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“The Power Of A Mom” With Camille Joy

Can you imagine being a mother of 4 at age 21, and stuck in an abusive relationship with a man you thought was someone different? It is in that very season the Lord reached out and saved Camille Joy.

Her story of escape, a fresh start, and an even more difficult season in her life, will lift your spirits and show you the power of a mom. You will also see the power of our loving God, who hears every prayer we pray for our children, sees every injustice, knows the plans He has and is working on, through it all.

Show Links:

Topics Shared:

Middle child syndrome not like her siblings
Needing her dad
Told she was pretty
Confident in her beauty
Boy crazy, rebellion bubbling, bad friends, popularity, materialism
Her sister was the rising scholar
Near the projects
Skipping school, kicked out of the magnet school
Mom worked hard, the bread winner

Pregnant at 15, Teen House Centers (given everything w/o parent approval)
Senior boyfriend baby daddy in a gang, The Bloods
Joined a girl gang, The Hot Girls
Saved from death
Her mom finds out at 20 weeks
Her mom taught her how to be a mom
Hitting her groove, working, good grades

Abusive relationship with an older man, lied about his age, way older
Lured by materialism
Another baby at 18, 19 and 21 (she was 18, he was 42)
Isolation & set aside

The decision to leave, tried to leave 20 times (left with nothing)
Saved at 21
The moment she knew she had to leave
Escape from abuse
Her mother helped her escape
Her mother believed in her
Loses a custody battle to the abuser
9 years for them to be fully returned to her

A brand new start
Joys on her mother’s couch
Finding her inner warrior

Camille Quotes:
“He was a hustler. It was a fast-paced life with a lot of money for a young girl.
Before you knew it, I was looking like Mary J. Blige in the 90’s, with a gold ring on every finger, two gold chains, Jordans on my feet, driving a Red Range Rover. And all of that was a mirage for what the enemy had in store for me.”
“I probably tried to leave 20 times.”
“It was my mother, my beautiful mother, who saved me from that, who then began to bring me to her church, who helped me to heal, who helped me to know that God had great plans for my life still.”
“They are kids for a little while, but they are adults for so much longer.”
“Just know that God has a plan even for the ugly parts.”
“I am so proud to be an autistic mom.”


Purposely your life God’s purpose. Listen at

He was a hustler. So, it was a fast paced life. A lot of money for a young girl. Before you knew it, I was looking like Mary J Blige in the nineties or something, with the gold ring on every finger, two gold chains, jordan’s on my feet driving the red range Rover, and all of that was really a mirage for what the enemy had in store for me. So, it it turned sour quickly after the first child, and became isolation.

And now for the next episode of letters from home, sending encouragement to your doorstep by capturing the heartbeat of God’s people, one story at a time.

Hi, this is Meg. Are you ready to be encouraged? Can you imagine being a mother of four at 21, and stuck in an abusive relationship with a man you thought was someone different? It is in that very season the Lord reached out and saved today’s guest. Her story of escape, a fresh start, and an even harder season, will lift your spirits and show you the power of a mom, and the power of our loving God who hears every prayer we pray for our children. Sees every hurt, every injustice and knows the plans he has through it all. Here is the every day extraordinary, camille joy.

Camille, I am so happy to have you on the podcast today. I have to say you are probably the greatest blessing for me during COVID of somebody that I met on clubhouse, a social media app, if people hadn’t heard of it. It’s a place you can go and participate in some wonderful conversations and. Going in a parenting room, you have the largest parenting club on clubhouse with over 50…

is it 50,000? Over 55,000 now?

Yeah, we’re up to 53 now.

53. So praise the Lord and just popping in your room, you started your club, just cuz you wanted to talk to other moms. Hearing your heart and looking at these giant conversations that would get up to 150, and seeing your gentle gracious spirit with every single mom. And you and I have done so many conversations in rooms together, loving on moms. Serving moms together as fellow moms, and you have been such a blessing to me and I am grateful to have you on the podcast today and I can’t wait for our listeners to hear your story.

oh Meg, Thank you so much. I absolutely feel the same. When we see each other on Instagram, you only get to see a picture. You only get to read words that are written but clubhouse really allowed us to bond. And we all got to talk every day and and learn each other and respect each other and, and fall in love with each other. So, um, indeed, um, it has been the same for me. Just a pleasure to know you and to now call you my friend. So thank you so much.

Amen. God has been so good, and I’ve been in rooms where you’ve shared various parts of your story. And can you bring us into your home? What was it like for you Camille growing up?

Yes, absolutely. So I grew up in a two parent household, mom and dad, Kathy and Byron, and my, um, I’m the middle child. They had three girls, so I am the, their middle daughter and we grew up in church. We grew up Pentecostal. So, I was very active in a church, sang in the choir, participated in youth week and everything that they had going on in the church for the kids, I was a part of. I had a very positive childhood up until probably I was about 12. My parents started to experience a little static in their relationship.

So what did that static look like?

Mom and dad had a lot of arguing in the house, and, you know, you think arguing wouldn’t affect your kids, you’d think, you’d think that it would, you know, just be you and hubby having a conversation. And it gets heated a little, a little bit, but, um, it was more frequent than not, and it just affected me so much so I would always wanna go to my cousin’s house. I would tell my aunt, my mom and dad are always arguing and I, you know, just didn’t wanna be there. Along with that, I was becoming very needy and I think there is a lot of truth and in the middle child syndrome. During that time, I was beginning to develop, 12 years old. I was starting to yearn for more of a relationship with my dad, but noticing that I was being a little pushed away because of the switch that was happening. Mm-hmm , he didn’t know how to embrace the teenagers now. He was very active with us as children, you know, teaching us how to ride our bikes when it was snowy outside, he would get the plastic pool that we used to use in the backyard. And he’d bring us up to the top of the hill and get in and push us down the snowy hill to the bottom.

Oh, that’s awesome.

