On Wednesday I attended a funeral for a dear lady I had known all my life. This lovely woman was small of stature, but big of heart. We had attended the same church for almost twenty years. I grew up having this woman in my life, like a second grandmother. She was a grandmother to everyone in that church. She was a mighty preacher and prayer warrior. She talked the talk, but more importantly, she walked the walk. Almost every week she gave powerful testimonies in church, but the most powerful of all was her life.
Her funeral was held in an out-of-the-way small town. It took us about two hours to drive there. Not for one moment did it cross our mind that it was too far and that we could just skip going. To miss her memorial would have been like not going to my own grandmother’s funeral. It was important to honor and remember this dear lady.
It was a small country funeral home. Quaint. A lot like her. Not many people there, pretty much just family. Her grandson, an evangelist, delivered the message. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for him to do it, but he did a fantastic job. Yes, he was emotional at times, but you could tell that the Spirit was carrying him through. The same Spirit that had been so powerfully evident in her life, a connection that would continue to bind them even though she had passed on. He said that her life, her character, could be made into an acrostic — LOVE. L was for listening. There was no better listener than Grandma Daisy. O was for overlooking faults. Along with that went forgiveness. We should all take a lesson from that. I don’t remember what his “V” was, but I came up with one — Vibrant testimony. That is the first thing I think of when I think of her. A dynamo in a tiny package. E was for encourager, and she was most definitely that! The last three summers I was in high school I worked as a CEF Summer Missionary. I had to raise my own support for the summer, which required a certain amount of money as well as enlisting prayer partners who would pledge to pray for me on a daily basis. It was like pulling teeth to get the commitments I needed for prayer partners (though the money came in hand over fist) but it never failed that she was the first one to sign up right after the list was put out front. When I went to college she would send me encouragement cards. They always came when I most needed them.
I haven’t been to that church for some time. I grew up, life took me in a different direction. I married and made commitments elsewhere. One day my Mom told me that she had been talking to someone from our old home church and said that there were several people who were concerned that Grandma Daisy might be developing dementia or some other mental unstability. It wouldn’t have been surprising given her age and declining health. I asked her what she was doing that they would think that. She told me that Granny was getting up in church, shouting, singing, clapping her hands. I looked at her in amazement. “She’s always done that!” She wasn’t doing anything different, but sadly, that was how much that church had changed, for them to be made uncomfortable by a saint of God obeying the moving of the Spirit and praising her Lord.
Some time later, I can’t remember if it was weeks or a few months, we attended homecoming services at that church. Glenn Mathews, an evangelist that grew up in the church, was speaking, and I always like to go hear him if I have the chance. My family and I went several nights. The messages were really good, as they always are, but each night I left with the nagging feeling something wasn’t right. The service seemed incomplete, unfulfilled, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then, the last night, he gave a sermon on being obedient to the Spirit. At the end of the message Granny got up, shouting and clapping and praising God, and that is when I burst into tears. At that moment I knew, when I heard the first “Well, Glory!” that that was what I’d been missing all week. That night the service was complete. I hugged her and thanked her. I was heartbroken to think that this dear saint of God had been bullied by the gossip of those in her church into sitting still and remaining silent when she should have been praising her Lord. That night was like a dam bursting at the seams and spilling forth, and I was grateful to be caught in the raging rapids.
Things will never be the same at that church, and that is a thing to be grieved over. Things will never be the same in this world, and that is something to be concerned for. An age has come to an end.
When my Mom told me that Granny had passed, the first thing that came to mind was Enoch.
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. Genesis 5:24
And I have to wonder if his legacy gives us any indication of what we have to look forward to. Enoch’s son was Methuselah, the oldest man to ever live. Shortly after he died, the Great Flood came on the earth. It was like God was holding off the judgment until his beloved saint passed on. I see a lot of similarity. God does withhold judgment in deference to a saint, but once that saint has gone home, watch out!
What has made Granny’s passing even more bittersweet is that she passed away June 8, one day before the 21st anniversary of my Father’s passing. Their homegoings will be inevitably entwined in my memory from now on. I had been thinking a lot about my Dad this year. How he has now been gone from my life longer than he was in it, though his memory and influence carry on. How sad I am that he never knew his grandson, and more importantly, that his grandson never knew him. So, I carried memories of my Dad, and his loss, to the funeral of Grandma Daisy. But can anyone imagine the jubilee they are having in Heaven right now? Someday we will join them.