This is a powerful, inspiring, and interesting story of triumph.
On a journey of accomplishment overshadowed by challenges and adversity, Gertrude invites readers into her world as she gives an account of how her strong faith in God helped her to triumph over adversity.
She refused to allow her humble beginning to limit or define her destiny. Using captivating experiences backed by biblical characters who had their own valley encounters as well as a peep into her prayer life, she shares her story.
In spite of the struggles, disappointment, grief, and loss, Gertrude maintained a close relationship with God. She showed how her faith helped her bypass the stresses of life and overcome the challenges.
Her strong will to rise above the circumstances that were intended to dehumanize her allowed her to experience the supernatural power of God. She relied on him for inner peace, strength, protection, and direction as she tried to beat the odds and fulfill her purpose.
This book will encourage and empower you to accept the things you cannot change and activate your faith to trust God as he is in control of your life.
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About the Author
She has a Diploma from Moneague Teachers College, a BSc and MBA from Nova Southeastern University. Among her accolades she has the Excellent Teacher award, the Lasco Teacher of the Year Region 3 Top Teacher award and the Golden Torch long service award. Her entrepreneurial interests inspired her to establish other career paths in Fashion Designing, Dress Making and Culinary Arts.
Her journey took her through success overshadowed by adversity, to retire from the Ocho Rios Primary School in St. Ann, Jamaica.
Read an Excerpt
BEING AT PEACE
Life is a journey that is paved with opportunities, successes, setbacks, sickness, disappointments, and other types of adversities. We are faced with challenges on a daily basis, but we can have peace in the midst of a churning world. We can enjoy peace of mind in different ways. Some find it in security, shelter, food and money. Others say it's all about what we do. Marcus Aurelius believed that "He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the world."
Our thought process and the way we interpret the things that are happening around us create the whirling that so often causes anxiety. We can experience peace and contentment amid the chaos if we control the way we think by allowing the peace of God to guard our hearts and minds. This peace can only be accomplished by being positive and praying consistently instead of worrying about the circumstances around us.
There are many scripture verses that point us to obtaining peace in the midst of life's struggles. God promises us that His peace that transcends all understanding will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. He wants that peace to rule in our hearts so that we will be able to deal effectively with the challenging experiences in life. This peace is one of the nine characteristics of the fruit of the spirit, and it breeds contentment. Contentment is the key to unlock the door to our peace of mind. We can access this key through our daily communication with God. The word of God tells us that godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it (1 Timothy 6:6-7) (NIV).
We should be contented with whatever state we find ourselves in. When we are overcome with anxiety and fear, we need to find a quiet place where we can meditate on God's word. This is accomplished by sitting quietly, avoiding distractions, reading scripture verses, listening to the appropriate music, praying and just worshiping God. God wants us to be at peace with ourselves so that we can abide in His presence. He wants us to live a peaceful, accomplished life.
I can truly say that the world didn't give me this peace that I have, and the world can't take it from me. I experience contentment when, like Reinhold Niebuhr, I ask God to "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." My reasoning is not always perfect, but I believe God's word is perfect, containing everything that is necessary to enhance my spiritual life. God's love is unconditional and has no boundaries.
David confirmed this when he said, "Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies" (Psalm 36:5) (NIV). God's steadfast love never ceases, and His mercies never end. He is faithful and merciful; so He will not allow us to be tempted, tried or suffer beyond our ability to survive because He always provides a way of escape or the means to endure tribulation. Life is never easy; but for those who love God, "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) (KJV). I am encouraged by the scripture in Deuteronomy 7:9 (KJV) which reminds us that God is faithful to keep His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. He abides with those who believe in Him and give them inner peace.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for Your abundant love, Your grace and Your mercy. Thank You for peace of mind. Thank You for Your faithfulness, even when we fail to be faithful to You. I pray that You will remove anxiety and replace it with the courage to move ahead each day in spite of our circumstances. As we journey through life, may You guide our path and let Your peace reign among us in our family, in our various institutions, in our business places, and even in our churches. Give us clarity of mind to understand Your word. Help us to realize the real purpose for which we were created. Remove every stressful situation from our lives and give us wisdom to deal with the challenges of this life. Grant us Your peace. In Jesus' name, amen.CHAPTER 2
ROOTED AND GROUNDED
We have no control over how our journey in life begins or ends. We make plans and try to implement them; but the LORD declares that He knows the plan He has for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). (NIV)
We usually start life's journey with a mission we aim to fulfil, but are often encompassed by clouds of doubt and adversity. A successful person is one who ensures that a firm foundation is in place from the outset. In Psalm 1, we are likened to a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bears good fruit in its season, whose leaves will not wither and whatever he does shall prosper. The words of Jeremiah 17:7-8 tells us that the one who trusts in the LORD and has confidence in Him will be blessed. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought, and never fails to bear fruit. A productive tree that bears much fruit is one whose roots are grounded. The Bible declares in Colossians 2:7 that we should be rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith as we have been taught, abounding with thanksgiving. When we are rooted and grounded in God's word, we begin life's journey as a good seed planted in fertile soil (Ephesians 3:17).
