Whenever I get that question asked “Who has made an impact on your life” my mind is drawn to my grandmother. My grandmother is a beautiful woman who just turned 100 years old this year and although mentally she may not be there all the time, the gift of love she has towards her family is always there. The impression she made on me on the calling of a wife and mother has been a part of my life since I was a little girl.
Grandma was born in 1912 and came to America from Croatia as a young girl – the Statue of Liberty being the first site she saw as she approached the shores of America with her mother. Her father was already in the states working and setting up a home for them.
Grandma was the oldest in her family and didn’t know much about toys or playing outside. She was the second mother in the home and she loved taking care of her brothers and sisters. This was a time when large families were not uncommon and there were no people called “teenagers“. You were either a child or an adult.
Grandma had three daughters, my mother being one of them, and my mother had some hardships and went through a divorce at a young age so we lived with my grandma and grandpa in my early years. I loved being in their home and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else at that time. I was cherished and loved by my grandparents – they are an example to me of the kind of grandparent I want to be to my grandchildren.
I want to share some of the lessons I have learned from my grandmother that I have brought into my mothering and my grandmothering. Grandma Katherine was and still is not a Christian so I ask for those who are reading this that are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ that you would pray for her salvation. We have had opportunity to share the gospel with her many times and she has listened with kindness but has never had an open heart towards the Lord.
(*Update from Marci on January 10, 2017 – My grandmother passed away on April 22, 2014 at 102 years old)
Although she was not a Christian she was raised in an era when the Judeo-Christian values were common and accepted in the culture at that time and the role of a wife and mother was not questioned.
She loved her family and would do anything for them.
Taking care of her home was a joy – I loved listening to her singing as she cleaned the house or was in the kitchen cooking.
Her mother lived with her (along with my mother and I) and she cared for her for many years – she had a multi-generational view of family.
There was always time to sit and chat. Sitting at her kitchen table with a cup of tea with lots of sugar and cream was a favorite for me.
There was never a doubt about the love she had for my grandfather – they were crazy about each other.
I don’t remember ever hearing her complain about anything.
She encouraged my love of reading and my children’s love of reading as books were a favorite gift from her. She always wrote her name and the year in them and I have appreciated carrying on that tradition.
She ran a home on a tight budget and you would of thought they were very comfortable by the way they lived – she knew how to stretch a dollar.
They lived with one car and she would drive grandpa to work if she needed it that day.
Grandma stayed physically active and was always a go-getter from the time her feet hit the floor in the morning.
She instilled in me a love of cooking for my family. I am thankful for the many recipes she passed on to me over the years.
She was always dressed first thing in the morning – I don’t remember her ever sitting around in her pajamas.
She was such a blessing to me as a new wife – I knew I could call her for anything from cooking, to marriage advice.
She always had time for me and was delighted whenever we called or visited.
I loved coming to their house as she would be waiting outside for us when we arrived and when we left she would stay outside and wave at our car as we pulled down the road.
Lots of hugs and kisses – always.
Special favorite treats were always awaiting our arrival.
Grandma always had a pleasant or kind word to say.
Sleepovers at Grandma’s were always a favorite – at any age.
She never missed a birthday card to send out – to anyone!!
As I look at her life and I look at the women of today I see the simpleness of that time. The role of a mother was cherished and women had joy taking care of their families. It didn’t need to be taught because it was already caught. The era of feminism changed that and it is so sad that we don’t have more women like my grandmother who didn’t question their role they just lived it out beautifully.
As Christian women we have the joy of the Lord in everything we do – I think about that often as I begrudgingly go about a task and think my grandmother who didn’t have Jesus would have done this with great joy and pleasure and I have Jesus so why I am going about it with a bad attitude?
Do we over think things? In our minds do we think we deserve something better? Or more fulfilling? Where does our contentment lie?
May we find our contentment in Christ and who He has designed us to be and go about our day with joy and love in taking care of those He has given to us as a gift. My husband, children and grandchildren are a gift – do I view them as gifts from the Lord?
I pray I can have an eternal impact on the lives of my children and grandchildren but my impact for Christ will be lost if it is done without love. The Gospel and it’s message must always be our first priority but it must be shared and lived out in a home where there is love for Christ and love for one another.