A Testimony

testimonyAs I approach fully establishing a new season of my life, I began to reflect on some things and I became overjoyed on how great God has been to me.  I am so grateful.  Sometimes when you are going through things, its hard to see how you actually have always been triumphing through adversity.  When you think of what God has brought you from and into, you get happy. I wanted to make an entry that is not so formal but just a soliloquy of my appreciation of God and what He has taken me through to bring me through.  We overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony.  I hope parts of this testimony will encourage you.

In a previous blog, I wrote about seed, time and harvest.  I spoke about how things in our lives are set up according to this principle.  We all start out with a bare ground and it is up to us to sow into that ground in hopes of reaping a harvest later.  The past ten years of my life have been very much like this.  When you are called to a specific purpose in the earth, your life will reflect many challenges that come to test your character, integrity, and will.  When I began working on this entry, I was at my apartment building in Macon, GA.  I was packing it up to make the official transfer from there to Atlanta.  I had been living in both cities for about six months until my lease ended in Macon.  If ever you have had to pack up a place that you have lived in for a while you can remember how reminiscent it felt.  As you behold the bareness of the walls from removed pictures and the emptiness of cabinets and closets, you began to reflect on all the experiences you have had.  My life has changed greatly from the times past to now. I do not regret a thing, yet, I embrace everything that has occurred with me.  Some people may look at me today and they assume that I have it all together and that I do not know what struggle feels like.  They see how I dress, where I live, my job, business and they make a conclusion that it was all a cake walk.  What they do not know is that there was once a time that my ground was bare.  From 2007 to now, I have had to sow relentlessly into my broken spaces in hopes that someway, somehow, a sprout would come up.  It is hard to sow when you have nothing to sow it with.  It is in those moments that you sow with your faith, your servitude, and your attitude(intent).   I have not always known what financial success looked like but for the longest I was married to lack and brokenness.

When I was about 23, God started this “process” in my life where he would constantly put me in position to have to sow into other people out of my own lack and brokenness.  Most notably, from the time I was 23 up until now, I have had to let people come and board in my home   Every time one left, God would send another and I would open the door and say, “stay”.  I wrote Turning 30, 40, 50… because my twenties were pretty hard on me. The thought of living life as a thirty year old was scary for me because I did not want the struggles I experienced as a 21 year old or a 25 year old.  I said,  “I decree that my thirties will NOT go the way my twenties went.”  Thirty was a rocky start. And for a moment I felt as if no change was coming. But God soon revealed himself.  Let me tell you, when you wait for the Lord, He WILL renew your strength. You WILL mount up as an eagle, you WILL run and not faint. You will live to see the promise that He has given you. I count not myself to be apprehended but this one thing I do, I am so thankful. I’m not as a fool and want to believe that life will always be cherries and roses but for right now I am enjoying the reaping of the seeds I have sown into people, ministry, family and friends so selflessly.  I remember a time, I had to scrape up the rent money, flipping cushions for pennies.  But now, I can probably afford to pay your rent and mine. I don’t boast in myself, but I boast in what the Lord has done for me.  If he turned it around for me, he can do the same for you.

