On the farm, after dark meant black. The only light, other than the stars, shone from a tall pole smack in the middle of the yard. I ran from the gray shed to the house like lightening, splitting through the yellow sphere of yard light. Chased by the unknown, I tore past shadows beyond the cone of brightness. I measured the distance by the thumps of my heart. Only after the click of the house door lock, did I turn to press my hands against the glass and peer behind at the outside.
I hated my frailty fueled by three older brothers full of stories about headless ghosts and tarantulas as big as the empire state building; of axe murderers and intergalactic aliens.
Looking back, I see fear became a blessing, as it often does in the tender hands of Jesus. Without it I wouldn’t have the gift that shines in the scrapbook pages of memory, a warm glow in my heart.
The metamorphosis began one late night when Dad and my brothers worked in the fields. I waited in my bed for sleep while imagining crazy scary things high in the dark corners of my room. If I shut my eyes, they swooped down to get me. So I kept my eyes open, and my body stiff as wood. fear became a blessing, as it often does in the tender hands of Jesus Click To Tweet
In the still house, I heard the murmur of mom’s voice. Who was she speaking to so quietly? The whispered words came from my parent’s open bedroom door. With heart pounding, I gathered courage, slinked from shadow to shadow and chair-to-chair. I dropped down on all fours and crawled to her door wanting to make out what she said.
“Sylvia,” I heard her say several times. The “S” sliced into the quiet.
Soft words I couldn’t decipher rolled over me. A large oval mirror hung on the wall. It opened a view into the room like a window.
Within that ornate mirror, I saw Mom. Her gray hair curled like a halo around her head. Her forehead rested against the side of the bed where she knelt and prayed. The soft “S” caressed the air. She was praying for me.
Perhaps it was the single most important example of motherhood that I carried into my own mothering, and now into grandmothering.
Sunday, September 10 is Grandparent’s Day. It doesn’t get a lot of recognition. Celebrated the first Sunday after Labor Day, it’s pretty easy to overlook.
I never knew any of my grandparents. I remember them only from stories my parents told. My own children didn’t know their maternal grandparents like I wished they had as we lived far from them. Yet, a grandparent’s imprint, even when unseen remains.
Testimonies often begin with the words, “My grandparents.” They “took me to church,” “read the Bible to me,“ “dropped me off at VBS,” or simply “prayed.”
Mom left many imprints on my heart, but the impression left on the soft clay of my soul which comes to my mind first, is one of a shadowy night as she knelt at her bedside. It came without any agenda, preparation, or plan.
The person she was marked my being, even more than the things she did. Mom loved Jesus. She proved it without fanfare by her DNA of prayer.
My mother never knew how I snuck out of bed and caught her in prayer. She would have been embarrassed to find how often after that night I repeated my stealthy trek to the mirror. Nothing brought warmth and security to me like hearing her sweet communication with the Father on my behalf. It rooted me in so many ways.
Even though my children didn’t know their grandma well, I am sure her prayers for her grandchildren did not have expiration dates. What she laid at Jesus’ feet He has not forgotten.
Far away on the other side of the ocean from their grandma, my little children benefited, because their Grandma prayed for them. Now as adults with their own children, they probably still reap the blessings, as do their children as well.
Prayer leaves an eternal legacy.
I cannot describe the resounding impact of that night outside my mom’s bedroom door.
I thought of it when our first baby cried for hours with colic in the middle of the night, when our second fell from the top of the slide, when our third teetered between life and death at Mayo Clinic, and when our fourth flew his first solo flight. Prayer leaves an eternal legacy. Click To Tweet
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful, Paul told the church in Colossians 4:2. (NIV)
Grandparent’s Day reminds me that true character reveals itself when no one watches. And of course, you never know who may be watching