For Grandmothers, on Mother’s Day and always, thank you.
So many of you have shown many of us young mothers what being ‘grand’ in our mothering really looks like. Yes, sometimes mothers and grandmothers are actually biological, but often they are simply women who share their beauty, strength and love with others, especially children. In the most selfless of ways. All the while, sharing not only themselves, but the true characteristics of Jesus along the way.
Growing up in the south, I was blessed to observe some special qualities a grandmother might possess. It is true, we are created with different gifts, but as my memory recalls, growing up in small-town Alabama, almost every grandmother I knew had the majority of these beautiful attributes.
They loved their family.
This meant everything from sharing their home with grandbabies as parents worked to sharing their faith around the table for Sunday lunch. Family was the their first priority coming second only to God. More often than not, you could find the entire family at one grandmother’s house or the other’s, enjoying a wonderful home-cooked meal. I was amazed by how quickly they could whip up the yummiest of menus always with room at their tables for one more. Shelling peas and shucking corn in the summer was considered social hour. If you stopped by to visit, you might quickly find yourself handed a large bowl and paper sack to keep you busy. Soap operas would be on the television (I know, but can we confess, they just were!) enabling the time to pass a bit more quickly. Your stained fingers might remain purple for weeks, but the time together made it tolerable.
Yes, eating together, working together and just being together with their family made every day special. The slower pace and the valued family time is one of the things I really miss from my childhood.
And, they loved their friends.
You could see this as they willingly babysat for them or prayed for their marriages. Yes, friends were not someone they talked about or were jealous of, rather were those they celebrated the happy times with and prayed through difficulties with. ‘Spend the Day’ was a special day once a month for one grandmother and friends. I loved being at her house on those days! Ladies from the community came together to share their homes and lives. It was potluck for women with lots of laughter and encouragement! Each of them looked forward to a nice meal, but more importantly, a few hugs and lots of love.
Yes, friends in those days made time for one another. They served one another. And, they loved one another closer to Jesus with every visit. The memories of my grandmother and her sweet friends won’t soon be forgotten. Such memories have really challenged me in today’s hustle and bustle to try to find the time regularly to be that kind of friend. Present. Involved. And, always thinking the best of them.
Grandmothers also loved their communities.
By sharing themselves, they did everything from teaching Sunday school at church to providing a meal for the sick. You could often find them planning an event at school or cutting out art for VBS or delivering some of the veggies they had grown to neighbors. The front porch swing was their social network without all the tweets. Simple. Savored. Safe. No room for competition or condemnation.
Conversations were in person or over the much-loved rotary dial phone. One of my grandmothers had a party line for years. It often taught us that sometimes you just have to wait your turn. Neighbors and community should be first. Small towns seemed to offer a great way to see God’s love in action and His people putting others before themselves. Yes, community was just an extension of family. One in the same. I pray at some point my children can understand this. That they, too will embrace those God puts around them and be a servant in the places God plants them. Just like their great-grandmothers have been.
And, most of all they loved Jesus.
This made all of the other ‘everythings’ they gave and did much easier. You see, without a truly, devoted heart for Him, I am not sure any of these things would have been easy back then, much less today. Most of our lives as women consist more about our effort to survive in this fast-paced world, making it almost impossible to find the time to love and serve and just be ‘grand’ in these ways. Showing me how they loved Jesus and loved His people has challenged me to evaluate my choices and who or what I put first.
It is a struggle every day to fit it all in, but I am slowly realizing that in most things they did, they consistently placed others’ needs above their own.
They were much less worried about who had what and who did what.
They focused their time and energy on people, not things.
What they had monetarily wasn’t really considered theirs, but rather for the use of anyone who might need it.
And, yes, they believed in all circumstances and needs the Lord would provide.
Better yet, they trusted Him. It was as simple as that.
I was blessed that most ‘grand’ mothers I knew, knew Him.
That is the difference.
To know Him.
To share Him.
To be grand as you, mother is to just be like Him.
Memories of mothers, grandmothers, neighbors, teachers, special friends or anyone who loved you like Jesus can bring a flood of sweet memories. To be honest, I am hoping that God keeps these memories always fresh on my heart. And, for those who may not have precious memories from childhood, I pray that He starts creating those special memories now, as He provides that special someone to love and encourage them.
So many wonderful women have touched my life over the years, each one leaving a little bit of Jesus love for me to savor. For this, I am eternally grateful.
And, yes, may all of us as women, not just mothers or grandmothers, strive to be that someone who loves another woman closer to Jesus along life’s journey.
Lord, Help us to notice the women you place in our lives. Help us to love them as you love them. Help us to recognize when they need encouragement, because being a mother or just a special lady who loves like Jesus can be a bit wearing at times. And, help us to hold tight to their best-kept secrets and prayer needs as we encourage them. Yes, Father, help all of us as women, to join together for the greater good of your kingdom. Help us, on Mother’s Day and always, to remember how much you love us. We are grateful, Lord for every sweet woman you have placed in our path to love us closer to Jesus and for us to love closer to Jesus. It is in His precious and holy name we pray, Amen.