Hey! Remember that one time I had a blog and then I didn’t?! Weird, like, who does that!?
I could bore you with excuses, but today is the day. Today, I blog. I will soon update on life, happenings, moving, etc… but today, I need to tell this story.
It’s the story of my great, great, great grandma – her name was Sosensa. And she lived in Mexico. Her story is long and beautiful, and I intend to one day write a book about her fascinating family, but today, it’s just this one part of her life.
When Sosensa was very young, she met and married an American man who had come to work on the Mexican railroad. He was an American of German descent, and he was a Christian. I don’t know how they knew the same language, but they did fall in love and he shared the Gospel with her. They lived in the mountains of Northern Mexico in a little cabin. I imagine it to be very “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” except everyone was Mexican and they ate Menudo with frijoles rather than Millie’s stew.
Her husband (not sure of his name) would be gone for weeks and months at a time, as he had to go work on the expanding railroad. Sosensa would spend time in their cabin and with neighboring families. The local police, the Federales, would also come to check on the mountain homes to make sure all was in order.
Sosensa was soon expecting their first baby, and in time, she gave birth to my great, great grandmother – Juanita. Oh the excitement! Getting married to your love and having your first baby – I can totally relate! But her husband soon had to leave for work again. But this time, it would be different. Sosensa would be home alone with a baby.
They were not rich people, so it was likely a small, one room cabin and it’s doubtful that they had running water, insulation or any modern amenities. Though there were neighbors nearby, along with the friendly Federales, she was mostly alone with her baby. For months and months.
And this is the part that gets me. She was a young, single mom in the most rustic setting possible – and her task was simple. Take care of my basic needs. Take care of Juanita’s basic needs. So simple, yet just the hardest job imaginable. No cars, no Target, no disposable diapers, no washing machines, no Curious George on Netflix, no Cheerios or quick-fix meals, no breast pumps, no playdates with friends, no mommy’s morning out, no 5:00 Dad’s coming home soon, or even knowing when Dad will be home. Just gather food, prepare food, keep baby warm, keep baby safe.
This story deeply resonates – I can find the joy in the simplicity of just being mom without the fru-fru and distractions. But that definitely doesn’t mean that I always choose to. Many times, I distract myself with ‘mom tasks’ and ‘getting out of the house’ and struggle to be still. I’m pretty sure Sosensa was a lot less concerned if Juanita was rolling over by 4 months or saying her ABC’s at 18 months, and more concerned about mountain lions waiting outside the cabin to eat them (maybe that’s a little dramatic). But there were definitely no Pinterest crafts, bouncy seats or gym nurseries. This story echoes in the back of my mind when I’m itching for something to DO, or annoyed that the mac & cheese is gone. Blah Blah Blah…I know times have changed and that there are a million stories like this of pioneer moms with hairy legs, shotguns and crunchy underwear. But this story is me. It’s my family.
The story goes that Sosensa’s husband never came back. After several months, word reached the mountains that he had died. The grief! The pain! The unfairness of it all! She clung to their cabin. Their one hope of being a happy family and living the Mexican dream. She continued to stay there and care for Juanita and grieve. And then along came Gamez – one of the Federales who had been checking on her and who was apparently smitten with her. He persuaded her to leave the cabin and go back to her family, which she eventually did. And then he kept checking on her, and checking on her, and then she got the picture. Sosensa and Gamez ended up getting married and having a family together.
There is more to her story, but this is the part of her life that I connect with now. When the hours are long in my modern home, I think of sweet, strong Sosensa caring for her baby with a husband far away. What a sad beginning! How hard! How confusing!
Yet how entirely loving God is to have brought this man into her life – for such a short time – to teach her about HIM and lead her to HIM. Sosensa became a Christian through her first husband’s example and teaching. She passed down the Gospel to baby Juanita, who became a godly woman (with an awesome story) who fled persecution from the Catholic church. She lived the Gospel to her children – my great grandpa Albert. And Albert proclaimed JESUS with his entire life (just one more awesome story!) and had my Grandpa – Richard. And then my mom, and then me. Oh how He loves us!! The power of the Gospel and the Love of Jesus – it’s personal, intimate and intentional – and it’s freely given to the entire world!
When I’m tempted to make distractions for myself – for our day together – just me and Coby – I frequently think of Sosensa. And of Jesus’ love and provision in her life and in mine. And of how it’s so simply difficult, but not really. She had this overwhelming job to do in an impossible setting. But she did learn to Be Still and Know that He is God. And He graciously provided for her basic needs, and led her to teach her daughter of Him. And that was it. And that’s my job too.
Psalm 139: 13 “Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”
I John 3:1a “What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.”