My grandma Clarine
Nov. 8th, 1932 – Sep.  6th, 2011

My grandma Clarine passed away on September 6th.

Her twin sister, my Aunt Charlene, died three weeks earlier.
It’s been a time of grief and sorrow for my family. A time for reflection and mourning. A time for comfort and tenderness. And during seasons like this, it can be difficult to find a reason to be thankful.

But we can still make the choice.

There’s a lot I could say, but I think the most important fact is my Grandma knew Jesus. When her health began to decline several years ago, I had many opportunities to pray for and with her. Sometimes I’d pray with her in person when I was in town, sometimes over the phone, and other times I would write a prayer in a card and mail it to her. I’m thankful for the times I could listen to her and offer her my support through prayer.

It’s hard being sick all the time. Where the hours go for someone in pain no one knows, but I do know that Jesus counts them all. I know that His skin was torn into with shards of metal, nail and bone for our healing. His body was beaten and scourged so that our bodies could be made whole. Jesus died for our eternal salvation – yes – but he died for our temporal well-being too. We can partake in His victory during our time here on earth just as much as His victory after death in heaven.

My grandma out with family at the pool.

My grandma told me that some days she would just tell the Devil, “Get out of here!” She knew it wasn’t God making her sick. God doesn’t make people sick; the devil does. He’s a liar, thief and murderer. But Jesus said he saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven and told his disciples that they had been given all authority to tread on Satan and all his minions.

We still have that authority today, and that alone is something to be thankful for.

I don’t understand why some people get healed and some people don’t. It makes me sad that out of all the times I prayed for my grandma, she wasn’t healed of all her pain. I confess to even experiencing guilt for not praying enough or harder or fasting more, or something, anything… But God’s grace is made perfect in our weakness.  More importantly, I know that my experiences do not define the truth. And I’m so thankful for the reality that God’s grace is sufficient and it’s His good pleasure to give us healing.

My sister, mom, grandma and me.

During our trip to Houston in August, I was able to have some private time with my grandma in her bedroom. We joked a little, she wished us the best in India and she told me that she and grandpa knew how much I loved them. Then she held my hand and simply said, “Ashley, I can feel it.” And I knew she was telling me goodbye for the last time here on earth. I nodded and all I could think to say was, “Okay grandma.”

Sometimes a lot more is said in someone eyes than words can express. I knew she was tired. She was ready. I’m thankful I was given the opportunity to look her in the eye, tell her I loved her and say goodbye.

I don’t know this for sure, but I think sometimes God bypasses our emotions with his grace to enable us to complete a task. At my grandma’s memorial, I sat behind my grandpa, my mom, and her three brothers. I could only see their backs, but my heart was filled with compassion and sadness for them. My heart ached terribly watching my grandpa’s sagging shoulders or the seeing the tissue raised to my mom’s face. In John 11:35 it says that Jesus literally burst into tears at the sight of Lazarus’ family weeping. I thank God for the closure I received before my grandma’s passing if it meant there was some way I could be a comfort to my family.

Michael and I leave for India soon and I am thankful I was able to see my family one last time at my grandma’s funeral. I have a lot to be thankful for… my friends, my family, my husband, and my Savior. I’m thankful that when I prayed for my family to come to know Jesus, God opened his heart to me in sharing that burden. He loves them more than I could ever imagine. He is near to the brokenhearted and He is a God who is moved by our heart.

Thank you for my grandma, Lord. Thank you for Jesus and all the answered prayers found in Him. And thank you for the image of my grandmother walking beside you in your Holy Kingdom. You are so good.