When I think of someone who loved God wholly and studied His word faithfully and trusted His leadership always, I think of my grandma. My grandpa was also a believer, but he was more reserved. For five years during elementary school, I lived down the street from my grandparents. I hung out at their house after school and if neighbor kids came over (usually to play with my brother), my grandma would feed them all. My grandpa often quietly read the Wall Street Journal and monitored the stock market ticker that ran across the bottom of the TV screen.
As I child, I was extremely shy and was an easy target for kids at school to push around. They threatened, but never physically injured me. Their expertise was inflicting emotional pain. There were times when some would pose as friends, only to turn around and steal my belongings and ridicule me; leaving me alone again to wonder what was wrong with me. I didn’t tell my parents much of what went on because I didn’t want them involved. As far as they knew, I was just forgetful and lost a lot of stuff 🙂
My grandma’s love of life seemed to draw people to her, including me. I found comfort in her laughter. I spent hours making arts and crafts, and used glitter liberally – glitter was not allowed at home! When my grandma needed posters for Sunday School class, she would let me help make them. For many years, she taught Sunday School to junior high school kids, and I often wonder how many lives she changed.
My parents didn’t attend church. To this day, I still don’t know why not. But my brother and I went with my grandparents every Sunday. Every week, I brought a tied-up stomach with me because I didn’t fit in there, either. The only difference was that they weren’t openly mean; they couldn’t do that at church, you know.
Children’s Church ended each week with the youth pastor instructing anyone who wanted to ask Christ to come into their hearts to walk to the front of the room and kneel down. Every week, I sat there with my head bowed; waiting for the music to end so I could find my grandparents. When I was nine, a strange thing happened: I got out of my seat and walked to the front of the room.
I remember that I felt at peace during that walk. I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t self-conscious. It was a totally foreign feeling to me. The girl who refused to get up in the middle of class to go to the bathroom because people might stare at her had made her way up to the front of the roomful of kids. I wasn’t embarrassed when the pastor talked to my grandparents about it, either. But I couldn’t provide any explanation as to why I made the choice other than, “it just felt right.”
Nerves set in on the night of my baptism, but I didn’t back out of it because I just knew that God brought me to him that day. I knew it wasn’t my choice alone because I would have chosen to remain invisible in my back-row chair, just like every other week.
I don’t think I realized at the time but looking back, I understand that God used my grandma to bring me to him. I also believe that he used her again years later to have a conversation with me that changed – if not saved – my life. But I’ll get into that next time.