Monday, January 14, 2013

One Little Word - 2012


I haven't really ever participated in finding "one little word" for the year before.  I had a hard time finding just the right one that I could stick with/work on the entire year.  After  December, this word was an easy one to choose for a couple of reasons.

1.  I always thought I knew how wonderful my Grana was and how many lives she touched on a daily basis, but I didn't really have a clue.  In her death we heard countless stories of how she impacted the lives of so many people.  It only feels right that we, or me in this case, carry on where she left off.  I want to find ways to encourage others, help carry their burdens and remind them of the way God loves them.  In doing this I can honor the legacy my Grana leaves behind.

2.  I have been on the receiving end of timely encouragement from such sweet friends.  Whether it was encouraging me in my quest to get healthy by working out or eating right or encouraging me in my job or comforting me in the loss of my Grana, I've been blessed to have many friends come beside me and speak life over me in the form of encouragement.  I know how much that meant and want to encourage others in the same way.

3.  The root word of encourage is COURAGE.  There are a few areas of my life right now where I'm having to fight being held captive by fear.  I'm calling that out!  I want to be fearless and live in the freedom of Christ Jesus in all areas of my life.

So, that's my word for 2012.  As always, may my quest bring glory to HIM!

To Know Her Was To Love Her

 My precious Grana woke up in heaven on Christmas Eve.  She is walking the streets of gold with Jesus, two husbands, a daughter, a brother, and her mom and dad.  Her body has been made perfect and is now able to keep up with her feisty spirit.
She was blessed to live 94 long, healthy years.  She was such a gift to so many people.  To try and describe who she was, the life she lived, and the impact she had on others is impossible.  It's really best put to say "to know her was to love her".
 For 35 years I had the privilege of learning from her, receiving her wisdom and advice, watching her love people, and living a life walking with the Lord. 
 From the time I was little until I was through college, I'd spend a week with her in the summer.  We both liked to stay up late, and every year she'd sit on my bed, scratch my back and tell me stories of my Gramps and Mom and Aunt Debbie when they were growing up.
 Every morning she'd fix breakfast and then we'd go out on the deck.  She'd carry out her coffee and bible and we'd "start the day off right." 
 In every situation she praised God and found the positive in all things.  She was never one to dwell on the negative.
 Grana lived life thinking of others.  She went out of her way to serve and meet the needs of those around her, all in the name of Jesus.  She carried their burdens as if they were own.  She never met a stranger and called everyone she met her friend.
 She taught us that being present and living in the moment was most important.  Housework and chores could wait.  People and relationships were to be treasured.
 She spent her life investing in eternal things like her relationship with Jesus, family, and friends.
 Grana loved to play cards, games, travel, fish, shop, and volunteer.  I remember wondering if she ever got tired because she could outlast me!
 She was not held captive by fear, but embraced life and truly lived each day.
 Mom and Kevin spoke at her funeral and did a beautiful job of putting into words what we were all feeling.  Here is what Kevin read on that day:

It is hard to put into words the impact that My Grandmother has had on my life.  In a world where the term hero is thrown around so loosely it often feels cheesy to use it for real. But in the case of my grandmother no other word will do. She was and will always remain my hero. I had the ultimate privilege to watch her live a remarkable life that was full of life, love and its own share of hardships.

I could tell story after story of how she has impacted my life and my family, how she brought tremendous joy to our lives just by simply knowing her and the countless lessons I have learned by watching her live life.

She taught me that family could exist beyond the branches of a family tree. Someone once said: The Bond that links true family is not one only of blood, but respect and joy in each other’s life. Grana understood that philosophy. She treated people like family and welcomed them to participate in her life.

She showed me that we could always find the positive in every situation,  and showed me how to trust  that God is always in control, even when we feel no one is.  She taught me to never allow room for bitterness.

She showed me that Gods love seems even greater in time of loss and that his peace is real. She was a lady who knew death and loss very well. She could have responded in very different ways to the loss she endured, but she trusted God and leaned heavily on his love and peace during those times. She is a tremendous example of how we should all face death.

I watched her live in the joy of her salvation my entire life. I know that there were very few days if any that she didn’t live in the peace that only comes from a faith rooted in the salvation from Jesus Christ. I am confident it was never far from her mind everyday. Her biggest desire was for all of her family and friends to share in that same faith and to actively live in the joys and peace that can only come through Christ.

She showed me that life is too short to not live it to its fullest. She is a lady that loved and lived life with an energy that at times seemed unnatural for her age, but I am confident it kept her young. She showed me that it was possible for a lady to out fish a man and love to fish just as much as any man. (I am still praying my wife will have that desire someday)

To sum up my Grana’s life I would say she loved life and she lived it well. She didn’t live her life only in the 4 walls of her home, but she lived her life by sharing her love, laughter and sometimes sassiness with her friends and family.

To my Grana,  I would say Thank you and well done. You will be missed greatly, but we celebrate your life. There will be tears, but our joys and memories far outweigh our sadness. Thank you for your love and for how you taught us to live life. 

I've missed her terribly today and caught myself going to the phone to call and talk to her, making sure she was taking care of herself in this bitter cold.  Death certainly has a sting, and it's hard to think that life goes on when someone so important has left this world, but it's not the end.  I will see her again. For now, I will rest in the peace that she's living in total peace and happiness, resting in the fullness of Jesus.