I have been reflecting on ways that the sovereign God has used people to help allow me to be who I am today. One such person is Ruth Brown.
My maternal grandmother, Venita Misner, met Ruth as a young adult living in Chicago. Ruth was renting a room from my grandma's family and they became friends. Ruth was a committed follower of Christ and began to share her faith with my grandma. My grandma came to a faith in Christ as well. My grandma married and moved back to Grand Rapids, MI.
Ruth never married. She took on my grandma's family as her own. She was "Aunt Brownie" to us growing up. She prayed for our family as her own. Although Ruth lived her life in relative obscurity to most, she was a warrior for the kingdom. She was very involved in her local church in Chicago. She was close friends with many leaders of long time ministries based out of Chicago including the founders of AWANA and Sunshine Gospel Ministries. She had a passion for Christ and a passion for Chicago.
Fast forward many years. God was calling me as a college student to explore a life of full time ministry. During my sophomore year, I made a decision to spend the summer in Chicago serving with Inner City Impact. No one was more excited than "Aunt Brownie". She dropped me off at the beginning of the summer. Her health was so bad, that she could hardly climb the stairs to the third floor of the building. That summer God began to prepare my heart for His calling me back to Chicago after graduation.
Ruth Brown died in the fall of that year.
In March of the next year, I was struggling financially and contemplating dropping out of college until I could find a way to pay for it all. I got a call informing me that Ruth's unsaved sister Marge, felt that God wanted her to use what earthly possessions she had to pass on to help me pay for college. Ruth had no real wealth of her own, butshe had convince her sister Marge to invest what she had in me. Marge said that Ruth was so excited that God was calling me to Chicago and it was only right for her money to help make it happen.
Over the next three years, I was given $30,000 towards finishing my college degree. I took no loans after that point and ended college with only the debt from my first two years of school.
Jehovah-Jireh- God our provider!
God used a faithful servant of God who lived life unnoticed by the world to begin a spiritual heritage in my family many years ago. And then in her death, He used her again to help make it possible for me to be who I am today.
It is only by the grace of God that I now lead a scholarship program called PURSUE to help support other Christian young people as they go to college. Without this faithful women, I don't know that I would serve Lighthouse Christian Fellowship in shepherding our young community of faith on the west side of Chicago.
Aunt Brownie, thank you for being a part of my great cloud of witnesses. (Hebrews 12:1,2)