Creflo Dollar - The Grace of Restoration
Domestic abuse occurs every 20 minutes in the United States between partners. Every year, more than 10 million men and women experience physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse. That's one in three women and one in four men, and some, like our guest today, managed to escape their situation and live to tell about it, but the story doesn't end there. Studies show that five million children are exposed to domestic violence every year, and kids raised in dysfunctional households like these are at risk of becoming abusers themselves. They may continue a cycle of abuse called "generational violence". Our guest today, who is herself still recovering from her ordeal, has a very real fear that her young children are carrying this curse forward. She needs some solid parenting advice. We're gonna help her through that. I'm Creflo Dollar, and this is "Your World".
Creflo: Our guest today is a well-known and sought-after chef, and she is the survivor of years of physical and verbal abuse from her husband. She's here today with her three sons, who she is concerned are at risk of following in their father's footsteps. Would you please help me welcome Felicia to "Your World" today. Welcome. Thank you so much for coming.
Felicia: Thank you for having me.
Creflo: You can be seated. You know, I just told the audience that I'm doing this keto diet, and I heard you were a chef, and so now that's a little tempting just to know a chef was gonna be here today, you know? I'm excited about your story. I think we're gonna talk about some things that are gonna equip you and your sons. Let's start off with a simple question. How did you get involved in your profession as a chef?
Felicia: It was a dream of mine. I've been cooking and in a kitchen since the age of 2, with my mom, and I just felt like, you know, it was my passion, and you know, I kind of started my business before I went to culinary school, but it's just something that I just didn't feel like I could live without.
Creflo: So this is a passion of yours, and you're interested in pursuing the passion? You're very confident about the passion, and yet there were a lot of challenges that probably tried to discourage you. Tell us about some of the things that you might want to put out on the table as far as relationships are concerned. And so you meet your husband. Let's go from there.
Felicia: When I first met him, he was really charming. He was loving. You know, he kind of made me feel as if I did have that. Of course, I wasn't aware that the things that would happen would, but I kind of felt like I had that with him.
Creflo: So there was a period of time where things were pretty good, right?
Creflo: So when did it turn?
Felicia: There was this day. I answered a phone call from an ex-boyfriend of mine, which, you know, he was still a friend, and we were, you know, still communicating, and he like kind of like slapped my phone out of my hand and said that I was being disrespectful, and why would I do that? And we were in a restaurant, so you know, we walked out to the car, and we got in the car, and he like choked me from, you know, behind like grabbed the back of my neck and you know, told me like "Don't ever do that again". And you know, at this time, I'm like 17. So I, you know, I kind of just blew it off, and I didn't really think anything about it. You know, I thought he was upset so...
Creflo: But this was the first you've ever seen this type of...
Felicia: Right, that side of... mm-hmm, that side of him. So, you know, I wasn't really sure how to react, and you know, for me, I didn't grow up with violence in my household, so it wasn't familiar to me, but, you know, he apologized, and he said that he wouldn't do that again.
Creflo: And you thought maybe you would never see that side again?
Creflo: But what happened?
Felicia: We had a incident in a hotel room, and this was, like, I think it was mainly a few months before we had actually gotten married, and I had these messages on my phone. I rarely ever check my messages, and it was from a guy, and he was just pouring out his heart, talking about how he loved me and all of this, but I couldn't get to explain to him, you know, that this was not somebody I had dealt with. It was just, I guess, you know, an admirer, and before I could say anything, he, like, I was sitting on a bed, and he just like, snatched me off of the bed by my hair and just like started like punching me and slapping me, and I was able to get away from him, and I ran into the bathroom, and I stayed there for maybe about an hour or two, and at this time, I was pregnant with my first son.
Creflo: So he was abusing you while you were pregnant?
Felicia: And I just... I don't know. It was just scary.
Creflo: Sure. If you were to kind of give me an estimated number of how many times that type of violence and that type of abuse took place while you were married, what would it come up to?
Felicia: I would say, maybe, I don't know, maybe 10 to 15? You know, maybe ranging from like small fights, where he... and it's sad that I'm saying it like that like where he would just choke me.
Creflo: 'Cause that's not a small fight, isn't it? Yeah.
Felicia: It's not. Or too like him putting a gun to my head. He shot at me and with a gun, and I was in my car. I was like just trying to leave. He strangled me till I blacked out. There's just a lot, so I can't really count.
Creflo: I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry you had to go through that. What was the final straw? What was the deal that got you out of this situation? Because you have children now, right?
Creflo: And you have what? Three boys?
Felicia: Three boys.
Creflo: Okay. And did some of that abuse take place in front of them? Did your boys see you being abused by their dad?
