Perseverance and Character

JUNE 19TH, 2021      |      You’ve probably never heard of Ernestine Shepherd, but you might be interested to know her. At the age of 73, she set a record as the oldest competitive female bodybuilder. Now 84, she no longer competes professionally but still lifts weights, runs marathons, and leads exercise classes.

Ernestine never planned to set a world record. In her mid-50s, she and her beloved sister, Velvet, made a pact to exercise together and eat healthier. When Velvet died suddenly of a brain aneurysm several years later, Ernestine fell into a deep depression. But she had promised Velvet to keep pursuing their shared dream, and she honored that promise.

Her most important role has been to inspire people in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. “This is my ministry, to motivate others,” she says, “to exercise and to eat correctly.” This stunningly beautiful powerhouse couldn’t have foreseen that God would transform her desire to become healthier, her perseverance, and even her grief into a ministry to teach others about fitness, nutrition, and the power of determination, dedication, and discipline. But God can do anything with everything we give Him.

Perseverance and Character

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

–Romans 5:3-4 NIV

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

–Romans 5:3-4 NIV

You’ve probably never heard of Ernestine Shepherd, but you might be interested to know her. At the age of 73, she set a record as the oldest competitive female bodybuilder. Now 84, she no longer competes professionally but still lifts weights, runs marathons, and leads exercise classes.

Ernestine never planned to set a world record. In her mid-50s, she and her beloved sister, Velvet, made a pact to exercise together and eat healthier. When Velvet died suddenly of a brain aneurysm several years later, Ernestine fell into a deep depression. But she had promised Velvet to keep pursuing their shared dream, and she honored that promise.

Her most important role has been to inspire people in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. “This is my ministry, to motivate others,” she says, “to exercise and to eat correctly.” This stunningly beautiful powerhouse couldn’t have foreseen that God would transform her desire to become healthier, her perseverance, and even her grief into a ministry to teach others about fitness, nutrition, and the power of determination, dedication, and discipline. But God can do anything with everything we give Him.

Lord, help me surrender every part of my life to help others and glorify You.

Father, how can I use my talents and abilities to serve You?

Kris Rowland
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