We sat in my living room, my grandparents and I. They had stopped by as they returned home from one of their many missions trips. We were chatting, and my sweet grandma brought up a subject she knew was very close to my heart – my desire for a baby. My husband and I had already been married several years, and had no children. She said, “Honey, you know I pray for you and Brian every day.” I knew she did. And then in her gentle way she asked, “Have you considered that perhaps God hasn’t given you children yet because He has something else for you to do?” I shook my head. No, I hadn’t considered that. I said something. I’m not sure what. In my head, I was shouting, “No! I don’t WANT to do something else. I don’t even want to consider that.” Yet in my heart, I knew that perhaps she was right. Her wise words made me stop and think about God’s plan for my life, and the reality that I needed to surrender to it – no matter what it was. I struggled with that for a long time, and truthfully, I don’t think I would have listened to anyone else who may have said that to me. I’m thankful for her wisdom, her insight, her candor, and her compassion.
Besides my mother, no woman has influenced me more than my grandmother. When I read about the woman of Proverbs 31, I think of her. Her faithful love for my grandpa, her steadfast faith in God, her quiet spirit, her busy hands – always making something beautiful, something useful – her gentle ways, her wise words, her generous heart, her beautiful countenance all touched my life more profoundly than I can say. From the time I was just a child, I remember her teaching me lessons I am still trying to learn and incorporate into my life. She loved to write, and always encouraged me to share my poems and songs with her, and with others. She lived a life of faith. She shared her faith. She loved the Bible, and her walk with God made me want to walk with Him too.
To be honest, my time with my grandma was much too short. When we were children, my grandparents lived far away, and because they were missionaries, our visits were few and far between. My sister and I did spend a couple weeks with them each summer, and I treasure those memories. They moved closer to us when I was a teenager, and although they traveled a lot, I did get to spend more time with them, and even traveled with them some. And yet, though our time was limited, her influence was great.
It’s hard to believe she’s been in heaven for 10 years already. At her 50th wedding anniversary celebration, she made a short “speech” thanking everyone for coming. In typical Grandma Mary fashion, she said with a smile, “I was reading in the Bible about the 50th year, the year of jubilee. It was the year of release. The only thing I can think of I would want to be released from is this old body.” Less than two weeks later, she was with the Lord.
I miss her, but I think of her often, and I know that her life is still making a difference. I pray that the Lord will help me to follow her example. “Her children arise up and call her blessed…”
She wrote me a poem when I went to college. It was such a help to me then, and still is now!
(God gave me this poem right after we took our dear granddaughter, Nicole Neal, to Crown College at Powell, TN.)
Sometimes a plant, for its good, must be moved,
To a larger pot or a richer soil,
So the roots, cramped and hungry no longer,
Transplanted can now bloom royal.
Right after the move, the plant seems to wilt,
Looks a little droopy and sick,
But as it drinks in water and sunshine,
New life is replenished real quick.
Sometimes God, for our good, has to move us
To a place where our soul roots stretch out.
If we drink in the new Spiritual nourishment
God can bring great changes about.
Adjustments and changes may drain us at first,
But the “Gardener’s” wisdom is best.
Let your life bring out beautiful blossoms,
Set your roots in His Word and rest.
With love from Grandma Mary
August 17, 1994
Psalm 92:13 – “Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.”