There is much assurance in these scriptures that we should have a firm foundation in order to survive the perils on our journey.
I can identify with this situation because on my journey, I have encountered many challenges and fought many battles. There were times when I felt like giving up, not being able to understand why I was born in a Christian home, baptized when I was nine years old, grew up in church and still encountered so many challenges. The scripture passages I learned as a child resonated with me throughout my journey; and I often reflect on them for comfort, guidance, direction and protection. We should not allow our present circumstances to determine our future endeavours. When our roots grow deep into the soil, we are better able to survive any season of drought. Every seed that is planted has the potential to grow and produce. However, the output is contingent on the input.
SUNRISE IN CEDAR VALLEY
As I turn around to look at the long, winding road behind me, the one I call my past, I remember the humble beginnings of my parents' home, located in the remote community of Cedar Valley on the lush green hills of Jamaica. My parents raised me with my other siblings in a protective, God-fearing environment. They were poor and hardworking, but very independent. They believed in what the scripture says about training up their children in the way they should go, so that even when they are old, they would not turn from it.
My parents wanted us to have a better life than the one they had, so from an early age, they instilled certain values and attitudes in us. They believed in setting high standards for us as the hills surrounding our community and the vast landscape of farm lands did not define our future. They were serious about our education; but maintained a balance between school, leisure and church. They ensured that homework was completed each evening. We had to recite our poems, learn the patriotic songs and, at the same time, study our Bible verses. We had to say our prayers before we went to bed, and again when we woke up in the mornings. We couldn't eat our meals without saying our 'grace', as they often called it.
Even when we accompanied Dad to his farm, we had to recite scriptures like Psalm 1, Psalm 100, Psalm 23 and 24 (among others) as we climbed the rugged terrain. We walked behind him on his donkey, either singing religious songs or repeating scripture passages. Whenever he rode his mule, he would allow us to ride with him. We enjoyed that experience very much. The words of Deuteronomy 6 were instilled in us from an early age, with verse 7 being a point of focus daily. It states, "Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." As a child, my mother taught us the scripture, "Honour thy father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you." She would roll her eyes and ask us to repeat it whenever she thought we were disobedient or disrespectful.
I remember that my innate potential as a teacher manifested itself in my early life. During recess at the Prickly Pole All-Age School which I attended, I would pretend that I was the teacher, and my classmates were my students. This is where I displayed all the characteristics of my class teacher. When I reached fourth grade, my teacher asked my father to move me from that school because I was ahead of my class and she saw where I had great potential. It did not take much to convince him, and he immediately enrolled me at the Claremont All-Age School which was approximately ten miles away. Now I was the little country girl coming to town, as this was the main town or shopping area for several surrounding communities. It was not convenient to travel daily as public transportation was scarce. So I had the experience of boarding from I was about ten years old. I hardly missed home, as I lived with a couple who had no other child in their home at the time and were generous people. This relocation did not affect my spiritual well-being as I always attended church with them. My parents had a grocery shop that served the community, and my father was a farmer as well as a baker. I always looked forward to coming home on weekends to help them in the shop, sew, or bake products for sale.
After a few years, I joined my siblings who were now attending Shiloh High School which was a private school. Mom and Dad were often criticized for doing this, but they believed in what Malcolm X said about education: "Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today." I thank them for facilitating that process. If they had allowed poverty to limit their ability to educate their children, my siblings and I would not have accomplished the goals that we set early in life.
My academic pursuits quickly grew and blossomed as I went through primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions; and did well. My mantra was always, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I did not worry about what others thought of me, and I did not let their opinions define my future. I believed that if I put my trust in God with all my heart, leaned not on my own understanding, and submitted to Him in all my ways, He would direct my path. This belief cemented my spiritual relationship with God as I journeyed from childhood to adolescence and adulthood. It also created and maintained checks and balances in my spiritual and temporal life. Although I was engaged in community projects, I was also active in church, serving as a Sunday School teacher, Youth Director, and Women's Missionary Leader.
It was sometimes challenging to grow up and maintain my Christian principles, but my love for church allowed me to serve God relentlessly and helped me to mature into a modest young lady. My peers sometimes thought I was weird, as I was more attached to the older women in my community than to my teenage group. Unlike my younger siblings, I didn't have many friends; my parents were strict and overprotective of me. I looked forward to coming home on weekends, but the fear of being grounded at home for no apparent reason while my other siblings were allowed to go out with their friends haunted me. However, I can't complain much as this practice helped to keep me sober and focused. I was an avid reader so, being alone at home most times, I found comfort in reading books and magazines. My mother was a seamstress so when I wasn't reading, I was sitting beside her at the sewing machine, waiting to thread the needle each time she needed that to be done. I soon learned the art of sewing and made my mother proud when I made my first high school uniform. Soon after, I was sewing or repairing clothing for my other siblings. My mother always bragged about my sewing skills and some months later, some ladies in my community brought fabric for me to sew their dresses.
