DALLAS — Earlier this week, there was Renee Harris-Curry, taking the time to recall her upbringing.
From her native hometown of Chicago, where she was raised in an arguably one of the most poverty-stricken, crime-infested communities in the Windy City.
To her days of residing in Sacramento, California, where she and her husband, Leon, had collectively become closer to Almighty God.
To her residing presently in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where, to her credit, it’s safe to assume she’s undoubtedly on the brink of entering yet another commendable phase of her life.
All things considered, to grasp a thorough understanding of why Harris-Curry found herself dwelling on and basking in the glory of just how far from which God has brought her, well…perhaps she can sum it better.
So pay attention.
“My growing up years were bittersweet,” Harris-Curry told News Reporter Andre Johnson during an exclusive interview.” “We lived on the West side of Chicago with my mom, who was a single parent at the time until she get married and we move to the suburbs and from the suburbs we moved to the projects.”
Cabrini-Green is what they called them.
“If anybody knows about Cabrini-Green, you know that that was the toughest project in the city of Chicago,” Harris-Curry explained. “Tough to the point where the mayor, Jane Byrne, had to come and live in the projects to control the violence. That’s how tough it was living in Cabrini-Green.
“I remember one night, we were coming home from church, and a gang fight erupted,” Harris-Curry continued. They began shooting at the other gang. You can literally hear the bullets flying over your head, but God protected us. He had His angels surrounding us.”
Aside from being raised in one of Chicago’s most rugged communities, Harris admittedly faced an assortment of other obstacles, most notably the peer pressure that comes with being a young, struggling teenager from the inner city.
As usual, she was forthright and direct about her relentless pursuit of seeking a sense of belongingness.
“Growing up, all I wanted was to be loved,” Harris-Curry said. “All I wanted was to be validated, and I was searching for love in all the wrong places. My biological father walked out of my life, and that left a void in my life.”
Consequently, other obstacles led to Harris-Curry being victimized by molestation.
While such disturbing, life-changing occurrences had caused her to become resentful, thus questioning her very existence, because of who she is in God, Harris-Curry’s faith was such that she was determined to never take her eyes off of Jesus, her Present Help in trouble.
“The most defining moment in my life was when I literally had a hell experience,” Harris-Curry explained. “My parents were pastors in the church, and I was the praise and worship leader. I was leading the people (in worship), but I wasn’t living the life and God kept warning me (to live). I didn’t listen to the voice of the Lord until one day He literally dropped me into hell. My boyfriend at that time had just left my home. I was so caught up into him at that time and he was much older than me, and we both knew we were fornicating when my head hit my pillow. That’s when I went to hell and I was in hell screaming and hollering and begging for God to give me another chance.
“And I told the Lord, ‘If you get me out of hell, I will tell every man, woman and boy that hell is real and so is God,'” Harris-Curry continued. “(God) spoke from heaven into hell and said, ‘This is what became your god.’ When I saw what the spirit of fornication looked like, fear gripped me I began to plead with the Lord God, ‘I give you my life.’ That’s when God sent an angel to get me out of hell and, when I came too, I was soak and wet and my hair was stuck to my face.”
From that point on — despite having battled depression and harboring suicidal thoughts — her life undoubtedly was never the same.
“That’s when the transformation began to take place in my life,” Harris-Curry explained. “God began to heal me from the inside out. Once I had a heart transplant, I was able to forgive. Was it easy? No it wasn’t. That’s when the compassion of the Lord took over and love began to flow in those deep wounds, causing healing and forgiveness to come.”
Still, in spite of her ongoing transgressions, many who witnessed Harris-Curry grow up in the church as a preacher’s kid — or PK — knew that she had a divine calling on her life, one that to this very day appears to have come full circle.
A pastor of a DFW-area ministry, Harris-Curry also is a rising author, having composed five books, most notably, “Give Me My P-A-N-T-I-E-S Back!”
Published officially on August 7, 2015, “Give Me My Panties Back” is an uplifting read that depicts Harris-Curry’s spiritual growth and what she describes as a “personal self-discovery.” After various experiences and lesson she learned during her maturation process, she ultimately found herself experiencing painful relationships, but still managed to reconnect with God’s unyielding love. According to a review at Ebay.com, it cited that as Harris-Curry rekindled her connection with God after dealing with a slew of difficult emotions, she shared her life-changing encounters and subsequent deliverance to those who, like her, endured suffering and doubting God.
“Her words are encouraging and remind you that God cares and is willing to bear your burden and that you are wonderfully made and loved,” according to one of her readers in a review on Ebay.com. “This is an ideal book for women uncertain of their ability to persevere.”
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Harris-Curry’s book also is available for purchase at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com.
“I wrote ‘GIVE Me My P-A-N-T-I-E-S Back’ to let people know that they are not alone and that there is power in forgiveness,” Harris-Curry explained.
In addition, she said her other books are currently in the publishing phases and that release dates have yet to be determined.
“I’ve written these books to help others because I know that if I went through what I’ve experienced, others have gone through it too,” Harris-Curry said. “And I am providing a voice for those that cannot speak for themselves.”
And to think, the devil thought he had her.
Thanks be to God, Who had other ideas.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, athlete, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to email@example.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.