Most people might think life’s pretty dull on an old dirt road, but I am here to tell you most people would be 100% wrong. This story begins on just such a road and there are no dull parts to this story, definitely moments of uncertainty and maybe a little fear, but dull, most certainly not.
I am starting to realize that some of the greatest spiritual victories have taken place on old dirt roads. Paul, Mary, Abraham, Moses, each one of their stories involved a road that started out in apparently tragedy but ended in everlasting victory. I would imagine that those traveling on such a road were not feeling victorious during their long dusty walk but God’s word tells us to “kept the faith, finish the course and fight the good fight” (2 Tim 4:7). That is my clarion call for writing this article, “Fight the good fight and finish the race!”
When each one of us accepted Jesus as our Savior that was the start of our journey of salvation as well as our journey of transformation. It is a personal journey that involves each one of us looking at ourselves, through Jesus’s eyes, and allowing Him to change us. The process last a lifetime. We never arrive at our complete transformation until we take our last breath on this earth and our first breath in Heaven. Our transformation on this earth is always changing us, shaping us into looking more like the one that died for us, Jesus. At times it can be a tough road but in the end it is worth every tear, pain, sorrow, worry, doubt and fear that we endured in the process. When I first started my journey with Jesus, my Aunt Edna Mae was there. From the very moment that Brother Montana called out from that church pulpit “Sister Edna Mae, there is someone that came with you today that needs Jesus” my aunt has been there. My Aunt Edna Mae, has always been a mentor, a spiritual corner post and at times a great listener and advice giver. So for me to tell this small part of her story is an honor and a privilege. Her willingness to trust God and allow Him to lead her wheresoever He chooses has impacted my life as much as it has hers.
This part of her journey involves loss of something precious but the gain of something invaluable. My aunt’s journey has shown me that we can finish the race even when it seems like the sorrows of this world are too much for us to endure. When you are a child of God, you have no idea what path God will lead you down. All of you know is that in order to be in His will, you must go where He says to go and do what He says to do. Uncertainty of the future can overwhelmed even the strongest of Christians but a willingness to be led by God will take you places that could never have been imagined.
On July 1st my aunt was ordered by the court to accept $60,000 for a home that she had put her blood, sweat and tears into. Her home was 100% paid for and worth far more than $60,000, but with no money to continue her legal fight, and desiring peace in her life, she agreed to the amount. Letting go was hard, but what was harder was the fact that her son was the one making this demand. Two of the greatest lessons to be learned from this tragedy is that sometimes the ones that are the closest to you can hurt you the most and when it comes to business put it in writing.
When I first heard what had happened to my aunt I didn’t believe that God could be in the mist of this event. How could God allow my aunt to lose what she had worked so hard for? But what I have seen over the last few months is that “what the enemy meant for evil, God will use for good.” (Gen 50:20) The headlines to my aunt’s life and story could have been “Lady losses her home to her son and is forced to move!” but she did not let this tragedy be the end of her life but just another turning point to a life guided by God. God and His word has always been a guiding force in her life. The prayers of her mother have always guided and covered not only her but her 11 brothers and sisters as they grew up and those same prayers are still in operation today. The power of prayer and the love of her brothers and sister have given her the strength to get up every day and continue to trust God even when the loss can feel so very heavy at times.
That beautiful homes that took years of sacrifice was gone in just 60 days. Walking that dirt road and looking at what was to be her last few months of living in her home were bitter sweet. God had a plan and this was part of His plan and yet it was still painful. Losing not only a home but a son, how could something that was to be so joyful become so sorrowful? Every square inch of that property was known to her. Praying over that land, dedicating it to the Lord in prayer, declaring God’s promises over both herself and her son’s family that was the future that was supposed to be here. Not tragedy but joy. The possibilities of a future for her and her son’s family seemed endless here and now all of that was to come to an end in just 60 days. This was to be the dirt road that she would live the rest of her life on but God had another plan. Another dirt road was to be in her future, one that she had not considered. This dirt road might be ending in tragedy but God had a victory already in her future she just did not know it yet.
This was not the first dirt road in my aunt’s life. That first road led to the house that she and her 11 brothers and sisters were born in. Hoke County, North Carolina was where she was born. A child to sharecroppers and a life full struggles and yet still full of joy. Her and her siblings understood poverty. Not as we know it know but real poverty. One where every child had to work so that the family could live. One where shoes were only available during the winter, not because they hated them but because they could not afford to purchase more than one pair a year.
Living with such merger means made it was necessary for her brothers and sister to work in the field to support the family. Only the eldest son completed his high school education while living at home. The remaining 11 dropped out of school far short of graduation. Each one of my aunts and uncles, as well as my mom, could have been lost to this world. Raised in poverty, little education, minorities and the appearance of no future. But I can tell you, they had a mamma that was determined for her children to finish their journey on this earth following the Lord. My grandma knew how to pray and she also knew how to hear God’s voice and listen to His direction. That is what she instilled in all of her children: Lean on God and He will guide you.
My aunt knows how to lean on God. The word of God says that “His ways are higher than our ways” (Isaiah 55:9) and now more than ever she needed to look to God. In the nature all seemed to be lost to her, but God had another plan. A plan for good and not for evil, a plan to prosper her and not to harm her. (Jerm. 29:11) That is His promise and He does not lie. Look at Moses. After killing the Egyptian and fleeing to Midian, is seemed as though all was lost to him. For 40 years Moses lived in a land that was not his. Moses did not see the deserts of Midian in his future when he was in the palace but God did. Why did he need to spend 40 years on the back side of a mountain, we will not ever really know but God knows. He knows exactly what is necessary in each of our lives in order for His will to be done. At times the process is uncomfortable but never doubt that God will never leave you. (Deut. 31:6) He is in complete control and He will allow our test to become our testimony. We must learn to lean on Him.
As my aunt leaned on God during this time, she saw His hand of provision move. Where she had to work years to build her home, living in a 200 square foot trailer with no running water or electricity, God moved in days and weeks to give her a new one. He supplied her every need by showing her favor with suppliers and opening up windows to shower down His blessings to meet her every need. Now, 3 months later, she is living in her new home. And yes it is on an old dirt road. But even in that, God is showing her His hand.
What I have learned is not to overlook the small insignificant things in life. All of us have journeys that will lead down dusty roads full of trials and tribulations and yet those very same road are the ones that will lead us to our greatest victories. Meager beginning birth great destinies. Paul had no idea when he started on his trip to Damascus that his dirt road would lead to a life of destiny that would affect people for thousands of years to come. And the greatest journey down the most famous of all roads is what saved an entire world, Jesus’ journey on the Via Dolorosa to Mount Golgotha.
If you are on such a journey now, continue to fight the fight of faith! Don’t give in to your circumstances and refuse to let the enemy put your life on hold because of hurts. We must continue our journey with the Lord. God never promises that we would not endure hardships, He only promised that “He would never leave us nor forsake us.” (Deut. 31:6). Be strong, be courageous, fight the good fight and finish the race!