It was my good friend Ken, who sent me a broadcast containing a link to video. I was reluctant but after reading what he wrote in the broadcast I was moved to watch it. Honestly I doubted the video at first till she started crying, I was moved! After I watched it, I knew I had to put this on my website and make it more known, so I researched on her to make sure the story was authentic. I made sure I was granted an interview online through her PR agency (YCB), after several calls and exchange of emails. Her past was a mess but it wasn’t the end of her life. Her Mess is the message she will be preaching till she dies. So inspiring! Enjoy. xx
Antonina Griffin’s Inspiring viral video:
In case you couldn’t view the video, this is all she said in it! (Try as much as possible to watch it later):
Everyone has a story, here’s mine:
I appear put together but behind this smile lies heartache. The only memory I have of my mom is men beating her, she died when I was 9 years old. My dad has never been there for his precious daughter; I was a motherless and fatherless child, molested by my aunt’s boyfriend when I was 10, 11, and 12 years old. Got pregnant when I was only 17 years old, then my ‘everything’ died when I was 18years old-my grandmother; 18 years old with a 3months old son.
I had two more kids by a different man; I was in an abusive relationship. My son watched how a man beat his mom just like I watched how a man beat by mom. My friends were afraid for my life!!!
I got out, but I had nothing, what else could possibly go wrong?
Then I was raped. I was homeless with 3 small kids, so I started selling drugs. My car got shot up; my apartments got shot up with me and my kids there.
And guess what?
I was pregnant; 25 with 4 kids and 3 baby daddy’s and only a high school diploma. I’m tired but what’s next?
(She cries briefly) JESUS-I gave my life to Christ; the best decision of my life. I met my wonderful soul mate- DARIN GRIFFIN.
I started my own business ‘A Greater Divine Place Inc. (Level 3 Group home)’; my name changed from Barret to Griffin. Yes I got married! (Shows off ring), started a non-profit organization the S.C.A.R. FOUNDATION- Strengthen, Comfort, Atone, Restore the heart. Started another business in VA growing beyond measure, another non-profit called I got your B.A.C (Bullying Aint Cool)
(She begins to cry in this part)
God is amazing, he gets all the glory.
I made it y’all, I made it.
I’m an over comer
I’m a survivor
I’m a wife, mother, entrepreneur, sister and friend
BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY
I’m a child of the most high GOD
I made it because I believe and I was purposed for this!!
Antonina L. Griffin
LOWLADEE: Really honored to have you here ma’am. After I watched your video, the presence of hope felt so strong. Tell me, what gave you the courage eventually to put the story out there?
MRS GRIFFIN: ANGER. The bible says “be angry but sin not”. I had heard over and over again that women were negatively discussing me with teenage girls. I was hurt and angry, and wanted them to know the hell that I had to go through to get to where I am today. I wanted them to understand that any one of those negative comments could have triggered my breaking point. I’m sick of gossip. I’m sick of women putting other women down instead of helping lift up one another. So, God allowed ANGER to give me the courage to put the video out. I was so angry that I wasn’t afraid.
LOWLADEE: Was there a reason why you didn’t talk in the video?
MRS GRIFFIN: Yes. I did not want the viewers to view the video through my feelings. I thought if I shared my story verbally, people would have felt the anger through my voice. I wanted the viewers to paint their own picture, so the feelings they felt were their own. I did not want to persuade anyone by my voice. Although I did not speak one word, the story spoke volumes.
LOWLADEE: Your video is viral on YouTube and Facebook, how do u feel, that your story is greatly touching lives?
MRS. GRIFFIN: It amazes me that God chose to use this uneducated girl, with a far-from-perfect past, to bring so much glory to his name. LowLaDee you spoke of YouTube, but I’m receiving messages from the UK, London, Canada, South America, Africa, multiple Caribbean Islands, and all across the United States, of people giving their lives to Christ from a speechless video. Messages are coming from people who are inspired and want to live to discover and fulfill their purpose in life. The feeling I feel is indescribable. The closest word I can use to describe what I’m feeling is WOW!
LOWLADEE: I would like to know how you got to the point of being brave to accept this not as a stigma but a testimony?
MRS. GRIFFIN: My motto is “I WAS PURPOSED FOR THIS.” Once I discovered what my purpose was in life, I knew that everything that God allowed me to go through was a part of my testimony that he would use to bring himself glory. I knew there was no way God would allow me to go through it for no reason at all. I knew “I WAS PURPOSED FOR THIS.” It’s been 8 years since I discovered my purpose and I’ve been telling my story everywhere I go.