Felicia: I would say yes, a few times. There's this one particular time where it was like an all-night, like, thing, and I was like really fearful. He had just beat me to the point where my head was bleeding. He made me get in the shower. My head was bleeding, my mouth was bleeding, and I just tried to like get away, and I did, and the moment I saw him like go to the other room, I like ran out of the shower, and I ran outside, and I was literally naked. This was when Ahmad was, I think he was two or three, and I had just had Cassell, and I didn't actually have him with me. He was in the hospital still, and at that point I was like, "I can't, you know, do this anymore".
Creflo: It's very disturbing to hear this type of abuse and to know that there are people that are watching this program right now. There's somebody right now watching this program, and they're experiencing some of the similar things that you're experiencing. And here's what I have to say to you: Get out.
Creflo: Get out. Go to a relative. Tell somebody. Ask for help. Get out of that situation. Don't tolerate abuse. I have buried people. I've put them in the ground because they could not get out, and they end up dying under those situations, and I just wanna say I give praise to God for allowing you to come out of this situation, and I thank God, seriously, I thank God that you didn't die, and that these three boys still have their mother, and I just wanna thank you for having enough courage to come in and to tell your story. But now you have a greater concern now as a result of all that. What is that?
Felicia: It is that I don't want my boys to follow in those footsteps. I don't want that to be their reality when they get older, and you know, I've been having some issues with them, and they've shown me, you know, some aggression and things like that, and I know that they've seen enough, you know, for it to trickle down to them, so I don't that for them.
Creflo: It doesn't have to be their story. It's not going to be their story. And when we come back, we're gonna meet this whole family, these three guys, and we're gonna give some advice that I think will turn their world around. We'll be right back.
Creflo: Welcome back. We're here with Felicia and her three sons, Ahmad, Cassell, and Michael. Would you give them a hand and welcome them to the "Your World" show today. Well, guys, I'm gonna talk to you guys about something. I need you to help me out, okay? And I might start with you. You're the oldest, right? How old are you?
Creflo: Eleven? And?
Creflo: Nine. And Michael?
Creflo: Six, okay? So you guys, again, to you, you're gonna help some people out, all right? So let's talk about some things that happened recently. Have you ever gotten into like a fight or anything at school? Ahmad, let's start with you.
Creflo: Tell me what happened and why you responded that way.
Ahmad: People keep on aggravating with me and say stuff about me.
Creflo: They do what, now?
Ahmad: They say stuff about me.
Creflo: Okay, they say things about you, and so they kind of get you a little upset? Okay, and you know that we live in a world where people say things about you a lot, right?
Ahmad: Yes, sir.
Creflo: I wanna make you feel pretty good. They say things about me all the time. So here's what I want you to understand. What they say doesn't make it so. You make it so. So people are gonna always be talking, and a lot of times, people talk bad about ya is 'cause they're kind of jealous of you or afraid of you, or maybe they want something you got, so you gotta start looking at people when they talk about you and say stuff like, "Pssh, whatever". Just, "Pssh, whatever, I'm not gon' let it bother me because I can control how I feel, and you're not gon' make me feel in a bad way," because that's what a real man is. You're growing up. You're gonna be a real, full-blooded man one day, and you know what a real man is? A real man is someone who can control his emotions. So even though you feel like you wanna punch somebody out, real manhood is like, "I ain't even go there with you," and they keep talking. "Eh, I not going at you 'cause I'm a real man, and I know how to control my emotions". You know how people end up in jail? Take a shot at it. If a real man knows how to control his emotions, how do you think people end up in jail?
Ahmad: Buy drugs and fighting, and can't control your emotions?
Creflo: There you go, buddy. They can't control their emotions. So the weakest man on the planet is someone who can't control his emotions, but if you can control your emotions, you're the mightiest, superhero man of all times because it takes real strength to control your emotions, right?
Creflo: So like every time a guy wants to lose control and he wants to go around and brag about it: "Yeah, man, I told him, 'You better not ever put your hands on me. Put your hands on me, I'll wreck you up and'", he a punk because, really, he don't even know how to control his emotions, and you can test him out. Go up to him and say, "Well, control your feelings". "But I can't help it". "Well, you're a weak person then 'cause it takes a strong person to control your emotions". Now, I wanna ask you something. Can you talk to your mom, Ahmad, about anything?
Creflo: You can? And you feel good about it when you talk to her?
Creflo: You think you can talk to your mom about anything?
Creflo: Hmm? Do you think you can talk to her about, maybe, why you pushed a girl?
Cassell: I don't know. Maybe, yeah.
Creflo: Let's talk about that for a moment. What happened to get you to the point where you pushed a girl?
Cassell: Mm, she was scratching me.
