Yes, we're home. And it's been the hardest 2 weeks ever.
1 week after being home from Ethiopia, we lost my sweet Grandma. Yesterday we had her memorial service, exactly 2 weeks from the day our family was reunited at the airport. I don't understand the ways of the Lord, but I will say that I am thankful that Grandma knew Jesus and was surrounded by her loving family when she went to be with Him. This is a picture I took only a few days before she was gone.
|The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21b|
I promise to post about the kids soon and I have so many pictures of course. But because this blog is about more than just adoption, it's about making Christ known in every aspect of our life- I simply could not move on without sharing about my precious Grandma.
I had the wonderful privilege of sharing a tribute to Grandma at the service yesterday. I know it's wordy, (when am I not??!!) but I would love for you to read it and think about your own life and the legacy you will leave behind someday...
One of my favorite scriptures is Colossians 3:12-15. It says: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
As I remember Grandma today, I can’t help but think of this passage. It just fits who she was to me. Though Grandma wasn’t a bible scholar or preacher by any means, she was one of God’s beloved children- one who knew that she was dearly loved by Him and had a simple, child-like faith in Jesus. That is what she taught me. This verse talks about being clothed in these different virtues. Anyone who knew Grandma for more than a few minutes, experienced her compassion and kindness in some way. Grandma laughed with you and cried with you. And whether it was making food for 5 or 50 people, sewing baby blankets and clothes, traveling around the world, hosting parties for every holiday, or just sitting with a listening ear- she was definitely a people person in her own quiet way. She was also a woman who was humble and gentle. She never wanted anyone to fuss over her or make a big deal. Well, except when it came to rubbing her feet. Oh yes- that was a big deal! She used to pay us kids a dime or even quarters to rub those calloused feet- until we got old enough to be grossed out and so we’d pass the job down to a younger cousin!
Grandma’s gentleness grew as the years went by. I saw her melt as she held her first great-grandchild and witnessed her joy and excitement at each and every one to come after. A few years ago she started attending women’s bible study with me. I loved having Grandma there as we opened God’s word together and during the week I would call her to see how she was doing on her lesson. She would kind of dance around the subject and ask how everyone in our family was doing or talk about some random thing. Finally after a while, she confessed that it was very difficult to do the study and hard for her to pay attention, but she kept coming because it made her so happy to see me and the kids every week. That was Grandma for you… she could never get enough family time.
Just by taking a look around, I think I can safely say that Grandma had many more friends than enemies. She was quiet, but loved making friends with people. She was not perfect, but she knew how to forgive when someone had wronged her and she encouraged me to do the same in my life. And when you saw how still in love my Grandparents were after 53 years of marriage, that wisdom went much deeper than simply words. Grandma and Grandpa lived out the saying that there is no love without forgiveness and there is no forgiveness without love.
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Every memory I have of Grandma reminds me of how much she loved her family. The sweetest times of my childhood were spent playing at Grandma’s house or being on a trip with her and Grandpa. Even in the darkest of times, I always knew that Grandma and Grandpa were there and they loved me. My children and husband experienced that same kind of love from her as well. What a gift.
The end of the Colossians passage says: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Towards the end of Grandma’s earthly life, her physical body began to fail. She had heart attacks, a stroke, and deadly cancer. There were several times in the past 4 years that we did not think she would survive. But not only did God give her another few miracle years, He gave her incredible peace in the midst of it all. And He gave her a husband who cared for her and loved her unconditionally. After one of her trips to the hospital Grandma told me that there must be a reason that God had spared her life- some reason that she was still alive. I told her there was- so she’d better live it well! And she did. She got a few more years of “bonus time” we liked to call it.
Grandma was so excited for Randy and I to bring our 2 newest children home. Either her or Grandpa would call about once a week to check in and see if there was any news about the adoption and she would get anxious if the blog hadn’t been updated in over a week! She was just ready to love on those kids and wanted to know why in the world it was taking so long! It was her idea for mom to come with me to Ethiopia a few weeks ago and I’m so thankful for that. And I will never forget her face that day a week and a half ago when I brought the kids to the hospital to see her. She completely lit up! She was like her old self- joking with the kids and wanting to know all about the trip. I snapped a picture, not knowing if it would be the last time I would see her smile this side of heaven.
So many times this week, I have closed my eyes and seen Grandma’s smiling face or heard her voice. I want to pick up the phone and call her and tell her about how it’s going with the kids or get excited and anticipate with her about Nati and Mihret’s first Easter at home and dying eggs with her. I don’t want to have to tell my 3 year old yet again why Great Grandma Mallet isn’t home when we go to her house- because that’s where she’s supposed to be right?
A few days before she passed, Grandma told Grandpa “Jesus has me in His arms.” It was very hard for Grandpa and all of us, but she had such a peace. And now that Grandma is truly HOME, we are thankful for that. I loved my Grandma dearly and will miss her so much, but I am so grateful for all of the wonderful time I got to have with her and Grandpa these past 32 years.
|Grandma and Grandpa surrounded by their family (minus the 2 newest great-grandchildren)|