I spent last weekend in Denver. My mom lives there. Both my grandma and I flew in for a weekend-long celebration of my grandma’s birthday. Although I think she’d be fine with it, I won’t mention which particular birthday it was, just in case. As a gift to her, my mom and I surprised her by taking her to a Living Proof Live event with Beth Moore. If you aren’t familiar with Beth, she’s a Bible study author as well as an engaging Bible teacher. I’ve done several of her studies and have learned so much from them. Considering the fact that my grandma has always been my example of a faithful, godly woman, I thought it entirely appropriate to take her to a Beth Moore event. As it turns out, I think she’d agree.
As I fully expected she would, Beth most assuredly delivered a Word for all 5600 women in attendance. It was such a gift to be able to sit in that crowd with my mom and my grandma–three generations of lives saved by the One and Only Deliverer. At the close of the event, Beth had us pair up (though my mom, grandma and I cheated and went with a trio) and speak aloud an affirmation of faith. We’re not a terribly affectionate family and so it was maybe a bit unexpected when my grandma (who was seated between my mom and I) grabbed both of our hands and held them tightly as we repeated the phrase. I was doing fine until the part where we said that we’d one day be able to stand blameless at the foot of the throne–washed clean by the blood of Jesus. That pretty much did me in. I was determined not to leave the arena with mascara smeared across my face, but it wasn’t easy given the rush of emotion I felt speaking those truths there, hand in hand with the women who matter most to me.
At the close of the event we went to Pinkberry for cones. Our conversation came around to my great grandmother who, at ninety-four (five?), lives in a nursing home in Wyoming. My mom and grandma planned to drive to see her on the day I was to fly out. They were telling me about their previous visits–about how my great grandmother sleeps most of the time. About how they couldn’t wake her when last they visited.
Does she remember who you are? I asked each of them. Sort of, they answered.
I couldn’t help but draw a comparison. I was flooded with memories of the times I’ve spent with my own grandma. Wheelbarrow rides and rhubarb on the yellow vinyl bar stools. Afternoons spent picking apricots and olallieberries. Christmas morning cinnamon rolls and camping trip walks on the shore. Uno and Rummikub. The patience with which she taught me to sew. A steady voice on a the telephone line when they uttered the words Down syndrome.
This is the Grams I know. I can’t imagine one day reaching for her only to find confusion in her eyes.
Sitting outside of Pinkberry, licking our cones I said, I don’t want you ever to not know me. And I meant it.
I can’t make any guarantees, she said. And she probably meant it.
I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of days now and if ever I do find unfamiliarity in her eyes I’m okay with it. It would only be temporary, after all, and I can deal with just about anything for a little while.
In Beth Moore’s newest Bible study, Children of the Day, she writes, “Faith is a game changer. Know that to your bones.”
She’s right. Without it, I’d be so broken if ever there comes a day when my grandma doesn’t recognize me. But with it, I know that this too, shall pass. With it, I can rest assured that no matter what happens here, there is the promise of forever in His holy, restorative presence. That is something I can live with.