Toria DempsAll the way from a small town called Soperton, Georgia, I grew up with a strong desire to help people as a result of feeling like I was a misunderstood teenager.  Those were very troublesome years and I managed to stand the test of time over and over again.

The plan was to become a social worker and help other kids like myself.  I managed to successfully make it through my first semester at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia.  After Christmas break, that phone call came to congratulate me on making the Dean's list and it ended with, "I wish I could return, but not any time soon."  I was too embarrassed to disclose that I was pregnant.  I became a statistic of going from a college student with big dreams to a dropout and a young teenage soon-to-be mother.  

Fast forward to one year later.  After living in public assisted housing, I was preparing mentally to go back to college.  Three months into it, I felt the pressure and it was just easier to give up.  I was working the night shift 3 to 11 and school full time during the day.  I was lost, confused and too tired to even dedicate my weekends to my five-month-old daughter.  At the time, my parents were taking care of my baby and my mom's younger sister, who was in her early 30's.  She had been diagnosed with lymphoma cancer and was in her final stages.

I had no balance and was in a very dark place mentally.  I felt that my mom should not have the burden of taking care of my baby as well as her terminally ill sister full time.  I ended up dropping out again.  Needless to say, my aunt passed away just weeks after.  The hurt of failing truly cut deep and I felt no sense of purpose with my life.  I moved from house to house as a new mother, trying to get it together and find opportunity to be stable.  This time, I had it all figured out and decided to go in the Navy.  I was motivated and ambitious...well at least it started out that way.  Two months after my baby turned one and the 9-11 crisis, I was enlisted in the United States Navy and sure to succeed... BUT I didn't.  I was still lost and in worse shape than ever.

I was so confused and had no sense of my calling anymore!  Not knowing who you are can truly be damaging.  I felt like this opportunity to be stable was slowly slipping away.  Sooner than later, I was medically discharged and back at square one.  I just looked at my track record and determined I am only destined to fail.  The only good thing about the military I felt at the time, was the fact that I met my husband.  For some reason, he still believed in me and his continuous encouragement was the motivation I needed to go back to college; so out of the military and back in school for the third time.  Failure was not an option.  I picked up the major of business management and graduated cum laude with an associate's degree from Pensacola State College in Pensacola, Florida.

Success is very addictive and that was only the beginning.  Next was pursuing a bachelor's degree at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.  But even with a degree under my belt, the constant moving around as a military spouse forced reality to set in that I was walking in my hubby's shadow and had no spotlight of my own.  Soon we moved to California and my daughter was living with my parents until we felt stable enough to provide some type of normalcy for her.

After countless dead end jobs, interviews that were very damaging to my ego and pride, I finally landed a great job working at the corporate office for Harbor Freight in Oxnard, California.  I loved this job and then love turned into like and then like turned into feeling incomplete and wanting more.

Fast forward to two and a half years later.  I am now unemployed, and have a 10-month old baby girl which sent me through a whirlpool of emotions when learning of the pregnancy because again, I was not where I wanted to be in life; YET responsible for another life.  I received an email requesting a response for a federal government position.  I had applied for this job two years prior.  My initial thought was the same as when I applied:  This is probably a waste of my time!  BUT I had been trying everything else, so I went through the motions of the interview process and luckily ended up with an intermittent job in the administrative clerical branch.

I started to have a deeper regret for picking the major of business management because I felt like I would never get the opportunity to establish myself and earn a management position in any company.  I always desired to be able and carry my own weight without having to be dependent.  Being indirectly associated with the military by way of marriage, crippled that desire.  But moving on…I kept hearing that having this intermittent job was a great opportunity by getting my foot in the door.  I kept applying for permanent jobs and kept being disappointed because nothing was working out as planned.  I cried out to God so many times asking why, not knowing He was already working it out.

Long story short, I landed a great position in the Federal Govt at Pt. Mugu, California - considered career - with great pay and benefits - I was in that position for almost five years.  I occasionally felt like my degree was a waste of time and money, not realizing that God had something bigger in store for me.  His plans for my life were bigger than my dreams and goals could ever measure up to.

Needless to say, my hubby had moved on in his career and did a 1 year unaccompanied tour on the account of me wanting to work in my position longer.  Once he came back state side and was stationed in San Diego 3 hours away, the separation came at a high cost and took a toll on our family!  One day, God said "walk away.  You have the tools and resources to start your own business.  You will serve many and profit generously in so many ways!"  Now that certainly did not come easy and there were a lot of sleepless nights, worrying, frustration and depression.  But I thank God for it all because I am now equipped to help others overcome and succeed just as I have.  My business is PCS proof and thriving beyond what I could have ever imagined.  

The connection created between so many people just by sharing stories and life experiences is unexplainable.  I started realizing years ago that it is necessary to tell my story of how I overcame and still presently overcoming adversities.  I just didn't know when or how it would be delivered.

That desire you have inside of you to persevere is associated with your calling!  Don't deprive yourself or ignore it any longer!  


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Toria Demps