LOWLADEE: Your children? How do you think they feel about your story? How have they been able to accept it?
LOWLADEE: Did you at any point want to take your life? When?
MRS GRIFFIN: Of course I did. My grandmother passed away when I was 18 years old and I did not want to live without her. I thought I could not live without her. So, yes I considered it, but when I looked at my son, it was a reminder that I had a reason to be here. There were other times in my life when I wanted to die. I did not consider suicide then, but I wanted the Lord to take me away from all of this earthly pain. This was during the period of my rape and abusive relationship.
LOWLADEE: Do you sometimes get scared about the same thing happening to any of your kids?
MRS. GRIFFIN: Absolutely! I’ve had thoughts of my boys selling drugs or abusing women. I’m constantly preaching to them the importance of education and entrepreneurship. I’ve made them promise me that they will never hit a female. I remind them of what I felt when I was beaten. I think they get it. I tend to be overprotective of my girls. They are not allowed to go to sleepovers, and I keep them very close. I can’t imagine what I would do if someone molested or raped my babies. The thought of it makes my heart hurt. My children are my world, and I work so hard to try to prevent them from going through what I’ve conquered.
LOWLADEE: And your husband? I want to know the love story!
MRS. GRIFFIN: I met him at church. I had gotten saved in 2003, and I was attending Ambassadors for Christ. He approached me and asked my name. I responded, “Tonina, and I have four kids ages 2, 4, 7, and 9.” He said “Well it’s nice to meet you Tonina. I’m Darin.” We shook hands, and a few months passed before we spoke again. We started flirting with one another, which lead to phone conversation, which then lead to dates, and on June 18, 2008 we were married. Now we’re living in our happily ever after. Not because we don’t have problems, but because we choose happiness despite our problems.
LOWLADEE: What was the bible verse that kept u going and still does?
MRS. GRIFFIN: Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing that he who has begun a good work in me shall perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Once I discovered my purpose I knew that the hurt was there, but God had to complete that by healing my heart and making me whole. I know the dreams, the visions, the ideas that he gives will come to past, despite what it may look like. So I appreciate the struggle because I know that’s not the end. That struggle births success, the trials birth triumph, and my pain births praise.
LOWLADEE: Tell me more about your business and humanitarian foundations?
MRS. GRIFFIN: A Greater Divine Place, Inc is a Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Facility we started in 2009. We were licensed by the state of NC to provide therapeutic treatment in a residential environment to adolescent boys who had been diagnosed with a mental illness. In June of 2012, we were licensed by the state to provide Substance Abuse Treatment to teenage boys and girls in an outpatient setting. Our goal is to provide Mental Health treatment throughout the USA. I have a nonprofit organization called the SCAR Foundation.
SCAR is the acronym for Strengthen, Comfort, Atone and Restore the Heart. The VISION: We equip women to be productive citizens through continuing education, self-awareness, and community involvement. We challenge women to Strengthen their bodies, Comfort their souls, and Atone their spirits through the Restoring power of love. We are dedicated to igniting social change throughout the earth, one woman at a time!
MRS GRIFFIN: We stand firm on Hope, Belief, and Determination. You must be Healed of the hurt, Overcome obstacles, and get Past the pain so you can reach your Expected End – that’s HOPE. You must BELIEVE, even when it looks like the odds are stacked against you. You must be DETERMINED to fulfill Gods purpose for your lives.
LOWLADEE: What particular message would you like to give the African woman who is scarred/being scarred?
MRS GRIFFIN: To first understand that a SCAR reminds you of the pain, but it no longer causes you pain. So allow God to heal you in the areas where you’re hurting. Allow him to Love the hurt away. You can never walk fully in your purpose holding on to past hurt. Don’t allow that rape, that molestation, that abuse, the lies, the betrayal, the cheating lover, the loneliness, the rejection to keep you in bondage. Allow God to do a work in you so he can do work through you. Always believe and never ever give up.
LOWLADEE: Is there any email contact through which the person reading this right now could connect with you?
MRS GRIFFIN: [email protected]
LOWLADEE: Thank you so much for granting this interview. I Would also like to thank your PR agency, YCB, for making this happen. Thank you!
MRS. GRIFFIN: Thank you for allowing my voice to be heard in your country, even without speaking it aloud.