We had planned on a long weekend. My sister was in town for the weekend and Alex was coming home too. We planned on going to Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park. We were going to go to the Taste of Denver and stroll down Pearl Street in Boulder, eat on patios, all the while looking at mountain views.
Alex was supposed to land at 7am on Friday morning. We were on our way to pick her up at the airport when we got the call that my precious Grandma had taken her last breath.
9 hours later we were packed up and started on the road to Oklahoma so that we could be with family and that me and my sister could be with our Mom.
It wasn’t a time of mourning but a time of celebration.
Because Grandma had fought the good fight.
She had won the race.
And she is in heaven now, whole and healthy, dancing with my Grandpa.
So much changed in her 94 years on earth. From technology to transportation to relationships, there’ve been oodles of changes. Yet with all of the changes, as I look back on my life, she taught me so much.
There are three things she taught me. She taught me how to have fun, how to serve, and to be a woman of God.
I had the privilege of speaking briefly at her memorial service. It was a tribute. Here’s what I said:
She was fun.
Laughing was easy for her and is a sound that I will never forget. We would come stay with her for a couple of weeks every summer. She would make homemade strawberry jam and would always send us home with several jars. I love pickled beets to this day because she made the best and there is none that can even come close to what she used to make.
They used to have a creek that was spring fed across from their house before bottled water even became a thing. She would go with us to the creek, in her dress (because she wouldn’t be caught dead in pants) and wade knee-deep as we picked watercress for salad.
I remember sitting beside her in church and she would make little dolls out of her handkerchiefs for us to play with so that we wouldn’t get bored with my Grandpa’s preaching. <giggle>
She was a servant.
She passionately stood by my Grandpa and supported him in ministry. Not only was she the Pastors wife, Sunday school teacher, and women’s ministry director; she was also youth leader, cook, janitor, counselor, taxi driver & I assure you, the list goes on. But she didn’t just serve her church, she served her community by personally cooking meals for the homeless and the hurting. And she never once complained.
She was a woman of God.
I distinctly remember hearing my Grandma cry out to God regularly in prayer. She sought him and she knew Him. She served God faithfully most of her life and loved Him with all of her heart. Her love for him was never personal or private. Although she led many people to the Lord with her words, her actions spoke volumes. I can’t ever remember a single time I was around her when she wasn’t encouraging, exhorting, or urging others toward their faith and obedience to Christ. She prayed relentlessly for her kids and grandkids and loved ones. Many of us here today are the fruit of her prayers. In her later years, when part of the aspects of her personality had faded, that joyful faith in Jesus Christ remained.
The last couple of days as I was preparing what I would say today, I have to admit it was hard. But as I began to look around at our family, and the legacy that my grandma and grandpa have left, the words came easy.
To her three children, my mom Soni, Bud and Julia: as I look at you today, I see her. I see her sweet spirit and kindness and I see her joy. I see her authentic love for people. But most of all, I see Jesus. I see Jesus in each one of you, because of her.
When I look at her grandchildren Stacey, Sheila, and Kendall; I see in all three of you a compassionate and servants heart. I see her spirit of integrity and gift of empathy.
In my mom’s own words, the legacy that she has left is far greater than money or monetary gifts.
Grandma fought the good fight. All of her hard work, for her, came to fruition the day she took her last breath. All of the love that she sowed into her family and into others came in to fruition that day.
Many of us here today are the fruit of her labor.
The fruit of her tears.
The fruit of her prayers.
We are who we are today because of her example.
Who would’ve thought that on September 20, 1977 when her first grandson Kendall was born, that 39 years later he would preach her funeral. Kendall, there’s no doubt that her and grandpa are up in heaven rejoicing today. It’s all yours.
After I spoke, Kendall, her only Grandson who is now a pastor, came up and preached her memorial.
What a legacy.
My grandparents left us a legacy. A rich, deep legacy. What will be your legacy?
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