Yeah, he was very involved. We would go to, um, Disney on ice and the circus and all those things that wonderful dads do. I think he didn’t know how to relate once we started to reach the development stages of puberty. So, he retreated and then he clung to my little sister who was still, you know, developing. She was like nine when my sister was 14 and I was 12.

Oh, that, that must have been hard. Mm-hmm because like you said, you were feeling more needy, like a girl needs, you know, you’re probably more insecure about your, your body and where you fit in at school, and all those things. So how did that affect you?

Oh yeah. So, so I was being rejected on one end, but then when I went to school, I was being told, I was pretty. Oh, someone wanted to be my boyfriend. Mm. Being 12 years old. I think that was the beginning of creating a monster. We always had this sort of confidence about the way that we looked, because my mom always instilled in us that you are beautiful.

So, she would do our hair. And every time she did her hair, she would say, my girls are so beautiful. So, I could look at the mirror and see flaws today and through all my life but I always have felt beautiful because that was ingrained in me. Just like, you know, if it was opposite, and my mom called me ugly every day, then I would probably carry that for a long time, but it was the opposite.

And so, going into the end of middle school, I that’s where I began to, all right, I’m gonna have a boyfriend. I’m gonna start getting into conversations with boyfriends. And conversations, probably about sex begin to happen, even when I was 12 years old. Meanwhile, we’re still going to church all the time.

did your older sister, was she a little bit boy crazy also?

No, it was just me. It was just a middle child. Just a middle child. Mm-hmm she assumed a lot of responsibility, and more trust, you know, they put in her and she was a very smart, she went to space camp and she went to a school, we lived in the inner city, but she went to a school in the suburbs for agriculture.

So she was, Ooh, mm-hmm she was more of. The rising scholar. Um, then when it came to me, it was like, okay, do you wanna follow her steps? And I’m like, I don’t like science. I’m not into that. I don’t like Barbies. I was the child who wasn’t like the other too. And so rather than helped me figure out what I was interested in, it was more of rejection because I didn’t like Barbie’s. I took the head off my Barbie. My sisters loved Barbie, so they got a special holiday Barbie from dad, every Christmas, but because I wasn’t into Barbie’s, it was no tradition, you know?

So you in jealousy, decapitated, all of them and cut their hair and, yep. I know mind my daughter, she cut all the hair. Like one of them was just like had this little crop hair and the other one had like a mullet, you know?

yeah, that would be me. And then I started to have some type of bad behavior in school too. And so, rebellion was starting to bubble at 12. I was still a pretty good kid, but, and I think it didn’t help where we lived. So, we lived in the inner city and we lived in a house. I grew up with my, both my parents, but we lived in walking distance from the low income housing with crime and drugs, sort of like an oxymoron.

So, while they thought we were in a good neighborhood, it really was, you walk up two or three blocks and here’s the projects. Right? So, although we weren’t from there, we still went to the neighborhood school with them.

Did you get drawn into that crowd a little bit?

Yeah. So, definitely. Once high school came, I went to the inner city school until, um, my seventh grade when I was 12. And then my, I got into a magnet school, but by then my friends were already set. It didn’t matter right where I went for school because I had neighborhood friends. But when it got into high school, it was a whole different world. So, even in pause in working with children, and in, in my, um, voluntary time, I, I realize that there is a difference with girls.

You, if you reach them before high school, you can, you can, they’re very absorbent. They’re very open. Mm. But once they get to high school, it’s, it’s a little harder, to begin to shift those issues and the things that they may find themselves getting into the friends that they might like.

So, that’s what happened. When I went into high school, it was a whole different world that opened up for me, that I had not even knew, knew was there. More boys? Mm-hmm, more compliment, popularity, which I had no idea anything about. And the school that I went to was very materialistic. It was very, um, you know, very much about what you looked like, what kind of clothes you had on, what name brand you could have, what back then, technology was just beginning . So, if you had a cell phone, it was like, oh my goodness. You know, how’d you get that yeah. So I, the whole world opened up in to me and I didn’t do so well. Right out of the gate, I started skipping school. When the bell rang for central high school, no one went to class and it was like up to you to go to class.

This school had security guards, and they’d scroll the hallways. But not to say, you guys go to class. There were so many students that they didn’t know where you belonged, they were really patrolling to make sure it wasn’t fights to make sure, you know, no one was smoking cigarettes or doing drugs, but it was really up to you to be the student and go to.

And well, once I saw it was a party in the hallways and people were leaving to go to the store, instead of staying in class, I fell into that. I really did.

It’s, it’s easy to do, right? Because peer pressure is so real at the age. And are you gonna be the quote unquote teacher’s pet kid to be the one of the few kids who actually goes into the class, or it’s an easy transition to make. How were things with your parents at this time?

At this time it’s pretty much still the same. 12 was the start. And, um, by the time I was 19, they ended up getting a divorce. So, it was like seven years of this constant buildup. Yeah. Today I’m 36. And I remember last year saying I understand my mom. It was like this all of a sudden snap. It just, I was on the highway and I was like, oh my gosh, I understand my mother, the times where she came home and she went into her room and we didn’t see her for the rest of the evening. She worked for, uh, the department of children and families, which is a heavy job in itself.

To have removed people’s kids and you know, all that. So the job was very stressful in itself. But so many days, Monday through Friday, she would just come home. We would cook. She would tell us, you know, how to cook spaghetti or put barbecue chicken in the oven for us. So, we would cook after school. She would come home and really just go upstairs. If we didn’t have prayer or a certain weekly service that we were going to, she would just relax or watch TV, or kind of just take her mental break.

Yeah. Isn’t it crazy how much motherhood changes you? And then you think about your own parents and maybe, maybe we were too hard on our parents and then we realize, wow, no, you need some downtime. And that was probably her sanity. So she didn’t hurt you guys.

So, it it’s hard for, for a woman to, to be the breadwinner and want and not really wanna be. So, yeah.

