Delights in YOU.
To be delighted in is an amazing thing, especially when coming from our Creator. It’s hard to imagine really, seeing how he also knows all our flaws. However, to be delighted in is to know you are loved, valued and cherished despite our ourselves. To find another human who also delights in you is a gift.
God sent me a gift in the form of my grandmother, MamaYearty. When I was with my grandmother as a child, she made me feel so very cherished. Time stood still when we were together. Looking back it’s the small moments that left the biggest impact. I could lay my head in her lap and she would play with my hair in the most soothing manner for what seemed like hours- and then act like I was the one doing her the favor. It was watching little house on the prairie episodes together and then laughing at how cheesy they were. It was baking blueberry muffins together when I spent the night. It came in the form of faithful attendance at countless softball games on hot, hot days. It was the way she made me feel like I had all of her attention, when we were together. Never did I feel rushed in her presence or like a silly little girl. I often heard her refer to me as “My Shannon”-I was her Shannon & she was my gift.As much as I felt like the center of her universe, it was very evident that her heart was the Lords. I can remember her doing bible studies and quite times when I was at her house. What a wonderful example! I also remember going to church with her. She had a wonderful sense of humor. And I loved how we could convey messages to each other by just a look. For instance, I have a distinct memory of standing in the pew with her and my grandfather. And though my family does have many beautiful voices, my grandfather’s was not one of them (God bless him J). This small fact didn’t stop him one bit from belting out a hymn loudly.. My grandmother would look at me with her expressive big brown eyes that have been passed down through generations and just giggle with me. I know God loves a man who worships him in abandonment and we loved him to- but our ears needed some divine healing afterwards. She had such a lovely sense of humor and a heart of gold.
When I was 17 my grandparents stopped by my house. Their green ford ranger truck was parked outside. They handed me the keys and told me they wanted to GIVE it to me. It wasn’t my birthday, even if it was that wouldn’t warrant the present of a CAR, they just wanted to give it to me. I was humbled and taken aback. They said they knew it wasn’t the ideal car for a teenage girl but nonetheless they felt compelled to give it to me. My grandmother said, “You’ve never complained about not having a car and that makes me proud.” Due to her short stature she preferred to drive cars where you sit up high and suspected that I would too. She was right- I still to this day prefer bigger automobiles. This was such a tangible lesson on God’s grace in my life. I didn’t deserve that car but they gave it to me anyway.
Maybe she was so good at being present in the current moment because she knew that she wouldn’t always have a choice. Unfortunately due to Alzheimer’s (and I suspect what would be classified as early onset Alzheimer’s) her memory began to slip. By the time I entered college her world recall began to fail among many other things. When she met my husband I can remember her trying so very hard to tell me something. It took her a few moments but she was able to tell me “he sure is pretty to look at” (sorry MG)! J And I remember laughing through blurry eyes because I valued her thoughts and the effort it took to convey such a message. My junior year of college I went with my dad and grandparents to look at assisted living facilities. She very much needed to go but had resisted the idea for so long. We thought my presence there might help things. Perhaps it did, I’m not sure but I do know it was heart-wrenching. It was a tough time in our family as we could all see that the road ahead was full of challenges. One day I had the simple realization that although she may forget everyone around her and maybe even Jesus, He would not forget her. The Cross triumphs even the darkest of diseases. It’s simple I know but it resonated with me despite all the many questions I had (and honestly still have). God was with her & our family as our world began to change. More than a decade later I can testify that His grace proved sufficient till the end.
MamaYearty words and actions taught me countless lessons: Love God, love your husband, respect his parents, take care of your skin and protect it from the sun, peep toed heels are a staple in any woman’s wardrobe, take care of your body and stay in shape, serve others, practice your right to vote, hard work is good for your soul, and no matter how old your children get they are always going to be your children.
While those are valuable lessons,oh how I long to sit down with her face-to-face, woman-to-woman, mother-to- mother and ask even more questions that aren’t on a young girl’s radar. How do you pick a good juicy cantaloupe every time? What is your recipe for Thanksgiving dressing? How did your body react to pregnancy (we have a similar build and I wondered about her throughout my first pregnancy)? Most of all I would inquire about raising two boys! It can be a challenge, let me tell you! Also, my dad hands were severly burned before he was two. This caused him to go through several surgeries & skin grafts during childhood- as a mom I can’t imagine, but one would have to think the Lord taught her many things through that experience. And honestly, I just wish she could have met my kids. I think she would have been tickled pink by their personalities and get great joy watching my dad excel at being a grandfather. He too savors my kids. I know he had a wonderful example to follow. And thus one of the many ways her legacy lives on.
My grandmother passed away on Sunday after more than a decade of being imprisoned by Alzheimer’s. I’m so overjoyed for her new found freedom and restoration in Heaven. She left such an amazing legacy here on Earth and an awful disease such as Alzheimer’s can’t even begin to tarnish that. She is fully restored, with a mind as sharp as tack, and being delighted in by her loved ones. I imagine she is singing praise to her Savior side-by-side with my grandfather. I can’t wait to be reunited with them both. I’m just trusting God that in Heaven ear plugs aren’t needed J