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Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Grandmother's Faith



I have one more “Gramma” story I want to share with you today. I pray this true testimony of God’s touch on my grandmother’s life will strum on your heartstrings and jumpstart you to document your family’s amazing story.
My grandmother had only a fifth grade education, but she graduated valedictorian from the University of Adversity. She was the firstborn child of alcoholic parents. Some of the trauma she endured left gaping holes in her soul. Her deep inner pain caused her to cry out to God as a young wife and mother, and she discovered the power in prayer.

As a young child, I realized God had given my Grandma mountain-moving faith. When she prayed, God showed up. There is one memory etched in my mind’s eye I’d like to share with you today.
My mother, Bonnie, was Grandma's second child. She suffered with bouts of severe depression and had to be hospitalized on numerous occasions. After another suicide attempt, our family was summoned to the emergency room. Grandma quickly found a place to pray. She wasn't gone very long and had an unusual bounce in her step when she returned. “The Lord spoke to me today. He told me Bonnie will live and not die. She is going to play her violin for Jesus in church one day."

I didn’t say anything aloud, but thoughts were buzzing in my 11-year-old head. But Grandma, how will Mom ever play her violin in church when she doesn’t even attend church?
My thoughts were interrupted by the doctor’s stern voice. "I think we saved her this time, but one of these times she will get the job done. You need to prepare yourselves for what’s ahead."

Grandma, who was usually mild-mannered and polite, bolted from her chair. Pointing her crooked finger in his chest, she barked, "Now you listen to me, Doc. My girl is not going to die, but live and play her violin for Jesus in church."

An awkward silence enveloped the room. The doctor shook his head and made a hasty exit. “Religious nut! Mental illness must run in the family.”
Mom’s depression increased and there were more hospitalizations and suicide attempts. I often heard my grandmother reminding the Lord, “You promised I would see her play the violin for You.”
When I was 16, my mother met a retired pastor's wife who had battled crippling depression. This woman took a keen interest in my mother and tenderly led her into a loving relationship with Jesus.

Mom became a faithful member of a Bible-believing church. One Saturday she announced, "I've been invited to play my violin for special music in church."

Grandma let out a victory yelp and danced a jig. “I’m sitting on the front pew.”

I have been in fulltime ministry for more than thirty years. I've learned much from Bible college and ministry experiences, but it was watching my grandmother's life that taught me the most about the power of prayer. She gave me a sample, a living example, of how an ordinary woman with a simple faith in an extraordinary God can move mountains.

Grandma resides in heaven, but my precious mother is still living. She will soon be 80, and on special occasions still plays her violin for Jesus.

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