Time has been a gracious friend to my grandmother. Generous and forgiving, it has given her much and asked for little in return. Her age is nothing more to her than an adornment, and she wears it like a strand of family heirloom pearls, with the grace and charm of the true Southern lady that she is. The passing of time has served only to make her more beautiful, and she has become the irreplaceable jewel of our family.
I came through the back door of her house that afternoon thinking of this passing of time – how it sneaks in unseen and sends the days tumbling, rolling them together into months that stretch out to the horizon of a life in the blink of an eye. I knew it had been too long since my last visit.
She was standing there at the stove, hovering over a pot steaming with the promise of comfort, and spooning up the memories of my childhood. She turned to me then, and her eyes lit up as she offered me her generous smile, one of her sweetest gifts. And she laughed for the sake of joy, wrapping me in arms that had raised up four daughters and six grandchildren, and still were able to lift the fair haired toddler behind me.
My grandmother’s laugh is wonderfully infectious, so we laugh together just from the joy of our embrace, and in her arms I am a child again. Her voice is soft and sweet as she whispers her promise that she’ll never let anything happen to me, that I am her love and her littlest angel. She holds me there, the woman I am now, the wife, the mother, her granddaughter, and she smoothes my hair and strokes my back and I think of what she’s just said, about how she loves me. And it comes to me then…the revelation for which I had searched, the answer to the question I had asked of God as He and I had walked together over the years.
I had so often wondered where God had been during the troubled years of my childhood, when the burdens were almost too much for me to bear and the hefty weight of adult problems were laid upon my shoulders at too young of an age. When the foundation of my youth had crumpled beneath me and lay in the collapse of my parent’s marriage. When money was scarce and worries were abundant. When the sharp tongue of middle school girls sliced through the thin layer of my self-esteem, leaving fresh wounds and a broken heart. Surely God had been with me, but I had turned over the memories of my youth and I couldn’t find him.
I found my answer that very day, as my grandmother’s arms circled around me and my head rested against her. In the painful days of my childhood, the voice of God bore the rich southern drawl of the Mississippi Delta as He spoke words of love and encouragement, and planted the seeds of hope and faith. He bound up my broken heart with hands that were soft and warm, with fingers knotted from arthritis. He gently wiped my tears and held my face in His hands, and His gaze was filled with love and acceptance as He looked upon me through eyes creased with 60 years of laughter and burdens. He lifted me up and held me close as He whispered His promise that He would never let anything happen to me, that I was His love and His littlest angel.
The warmth of remembrance covered me like a thick quilt, and I felt God’s hand upon me smoothing my hair and stroking my back. My soul filled with thanksgiving for the God who has never forsaken me, and His grace flooded my memories, washing over them and filling up the empty places. My eyes filled with tears as I drew back to gaze on the loveliness of this woman, the vessel through which God had comforted me. And in her face I saw it – a glimpse of God Himself.
By Jennifer Mays, At Jesus’ FeetLeave a Comment