So she was the breadwinner too. That’s a lot. So, so Camille, you know, that must have been hard for you as a kid, too. You’re trying to be, you know, popular and go with a flow and you’re realizing, oh shoot, I’m kind of making some bad choices. Maybe this isn’t the best crowd, but it’s fun. And they love me. And I’m a, and I’m accepted. Did it, did that lead to some darkness or some really dark days or?

Yeah. And you know what, Meg, I don’t even think. I haven’t thought, um, you know, I think I’m going down the wrong path. This, this is the right crowd. I, I should be around. I was so en engulfed and rebellion and just being in that lifestyle that I didn’t even think about. Cuz here’s the thing. Even though I grew up in church, I was never taught to, I was taught because I’m Pentecostal, right? We shout in church, we get up and move our people so I was taught to do that, you know?

And so sometimes yes, I did praise God in church in dancing, but I was never sought to have a relationship with Christ. Oh yeah. And so I didn’t have my own relationship with Christ. I just knew who he was. But that didn’t begin until I became 21. Mm-hmm I definitely got there. But all of that lifestyle, all that testing out conversations, I ended up having a boyfriend in high school and he was four years older than me.

I was a freshman. He was senior. We. For a little while and started dating into my sophomore year and I had sex a few times and got pregnant. Wow. So at 15 I was pregnant.

Did it take you a minute to figure out, because I know some people, you know, the first time you’re like, or did you kind of know right away?

Mm. I, I knew right away for a few reasons. Now I had started to really get bad in school. I had a lot of fights. So much, so I got kicked out of the magnet school. Now I had to go back to the neighborhood high school where I came from. Oh yeah. So, my boyfriend was actually a gang member, and he was a part of the bloods, which is like a notorious gang.

Is he the, the father of your oldest?

Yes, he is. So I had too much time in between the time where my mom came home from work. And, um, we got outta school. So my dad, he worked from two to like 12. He had the late shift, so we never really saw him during the week. Um, so we had hours, two and a half hours about until mom came home. So, that was enough time to get in trouble because the difference between the inner city school and the magnet school was the after school programs. They didn’t really have anything. They didn’t even have a cheerleading team at the inner city school at the time. So, there was nothing really to do after school, but be social.

So, you know, going to the store after school, or just hanging out, hanging around with friends, turns into other things, especially when you’re hanging out the wrong crowd. Totally. So, smoking weed. I used to smoke cigarettes here and there, and, um, just had a boyfriend. And I, my mom didn’t even have any idea because of course I didn’t have permission to have a boyfriend, but I was so now,

and you’re like, oh yeah, by the way, he’s in a gang now. I mean, you know,

right. And then there’s another part, man. I joined a gang. Oh yeah. Yep. And so I joined a gang. I wouldn’t say we were as serious as the, the bloods, but we were serious enough to fight other girls who were in gangs as well. We just called ourselves the hot girls because, now, back in the day, little Wayne, he was in a group called the hot boys. And so, oh, the rap group. And so, this little group of girls, we had hot pink bandanas and we would, uh, we called ourselves the hot girls. Now there’s nothing cute about that, but you could, you could just tell the mindset of all of these little girls who really had no value or worth or really thought it was cute to cause us physical harm to someone else.

So, I got pregnant. I did not have to tell my mom right away, because also in the inner city schools, there’s something called a teen health center that they have in high schools. Oh yeah. And you can get just about anything and not even have to tell your parents. You can get birth control. You it’s like a, a little planned parenthood in the, in the high school. And mostly all high schools have it. And you don’t know what you’re signing your kid up for. They’ll they’ll present it like if you, if your daughter needs ibuprofen, when she has a cramp for her period, we’ll be able to give her ibuprofen, if you sign her up for the teen health center. So, I saw my mom sign me up, but what they didn’t know is that you can get birth control. You can get pap smears, you can get signed up for abortions. You can get prenatal care, you could get everything. Wow.

I definitely wanna, I mean, and talk about the pregnancy more and, but first I wanted to ask you, as far as being part of a gang, were you involved with, with some violent things, or was it stealing or did, was there a bunch of different gangs at school? Like, can you just kind of bring us into that culture?

Yeah. So our neighborhood, well, the city that I lived in had, um, different sides of town. It was the Northeast, south and west, and we were from the west end. And so, there were other groups of girls that were, that were gangs as well. And we would be rivals with them from the other side of town. How it would play out into violence is if we ended up at the same party at the same night, and maybe someone bumped into somebody, or someone stepped on someone’s shoe really on purpose, but then your whole group would fight the whole other group. So, it could be like 10 girls, 20 girls fighting at the same time.

Were you nervous about that or were you kind of like, just excited to just kinda, you know, have your girls stick up for you and just kinda…

you know, that’s how my adult mine now I know how crazy I was. I know how far the Lord has brought me because when you ask me, what, was I scared? No, I should have been, no, I was so nuts that one time we had got a threat and me and another girl, we were like, we’re gonna go to that side of town. We got on the bus and we tripped all the way to the side of town with a bat or something. And we sat on the curb, waiting for girls to come. And her sister came and picked us up and was like, get in the car. But who, anything could have happened to us. We could gotten killed right. Or stabbed or something horrible.

I remember a friend of mine, her mom saying, do you wanna get an abortion? I’ll take you because back then you didn’t need photo proof. You can just present your insurance card. She said, you know, I’ll take you under my daughter’s name. And I said, no, I’ll keep the baby. I didn’t even know what I was in for at all. I didn’t give a thought. But actually I never, I didn’t tell my mom, the teen health center, I was 20 weeks and they were like, you have to tell your mother now you didn’t tell your mom yet.

And I was like, I’m not telling her. You can call her and tell her. So, I remember them calling my mom and her coming up to school and she came to my class and she’s like, and the science teacher is like, your daughter is so amazing. I love her in class. And this is biology class. And my mom’s like, I’m glad that’s what you think. Camille, get out here and I refuse to go out to class and the teacher came over and she’s like, Camille, go, go outside. Your mom’s here. My mom’s here with the representative from the teen health center that just told her I was pregnant. So, my mom was furious. My mom was like, call planned parenthood right now.

