More MS news articles for Nov 2001

Making it personal

November 23, 2001
BILL ROBINSON/Messenger Post Staff
Denise Davis brings her testimony about faith to Hopewell and Farmington this weekend.
If it weren't for all of the hard work she'd put in, Denise Davis might look like she'd led a charmed life.

The former Miss Alabama, who's now "close to 40," had been on the road since she was 18, winning the Wrangler Starsearch competition, which led to opening for country acts like John Anderson, Lee Greenwood, George Jones and the Gatlin Brothers. Her voice appeared in soundtracks for daytime dramas "Santa Barbara" and "Sunset Beach," and she modeled for companies like Drexel Heritage Furniture and Maybelline. The girl from Russellville, Ala., was doing well.

But this weekend, she'd like to tell you about her real success story: She's living with multiple sclerosis and singing in churches nationwide supporting a CD, "Eternally Grateful."

Davis will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, at the New Covenant Baptist Church in Hopewell and Sunday at the 9 and 10:30 a.m. services at the Farmington United Methodist Church. All the performances are free.

Davis was diagnosed with MS in 1989. The disease affects the central nervous system. It halted her country music career and has caused her to go blind twice. But those trials are what led her to singing Christian music and performing in churches.

"I pretty much lay it on the line and tell them where I come from," she said Monday from her home in Nashville. "The victory is, I'm still here. ... If anything, (MS) brought me back."

Davis said she'd attended church all her life, but her faith didn't really become personal until she had to face MS. The disease is unpredictable. Even her doctors couldn't say how long her blindness would last or when it may return.

She learned to let go. She concentrated on writing songs - a task she'd always enjoyed - and took care of herself. She still has to get plenty of rest to handle the rigors of travel and a music career. But she tries to leave most of the worrying to someone else.

"The words 'I give up' work really well with God," she said.

As she tells the stories behind her songs, Davis has watched an attitude change in her audiences since Sept. 11. The terrorist attacks have challenged many people.

"I think most people who come to church now, just having a superficial faith won't get them through that," she said. "I guess if my message is anything ... It's, 'Don't depend on your church family to be your relationship with God.' The Bible is easy to read."

Denise Davis will perform Saturday, Nov. 24 at the New Covenant Baptist Church, 4317 County Road 46 in Hopewell. Call (585) 394-8139 for information. She'll perform at the 9 and 10:30 a.m. services at the Farmington United Methodist Church, 5925 County Road 41, on Sunday, Nov. 25. Call (585) 398-2626 for information.

©Daily Messenger 2001