Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When You're a Grandmother

Micah never met my grandmother. Justin neither met her either. For that matter, I barely remember her because she died when I was three. It's some of those memories where you aren't sure if you really remember it or if you've heard the stories so many times you think you do. My papaw married again and I grew up with a fantastic step-mamaw. 

The lady that built our home eventually turned the garage into a master bedroom. Our master bedroom now. Its door opens into the hallway between the kitchen and the laundry room and I can see beautiful sunsets out our bedroom window during the summer. 

But my grandmother quilted. And as her grandchildren were born she gave each of them a quilt. I have one and it hangs on the bedrail at the foot of our bed. Quite often in the evening while I'm cooking dinner Micah is playing on the bed under the quilt. He pretends to sleep and wants me to cover him with it. 

photo courtesy of photokanok/freedigitalphotos.net

I saw a saying on social media that went like this, "Yesterday's grandmother could bake, quilt, and cook. When we are grandmothers all we'll be able to do is take selfies." (Despite my best attempts I could not find it again.) While I think this might be a slight exaggeration we are losing something very precious in our generation. Work. Creativity. Character. 

In previous generations most women loved husbands, raised children, cared for their homes, used their talents to benefit others, and left legacies that impacted families for generations.  Today, we take selfies, post the details of our lives on social media, and go on journeys to "find ourselves."  See the difference? We should be living for others. Instead we are consumed with self. 

And it does consume us. It consumes our lives and burns away into smoke and ash. We will find that we have done nothing meaningful. Life lived for self is wasted. "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:24) 

It's easy to get caught up in what everyone is doing. It's normal for our generation to seek to "find self" and "do what makes you happy." But we shouldn't be basing our decisions on what society does. What does the Bible say? The Bible says to forget self. Take up your cross DAILY. (Luke 9:23) Not on Sundays or days we feel like it. 

There are verses in 1 Timothy that speak about a lady of "grandmotherly" age. 
"Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work." 1 Timothy 5:10

None of those works are about her. But what are our goals for when we are 60? Does it really matter what our facebook makes our lives look like?  Does it really matter how many raises we get or how many people applaud us?  No. Those things mean nothing in the light of eternity. What will matter?

-what kind of wife were we? 
-how did we mother? 
-who did we care for? 
-who did we lead to Jesus? 
-who did we encourage? 
-how did we work? 

In other words- The things that matter are the things no one notices. 

No one sees you spend time with your husband. Loving him. Appreciating him. Encouraging him. Submitting to him. No one sees the effort and prayer you devote to raising your children. How you teach, love, discipline. No one notices the cards you put in the mail to encourage others, the hours you spend soul-winning, the bus kids you point to Jesus. No one applauds you for consoling your children in the night, letting someone cry on your shoulder, lifting up loved ones in prayer. No one comments on the thousands of meals you cook, the rugs you vacuum, the dishes you wash, the diapers you change. 

But Jesus sees all those things.  And all those things are going to make up your legacy. What your husband remembers, what your children remember, what those who know you remember. Maybe I won't leave quilts for my grandchildren but I do want to leave something that matters. 

What you are doing today makes up part of who you will be when you are sixty. Your work matters. And your today is your work.