This past weekend, I went home to celebrate the life of my grandma, who passed away on September 29th. Her death was not a surprise and was a true mercy of the Lord, but the void felt as we remembered her and said our final goodbyes was hard. Death is always hard. Although it is normal and inevitable here on earth, God created us to be in a place where there is NO mourning, pain, tears, or death (Romans 21:4). So, despite its normalcy, it makes sense that we will continue to find it difficult and strange until we’re home in heaven and are no longer susceptible to its sting.
As I imagine is common at funerals, a number of thoughts went through my mind about my life, my grandma’s life, the lives of those around me, and the eternal life to come. In particular, I deeply pondered on two thoughts. The first was on the simple truth that the impact of one person’s life on the lives of those around them is incredible, intricate, and beautiful. My grandma’s life greatly impacted my own. My grandma was a natural born hard worker. She was always busy doing something--managing the farm finances, taking care of her children, making meals for the hired farm men, working in the garden, canning fruits and vegetables, etc. My uncle painted a fairly accurate word picture of her holding a nursing baby in one arm and snapping peas with the other while rocking a fussy toddler with her foot. I was told she inherited her work ethic from her father. She then passed it on to my mom, who in turn passed it on to me. Part of this was learned by training and living by example, but part is just the DNA the Lord chose to pass down. I am thankful to have inherited this trait and for the way the Lord has used it in my life.
In addition to impacting the psychological and physiological make up of who I am, my grandma also impacted the spiritual part of who I am. She was consistent in taking her family to church. I imagine her children didn’t always appreciate it, but she raised my mom knowing that God was important and that spending time learning about Him was important too. In turn, my mom also became consistent in taking my brother and me to church. I am incredibly grateful for this, as church was where I first learned of Jesus’ love, which later captured my heart and changed my life forever. “For by grace I have been saved through faith. And this is not my own doing, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The second thought I pondered was the daily opportunity we have to impact the lives of others by loving and serving them well. Over the course of the weekend, I witnessed the beauty of this in the love, support, and service given to my parents by their friends and extended family. At the viewing on Thursday evening, five of my dad’s sisters came to show their love and support. It is important to note that the grandmother who passed was my mom’s mom, and my dad’s sisters barely knew her. But, they came for our family to express their love, give hugs, and encourage our hearts. Additionally, between the viewing and the funeral my parents’ friends, who also didn’t know my grandma well, if at all, came to love and support my mom. They brought food, attended services, and most importantly, gave their ears to listen and their hands to hold. Seeing these friends surround my mom as she grieved the loss of her mother was incredibly impactful to me. It was a beautiful example of the difference we can make when we take time out of our lives to love and serve those around us…to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).
I pray you too will be reminded of the impact you can have on others. “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had” (Romans 15:5).
Katie Fairchild Miller with daughter Hadley Miller, mother Marie Wernette Fairchild,
and grandmother Opal Beasley Wernette
By Katie Miller
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