Saturday, December 18, 2004

The Things Grandma Left For Us

As I mentioned before, my daughter had made a speech about her Grandmother's commitment to building up the Ladies Bible Study class which has been meeting each Thursday for nearly 40 years. During her 60's, 70's and even 80's she was tenatious in her drive to get people to this Bible study, and she used it as a path to convert people. She and her husband, or her son (my husband) would conduct other Bible studies in the evening with the husband and wife or the whole family which she had contacted through this class. She would ask some of the ladies who their grown children were and where she could find them, or ask about their relatives or neighbors. After she had won her own neighbor, she would try someone else's neighbor if she could get the contact somehow. This led to many conversions, and really built up the church.

When my children were younger, we had been talking about things grandparents leave for their grandchildren to remember them by, such as a quilt they made, something they crocheted, a special set of dishes, and so forth, and my daughter said, "Grandma, did you ever sew or quilt anything that you could leave to the grandchildren?" Lucile said, "No, I didn't." I suppose as a preacher's wife, there wasn't much time to indulge in these pasttimes, and her sisters and her husband's relatives were always supplying them with hand made things. She had drawers full of crocheted things from her sisters, and many blankets given by other people. There wasn't much need for her to do needle work, and she preferred to write letters or do Bible study.

Lucile didn't think she was very talented, but she wrote lots of poems (and never kept copies of them) for people to include in their birthday cards, and she had great ideas for teaching children's Bible classes. She would take a piece of paper and list the alphabet, with a scripture beside each one, to memorize. "A" would be "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he," "B" would be "Be faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life," and so forth, along with the scripture reference. She did the same thing with numbers, with each number a significant event or command in the scriptures. She could use geography or colors or families, fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, meals:--just about anything could be used as a list of Bible things to know.

She told my daughter, "No, I don't have anything that I made that I can leave for my grandchildren. except the people I converted."

My daughter included this poem in her speech about Grandma, noting the specific phrase, "Living gems at His feet to lay down," to emphasise the souls she won to Christ through her diligent Bible study with these people:

"Oh what joy it will be
When His face I behold,
Living Gems at his feet to lay down,
That bright stars may be mine
In that city of gold,
Will there be any stars in my crown?"

She believed that every soul she won to Christ would give her a star in her crown in Heaven, because the only thing we can take with us when we die, are the deeds we have done and the souls we have won. The "living gems" in the verse meant the souls she brought to into the kingdom of Christ.

I thought about her statement that she couldn't leave us a quilt of any object that was uniquely touched by her hand, and then as we sang the song, "Will there be any stars in my crown" I looked around and saw all the people present there at the dinner that day, and many of them were converted by her. For years, these women have played a big part of our lives. They provided the buffet for my daughter's wedding. They helped my sons and encouraged them and showed them Christian love in so many ways, I can't tell all of them. They've been there at the Bible study from Genesis to Joel so far this year, and many years before when we were in the New Testament and back in the Old Testament again. These were all Lucile's converts, and they provide the Ladies Bible Class that I am now teaching!

These women take a strong interest in the development of our children's lives, and our own. They feel that we belong to them, and it is all because of Grandma. If it had not been for her efforts, there wouldn't be a Ladies Bible Class and the fellowship of these people. Being out in the country area, it can get a bit lonely sometimes, and I always know that Thursday is coming and they will turn the lights on in the fellowship room, and I'll see from my window the cars in the parking area, and we can see each other, laugh a bit, do our lesson, and share a light lunch together there.

An outsider might not consider that anything is significant is important there, but to a young girl of 14, this class was somewhere she could go and be accepted and forget about the problems of youth, in a serious study of the Bible. My daughter said it is now the source of wonderful memories. I had not realized during the times we both walked over there, how important this was to her.

So there you have it: Grandmother didn't leave us a quilt, or an old trunk or anything of earthly value, but left us the "living gems" that interact in our lives
and benefit us in some way every other day. She actually left us the Ladies Bible Class.


Wanda said...

I loved reading this and thought as I read just how special this memory and bond was... and how much I wished I had this kind of person in my life. As I felt the stirrings of envy, God came and spoke gently but directly reminding me of the many Godly women He has put in my life, in one way or another, who is also leaving these types of memories and 'footprints' in my life.

I just wanted to encourage those who read this and think, "But I don't have a grandmother (mother, aunt, etc.) who is anything like that!" God gives us spiritual grandmothers, mothers and the like in addition to the wonderful and unique families he placed us in... Look closely and you may be surprised at the amazing heritage of Godly women He's built up around you through the years.

Lydia said...

And not only in our own time do these women exist, but in publications about women of the past. If you feel you are lacking because you don't have someone in your life, make your heroines the women of the Bible. Each one has a character trait that can be engrafted into your own life. The larger examples are the Proverbs 31 model and the Titus 2 woman, but there were also quiet souls listed in the Bible who leave us with very important impressions.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

I wish I could repay you for how your writings have helped my life.
I visit your blog and read your articles over and over. I have been happily married for 13 years and have 3 beautiful children. Today, I discovered something that has left me very broken hearted. I received a credit card bill in the mail for a restaurant called "Hooters" I have never visited one, I can only imagine how sinful that place must be. It was a bill that my husband incurred while away in Baltimore. I am so crushed. I don't want him to know that I know about this. He has always told me that he has eyes only for me and is totally faithful to me. I have forgiven him and I promised the LORD that I would never uncover his sin. But since you do not know who I am I feel that I am not putting my husband to shame. Please pray for him. He is in the service and will be in Aftghanistan until May.
Thank you in advance for your prayers.

Lydia said...

Dear Mrs. Anonymous,

I do wonder if it might be good if you write him a letter and included a copy of the bill and asked him to explain it to you. The reason for this is that since you are his wife, he should care how you feel. He should be stricken in the heart if he has caused you any grief. You can write to him and tell him what you said here. I thought it was very well put. "I received something in the mail that broke my heart." You can tell him you can hardly believe he was there, since you know him better than that, but you hope if it is true, that he won't do it again. However I think you should find out first if it was a mistake. I have a friend who was using her credit card at a restaurant. Someone looked over her shoulder and copied down her number. Then she got a bill for a huge party he had at another restaurant. These things do happen!!


Lydia said...

Another angle you can use is that you really need to have his support during the time he is away, and this bill has caused you some consternation and alarm. Life is hard enough through separations and the extra responsibility you have on your own without him. You don't need things like this to add to your stress. He needs to know things like this--after all, it might not be him. You can call him up and ask him and talk to him first hand. You will know by the sound of his voice whether or not he did it--he'll be very surprised if he didn't. He probably needs to know if his card is being used.

If he did do it you need to make him understand that you won't tolerate it. We all need our mates to care enough about us to remind us and caution us when we need it. If we don't have that, we can go a long ways out of control without knowing how to stop. He needs his wife to tell him he can't do that anymore. It won't hurt him to hear it. He'd rather hear that you love him enough to stop him from doing wrong, than to go along pretending you don't know.