“I thank my God every time I remember you,…” – Philippians 1:3
I was returning home this morning from taking my kids to school, and I was flooded by memories of my grandmother. That was kind of surprising, but I stopped my car in the driveway and just let the memories flow. I have to admit, I don’t think of her that often. She passed away 15 years ago, a lifetime considering how far I have traveled down life’s path in that period.
But, as I sat there, the biggest smile came to my face and heart as I remembered specific encounters with her. She was not a television caricature of a grandmotherly figure. She wasn’t a sweet, little old lady making cookies every afternoon. However, she did make a chocolate cake to die for.
Instead, my grandmother had a hard edge to her. No doubt, she was a result of her upbringing during the Depression and such. I knew she loved me fiercely, but not in a warm and fuzzy kind of way. She took bluntness to an almost offensive level. She never sugar-coated anything. She always spoke the truth (as she saw it,) and never seemed to take your feelings in account when doing so. (Memories of “He’s just not that into you…” are flooding through my mind.). She wasn’t malicious, just honest.
She was the hardest worker I have ever met in my life. She was always working. If not at her job, then in her garden, her kitchen, anywhere she was, needed something done. She rose at 5:30 each morning, cooked breakfast and set off to work. And she didn’t stop until late that evening.
She occupied herself with caring for my brother and me. I just realized this morning what a stabilizing presence she was for us in what, many times, was and unstable childhood. I spent every weekend with her from the age of ??? until I was 15. Weekends filled with favorite foods, favorite tv shows, and anything else I wanted. I remember distinctly going to the dime store for banana icees and lollipops bigger than your head. She took me to see my first movie, Snow White, when I was around 6. She read me the same book before bed for years, because it was the one I wanted.
Living in a small town, all our high school ball games were broadcast on the radio. So even when she couldn’t make it to a basketball game, I knew she had sat by her radio listening, because later, she would discuss what the announcers had to say about my performance. She probably didn’t understand everything she heard, but her heart was there.
She sure didn’t mind sharing her opinions about the people I dated. And she was wide open on stressing the dangers of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, wild parties and the backseats of cars! Nothing was off limits for her.
But here was the greatest things about her: she loved me, no matter what. She had this unconditional love that was steadfast, never-wavering, and always looking out for my best interest. I am convinced that she would have loved me the same whether in her living room or visiting me in prison. I won’t say she always believed the best about me, her honesty made sure of that. She never thought I was perfect, however, regardless of where I was in life, she loved me anyway.
What a perfect model for understanding my Savior. I can understand His love for me, because I have experienced it with her. I believe in His unchanging love and ever-flowing grace because I have experienced it with her. And, like my grandmother, Jesus is self-sacrificing, always looking out for my best interest. He is my safe harbor in the midst of the storm and the place that I run to when in need someone to love me unconditionally. Just like her.
I hope that you have someone in your life that represents that kind of love. If you do, maybe spend some time remembering today. Or even better, if they are still with us, call them up and say thank you. God places those “channels of grace” in our lives to bless us. May we be forever thankful for them.
Thank you for my grandmother. Thank you for reminding me of her today, and showing me how very much I was loved as a child. What some wonderful memories. Help me to love with the same steadfastness as she did. And lead me to be a grace dispenser to those most important in my world.
In Jesus’ name I pray,