https://youtu.be/IggPl3H3M64 - R8P Podcast Version
To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. (Isiah 61:3 NKJV)
https://youtu.be/DDhlTzbyFRo - Beauty for Ashes by Crstal Lewis
Crystal Lewis sang this verse as “He gives beauty for ashes, Strength for fear, Gladness for mourning, Peace for despair.” This song has always rang loudly in my spirit whenever I think of the happenings of the story I’m about to tell. Especially as I once even found myself thinking, “I know God intervenes and fights for us against external enemies that come against us but, what about when everything is our fault? What about when WE mess up? What then?” Yes, I a believer of over a decade came to think like this. But the Lord in his grace, mercy and infinite wisdom reminded me quickly of John 3: 16 – 17 which states; “(16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (17) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” This whole salvation thing is literally based on God lovingly coming to rescue us from the stuff we got ourselves into. So, here’s one of many stories of a time I messed up and God did the DO.
The setting is a younger Vessel in sixth form and I had been through my first round of CAPE and on results day my heart fell through the floor. It read “2 3 4 4 4” and life was simply over, that was it, I was DONE. This may seem like an over reaction but just a year before I graduated with 10 CXC subjects all grades 1 or 2, I didn’t even know what it felt like to get a grade 3 in anything much less 4…3 of them at that. To add insult to injury, I wanted to be a law student and the rhetoric was that to get in I had to do VERY WELL and I had almost straight up failed. Not to mention that my “smart girl” reputation meant that the bullying I was already facing was very likely going to get worse if any of the bullies found out about these results. Afterall, I should have been clocking all grades 1s…but that did not happen. So, I was fully convinced that if God did not intervene my life was over, I would never be a Uwi law student nor would I ever be an Attorney.
I was crushed and absolutely discouraged, disappointed my parents, so ashamed I could barely tell my friends (thank God they were so sweet). Many things happened over the course of this summer and the following academic year so to keep a long story short i’ll stick to the highlights. I knew I needed a miracle here so I started to pray and worship God like my life depended on it, because IT DID. I seriously don’t think I have prayed, cried, sang and exercised more faith than at that point in my life. I went through it! At one point, I had to sit in a room at my school with several other “underperforming” students with paper I had been given to write a letter to my principal to literally beg for a place in upper sixth form. The Lord must have granted me favor in her eyes because I got in again and with that came a second chance. The school year began and I decided I would not hide the results, I would not let them become a stick bullies could use to beat me with and I wore them like they were all grades 1s. I also had to watch as one by one many many of my friends got into the law program by January of that year but no such acceptance came for me.
I had been woken up though and I was trying my best to not repeat the mistakes of the previous year and CAPE was nigh again. The second set came and went and I graduated sixth form as the top History student of my year, but still no acceptance from the school I wanted to be at next. That summer just before the year I was hopefully going to college was also intense, While I’m Waiting by Travis Greene was my theme song and at some point I just started moving like my miracle had already happened. I prepped for school like I had already gotten the acceptance and if you asked me, I was going to Uwi that September. I was still reeling from the blow dealt to my ego and my very self worth the year before but I had already known that my only option was to lean FULLY on God, HE HAD TO WORK IT OUT. If God did not move for me I was finished, my dreams would be dashed to pieces, I could not recover.
CAPE grades came in and I managed some improvement “2 3 3 3” was an extremely welcome sight and I cried happy tears for probably the first time since the previous July but I still had no idea if it would be enough. August came and I still had no acceptance and like many other times during this fight my faith wavered and I really wondered what I was going to do with myself if the acceptance did not come. But then just about 1 week before orientation was to start for the year I GOT ACCEPTED. I cannot begin to tell the weight that lifted from my shoulders when I saw that email, happy tears flowed as I ran into my mother’s arms. We both just stood, hugged and cried in absolute relief. I did not know what was ahead of me but I knew even then that because God placed me there I would make it.
That was three years ago. I learned so much of God during that time, so much happened I couldn’t tell it all here. I went to college and I struggled with anxiety, had at least 1 panic attack every exam season but every time it got bad I remembered this time and how much God had come through for me, I remembered to trust Him and I remembered the power of faith and of prayer. This November I graduate with my Bachelors of Laws (LLB) with 1st Class Honours. As I write this I’m waiting for an acceptance to law school, but I’m not really worried about it, if He did it before, he’ll do it again. Glory to God.
**** Slight update, as I’m posting this, I already got my law school acceptance, Glory to God indeed!!