But the lady, she said, well, she’s already 20 weeks. You don’t go, they don’t go over 19 weeks. She cannot have an abortion. So, my mom was furious. She was like, you’re going to live down south where they can they send their kids away to have babies and they come back later. And she was just furious. And how dare you and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Honestly, I can’t even remember my dad’s response because that, I think that’s how emotionally removed he began to get. Now. Now, by now I’m 15. Right. So I can’t even remember if he had a bad response or not. I don’t even think he had much of response, which was part of the problem. But then mother kicked in from my mom and she taught me how to be a mom.

That’s good. She right from there, she taught me how to pack snacks for school. Bring grapes and water and yogurt pack a sandwich so that when I was in class and I was hungry as my stomach grew, that I would be able to eat. Um, she brought me maternity clothes and taught me how to dress, you know, taught me how to, you know, do my hair and different styles now because I didn’t wanna always do my hair every day.

And she really began to help me to position myself to be a mom. In the inner city school, it wasn’t foreign for young girls to get pregnant. And so there was a daycare in high school. It could be part of your, your class, your courses. So, I signed up to bring my son to school. Um, so I had him when I was 16 and going into junior year, he came to school with me every day.

And what they did in this program was teach us how to be moms. Wow. Because I said, I had a mom to teach me, but like I said, these were inner city girls and some of them, their moms were young. Some were left to their own devices to figure out how to be a mom. So, you would see even the pacifiers used or the diapers used, or the bottles used, would be like the very cheapest bottles or pacifiers or diapers that you could use for a child. They taught us how to take care of our children.

Wow. That’s pretty encouraging. That brings a new light on it. You know, it’s, it’s one of those things that people debate, you know, should you give help, not give help? It sounds like it was really helpful and that a bunch of people were on their own… A bunch of young teenagers are on their own as mothers. I mean, what a blessing, I’m curious, Camille, you know, your mom in the line of work that she was in, have you talked with her now about what was hardest for her at that time, that transition for her? Cuz she clearly had a reaction and was like freaking out and almost wanted to, you know, have abortion. And then she switches and I bet she has loved that boy from his birth, but, you know, I know there was a transition for her.

You know, we haven’t ever talked about that part because the, um, the ending of my story kind of outshine of, you know, what we talk about. That’s not even the dramatizing part to all of us. Yeah. yeah.

What was the dynamic with your boyfriend? Was he involved at all? Did he adios from no, the situation?

So, when I was like six months pregnant, he went to jail. His family, however, did. He had a grandma when Quentin was six weeks old, they came over and met my mom and I, and his grandmother stepped in and really is a part of his family even now.

Oh, that’s wonderful. Has he ever been able to be part of Quentin’s life?

I wish I could say it was temporary St because he’s in federal prison right now, sadly, but he he’s been on and off. And so for about probably the last 10 years, he was very present in Quentin’s life. But this summer he went back. That’s rough. What I am thankful about is the child that we had, even though we were young, even though we were both in a lifestyle that was so messy, our child is so amazing. And he’s gonna be a lawyer. You know, and he’s on a basketball scholarship and he loves the Lord. He got baptized this summer. So, I tend to ask a better child.

Praise the Lord way to go, quinton. I knew I saw the picture of a Facebook on a basketball scholarship, and of course he’s gonna be a lawyer way to go, quentin. And, uh, the Lord is looking out for you, camille.

Quinn wants to be a lawyer because his dad was in and outta prison. So, he wants to get into prison, um, reforming and get into all that work.

Did you graduate from high school and what did the next season look like for you?

Oh yeah, here’s the next season, meg.

Oh, oh, I’m putting my seatbelt on Camille.

Yes. Buckle up. Okay. We’re going for a ride. Now, the next season, um, Quentin was my inspiration and, um, I started to really find my footing in this. And I got a job at the local grocery store. I was making good grades on my binder. I had the eight by 10 picture of my son, and was really getting focused. One day when I was on my way to work, I met a guy. Driving a range Rover, fancy car, um, gold jewelry. And one thing that I had not done yet is still let go of materialism, as I talked about in central mm-hmm , you know, the latest everything. So that’s what I wanted. As a teenager. Now, 17, I entered into a relationship with a guy. Well, I thought was a little older than me. He didn’t look too much older than me at the time. And so, we went on one date and I entered into a relationship with him. That relationship turned abusive very quickly. And, um, mm-hmm I had another baby to at 18. Another baby at 19, and another baby at 21. I did indeed find out that he was 25 years older than me. Oh yeah. And I didn’t know until he signed the birth certificate of my first child. And it read 42 and I was just 18. Wow. Yep. And so, by then, I was like, okay, I’m sort of already here, whatever. Let’s just…

did you move in together or did you get married or?

Yeah, I moved in right off the bat. Uh, 17 years old. I left home and moved right in with him and he was a hustler. So if it was a fast paced life, a lot of money for a young girl before you knew it, I was looking like Mary J Blige in the nineties or something, with a gold ring on every finger. Gold bamboo hoops, two gold chains, Jordans on my feet, driving the red range Rover. And all of that was really a Mirage for what the enemy had in store for me. So it, it turned sour quickly after the first child and became isolation. Oh. So I was no longer his, you know, woman by his side. It was other women as well. Other young girls. And so I had three children by him, but then there were babies in between my children as well. And I stayed.

Was it some kind of a business for him, and was he abusive? Like, I mean, he’s sounds like he’s one of those controlling people.


What is it that the love bomb stage and just, oh, you’re great. I love you. Showered you with gifts and then you’re like, whoa, what’s happening?

