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Head Instructor’s Testimony

“Life’s Struggle and Perseverance”

July 31, 2007

Today I had one of the most difficult Challenges of my life. As I was going through my challenge, I was reminded of all the difficult things we have to endure throughout our lifetime.

About a month ago, I had the notion to go mountain biking at the Shelby Farm Park here in Memphis. I hadn’t gone riding for about a year at that point. By not paying attention to what was ahead, in the process of going down the first hill at about 40-50 miles per hour as a result, I injured my wrist and scraped up my forearms pretty badly. The terrain was really rough and the holes had gotten bigger. With roots horizontally stretched out in the dirt, they created steps. I started to look back to see how far behind I was leaving my partner and as I started, I noticed the rough terrain right in front of me. I got wiped out before I even started! I managed to evade the hole but I had forgotten about the step like terrain that I would have normally bunny hoped the bike to make it fun and easy. There was nothing fun or easy about what was following the hole! Because my bike wheel was slightly turned, after going down the first step like terrain my front wheel immediately crooked over to the right forcing my bike to through me off. I had to choose instantly! Should I just let go of the bike or should I keep holding on to it? I chose to hold on! My bike flipped me over the handle bars and I embraced my left hand to secure my fall. As I went into a roll, I through the bike over me with my alternate hand but because of the speed I was going I continued to slide. Some how I came out of the roll and slide quickly, and landed on my feet with a lot of dust stirred up around me! Everything appeared to be fine until I tried to get back on my bike! It turned out that my front rim was completely warped and my hand had a little bit of discomfort feeling in it. It wasn’t until days later that I realized just how severe the injury to my wrist really was. It still bothers me today!

Today one of my students and I had plans to ride the trails again. I told him I wasn’t interested in going fast so if he wants to ride the trail fast, he’s welcome to do so and I’ll catch up with him later. He was happy to do the trails but I on the other hand, was unsure if I could even make it past the first part where I wiped out at! Although I had my wrist wrapped, I found myself having trouble using that hand for support to get on the bike.

We started off for our journey but I didn’t make it very far when I tried to tackle a short but steep hill to catch up with my student! A severe sharp pain occurred instantly in my wrist that I had to stop immediately! I started thinking that maybe it’s to soon for me to be trying to ride my bike again. I was thinking, “I’m still injured!”“I should tell my student that I want be able to ride the trails until I am completely healed.” As soon as I said those words of defeat I heard a voice in my head say, “if you give up before you begin, you’ve fail the test!”“This is your journey as an example of faith; it is only a test.”My student rode over to where I was and asked me was I alright and I said, “yes but I’m not sure if I can make it with my wrist hurting like it is!”He said, “We can ride some other time” but I remembered the voice I heard and decided to go on.

As we started up the paved rode, I found myself praying to God asking Him to help me make it through the dirt trails. We finally approached the dirt trails and started down hill but this time I was sure to take my time. There was nothing different about the trail except this time I was able to see every rough terrain before I reached it. I made it down the area in which I first wiped out a month ago. I couldn’t help but thank God for it. Now I had to go back up because any earth structure that is down has to have a point in which you can go up again one way or another. The only thing I could say that was good about my journey was that I new where I was going and I new how to get there but could I make it on my own? Just at that moment, I heard God telling me you’re not alone; I am with you. I told my student that if he wants to, he can go ahead and ride the trail as fast as he wants too. The trail was a long trail which connects to other trails but win you’re riding as fast as you can, the trail becomes a 30 min trail. In my case today it took me about an hour but it wasn’t easy. It was still challenging for me to ride with an injured wrist! I still had to make it up and down steep and long hills, over some of the roughest terrain, and through loops and turns. I was pacing myself the whole time so I wasn’t tired. I found myself soon catching up with my student and some how passing him without trying too. He would eventually catch back up with me by passing me fast and yet still some how I still prevailed over him. I held the lead at a steady pace without trying. It was not about me passing him or even keeping up with him! My test was to just make it to my destination. If I could just finish the race by making it to the end of my journey then I would have passed the test with out racing. I know that statement may sound a little contridictory but not all things in our lives make since to us when God intervene.

