Written by Teresa Goodnight
With tears running down my cheeks, I heard the cancer specialist explain there was nothing we could do for my grandmother last year. I watched her face, as she didn’t quite understand what he was saying. I held her hand. My mother asked questions that I tuned out, as the only information that mattered was that my grandmother’s days were short In number. We walked downstairs to sit outside, while my mother went to get the car. My grandmother asked me what the doctor had meant. “Is there anything they can do?” she asked.
I tried to avoid the conversation. I didn’t want to say it. She pressed me again. So, I answered. She held my trembling hand in her fragile thinning hand and assured me it was ok. She then told me that the world was getting further and further from God. She said she wouldn’t be surprised if Jesus came back before anything happened. The one thing she assured me of, which I already knew, was that if Jesus didn’t come back first, she would beat me to heaven. We lost my grandmother a few weeks later.
A month after she passed, my mother handed me her Bible. It may be one of the most meaningful things I ever received. I didn’t even know I wanted it. It was full of bookmarkers I had given her, the gift note in my handwriting to Josephine Rhyne, when we gave it to her Christmas of 1993. It had a postcard I sent her from Cannes in 1999. There were notes here and there, underlined texts, and passages of importance written on papers folded between the pages.
I treasure every little one of them.
“I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you…for God has not given you a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:5-7 NLV.
My grandmother’s legacy was not one of fortune or fame, but one of faith in God. She made her share of mistakes, triumphs, and sacrifices. She scolded me when I was frustrated with my mom or my sisters. She reminded me to forgive as I had been forgiven. She taught me every Christian makes mistakes—ones they regret, confess, and are forgiven for by God. In our last lucid conversation, she told me to go pay attention to my husband, because she always valued relationships in the family and reminded me to cherish the incredible men I had been given in my grandfather, father and my husband. Her advice was stern when needed but laced with love and beautiful grace all the same.
Goodness. I do miss her. I remember sneaking into “big church” lying with my head or my feet across her and my mom. Oh, if I could go back to those days and soak it all in just a little longer. But truth is—I did soak it in. We soaked it in. Her faith was passed on to my mother. They both passed it to me. I will pass it to my daughter. It will be passed from generation to generation.
So many people spend hours on their wills, outlining every precious thing they own and selecting who will receive what. It’s a thoughtful process and I’m sure filled with love. However, what my grandmother left for my mother, for me, for my sisters, and her grandchildren and all of her family that we cherish was her living, breathing faith in God. It is a legacy impacting us all for eternity. There is no amount of money and no treasure as great, as the treasure of God her legacy helped plant in my heart.
Think hard about the legacy you are leaving behind. Whether intentional or by chance, we are all leaving one. At Community Spirit, we pray yours will be one making an eternal impact on those you love for generations to come. #GoDoBe
Quotes to Chew On:
“The greatest legacy you can pass on to your children and grandchildren is not your money or the other material things you have accumulated in life. The greatest legacy you can pass on to them is the legacy of your character and your faith.” Billy Graham, Nearing Home p. 119
“Wise counsel to the younger is the duty of the aged.” Unknown
“Young people are very sensitive to hypocrisy; if they sense it in us, they will dismiss our pretenses and pay no attention to our advice…if they can sense our faith is sincere and our love is authentic, then they will respect us and take us seriously (even when they know we are not perfect.).” Billy Graham, Nearing Home p. 121
Senior Moments, sponsored by Visiting Angels
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