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Destiny's Decision, the first Christian fiction by Danyelle Scroggins, is sure to cause you to breathe, cry, and cheer.
Has it ever seemed that someone from the grave was orchestrating your life? Well, this is exactly the case with Destiny. Her grandmother who was the First Lady of Faith Cathedral Baptist Church and part founder has died and left the church to Destiny, but with one restriction. Destiny has to allow the person whom she picked before she died to pastor the church.
Roderick Prince Strong is no stranger to the church. He has been in Atlanta preaching the gospel furiously and had a chance encounter with a woman from Faith Cathedral Baptist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana. After praying and Hurricane Katrina, Roderick has decided to take the offer as pastor of the Faith Cathedral Baptist Church.
Now, Destiny is faced with a decision that will not only change her life, but will cause her to deal with her past and open her heart. Be prepared to take a journey even in the lives of Stephanie and Sheila, the two closet friends that Destiny has ever had, as they deal with changes taking place in their lives.
Jun 24, 2012 Tyria rated it 5 Stars!
Absolutely loved this book!!! It shows us that people make mistakes that sometimes others don't understand and most are not willing to forgive. By believing in God and removing yourself out of the way we see how God can take a situation and flip it around for the good. Must Read!!!
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!, June 24, 2012 By Quin -
This review is from: Destiny's Decision (Kindle Edition) Readig this book had me praising the Lord, laughing, crying, and praying. A must have book you will really enjoy it.
Destiny quickly gathered her purse and her bible and headed for the car. It appeared she could be on time every morning going to her office but for some reason, she could not make it to church on time. Destiny knew she shouldn’t be speeding but that didn’t stop her from going 80 mph on I-20. She was driving the heck out of her stylish custom sky blue BMW this particular morning and all because she made a conscience decision to hit her snooze button. She popped Marvin Sapp’s new CD in and searched the dial to find her favorite song. Destiny could attest the fact she never would have made it without God-- in spite of her being late, and she also knew she would have to stop short changing Him by being slothful.
When she made it to Faith Temple Cathedral known to the locals as FTC, she spotted her best friend Sheila dragging Ziyan- her one and only son, towards the church. She’d called Sheila on the way to church to see where she was and when Sheila answered, she sighed happily knowing she wouldn’t be late by herself. “Yes”! She exclaimed knowing well she avoided the rather strange moment of being the only one walking in late, and for this she was grateful. Her grandmother use to say, “Birds of a feather flocked together,” and she was telling the truth because Destiny and her two best friends always seem to have a kindred connection and although they were different, the three were alike in so many ways.
All three of the amigas which included Destiny, Sheila, and Stephanie, use to be late until Stephanie married a deacon in training, Brother Carlos Jones. Carlos tolerated a many things but being late for church was a complete no-no. As soon as they made it to the foyer, they heard Deacon J. T. praying the same prayer he’d prayed for at least twenty years. Well, that’s how long Destiny figured it was because her first remembrance of the prayer was when she was five years old and now she was twenty-five.
He often thanked God his bed was not his cooling board and his sheets were not his whining sheets and for years none of the children or teens knew what the heck he was talking about. After studying Christian History, Destiny found out they would wrap the deceased in a sheet and lay them on a board until they were buried; then his prayer made sense. Although today, in her mind she was pleading with him to wrap it up because her heals were for profiling and sitting, not standing for long periods of time. The ushers finally opened the doors after the deacon said, “Amen”, and if no one else was happy, Destiny was. She couldn’t weigh by which she was the most happiest- Deacon J.T. completing his twenty five year old speech or the ushers moving out of the way. Nonetheless, she’d known all too well that to the ushers, it did not matter who you were, you were not getting in FTC until the deacon finished praying and it was what they considered the appropriate time for you to be walking.
Destiny picked up Ziyan so they could maneuver to their seats quickly and as if on cue, Stephanie begun scooting over. Maybe because she knew two things: her two best friends were in the late to church bunch and they were definitely going to sit in the same seats they’d sat in since they were teenagers.
“Hey, so you all finally decided to make it to service?” Stephanie whispered.
It wasn’t just her that noticed their lateness but Mother Pearl and Mama Lucy had all but turned around and stood up to fuss at them. They gave that mother’s mug and then turned their attention back to the front of the church. They use to tell the girls that it wasn’t good or polite to turn around in church, but it was apparent they did what they wanted to. It was at these times, Destiny wished they would have followed their own advice.
