Growing up in the south a daughter of an itinerant farmer and a mother who was blinded after her wedding day, my grandmother Flora was fearless. She left north Louisiana as an adult and headed for the big city, New Orleans with her husband a few cousins and she did not look back.
She was one of those people who left the country (that’s what we call anything outside the city) and she never looked back. When I asked her why she left the country, her casually replied, “I was tired of picking cotton and snakes”. I believe this was some of what went into making her fearless.
As a child, I was amazed at the strength she had in old age, whether it was fighting for her children to survive in a segregated society that had already determined how far they could go; or the “Hood” with its destructive culture of poverty. She fought for her family to not only survive but thrive. When she saw the door of Jim Crow laws and segregation had a crack she kicked until it opened for herself and her family. She would not be denied. She was fearless and faith-filled.
She could handle her business and grab somebody by the throat when necessary but I remember the times I saw her sitting in her chair weeping, praying and singing a hymn oblivious to the arguments going on around her in our one bedroom, shot-gun house. She began singing, “God is Real” moving slowly in her chair rocking side to side, weeping and praying until she got filled as she called it, then with determination and strength get up to face enemy coming her way.
Growing up I was afraid of everything. I was even afraid I would never be as strong as she was. I learned the strength I saw in her was not magical or a one-time thing, but was developed. Her belief that God is real and lives inside her, she could face her fears and overcome them by the grace of God, it’s a process.
Today I am very thankful to have had a fearless, faith-filled Grandmother for an example because actions speak louder than words. We all face fears some real some imagined but we don’t have to face them alone. Family and friends are good but God is greater. He promised he would never leave us or forsake us. So if my Grandma Flora can be fearless and faith-filled in the 50’s and 60’s; I can be fearless and faith-filled today. Our fears change over time but God does not and He is as real inside of me as He was in her.