My grandmother, Nettie Shrader, went to be with the Lord last night. She passed with her loving husband of 53+ years, her three sons, several of her grandchildren and friends around her. Unfortunately I was not which pains me greatly. But as my sister texted me the scene, I was with them in my mind and heart. Despite not being with her in the end, we did get to enjoy a good time of fellowship with her and my grandfather a couple weeks ago. More on that in a few.
I miss her terribly and have since we flew back home after that last visit. I knew it would be the last time I got to see her on this side of heaven. Its been a long night and day so far, but even in the pain of knowing she is gone, in my heart I rejoice.
You see, Granny was truely a Proverbs 31 woman, even if she may have not known exactly what that meant.
10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
In today's culture, it is getting difficult to find a marriage that lasts for more than a few years. But their's lasted for almost 54 years and would have been more if the Lord allowed it. I don't really remember them telling each other "I love you" but it was obvious they did. In a time now where "love" is flung around with pizza, their actions said more than words. They had been through much together and even faced separation once before when Grandpa nearly died back in the 80's with heart issues. Granny loved Grandpa very much and he loved her. It was obvious from the way they would pick on each other, the looks they gave each other, the stories they told together. It was more than obvious when I saw the look in Grandpa's eyes as he watched his loving wife fade into almost nothing. Remembering that look breaks my heart more than anything. But the point is why did he have that look? Because Granny was an excellent wife who did him good all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
Granny was one of the hardest workers I've ever known. I vaguely remember her telling stories of working on farms and factories before I was born which had to be difficult labor. But, after I was born, she worked as an elementary school cafeteria lady and then as a cafeteria lady for a nursing home. At the nursing home, while in her 60's, she worked weekday, weekend, and holidays to serve the elderly. All her working days, she would come home to care for her household doing the usual stuff but also helping to raise the grand kids. Raising kids of her own and then grand kids, always meant needing a well stocked fridge. Nobody ever went hungry. At 71 she reluctantly retired, but no rest came to the weary. She found out she had lung cancer the following year.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
Granny almost never turned away a person in need even if that "need" may have really been a "want," she still gave. Money never really seemed to matter to her. And it wasn't just money that she gave. She gave of her time and love. I remember in elementary school where she worked as one of the cafeteria ladies, she was known as granny to many of the kids. She would give me and my friends extra portions of the school cafeteria nastiness they called food to find out later she paid for those extra portions out of her pocket. She was kind and loving to all the kids, no matter what social ring they were in. Cool kids or the not-so-cool kids (the group I was in), she loved us all. She was always there to encourage the ones who were sad and laugh with those who were joyous. Even later when she worked in the nursing home, people loved to come see her. She was a beacon of light to the orphaned, the widow and widower, and everyone in between.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
I often came to her for wisdom and she never withheld it. It was her words that directed me in the right direction many of times. She and Grandpa would take us to church and even though that didn't mean much to me until later in life, in hindsight, it was probably the wisest thing she could have ever done for me. She would tell me the truth, no matter how hard it may have been. She gently guided me through my parent's divorce and kindly spoke to me when apparently Santa Clause had told her of my Christmas wish for my parents to reunite. In school she would say, "worry about school and not girls." And I did, or tried, until I met my beautiful wife after I graduated high school and before I was able to finish college. But Granny rejoiced with us at our wedding and immediately adopted her as grand daughter.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all."
She was indeed blessed. Not only with three sons and many grand children and great grand children but also with many, many others who called her Granny and friend. No, she was not perfect, but who of any of us can claim to be. She was what she needed to be: a faithful and love-bound wife, a loving mother, a caring grandmother, a giving hand and servant to many. Yes, in Grandpa's eyes and ours as well, she surpassed them all.
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Granny feared the Lord. I remember one year we had a massive flood that kept us at the elementary school for hours after school had ended. Roads were washed away and the field in front of her house was half way filled with flowing water. For those of you who remember, or at least know of the field I talk about, it was indeed a massive flood. I remember sitting with her at the kitchen table watching that water flow by and noticed that tears were rolling down her face. I asked, "What's wrong Granny?" She replied with something along the lines of "God is merciful. He promised Noah he would never flood the world again. This flood proves his majesty." She feared God.
When we visited my grandparents on that last trip a couple weeks ago, I knew I had to ask her. Time was running out as the cancer had rapidly spread throughout her entire body. I needed to know for sure. At that same kitchen table looking out the same window, I asked, "Granny, what do you think about the day when you'll be standing in front of Lord Jesus."
In her small, weak voice she said, "Well (pause) I hope I'm ready."
"What will make you ready Granny?" I asked.
"The Lord Jesus."
"And what did Jesus do?"
"He died on the cross for my sins."
"And have you asked Him to forgive you your sins?"
"Yes, yes I have. Many, many times."
Granny I miss you so much. My tears are mixed with pain and joy. Pain for losing you knowing I'll never see you again with my physical eyes. But joy because I, without a shadow of doubt, know that you heard last night the words "Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master." I eagerly look forward to the day I'll join you in that joy.
My question I leave for my friends and family is, are you ready as she was ready?