I used to wonder why God gave me the family He did. They weren’t all-together like “her’s”, they couldn’t provide for me like “her’s” did, they didn’t have social graces like “that family”…they weren’t and I wanted to be! When I became a Child of God, I asked that question more and more! For years I thought I was the pioneer Christian in the Byerly-Ward family…but God has a way of helping us see…
After 10 years of being away from my hometown, I still hear her sing, “Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be…”
My Grandma used to sing with the AM radio as we played Yahtzee and drank very caffeinated tea into the night. I don’t know that she made it through the songs without shedding many a tear. She had stopped attending church services years ago; something had kept her from being willing to return. She told me through teary eyes, while nodding her head in agreement with her words, “I love Jesus, though!” And I knew it was true. The day she died I had been praying for her…God brought her to mind, and I could hear her voice, feel her touch, see her little, round, wrinkled face. My very breath got caught as I was petitioning for her, and then my mom called and said “Grandma just died.” Breathless again. It was a moment of all moments in my life. It had been a gift from God for me to get to pray for her in her last minutes. It was sweetness beyond what I’ve tasted before in my life with Him.
I am weak, but Thou art strong; Jesus, keep me from all wrong; I’ll be satisfied as long As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.
I have since smelled the scents of Grandma…food she lovingly and creatively made for any who stopped by, perfume she put on to feel like a lady tho she wear sweat pants and a cotton shirt that might have holes and stains, sweat from her brow after she helped clean houses or took a break from picking beans in the garden.
Through this world of toil and snares, If I falter, Lord, who cares? Who with me my burden shares? None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.
Grandma had no formula for life. She grew up poor and abused, striving and surviving. Still, though, God was known and hoped in and believed in. I don’t know who began that legacy, but she carried it. Maybe imperfectly, without accountability or support, without wonderful wisdom from ladies in a blog-world, but she carried her lamp. I don’t know if it always had oil…she may have had dry moments…I think I remember seeing her face at some of those times…but more often I remember the smile, the helping hand, the sweet heart of a lamp ready for her Bridegroom.
I have drawn from my memories of this woman…this gift that I didn’t fully open until I could look back and see…
…it hadn’t begun with me.
Grandma carried a legacy safe within her heart and she handed out that legacy just as easy as she handed out portions of biscuits and a pot full of garden-beans. She sought no 3-step plan, she didn’t read that often – save one really Good Book, she didn’t have special scheduled times to be with Him. All her time was His, all her plans were His, all His Words were hers. He gave, she gave. He loved, she loved. He forgave, she forgave. If He said ‘no’, she said ‘no’. He prayed, she prayed. He…she.
When my feeble life is o’er, Time for me will be no more; Guide me gently, safely o’er To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.