I think drugs had a lot to do with it too. Cause I started testing out smoking weed when I was younger, but by the time I was in this relationship, I would have sandwich, sandwich bags, full of weed that I would smoke every day. Oh wow. At whenever I felt like it. So, that’s a real number to whatever reality you are living in. So, you’re able to ignore. A lot of mess as well as then I’m having sort of anything I want physically. And so, that was really the two, the two reasons. It didn’t, it didn’t last long though. The showering with gifts, because then when the children came, they came so fast. It was 18, 19, and then 21.

And you’re like a mom of four .

Yeah, that’s it. And before I looked up, so then by this time I stopped smoking so much. And so, reality became, you know, began to set in. And I said to myself, Camille, if I, if you do not leave by the time you are 21, if you don’t leave now, you’re gonna have 10 kids by the time you’re 30. And the, the moment for me, where I knew I had to leave was when I had my last baby, he was two weeks old, and I was sitting on the couch and I wanted to go back to school because I had dropped out of school.

I dropped outta school to go chase him and be with him. School… and then whenever I would talk about going back to school, it would infuriate him. So, you know, one day we got in an argument, I was breastfeeding, he got up and he punched me three times in the head. And I always fought back with every fight, but this is the first fight I couldn’t fight back. I had the baby and my two other children were sitting on the couch. And my two year old said, daddy, you hit mommy. And he said, yeah, she was a bad girl. So, that moment to me, was it all right. You have to leave. We had already had many fights before this and I, and I, I was tired. I probably tried to lead 20 times.

Hmm. And that’s the statistics that is real. Women who are in abusive relationships. They leave and they try to come back. I mean, they try to, you know, stay away. I went to domestic violence shelters, but then you start looking around at, well, you have, okay, you don’t have anything. I didn’t have anything. I dropped out of high school. And so, I went back time after time. But that part, that time was it.

What did the trying to leave look like? So mm-hmm, , you’re like, oh, this is bad. And then would you take the kids somewhere or reach out to a friend or your parents?

So my dad and my mom got divorced when I was 19. Yeah, my dad’s home. My, my mom and I’s relationship became strenuous over the time, because of course she didn’t want her daughter with him. I would retreat to my dad’s house. Sometimes I would go stay there for the weekend, or I would have a family member come pick me up with all my stuff. And I wanted to leave, but really where was I going? Or one time I called 211 to go to a domestic violence shelter. But once they found out my dad lived in the same city as the shelter, you couldn’t do that, you had to, you had to have no relatives around for safety. So, it ended up me going right back to the situation. Wow. Tried to leave, I guess.

What would you say to somebody right now who’s got a friend, or a friend’s child, who is in that situation where, where there’s somebody who isn’t an abusive situation with a controlling person? What would you say to them and how they could reach them?

I would say never be judgemental and always let them know how much you love them and that if they ever need you, you’re here. Whatever that means. Of course, everyone can’t move into your home. Right. But if they ever needed you, you would be there for them. You would help mm-hmm . So, that was the moment of breaking for me.

Yeah, my mom, she got a job close to where I live. Now, I lived about an hour out from my family and friends. I became very isolated. He took all the phones out of the house. So, if someone needed to call me, they had to call him. And so my mom would come visit me. Now. I would, at this point, hadn’t seen my mom in eight months. For a long time to a year.

And she started coming to visit me because God gave her a job by my house. And she would ask if she could take me out to lunch and, and I’d say, yeah. She would come and bring little things for the baby. And she started saying, um, you can come home anytime you want, you know? And I would be like, what do I look like?

You know, I would say, okay, but you know, at home, I’d be like, where do I look like I can’t go back when nothing, I have all these kids, what am I gonna do? Just one day she came to visit me and she brought one visa. Every time he would come home, I would get up from whatever I was doing. He, if he brought groceries, I would start cooking dinner.

My mom and I were sitting on the couch and she’s holding the new baby that I have and who who’s now about two and a half, three months. And, um, he comes home with some steak and potatoes to make dinner, for me to make dinner. And I don’t get up because my mom’s here. So he gets up and he goes in the kitchen. He’s starting to bang around pots and pans. And my mom notices the tension. So she says, okay, I’m gonna get ready to go. So, she gets up and we walk her outside to say goodbye. We’re in the driveway. He comes on the porch and he starts cussing, get the kids, the F in the house now don’t you see it’s drizzling?

It starts to rain. So I say, all right, mom, we’ll see you later. And she says, okay, well, we’ll see you later. Bye. When we went back in the house, we were fighting and I called my mom and I said, mom, would you come back and get me? I wanna leave. She came back. By this time it was pouring cats and dogs. And I began to pull black garbage bags with clothes out of the closet because I was ready to leave.

And I packed up because I knew he would never go in the kids’ closet because he wasn’t that involved. He didn’t change the diaper or get them dressed. So, she pulled back up. I packed the kids’ car seats in the cars, and we probably had about five or four big black garbage bags and of our belongings. And, um, we went pouring cats and dogs and pile the kids in the car. And that was it. That was a breaking moment when I left. And it was my mother, beautiful mother who saved me from that. Who then began to bring me to her church who helped me to heal, who helped me to know that God had great plans for my life still. It was my mother who forced me back to life.

Amen. What a blessing, praise God for your mama. So, I know typically, you know, controlling, abusive people don’t just let you just disappear that quickly. Oh no. So what did that battle look like? Was he still after you?

And so I began to rebuild my life, me and me and my children. We went back home to my mom’s couch and my two sisters, we were there came back too, coincidentally, all at the same time, God gave my mom a promise that her children will return to their borders, right? During prayer one day. And indeed all of us came back at the same time. Huh? Me and my kids slept on the sofa in the loveseat, pushed together all four of us, all four of them and me. And we begin to rebuild.

Happy little couch.

Yep. And we we’re happy.

And I bet they loved going to church too. And, and that’s about, when was that about when you gave your life to Christ?