There were many times when I wanted to stop alone the trail but something in me just wouldn’t. I remember before leaving on the trail, drinking water in my car because I didn’t have anything to carry my water bottle in or on so I drank as much water that I could get away with before departing on my journey. I knew that I couldn’t over do it by drinking to much water, and I knew I had to drink enough to get me through the trails. Once we were have way through the trails I came upon a part where the trail had forked. At this point I was a good distance ahead of my student. I didn’t know if I should take the right trail or the tree left trails. You see last year, the trails at that point took you through a different route but they changed the route. I was asking God which way I should go. His answer was to wait on my student and he will direct me on which way I should go, and so I waited. The sun was so hot, and I was so thirsty at this point! I was feeling a little weak and dizzy after stopping in the sun. After about one or two minutes my student approached and stopped where I was! He started drinking water from his back canister and asked me did I want some water. Normally I don’t drink behind anyone but this time I was very tempted to do so. I started to say yes but at that moment I heard a voice say, “If you do you fail the test! Have faith in me, and I will see you through!” After hearing that, I told my student “no thank you, I’m ok!” After he had his brief water break, I was confused on which direction he had pointed for me to go so he started off in the direction we needed to be. Although he had the lead, I some how at the pace I was constantly going, took over the lead again without trying.

After going through some of the roughest terrain with the forest providing most of the shade, I now was at the most difficult part of my journey. I came to a part in the last quarter of the trails that I refer to as, “The Long Hall Home!” There are maybe three or four trees that you pass in order to get to the gravel rode. If you are just looking across the field of grass, it could easily be misleading that the trail is shorter than it looks but once you start riding it you can clearly see that it’s not as easy as it seamed. The field is a very long winding trail full of long hills that gradually ascend and descend. What makes this particular part of the trail more difficult is when the sun is beaming hot, and the weather is around 100º without a cloud in the sky or the clouds are not over you to block the sun from getting to you, it becomes even more exigent. I was so thirsty and yet still dizzy once I arrived at the long hall home trail. I wanted to stop but something in me kept pushing onward. I started talking to God more and more telling Him that He is my strength, and it is in Him who I get my strength from. I would find myself saying that over and over as I pushed further and further. I was feeling like I was about to fall off my bike from the pressure of heat that was upon me, being tired, and having no water to drink. I kept on pushing forward talking to God in my mind telling Him that He is my strength, and it is Him who I receive my strength from. All of a sudden I was getting strength that I didn’t know that I would have. I was no longer thinking about water, and I wasn’t feeling faint any longer. I pushed on! Finally I made it to the gravel road and I could see my destiny. Although it was still a good distance away, I knew it would become easier as I got closer to the end of my journey. I started down the gravel road going faster and faster. I’ve even found myself coasting up half way before paddling again. It was much easier than I thought!

After you make it to the end of the gravel road you have the choice to shorten the trail and take the paved rode by the lake back to the vehicles or take the last trail. I chose stay on the last trail to get to my final destination. The reason why was because I knew that if I had done that, I would have failed at that point and not completing my journey because my task was to start and finish on the trails until I’ve reached my destiny. While still pushing forward I looked behind to see how close my student was to me but I couldn’t see him anywhere in sight. I continued pressing on while constantly thanking God more and more as I finally reached my destination.

I was able to make it to my vehicle where I had everything I needed. I immediately started up my car and cut on the air conditioner. I grabbed my bottle water and pored some of it over my head several times before drinking out of it. I was finally able to sit and relax. I had realized if I had turned back at the beginning after irritating my hand, I would be setting in motion the excuse to give up on what ever destiny God has for me just because the task looks to difficult to pursue. I have finally realized that there is nothing I can’t do as long as I have God on my side and with me all the way through what ever journey He has for me.

