This was an inner question I was recently faced with after hanging up the phone with my 82-year old grandmother. We found out on this past Thanksgiving Day, that the lump which had been detected in her recent mammogram is indeed cancer.
It was certainly not the news we hoped or prayed for. After my dad called and gave me the news, I knew I wanted to call her. As I anticipated the conversation, I thought about her and the kind of person she has always been.
My grandma Pansy has been consistent in many things all my life. For example, she can make a mean Thanksgiving stuffing and a serious batch of homemade biscuits. She has about the greenest thumb of anyone I know and can talk to you all day long about different varieties of tomatoes and green beans. While I love all of this (and more) about her, this isn’t what stands out the most to me when I think of her. What stands out, is her faith in God. It is simply bold and unwavering. It is a beautiful thing I have had the privilege of witnessing all my life.
Ever since I can remember she has been vocal about her love for God. As a child, I went with her to bible school vacation each summer, and I have fond memories of listening to grandma play her acoustic guitar and singing songs about Jesus in the family room of her home. I remember an old portrait of Jesus hanging in her family room and looking at it often when I visited. Grandma’s faith is simply the very fabric of her being.
When I called Grandma that day, the phone rang a few times and she answered, “Hello Sweetheart. How are you on this beautiful Thanksgiving Day?”
“Hi Grandma, I’m good. Happy Thanksgiving. How are you?”
Her tone was chipper and cheerful, as I expected it would be. “Oh, I’m good honey. I’m guessing you have talked to your dad and that’s why you are calling.”
I chuckled at her ability to cut to the chase and get the unfortunate news out on the table (yet in a cheerful way). “Yes, that’s right,” I said, “I wanted to see how you are doing.”
She went on to tell me that while this was not what she wanted and that she had in fact asked God to let it be another way, ultimately, she was good and was trusting the situation. “All we can hope for is to live out God’s will for our life. If this is what He has for me, I am okay with that. I want that. I know it will be good either way.”
She didn’t miss a beat or hesitate as she confidently explained her position and perspective. My eyes filled with tears as I listened to the calmness in her voice. She was so positive and unbothered. She was not saying any of this to make me feel better or to appear any certain way; she was saying this because it was and is, 100% how she authentically feels, thinks, and believes.
“I just hate that this news will worry all of you. I don’t want you to be worried on Thanksgiving,” she said.
Her care and concern for others when she was facing such a difficulty caused a lump in my throat, and I realized a very clear fact; I want to be more like her.
I have reflected on this conversation several times in the last few weeks, and I must admit, I’ve been inwardly challenged. I’ve asked myself, “If facing a similar circumstance, could I be bold in my faith like Grandma? Could I trust the outcome no matter what?”
I think we often live life day to day saying we trust, and talking the faith talk, but this recent event has reminded me there is a huge difference in speaking faith and actually living it out. Of course, the two are connected, we must speak and profess our faith to be able to live it out, but so often, when dire circumstances arise, our fearful emotion can take over. Our faith-based language can quickly be replaced by fear-based language.
I asked my grandma what the biggest factor is in her completely trusting God and not letting fear take over. She replied with a reference to one of my favorite verses, Romans 8:28.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
To me, the key words in this verse are “all things” and “for the good,” meaning, there is nothing that God can’t take and work for His good. There is no circumstance that can ever take place that God cannot pull good from. The key for us is to see life through this lens, and clearly, she does. This is why she can live with such bold and confident faith.
Grandma went onto to say, “I just know no matter the circumstances, even if hard, and I can think of many other people who have had true disasters concerning themselves and loved ones, He has a plan for each one of us. As much as I don’t want this cancer for myself and the burden of worry for my family, more than not wanting that, I do want His plan for me so much more.”
This is beautiful faith that is alive and active within her life. It motivates me to surrender more and worry less. It moves me to truly desire God’s will for my life above anything else, and it also challenges me to think about how my faith can influence others. I can honestly say, my grandma, along with my grandpa, have been one of the most consistent and positive influences in my life as it relates to my faith. I want to be that for someone. I want someone to be moved by my faith, just as I am moved by my grandma’s.
None of us know what the future holds...it is uncertain, but we can always trust God, just as grandma does. We can fall back on God’s word when worry or fear wants to take over, and this produces peace even in a difficult season.
We are praying for Grandma’s healing, and if you have read this blog and would like to join us in prayer for her, we thank you in advance. I am confident as I know she is, that it will all work out for the good.
Grandma, I love you and think you are truly a beautiful soul. Thank you for the example you have always been and continue to be. You have played a bigger part in my relationship with God than you will ever know. You are so loved, and you shine so bright! I believe your innocent, humble, childlike faith is something we could all use a little more of.
Simply put, I want to be more like you.