Julia Duke: I'm a Survivor
by: Kimi Johnson
The sounds of worship filled the room as we were serenaded by skillful piano tunes and Heavenly pitched praise. Across from me sat a beautiful, sophisticated, and poised woman. Even in her relaxed attire she looked gorgeous. A woman empowered with wisdom and faith, Evangelist Julia Duke has proven herself to be a survivor. A born again child of God dedicated to a life of faith and native of St. Louis Missouri, Evangelist Duke now resides in Miami, Florida. She is a help mate of Kenneth A. Duke, who is the pastor of the New Jerusalem Primitive Baptist Church and Vice President of the National Primitive Baptist Convention, USA. She is a mother of two sons and one daughter, a grandmother to three, an educator by profession, a youth director with a love for children, and a psalmist, just to name a few. The list could go on and on but it ends with one sure thing; she is a woman with a testimony.
I could feel the anointing as the Holy Spirit began to take control. “At 52 years old God has been good to me, He really has. This interview is not a coincidence. Purpose Driven Women—God has given me a purpose,” says Evangelist Duke. “My purpose at this point of my life is to sound the alarm and really share the good news. My purpose is to win as many souls for Christ as possible, to be an encourager. God has really put me on the spot, I know He is setting me up.” As we got acquainted with one another I sensed this interview was about to be different. This was more than an interview for Purpose Driven Women Magazine. This was a divine appointment set by God to release a word to His people that would shift their faith.
Evangelist Duke was 27 years old. Rooted in the Lord at a young age, she was faced with some news that would surely test her faith. “It was 1990, Christmas night. I found a lump in my breast.” Wasting no time, she made an appointment to see what was going on."I waited to get an appointment and when I went in the doctor did a needle stick test and there was no fluid so they sent me to the surgeon for a biopsy. My God mother actually worked for the surgeon and I knew all of her friends that worked in this office. I saw Joe. I saw Lenora. They were all around me. I noticed they were crying but I didn’t think anything of it. I was 27 years old," says Evangelist Duke as she gave praises to the Lord. “So she came in the room and said, “Well, I have to share something with you. I just want to let you know what I found. It was breast cancer. I said, Okay, but let me tell you this, you are not God. I trust God.”
As time moved on. Being diagnosed with Breast Cancer and going through treatments was tough. But God sustained her. “I have crazy faith. I truly believed God was going to heal me without any doubt. God did not tell me not to take treatment. So I did six months of chemo therapy radiation.” God said He was going to heal her and he did! 25 years God has kept her breast cancer free, and she has been walking in her healing and sharing my story. “God is not just a healer in the Bible, He is healing right now,” declares Evangelist Duke.
Clasping her testimony, she began sharing her story with women every chance she got. She has accepted engagements from women and youth conferences to marriage retreats. Recently accepted at Virginia Union, Evangelist Duke desired to return to school to get a Masters in Religion. “I was so excited about going and starting a new chapter in my life,” she shares. But God had other plans. “God is something,” she says as she laughs softly, “a major setback has taken place in my life, but it is really a setup. I could easily lose it; easily not trust God and allow Satan to derail me, but God has shown me. Even for me to be presented with this opportunity amongst others has been the move of God. After this interview was confirmed, a young lady invited me to share my gift in October and this weekend I've been invited to preach. I wasn’t even on the slate to do these things, but God. It’s like God is setting me up.” As I heard more of her story, I understood exactly what she meant.
Before heading out on a 7-day cruise, she got a call from her mom. “My mom called and said to me she wanted me to go back to the doctor to get checked again because she did not feel comfortable.” Despite the random request, she obliged, assuring her mom she would go as soon as she return. Upon arriving back from the cruise, she had a bad cold. “I probably would not have gone to the doctor when I did had it not been for the cold,” says Evangelist Duke. “At my visit, I shared with the doctor my concerns and to be safe she sent me to have a mammogram and ultrasound done." Unbeknownst to Evangelist Duke, a new form of cancer had come upon her and her faith was being tested once again. With a bold and confident response, she affirmed to the doctor, “I respect who you are as a physician, but I have a Father. My Father gives you knowledge. I am already cured. I have been for 25 years. I am walking in my healing. God does not renege. It is not what you think it is. It is for men and women to see God as a healer!”
Positioned in her faith, she refused to receive the doctor’s report. This was too much like deja vu, and she knew personally her God was a healer. If he did it once, he would definitely do it again! Choosing to take a different perspective and see the bigger picture, Evangelist Duke knows this journey isn’t just for her. “It’s not about me. This storm I am going through is not about me. God sent Purpose Driven Women Magazine to me. I have to talk to people and let them know God is not a God of yesterday. He is healing right now. God healed me; he has already done it. The manifestation of the healing that is about to take place is not for me. It is for those that are around that need to know God is real. People have lost hope in this world. We are living in a world where mothers are against daughters, fathers against sons. We are living in a world where same-sex marriages are acceptable, where people can’t even walk down the street in certain places. People need hope. And if God has to use me to show He is real I told Him I would be the sacrificial lamb. Purpose Driven Woman, that’s me. I’m driven by Him and His purpose. God has ordered my steps and kept me. God has already healed me, but I want others to be healed as well. Not a temporary healing. I do have weak moments because I am human, but I have not lost hope. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
Never denying the process ahead she has made up her mind to keep her eyes on the Lord. “I have to go through what I am going through, but I will see this through in faith to the end. I see what God is doing. He is doing some magnificent things, and it is all to bring Him glory. People need to know who God is and that he is a present help in the time of trouble. He is our present and our future. He knows the plans he has for us. Plans for good and not evil, plans to bring us an expected end. God already knows what He has in store for me." Some may say she’s a Jesus freak, but she says, “Who else am I going to depend on? There is nobody like God and He has not failed me yet. I have been through some stuff and saw God do some awesome things. I don’t think He is going to stop now. I have crazy faith to believe there is more to come. There will be a praise after this. There will be a testimony after this!"