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What a great joy to be a grandmother during the last few decades. Our first grandchild was born in 1994 and both of my parents were still living so enjoyed becoming great-grandparents. (Our last grandchild came in 2005.) When I first became a grandmother, someone blessed me with a sweet t-shirt that read, “God made moms and it was good. God made little girls and it was better. But when God made grandmas, it was awesome!” I agree 100% and it’s true if they are little boys as well since we are blessed with three of each.
I still have that t-shirt and smile every time I pull it out to wear. It reminds me of the look on my mother’s face when she carried that great-granddaughter down the aisle of her church on her first Christmas Eve. She died before the others were born but if she glimpsed over the portals of heaven her smile just kept growing.
I learned a lot watching my parent’s grandparent our two children. I was not blessed with grandparent memories. One set died before I was born and the other in childhood. I feel that loss and watched all the ways my parents did it so well. Sometimes it was pulling out old games they recalled from childhood like “Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button,” other times it was having an old-fashioned taffy pull, or other games like dominoes. And of course there were treats on hand always and old-fashioned ice-cream churning was tops each summer.
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My seventh decade included seeing our grandchildren begin to graduate from high school one-by-one. Then first granddaughter graduated from college in 2017 and the first grandson in 2019. We were blessed to be at both. Covid messed up the third one for us, but we have several more to go if the Lord allows.
Seeing them begin careers as a BSN (nursing degree) and MD (residency in psychiatry at the moment) was an unexpected delight given how many grandparents do not see the years of such beginnings. Another beginning came when our oldest grandson got married in January of 2023 and despite my horrific accident just 10 days earlier (https://pamecrement.com/2023/01/16/who-were-they/), God allowed us to be able to attend.
Grandchildren have given me a lot of delights over these decades but beyond their many accomplishments, the greatest joy has been watching each of them make decisions regarding God and faith. The spiritual decisions give each of them a foundation that surpasses their earthly life into eternity and for that I am forever grateful and blessed. Each of them creating his or her own story as a part of God’s great story.
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Along the way as I gained a bit more confidence in writing on my website and included some of my own photographs, I was invited to be part of a blogger group for a Christian publisher and got to read and review new releases introducing me to new authors. What fun!
Not long after that in one of my devotional times I sensed the Lord begin to nudge me toward writing a book. (I had secretly hoped to write a book since childhood but lacked confidence and direction.) He led me to recall the powerful story of redemption of one of the persons who came to me for help when I counseled in clinical private practice. Not all of our stories have as many surprises and evidence of God’s grace as hers and it could give hope to so many others.
After she had finished counseling during which she gave her life to Christ, she started attending the church where I was on staff. She stopped by my office one day with a heart to begin serving in some area of ministry but none of the usual ones seemed to fit. I gave her a clean canvas and said, “Bring me a vision.” Little did I know (nor did she) what God would spark in her in answer to that statement.
Okay, but what did I know about writing a book or publishing one? I began to explore this with other bloggers I had become acquainted with who had done so and talked with the husband who was an author/editor of the woman who designed my website. With those bits and pieces of information I met the woman whose story I wanted to write for a lunch date and asked her about what I felt nudged to do. I shared there was no pressure because it would mean opening up the story before redemption and transformation. How did she feel about that? What would it be like for her adult children who had followed a similar path as she?
The vision God gave her was a ministry of outreach to women who have been trafficked. She began with handwritten cards with her phone number to hand out after looking at the areas of the city where she lives and surveying the best locations to walk the streets offering grace, love, and hope in the midst of brokenness. But by the time I posed the question, this nonprofit ministry had grown and included mentoring for adolescents, drop-in houses, jail outreach and more. With that in mind I suggested if she felt God was leading in this that the book be self-published and any profits in selling it would go to the ministry.
Her response was “yes” and we began a year long time of retelling her story. We considered one publisher who was quick to point out possible legality issues and would only consider the book if we changed it and made the story into fiction. Neither of us agreed so we trudged on and a friend from my church gave me the name of an attorney who could read the book and offer advice on what we needed to change and what permission we needed when we used real names and other things we needed to consider.
When I was 75 the book was published and we prayed over the copies and asked the Lord to use each copy as He chose.
“To insist on living until we die may be one of life’s greatest virtues. It is easy at any age simply to stop, to be satisfied with what is, to refuse to be more. But when we go on working – at something, for some reason, for someone, or something greater than ourselves – when we go on giving ourselves away right to the very end, we have lived a full life.”Joan Chittister
Whatever your age or season of life, are you living it to the fullest?
Photo by Pam Ecrement