Monday, June 24, 2013

In Honor of Grandma B

Last week I did something I never thought I could...I spoke at my grandma's funeral. I was the one standing, but God was the One who strengthened me. Philippians 4:13 is true...God strengthens us to do all things! Anyway, a few people have asked for a copy of the message I shared, so I thought I'd share my words here. If you knew my grandma I pray they bring back some wonderful memories and if not, I hope they remind you of someone you loved. But most of all, I'm asking God to use them to speak to your heart and encourage you to be someone like Grandma B who made a difference with the life she lived.

Family and friends today we’re gathered together to celebrate G’ma B. Obviously she was a woman loved by many and I’m grateful there is much we can remember. There were sleepovers from our childhood that included picking eggs, bubble baths, trips to town and fun on the farm, butchering chickens, late night bowls of ice cream, 4-H projects, the Dukes car, Christmas was always a time of celebration. And with G'ma around you could count on some teasing, always some laughs and plenty of fun.

She was known for her apple pies and revel bars, baby blankets and ice cream cake roll, mashed potatoes and gravy, for her smile and her stories. She was proud of her Norwegian ancestry and loved to her the grandkids say, “Uffda!”  She was a woman who always put others before herself. She enjoyed reading the newspaper and taking trips to Branson.

There are the lessons she taught and skills she passed on - she taught me to sew, make apple sauce and rhubarb jam, to can tomato juice, she showed me how to care for a new baby, she did the same for others too - one granddaughter even said, “I think she saved my child’s life!”, she taught some of you to make mints, garden, and do embroidery, she helped teach us right from wrong and showed us how to love… She has left a legacy!

We also remember the woman she was…a farmer at heart, during her last hospital stay the Chaplin asked for prayer requests and her words - “pray for the poor farmers as they struggle to plant with all the rain.” She had the gift of hospitality…even in her final days she made sure there were cookies for all and treats for the kids. Grandma was supportive…basketball  was not her hobby, but since her grandchildren played she often found herself at games. The same is true for wrestling, football and softball. She was one who loved to serve…her family, her church, the community, her God. She loved to give of her time, talents and treasure. She had a heart of compassion and full of love. Grandma was a hard worker…milking cows, raising a family…cleaning, cooking, doing yard work, painting her house - if there was a job to do; she did it well. I recall Linda telling her, “Mom, don’t you know OSHA has laws - breaks are mandatory, they’re not an option!” She was strong…she pressed on after G’pa passed, she came back from her knee replacements and fought cancer to the end. G’ma is a woman who was always prepared…she wrote birthday cards at the start of each month, did her Christmas shopping in July, if not before and holiday meals were always prepared with perfection! She set an example I pray I can follow!

This past week I was reminded of the most important preparations she had made…in my final conversation with her she shared the details of her night, exchanged smiles with my little boy and assured me she was glad it was her and not one of the little ones. Then she told me “we’re all born and we’re all going to die, we have to take it as it comes” and I responded, “I’m thankful we have a heavenly Father who has everything in control.” She nodded and said, “I’m ready, I’m ready.” I then asked if I could pray, she said, “Sure.” I spoke the words and God provided the peace.

In her final days, we all saw who G’ma was - a woman who loved family and lived her faith. In the end, her stuff was just that and the things she’d always done, she could no longer do, but her family they were there caring for her, doing what she’d always done. Though she was dying, I believe she was treasuring those moments.

I’ve been told some of her final words were in response to the Lord’s prayer, a sign of her faith and a reminder of what and Who was carrying her through. Grandma knew the Bible stories she’d read to us and more importantly knew Jesus, the One God sent to save us. She had the hope of heaven and the same God that’s carried her home is the One carrying us through. Because of my relationship with Him, I look forward to seeing Grandma again!

Our memories are good and stories are fun, but there are words that are more powerful, so I want to take a minute and read a few verses from a book that G’ma held dear, her Bible-

First from Romans 10:9-10, the reason we have HOPE in a time like this, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved."

Next from 2 Timothy 4:7 - Words that remind me of what G’ma did and what she'd want us to do, ""I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful."

To close, words from 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, ones that talk about what we need and what God wants to provide - "All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ."

Finally, words from a poem titled, "It’s Time” -
It’s time –
for us to grieve and cry and
for you to smile and rejoice.
We miss a woman we love,
but for you the pain is gone.

It’s time –
for us to mourn the life that was lost and
for you to see the ones you’ve missed.
You’re no longer with us,
but you’ll forever be with ones you love.

It’s time –
for us to say, “Good-bye” and
for you to say, “Hello.”
We will tell our grandma farewell,
but you’ll see Jesus face to face.

It’s time –
for us to wait and wonder and
for you to know what is to come.
I look forward to heaven 
knowing you will meet me there.

Grandma, I love you; I miss you and I thank God for you!

Letting go of her hand, but holding onto the memories!

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely tribute to a godly woman. I feel as if I know her after reading these words from your heart. May God continue to fill you with wonderful memories as you grieve her loss with hope and celebrate her arrival into heaven!