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What else I’m thankful for

I’ve written about my parents and how important they’ve been in my life.  I’ve written about my in-laws, wife and children and how blessed I am to be living the life God’s provided for me.  But as we enter this time of family, thanksgiving and retrospection I am reminded of one of the big influences on my life that I don’t think I’ve given enough credit.

Harmonicas

Harmonicas

This is my grandma.  We’re playing harmonicas together.  She gave me my first real musical instrument, a harmonica, on my fifth birthday.  She got all her grandkids a harmonica on their fifth birthdays.  She loved music and the harmonic remains one of her specialties.

Grandma is moving out of the house she’s called home for the past several decades.  She’s moving into a retirement community and she says it’s her decision to give up the house she doesn’t think she can care for any longer.

As I went through her lifetime of collections and memories as she prepared for the move, I was reminded of all the life that I’ve experienced in that house.

The memory that keeps coming back is of one winter evening, sitting on her stairs basking in the glow of a warm (and likely too warm) fire in the gas furnace in the living room.

I remember being worried because I was supposed to play a part in the Christmas program at her church.  I had been asked to play the part of the angel.  I know what you’re thinking…type casting…but I accepted.  The angel announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds.

I don’t remember much about the performance, but the one thing I remember is grandma pulling out her Bible and helping me learn the part.  That Bible…black cover, tattered, the edges of the pages worn with years of use.  It was the King James Version…the only version of the Bible her generation really had access to.

She opened it to Luke and showed me the Christmas story.  And there was my line, “Fear not.  For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.”

It’s funny…even today when I tell my own children the Christmas story and use words they’ll understand and tell it in a way that’s on their level, the only way I can say what the angel said is to break into KJV.

I can’t say it was a pivotal moment in my walk of faith, but it is one of the earliest memories I have of reading the Bible.  Today my Bible is on my phone, an application; an application that has tremendous application to my life.

There were so many other things that I picked up from my grandma; her love of decorating for Christmas, her ability to create and be creative…likely her stubbornness as well.

It reminds me of another verse in the Bible (this time in NIV):

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 2 Timothy 1:5

As grandma gets older, she tends to say what ever is on her mind.  And she will let you know, in no uncertain terms, if she doesn’t agree with you.  I write this because grandma has never heard of a blog, probably not sure how to even turn on a computer and I’m pretty sure it will be a sign of the apocalypse if she ever the internet.

To my family that is around her all the time, they get quite a bit of this.  They think I don’t get those lectures or complaints. But here’s the truth.  I have.

There was a time in my life when I turned my back on my faith.  When I neglected my family and tried to live on my own.

That’s when grandma called me.  She called to let me know the impact my behavior was having on my own mother.  How I was hurting her and she deserved better.  She was downright mean.  And I needed to hear ever word.

It would take me some time before I really listened, but I still go back to that time.  As small and frail as she looks on the outside don’t be fooled…inside she is mighty in spirit.

A grandma and great-grandma with the girls and their cousins

A grandma and great-grandma with the girls and their cousins

I’m glad I still have her around to talk to and share my girls with.  But what’s incredible is that I see my girls developing the same relationship with their grandma, my mother.  I see her share her faith with my daughters.

It’s a family trait that’s being passed down.  May that faith continue and only grow stronger.

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