Strength, Dignity, and Generous Hearts
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:25-26, ESV
I agree with the teacher who said we could all learn from crayons: Some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors…but they all have to learn to live in the same box. Barbara Bush
Sixteen years. That is how long I have been involved with a Christian magazine. And for sixteen years, May has been our women’s issue. We used to call it our Mother’s Day issue, but I have learned a few things—one of which is that all strong women are not mothers. And even when it comes to mothers, one size does not fit all.
As I write this, our country said good-bye just yesterday to one of the strongest women of our time. Barbara Bush, often dubbed “America’s grandmother,” had a larger than life personality. Beautiful heartfelt tributes poured in, not just from her elite contemporaries and her family, but from staff who had served her, from a clerk in her local Walgreen’s where she pushed her own cart and stopped to chat with neighbors—from regular not-a-celebrity kinds of people whose paths crossed hers in everyday places.
It is well known that her sense of humor was legend, that her faith in God was real and that she was plain-spoken but respectful whether she was speaking to a dignitary or to a maid in the White House living quarters. I saw a little of her funeral on television, and I was reminded of that wonderful poem I was required to learn in the eighth grade. Every line of Rudyard Kipling’s If teaches us about good character traits, but the lines “If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,” point to a unique quality that Barbara Bush understood. She never lost the common touch. She was like us in all the ways that matter, and we loved her for it.
How very human of us to be that way—to be drawn to somebody who understands us. I can’t resist mentioning that Jesus had to have had that very thought in mind when He chose to leave the splendor of Heaven, to put on skin, and experience all the stuff, the good, the bad and the ugly, that is life on earth. And He gets it—He really gets it when we struggle and when we hurt.
Read on—this is a good one. We have gathered the stories of a few amazing Mississippi women of faith. They are of various ages, at various stages of their life’s journey, from different backgrounds and they have had different everyday challenges. They share the reality of generous, full, and grateful hearts because of a shared faith in a very good Father. His ways are not always our ways and He sometimes allows us to travel bumpy roads. But His promise is to go with us, and that makes all the difference!
I am also delighted to introduce you to four special friends of mine who work alongside me as account executives here at MCL. Missing in that lineup of right-arm staff is Suzanne Durfey, associate, assistant editor, and guru of all things organizational. You will meet her later! Ginger Gober, Michile Lam, Carley Alexander, and Erin Williams represent Mississippi Christian Living out in the marketplace every day, and they do it with passion and purpose. They graciously share a little of who they are, and I predict that like me—you’re going to consider them old friends.
My heart is full as I look back over the stories in this issue. God is so very present in the lives of His people. He is indeed the fount of every blessing who tunes our hearts to sing His praise.
I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. I am married to Austin, athletic director and assistant principal at Forrest County Agricultural High School, and we live in Brooklyn, MS. We have four beautiful children: Addison (9), Dossett (7), Anna Massey (5), and Asher (3), and our sweet dog, Lucy. We attend Northwood Church in Wiggins. I work from home, my car, our wonderful local coffee shop, and the softball fields—anywhere with Wi-Fi and my phone—and I love what I do! I am a diehard Ole Miss fan, Disney obsessed, and I love to read books! Between soccer, softball, dance, voice, doctor visits, school, and more, some days feel like a race, but I am clinging tightly to these days because they really are flying by. Our lives are busy and sometimes blurry but filled to the brim with blessings. My cup truly runneth over.
I just celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary to my amazing husband, Don Gober, in April. We have 4 precious children, Grace (17), Lily (15), Holt (12), and Bella Cruz (4). Yes, you read that right. God is full of sweet surprises and we don’t know what we would do without our little caboose. We were residents of Madison, MS, for 11 years, but moved to Grenada five years ago. My passion is for my children to love the Lord with all of their hearts, minds, souls, and strength. I have realized that in this life we have many “seasons”—so I have learned to love the one that the Lord has me in and not to try to rush through it. The days are long but the years are short. Enjoy each moment! I am so blessed to have worked for MS Christian Living for the last two years!! What a joy to work for a magazine that strives to tell stories of the life change that only Christ can bring.
Meeting people, hearing their stories and learning what makes them tick are some of my favorite pastimes. I loved working as a radio and TV journalist when I was younger, but nowadays, most of my adventures are spent walking with my husband John, enjoying history and travel together, and shopping for Sunday hats! I love cooking with my kiddos (Anna, Moses, Billy Joe, and Gretchen), and I make a mean pot of Hasenpfeffer! When I turn 55, I will still be trying to talk my husband into ditching the minivan for a motorcycle with a sidecar.
I’m a wife to Zach, mama to Dallas, Dolly Parton enthusiast, cattle producer, and agriculture advocate. But don’t let those boots fool you. I wear many shoes. When I’m not spending time with my husband and daughter, I enjoy being active in the hospitality team at Highland Colony Baptist Church, writing for various local and national publications, making honeysuckle jelly, and trying to be half of the woman my own mama is. I live by the old saying “Pretty is as pretty does,” and have two goals for my daughter: that she love Jesus and that she be kind.