My Grandma Marlene lived a short, but very meaningful life. On March 3, 1999, God took her Home to live with Him when she was only 47 years old. I remember the day very well, I was only weeks away from turning six. It was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to go through, though I know that it was God’s will and He always knows best.
I never knew the person that my grandmother was without God, though she lived a good portion of her life without truly knowing Him. What she lost in time serving Him in the first part of her life though, she did her best to make up for in the last part. She is one of my greatest inspirations to live for God’s glory.
Grandma was third in a line of seven children. Six girls and one boy, just like my family. I’ve always loved hearing stories about her childhood. Like the time they decided that since it was so much fun to put burrs in Uncle Melvin’s hair, it would surely be fun to put them in the girls’ hair also. I’m sure you can’t imagine why that ended in a hair cut. 😉
Grandma Marlene and Grandpa Russell were married when she was nineteen years old. A year and a month after that, in 1971, they had boy-girl twins (my mom, Sheila, and Uncle Jason) and then a few years after that my Uncle Tim.
My grandparents received Jesus Christ as their Savior when my mom was about 16. A few years later my grandfather surrendered to preach and he pastored a church in the small Missouri town that they lived in for many years after that. Grandma was a wonderful pastor’s wife, she loved people and was very good at helping to “bear others’ burdens.” She showed Christ’s love by her actions.
When I was born, my father was in the Navy so Mom and I stayed with Grandma and Grandpa for the first six months of my life while Daddy was away at sea. My mom has always told me how Grandma Marlene would sit with me in her rocking chair everyday after work and pray over me. She spent hours praying that I would love God and have a love of reading, especially reading His word. I feel so blessed to have had all of those prayers to start off my life. And it is a major reason, besides God’s glory, that I want to live for Christ. I don’t want all those prayers to be in vain and I don’t want to take that kind of love for granted. To me it’s like an earthly example of Christ’s sacrifice for me. And I believe it is also a major reason that I love reading. 🙂
She was a wonderful grandmother. Some of the things that I remember most about her is the sound of her laughter and singing with her. She was learning to play the piano when I was little and I used to love to sit with her at the piano and carry her music books around the house. After she died, Grandpa gave her piano to me and there have been very few days since then that I haven’t played.
She worked at a hardwood flooring plant for over 12 years and that is where she was on March 3, when she had sudden heart failure and died. She was respected and looked up to by people all over the plant. Other people could tell you so many different stories of how she gave them the coat off her back and the various ways that she touched their lives, and you’d have a hard time finding someone with bad things to say about her. But she wouldn’t want the praise, she would point you to the cross and the One for whom she lived. She would tell you about Jesus, from the point of view of someone who knew what it was like to live with Him in her heart, and without. And I’m sure she would tell us all to use every moment that we have for His glory, because you never know when your last moment might come.
Though sometimes it is still hard for my finite mind to understand why my 4 youngest siblings never got the chance to meet her and even my 2 sisters just younger than me who did know her, can barely remember. But I’m thankful that they will get to meet her in Heaven someday, and I know that she’s taking care of my siblings that I’ve never gotten to meet.
So pray for your loved ones. Someday, it may mean a whole lot to them. Think about the name that you would leave behind if you died today, because, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches….” And truly thank God for the people in your life, because sometimes, even if you’re thankful for someone, you don’t realize what you have…until it’s gone.