In the Shadow of Barrett’s Mountain
If ever there were two little girls reared as differently as night is from day, whose early lives were shaped and influenced by polar-opposite ideologies and mindsets, it was me and my mother.
Born into the widely-extended years of the Baby Boomer Generation, life for me in the shadow of Barrett’s Mountain, although filled with its share of ups and downs, moments of conflict and unthoughtful behavior and words, was as near to idyllic as one can get without crossing over into the realm of fiction. With deep roots planted firmly in a loving, nurturing, stable environment, my homelife was characterized by parents who, although imperfect and made many mistakes, had developed an unbreakable bond with each other wrapped tightly around the biblical principles of fidelity, a deep, abiding love for each other and for their children, and dependence upon and fierce faith in God. Their lives were centered around the little Baptist church we faithfully attended and the well-being of their children and their extended family.
The pages of my mother’s childhood were colored in stark contrast to mine. The firstborn child of a just-recently-turned sixteen-year-old mother, her young parents created an unstable, unhappy, and dysfunctional home. Divorce ensued after the birth of their second child three years after mama was born.
A second marriage was entered into by my grandmother shortly thereafter to a man who drank alcohol excessively. My mother and her younger brother became witness to the physical and verbal abuse of their mother by their alcoholic stepfather. After one year of marriage, my grandmother divorced for the second time, and at age twenty-six, entered into her third marriage with yet another man who abused alcohol.
While her mother and stepfather worked nights in a cotton mill, mama, who was still a child herself, was given the responsibility of caring for her five younger siblings. With all that she had experienced and witnessed during her short life, along with having been given the huge responsibility of being second mother to her younger sister and four younger brothers, an ill-fated life was in the making for my mother.
Her upbringing provided no spiritual moorings. No biblical principles were instilled into her. The destructive cycle that had been set in motion during her childhood and on into her teenage years could have easily been repeated by her in her adult years. The statistics proved it. How easy it would have been for her to have patterned her life after those in authority over her. The mold had been set. The tragic scenes had been played out and were etched into the heart and soul of an innocent, little raven-haired girl who could do nothing about her situation but stand back and observe, the tape recorder in her mind set to ‘play’ all the while. The odds were not in her favor. Not in the least.
Although she nor the man she would marry knew Him not, the most-high God had a beautiful plan for their lives. With grace and mercy, He miraculously and lovingly intervened and “gave unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3
In the Shadow of Barrett’s Mountain. Depicting the first eighteen years of my life, giving praise to the God and Savior of my father and mother, Who, through His grace and mercy, became my God.
Sharing my story is my delight. Sharing the love, compassion, and heart of my God is my mission.
“But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us…” Ephesians 2:4