When yeah, I actually gave my life to Christ. In the abusive relationship. I was home. I was on my couch. I had one Kirk Franklin CD, and I knew God. I knew how to reach him. And I asked him to help me to make a way out. To leave. And I said, God, if you open the door, I will never come back. And, and I asked him to come into my heart and be my Lord and savior again, all at home, right on my bed crying. Wow. That’s where I got saved for real.

Praise the Lord. Yeah. Oof.


I’m gonna, I bet they remember that time as like a super happy time cuz with grandma and you, and your rebuilding, what a beautiful change. And I bet, like you said, you struggle with material is when you’re like, you know what, who cares about all that? I have everything right here on this couch. That I need with all of us, just pile together, arms and legs. And we all need naps during the day. Cuz we’re cuz we’re tired.

Listen, I, I was talking to my sister the other day because me and her sons are six week apart, weeks apart. She has only one son and my son that’s 14 today. We had our baby six weeks apart. So, when we went back home, one of the other sister had no kids, but we all helped each other. We had nothing Meg. Do you hear me? We were on state assistant with food stamps. We would walk to the store with like little carts that we bought from the dollar store. Walk back home, but we were so happy with each other. Our children were happy running around the yard and in the backyards in the summer. They didn’t know what was going on because they were so young; four, two, um, the babies were only babies, 3, 4, 5, 6 months. They grew up together and, um, Quentin was five years old. And so, it was just the perfect time.

Yep. And I, you know, and I went back to high school and I, um, then went to college to become a chef. So, I went to culinary school and then ended up moving out of my mom’s house. Um, but because I was still pursuing my career, we had to live in low income housing. So, that same low income housing that was around the corner from my mom, I ended up living in with my children. Um, and so in that place we were doing so well, but I got hit with one of the hardest blows, and that was interning into a custody battle with my abuser, who couldn’t TA me anymore. Right. But he began to try to use the children to control me. Oh. And so we entered into a custody battle.

And before I knew it, he was given temporary sole custody, that was supposed to last 30 days. And it ended up being a two and a half year battle in which I lost custody of the children. And so, that part was the most devastating thing of my life that ever happened because I was so suicidal. It was like the world… we had rebuilt our life. Our home was so beautiful and happy, and I had rules up on the wall, you know, don’t hit anyone if you take it out, put it back. And it was like, my mom taught us how to run our households like school and, and it was so happy. And to just go from that to nothing. I still had my oldest son because he had a different dad, but I would drop my oldest son off to my mom’s house and just come home from work and cry, and just wake up in the middle of the night at 2 45, and at times I would have to call my mom, cuz I was like, I’m ready to die right now. And sometimes I couldn’t even speak, but then it was mom again. She, she would pray. I couldn’t even tell her to pray, but she would hear me crying at 2 45 in the morning, when I called her, and she prayed for me numerous nights where I was like, I can’t even live anymore.

Cause although we had joint legal custody and primary physical location was with him, he would withhold them. So, they were growing and I didn’t know what shoes size they were wearing. If their tooth fell out. Ugh. I, I was respected from being a mom and the court system is so jacked up. There’s not really any place for accountability.

You didn’t even get to see them.


For like two years?

No, I didn’t. I didn’t see them probably for like three or four years. Oh, Camille mm-hmm and it took actually nine years for them to be returned fully. And it had nothing to do with the court. And so, after a while, this is where the warrior was developed, because I was either gonna die or I had to learn how to pray on a deeper level and really speak to the enemy, because I, he was trying to take me out. Oh yeah. Yeah. And so I got enough strength now to not have to call mom anymore and to just get up and pray myself. And then I just started to believe God that he would vindicate that he would bring them back home. And so, over the years, the relationship began to be, um, restored. And then they came home through, through an emergency that had nothing to do with, with court, but I was able to regain custody. And it’s still today, still, um, joint, because they still have to go visit their dad.

Is he civil now? Like, yeah. I have family that has that, some of that stuff happening and it’s just, yeah.

And, and God teaches you though, you know? Yeah. This situation has not changed at all, but I change. So, it’s no reaction that that can ever come from me, cuz I’m so rooted in God that no one can blow, and then now I’m getting emotional and right, you know, like I was when I was younger or crying and screaming on the phone. No, no, no, no that not today. Wow. It was still, um, controlled by him. He’s a narcissist and very controlling. Over the course of time, it would be going to their schools and seeing them, or going to basketball game and seeing them. Um, but when I say it didn’t involve the courts anymore, after the two and a half years, that was it. We didn’t go to court anymore. But the progression of it happened just between us two. There was a point when we were cordial.

So you would get to see them at games. And what was that like?

Yeah. While they were younger or going to their school place or just spending time with them or taking them to Chucky cheese or, or something like that. But just not actually being able to take them home. I felt like it was injustice. And then I learned that I wasn’t the only mom. Because I was open with just a few close friends and my family members, because there, there were family members extended that still, probably to this day, don’t even really know the story of what happened.

But they started sending me women who had lost their children. Black, white, poor. Wealthy women who maybe got a divorce and the dad got the children and moved away and just different situations. Yeah. And different situations that end up being played out.

What was it like for you looking at your kids’ faces, do you think you could read in their eyes that like he was speaking bad about you, or did some of them look at you with like, mom, I miss you, like, what were you reading from the kids? What did it feel like?

It was, it was very tormenting because during the beginning times where he has them, but he’s really just trying to prove that you don’t have any control that. Now, you know, you have to call and beg to speak to your children and you know, they’re not old enough. They don’t have their own phones. So, if you can think about the, the mind of a seven year old or an eight year old, you can say to them, call your mom, I, we don’t like your mom. And then they say, we don’t like our mom, you know? Right. It, it can be that easily, um, manipulated. So, there were times where, um, they didn’t wanna see me. They don’t even know why. Now that my children are older, we have had counseling and so many deep conversations that had happened. I was so honest with them about so much. But during that time it was very difficult. No, but as they got older, it became easier because you, it’s not that easy to manipulate a smaller child and they wanted their mom.

