Here is a picture of one of my favorite keepsake treasures.
It is a Bible page marker that was crocheted by my grandmother. Although I don’t use it as a bookmark, I keep it in my closet and see it daily as I dress and prepare for my day. I clearly remember when my mother gave this to me, but I don’t recall how old I was at the time. She said it was made by my grandmother. I am ashamed to admit I can’t remember which grandmother. Was it stitched by my paternal grandmother Bessie or by my maternal grandmother Martha? They both were talented at and made a lot of crocheted work. In my heart, it doesn’t really matter and it reminds me of both of them. My mother must have seen in me my love for the Bible and God even in my childhood and I believe she gave me this precious trinket to bolster my faith. Thanks mom.
Here is a picture of my dear mother who was a good, imperfect, but very good mom who worked hard for me and my family and who became one of my closest friends ever.
I did not have the chance to know my mom’s mother, Martha personally. She lived far away in Ohio and only visited our family a couple of times when I was young. But I remember how much my mom loved and missed her. I remember mom told me she believed in and loved Jesus. Mom told me of some of grandma Martha’s favorite songs “Beyond the Sunset” and “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere”which are songs about the hope of eternal bliss. Mom and I would sing them together, she with tears in her eyes. Mom told me how hard-working grandma Martha was raising 13 children, gardening to provide food for her family during the Great Depression.
Here is a picture of my grandma Martha with my mom on one of her few visits to our family, taken at Multnomah Falls.
I did have a chance to know my dad’s mother, Bessie, personally in my childhood, but only after she was quite ill physically and with dementia. I would often go to her house next door to our house to visit her and look at all her old trinkets, especially her special old lamps. I was told by an older sibling about some of grandma Bessie’s life. Apparently her first husband was mentally unstable and abusive so she had to divorce him and support her family on her own by taking in laundry for several years before she met and married my grandpa. Bessie belonged to a rigid church that would not have made the stigma of divorce very easy to live with, even though she took that step out of necessity to protect herself and her children, with right grounds for divorce. She had to have been a courageous woman to protect her family under such circumstances. Here’s a photo of my mom with grandma Bessie. I regret I’ve not taken the time to do much by trying to secure and scan photos from the past–that topic is a blog post for another time. I’m thankful for those who have sent some pictures to me like this one.
It is comforting for me when my life seems tough and especially in this present time of coping with a modern world pandemic to remember many brave and strong women of God have gone before me. God helped them and equipped them for the challenges of their time. God will do the same for me and other women of God today for our challenging times.
Do parents today tell their children about their parents? Are we being faithful to honor and cherish our ancestors? Are we wisely utilizing all our phone/camera capabilities to bother to record a family history and take pictures of our elderly loved ones? I so need work in this area. Even if our childhood, parents, ancestors were imperfect, as they all are, some worse than others, it is helpful to know one’s history and to learn from their lives. I deeply regret I did not take the time to ask my own parents about their lives and the lives of their parents more. I wish I had written a good family history while I had the chance. It comforts me to hope that both my grandmothers truly knew Jesus and had peace with God, thus they are safe in Jesus’s presence in Paradise (which is the temporary heaven where Jesus is now). I pray and talk to Jesus about my deceased parents, grandparents, and other loved ones. Perhaps Jesus is able to give their resting souls messages of comfort knowing their loved one is remembering and honoring them. Perhaps they are even able to talk to Jesus and pray for us. Now Scripture does not state the details of what souls resting in Paradise with Jesus experience as they await final judgment day or what they are able to do and what that is like, except that it is good, peaceful and in the presence of Christ. So my heart is just speculating and wondering. But it brings me peace and strength as I bring all my loved ones, both dead and alive (all with ETERNAL souls!) to Jesus in full surrender each day. In fact, this is the only thing that keeps me sane– knowing I can trust my good, righteous God — that I can and must trust in His mercy, grace, and righteous judgment for myself and everyone else I know and love. But I don’t trust Him because I need a crutch. I trust Him because HE IS. He does exist and His Word the Bible is true.
As I write this on March 27, 2020, I realize if I’ve been infected with the coronavirus before my personal self-distancing began on March 17, that the time is nearing when symptoms of COVID-19 disease may appear two weeks after infection. I have not been very fearful by the grace of God. I do not wish to die with a terrible lung pneumonia and inability to breathe, nor have to watch it happen to my husband. But this is just one more threat to the long list of things that can go wrong or ways one can die. God knows and appoints the how and when of each person’s demise. He knows what He is doing, though sometimes it seems so hard to understand. Paul said that for the believer in Christ, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) There is great peace in knowing God is real, eternity is real, and I am right with God by grace. My grandmothers knew it. My mom knew it. I know it. And my great hope and prayer is my husband, sons, daughter-in-laws, granddaughters and everyone I know and love, and indeed the whole world, will know this peace at this hard time and always. My motivation in creating my blog site and writing these blog posts is the hope that my granddaughters will read and have the ability to know me through my writings, and that God will use these writings as He will. They also provide an outlet for my need to write to process life. I believe God created me to write and my writings are a part of my personal sending to share the good news of Jesus. I always set out to try to write something meaningful, usually because God has put something burning in my heart, but without “preaching”, yet God always puts a cry to the unbelieving on my heart each time I write. I’m always tempted to shrink from it, but I must not.
So I will close with one question for those who believe this Jesus stuff is foolish and rubbish. Who may think their soul will just end and have no eternal destiny. Who may think God does not care or intervene in anyone’s life. Have you ever REALLY read the Bible and tried to understand it? Please try reading the gospel of John (so you may believe in Jesus), and the letter of Romans (so you may understand the gospel and salvation), and cry to God to help you understand. I am praying for you to read and understand the Bible, God’s very words of truth. The ultimate text message for the human race. Like the apostle Paul, I implore you, to consider Jesus. May Jesus be the author and perfecter of your personal faith as He is of mine and all who believe. So we can all truly be safe, from corona viruses, from whatever other dangers lurk, and most of all be saved from sin and death.
2 Corinthians 5:20 “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
I realize my appeals seem weird and inappropriate to those still in the dark of unbelief. But they are or will be pleasing to my grandmothers and ancestors who were faithful before me. I so look forward to meeting them on the new earth. Will you join me in thanking God for everything good we have received from those who walked before us and who God used to give us the gift of life. Thank you God for my grandmas.