In my family is the story of my Great Great Grandmother’s courage, generosity, bravery, and faith. On a farm in the flatlands of South Carolina, she lived in a small home alone during the Civil War, as her husband had joined the Confederate troops. It was a scary time as families were divided by ideology; brothers fought brothers; states fought states; lives lost proved war has no winners.
General William Tecumseh Sherman marched from Georgia through South Carolina utilizing the military strategy scorched-earth. Those in their way experienced complete devastation and rape of their land, food, crops, horses, livestock, transportation if any found, industrial commodities, if any found, and of course the killing and rape of the males and females. It was essentially war perpetrated upon civilians with the intention of total destruction. His Yankee troops were feared and despised throughout the Confederacy. The people-the very land itself- burned by his forces, knew him as the devil himself.
In order to survive, my Great Great Grandmother hid or buried salt cured meat, potatoes, flour, corn, dry goods, salt, and molasses; the milk-cow, mule, and chickens had to be hidden in the woods-all she had. On a cold, dreary, rainy day in December, Union soldiers came upon her home, members of Sherman’s troops; she feared for her life, home-everything. They dragged up to her door and entered uninvited. Knowing the tenacity of the women left behind, I am sure my Great Great Grandmother had a gun at the ready. They went to the fireplace and proceeded to dry their clothes and warm themselves. They asked for food and provisions in return for her protection. Facing certain death despite their promise, she began to prepare hot sourdough bread, molasses, and lots of strong coffee; all the while, she prayed that somewhere a Union wife was offering the same to her own husband. With faith in the protection of God, and the mercy of the soldiers, she offered her home’s meager comforts. Her prayers and faith sustained her. Hunger appeased and warmed by the fire, the officers went outside and placed three rifles stacked upright, the butts on the ground, the barrels pointing skyward; arranged as a sign to other Union soldiers that this woman had provided for their needs and was not to be harmed. I am here today; the rifles blessed my Great Great Grandmother and her home!
I do not know her name; I never met her; I only know of her from this story passed down through the years. I do know her life experiences showed my family how to live trusting the Dear Lord with everything you have. Prayer, faith, and courage taught us, her children, their children, their children, and their children; her life was a living example of each and every one of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 New Living Translation
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
What joy and extreme relief she must have experienced as the Union soldiers walked away with renewed energy and thankfulness! No law, no harm, no scorched-earth could touch My Great Great Grandmother; the armor of the Lord was her shield; the love and protection of God surrounded her. Thank You, Dear Lord, for her life and her example to me and mine. Amen
Again another hymn with which I was unfamiliar, but that so echos the plight of all during the horror which was The Civil War.
Day by Day and With Each Passing Moment
Lyrics: Karolina Sandell 1865 notice the date
translated by A.L. Skoog
Music: Oscar Ahnfeldt
Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best—
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
Every day, the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Power;
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,
This the pledge to me He made.
Help me then, in every tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.