As I stood at my kitchen sink today, washing my Grandmothers bowl, I couldn't help but think how many times she had stood in that exact same spot washing the same bowl. And with that, my head spun with thoughts of days past. How many times had she stood in the kitchen, in the same spot I do, and cooked her family dinner. How many times had she sat in the living room, reading her Bible while listening to Family Life, the same way I do.
Grandmothers tend to have a special place in the hearts of little girls - and my Grandma Strong certainly had that place in mine. I grew up living right beside her, which made spending unlimited time with her very easy. Every day I would get off the bus and skip down to her house, knowing that once I entered those doors I would be surrounded in love. My Grandpa always had a wiener and piecie (what I called a hotdog and piece of bread with apple butter) waiting on me. I would go directly to the kitchen to have my after school snack. I would always eat it as quickly as I could, knowing Sesame Street started soon. I would scarf my food down and run to the living room, so excited to turn the TV on. But every day Grandma would say the same thing "not until you say the 23rd Psalm". I would sigh, beg, plead and probably roll my eyes a little but she stuck to her guns. I could not turn the TV on until I recited it. I knew she was not going to back down, so I would start off. I would eventually slip up and say something wrong, which meant going back to the beginning and starting all over again. I would recite it, over and over, until I did it without mistakes. Sometimes that meant missing the first 10 minutes or more of Sesame Street. Every day we played the same routine, over and over.
My Grandma was by no means a fancy lady, but she was a class act all the way. She was old school, from the days ladies were classy. She wore a dress every day of her life. And even when she did wear pants, she wore them under a dress. Yeah girls, UNDER her dress. She was never mean or sassy but she wasn't afraid to tell you her opinion in love. She came from the days where women didn't announce their pregnancy, didn't wear black or red and you wore clothing that covered you from the nape of your neck to your knees.
She was the strongest Christian woman I’ve ever met. She was kind, respectful, accepting and full of love. She never complained about life and the many hardships she endured. She taught Good News Club after school in her living room (in the house I live in now) and showed so so many kids the word of the Lord, His love and grace. Thinking about that now makes my eyes spill over with tears. I can't imagine how many hearts were given to the Lord inside this mere farmhouse. She knew her Bible, inside and out. And when a Jehovah’s Witness would knock on her door, she wouldn't turn them away like so many others did. She would invite them in, offer them a cup of tea, grab her Bible and discuss it with them for hours on end. Last summer, a group of Jehovah's Witnesses were walking around town. I saw them well in advance and knew they were coming. I could have easily ignored their knocks, but instead I grabbed my Bible and headed to the porch.
She taught me so many life lessons that I will always carry in my heart. Repeating the 23rd Psalm every day taught me not only repetition and perseverance but also set those words from it deep in my heart. It taught me to put the Lord before anything in my life. The 23rd Psalm is so, so very dear to me today. She taught me to have class, and to teach my daughter to be classy. She taught me that even during hardships, be thankful for the blessings God gives you every day. Every day might not be good, but you can bet there is something good in every day!
I am so thankful for this dear lady and the amazing part she still has every day in my life. Even though she is gone and rejoicing daily in Glory, she will forever live in my heart.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.