The purpose of Women’s History Month is to recognize women who have been overlooked as well as remind society of the important role women play. Purple is the color that represents this month signifying the majesty and royalty women have been bestowed by God. Women’s History Month seems to have been shadowed by the global pandemic COVID-19 however, I must acknowledge the birthday of a special woman, Gwendolyn Ward. My mother-in-law was a blessed woman on many accounts. She was the wife of the late Rev. Aiden Ward and mother of three children, Jacqueline, Sharon, and my husband Lawrence.
My first impression of her was that she was a Lord & Taylor woman; very distinguished and a woman of high standards. Her words would comfort and correct with grace and truth (John 1:14). Prayer was a daily part of her lifestyle. Weekly she would pray with a group of mothers from the church. Women of all ages could be seen gathering around her before and after church, waiting for her loving touch.
Her house was called “Wards Inn” not just because of her hospitality but due to the fragrance of praise and worship she created in her home. Guests from out of town would often proclaim they found a home away from home at Wards Inn. Her Sunday evening standard meal consisting of chicken, peas and rice and sweet potatoes earned a seat at the table for many friends and family members alike. College students knew they could find a meal every Sunday and kept in touch years after graduating from local colleges and universities.
Friday nights were known as “burger nights.” Our church had a van ministry that picked up kids in Boston and brought them to youth ministry in Cambridge. Mom Ward wanted to make sure the youth were fed since many of them came home from school and the van was waiting for them outside. The van would stop at Wards Inn and the youth would run upstairs to get their burger to go. The burger night was a hit with the youth on the van and many memories were made across the city of Boston because of Mom Ward’s burgers!
One of the songs from the Abundant Life Church’s CD written by Chantel Hampton based on the notes from her muse file was dedicated in her honor. When the Morning Comes speaks about her battle with cancer. Mom Ward did not let cancer stop her from praying. I witnessed her attending her treatments one day, resting the next, and meeting the mothers of the church for prayer every Wednesday at noon. The lyrics from the second verse highlight her testimony:
I don’t want to live this way
And let my fear destroy the faith
That I’ve learned to have in you
After all you’ve brought me through
From the past to my present
You’ve never failed me yet
So tomorrow I’ll look for you
As the new day dawns
If after reading this post if you begin to think about the Proverbs 31 woman as outlined by King Lemuel, kudos. Prior to meeting Mom Ward I felt it was impossible to find someone who embodied the characteristics outlined in this passage. After learning from her life, I aspire to set an example for the generations to come. Lord, may my legacy include being known as a woman of grace and truth.