Grace

Grace

Celebrating A Woman’s Grace

Proverbs 31:28 – “Her children arise up and call her blessed.”

My husband’s aunt turned 79 a few weeks ago, and we were invited to attend her birthday dinner, along with several other family members. Of course it was nice to visit with those we hadn’t seen in a while, but the most memorable part of the evening was the tribute her children and grandchildren put together for her.

One of her granddaughters got the room’s attention and held up a large framed poster. The family’s surprise gift. On it were pictures of the aunt’s seven children and most of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Next to each picture was a short paragraph of what each one of them thought was special about her and made her one-of-a-kind.

“You always have time to listen to me and never judge me.”

“You are wise and loving.”

“You never change.”

“You are kind to everyone and always willing to help others out.”

“You make our friends feel welcome and treat them like family.”

“You set a wonderful example for us, always working hard and sharing with those less fortunate.”

“Your door is always open.”

I could go on and on about the things they had written about her. It was amazing to see the young people go up to her after the last paragraph was read and hug her and publicly tell her how much they loved her. Then they presented her with their gifts.

I have never witnessed anything like it before, and I’m so thankful that I was able to be there.

You see, this aunt is everything the poster said and more. When Norm and I were married, thirty years ago, she was one of the most welcoming members of his family.

She was soft spoken, but there was a warmth to her that drew me close. The first thing I noticed about her was her genuine smile. She didn’t shake my hand like some of the other family members, but drew me into a hug and said, “Welcome to the family.”

And, since that day, she has remained the same. Warm. Welcoming. Kind.

Gracious.

She is never too busy to talk. She travels for family functions when she is able to. She opens her door to her immediate family and also to extended family. She supports anyone who needs it. She is discrete. She is wise and offers advice based on the truth of God’s word. She encourages all of us to be better.

That night, as her granddaughter read off the poster, I thought about this verse in Proverbs. This is what the author meant when he talked about the virtuous woman’s children rising up and calling her blessed.

Her influence was evident in the gentle way each grandchild looked after her, in the way her children made sure the guests were comfortable, and in the way we all celebrated her when the cake arrived.

I have always admired her humility and gentleness. But that night, I thought about her strength, courage, and faith. Her life had not been easy. She was a widow with seven children to raise. She worked hard and sacrificed, but she never turned away someone in need.

And as I sat there and listened, I saw the fruit of her labor. Grandchildren and great grandchildren, living successful lives, starting their own families, and using her life as their example.

I have been challenged because of that evening. She faced hardships along the way, but they did not alter her love for God and others. My challenges may be physical, but her life shows me how God can work in my situation to give me strength. As I rely on Him, He will be able to use me to reach out to others.

I want to live my life in such a way that my family will think of me like her family thought of her. I want to have a heart for everyone I meet and make them feel welcomed and loved. I want the grace of God to flow through me so others will want to know Him.

These things don’t come to me naturally, so I know that I will have to rely on God to mold me into a woman of love, compassion, humility, and grace.

 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the older members of our families, who set the example for us. Let us learn from them and let us live our lives for the ones coming behind us. Cement us with Your love so that the world will know we belong to You (John 13:34-35). In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

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