Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess. 5:16-18
The verse above was my grandma's favorite verse. She quoted it often, pondered it, and obeyed it. She was a woman of unwavering faith, and truly did give thanks to God in all circumstances. She prayed continually and rejoiced always. She was christian woman who touched many lives by her example.
On January 1, 2000, when I was 7 months pregnant with my first child, I got the call that she had passed away. Oh how my heart ached! This woman was so dear to me. She was fun, full of love and laughter. She loved to shop (me too!), read (me too!) and eat various junky items like coke, cheese and chips (me too!). She was a dynamic lady, and everyone who knew her was a little better for it. There was so much more I wanted to share with her! The thought of her being gone from earth was hard to imagine.
Over the last nearly 18 years, I have thought of her so very often. I've wondered what advice she would give me in a particular circumstance, I've wished I could share a good book with her, I've wanted to share my growing family with her. I've simply missed her presence.
But as so often we do with loved ones we have lost, I have little moments when I am reminded of her out of the blue. This month has been especially full of those reminders, particularly in the form of the verse above. Our school has a virtue we are focusing on each month, and this month's word is gratitude. And, you guessed it - the verse accompanying the word is this one. I've seen the verse in various places throughout our school building and via school communication. All three of my children have come to me with their memory work over the last couple of weeks -- thrusting their folders into my busy hands and immediately stilling me with their recitation. This verse, which reminds me so much of my beloved grandma, causing me to reflect on its meaning. And after hearing how meaningful it is to me, my confirmand this year is considering using it for his confirmation verse!
The last of my children handed me her folder tonight and began reciting it. I smiled and teared up a little. Today is my grandma's birthday -- she would have been 90 this year. While we're sorry we haven't been able to celebrate all those birthdays with her on earth, we are thankful for the ones we were blessed with. And we are even more grateful for the promise that we will see her again.
I'm not sure she knew the impact she had on those around her -- in fact I'm sure she had no idea how much everyone was touched by her kind heart and example. But she was quietly leading those around her to Christ. She would be so thankful to know that, for she wanted nothing more than for her friends and family to know their Savior.
Thanks for being who you were to so many, Grandma! Happy 90th birthday!