Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Widows Story: Ruth McBride Jordan

I just finished reading this book: The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride. It's amazing!

The author was the youngest of eight children--his father died before he was born. And then his mother remarried and had four more children. His step-father died, too, while he was in grade school. But all twelve children are successful college graduates! So his mom had twelve children and was widowed twice.

Not only that, James MCBride's mother was born in Poland in 1921 as Rachel Deborah Shilsky. When she was two years old her Jewish family immigrated to America.  She grew up in the South, in Suffolk, VA, then moved on her own to New York City after high school, left Judaism and married a black man, Andrew D. McBride with whom she founded a Baptist church in Brooklyn and had eight children. Mr. McBride died of lung cancer in 1957. She was remarried to Hunter Jordan, another black man, and had four more children. Mr. Jordan died in 1972.

McBride writes this about when his mother was widowed a second time:
"Jesus gave Mommy hope. Jesus was Mommy's salvation. Jesus pressed her forward. Each and every Sunday, no matter how tired, depressed, or broke, she got up early, dressed in her best, and headed for church. When we kids grew too old and big for her to force us to go, she went alone, riding the F train from Queens to Brooklyn to New Brown Memorial, the church she started with my father. Church revived her, filled her up, and each Sunday she returned a little more renewed, until that Saturday afternoon she announced she was going to drive my stepfather's car."

This book was on the New York Times bestseller list for over two years--it's not what you'd call a "religious" book. Yet, if you read it and try to figure out how this woman survived all she did (sexual abuse, abortion, racism, poverty, putting twelve children through college, the death of an adult son . . .) there can be no other explanation--not her energy and passion, not the family love the author favors--the only explanation is the power of Jesus Christ in her life. Ruth McBride Jordan was quite a character, but I believe she would agree--only Jesus!
Read this amazing story and you'll know that Christ guards and guides us, too, inspite of our quirks and weaknesses.   ferree

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I will have to put this on my book list. I have a hard enough time getting the laundry done...I can't imagine having 12 kids and putting them through school. I'm sure her story was inspirational!


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