A Life Devoted To God
Charm is deceptive, and beauty if fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – Proverbs 31:30
Born in South Texas in 1914, my grandmother experienced many hardships during her lifetime. Poor, Black, female and with a persistent medical condition, her opportunities were few. My father, her second son, loved to tell the story of how his mother enjoyed school so much she repeated the sixth grade three times because education for Black women in her small town was limited to that grade level. She did as was expected of young women (Black, White and Hispanic) of her time - she married and raised a family. The one thing that kept her motivated was her love of God. She instilled that love to her children.
Flash forward seven decades. Her children now have children of their own who have benefited from the sound parenting they received from their mother. As was tradition, we were all gathered to celebrate her birthday. After the Birthday Song and the blowing of the candles, I looked at her and thought of all the things I accomplished that she could only dream of. A college degree. A white-collar job. The ability to travel where I want, when I want and as far as my mind and money could take me. I was then overcome with sadness. Where was the fairness in this? What coin was flipped that made my life so much easier than hers? The social times and her economic condition had changed, but her declining health made it impossible for her to travel further than her doctor’s appointments.
Realization hit almost as quickly as the sadness. My grandmother was happy. Again, that unfailing love, dependence and reliance on God was her rock. And, oh, how He had blessed her for her obedience! Her children, those rambunctious boys and one daughter, were the joys of her life. All of them were successful, God-fearing and devoted to their mother. She lived in a big, beautiful home with her daughter and son-in-law. Her son-in-law treated her as he did his own mother – with love, patience and respect. All of her needs were met. As much as I had, she had much more: contentment with her life. She was enjoying the fruits of her very hard labor. My journey in life had not yet taken me to that place – a place that was her home.
My grandmother journeyed to her final home in 2007 at the age of 93. Yesterday would have been her 97th birthday. Although the family didn’t gather for song and cake, each one of us remembered her for her love, guidance and lasting example of a life devoted to God.