Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Grace by Which We Stand

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
Isaac Newton (1643-1727)

Newton's quote stopped me in my tracks today. It reminded me of the spiritual giants on whose shoulders I now stand. Most prominent of these is my Nanny, my maternal grandmother.

Nanny's life was a lesson in perseverence. Raised on a farm, she understood trusting God and working hard in order to eat. She married a gentleman she met at a dance held in her father's front parlor. They had one daughter, my mother who was three years old when my grandfather suffered an aneurysm and died in the yard. Nanny never remarried but lived on in the house where she grew up. To live, she carried mail and helped her brothers on the farm.

At the tender age of eighty-three, Nanny fell and broke her neck while hanging clothes on the line. After she regained consciousness, she crawled into the house and called for help. She underwent surgery, recovered and lived several more years. I was in my forties when she finally got her coveted trip to Beulah Land.

Today, I treasure the Holy Bible: Red Letter Edition that sustained my Nanny. Tucked within its brittle pages are yellowed tracts by a young evangelist named Billy Graham, as well as her "Certificate of Marriage", dated December 27, 1932. Dearest to me, though, are the highlighted Scriptures that map her journey of faith. Over and over, she turned to the passages that speak of God's provision and of His faithfulness through trying times.

Many times, I have picked up Nanny's Bible and felt my strength renewed by both the Word of God and the certainty she trusted Him when life seemed just too hard to bear. I stand on her shoulders today and glimpse eternity. What about you? Who are the spiritual giants on whom you stand? I would love to hear your heart on the matter.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
Genesis 17:7, NIV.

10 comments:

Sita said...

Gail,
Wow, this is so precious...legacy...what a blessing...and what an amazing Nanny...her imprint..His imprint is so evident in you, Gail...

When I look back at my parents' conversion through missionaries, I see a miracle...why them...and then how they persevered amidst scorn..hardship...and how they passed on the baton of faith..I am grateful...

Angie said...

Gail...I would have to say my "Mamo". She was our mother's mother. A godly woman---made everything they ate---everything she and her daugther's wore and even made some suits for my PaPa. I remember well, kneeling by her ample side every night before bed in the living room listening to her pray. This was a daily event. Mornings and evenings you would find them on their knees. Every.Single.Day. We stayed with them during the summers, Wanda and I (Aimee was much younger) and we were blessed to learn the "old ways" of doing things. A treasured memory that Wanda and I talked about often. Wanda inherited Mamo's love of cooking. I believe she was the first one that welcomed her home!

We (Aimee and I) had a GREAT time! I would have only been made sweeter if we could have met you somewhere! God was good. I will share a bit of the humor in the coming weeks...(Once I know for sure Juno won't be reading...since he was the cause of much of the humor!) Yes, I nearly wet my pants laughing! My age is catching up!

Denise said...

This was such a precious post my friend. My Granny Goldie was such a sweet inspiration to me. She loved the Lord, and always shared that love.

Amrita said...

To God be the glory are the words which come to mind when I read about Nanny 's life.

A living letter for Christ, His fragrance and aroma.

Praise God

Gail W. said...

"To God be the glory are the words that come to mind when I read about Nanny's life."

Thank you, Amrita - there is no greater compliment that could be spoken of any of us!

Tina said...

Gail,
unfortunately for me I had no relationship with either set of grandparents My mother is from Spain and her father died when I was very young and her mom who was raised catholic became a jehova's witness. She came to visit us once but could not stand the birthday, thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations and never came again. Dad's folks were methodist but he was born late in life (grandma was 42) and since we were military we didn't visit often and in my earliest memories grandma seemed very old and bitter to me. I make it a point to tell my friends who are blessed with grandparents to cherish and revere them. My hope is that some day I will be a "Nanny" who testifies to the glory of God for my grandkids. What a precious blessing God gave you in her!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I, too, have my grandmother's Bible. I didn't have long to love her. She died when I was eight and lived far away from us, but I treasure the Bible that she carried simply because it was hers to carry.

I would love to know some of your nanny's favorite underlined scriptures. I'm sure they are precious to you.

peace~elaine

Don Kimrey said...

I didn't see a sign saying: "NO MEN ALLOWED." So I just kinda strolled around and read to my heart's content. Your "Nanny" sounded a lot like my "Mom."
I also hope you'll drop in for a visit sometime at my blog. It's meant to be a devotional study with no denominational, or political agenda. No pressure to join anything or give money. It's
scripturestudent.wordpress.com

Crown of Beauty said...

Gail, as I read this post I was misty eyed. What a great tribute to your Nanny. You are a third generation Christian, and I am sure that her spiritual DNA is running in your system. There is something so powerful about being in the third generation -- like Jacob was, after Abraham. Thank you, thank you for sharing this story. How she must have grieved to lose the love of her life after being married for only three years! How she has persevered. You are truly blessed to have a Nanny like her.

Sue said...

I enjoyed reading about your feelings about your grandmother. My parents recently gave me my paternal grandma's Bible, because I'm the oldest grandchild.

I can't think of anyone who I have looked up to who liked to talk about their love for God or dependence on Him. Maybe someone will come to mind later.

As you can see, I've gotten behind in my blog reading. I'm home sick today, and trying to catch up, but may be going back to bed for awhile.