I received this beautiful letter from a woman in North Carolina named Dusty Counts. (Isn’t her name amazing?! I love the South.) After reading it, I asked her if I could share it here on my blog as a guest post because I love her legacy and I love how consciously she walks out that legacy in her life right now. Eshet chayil!
Do you have a family story? Have you heard it all your life? This was my situation when I read Jesus Feminist. Somehow, reading that book made two of my family stories come to life.
My grandmother was 8 years old (can you imagine?) when she had to quit school. She was in the 3rd grade. Her mother had broken her hip, so my grandmother had to stay home, both to take care of the younger children as well as run the household. Did I mention she was 8 years old? Cooking was done on a wood stove, which my grandmother chopped the wood for. She also killed chickens. And she was never able to return to school.
But my grandmother decided life would be different for her four daughters, who all finished high school. This was unheard of in rural North Carolina during those times. My grandmother then cashed in some small life insurance policies to send her daughters to business colleges. All four of them then proceeded to graduate from business college!
She always, always, did for others. My mother told me she could never remember a meal (when she was a child) where my grandmother didn’t also fix a plate to send to someone in need. She did this, despite the fact there was little to send. These were far from wealthy people.
My grandmother also demanded that the first indoor bathroom in the community be installed in her house. There is a famous family story about her wanting a renovation to the house. My grandfather wasn’t quick enough in starting the project, so my grandmother took a sledgehammer and beat through the wall one day while he was at work. The renovation was completed.
My mother was a quiet person. She would never talk about her faith. But she prayed every night, for what seemed like hours to me. At her funeral, I learned there was more than one person that my mother had quietly provided toys and food for at Christmastime. She was such a person of faithful prayer.
At my church, Renovatus, we say: “We are your grandmother’s church and your great-grandmother’s church and your great-great-grandmother’s church.” I always think of my mom and grandmother when I see this.
These are their stories. I feel such a deep connection to these ladies who are now gone from my life. They were truly Jesus Feminists.
Thank you for making their stories alive again to me. You have given me a priceless gift.
I have been thinking about how I carry on their legacies. Am I doing that in any way?
I have a community life group that meets in my home every Monday night. We do a meal each week. Although my husband does the cooking, I like to think that this is carrying on the ministry of my grandmother.
And, I am on the prayer team at my church. We meet every Thursday night to pray for the ministries and members of our community. I like to think this is carrying on the ministry of my mother.
And, I have just become one of the first two women elders at Renovatus. There is an old saying in the south, “The apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree.” This means we are more like our parents than we realize. I believe the spirit of my mom and grandmother are living on. That spirit is a part of me.
Dusty Counts (isn’t my name awesome? An adjective and a verb!)
Dusty Swink Counts hangs out in Charlotte, NC where she has spent 35 years climbing down the corporate ladder arriving happily at the bottom. From an IT professional to a stay at home mom who homeschooled to retail to preschool teacher to food service worker, it’s been quite a ride. She has been married to Jim for 30 years and mom to Dustin, 27; Ian, 26; Greylan, 23 and Christine, 22. This motley crew includes a financial advisor, a barber, an arborist/dancer and a Geology/Secondary Education major dance minor. When not asking, “Would you like to large size that meal?” Dusty enjoys reading, visiting with her children and awesome daughter-in-law and having coffee with friends. She has recently been ordained an elder at Renovatus, a church for liars, dreamers and misfits where she fits right in!