One of the most beautiful trees of God’s creation that I have ever seen is The Weeping Willow. It looks so serene, peaceful and wise but it also has a haunting glow of sorrow. It reminds me of many elderly women that I cared for when I worked in nursing homes years ago.

They were women of great sacrifice. They have been through The Great Depression, The Civil Rights Movement and sent their husbands, brothers and sons to serve several deployments of war.

There they were, staying strong alone on the home front. Their discipline was tough but their comfort was gentle. They cooked meals every night and only allowed an hour of television.

They stretched every penny, irons many creases, scrubbed many floors and sewed many seams. They have been to many weddings and sadly even more funerals.

We, women of today use the term “strength” so loosely are just apple trees compared to these weeping willows. We have all had our share of trials and tribulations but we are still growing in wisdom, knowledge and experience and most of our sorrows are from our own poor choices.

These willows have been through the worst of times, yet survived and through their trials, they maintained eloquence, class and an attitude of gratitude, never whining and never complaining.

They taught us that in the midst of their storm that fall to your knees to praise the Lord. They scrubbed clothing with their bare hands and hung them out to dry, planted and maintained a garden, made dinner from scratch, used cloth diapers, sewing machines and washed dishes by hand. There was no air conditioning, dishwashers, microwaves, spas or Reality TV.

There was no time fillers in their parenting such as McDonalds, video games, MTV or BET. When they spoke, their words poured out wise instruction, encouragement and fair warning. They despised lies, gossip, back-biting and foul language because they understood that life and death was in the power of the tongue and if you didn’t tame it, you got a switch to your back-side and a bar of soap in your mouth.

You sat down at the dinner table saying your grace, and asking to be excused before you got up. School was a privilege not a burden and work came before fun.

They are the anchors in our lives, a glimpse of the flickering star of hope that we still have a chance to get it right by modeling them in their fight for faith, hope and the restoration of the family unit. They are the true definition of strength.