Oh. And then they grow up and then they hit the teen years and then they see that parent for who they are. And is that something, and they have that you feel like your kids have seen your love over time and like that the Lord has restored most of what was taken away?

Yes. And even still, you know, we, I remember this summer talking to my 17 year old he’s like mom I’m, you know, he was, he was upset that so much was robbed from us. So, much time. And, um, and I reminded him of the scripture that God will restore the years that the kink of worm has stolen. Amen. That is a promise that I leaned on for so long. So, I said, you know, those times where you were younger, you know, might they they’re gone, but God will restore. We’re gonna have so many more memories. So much more memories of happiness.

And you know what God showed me to help me get through that, if there’s a mom that might be listening or a dad that separated from their kids, their kids for a little while, they’re adults for so much longer, and they’re gonna understand. And so, you may have to UN UN, um, endure some trauma or drama with an ex just to raise your kids or just to see them, but it will not last forever. And your children will grow up and love you and be around you.

Amen. That’s so encouraging. What was the final straw where you got them back in your home?

Yeah. Yeah. They didn’t come all at the same time. They came one, one came and then the other three came. But, um, the youngest, God took me through this season of fasting and praying. And so, I got so deep into his word and got off social media and he really was like, I need you to, to hear me. And so, I was like, Lord, I was hearing him so clear. And so, one day I got this phone call from their dad, yelling and screaming. There had been a domestic dispute in their home because he has another wife and other children in emergency happened in their home.

And so, I went immediately and I watched how it played out and I was, you know, waiting for them to do what parents should do and get our children counseling, or are a wife gonna leave or, you know, what’s gonna happen here cuz now home, the home’s not different from when I was there. Right, right. And talking to her, she sounded strong one day and I’m trying not to really go into details because it’s still their life.

And. Right. their story. Right?

Right. Their respect, their privacy. Yeah.

Right. Exactly. Well, any whole long story short in that moment, I saw that nothing would, would be done. So I went and got an emergency custody of one child and then the other two ended up coming. They were already old enough to say, I wanna go with my mom, praise the Lord.

Mm-hmm Camille hearing all of this and I can’t help but seeing the hand of God on your life, in such a huge way, it’s, it’s just astounding to me to see how God has works. And, and I know, you know, I, I’ve heard you talk about your home now and, you know, hashtag boy, mom, you know, five, five boys all under one roof.

Can you bring us into your home now? And what that’s like.

I’m married to a man of God now, six and a half years. Amen. We have together a son who is four years old named Mason, who is on the autism spectrum. And I say that proudly, amen, autism mama now. And, um, I’m a mom of five boys, um, still co-parenting with the others.

So they travel back and forth. We live in a new state. Now we live in Texas and I love mothers through all of that is a reason why I believe God gave me such a heart for moms, just because we go through so many different things and it, and some things, even in motherhood, we don’t even wanna talk about because it, it is so heavy and especially raising teenagers, it’s all these different things going on today.

And life is so complicated. Things that we deal with can be very heavy. And so I always wanna be real. Um, and have real conversations and share parts of my life. Just to help another mom who might be single, who might be married. I don’t know, just to know that they’re not alone. Um, to know that there’s nothing to be ashamed about, to embrace their story, know that God is there.

God is with you. You are not dirty. You are not anything that he’s not proud of. You are created in his image and he loves you. And he’s proud.

Is there a verse that you just really hang on to, that you feel is just a such important part of your heart and story?

Mm-hmm my favorite, Jeremiah 29: 11. where God knows the plans he has for you and his plans to prosper you and not to harm you and plans to give you a future.

And a hope like no matter where you have been in life, no matter where you are now. I mean, it is hard to be a mom. It’s hard. It is hard. You not only have your life to worry about, but your children and you want them to grow up whole. You want them to grow up we think about resentment a lot. We want them to grow up and be happy.

We want them to grow up and not have any trauma or any issues. Just knows a God has a plan for even the ugly parts that it all works together for your good,

before we see a love the envelope on this story of encouragement, I have prepared bonus material for you that we like to call the PS. Sure. To make you smile and be moved within your heart. As you see a bit more of the heart and personality of our guest. Here is your PS.

Are you ready for some bonus questions? Yes. Cool. When you were rebuilding, I know you went to chef schools. Can you give everyone like a little tip and mm-hmm maybe tell what, you know, your favorite easy go-to meal is that you make for the kids that’s a little more elevated.

Oh yeah. Well, here’s a holiday tip. We all have a Turkey. One thing you can do to your Turkey so that it’s not dry is to brine it mm-hmm . And so that is marinating it in sort of like a salt bath for 24 hours in the refrigerator. So you bring to a boil half, um, equal parts of sugar and, um, brown, sugar, and salt, whatever half you wanna use, one cup of sugar and one cup of salt with pickling spice, you can just open the whole McCormick bottle and pour in with bay leaves.

And, um, bring that to a boil and let it cool down all the way to a room temperature. And then you add your Turkey, put it in the refrigerator and marinate it overnight 24 hours.

Find that Turkey. What’s the favorite meal that your kids request when it’s a little more than out of the average day

crab legs. oh, mom’s crab boil.

Ooh, dang. That, that sounds good.

we’ve had that this week and last night I made, um, Creole, Chimp Scampy.

Very good. Yeah. What, whatever Camille, like you have time for all that. Okay. Okay. Nobody out there feel like you’re a terrible mom now, after hearing Camille, I know, I know, uh, one of your most successful rooms on clubhouse is the autism room.

What would you see out there to special needs moms or people out there?

I would say find a support group that is amazing. If you don’t know where any other mom groups are, you can use Facebook to find autism mom groups, or you can call your local two, one, one, because the support groups are full of resources.

All of what I know that he is currently helping my. I found out from another mom. So when you’re having hard days and your kid might not be sleeping or they’re having a meltdown, you don’t know what to do to help them. Another mom will definitely know the way for you to go. So definitely lean into that.

Okay. I guess a common misconception that people say about autism families.

