Everyday millions of people lose sight of their dreams when life’s gut wrenching curve balls knock them off their feet and out of the game. With the grace of God, that was not the case for Lawayne Orlando Childrey, who has endured some of the most horrific trauma imaginable, including childhood sexual abuse, depression, a crack cocaine addiction and an HIV diagnosis. Childrey beat all the odds to become an award-winning and respected news journalist, a dream he has had since childhood. In his autobiography, Peeling Back the Layers, Childrey demonstrates his ability to persevere during times of immense struggle by relying on the faith that was instilled in him as a child.
– summary from Amazon.com
an excerpt from
Peeling Back the Layers: A Story of Trauma, Grace
by: Lawayne Childrey
How does a troubled, black, gay youth from the deep South grow up to become one of the most respected news journalists in the country? Some may say it takes a considerable amount of talent, hard work and determination. But for me, it also included an immense struggle through a deep sea of adversities, including a crack cocaine addiction and an HIV diagnosis.
At the age of 4 I survived a deadly house fire that claimed the life of my 2-year-old cousin. Between kindergarten and second grade, I was repeatedly sexually abused by my stepfather and forced to watch my mother being beaten by the same man.
Despite those traumatic events, as early as third grade I had dreams of becoming a news reporter. But as fate would have it, distractions left me blindsided.
Being the only child of a now single mother, I, like so many, found myself hanging with the wrong crowd. I began shoplifting and engaging in devious behaviors, but unlike so many of my peers, I never landed in the juvenile justice system.
Throughout high school I excelled in my studies, winning numerous poetry and oratorical contests. However, I flunked out of college, ended up in a number of abusive relationships, and as a young gay black man, was spiritually and emotionally broken and dying from AIDS.
By the time I turned 30, I was the primary caregiver to my mother, who had survived lung and brain cancer and was now suffering from a series of strokes that left her partially paralyzed. I loved her dearly, but the concerns over her health as well as my own left me in a deep depression. To cope, I turned to drugs . . . first marijuana, then crack cocaine.
Finally, I convinced myself that the only real solution to my problems was suicide, but I didn’t have the courage to pull the trigger of a gun or swallow a bottle of sleeping pills. I had hoped the crack would eventually burst my heart, and then I’d end up dead.
By the grace of God, that was not the case. At long last, I decided to rely on the faith that had been instilled in me since childhood. In quiet desperation, I whispered, “Lord, people are always talking about ‘Try God, he can work it out.’ Well, if you can do all they say you can do, please come to my rescue now.”
Life as I had known it changed that day. I checked myself into an intensive drug and emotional rehabilitation facility. After months of therapy, I emerged as a new man determined to fulfill my true purpose in life, which is to speak God’s Word. Not as a preacher speaks to a congregation from a pulpit, but as a man who humbly tells the stories of how his own broken life was restored, renewed and redeemed by faith.