“I am getting my master’s degree in general counseling from Troy. I just turned 58. I started school late in life and started college in my 40s. When I was young, I thought I was grown and wanted to work and do other things. I worked for Packard Hughes and they closed down. The state gave us the option of finding another job or going to school and they would pay for it. That was my opportunity, but I feared being older and going back to school. I went to Faulkner and then got a scholarship to Alabama State University in Montgomery. I was old enough to the grandmother of the other students. I loved school and went back again. I have one class and my comps left to graduate in May. I hope to work as a guidance counselor in the school system. My husband started a window-washing business while I was in school in Montgomery and kept doing it when we moved back to Daphne. I work part-time with him. You meet interesting people washing windows.
Growing up, I was a gentle giant. I wouldn’t start a fight, but I would end it and learned how to defend myself. I ran people away because if I let you in, you would hurt me. I didn’t want that pain. I later wanted friends so I had to change. Once you build up the walls of protection they aren’t easy to tear down. I married late and had three miscarriages. I didn’t know I had an incompetent cervix. I carried each baby to the point where l knew all three were boys. I got angry at God for taking those babies away and asked him why me.
My mama died when she was 90. After that, I started growing up. She would say to me, ‘I am yours and you are mine.’ She always loved me, no matter what I did. When she died, I screamed from the pit of my stomach. The umbilical cord was severed. The person who loved me like that was gone. Now I understand that is the love God gives me. No one can pluck us out of His hand. The love I have for God is even greater than the love I felt for my mama. There have also been so many miracles in my life that I know God is with me. He has gotten me out of the muck and the mire. I am here because of God’s grace and mercy. A habitation from God is better than a visitation.
I have a lot of faith but I still have questions. In heaven, will my babies know me? Will I know my mama? I also know God uses me and what I have been through to help others. My pastor asked me to start the women’s ministry at our church. I tried to make an excuse, but he said, ‘I said you.’ Those women have been such a blessing to me.
I believe in the power of a hug. A hug will go where words can’t reach. If I hug someone, it is not a side hug. When I hug people, I silently pray for them to feel God’s love. You don’t know what people are going through. That hug can make them feel okay, even if it is just for that moment.
I have been hard on myself for much of my life. I started to learn that when God gives you so much grace and mercy and another chance and another chance, how do you not give that to others. When we are loved like that, how can we not love ourselves and give ourselves a break?”