I’ve just been reading an encouraging but humbling article on how a godly man is teaching his middle school aged son to have a quiet time. He is very disciplined and teaches his child a lot, however I was struck by one quotation:
I pray with my children aloud each day and consider it one of the most important things I do with them.
As I contemplate and cry on the health of my ailing grandmother, (My Aunt Vicki said in her Christmas card, “We are watching my little mama just slip away from us.”) I think about the profound impact she has had on me and everyone she has touched. Even now, as her cognition is limited– she is kindly to others and never bitter.
Recently one nurse stopped and asked my Aunt if my grandmother was prayed for. Of course, she is! The nurse said, “I can always tell the patients who are prayed for. I can tell that she is.”
Another nurse told my Aunt what an encouragement Grandmother is to her. This nurse says that if she’s having a bad day all she has to do is go sit in my grandmother’s room. Even if she is asleep, she says she can hold her hand and feels such power and encouragement coming from her hand that she is immediately relieved of the difficulties of life.
I believe that as long as my saintly grandmother has breath, that God has a purpose for her life!
But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
The only people who can really be optimists are Christians. We know there is better ahead — we know we have a future and a hope. And even as we breathe our last breath we begin to emerge to new life with Jesus Christ. I can truly be a positive thinker because I always know that better is ahead. Not so for the non Christian. They will reach a point in their life where it is not geting any better, where things will only get worse, and they have nothing to look forward to.
Very soon, my grandmother will be young again. Her mind will be bright and the fire will be in her eyes. He will spar mentally with my grandfather and play bridge with Aunt Lil. I know there will be a party and she’ll eat apples from a tree in heaven. (She loves apples.)
Does this comfort my heart? Well, no not really. I want my grandmother. I want her here with me now.
But I cannot forget, she is with me now in all of the life lessons she taught me. For now, I have just been closing my eyes and remembering the trip she took me on to Alaska. We would be in the hotel room trying to go to sleep with the midnight sun streaming in the window and we talked. We talked. We talked. We didn’t want to go to sleep. Her gall bladder was bothering her so she couldn’t do anything but stay away and talk to me. We laughed. We giggled. We talked. Now all of those memories come streaming back. No one else has those memories but me because she took me by herself to Alaska! Just me! A deposit left behind of the gift of love and laughter left only in my mind. She left a lot of those deposits.
I want to be a person who leaves behind deposits. Not with the masses but with my children and my grandchildren. With my family and friends. With my students. With my pets. I am someone who loves and laughs with others. I am someone who stands with dignity on the principles of Christ and does not need to argue them because I’m so busy living them.
I ask you: are you praying for your ailing relatives? Do you know that they have a purpose even now? Do you do your best to spend time with them even if you don’t think they know you’re there? Do not forget the ones who took the time to make deposits in your life! We must know in a society that reveres youth that we have it all wrong — reverence is for the aged. It is the old who are called great — “great with age” and “full of years” in the Bible.
Lord, use grandmother’s life for your intended purpose. Bless everyone who comes into contact with her. Continue to mark her as your child and hold her in your bosom until she opens her eyes to see your face. Bless her in every way and help us in her family to handle our loss that we feel even now as her body is among us. Let us hold fast to your purpose. Let us comfort one another in ways that will make her proud. Let us honor her with our lives as we serve your kingdom and remember what is important. Forgive me for getting my eye off the ball. I love you, my Jesus. Take care of Grandmama as I know you always have. We love her and we already miss her. Our pain is beyond what we can bear but still less than the pain Jesus felt as He was separated from you for a time. You understand. Send us comfort in supernatural form. We need you now. In Jesus name. Amen.