A woman of quiet strength, determination, and grace. A woman of character, heart, and love. A woman that I can truly admire in every way. That’s how I would describe my grandma. After years of family vacations and get-togethers, I’m finally realizing the breadth of this beautiful soul I am so blessed to know. Her heart is poured out into her family in countless little ways that easily go unnoticed, but when I stop to truly look at her sacrifice and heart of service, I am astounded.
Now, I must pay attention. She is filled with a grace that I dream of. I can sense her strength by simply being near her. I know some of what she’s conquered in her life, and I know she is someone worth emulating. She is of sound mind and heart even in her late 70’s and her wisdom radiates through her worn out body. I know she is tired, but I admire that she doesn’t let that stop her.
Watching her this past weekend at Cooper’s first birthday party taught me a lot about living a humble family life. Though she is in a totally different season of life, I have found that hers mirrors mine in many unexpected ways. There is much to learn from her quiet wisdom.
1. Sacrificial love – her tired body never ceased to go to work and help prepare things for the party. She did the dishes, cleaned the floors, hung the decorations, and anything else she was able to help with. She did it without complaint. She did it out of pure love of serving her family. She did it, sometimes, without a thank you but she didn’t expect one.
2. Asking for help – she has learned with age that asking for help is an important lesson. Pride tells us we can do it all ourselves, but when we humble ourselves and invite others to help with even the simplest things, we are sharing in the community of Christ. We are admitting that we can’t do everything and that that’s okay. Time will eventually leave us needing help with daily things, but we shouldn’t wait for this lesson to be forced upon us.
3. Unconditional love – she has this beautiful gift of seeing past people’s quirks and looking into the heart of who they are. She stands up for the weakest of us, exploiting our strengths so that others may see our worth as well. She can find little things she loves about everyone and that is what she chooses to focus on. She is patient and forgiving of our shortcomings and always ready to love the things about us that we most dislike. She has a gentle spirit with the strength to love unconditionally.
4. Get up and get dressed – she advised me to wake up in the morning and get ready for the day, no matter what. As a work at home mom it is easy to fall into a funk, sitting around in pajamas all day, feeling lazy and tired. She says that she has followed this advice ever since she was a new mom, and it has carried her through even now. Wake up, get dressed, and conquer the day.
5. Reach out – stop expecting people to reach out to you and fill your loneliness. Sometimes people aren’t reaching out simply because it doesn’t come to mind. They’re caught up in their own lives and it’s rarely personal. It’s important to take action instead of moping around in self-pity. She is a strong woman who is constantly reaching out to others despite their sometimes lacking reciprocity. She lets it phase her for but a second and then she carries on. There is too much life to be lived to wait around for others to make the first move.
6. Let go – Life greets you with many mistakes and failings. Especially, in the raising of children. You must let it go by remembering the positives and forgiving the failures. Children grow and sometimes distance themselves, but you must always remember you’ve done the best you can in each season. Rejoice in their happiness even if it is a part from you.
These are my six take-aways but they don’t do her justice. I am amazed how much these apply to my life now as a young mother and her life as a widowed grandmother. She gets up, gets dressed, reaches out, lovingly serves others, and let’s go of past mistakes so that they do not hinder the good she does today. She is a true example of a Proverbs 31 woman.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and laughs at the days to come. She opens her mouth in wisdom; kindly instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness… Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all. Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:25-30