Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. It is a time when we can reflect on the many blessings which God has given us.
For my family, there is much to be thankful for. Some of our earliest blessings came from unimaginable hardships.
In 1945, a family of seven in rural Indiantown, South Carolina lost their father to an inoperable brain tumor, leaving Mrs.Hudson and her five girls to keep up a struggling farm and homestead. The family were members of Indiantown Presbyterian Church, a historical church where they worshiped and were active. The same day Mr. Hudson passed away, the minister of the church also passed away. Mr.Hudson’s funeral was conducted by a visiting preacher named Dr. McDonald, who was also the President of Thornwell, a Presbyterian school and orphanage in Laurens County..
As World War II was coming to an end, the family fell upon even harder times as they lost their home and farm to the tax man. Unable to feed, clothe, and adequately take care of her children, Mrs. Hudson had to make the most difficult decisions of her life. She was faced with taking her children to an orphanage.
The man who had preached at Mr. Hudson’s funeral had told Mrs.Hudson that if things got worse the girls could come to live at the orphanage in Clinton, South Carolina. So, on Christmas Eve, December 24th, 1945, Mrs. Hudson took her three youngest girls to Thornwell Orphanage.
One of the sisters who was taken to the orphanage is my grandmother, Margie Hudson Stewart. While it was a difficult time for them, she and her siblings adjusted and then thrived at Thornwell. She would later attend Montreat College and spend her life teaching. In fact, Thornwell had such a positive impact on my grandmother and her sisters that my mother, Valerie Jones, would someday teach there as well, and I would attend Thornwell school.
Just imagine giving up your child? As a parent of two beautiful girls, it’s unfathomable. For my wife, Kelly and me, our children are our world. And while it’s easy to focus on the tragedies of life, being thankful for the blessings that we have is what Christ calls on us to do. God calls on us to be positive and rejoice.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to “rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
For my family, the circumstances that defined my grandmother’s childhood and led her to Thornwell are a reminder that God is good. Let us remember this Thanksgiving to be thankful for the many blessings in our lives and to rejoice in the incredible gift that God has given us by sending Christ to die for our sins. We are blessed more than we will ever know.
As we pause to give thanks, we wish you and your family a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.
Stewart Jones, South Carolina House Representative District 14