Blog By Jimada Robinson
If I could define perseverance, I would define it as refusing to give up in the face of adversity. This topic for me has been a continuous theme in several areas of my life. Just last month I stood in front of my fellow doctoral student colleagues and answered the infamous question that most professors ask their students… Why did you decide to start your doctorate? As I watched each student stand and articulate their distinguished educational achievements I begin to reflect on my life. Jimada, why are you doing this? The very fact that I was standing in the room with individuals that have dedicated their lives to education and educating others was a dichotomy in itself. Growing up dyslexic offered me a list of challenges pertained to schooling. I remember my second-grade teacher explaining to my mother and I that I would probably barely graduate high school and that college probably would not be the best fit for me. However, my mother, being the reason for my perseverance, encouraged me to continue working hard and to prove God’s best for my life. Since I was little I told my mother, “One day I will be a doctor!” From that point on she continued to call me Dr. Robinson.
So, I worked hard and persevered the countless hours of studying…And I did it! I graduated from high school with honors and got into my first college of choice. From that point on I was unstoppable until November of 2007. My biggest cheerleader and encourager was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was right before my final year of college. Watching my mother’s body become consumed by this horrible disease and pass away sent me into a tailspin. Why go on if my mother wasn’t there to see it? It was during that time that I realized that my faith to persevere was founded in my relationship with my mother and not God. However, God began to encourage me to place my trust in Him.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
I had no problem doing this with my mother but how was I supposed to do this with God? I guess I felt like Joshua after Moses passed away. Who was going to keep the vision?
I continued on and finished my undergrad degree while helping parent my younger siblings with my dad and vowed that I was never going back to school. But God had other plans. I remember years later, God telling me that I had to go back to school. You cannot stop Jimada I’m doing something that is much bigger than you. So much to my surprise, I went back to school. I had to continue. I had to preserve. And yes, a new set of challenges and adversity met me along the journey. But now my trust was in God. But with Him, I was able to overcome way more.
So, when it came to my turn to answer my professor’s question, I stood proudly and answered the question by saying, “I started this doctoral program because God gets a kick out of people, situations and even me telling myself no.” At that moment, I had developed an understanding that God had equipped me to persevere for the journey He had set me on; and that nothing could stop God’s calling on my life if I continued to never give up.
James 1:12 (NIV) Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
So, as I continue to persevere towards my mark of becoming Dr. Robinson, I thank God for persevering with me and never letting go of the vision.