Nicole Eason-Melvin, LPN, Humanitarian
Ephesians 6:12-13 KJV so eloquently reads “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand…” At the tender young age of three Founder, Nicole Eason-Melvin was living in a foster home with Foster Parents, her biological half/sister, and several foster children. She vividly recalls a conversation with her foster mom that detailed the reason why Nicole and her half-sister were in foster care.
The foster mom unapologetically divulged information about Nicole’s biological mother’s drug addictions, and her inability to provide a safe and loving environment for her daughters. She was forthcoming with information about how and why Nicole was removed from her mother and encouraged her to “forget” knowing her biological mom. During these conversations, she unknowingly planted a seed of an orphanage in Nicole’s spirit. Principalities, Powers, and rulers of darkness started their work early in her life by planting the seed of orphanage and helping it mature.
Due to an emotional void, she welcomed the first relationship that provided her a small sense of
“belonging.” This relationship was abusive, and years later almost cost her life. After graduating high
school, the downward emotional spiral continued through college, and young adult years. Her life was
plagued by low self-esteem, low self-worth, major anxiety, major depression, fear, doubt, homelessness,
and two suicide attempts. Yet, in all this turmoil Nicole remained constant in one area of her life. This
one constant was at the forefront of everything she did. It was how people knew and perceived her. It
was her “hiding place.” This hiding place was the Church and her proclaimed faith.
Nicole was always vigilant in talking about the “Good News of Jesus.” She was diligent in attending
church during her college years. She was the queen of her College Gospel Choir, and queen of her
College Dormitory because she was so personable, outspoken, and faithful. If Nicole was introduced to
an environment that did not openly have a Church or provide spiritual services, Nicole dutifully
organized and implemented worship opportunities. She led a worship service during her army boot
camp and started a gospel choir during her time in Job Corps.
The world knew Nicole as a Faithful Servant of God. However, the truth was Adult Nicole was an “orphan” child simultaneously smiling, thriving, and suffocating.
After marriage to her husband and Soul Mate Nicole rededicated her life to Christ and begin to heal. However, her husband’s love was a temporary bandage for a life-threatening “orphan” wound. Temporarily the pain was masked by marriage, motherhood, and her continued devotion to the church. However, a final attempt at suicide proved the wound required focused attention. Words were spoken by her Psychiatrist and a Nurse in 2011 changed her life. The Psychiatrist stated in pertinent part, “…It is okay, to not be okay….” Her diagnosis of Major Depression did not forfeit her faith or her ability to serve God. She was not a LEPER because she suffered from anxiety, fear, and a lack of control. She was okay. This changed Nicole’s life. She did not have to hide anymore.
With this newfound knowledge, Nicole actively started the healing process to include Counseling, Medications, Exercise, Meditation, in addition to her continued faith. During this transition phase, Nicole noted several stigmas that were linked to Mental Health in the church and the lack thereof of Church and Community Mental Health Resources. Mental Disease was a taboo topic that created a loud silence in most congregations’ populations and communities. The church would pray vehemently for a person with a physical illness while telling someone with mental illness symptoms to “Just pray about it.” Some churches boldly characterize people with Mental Health illnesses as being possessed or lacking faith. This stigma causes church members and leaders, community citizens, politicians, family members etc. to retreat into a dangerous silence. Nicole learned that she was first a Victim of Spiritual Warfare from an early age, and a Secondary Victim of Church/World Stigmas about Mental Health. Thus, One Day At (a) Time was born to bridge the Mental Health Gap between the Church and Community!