Only a few years ago, I sat near my grandmother’s chair. She sat draped in a fleece lap blanket–which she stretched and tucked underneath her chin. Her hands and feet were often a pale shade of blue in the frigid winter months and her skin became so thin that I could see her veins branching off below it. My love for her ran deeper that I can express–for she loved me even when I was most unlovable. Then time sped and before I knew it–it was my turn. My turn to return the love and encouragement that she never hesitated to pour out upon me.
“I don’t know why I’m still here…” she said.
I cringed at the thought of her not huddled in her recliner and becoming only a memory to me. My grandma received my simple encouragement to carry out her remaining God-given purpose–until she passed away at the age of eighty-four.
It’s been almost four years and I now have the privilege of witnessing another precious woman–a ninety-one year old firecracker that is still bursting with purpose. Becky, as most of her friends still call her, opens up her heart so wide that it even has room for our little family inside of it. She sits behind our full row at church and waves to our smallest son while he coils and fidgets in his seat. She comes every Sunday–will find me, take my hand in hers, give it a squeeze, and lead an enthusiastic conversation. That being said, right after we first met, it didn’t take long for my eyes to gaze upon something special. Becky’s vision is for every newborn baby in the county to feel wrapped tight in love by a blanket from our church’s little quilting group. This year, she’s no longer alone in that quest because strong mothers and daughter teams are joining the ranks of her quilting mission. Where Becky envisions baby blankets and carries out her ministry–we mothers also see the opportunity for mentoring, growing in knowledge, and continuing Becky’s legacy.
It’s possible that the Becky’s of this world are rare treasures. I would even venture to say that most of the elderly that I’ve ever known, question God’s purpose for them as their bodies begin to fail and they find it harder to leave their homes. If I may, I would like to share a Bible verse that speaks about that lonely season.
“But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house.They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!” Psalm 92:12-15 New Living Translation (NLT)
I pray that we will teach our children to value every moment that we have with our elderly family members and friends. Lord willing, their wrinkled arms will embrace being the fruit bearing vines they still may be. We need to tell them. We need to encourage them. We need to lead our children and grandchildren into situations where they may hear their stories and learn their wise life-lessons. I’m so grateful for Becky and I know our little Piecemakers group would agree. If you ever get the chance to meet someone like her, squeeze their hand and bless them as the inspiration and treasures that they are. They need to know that while they have breath–they are valuable and God still has a purpose for them! I pray someone will remind us of that our old age–while we have still have breath–God will use us if we let him.