Monday, June 1, 2009

Well Done Good And Faithful Servant - Part 2

It seems like just yesterday that I was sitting here at my desk writing a tribute to my grandfather-in-law who had just gone home to be with the Lord. And now, just six short weeks later I am faced with writing another tribute, this time for my grandmother-in-law, who departed this world last Wednesday afternoon. She was 88 years old (today would have been her 89th birthday), a strong Christian, and she was ready to go home.

As I look back over the past 26 years that I have been a part of this family I have many fond memories of the time we spent together. As I think about those times I cannot remember a single time when we were together that she did not turn the conversation to spiritual matters and talk about Jesus; in fact I cannot think of a more appropriate or accurate thing to say about Mamaw than this - she was a witness for Jesus Christ. Yes, she was a good cook, and she loved her family, but first and foremost she told everyone she came in contact with that they needed to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Mamaw had been sick for the past several years, and her health took a severe downturn in the last 2-3 years leaving her unable to care for herself. She was suffering from dementia and completely bedridden at the end, unable even to take a drink of water without help. My last visit was on the day of Papaw's funeral. Because of her condition, both physical and mental, she was unable to attend. So after everything was completed that day all of the grandchildren and their spouses decided that we would stop by to see her on our way home even though we knew that she would probably not know who we were or that we had even been there. We were wrong. And what happened that day is something that I will never forget.

As we came into the room that day, Mamaw,who was barely able to lift her head off of her pillow, looked around the room and recognized every one of us in the room calling us by name. Then, this frail woman, who could no longer even care for herself, proceeded to share Christ with each of us, using the small amount of energy she had to share the gospel with us saying that she wanted to make sure that everyone in that room was going to be with her in heaven. That was the kind of woman she was; she wanted to make sure that everyone was going to be in heaven, and because she didn't think that she had much time left she used what she had to double-check the spiritual condition of her grandchildren and their families.

As I think back on that day I am struck with just how important Jesus was to her. I could see this over the years that I knew her, and everyone that I have talked to said the same thing - she loved Jesus.

At her funeral I had the opportunity to look though her Bible, and although I don't know when she started using this Bible I know that she was not able to use it over the past couple of years. But as I flipped through its pages I saw note after note on just about every page in her Bible; everywhere there was a blank spot on a page she had written a note about how something on that page had spoken to her. And notice I said above that I don't know when she started using that Bible. That is because my wife has another Bible that belonged to her that she started using in the 1940's and that Bible is literally falling apart - not from neglect but from heavy use.

I have heard it said that a person whose Bible is falling apart probably are not, and that is true of Mamaw; she endured some of the most trying things that a mother could endure: the loss of of child at a young age to cancer; another child who had special needs and whom she cared for until she was just physically not able to do so any longer (over 65 years); a grandson who was in a serious car accident and paralyzed. Through all of these tragedies and hardships she never lost her faith, and in all the time that I knew her I never heard her complain.

So as I look back over the short time that I had the privilege of knowing her what I see is someone that I want to emulate. In his letter to the Philippians the apostle Paul wrote:
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
Philippians 3:17
Mamaw could have written this verse; she clearly led by example, and there are very few people that I can think of that would be better to imitate.

So with this short few paragraphs I say good-bye (for now). And I pray that if I live to be 89 years old the most important thing to me will still be to make sure that my whole family knows Jesus and that because of what He did on the cross we will all be together with Him in heaven forever.
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1 comment:

Vlad said...

Today is difficult to find such roll model..we all wandering around in search for right behavior and even not realizing where we were wrong..