Archives For July 2010

Typewriter 2984552446_784177cff1

From my grandmother, I learned the true meaning of the word "grit."  She was tenacious.  Vigorous.  Passionate.  And some would say stubborn.  She never wanted to assume the limelight.  In fact, she hated when anyone would even attempt to give her any public recognition or praise. 

But something deep inside her radiated "life."  She found a way of drawing life from the simplest things.  A Beanie Baby collection.  A stack of old Audubon Society magazines with the pretty bird pictures on every page.  A bowl of Hershey's miniatures or her famous pound cake.

Her name was Wanda Robinson.  We called her Ging-gi, a nickname she had picked out for herself when I was a baby.  Ging-gi was never famous.  Her words never went to print or even as far as an internet blog.  But nevertheless she left her mark of love on countless lives. 

But now we stood around her bedside as participants in a holy scene.  As I watched my grandmother's sleeping figure breathing her very last shallow breaths, my mind whirled with fleeting memories. 

Some of them to the distant past of little girl romps on the prize laden twin bed in her back bedroom.  Some of them to the scenes of the past few days when her 95 year old body took a sudden turn into weakness. 

Life was a little slower when you visited Ging-gi's house.  It seemed the world was a little less complicated and maybe just a little less scary.  Perhaps it was because her mindsets and ideas flowed from a simpler time when Christian parenting was more the rule than the exception.  Or maybe it was just because she represented to me the safe grandma world where I could do no wrong.

I could see her just 24 hours prior as she rallied her strength for one more good tease for her assembled great grandkids.  I heard her voice in my mind as she attempted to give each one of us one more quality moment.  "I will give anyone a dollar out of my purse if you can solve my puzzle game," she called into the sitting room from her bed.  "Kalyn, what color did you say the bridesmaids’ dresses would be?  I'm not sure I am going to be able to get there next week...... I love you too, honey."

And then she was gone.  Her 95 years of pilgrimage to her King were completed.  She finished them in her sleep.

Her bedroom was filled with Gaither Homecoming videos, family photographs and trinkets.  But as I stood my post on the upper corner of her bed, my eyes caught sight of something I hadn't noticed all day.  There under the mound of medical supplies and blankets sat her trusty companion, her typewriter, with its old manual keys.

Suddenly I saw a glimmer of our lives intertwined.  And now I sit here in my own house with tears flowing attempting to capture something on my own keyboard about the depth of her life.....

As I stood by her bed, I was uncharacteristically quiet. Beautiful words of prayer and praise and comfort flowed from family members all around.  I was halfway miserable because my words seemed stopped up instead of flowing.  Until one phrase birthed forth from my lips. I knew it had come forth from my spirit connecting to my Father's heart. 

"Faithful.  She was a faithful woman serving a faithful God."  And then my world was right again.  Maybe those words don't read with any significant power.  But when I heard them in my heart I could almost sense my Daddy God reaching out His hand to His daughter Wanda and saying, "Well done my good and faithful servant.  You may enter into your rest."

And at that moment I sensed a new mantle had come upon my life.  A passing of the baton.  A changing of seasons.  An unfolding of legacy.

My race and my grandmother's look so different and yet so similar.  She was a Servant; I am a Servant.  She was a daughter; I am a daughter.  She was a grandma and now (oh no!) I am the grandma!  Those parts I knew.  But other parts I had never understood before. 

I guess my mind reasoned that she just used her typewriter because her eyes had left her blind and her handwriting had become so shaky.  I had failed to recognize her calling and gifting.  My grandmother was a writer.  A poet.  A scribe for her King.  Pouring His love into those notecards and diaries and stories.  And even into her book which she "published" by loading a stack of her typewritten pages into a little satchel suitcase.  Grandma, it is your heritage, your legacy that I am living now!!  A piece of you in me!

The words of Psalm 71:18 ring in my heart. "Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come."  Ging-gi, you did.

My aunt Sharon called me this morning. "Lisa, did you know the last thing Ging-gi did before she fell sick on Friday? I was sitting with her reading aloud from your book. We had just read page 122 which says: ‘Love (agape) can best be understood as a spiritual force—a force of the kingdom of light that drives back the forces of darkness and gives the ultimate sacrifice.’  Can you see it, Lisa?  That is where she fell asleep.  That is where she rested her life.  She lived that life of Love."

It was true!  Gingi-gi's faith in her Faithful God was inside of me.  When I penned those words, they overflowed from her pilgrimage influence on my life.  That is the legacy I want for my daughters and sons.

It is my race now without grandma's presence.  And when I get to the end of my days with my family gathered around, I hope those same words can rise up in my grandchildren's hearts.  Faithful.  She was a faithful woman serving a Faithful God.  Thank you, Ging-gi.  Your words and your life will never be forgotten.  Frontline Moms, we will declare His power to the next generation.

