A Life-Long Influence Built Moments at a Time

Today I would like to tell you about a special lady who has been a part of my life since before I was even born.  When I called to get her permission to share her photo as part of this post, her response was “I’m not sure what I did, but that is okay.”  This is just the point I would like to make today: often the people who affect our lives the most do not even realize that they have done anything special.

I suppose in a way that it is true.  Perhaps there is not one specific incident that stands out as a spectacular life-changing event.  Yet at the same time, the statement could not be farther from the truth.  This is how it is with my grandma.

As I sat and pondered just what I would tell you about this most precious woman, I could not come up with a single, outstanding happening; but what did flood my mind were the innumerable memories of her.  If I had to choose one person who has influenced my life more than any other, she is the one.

my Grandma

She was lovingly named "Momo" by her first grandchild--me.

My grandma–lovingly named “Momo” by me as a toddler–is the one who would be found sitting at the “children’s table” when someone had arranged for age-segregated dining at a family gathering.  She is the one who gives you the definite impression that people are more important than things when something of hers gets broken.  She does not hesitate to stand up for someone who can not (or is afraid to) stand up for herself.

My grandma is not normally the one to be standing up front singing for the crowd, yet her sweet soprano voice rings clearly with love for God.  Her observant eyes never fail to notice another’s joy or pain, and her gentle hands hardly pause as they run from errand to errand, skillfully snapping a bowl of green beans, swiftly shining the kitchen, or tenderly rubbing a loved one’s back.

Though she is quick to let you know when she feels you are heading in the wrong direction, she never belittles even the smallest effort to please.  When others might be telling me to stop singing because they want to hear the radio; Momo would be proudly playing an enthusiastic recording of my childish rendition of “Trust and Obey” or the “Dukes of Hazard” theme song.

My grandma has been one of my greatest supporters.  Not only did she act like my voice was worth sharing back when I was still figuring out how to use it, she still proudly displays an impromptu version of our family’s most recent musical endeavor any time she can gather a willing audience, however small.  When I set my pencil to paper, not only did she praise my “smooshed” people and lop-sided kitties, she and my grandpa paid to put me through art school–and later, to copyright my first Vacation Bible School program.

Momo embodies love.  Don’t get me wrong–she is just as human as any of us.  Yet somehow, even in her frustration, she sends the message that it’s going to be okay–we’ll make it through this.

I spent some years of my childhood in her presence, and now with hundreds of miles between us, she is just as real a presence in my life.  I can see her flowing, silver hair, thinning of late with the passing of many memories, nearly always fixed up, if only in a quick, graceful twist.  I can see her leathery, golden skin toughened by work and softened by love.  I can see the tiny wrinkles at the corners of her eyes–the ones I always hoped to earn one day, too.  Her broad smile, her sparkling eyes…

In it all, her God-given, loving heart shines through; and through it all, she has built a life-long influence one moment at a time–now that is something special!

~Why is it so important to obey God’s voice even in our everyday, routine choices?

~Are our children really changed by something as simple as our attitude?  Can you give a positive example?


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