Family Tradition

Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he was making a work on the wheels. When the vessel that he made of the clay was marred in the hand of the potter, he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, House of Israel, can't I do with you as this potter?' Jeremiah 18:3 WEB

When I was young, I followed the family tradition of dropping out of school and getting a job in construction. By seventeen I was married with a child on the way, house, car, and trying to pay all the bills that came along with it by digging foundations for houses. I was a laborer.

My Dad was on his own at thirteen, so I was actually a late bloomer by his standard. I did not know of anyone in my family that had ever finished high school. You were not expected to then. Both of my brothers had already dropped out, one in the fifth grade and the other in the eighth. I honestly do not remember hearing the word 'college' until I was in my twenties.

When I was nearing thirty, I was serving the Lord with all my heart, and one Sunday night at church, the Lord spoke to me and urged me to go back to school. The word came through the pastor's wife, who simply put her hand on my shoulder and said: 'Dion, the Lord wants you to get your GED.' Her words had impact, and I knew instantly that it was the Lord speaking to me through her, so I took it seriously and told her that I would look into it.

Monday morning, I went to the adult education center in Conway, South Carolina to see what it would take for me to finish school. Though the parking lot was full of cars, there was one spot open right by the entrance. I went inside and they explained that I had been out of school for a long time, over a decade, so I would need to take a pre-test and then I could attend classes and learn the subjects that I was weak on. Best case scenario, in about one year I should have my GED. This was during the 90s in the South, computers were rare, and all school work was done with a pencil, paper and books.

I went back Tuesday morning to take the pre-test, and I prayed all the way there. The parking spot in front of the door was open for me once again. They sat me at a desk and gave me multiple tests throughout the morning. The answers seem to come easily, and I breezed right through it. On Wednesday, I went back to go over my test results with them and to get the books that I needed so I could start studying. If this is what the Lord wanted me to do, then I planned to see it through. Once again, my parking spot in front of the door was open for me.

When I walked in, a group of teachers were gathered together and discussing some papers. One of them looked at me and said 'There he is', then she cocked her head to one side and asked 'How long have you been studying?' I told her that I had just decided to start on Sunday night. She said 'Well, you did excellent. You needed a 70 to pass. You scored a 97. I believe that you are ready to take the test. It is too bad that you did not come a few weeks earlier. The GED test is only given in this part of the state every six months. It is going to be held in Georgetown this Saturday, but the state requires you to sign up a month in advance.' She paused a moment and said, 'Let me call them.'

She called someone, found out they had a cancelation, got transferred to someone else, then to someone else, then faxed them my test scores. When the call was over, she smiled at me and said 'You got in!' She was so happy she hugged me. Saturday morning I drove to Georgetown, about 40 miles away, to take the eight hour test. I prayed all the way there. Again there was a parking spot open for me near the door. The test had questions like 'How far is the sun from the earth?' I didn't have a clue, so I prayed a moment and wrote down whatever came to mind. It was right. I was one of the first to finish.

The following Sunday when I returned to church, I had my GED. I had completed the entire process in one week from start to finish. I went on to attend bible college for a bachelor's degree and graduated. It was totally the Holy Spirit reshaping my life. He was the driver, I was the co-pilot, and I was just along for the ride. I was just having a great time enjoying the Lord, but He was busy working in the background and setting things in motion that would shape my future. He opened the doors, and I stepped through them. I took the tests, but He gave me the answers.

It does not matter if you were brought up as nothing. When you submit your life to God and follow His guidance, He will begin to put your life back together and make it meaningful. God is able to reshape you on His potter's wheel (Jeremiah 18:1). Just because that is the way that it has always been, does not mean that is the way that it will always be. When He adopts you into His family, He may break all of your old family traditions.

Prayer: Heavenly Father I want all that You have for me. Please break me out of my tiny box and change my way of thinking. Open the right doors for me. Teach me what I need to know, lead me and I will follow You, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.

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