By Lisa Cherry

Image by Oliver Hammond "Clarice"
License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Last Saturday morning was not progressing as I had expected.  My dear grandmother was very ill and the family was gathering to visit her.  My plans would need to be changed.  As I hurried to the shower, I reviewed my day's commitments.

Since Doug was leading a men and boys’ trip to St. Louis, not as many of my 10 children would be in my care.  Still my schedule looked over-packed.  I would need to hurry my household along if I was to pick up my grandbaby (whom I was babysitting), get everyone dressed and fed, make it to church in time for the kid's camp I was helping with, and show appropriate attention to my family gathering to visit my grandma.

My mind was preoccupied with childhood reflections as I headed the kids toward the car.  Kalyn had already departed with the older children who were helping with the camp, so I was rather surprised to only have two children left to pack into the car.  "Hurry up!  We are already running late!"  I shouted down the hallway.  I am not sure what I thought my 7 year old and 3 year old were going to do with that data.  My aimless words did not fix the fact that we had a missing shoe and a missing car seat.  Oh well, people would surely understand why I was late, I reasoned.

I picked up the grandbaby and arrived at the camp about 9:15 am.  15 minutes late.  Not too bad, considering.  The camp proceeded smoothly with our rather short staff.  I was the substitute small group leader for the 10:40 a.m. slot.  After I received my instructions, I waited for my kids to arrive at my table.  Sweet little group, I mused.  At 10:35 I placed myself in the back of the room getting ready to receive my kids.  I mentally figured which ones would be mine.  Let's see, Josiah (our 3 year old) must be in the youngest group over there.  Lydia, 7, would be in that group over there.  And I guess Ethan, my 9 year old.....Ethan...Ethan?   Where is Ethan anyway?

A rock hit the pit of my stomach.  My mind flashed back through the facts.  Doug had departed on his trip at 5:30 a.m.  All the teenage and pre-teen boys went with him.  But Ethan is not a pre-teen.  He is a little boy who wants to be as big as his brothers.  Maybe he had made a last minute successful appeal to go to St. Louis.  As my mind was reasoning my legs began moving toward the door.  I grabbed my phone and instinctively dialed Doug's number.  "Honey, I know this is a rather alarming question for someone who has been gone for 5 hours, but .. do you have Ethan?" I hesitantly asked.  His response sent my heart down to the floor.  "Well, NO!" he retorted.  My pace picked up to a run as I flew out the back door of the church.  My small group would need to find a new leader.  My son was missing!

The 10 minute trip across town seemed so long.  I kept hitting the redial on the phone.  No answer at the house.  Well, that is probably good, I thought.  He is probably still asleep.  But Ethan never sleeps that long, I remembered.  And in one instant an adrenaline rush hit me as the imaginations started taking over my mind.   What if he has been crying for me, and he somehow was unable to call?  What if he is sick?  His bedroom is way down in the basement.  I had not even seen him all morning!   It was my own version of Home Alone.

I always was nervous about him being that far away from our room.  What if he sleepwalked?  What if he got out the back door?  He might even be heading for the pool!  Oh God save my son, I began to cry!  And what if somebody finds out that I forgot my own son?  Irresponsible.  Negligent.  Bad mother.  Horrible parenting skills.  I was in rough shape as I hit the redial again.  This time a little cheerful voice answered, "Hello!"

It was my son!!  He is alive!  I nearly burst into tears of relief.  I consciously calmed myself down and lowered my voice figuring there was no need to alarm the boy or make him think his own mother didn't remember him.

"Where are you at, Mom?"  he asked.  It seemed a fair question.

"On my way home, Ethan.  I'll be there in just a minute!"

The rest of the story was pretty tame.  Ethan had never looked at a clock.  He thought it was so early that no one was awake yet and that was why the house was so still!

My heart rate slowly returned to normal.  Crisis averted again!  And suddenly I was overwhelmed with gratitude.  God, this job of being a parent is SO big and, Lord, I seem so small!  Even when I think I am trying hard, I seem to make the craziest errors.  Thank you for delivering me out of my mess...again.  And thank You for giving Your angels charge over my kids even when I fail in my charge. (Psalm 91)

And so I get another lesson in humility.  And trust.  Maybe, God, by the time I get all these kids grown up I will get some more kinks out of my systems.  But if not, Lord, would You send an extra measure of Your grace my way to make up for my goofs?  Thanks.  Your Daughter, Lisa.

 He walked into our bedroom and forcefully set his bundle down on the bed.  With his jaw set, and a determined look in his eyes, he turned to me and spoke, “Honey, that's it.  We are getting Continue reading “How to Recover from a Serious Parenting Error: The Sweetest Words He Ever Spoke” »

Precious Glimpses

Lisa Cherry —  July 19, 2010

I asked my 14 year old daughter, Hannah, what she thought kids today needed from their Frontline Moms.  After we talked about the heart cries she hears from teens all around her, Hannah expressed her thoughts in this poem: Continue reading “Precious Glimpses” »|titles=Audio