There is much reason to be burdened lately.
Churches burning, rants, debates, threats of harm floating about, impending doom speculated for later this week.
Nine people murdered despite loving a lost and angry soul, loving just like Jesus did and does. I was and am still astounded by their faith, their witness, their legacies. The peace of Jesus shown bravely through the ones left behind in Charleston. Attempts to overshadow were stifled by love. Then a decision made headlines on the issue of marriage. It worked its way into our minds, a distraction and a call to question beliefs in God’s word or to examine our faith. To find my thinking and resolve glaringly different than many. The challenge becomes walking in light, being light when it’s getting really dark all around, trying hard to avoid ugliness and remain quietly confident, yet desiring God, desiring to be light.
I’m over halfway through my life and I’ve wandered in rebellious darkness, trapped by my choices and I’ve walked in light, obedient and trusting, basing all my choices on being close to Jesus, a place of peace. Offended by a comment expressing fear of Christians who interpret the Bible so literally, they become extremist killers of those who are not like-minded. I was more than compelled to respond, yet waited and then took a breath, prayed asking God to help me explain why I believe His word:
“I am who I am because of my confidence in God’s word. I do my best every day to live out my faith in quiet confidence. As a child, I experienced the fanatical teaching. I rejected it, came back, knowing it’s the best and safest place for me. I believe in loving others and I pray I would never be seen as a violent type individual in my stance. My desire and calling is to share when asked Why I believe God and His word. My story of a life obedient and trusting is not loud or harsh. It is a strong conviction, though and may lead to much dispute. I know where my heart needs to be and I’ll stand strong and confident, rejecting hate and knowing I’m not perfect but so much better when I walk with God…this is the way walk in it…following His voice.”
And now, the story of a wise woman who walks in light, restoring faith, speaking in wisdom-filled proverbs.
Grandma Susie has that light. She and I shared a strong, sweet hug in the grocery store last Saturday morning when I, with a heavy and worrisome heart needed relief, there she was. She smiled, “Good to see you.” I wonder if she knows she has a smile like a light, a warm light like the glow of a lamp in an empty house left on in your bedroom, welcoming you in after a long day. I wonder if she felt my heart, its light beaming with joy to see her.
Like the morning light after a heavy, sleepless night, determined and hopeful, we throw back the curtains, lift the blinds to welcome the bright possibilities of a new day.
I told her years ago, I feel like God sent her to me to fill in for my grandma. Like an unexpected red bird, Grandma Susie is a gentle reminder of faith despite circumstances and of love.
When I worked where Grandma Susie volunteers, she loved on me filling that void. She was firm in her love to the children there, demonstrating love to build and cushion her strong and wise corrections. I remember her as “sharp as a tack”. She’d correct a child, then lean down and embrace them, speaking quiet words of explanation and encouragement long to be remembered.
In wisdom and love, as if to say:
My child, come and listen to me. Do as I say and you will have a good life. I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths, so take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them for they are the key to life. Proverbs 4:10-13
Grandma Susie makes me think of Solomon, wise sayings given with gentle conviction, Proverbs.
She speaks, her words linger, hold much weight. Grandma Susie, a modern day Solomon, much like Corrie Ten Boom or Maya Angelou.
Grandma Susie is a beautiful woman. I’m always stunned by her unchanging face, her confident posture, surprised to see her after several years.
I told her again on Saturday, just like years ago, how beautiful and kind she is. I asked her the secret to her beauty, unashamed embracing her in the produce section. “Is it water?” “Plenty of sleep?”
Ever humble, she never answered, so I asked
“It’s your heart and your faith, isn’t it?”
Then her face lit up and we were of one accord singing the same song, same chorus, the verses of our lives sustained by our faith.
And so we visited a little bit, planted ourselves in front of the bananas and got a little excited about our stories of faith.
She said, “Lisa, we got to feed our faith and starve our doubts. Doubt spreads like cancer…spreads faster.”
“We have to guard our hearts! “ She said, as others turned to listen.
” Oh, I know, but we make it so hard ’cause we can’t see faith” I added.”We’ve got to stay on our knees and in the word, keep it in our hearts.” she said. “We got to stop doubtin’, Lisa. We just got to stop it from growing. We got to stop doubt from spreadin’.” she added with conviction.
Then we smiled, held hands and hugged good and strong before going our on ways, she glanced back smiled and nodded, firmly and with authority.
I paused, hating to see her go and smiled back, uplifted by Grandma Susie’s love, light and wisdom.
I’m linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee http://jenniferdukeslee.com/tellhisstory-when-youre-going-through-a-storm/