Destiny also noticed how the other members seemed to pay more attention to the folks coming in late than they did the preacher. So she figured that’s why they were taught not to look around. It didn’t bother her that they were looking because she was well dressed as usual and her hair was like the kids say, “On point!” If nothing else, her grandmother taught her that a church lady should represent the goodness of Jesus not only in the way she act but also in the way she dressed.
The Lord was good and if you looked at Destiny you knew He was good to her.
Her mind was way out there in left field when she heard the piano start to play. She was thinking of how pretty Lora Barnes was every Sunday and to be honest this was her norm. There had not been one time since her precious Grandmother had died, that she'd come into Faith Temple Cathedral and not think of her. Then that angelic voice that she had known without even looking up began to sing, “Hallelujah, salvation and glory, honor and power unto the Lord our God . . .” and before she could get the next word out, someone, somewhere began to shout, “Thank you Jesus!”
There was one thing about the folks at FTC, they didn’t mind shouting. These folks could shout you out when they wanted too and if you didn’t watch out, someone just might dance all over your feet. They also didn’t mind expressing the fruits of their Holy Ghost which sometimes proved almost epidemic. If there was really such a thing as catching the Holy Ghost, if you weren’t careful, you’d definitely be in position to catch the Holy Ghost too.
Then, there he was-the man that had captured Destiny’s heart from the first moment they met, Pastor Roderick Prince Strong; whom the congregation referred to as, Pastor R. P. Strong. Due to them spending a lot of time together outside of the church,
Destiny had gotten into the habit of calling him Roderick.
He didn’t seem to mind but she knew better than to call him by his first name only at church. At church he was “Pastor Strong” to her just like he was to everyone else.
Pastor Strong was a dynamic speaker and in addition to that, he could sing your soul to heaven even though you were preparing it for hell. It seemed the song Mother Pearl sang affected him because he came from the back singing the song and when he stepped to the microphone it was explosive. After he finished singing and the congregation calmed down, he asked everyone to go with him to the fifth chapter of Luke starting at the first verse and reading through to the tenth. He read the scriptures then told everyone to look at their neighbor and tell them to “launch out into the deep”.
After he articulately explained the story, he pointed out how Simon hadn’t picked Jesus but Jesus picked Simon. Pastor Strong had a way of telling Bible stories that made you leave the bench and stand right there with the writers. It was almost like you were in a 3-D movie in Biblical days and Destiny had never experienced his type of delivery of the Word. Her granddad Louis was dynamic in every sense of the way, but Roderick brought his own flavor and escalated your senses and imagination to the tenth power.
Then he shared how essential it is to be ready when Jesus calls on us and boy did she know Jesus could call you to do some things you just were not ready to do; at least you thought you weren’t. Lora use to say, “When the Lord has need of you, He doesn’t need your permission to use you.” And as far as Destiny was concerned, He never asked either.
“Do you not know obedience to God’s Word can put us in a situation of overflowed abundance?” Pastor Strong asked.
You could tell he was excited about the message he was preaching because his voice was high and he moved around a lot. It was even more amazing to witness his vibes of excitement stirring the people and they were getting more and more excited listening to him. The last major point he made was we needed to be careful who we hung around because if we were with the right people, the overflow they received could very well fall unto you.
“Saints if you are in the right place at the right time and with the right people, you could very well acquire an over-abundance of blessings.” He shouted.
Destiny marveled at how his main idea of his sermon suggested that positioning yourself was everything. All three of the young women touched each other because it had been proven time and time again how they were blessed because of their acquaintance.
Though Destiny hadn’t known until this moment, it was her positioning that landed her the love of the man of God, and she was extremely blessed and terrified at the same time. It was also God’s positioning for her life allowing her to have two sisters her mother didn’t birth, which was in itself awesome.
Destiny, Sheila, and Stephanie had been friends since they were children and were fortunate to have grown up in the same church together. Neither of them had other siblings so they became each other’s sister and no one could separate them even if they tried. Not only had the girls finished high school together, they also attended and graduated from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. They were as tight as tight could be and they loved one another dearly.
After service ended Destiny gathered her belongings and Ziyan by the hand. All three of the women moved swiftly down the aisle so they could get outside. Neither Destiny nor Sheila wanted the tongue lashing Mother Lucy was going to give them and if they could avoid her, they were going to do just that. Before they could get outside good and for some reason unknown, Mother Pearl looked right over Sheila her own daughter, and asked her God-daughter-Destiny to go and get her purse from the deaconess room.
The three amigas glanced at one another because they knew Mother Pearl always had a motive for her actions whether she told you or not. Destiny normally didn’t like to hang around the church because she hadn’t wanted to risk running into her pastor. It wasn’t like she didn’t like him, she just sometimes felt ashamed of the fact she’d been spending time with him. She quickly unlocked the office door and retrieved Mother Pearl’s purse. Just as she was coming out of the office and locking the door, she spotted Pastor Strong at the end of the hall talking to little Scott; a five year old boy who lived in the projects not far from the church.
