by: Anise Marshall
Vanessa Murray’s testimony is the definition of what it means to be a bold believer, bold dreamer and bold achiever. Vanessa’s dream as a teenager was to become a successful meteorologist. As a child, she was always intrigued with the inner workings of weather. She had her entire life planned out and thought about her plans daily. As for many, when we desire to accomplish something, everything and anything happens to deter us from moving forward.
During the interview, I was beyond grateful to be able to hear her testimony and unbeknownst to Vanessa, she was encouraging me. Vanessa has faced so much in her life. At only 26 years of age, she has experienced things that make most want to give up and curse God, like Job. Vanessa, however, has chosen to play a role that insists on giving God praise instead of grief. Not everyone will face the same test in life and that’s okay. I’ve found that every testimony comes with a test, built to encourage someone else. I hope this testimony will encourage others just as it has recharged my heart. She has truly weathered the storm at such a tender young age.
Decisions we make sometimes cause us to have setbacks in life. How many of you know that those “setbacks” are nothing but setups for come backs? The enemy will cause us to believe that things we have not planned, will stop us from reaching our destination. That is a lie from the pit of hell. Vanessa found that even though she lost loved ones (her great-grandmother) along the way, God had a plan for her, her husband, her children and her extended family. God had taken her on a path that would speak to multitudes whether Christian or a non-believer. She has a story that many young women face daily, only to throw in the towel. Included in this story, is a visual timeline of the life of a walking success.
– Junior year of high school, got pregnant with her first born child.
– Turned down an opportunity to visit, and gain first-hand knowledge from, a news station due to shame of being pregnant again.
– While pregnant, with her second child, she was attacked by racially motivated individuals causing her to lose control of the car.
– Hospitalized and told she may lose her child due to the accident.
– Brought up charges against individuals responsible but was told that, “they had a future,” and case was thrown out.
– Got married to the love of her life.
– Boldly changed her negative views of herself, and asked for a transfer from junior college at home to a university, 6 hours away, in Edwardsville, IL.
– Moved to Edwardsville with a scholarship as basketball manager.
– Had to move back to her home town due to financial stability and personal issues.
– Did not have a place for her and her children. Vanessa was pregnant with her 3rd child, and “Homeless.”
– Decided her prayer life and spirituality needed to be revitalized and strengthened regarding marriage, children and family.
– Hospitalized, for a month, after a severe bout of pneumonia. Had to withdraw from an accredited meteorology program at NIU.
– Gave birth to 3rd child and found that he had many medical issues causing constant hospital visits.
– Oldest child started having medical issues that caused frequent hospital visits.
– Noticed a positive shift in her home and decided to move back to Edwardsville and pursue degree in Geography.
– Made dean’s list and got nominated for academic achievement and leadership, in Geography program, along with the Madison county scholarship award of $1,500.
– Great-grandmother passed.
– Criticized for working on degree while being a non-traditional student.
– At the peak of her prayer life, she found that her husband could potentially have cancer.
– Found that husband was cancer free on drive to her externship, with a meteorologist, to Cleveland, Ohio.
– Graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Geography, with a Minor in Meteorology/ climatology.
Vanessa’s journey did not unfold as she had planned as a child, but it was the journey that established her into the praying woman she is today. She will soon be blessed with the gift of recording a sample meteorology tape, to submit for job offers. If you take anything from Vanessa’s story, learn that adversity does not have to stop you from reaching your dream. In the midst of: financial turmoil, racist attacks, stereotype of being a non-traditional student, medical scares and even death, Vanessa still found a way to find the calm in every storm. Let God use your trials, to draw you closer to him and trust that he is equipping you for your future. He will bring the right people in, at just the right time. She learned that instead of giving up, she must weather the storm.
Fate whispers to the warrior, “You cannot withstand the storm”, and the warrior whispers back “I am the storm” – Unknown