The theme was given to me. “Out of the Cherry Pit, Walking with God.” I began my talk with the concept of a cherry, a cherry’s luscious color and taste as representative of the beautiful part of a mother’s life with the “pit” as the hard things, that which has been difficult in her life, those things she has had to overcome but have contributed to a depth in her character helping her trust more fully in God. Each mother has left a legacy. . .her prayers and actions influencing future generations.
My writing is in two parts. The first blog is about a few “strong women” who have contributed to my life. The second will be shared on another blog later this week. It is about biblical and historical “strong mothers,” the meat of the message the more important of the two blogs.
Today I will talk about strong mothers. We will see what it is in their lives that shows their strength, a strength we can "mine" or discern from their life-pictures of human interactions in which we see who they are or were. Like the words in our theme, Out of the cherry pit: Walking with God, like that hard nasty cherry pit that one finds in the midst of the fruit’s sweet flesh, a strong woman often has adversity in her life that gives her grief or causes her to wrestle with God in a deeper language than that of simple conversation. What makes these women strong and also beautiful as women people notice is defined by the choices they make in the way they live their lives.
My father’s mother, Grandma Brumbaugh, was a practical woman who had a gentle heart. She was raised in a conservative Christian fellowship that followed certain ways: Women did not cut their hair or wear make-up or jewelry, they wore prayer coverings in church which were made out of white sheer fabric that they would sew using tucks to shape it into a little cap. As a child, my grandmother wore a bonnet. Grandma Brumbaugh had her own challenges. She was born with limited sight, because of this she learned to be protective of her vision. Grandma would limit her reading and time spent on tasks using fine stitchery. As a little girl, grandma had pneumonia twice, it was quite severe. It would reoccur later in life. Her physical body was prone to weakness though she worked hard on their dairy farm, scouring down the milk room and appliances after every milking a twice a day, a responsibility every day of the week. She also helped Grandpa by running the team of horses as they shocked hay in the fields, or in raising tomatoes from seed to be planted later on the acreage or doing whatever the task was at hand. My father and aunt have stories about their younger years. Farming and dairying was a challenge, involving everyone's participation.
My two grandmothers, my mother, and Grandma Millie greatly contributed to who I am today. You cannot divorce their part of influence on me from who I have become. Their imprint shows in how I process things or my reaction to life with its unsteady circumstances. I pull from their influences according to the need at hand. Each had strengths that I can continually draw on. I am so richly blessed by this. I know that my life would be different in many ways if they had not been a part of my life experiences. I believe that all of them prayed for me and my children, especially during times when there was great need. It is a gift they gave me, the silent type of gift with great value and importance. Some of their prayers are still coming to fruition.
This same gift I now give to my five children, son-in-law, and grandchildren and others in my sphere. It is something my family can depend on. If they need an opinion about something, I find they will ask me. If it’s a prayer concern, I find they will let me know when they need my prayers or tell me of someone else who needs my prayers. It is an honor I have been given. It also means, I am becoming a "strong woman."