Have you ever experienced a moment that triggered a memory? Maybe the taste of a sweet dessert that reminded you of your childhood. It could have been the smell of the autumn leaves as you drove through wooded roadways of the countryside. Sometimes it’s a song, a conversation, or an unexpected meeting with an old friend. My most recent moment came just a few days ago when my sister, Tierney, found some old family pictures in her attic.
My wife and I live over six hours away from our parents and the majority of our siblings. So it was a huge blessing when my sister quickly took pictures of those photos and sent them to me. It was fun to reminisce for a moment. I laughed. I shared some pictures on Facebook. I texted my wife a picture of when we first started dating at the age of 19.
Then my sister sent one more photo. To be honest with you, I wasn’t ready for it. In fact, I’m having a hard time just thinking about it now as I write these words. My sister sent a picture of my Grandma Bonnie. I have been blessed to have wonderful women in my life. My wife. My mother. My Grandma Joyce. My mother-in-law. All these women have made a huge impact in my life and I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
Here’s what you need to know. Grandma Bonnie did not have an easy life, not in the slightest. I’m not going to go into detail about what she went through but understand this, the hardships she endured were more than any one person should have ever experienced. But the beauty of her story isn’t about the tragedies of loss, abuse, or sickness. The beauty of her story is how she faced adversity with strength, grace, and joy.
Bonnie loved her boys – all four of them. She loved all her grandchildren – each and every one. But most of all, Grandma Bonnie loved Jesus.
Bonnie and I had a special connection. When I was a young boy, she would take me to church. She signed me up for Vacation Bible School. One time she took me to listen to a Southern Gospel group called, “The Barnett Family,” (no relation). I remember that night as if it were yesterday.
I remember sleepovers at her house. I remember the distinct smell of her kitchen. I remember the soothing sound of cars driving by her house at night. I remember her teaching me to play a melody on the piano. I remember her painting the stairway railing of my parent’s old farmhouse one day when I got home from school. I remember feeling safe when I was with her.
My world was forever changed the day she passed away. I was nine years old. I had no idea that she was even sick. Turned out she had been fighting cancer for years. The funny thing is, I never saw her as sick. She was my friend and I simply saw her as “Grandma Bonnie.”
She never had a lot of money. She didn’t drive a fancy car. Her house was small. By the world’s standards, she wasn’t anything spectacular. But you know what she did have? She had a bible that was worn, torn, and falling part. She had a song in her heart that rang louder than the church bells on Sunday morning. She had a faith so bold that no obstacle could ever stop her from loving Jesus.
Grandma Bonnie was beautiful. She was beautiful because she loved Jesus first and she loved Him more. She loved Him more than anything in this world. I am so grateful that she was my grandmother. I’m even more grateful today because I see the same thing in my mother. My precious girls are blessed to have grandmothers who love Jesus.
Loving Jesus is not easy – especially in this Upside Down world. There are days when your faith will be tested.
Loving Jesus is not cheap. It can cost you friends, job promotions, opportunities, and relationships.
But in the end, the size of your bank account, the car you drive, or the type of home you live in won’t really matter. Those things will not stand the test of time. What will last forever is your legacy. The legacy you leave your children, grand children, great-grandchildren and so forth will carryon for generations. The best thing you can do as a Mother, Grandmother, Father, or Grandfather is to love Jesus with all your heart. Love Him like you are going see Him tomorrow. Love Him like time is running out. Love Him with all abandon. Simply. Honestly. Humbly. Wholeheartedly. Love Jesus.