If I could give you a picture of a godly woman, my grandmother, Dot-Dot as we call her, would top the list.
A few days ago she breathed her last and her body is now empty.
She is not there.
She was what everyone would call “a good person”, but her righteousness was not her own, she trusted Christ’s righteousness alone to save her from her sins. According to the Lord’s mercy He saved her, not by her good works but by the new birth of the Holy Spirit (cf. Titus 3:5). My Dot Dot didn’t just say she had this faith, she evidenced this faith in how she lived and loved and served the Lord to the end. Thus we can have hope that while her body was left behind, she is now present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:6).
She strove to become more like Christ. She was not a foreign missionary or a great speaker. She did nothing that people would consider really great. But Horatius Bonar once said that holiness is not measured by “one great heroic act or mighty martyrdom… It is of small things that a great life is made up.”
Dot-Dot was very loving and generous to her grandchildren. She spent time with us, let us granddaughters play with her Madam Alexander doll collection. She and Papa gave us cards and presents for birthday’s and many times paid for music camp and family camp. She was such a great listener and always interested in what was going on in our lives. Even 2 weeks before she died, she asked me to tell her about a trip I had just gone on. When I was away (whether it was just summer camp, or when I was living out of state or oversees) she sent cards and letters sharing things that were going on at home and most of all telling me that she loved and prayed for me. Her deepest desire and prayer was that her family members all come to know and love the Savior too. Speaking of prayer, anyone who knew her well knew that she was a prayer warrior. I remember her telling me a few years ago, that she couldn’t do much of anything, but she could still pray. One precious memory of her and my Papa was often going into their apartment and hearing Dot Dot reading the Bible aloud. She wrote me in a letter once that she was so glad that she and I loved and followed this same Book!
She had a good life with many joys, but yet hardships, loss, and many trials, too many to even try to mention here. But I never heard her complain. She always turned her eyes to the Lord and trusted Him no matter what! She was so very unselfish! One thing she said towards the end was “I’m so much trouble”! She hated to cause anyone inconvenience. But she graciously accepted the help she needed and was always thankful. Even to towards the end when she couldn't say much. She'd weakly ask for "water" and still say "thank you" afterwards!
There are a few "heroic" stories too though. She and my Papa smuggled Bibles into China. And not just a few tucked between things, mind you… a whole suitcase full! She was on the Gideon Auxiliary and was very faithful to give Bibles out to people she met. Every nurse, aid, etc. that ever saw her should have gotten one! She loved the Lord, He had saved her from her sin and she wanted everyone else to be forgiven too! I trust there will be many more in heaven partly because of those Bible's she gave out.
She used to call me her “dimple darling” when I was young. In the last few years whenever I would come in to see her she would say “Hi sweetie!” - I will miss that. About a week before she died she opened her eyes and said this for the last time. It was so hard the last few months, especially the last week and a half… knowing she was dying and sitting by her bedside wondering if each breath would be her last. Her words during that time centered around how much she just wanted to go be with Jesus and a few days before she died she managed to say “Come… let... us... adore Him”. I obliged her by singing the chorus. She often groaned saying "Jesus!", and I saw in her a literal picture of the Spirit groaning for the coming of the Lord. She has lived with us in an attached apartment for almost my entire life and home will never be the same without her living there, and that’s part of the sadness that death brings. But I have SO much joy in knowing that she is now truly free and with the Savior she loves. No more groaning Dot Dot... you're finally home!
I thank the Lord for the gift of my grandmother, for His work of grace in her heart and life and the legacy I have as a result. I am so very thankful for the example of prayer and faithfulness. While I will miss her much and cry a lot in the days to come, she will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life as I seek to follow the same Lord and Savior she loves so dearly.
Much love dear Grannie Dot,
- Your 'sweet dimple darling'
(photo from Christmas 2011)