Updated: Aug 11, 2022
I was in the thick of the morning rush a little over a week ago. Coffee in hand, trying to run through the calendar for the week when my eyes landed on a date I knew well. It was my Grandma Marilyn's heaven date. I sat with it a moment, sifting through the memories of so much life we lived together. I miss her immensely.
You would have loved her. I believe confidently, without knowing who might stumble on the words I'm writing. She was the type of woman who loved wide open and welcomed you into her warmth, never tucking her sunshine away—Sharp, with quick-witted perseverance. There was always a seat at her table --you didn't want to miss her cooking, laughter to be shared, wise advice, and a tenacious spirit of life.
Most of all, she loved the Lord. Perhaps, as the years have passed by, I have come to realize and understand her love came from reliance. I sat down with her bible, the pages well-worn and thumbed through, her handwriting & highlights etched from Genesis to Revelation, and if I sank into the pages slowly enough, I caught scents of her. Her bible was an extension of her, a prized possession, and a connection to what she trusted most.
The life she led was not without its fair share of trials. She had more reasons than not to be hardened to the hardships that had come her way. Yet, as each page turned, I found a common theme that I believe was the answer to the joy that was still able to flourish within her.
She turned to God.
She sharpened iron by continuously going to God, where she would find a firm foundation of comfort, strength, peace & joy. Where she laid down the worries in her circumstances, and instead of turning away, she ran towards and poured into the Father. I want to share some of the verses underlined by my Grandma Marilyn:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4 10-13
“Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and of sound mind”. 2 Timothy 1:7
“My soul is weary with sorrow, strengthen me according to your word” Psalm 119:28
Knowing her heart and how she lived her life, I understand where that foundation overflowed from within her. Eyes lifted, she pursued Him and in doing so discovered fulfillment only He could provide.
On July 10, 2008 amidst the deepest trial, she dated and marked this verse “I shall not die, but live. And declare the works of the Lord” Psalm 118:17. On July 26, sixteen days later, my Grandma Marilyn received eternal life and walked into the arms of Jesus. She won her battle with leukemia on this Earth, her bold faith transforming the lives of many, myself included. I have peace knowing she was comforted in the knowledge that God was the ultimate healer, and His promises filled her and flowed from her into the hearts of others.
Her legacy, inspires me to pursue a life of freedom and reliance on God. That’s a family tradition and the kind of legacy I hope to continue to pass down for generations to come. My heart hears the words to "The Blessing" with Kari Jobe & Cody Carnes & Elevation Worship:
May His favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
And your family and your children
And their children, and their children
I think Grandma Marilyn would love that.