Live In The Round Reader,

In the church today, at least in the church plant that I attend, older female mentors are very rare.  The Bible reminds us that older believers should teach the younger (See Exodus 12:25-27, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Deuteronomy 11:19-21, Titus 2:2-8).  However, more often than not, those reminders get lost in the great debates of traditional versus contemporary services, felt boards versus ipads.  Today, Valentine’s Day, I would like to honor a woman who has been a beautiful example of God’s love and forgiveness to His broken bride, the church. 

Dear Grandmother,

There are many reasons for this letter today.  It is good timing as you have retired yet again (Is it the third time?).  I know that this past year has been an emotional one for you, filled with goodbyes to loved ones and hellos to a few more.  Today, Valentine’s Day, whether Hallmark invented it or not, is still a day to celebrate love.  So, this is what I want to do.  I want to show you how much you are loved.

In thinking about all your characteristics, the first thing that popped in my head was how much you love people.  You have friends wherever you go. When I have been out with you, it seemed like everywhere we went, you knew someone.   You knew their names, their stories, and their families.

You are deeply in love with your own family.  A sign of this is how you cannot wait to take pictures to capture the few moments when we all can be together.  You have learned how to work an iPad and Facebook, just to connect better with loved ones who you do not get to see on a daily basis.  I love that.

Generosity is written all over your heart.  You give gifts like it is your (fourth) job.  Thinking back to when I was younger, I remember going to your house and receiving presents from you.  I do not remember the experience truly being about the gifts.  I just remember thinking what an exotic grandmother I had for having such treasures. 

Only in the past couple of years, have I actually discovered that my grandmother is such a hottie!  Of course, I am not surprised by this revelation.  Even though you haven’t felt God leading you in the direction of a romantic relationship, I have been impressed by the tactful and respectful way that you have responded to your would-be gentleman callers.

I love the way that you seek to leave a legacy to your family.  I love every moment that I get to hear you share stories about our family’s past.  People who were gone long before I was around.  People who I mostly remember through photographs.  Your own stories of crazy adventures that play like a black and white film reel in my head.

The most powerful thing about you, Grandmother, is your love for Jesus.  I know that people in the church have hurt you deeply.  You have experienced more than your share of pain from those who profess the name of Christ.  You have faced backbiters, slanderers, and busybodies.

When so many would give up on Jesus because of His imperfect, broken bride, you have only clung harder to your Savior.  You have responded with grace that only the Holy Spirit is capable of giving His followers.  I have witnessed Psalm 30:11-12 in your life:

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!”

Because God has turned your mourning into dancing, He has used your story to point others facing the same heartbreak toward Him.  I cannot begin to describe the delight that fills my heart when I think of God using your story for good.  I pray that I remember your example when I face the temptation to blame Christ for the way sinful man acts, instead of looking to Him for comfort. 

You, though, do not stop with a story that happened so many years ago.  You follow a living God, who is still sanctifying your heart.  You are always excited about what God is teaching you, and it seems like you are always going through another Bible study or reading another book to keep your eyes focused on Him.  I look forward to our next phone call so that you can share all about what you are learning.

So, although we have differing opinions on topics such as Joel Osteen, female pastors, and Calvinism (-hey, why am I the conservative one here?!), you will always be my hero and an example of the command from Paul in Titus 2:3-5,

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine.  They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”

It is my prayer that God will use your example to challenge many more women and bring them close to Himself, just as He has done for me.

See You In The Round (on your iPad, of course, Grandmother!)

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."