The Most Influential Women in the World

I am able to trace back my maternal genealogy an impressive distance. My personal experience and knowledge begins with my maternal great-grandmother, Ruthie Mae McDonald Smith. I am glad to have known her as a young girl. I have glimpses of who she was, who she became. Recently, I feel that I’ve grown to know her more intimately as I’ve begun in depth research preparing for a historical narrative I am writing. 

Here is a photo of her with her husband, my great-grandfather and her five oldest children. The oldest girl, is my own grandmother, Alvis Yvone Smith (later to become a DeMoss). 

In this photo as I study my great-grandmother’s face, I can imagine she was so proud and probably so tired. Life was hard, physically hard nearly a century ago. She could not have seen what the future would hold, the tragedy, the grief, the heartache and surely the nightmares. She could not have known that three of her children in this photograph would become part of history, part of the worst school related disaster our nation has ever known. 

The New London School Explosion would destroy more than a building. It destroyed lives, families and the hopes and dreams of many mothers. Only moments before dismissal a gas explosion claimed hundreds of children and many of their teachers. 

I didn’t know her before of course, but my grandmother told me that her momma was never the same again. She never quite recovered. And yet, she continued to mother. She would birth four more children and live a long life. She would become the woman I remember, always appearing a little melancholy. 

Today is Mother’s Day and I’m thinking of Ruthie Mae McDonald who knew the greatest heartache a mother can have   I’m thinking of her eldest daughter, Alvis Yvone Smith DeMoss who had children of her own and one of them my mother, Genevieve DeMoss Roberts. I’m thinking of them all and my heart is thankful. 

I’m thankful to have known the most influential women in the world, in my world. I am thankful for the rich spiritual heritage that they passed on to me and that I will pass on to my daughters. Today I celebrate them all! Happy Mother’s Day! 


Power of Precedence

Have you ever heard of Zelophehad’s daughters? The vast majority of folks would answer with a resounding, “Who?”. We rarely hear about Zelophehad’s five daughters today, even though they are mentioned by name in the Bible five times (see Num. 26:33; 27:1-7; 36:1-12; 1 Chr. 7:15; Josh. 17:1-6)

“One of Hepher’s descendants, Zelophehad, had no sons, but his daughters’ names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.” Numbers 26:33 NLT

For the first time in recorded history Inheritance Laws were being established. They went something like this. If a man died his land went to his sons. If he had no male descendants it would go to a brother or an uncle or so forth. As long as this was the case the clan would keep the land that was originally assigned to them. However, there was no provision made for the females of the family. None. Now, the male relatives were suppose to see about them, but, they had no rights, no inheritance. That’s just how it was.

These savvy sisters weren’t satisfied to go with the flow and accept the status quo. They presented a petition before Moses who took it to God. That’s right, the REAL Supreme Judge. Let me tell you what they didn’t do. They didn’t sit down and have a pity party. They didn’t throw up their hands in despair. They didn’t choose to accept what was wrong just because everyone else was willing to. They didn’t get on FaceBook and rant. Okay, they couldn’t have done that, but, they didn’t just talk about it, they did something about it. They went through due process and tried to do what had not been done before. They were ready to set a precedent and the power of precedence is far reaching.

“So Moses brought their case before the Lord. “The claim of the daughters of Zelophehad is legitimate. You must give them a grant of land along with their father’s relatives. Assign them the property that would have been given to their father.” Numbers 27:5, 7 NLT

They did it! They presented their case, went through due process and changed not only their future but the future of many other women. Now, there were stipulations and they were still not equal to any male heirs but, they had made a difference.

Is today the day for you to make a difference? Are you ready to lay claim to an inheritance of peace and joy? Are you determined to set a precedence? Are you unwilling to accept status quo just because that’s how it always has been? Perhaps you need to go through due process like these brave ladies. Perhaps when you feel like you don’t have a choice you need to remember that you do have a voice. Perhaps you need to take your petition straight to the throne room through prayer.

Things don’t have to stay the same. We don’t have to look away from injustice and walk away with indifference. You have to care enough about your future and those that come after you to take a chance for change and claim your inheritance.

Daddy Said So

Of our seven children two of them are girls. They are 12 & 13. I just imagined a collective sigh of understanding from all the parents of teen and tween girls across this vast land. Honestly, I would have expected myself to have been able to expertly handle them as I was one myself. And yet, too many times I find myself in the exact place I was only last night. Let me explain.

The two girls were in conflict. Emotions were running rampant. Hormones were obviously raging. Tears were coursing down the cheek of one girl in the face of what she obviously considered a GREAT injustice. A frown of defiance was in place on the face of the other girl as she adamantly stood her ground. I had to make a decision. I had no idea what the right call was in this particular situation.

I tried reasoning, lecturing, scolding, cautioning, discussing and listening. Finally I felt my own temperature rising, my own feelings getting tender, my own melt down pending. It was at that moment I noticed my husband.

There he sat, engrossed in a tv show of some sort, happily allowing me to deal with the emotional upheaval before me. Suddenly I knew what the right decision was. It was crystal clear.

I asked Henry to pause his show. I told the girls to go stand before their daddy. I gave him a very brief explanation of the crisis. I told each girl they could each in turn present their case and Daddy would make a judgement call. He did appear a bit startled. After all, I’d never taken this route before. But, he complied.

They began. This time I was observing from the sideline. I was observing them in all their drama and distress. I was observing him and his lack thereof. Then, without hesitation, he decided. That was that. The girls did not argue, whether they agreed or not. After all, due process had been adhered to. Henry went back to his tv and I told them to go clean their room without another word to each other.

I can not begin to explain to you how eye-opening this experience was to me. Now, in retrospect it is all so clear. If this man has managed to still be the love of my life after 30 years if marriage and has calmly dealt with my intense emotions, tender feelings and enormous passionate personality, who better to do the same with his daughters? Lesson Learned.

“My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.”
(Proverbs 1:8 NLT)