This past week and a half my boys and I have been able to spend some precious time with my parents, sister, Karalyn, and her two kids. We only see each other once or maybe twice a year, so these are precious and cherished days for us as a family. We try to fit in as much shopping, talking, and playing as we can to try to catch up for all the time we have missed. However, these days can also get frustrating and exhausting and just plain crazy at times (how could you possible escape the crazy when you are crammed into a small house with four young children for three weeks?) 🙂 But to us, it’s SO worth it. For the most part, we enjoy each other and get along and we try to cherish every second of togetherness we are given.
One of the things I love while I’m here is being able to see my Grandma, my mom’s mom, who is going to be ninety-four years young next week. She’s now in the nursing home and can’t communicate much verbally, but she still knows who we are, and when we talk to her, we can see in her eyes how much she loves us and how delighted she is that we have come to see her. Growing up, my sister and I have beyond wonderful memories of summer days spent at her house, picking fresh raspberries with her and then making fresh raspberry ice cream. Watching Little House on the Prairie and I Love Lucy on her huge bean bag, playing foosball and pool, eating push-ups and ice cream sundae cups. Going to church, out to eat and shopping, running through the sprinkler, celebrating my birthday and riding tricycles and watching fireworks.
I could go on and on sharing these kinds of things, but the one thing that began to be so precious to me the older I got was how much my Grandma loved Jesus. From her earliest days, she loved and served Him and strived to share Him with others. As a young housewife and mother she taught Sunday School, hosted missionaries, prayed for people at church revival services, and sought God with all of her heart. She lived a life full of His love and kindness that touched everyone around her, including my mom and my sister and I. She read her Bible every day and as we got older, we would have family devotions with her and then pray together. One of my most precious memories is her sharing stories with me of the things God had done in her and through her. I remember listening in awe as she shared the time she was very sick and actually left her body for a few minutes. She told me she went up through a tunnel with light at the end, and when she arrived she saw a gate and a Jew singing, “When the redeemed are gathering in…” She wanted to stay, but God had other plans and she came back and made a full recovery. I was amazed as she talked of the time her and her friend were walking home from church one night when they saw a man walking quickly toward them with his hand tucked into his coat, as if hiding a gun. They began to pray in the Spirit and suddenly the man looked behind them in terror, high over their heads. In that instant, he turned around and ran away as fast as he could. She never saw what he saw, but she is confident it was an angel sent to protect them from harm. Yet in another story she told of how she had three baby boys before my mom and at least two of them died because she had rH negative blood and it caused her body to reject them. She prayed, asking and believing God for a child, and then her blood type changed miraculously on its own (this was medically documented) and she was able to get pregnant with my mom and carry her to full term successfully, as well as my aunt and uncle following some years later. As I grew I appreciated these stories even more. The things she shared inspired me, made me want to seek God myself and see His power in my own life (which I have, another article for another day!). In large part because of her, I had faith from an early age to believe in the miraculous. I stood in awe of the God she served, who was so real and so close and so personal, and Who used her to prove to me how deeply He cares about every detail of our lives. In fact, I am most likely serving Jesus today because of her example and influence. She has started a godly heritage in our family that has passed down to my mom, and now to my sister and I. And I pray we will see that continue in our children as well. What a blessing and a gift from God, to have a heritage of faith and trust in Him!
I can’t help but think of Psalm 61:5-8 when I think of my grandmother, for she is a living example of these verses:
“For You, O God, have heard my vows. You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name. You will prolong the King’s life, his years as many generations. He shall abide before God forever. Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which shall preserve him! So I will sing praise to Your name forever…”
I am so, so thankful for God’s word and His faithfulness to those who love Him! He preserves those who trust in Him, and gives them strength and health and life for each day. So even if you have not come from a family like mine, be encouraged today that YOU can be the first to begin a godly heritage in yours! Make it your number one priority to walk with the King of Kings. To listen to Him and share His love with those you meet. To love your family with HIS love. As a quote I recently read said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” God’s love never fails and there is no greater gift you can give to the future generation than to give them a godly heritage. So pray and love and give and be, not perfect, but perfectly in love with Jesus. Then rest in Him and watch Him work in your family. Those who trust in Him will never be put to shame, and their prayers will never go unanswered.