Life has not been a cake walk.   I am reminded of the story in the book of Habakkuk. The prophet Habakkuk went to God on behalf of the people and he said, “lord the enemy is constantly on our tail. When will you deliver us from this oppression?” And God answered and said,  “There is a vision.  Write it down and make it plain.”  He said, “See that the vision will tarry, but wait on it. It will come and it will not tarry when it comes.”  He said,  “Now send the vision with the runners so that it can be made known in the earth what the expectation is.”   I’m paraphrasing. You can go to Habakkuk 1 and so on to read it for yourself.
Many years ago, God stripped me for the sake of purpose. He broke me down and gave me a promise. I lost job after job after job. That completely obliterated my credit. I got sick, lost this and lost that. However, I tell you this, I have never been out out on the street, never been strung out on drugs, and one has never seen me once begging for bread.  God showed me that He needed me to depend on nothing but His power.  I learned that I have to be trained how to speak what I need.  I also learned that I have to know how to see my way, literally, through everything. Catch a vision out of your struggle.  I have learned that if you can see it you can have it. If you can speak it, the earth will respond and produce it. I got to a point that my testimony in church became “all I have left is a promise from God”.
It was that promise that I waited on. I waited and I waited. In the midst of waiting I served and I sowed over and over again.  Many times I had some people in my house that I had to feed and shelter, pray for and minister to, all the while they would be like ravenous wolves behind my back.  God was faithful enough to remove those people and let those who truly had my best interest at heart remain.  There were times I’ve had to pray God make a way to supply my needs and the needs of the people who depended on me.  They never knew that while they enjoyed the lights and water, I had to speak to the atmosphere and decree one more day before cut off, or for a new payment arrangement.  And you know, sometimes the lights did get turned off and the water did get shut off but I continued to do what was required of me.
You have to decree your life into order. Paul said in Philippians 3:13, “I count not my myself to be apprehended. But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind me, but reaching for those which are before.  I am pressed towards the prize of the high call of God through Jesus Christ.”  You have to press your way through the trial.  Just like the woman with the issue of blood. She pressed her way through the crowd.  There has to be a faith in you so raw and a confidence in you so real that you can stand bold and flat footed and decree. [Matthew 9:21] “I know that if I can…….”   You fill in the blank right there.  You have to have an assurance like no other.  Your faith has to be intentional towards results.
One last mode of testimony.  In February this year, I was met with a Judas experience.  Recall Jesus was hurt and troubled in his spirit by Judas intentions but nonetheless, he did not resist what Judas had to do but he still confronted Judas and let him know that he was very well aware.  Jesus needed Judas to betray him for his own exaltation.  I say that to teach you that there are some people in your midst that smoke in your face with laughter of love and many kudos but secretly they plot and scheme. Secretly, their thoughts of you are not what they profess in front of you.  These problems come to usher you into your exaltation.  David said in Psalm 23, “thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.”   Don’t worry about them that seem to be giving you a hard time because the day will come that God will exalt you and they will have to watch in despair.  They will not be happy in their own lives. They will be struggling with lack and frustrations of their own. They will have to watch you be blessed beyond measure.  So do not count these people out. Know that you need them.  God is going to spread a table for you in the midst of those who hurt you.
Everything has its purpose.  Romans 8:28 says “All things work together for the good of them that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose”.  I wrote once, “Our lives are full of purpose and the purpose has nothing to do with us”.  When you lord all of yourself, your circumstances, your lack, your growth, your hurts, your joys – All of these things over to Jesus, He will give you a return on your investment like you have never seen.  I know it looks rough now.  If you are in your early 20’s and just starting out and you are feeling like you are lost, I come to tell you to keep living.  Find Jesus and watch he take your life and does something great with it.  Faith is common for the upright and without it you cannot do much of anything in this earth.  You have to learn how to believe when believing hurts like a root canal.  I have already stated once before that you will always want to quit.  You will always be tempted to “curse your God and die”.   Job’s wife said all of this in Job 2:9.  “Why are you maintaining your integrity?  Curse your God and die?”.  Job’s response was simple.  He said, “you foolish woman, do we expect to only accept God’s goodness and not accept his adversity?”
What is the secret to success?  I do not think there is a fit-for-all answer to this.  What I can say from my experience is the secret to success is knowing how to find a solution in a problem.   Your life will be riddled with problems and you have to have a mindset to be able to see the possibility of a good ending.  Despair has no place in your mind.  My life only began to change once I learned to start speaking to my adversities by faith.  Living a life of faith is not easy, but it is profitable.  When you intentionally chose to have hope over despair, things have to turn out well for you.  It can go no other direction.  I do not care how bad it looks, God has an answer in every desperate situation you find yourself in.  There is always victory.  It is my challenge to you today to always use the power that is within you to overcome the issues of life.

2 Comments

  1. Shirley Person August 7, 2016 at 9:00 am

    We over come by the words of our testimonials.
    We go from glory to glory !
    I know as and officer in ministry you must have weathered some storms.
    I also know your heavy Challenging times is a great example of your level of success to come. Hallelujah
    God trusted you and empowers you to stand, for he knew the plans he had for you and a expected end!

    1. jerometripp August 7, 2016 at 9:44 am

      Thank you for that reminder, Shirley. God does give us officers the power to endure hardship “like a good soldier”. I am reminded of what Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “our light and momentary struggles produce for us an eternal weight of Glory. Last night, I found myself petitioning God for His Glory to be revealed in everything that He produces through me. It is what I desire the most. It is so easy to boast of the gifts that God has given us. However, yet again, I am hearing the words of Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:6 where he says that though he can boast [in the gifts and favor of God in his life] he cannot boast because God had given him a thorn in his flesh. Shirley, we all have a thorn and I have one that keeps me humble before God in the midst of the talents and gifts and blessings that He has favored upon my life. The truth is, I want to keep the thorn in all of the dismay it may bring and the ridicule it may invite; this one thing I know, is that God’s grace was always sufficient for it and it forever will be. 🙂

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