Today is my favorite grandmothers' birthday. She was born on this date in 1899 in a very small town in South Dakota. Her family had a farm there, having just arrived from the old country. There was plenty of hard work to go around and for most of her life, grandma worked hard. Even after they moved into town, there was plenty to do. My grandfather owned his own business, and she did the book work for that along with running the house. It was a glorious old house, red with white trim. This house had a root cellar and an attic. Both of them were cool places to explore, the root cellar when it got too warm outside playing and the attic when it rained or hailed.
Grandma loved her family, grandpa especially. And she loved it when we all came to visit. In the winter there was plenty of snow to play in and in the summer, there was always something ripe in her huge garden that needed to be picked. Grandma loved birds and she could identify every one of them, from sparrows to chickadees, wrens to blue jays, nuthatches to cardinals. Cardinals were her favorite. In the winter she would go out every morning to break the ice in the various water containers she had for them. And then she would feed them.
Grandma loved life. Watching nature always reminded her of God's good creation. Canning and making pickles and jams and jellies were a sign of God's bounty to her. When the family gathered, she would look around the table and count her blessings. Even the old wringer washer gave her pause because it made laundry easier than it had been when she was a kid. We were not allowed too close to the wringer because she knew one of us would end up putting our hand into the wringer just to see what would happen. As a result, that became one of the most interesting things she had.
The town she lived in was small and I think she knew most everybody knew her...at least it seemed like it when we went to the post office or the Red Owl grocery store. Everybody stopped to talk. And I mean everybody. It happened at the bank and the bakery and the hardware store too. When we had the church reception after her funeral my cousins and I were bombarded by folks who knew grandma but didn't know or remember our names. It made for a very long afternoon.
There were many things that were important to grandma and I have listed some of them, but above everything else, Jesus was the most important. Always. She taught Sunday School and played the organ at her church. And she was part of the ladies' aid society. Grandma spent a lot of time with my cousins and me, teaching us about Jesus. She took Deuteronomy 6:4-9 to heart. Anything we did together became a teachable moment in terms of faith. And I have shared before that we kids thought she had the entire Bible memorized. She even knew verses from Leviticus!
Grandma made heart cookies for Valentine's Day and sent them to all her grandkids. She made sea foam candy and divinity at Christmas, along with mincemeat pies. I can still hear her laugh. Grandma was interested in all sorts of things and she would listen for hours to us kids when we would share school stories or our life's observations with her. She was our chief encourager and cheerleader, always believing we could do whatever we set our minds to doing. She often talked about stick-to-itivness. Grandma was the most important person in my life for many years.
So, today, here is to grandma. But not just my grandma. There are grandmas...and grandpas...all across the globe who invest in their grandkid's lives. There are many in our family of faith that play big roles in the faith lives of their grandkids. And some of them play significant life roles in their grandkid's lives as well. In fact, there are kids and young adults in this faith family who would be completely lost without the help and nurturing of their grandparents.
I give thanks for Grandma. God used her to mold and shape my cousins and me. He used her to plant, water and weed seeds of faith. We learned unconditional love from her and the love of Jesus. We learned what it looked like to be faithful from her. And we learned what it looked like to serve Jesus. You don't have to be a grandma or grandpa however, to make a difference in someone's life. If we let Him, Jesus will use every one of us to make a difference in His name in the life of another.
In His Grip
Pastor Matt Wq