one of my most vivid childhood memories is her example of worshiping God. i remember going to worship practices with her and playing in the back of the church while she worshiped God practicing with the team. at home she would often turn on a worship tape (yes, back in the days when we listened to cassette tapes) and would sing and dance in the middle of the room. she took piano lessons as an adult so that she could write her own songs to the Lord on the piano and worship in our living room. she engrained in me the importance of taking time to worship God at home, not just in the larger gathering of believers. (though she has led worship in both)
she seemed to have a mini crisis with the idea becoming a grandma, but as soon as my oldest son was set to arrive she was fully engaged with the new life that was coming. now, 11 grandkids later, she is known to crawl around on the floor playing hide and seek, take out all her percussion instruments letting them play loudly to their hearts' content while having family worship time, and always has one of the many by her side giving her cuddles. she is engaged in these little lives and will influence them in a way that only a grandparent (or nonnie in her case) can - they will hear words from her that they may not receive as warmly from mommy and daddy and they will open up their tender hearts to her.
she set a godly example of what it meant to be a faithful loving wife. i remember a conversation with her in my teenage years about how once a girl gets married her husband is to be her closest male friend. she strongly believed and encouraged friends, rather than committed relationships, with the opposite sex while we were too young to get married. but she warned that close friendships with the opposite sex were for before marriage and not to give close confidence to other men after marriage that was meant for your husband. she married her best friend and encouraged each of us to do the same. i took this all to heart. she showed me that marriage is for life, not for when it is convenient, and the example she and my dad have given about faithfulness and covenant has been a gift beyond what she may ever fully know.
like a broken record she hammered forgiveness into us as we grew up. she told me the most important thing i will ever learn is how to forgive. she didn't have an inflated view of herself, but in humility told us that we would someday have to forgive even her, though she always tried to give us the best she could and knew how. as i raise my own kids, i remember that i will not be perfect, though i really desire to be good. i remember her example to humble myself to my own kids and admit my imperfections. i work to pass on the high value for forgiveness - the greatest gift Jesus gives us and the most important gift we give to others and to ourselves.
in a hard stretch of time between me and my siblings, when i was much too consumed with friends and not kind enough to the ones God had chosen for my family, she reminded me again and again that my siblings would be my best friends when i grew up. she was right. i am thankful that she had vision to see what God would do in our relationships when i could not see. i too tell my boys to remember that friends will come and go, but their brothers will be there forever as their best friends.
she has modeled generosity and servanthood again and again and again. putting her own needs aside, she has given and loved in the most real practical way those around her who are hurting or in need. she has become the armor bearer to those who are in enormous personal battles. she is compassionate, wise, and kind - an amazing support when support is what is needed most. she is a friend when it is most important to be a friend.
she has so much deep inside of her that is so beautiful, waiting to come out. she isn't ambitious to make herself known, but happy to serve the Lord wherever He places her. she has shown me that it is right to trust the Lord to open the doors and show what He has for me right now... that we love and worship the Lord in whatever He has put before us for this season of life.
she is my mama.
i am incredibly blessed to be her daughter.