Yeah. I think one of the, um, misconceptions is that all autistic children are the same and that’s like really saying the best way I could describe it is like saying every white person or every black person is the same. And that’s just ridiculous.

But that’s, it really is the same. Every autistic child is gonna be different. Um, they’re all gonna show up differently and so never compare your child to another child at all. And one thing I’m embracing, um, I’m embracing learning from the autism community of adults. So mama get on TikTok and follow some of those adult , um, autistic people because they’re speaking from, from experience.

So they’re letting you know what’s happening in the brain of your child. I find it so amazing. I’m learning a lot from them.

Oh, that’s a great tip. Also being a boy, mom of five boys, what can you tell moms out there? Who have sons?

Oh my goodness. I pray for you. yeah. Get them into something. Some kind of activity.

Not every kid is gonna like sports. I’m a sports mom, but the local, Y M C a or the local boys and girls club will have so many activities for your kid. That was one thing that really helped while I was a young mom too, for camp, or, um, just helping them to find out what they liked. Um, so find your local community center.

And if you’re really struggling with, you know, finding a mentor or helping your child get to. Get through the puberty ages, puberty, it helps to have extracurricular activities in place.

Absolutely. I love having other people help, whether it’s having the kids do young life or availing myself of all the youth group, you know, I probably have a different thought than other people, but I’m like the kids can sleep later.

I’m going always keep youth group midweek. And I want them to have as much influence in their life as possible to give them the greatest chance to walk with a Lord. That’s of course, if the kids want to go and my kids, thankfully have all wanted to go. So it’s not like I’m dragging anyway. Right?

They’re but it’s a vicious world out here, Meg.


Oh, it is full of so many things. It’s a scary place. I was reading last night that so many people aren’t even wanting to have kids anymore. Cuz they’re afraid. Wow. Of what, you know, what their kids are gonna come up in.

So, you know, my grandmother used to say that to me, she used to say, Camille, stop having. So many children, I’m bringing them into this evil world. And I used to laugh at grandma, but she was so right this world. Right.

It just makes us long for heaven a little bit more. And you know, another thing I wanna say to mama’s out there, if you haven’t had a chance to listen to Camille’s podcast moments of joy podcast, it’s a fantastic podcast, super encouraging.

Just like you can hear what a warmhearted person she is. She has like, like, I think 135 episodes. You can just go through so many great little nugget, summer, 15, 20 minutes, summer 45, so many great guests and thoughts. I guarantee you’ll be encouraged and wherever you’re listening to letters from home, just plug in moments of joy podcast and subscribe to her too.

I know you will be blessed. And you also have like a podcast production company. I mean, God’s, you know, used you to just raise up so many businesses. So tell people about where, what you can help them with. If they’re thinking about starting a podcast or, uh, looking for some service.

Okay, thank you so much.

Um, Moms of Joy Academy, you can reach us And what we do is help the podcaster, the life of the podcaster, whether you are, um, tech savvy, we have courses available to help you get started and to monetize. If you’re in need of extra coaching, we have one-on-one coaching to help you really come up with strategy, launch strategy and succession plans for your show.

And we also do full production, which I’m really excited about some of the shows that we signed, uh, for 2022. And so we handle everything on that side. All they do is record and pass it to us. And, um, I’m really looking forward to that. So if you’re interested, um, connect with us. Thank you so much, Meg, of course, Camille and she

also has, and I’m part of it, a great Facebook group, the real mom’s club.

Um, there there’s so many great thoughts and encouragement and recipes, or if you have time to go into clubhouse and participate in a parenting room, Camille, we’re gonna end with this. So I know that your mom is so special and I’ve heard you say this and now I know why

you met her Meg, right?

Yes, I did. We were in a room and she was wonderful. And I’m gonna call her too. I’m gonna definitely gonna call her sometime and just chat. You know, when I think about your mom and all that she has been through as a mama. And I heard you say, you know, my mom, you know, she was the most disappointed with me as a child.

And now she is the most proud of me as an adult in all that you’ve done. Uh, I just wanna honor and respect your mom and encourage all the mamas out there. Any final thought about your mama. And then the final question that I wanted to ask is about your name. Is there something special about your name or a story behind it?

yes. So yeah, my mom. Is amazing. And she really showed me the power of a mom, um, that we have so much power in our children. They may grow up and go on different paths, but we always have the power to go to God and to remind him that he’s given us these children as gifts and really just, um, decree and declare over their lives.

So be encouraged cuz she definitely showed me how much power as a mom we have. And she named me Camille joy. So when she had her first child, my sister Tanisha, they almost lost their lives. They lost a lot of blood. She had to get a lot of stitches and the umbilical cord was wrapped around my sister’s head.

And so when she got pregnant again, she was terrified to have another baby, but I came out with one push. And she says the sun came shining through the window. And so she named me Camille joy because I brought her so much joy in that moment. But little, did she know that simple name carried me through even the darkest.

Times for myself. So the joy remained with me always. And, um, that is what we named my show after. So moments of joy, so, you know, moments of me, but I’m also giving you those moments that my mom taught me. Right? I’m finding the joy, even in the bad situation. So you always have the option to choose joy.

I trust Camille’s story encourages you as much as it encouraged me going through all that. She went through seeing how the Lord saved her, how he rescued her, seeing the beautiful faith of her loving mother. When Camille was in her darkest days, God has taken Camille and done such a restorative work and made her this beautiful woman of God who is now giving back in blessing thousands of families with her heart, with her care, with her story and those precious children. And I am praying for us today that we all believe great things for each of our children, for that neighbor, for the one who’s going through something difficult. That seems impossible. Nothing is impossible with the Lord

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links from our guests will be in the show notes for more everyday extraordinary faith stories. Go to our website letters from home and click subscriber, follow whatever platform you’re listening to. Second Corinthians three, three, and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us written, not with ink, but with the spirit of the living.

God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts until next time go in peace.

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