My story brings me to the person I am today, though some chapters were harder than others each one played a role in allowing God to “redefine me” so that I might bring honor and glory unto Him.
It’s hard to designate one exact location as the place where I grew up because we moved several times; but for me I suppose my “growing up” occurred between the ages of 10 and 18 in the “lower bottom” of Western Kentucky. Unless you are from the area you really have no concept of being from the lower bottom of Kentucky in a small agricultural area along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. Our home was located 11 miles from the nearest town in the middle of fields of soy beans, corn, and duck blinds. As far as the eyes could see was crop land and one lonely house off in the distance where Mamaw Brownie lived.
Mamaw Brownie played a vital role in my life as she sat with me many a day on the sandy banks of the Mississippi watching the barges make their way down river, while we watched ever so diligently the bobbers on our fishing lines. She was the person that filled the void in my life that occurred with the passing of my Big Mama and she was the quiet guiding wisdom that listened to my stories, my hurts, and my joys with a never judging or faltering eye.
Big Mama on the other hand, never sat with me on the river bank, but she did create a safe space where I always new I was loved. She was part of my story from my first steps and my first word, she was there to smile and chuckle as I faltered and I fell; ready to pick me up and send me on my way. It was probably her sense of positivity that resonates most with me today as I work hard at finding the positive in each and every situation. Her passing was one of those monumental childhood events that shatters the childhood fantasy associated with the “rose colored glasses” perspective. A part of me was never the same, but a large part of me was always the better because she was part of my story.
Midway was an element of my life that became the roots of my ancestry. Standing as a silent white monument in the form of a Baptist Church, it represented so much of my family’s past. Built and pastored by my “Preacher Daddy”, all three of my uncles and my dad, within its walls many pieces of my story became a reality. Many memories from salvations, marriages, and funerals each filled with beginnings and ends; all the faces that pass across the screen of recollection each playing a role in the story of my life as it unfolds.
Off on grand adventures was a daily quest of mine that brought about both joy and tribulation in the lives of my parents. I was know for transitioning from one dream to the next, as each one faded I found another silver lined cloud to pursue. All in all I loved life and attempted to fill each waking moment with the opportunity to learn, to discover, and to endeavor to become the person I never quite knew how to be. Each life adventure unfolding to guide me toward the intended purpose for which I was created, yet somehow just beyond the realm of my understanding. The real descriptor came within the first phrase from my toddler lips, “me do it me-self” a self-fulfilling prophecy that haunted me as the one greatest fault of my lifetime.
A family of my own came to be the truest of all my dreams, to be a mother. From the moment I first held my son in my arms and peered into his sweet face, God brought me one step closer to His realization of who I was meant to be, just as He would with each of my daughters. In that first moment all of the visions I held in my heart of the mother I would become set the stage for some of my most humbling experiences, for the one thing that I knew within the deepest parts of my inner being was that I needed God in this my new endeavor.
As time tends to do, it built me and it broke me. Through years of life experiences I finally came to the end of myself and discovered that try as I might I was unable to “do it me-self”. The world that I set to establish for myself crumbled and completely fell apart. The storybook ending I had in mind was not to be, my story was really just beginning.
Coming to Virginia . . .