Scott quickly become known around the church as the best church hitchhiker in town, because he would catch a ride to church any way he could. Most of the time, Destiny made it her responsibility to pick him up but only if she wasn’t running too late. She’d given Scott her number when he was only three years old, and he used it faithfully. He didn’t have a problem calling her and asking for whatever he thought he wanted and Scott believed nothing was too much to ask when it came to Destiny, and this was true. She had a love for him that was as deep as her love for her God-son Ziyan; and because of love, there was nothing she wouldn’t do for him. She’d always felt he had problems at home and this led to her desire and longing to take care of him as if he were her very own.
No one had known other than his mother that she’d bought his clothes for the last three years and whatever else he needed. Even though he wasn’t hers, she’d told herself she would forever take care of him as if he were her very own. Even more importantly she did for him what a Christian mother does for her child, prayed daily. When Scott heard the door to the office close, he turned his attention towards her and as quick as lightening, he was right next to her and Roderick followed him.
“Hey Destiny, Pastor Strong is taking me shopping tomorrow. Would you please go with us?” He asked swinging her hand from side to side.
“I think I better let you two men go and enjoy yourselves. Anyway, you don’t want a girl following you guys around. I might ruin the day. ” Destiny said smiling at the little one while rubbing his curly hair. He’d just lost a tooth a month ago and it made his smile even more irresistible.
“Yes we would!” Pastor Strong quickly said. “We’d love to take you on a lunch date too Ms. Barnes if that’s alright with you?”
Roderick didn’t hesitate to slide that in and Scott was eagerly awaiting her answer just like Roderick was. She wanted to spend as much time with him as he did her but she was afraid. She paused thinking that to spend time with him and Scott would be like putting icing on a cake, so she accepted.
“I guess I’ll hang with you guys but I have one stipulation, the two of you have to eat at my favorite place, and then we have to eat ice cream on the River walk.”
“I think we can handle that,” Roderick responded, and then he asked Scott could they.
Scott shook his head while at the same time smiling like a little Chester cheetah. If it hadn’t been for Scott, she would have turned Roderick down flat. She had no desire to hang out with him lately because hanging out would only fuel her secret desires. She wondered if he knew she loved every part of him; even the parts she hadn’t seen.
“Okay guys, I’ll see you at three o’clock tomorrow and don’t be late.” She warned.
After taking Mother Pearl her purse, Destiny met with her friends in the parking lot.
“Destiny did you hear pastor say launch out into the deep?” Stephanie asked knowing she was about to make some sparks with her friend. Destiny didn’t want them insinuating anything when it came to her love life.
“Yes, I heard him. Did you?”
“There’s no need for you to get all cocky. We just don’t want you to stay on shallow waters and let the best man that you’ve ever known pass you by. ” Sheila said, pointing directly at Destiny.
“Well ladies, if he passes me by that means he wasn’t mine in the first place. And anyway, how does he know I am his wife and I don’t. ”
“Maybe because God said a man that finds a wife, finds a good thing. It’s his place to do the finding and your place to comply once you’ve been found. ” Mother Pearl kindly interrupted as she bent down to kiss her grandson Ziyan.
“Oh Mother Pearl, don’t listen to anything these girls tell you.” Destiny said looking at Mother Pearl wanting to beg her not to give her another scripture or lecture.
“I won’t listen to anyone but you on the matter. I will say this, Pastor is the sweetest young man I’ve known in a while, and he truly loves you Destiny. Whatever decision you make is yours but I pray you will go to the Lord, and lean not to your own understanding. ”
“Okay Mother, I promise you that I will pray about it.”
It appeared Roderick monopolized every conversation she had with her friends or their mothers. If he wasn’t the topic in the beginning, the conversation was surely going to end with him. Sometimes it felt like Destiny was taking a class called Roderick P. Strong 101. Everyone knew how he felt about Destiny even her, but Destiny tried to ignore his feelings. Not because she didn’t want him. Any woman in her right mind would want a man like Roderick.
He’d consumed her thoughts, her conversations, and her heart. Just the thought of him made her quiver. It wasn’t him; it was her—fear, intimidation, lack, and all of her flaws. The best thing to happen to her was meeting him; a moment etched forever in her memories. She’d played the day they meet in her mind over and over again -countless times- and although it was a crazy day, it was a day she would never forget.
The End of Chapter One Excerpt