From an early age, I learnt that in order to succeed in life, I would have to be prepared to tear down barriers and remove unnecessary boundaries around me. I did not allow my humble beginnings to define my destiny. Instead, I was constantly reminded of this particular song from Veggie Tales, "I am a promise, I am a possibility" and from an early age I tried to set goals and worked assiduously toward accomplishing them.
I will always remember these childhood years as they helped to mold me into the strong, productive woman I am today. I often wish my parents were here to see the mature fruits of the tree they had planted years ago, but they have gone ahead of me, so may their souls rest in peace and light perpetually shine upon them.
Heavenly Father, I thank You for the moon that shines in the dark, and for the sun that rises each morning. Its radiance lights up the world around us and reminds us that You are in control of the universe. As it rises, let new hope rise in me. Let Your love shine around me and give me peace. Order my steps that as I grow older each day, I'll be what You want me to be. LORD, give me the courage to pursue the things that will please You and satisfy my needs according to Your will. I thank You for my humble beginning as it taught me to appreciate the things I cannot change. I surrender my all to You and pray that Your Holy Spirit will transform me as I keep my heart and mind focused on You. In Jesus' name, amen.CHAPTER 3
THE PLANT BLOOMS
While growing up, I was more of an introvert, but that did not limit my involvement in church activities. During my early teens, my church had street meetings in several adjoining communities, and I was always on the agenda to give a testimony or an exaltation. I completed this task with great pride and joy. I bloomed like a flower in a garden, and I knew then that God had destined me for greatness.
I was at church one Sunday when the Parish Overseer visited and the moderator asked me to give an exaltation (this is usually done before the preacher gives the sermon). My focus text was, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor power, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our LORD." (Romans 8:38-39) (KJV) After I finished speaking, the Bishop, who was the day's preacher, remarked that I was very brave to have made such a strong statement. I didn't quite understand what he meant until several years later, when I faced adversity and had no other choice but to continue believing in God for deliverance.
MAKING GOOD CHOICES
Life is made up of unlimited choices. Sometimes, we have to make decisions that will change our lives forever. One of my attributes is that I don't make decisions without praying about them, regardless of how small they are. This habit has stuck with me on my journey. Another inherent quality is not being afraid of taking calculated risks. I may procrastinate in fear of making the wrong decision, but after I pray about it, I always feel confident that God will let His will be done. It was Stephen Covey who said, "We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our own conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals." I have made mistakes, but I try to learn some lessons from them so they are not repeated.
There are some choices that we have to make, no matter how difficult the consequences are, because they determine our destiny. Yet God gives us options when we exercise our faith in Him. We have to listen closely to His direction and be able to determine if He is the voice speaking, as there are many voices. The scripture says, "Have I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)(NIV)
After I was successful in the first set of exams that would qualify me for tertiary-level education, my parents decided they could no longer afford to send me to school because there were three younger siblings attending the same private school. I was devastated, but at this point in my life, I had absolutely no intention of staying home. So, I prayed for God's direction, and the answer came when I travelled to a nearby community to ask the principal of a primary school if he would allow me to visit that institution for a few hours each week to observe the teachers. When he heard that my reason for doing this was because my parents could not afford to send me back to school, he asked me how far I had reached in school. Then he informed me that I was already qualified to be employed as a pre-trained teacher. I could not believe I was hearing right, but realized he was serious when he asked me to complete the application process. This landed me my first job as a teacher.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "My Valley Experience"
Copyright © 2019 Gertrude Flynn-White.
Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 BEING AT PEACE, 1,
2 ROOTED AND GROUNDED, 5,
SUNRISE IN CEDAR VALLEY, 7,
3 THE PLANT BLOOMS, 11,
MAKING GOOD CHOICES, 12,
4 REAPING THE FRUITS, 17,
THE POWER OF PRAYER, 19,
5 THE VALLEY OF BACA, 21,
PRAYING IN THE NAME OF JESUS, 24,
6 THE VALLEY OF WEEPING, 27,
LIGHT SHINES OUT OF DARKNESS, 32,
WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS, 34,
THE POTTER'S CLAY, 36,
7 PROCLAIMING HIS GOODNESS, 41,
FULFILLING HIS PURPOSE, 43,
8 THE VALLEY OF ADVERSITY, 53,
9 MARCHING INTO VICTORY, 59,
10 BEING AN OVERCOMER, 65,
FROM GLORY TO GLORY, 68,
GOD'S GRACE AND FAVOUR, 70,
FAITH IN GOD, 71,
PUTTING GOD FIRST, 72,
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES, 89,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, 93,