It’s Women’s History Month, so what does this resilient queen want to share? I’ve experienced so many things in my life – the good, the bad, and the ugly. What came to mind were the many conversations between me and my daughter regarding parenthood and grandparenthood.
My husband and I were very young when we got married. We both attended church regularly. When I tell you that the struggle was real. I was pregnant, he lost his job right before the wedding, and we ended up living with my grandmother. Unfortunately, the pregnancy resulted in a stillborn birth.
The following year, I gave birth to our daughter. My husband and I continued to attend church. Afterall, that’s what you do on Sunday. If we took a bible to church, we would immediately put it in the back seat of the car until the next Sunday. I sang in the choir, was youth president, etc. I believed in Jesus, but there was no relationship with Him. We prayed at church, but I really can’t recall any type of prayer life at home.
As a young couple, we faced many trials and tribulations and had no idea which way to go. Were we to look to our elders? There were no programs or lessons available to teach us about sex, relationships, marriage, parenthood, finances, and other topics helpful in establishing healthy families. Afterall, adultery, fornication, gossip, back-biting, and almost every sin imaginable was prevalent in the church. As a wife and mother, I experienced so much trauma but was determined to have my children grow up in a home with both parents like I did. A year or so later, I got pregnant with my son. My husband and I eventually separated. I continued to attend church, but nothing really changed. Before my son turned a year old, my husband and I reconciled.
To begin a new journey, we moved to Georgia. I wish that I could tell you that our problems were no longer an issue. After getting established in a new location, we found a church home but rarely attended. After 10 years of marriage, my husband and I divorced.
To get things in order for a new life, I sent my children to live with my parents until I could get established. During this period of separation, we never spoke ill of the other parent. Adult issues have nothing to do with the children. I continued to attend church periodically. I could quote some Scripture but had no idea what the true meaning of God’s Word was and how it affects every aspect of our lives.
After being divorced for about three years, my husband and I decided to remarry. By then, our children were about 10 and 12 years old. When they became adults, they brought to our attention the trauma experienced due to the bad decisions we made. As parents, we must be more mindful of the choices we make. My husband and I should have sat down and had conversations about our plans to remarry and what they had faced during the first marriage. Afterall, they were members of our household. We just assumed that they were okay with it. I grew up during a time when children were seen and not heard. This should not be practiced today. Giving our children a voice allows them to thrive through circumstances in adulthood, such as asking for a raise, standing up for themselves and others, etc. My husband and I had to apologize to them for the anguish we caused that they never should have experienced. I wish that we had known and followed Psalms 119:4-6 NLT which contends: 4 You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. 5 Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! 6 Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands.
As a family, we began attending church regularly when the children were in middle school and high school. We became active in various ministries (choir, praise and worship, outreach, etc.). My life has changed, and I can truly say that I have a genuine relationship with God, a prayer life, study time, and seek Him daily. Psalms 119:1-2 (NLT) says: 1 Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. 2 Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. Oh, the heartache and pain we could have spared ourselves and our children by searching out God’s Word and His promises for our lives. There are things that we have no control over, but there are lots of actions that are self-inflicted.
I am so grateful that God brought me and my family through those trying times. I can now acknowledge that it was Him all the time that kept us. My husband and I are very transparent about our experiences, and we give glory to God for our transformations. It is important for me to share my testimony so that others will know that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, more than we can ask or imagine (See Ephesians 3:20).
As a mother, I made some bad decisions but what parent has not. It took some time for me to realize that I had to give myself grace. As a grandmother, I now know that once I repented of my sins, God forgave me. He threw my sins as far as the East is from the West (see Psalms 103:12). After many years, I truly forgave myself and refuse to be held captive by my past. Jesus died so that I would not be condemned but set free. The Word of God tells us in John 3:16-18 NIV - 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
As a mother, I did not know who I was. As a grandmother, I know who I am in Christ Jesus. When I hold my granddaughter, I speak affirmations over her, reminding her that she is loved, beautiful, strong, courageous, the righteousness of God – created in His image. I, along with her mother, read children’s Bible stories, listen to Sunday School videos (especially “Jesus Loves Me”). We attend a great church that speaks on and provides ongoing training/classes on topics that help build a strong Christian family. Plus, it has an amazing youth department. I am inspired by Timothy, who studied under the Apostle Paul and was very strong in his faith. The Bible refers to his upbringing in 2 Timothy 1:5 - I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. I plan to teach my grandchildren so that they will become teenagers and adults who are strong in their faith. They will not compromise when they are faced with peer pressures, social media mockery, cancel culture, etc. They will know that God does not cancel us, as He promised in Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
It is not only important for me to share my experiences and faith in God with my grandchildren but also my children, friends, family, and others. I am planning my first mission trips this Summer and Fall to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I am so excited about spreading the Good News. God is so good and so amazing. Now, I can truly say “God-fearing Mother – God-fearing Grandmother”.