The back of my legs cling to the vinyl as if they never want to leave. Cold chrome brushes by as my toe traces the maze of the asbestos linoleum hidden beneath. Colors are beginning to fade, I notice, but the sheen will always remain. She’ll make certain of that.
“We need to take care of what He’s given us,
so He knows how thankful we are.
Remember, He giveth, and taketh away.
Let’s make sure He only takes away what we don’t need.”
One could blindfold me and I would still know where I am. A familiarity I never want to take for granted even if it smells of raw onions, old coffee, and baked cinnamon. Here it makes no difference. I can breathe in the scent of safety and let it percolate.
My heart warms as she breezes by, focused on one thing only: keeping my hands busy. Her lips curl upwards as she finds a project “just for me”. And I happily play along, pretending the task is of utmost importance. With every chance, I never told her I would have been just as content watching her do her everyday. Even at the age of 8, I found my great-grandmother mesmerizing.
Francis Chan in Crazy Love wrote that the point of our life is to point to Him. In whatever we do, glorify Him.
She was a prime example.
It used to be a game I’d play. Trying to guess if she was talking to herself or to her Savior. I have to admit, the longer I played the game, the more I began to realize there was no wrong answer.
Friends, there was no mistaking it. If you had been blessed to meet my grandmother, you would have known it, too. She was simply a sinner saved by grace. And she managed to bring her Redeemer up in any conversation. Crazy how it always felt appropriate.
She lived and breathed Him. Making Him always relevant. Reachable even.
The greatest gifts she ever gave me came when I was away at college. I can’t even describe the feeling of seeing her formal cursive sprawled across an envelope, waiting for me in my mailbox. I would try to save the letters for my quiet time, because that’s where they always took me.
I remember one particular morning. I sat cross-legged on the commercial blue berber in our walk-in closet. My quiet place. Her card in hand. She shared about the weather, her latest project, and how the river outside her picture window looked that very instant. Every other sentence was filled with praise. Of thanks for her Savior and were written as if those sentences were for Him with me as a witness…
At the bottom of this card, she had sprawled out the reference:
I Thessalonians 5:16-18
And I immediately started digging to see what hidden message she had for me. I reached for as close to The King James as I had so I could hear her voice read these words:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
in everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Never had this passage made more sense. For my great-grandmother made this dream a reality.
I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I’ve been plagued with fear from the command to pray without ceasing. I’ve gone through phases where I even deemed it impossible. Oh how soon we forget.
A few weeks back, while reading Henri Nouwen, the memories of my great-grandmother flooded in, taking residence in my heart of hearts. Because of this:
“We must make our lives into one unceasing prayer”
~ Henri Nouwen, Love in a Fearful Land
And I’m starting to see more clearly. The secret she shared with me 15 years ago.
Friends, this praying without ceasing business isn’t really a sacrificial action. It isn’t something only the “most Godly” are capable of. It’s a state of mind. One even I can strive to achieve.
We simply need to keep our eyes fixed on Him. Live like He’s in the room. That’s all we need to concern ourselves with. For if we do, our lives will be offered up as one unceasing prayer.
Would you like to know what’s helped me the most on my journey of trying to live it out?
THANKS. Giving it, sharing it, acknowledging it, offering it, allowing it to consume my thoughts. For when I do, I feel my heart being lifted up. Unceasingly. With my face fixed. Fearlessly.
Mind if I share some of my recent thanks with you?
- God is generous even when we’re at our worst (Luke 6:30-40)
- My great-grandmother’s handiwork on my feet
- The noon bell. Small town feel in this large(er) city
- Talking eye-to-eye with a kindred friend
- Signs of fall
- Hearing “Mom, let’s dance!” when a favorite worship song comes on
- Sidewalk chalk art
- Playing games as a family
- How He pursues me. Relentlessly
- Freshly laundered rugs
How about you, friend? Do you see praying without ceasing within your grasp? What do you think it takes? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for sharing your time with me.
Linking with MercyINK’s Heart and Home