one thing remains.

Posted by Tori on Jun 10, 2012 in a good word., family., thankful heart.

When I think back on my life, and the process through which the Lord drew me to Himself, there are several strategic people He used to teach me and grow me in specific ways. Aside from my parents, the very first person He used in such a way was my grandfather. My mom’s dad. When I was a baby, my mom went back to work and I stayed with my grandfather. We spent a lot of time together. He had retired from the FBI, both of my parents worked, and so did all of my other grandparents. So, he stepped up to the plate so that my parents wouldn’t have to send me to daycare or preschool. We lived within minutes from one another until my parents moved to Savannah when I was four.

Every morning, he and I would go to a cafe up the street. He would have his coffee and I would eat a slice of cantaloupe…with salt on top. Every morning. We got to where everyone around town knew us. On Fridays, he would always take me to TCBY after my nap. The chocolate was my favorite…and his. As I grew up, when we would come to visit, he taught me how to play card games and he and I would play and laugh for hours. He loved football! This was before you could pay to watch 18 games on your screen at the same time, so he would flip back and forth constantly. His favorite was, of course, UGA football. I would sit and watch with him. He taught me the rules and how the game was played. I wanted to do everything like him. He would tell me stories from captures he made in the FBI that would keep me on the edge of my seat. I thought it was so cool that he had a personal letter from J. Edgar.

But, beyond all these fun things, my memories and the things I learned from my granddaddy go a lot deeper than my ABC’s, football, and old FBI stories. He introduced me to Jesus. He was all about Jesus. Every morning, he would spend an hour in a room in their house by himself. That was his time with the Lord. Whenever he went in there and shut the door, we all knew that his time there was sacred. He read the Bible in its entirety to me before I was three. He couldn’t stop talking about Jesus and what He had done, and what He was doing. After I came to know the Lord, he was one of the first to disciple me and teach me how to read Scripture and to pray.

He also showed me what it looked like to love people like Jesus. Especially his wife. He truly esteemed her and his love for her was a beautiful picture of Christ and the church. My only memory of arguments between them was shoving one another in front of the kitchen sink after a meal, deciding who would wash the dishes – because each one wanted to do it to serve the other. Most times he won.

When I would spend the night with them, I slept in my mom’s old room which was right across the hall from their room. They always slept with the bedroom doors partially opened and I would fall asleep listening to them talk to one another in their bed. It was beautiful the things they would say. They would talk about their day. He would thank her for being the remarkable help mate that she was. He would tell her that he couldn’t do life without her and that he would never want to. He would pray over her. And she would do the same for him. I remember asking God, in those moments, to bless me with a marriage like that.

As granddaddy got older, he developed dementia. At first, it was hard because he was aware that he was forgetting more and more. He knew what was happening to him. It worsened to the point where he couldn’t remember anyone, not even his wife. He would have moments of clarity where his memory would return and he would recognize his family and be able to tell us how much he loved us. Even on the worst days, He would remember Jesus. He would still talk about the Lord and he still read his Bible. My grandmother became his caregiver in their home. Her love for him, her care for him when he could no longer take care of himself, and her undivided faithfulness to him has become a beautiful picture, once again, of Christ and the church. Their marriage functions how the Lord designed it.

She is still doing just that. Only tonight it looks a little different. He is lying in a hospital bed next to theirs. His breathing is labored and slow. Very slow. His eyes are closed and his body is frail and unable to move. He will see his beloved Jesus very soon.

I was able to be there last night with them. I say I will never forget these things. All the memories. All the laughs, and kisses. All of our conversations that we had just the two of us. How it felt to spend this morning in the bedroom with him and have the last conversation that we will have this side of Heaven. The lump in my throat. But the truth is, I may forget. My memory may fade just like his. But, one thing remains. The eternal truth written on my heart. The way God used him to show who He is to me. The eternal investment he made into my life will not perish or fade like the earthly things will.

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 says, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

It is written on my heart. Sealed by His Spirit.

It makes me want to run even harder after Jesus. When the people who know me look at my life, is Jesus preeminent? Is He everything?

What about you? What do people see when they look at your life? What legacy will you leave? Will you leave only perishable memories, or will you allow the Lord to use you to plant the imperishable? To participate in His work; in what will last for eternity?

When you’re prompted, please pray for our family. We are asking the Lord to turn our hearts from earthly grief and sorrow onto eternal joy and hope of Heaven and our inheritance as co-heirs with Christ. This Tuesday is my grandparents’ wedding anniversary. Thursday is my grandmother’s birthday. We trust God’s perfect timing. He has done great things. And our hearts are full of gratefulness. His love is perfect. He is everything.

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1 Comment

Sarah {the fontenot four}
Jun 10, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Tori, I am praying for you and for your family. This story brought tears to my eyes. What wonderful memories to treasure.


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