The revelations that I received from my experience is that the journey represent the journey we have in life. How can you get where you’re going if you don’t know where it is you’re going too? I could see my destiny! It would just take me a while to get their! We all have our ups and downs. The ups and downs I experienced on the trail represent the good times and bad times I went through in the passed and present time. Although I had a rough time at the beginning of my adult hood I still had some good times and bad times. The rough trails represent the uneasy wrong decisions we make and the bad consequences that follows it. The trails represent the trials we go through in life. The fork in the rode represent that we will all eventually come to a fork in the rode before getting our journey and many of us will be challenged by several forks in the road before reaching the end of our journey. When I stop and was confused of which way to go, this represents that sometimes we have to stop before leaping and just go to God and ask Him what we most do to keep from making the wrong decision. After telling me to wait for direction this represents that we want always get the answer when we want it or how we want it to come. It also represents being patient for the answer to come. It may be as short as minutes, hours and days or it may be as long as months or years but God will send you what you asked Him for if you endure and follow in His word. My student giving me direction instead of me giving him direction represents sometimes we have to just humble ourselves in order to receive help from the least. Sometimes God will put us in a position where the least becomes the greater and the greater becomes the least. The times that I was able to pass my student on the rode represents that sometimes things can appear like a lot of people are so successful in everything their doing in life but no matter what you do in life you can’t seam to get ahead. Hence the saying, “I can’t win for losing!” God said in His word that the first will become last and the last will become first in the end days so keep your head up high and hold fast in the word of God. The winding rode represents confusion and illusion in our life. What I mean by that is this is; most of us at one time or another may have ended up with someone we believed with all our heart that this was the person for me just to find out years later that it was the worse decision you could ever have made or worked on a job you thought would be better than the one you were on since it paid you more money just to find out later it would downsize you because they found it would be easier to hire two people for less money to do the same work that you were getting paid for or making a friend with someone you thought you could trust because they seamed like a good listener but it turned out that they couldn’t stand for you to have victory over them so they talked about you behind your back in attempt to stain your name. Some things may appear to be one thing but in reality it’s something else. Hence the saying, “everything is not always what it seams to be!” The graveled rode represents some things may look difficult but once you tackle it head on, it can become a smoother ride because you’ve accepted it to be a rougher rode than what it appeared to be. The acceleration down hill and the coasting up hill represents the easier times in our life and the coasting represents God knowing that you’re giving it your best so because you persevered He is willing to give you the help you need provided you keep pressing on until you have reached your destiny. The decision I made to not get off the last trail and on to the paved road represent how you can be so close of reaching your destiny but you choose to get off of the road to take a short cut not realizing that it may cause you to miss your blessings all together after getting so far or stopping along the way after getting so far and never reaching your destination. Reaching the end of my destination and enjoying the refreshing air, water, and relaxing seat represents VICTORY. Once you have succeeded in arriving at your destination you will find a since of peace (refreshing air), prosperity and longevity that you no longer have to thirst for (water), and the comfort in God to realize that you are where you’re at because He put you there and you no longer have to worry an stress over your finances, health or anything else that may fall under stress or worry (relaxation).

We all are eventually challenged in life whether it is through our friends, our children or spouse relationship, on the job stress, operating our own business, over weight or other health issues, bad habits that are difficult to break or bad financial decisions it is important to realize what we need to do to better our condition. The only way we ended up in the condition that we’re in is because we put ourselves there; no one else did. We always have the choice to get out of a bad situation provided we’re willing to go all the way but you don’t have to do it alone! If you ask God, He will help you achieve your victory. Other than this testimony, I have many other testimonies that God will intercede in our life to help us in reaching our destinies. You see we have many destinies we just refer to them as goals. We need to reach for all of our destinies before reaching the end of our journey. That Journey is the time you were conceived to the time that you return back to dirt. The dirt of course is from what God created us from when He made us in His likeness and image before breathing life into our body. That life is our soul. Our soul is the spiritual connection we have with God. It is through these means that we are all a unique breed of species. We are the human race. Each one of us unique in our own way! We have the power through God to do anything we want to do that is pleasing to Him. We are living in a time where people have no morals, and not enough bold people to live and walk in the eyes of God’s righteousness. We care more about making money as a society than we care about helping the poor and needy or kids to stay out of gangs. What am I saying? We need to first care about others before selfishly only thinking about ourselves. We need to be willing to give first in order to receive from God. I hold fast to believe that God will continue to bless me in reaching my destinations as I continue pressing on through life until I have reached the end of my journey.

Thank you for taking the time to read my testimony, and may God bless the reader in Jesus name, Amen.

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