by Contributor, Josh Bickford

If you want to be an over comer, someone that can press on against all odds, then you must be willing to embrace that spirit. You must learn to ask not for circumstances that you can handle with your faith, but ask for faith that can handle your circumstances.Having the ability to overcome great obstacles is something that sets apart those of us that are successful from those of us that are not. The person that can press on, and keep moving toward their goal in spite of their present circumstances will experience great success. The person that gives up when things get tough is the person that will always fail. That person will also serve as an example to others of how to fail. Just as the person that overcomes provides us with a model in which we can follow.

Overcoming adversity is something that is not easy. I’ve always felt that the only way to make it easier is to follow someone else’s example. Find a person who has overcome great odds, or done something amazing, and use them as inspiration for yourself. Once you have found someone, especially someone that overcame adversity that is greater than yours, pressing on gets a little bit easier.

In that spirit, I want to share with you the story of my hero.

I hope that her story inspires you as much as it inspires me.

If you asked Beth today how she did it, how she overcame unbelievable odds, she would tell you five words. “A cloth and a stick.” Every time that life would get tough for her she’d keep in mind that there were many women world wide that only had 1 cloth and 1 stick. She felt as though anything more than that was a blessing from God. So when she’d look at her car that may break down any day, her clothes that had seen better days, or even the macaroni and cheese on her plate, since that was all she could afford, she was thankful to God for the blessings He had given her.

When Beth was 26 years old she was a married mother of 3 boys, ages 6, 4 and 2. She also had a small in-home daycare for a little bit of extra money. Her husband was gone all the time working, so she spent the majority of her time at home with her children. It was also when she was 26 that her life would be changed forever.

One day Beth was informed by her husband that he was leaving her. And he held to his word. He left Beth in their rental home with all 3 of her boys. He took the only car, all the money, and all the dignity that Beth had with him when he left. At the ripe old age of 26 Beth had just had her world torn to shreds. Now she had 3 little boys, of which she didn’t know much about raising into men, no money, no car, and the income that her daycare would bring in wasn’t enough to even pay the utilities, let alone the rent as well.

At this moment Beth had 2 choices. She could give up, an option that few people would blame her for, or she could overcome this mess.

Thankfully, she decided that she would overcome what had been done to her, and raise her little boys to be men that wouldn’t do to their wives what had been done to her. It was at this moment of decision that Beth changed the lives of 4 people, not just herself. She decided to give up on her dreams, on her aspirations, and her goals in life and make sure that her kids would have a better opportunity in life than she did. She gave her life to her kids, the ultimate sacrifice of love.

Now that her decision had been made came the hard part. What would she do? She has no money, there’s no food in the house, her family was not wealthy enough to help her, and she has no car, job or any other great resource to use as her “get out of trouble free card.” She went to the only resource she had in prayer. “God, I don’t know much about raising boys into men, but if you’ll help me I’ll make sure to do the best I can.” That was it, and it was away on her journey.

Over the next several months several families brought children to her in-home daycare. That helped her to pay the bills, but of course there was nothing extra. The previous year’s tax return came in the mail as well. It was for $1,200, which in the mid 1980’s wasn’t a lot, but it was a lot more than it is today. She hid that money from her husband, because she knew she could use that to buy a car. Once that decision had been made a neighbor up the street, (in walking distance) put his little Ford Escort up for sale for $1,200. I’m sure you can guess that she had found her car.

Once she had a car she got the opportunity to overcome more obstacles. She went to apply for welfare assistance, and for food stamps. Thanks to the couple of new children in her daycare she made $6.00 too much per month to qualify for government assistance. Today Beth will tell you that this was the best thing that ever happened to her, but at the time it was a crushing blow. She had to constantly remind herself, “a cloth, and a stick.”

Not long after Beth was told by her landlord that he was going to sell the house, and she would need to move. Now, it was a miracle that she was even able to keep up on rent, but she had. She was not behind in rent or delinquent in anyway to her landlord. He just wanted to sell the property. So now Beth had to move. Once again, “a cloth, and a stick.” This was considerably tough considering her income was generated at her home, so if she moved too far, no income. An in-home daycare is an insurance liability as well; so many landlords will not allow one in their property.

Desperate, and running out of time and options she received an interesting offer. One of the families in her daycare was looking for a nanny. They offered her the position, gave her a place to live, and would allow her to keep her daycare in their home. It was a huge blessing to Beth because she was days away from being homeless, and she would be able to keep a roof over her boys’ head, and maintain an income.

Beth overcame obstacle after obstacle, and by the time she was 36 she purchased her first home. Just 10 years later she had managed to do what very few single mothers had ever done, she had bought a house. Now she had put a stable home over her kids head, all because she had chosen to press on. She had gone from being without money, food, car or a way to pay her rent, to being a full fledged homeowner in just 10 years.

Today Beth’s life, to most people, doesn’t reflect that of a woman who has lived to the utmost success. She lives with her youngest son and has a nice job working at an eye doctor’s office. She spends her day helping people see better, and uplifting them in the short time she spends with each patient.

But that’s what she’s always done.

If my mom hadn’t made the choices that she had I would be another statistic. I would be another kid from a broken home that lives a shattered life. But I am not, nor are my brothers. We are all living productive lives, chasing our dreams because we can. We were given that opportunity by our mom, who sacrificed her dreams so that we could live ours. She gave us vision to see that we could have it better than we did growing up. She uplifted us with her spirit of overcoming, and taught us that there is nothing that we cannot overcome.

I try to embrace the same spirit that my mom had, where no matter what the obstacles I will face, I know that I will overcome. My mom is a living example of what a person can do when they are facing huge odds. She may not have created a Fortune 500 company, or won some fantastic sporting event, but what my mom did was no less than someone that accomplishes a great feat. My mom made the choice to allow her boys to reach for the stars, and to attain greatness, and I will never forget her sacrifice. Thanks mom!

Josh Bickford is blogs regularly at his blog, Be Sure to Check it out!

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