Creflo: She was scratching you? Okay, and you pushed her because she was scratching you?
Creflo: Okay, so let's talk like rule number 1, for a guy, never put your hands on a female, rule number 1. So, well, what do you do if they're hitting you and scratching you? Run. Get away from it, not because you're afraid of her, but because you are a man, and men never put their hands on females, never. Never. So, why? Because you are a good man, and you're gonna be an awesome man, and if you grow with this understanding that, "If I'm gonna be the man that my mom is working on and God's working on, I can never touch a girl in a wrong way because that's wrong," and it's just something you put in your heart. If you had an opportunity to do this all over again, and a girl came up to you, and she pushed you in front of people, and they started laughing, what would you do? I see that smile on your face. I didn't ask you what you wanna do. What would you do? Your little brother trying to tell you what to do. Come on, Michael, what should he do, Michael?
Creflo: He should do what?
Creflo: Michael was over here like, run, why?
Cassell: 'Cause I don't wanna get in trouble.
Creflo: You don't wanna get in trouble, right. It's better to leave the situation than to stay there and get in trouble, right? Especially if you don't think you'll be able to control it. That's a man. It takes strength to do that. You have to be like Superman to be able to walk out of a situation where you're angry 'cause you know you can bust a girl up, and sometimes you know you can bust a dude up, but you decide, "I'm not gonna do this 'cause I'm not gon' get in trouble, so I'm gon' be smarter than this guy. He's gonna get in trouble". What I'm trying to tell you guys, don't feel like you ever have to be the bad side of what you saw. You're gonna be better than that bad side. You're gonna respect women. You're not gonna hit women. You're gonna control your emotions, and you're gonna learn how to be a real man. Now, you may not have, listen to this now, but I want you to take this home, and I want you to keep it, and I want you to try to listen to every year you have a birthday 'cause this is gonna show you the perfect definition of a man, and by the time you turn 16 and 17, I want you to be what you've been listening to, a perfect definition of a man. Now, I'm gonna ask you one more question. If you could do something all over again and handle it differently, what would it be? If you had a chance to do something again, what would you change, and what would it be?
Ahmad: When I saw my dad beat up my mom, I would call the police on him.
Creflo: Yeah, yeah.
Ahmad: I had a chance to, but I didn't.
Creflo: Okay, look at me Ahmad. Look at me. Move your hands out your face. Look at me. Not your fault. It turned out all right, okay? I want you to say this. I want you to say this. Listen to me now. "It's not my fault. I was just a kid," all right? Say that with me. Say "It's not my fault".
Ahmad: It's not my fault.
Creflo: "I was just a kid".
Ahmad: I was just a kid.
Creflo: Okay. You're good. Mom's doing a lot better now, right?
Creflo: Okay, so, you know, you love your mom, right?
Creflo: And I don't want you to beat yourself up for that. I know it still hurts. You still have the memory of it. You still remember it, don't you?
Creflo: Okay, I want you to start working on putting that memory aside, and every time you think about that, go talk to your mother, okay? Let me do something. Look at her. She made it out. She's successful. She loves you, and she wants you to be happy. She's turned her life around, okay?
Creflo: You're good?
Ahmad: I'm good.
Creflo: You're good?
Ahmad: I'm good.
Creflo: "I'm good. I'm good". Don't allow hate to poison your insides.
Creflo: Let it go. Let it go. Say out loud, "I'm letting it go".
Ahmad: I'm letting it go.
Creflo: "I will not hate".
Ahmad: I will not hate.
Creflo: "My mom made it out".
Ahmad: My made it out.
Creflo: "She good".
Ahmad: She good.
Creflo: "I'm good".
Ahmad: I'm good.
Creflo: "We good".
Ahmad: We good.
Creflo: So I think here one of the things, as a parent, you are that security blanket. A lot of times, there are some basic human needs, you know, "I need to know my value," and so spend time valuing, every day, each one of them. Speak their value. Talk about how valuable they are to you, to the world. Keep the communication lines open. Let them speak. You see something going on, have a time where y'all could sit down every night. "What happened to you today? What happened to you today? What happened to you today? And keep them talking. You're their mother. Teach them not to hate teach them not to operate in unforgiveness. Teach them the love of God, and most importantly, teach them the Word of God, and let the Word of God get into them. Guys, thank y'all so much. You're awesome. Ladies and gentlemen, do you all appreciate this family? We thank God for you guys. Thank God for your guys so much. You know, this is a very sensitive discussion, but it's an important one to have, for both the victims of domestic violence, and for the children who are witnesses to it. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, I want you to know that there's help in this season for healing and recovery. I want you to know that God has healing on every level already set aside for all of us.