of the 'pinky hold' of this unhealthy relationship, my sweet girl, I have something so much better for you."
Well as easy as it was for me to just breakup and try to move on; it was not so much so for him. I was followed on campus at school. Cards and letters were left on my car while I’d be studying at the library. Candy left on my car when I was at worship rehearsals. I would get 50 calls or text messages on any given day. There were pictures of us left on the outside of my bedroom windows and reminder calls that I hadn’t looked out my window because he knew that I hadn’t taken them down. He would show up at the hospitals that I worked at. Park next to me just so he could say, “Hi." Show up drunk at my window at 2 am pleading for me to take him back. You see the enemy will try to use old seeds to sow discord after you’ve already sprayed Round Up on the weeds and have have uprooted them from your freshly tilled garden. It was a very scary and hard time for me.
Ladies, take this bit of advice from me; never let anyone make you feel unsafe. It had gotten to the point that I had lost 10lbs and chunks of my hair started falling out from being under so much stress. I remember driving to church one morning and I just cried in the hospitality area thinking I want to get a restraining order, but Lord knows he needs Jesus and we had the same home church. I didn’t want to take him away from the one thing he needed most.
Time eventually passed. I had to move, change my phone number, drive a new car, the whole bit. I started over and I finally felt free. I dated off and on for a while. One night, my friends took me dancing for my birthday. I had told my best friend as we drove to old town Fort Collins that I’m not dating anyone for a long time. I had just finished the book, “When God writes your love story” and had loved it so much that I didn’t want to be the girl that went looking for love. Low and behold, I ended up meeting a very sweet and handsome guy that night that had told his friends the very same thing before he went out and that he wasn’t in the game to look for love. We crossed paths and I instantly felt connected to him on a level that seemed too deep from a glance and a smile. He asked me for my number but stated he was moving to the Denver area the next morning. I was thinking, why call me? This isn’t going to work…just to be honest. He immediately called me when he got home that night and we talked for a bit over the phone and he promised to come up and take me on a date after he started his new job. I was a little apprehensive, I didn’t really know him and didn’t know if I trusted him. Daily, he would send me encouraging words and see how school was going.
It was a Tuesday night church service and I had I had nailed two things to the cross:
1. Nursing school
2. Godly husband.
God was working on me to show me the goodness he had prepared for me. It wasn’t but a few weeks later that I had 2 offers to 2 different nursing school programs and Brad and I went on our first date. I chose the school that would give me a degree faster even though I ended up having to commute to Denver. Brad continued to show me honor throughout dating and would drive me to school from his house so that I didn’t have to pay the UNGODLY $6.50 charge every day for parking. (Like seriously! What a rip off for lines on some pavement!) He worked the night shift and would take me to and from school to save me money. It was in those little drives that I grew to know him more, he would come visit me and we would go to Tuesday night services together at church. He encouraged me all the way through nursing school to graduation and was with me through the good and the bad (mostly bad) because nursing school is stinking hard! That ain’t no lie!
He used to tell me, "I’m not going to marry you until you finish school because you’ll get too distracted with pretty dresses."
Ha ha! He knows me too well!
He brings out the fun loving, goofy, "don’t-give-a-hoots" attitude in me...and loves me for it unconditionally! God knew I needed someone just like him to bring out the best in me. We continue to grow in God and grow in love and learn to hold onto God's promises with a firm grasp as He’s never let us down yet. I’ve been through some faith shakers, yet he pulls me to His promise every time.
Oh and side note: Brad and I are married now, just in case anyone was confused! When God appoints a spouse for you, you’ll know! I have a poem/song that I wrote from these experiences that have tested me and I’d love to share it, so here it is!
I have called your name a thousand times
When my hands and feet are covered in dust and grime
I wanna be washed by you
I wanna be cleansed for you
I wanna be called unto your Holy Spirit
I have knelt many nights alone
When tears have flowed in hopes of finding hope
I wanna be blessed by you
I wanna be Bold for you
I wanna be molded into, into your image
Do it my child
I’ve called you here
Have the faith in me
To know that, YOU ARE WORTH IT!
Thanks for letting me share my story. Stay fearlessly you in all circumstances because you are molded in His image and that’s the best you that you can BE! Oh and don’t let anyone steal you from you!