Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Widow Raising 12 Children: The Ruth McBride Jordan Story

The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride.

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.

James MCBride's mother was born to Jewish parents in Poland in 1921 and immigrated to the US with her family when she was two years old. She grew up in the South, in Suffolk, VA. Her parents named her Rachel Deborah Shilsky, but she eventually became Ruth McBride Jordan. What a life between those names!

When she graduated from highschool she moved on her own to New York City, left Judaism and married a black man, Andrew D. McBride. Together they founded a Baptist church in Brooklyn and had eight children. Mr. McBride died of lung cancer when she was 36. She was remarried to Hunter Jordan, another black man, and had four more children. Mr. Jordan died when she was around 51.

McBride writes this about his mother's second time as a widow:

"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."

The story of this black man's white mother 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 proposes--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 with her son--only Jesus!
Read The Color of Water, a non-fiction bestseller about a widow!


  1. I so believe that our trials and tribulations our Father allows into our lives is > we are kept, held only by his endless mercy and grace. God promises us as our days shall be, so shall our strength be. (I have questioned that one)
    One of my favorite verses in the song How Firm A Foundation is and I sing it quite often >

    "When fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply, I'll strengthen thee , help thee and cause thee to stand, Up-held by my gracious, omnipotent hand"

    A Brief testament to God's Grace and Love > > the last time I saw my mother I was the age of 19 months old and I was sent to a foster aunt & uncle 500 miles away. My mother died when I was five years old and there were 7 children. Three kids went to an orphans home and two were legally adopted. Oldest brother joined the military.

    My dad remarried only for a few years and then divorced. When living with my Aunt was when I was first introduced to who the LordJesus was, unfortunately she died when I was 13 years old. My Father remarried again and again and my home life was nothing like the Cleaver Family.
    My parents and grandparents on both sides were all deceased by the time I was 23 yrs. old.

    Then in God's wonderful grace and mercy, he sent me Tom / I had always heard about God and Jesus but I truly never SAW who the Lord was until I married Tom, he never talked so much about the Lord, but he walked daily in a sacrifical love to me and my daughter and to all who knew him.

    I so believe what-ever our storms are in life, there is one so much greater than our storms. His name is "I AM" that is. . . . he is what-ever our need, whatever our trial, "I AM" is available to whom-so-ever calls upon him. He carries us when we can't walk, and speaks for us when we can't talk, when the doors are closed, he knows a better way.
    He helps those who (can't) help themselves.

    "He never withdraws his eyes
    from the righteous. Job 36:7"

    (my sister Mary's vital
    signs are stablized &
    thankyou for your prayers)

    God Bless

  2. Dodi,
    You have an amazing story of God's protection, grace and redemption. You are precious to Him!


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am not always able to reply but your remarks mean a lot to me and will appear as soon as possible.

Here are some tips for commenting:
Remember to click the Publish button when you are done.
Choosing the anonymous identity is easiest if you do not have your own blog.
Using a computer rather than a cell phone seems to work better. Thanks again!