It is Mother’s Day in the United States today – and I think several other countries too so I am wondering, how are you doing today, my friend?

Are you missing a Mother this year? My family is definitely missing a mother. Collectively we are missing a Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother and yes, even a Great Great Grandmother. My Sweet Grandmother punched her ticket into Heaven this past October of 2020. Her presence is missed, dearly! She was an amazing woman, the exact likes of which will not walk the earth again, and all of us were beyond blessed to have shared in her life. While the blessing of her life was tremendous, the absence of her life is just as big. However, we are able to reflect and give thanks for her amazing life and those many, many, many happy memories carry us through on the darkest of days. Please allow me to share with you just how amazing my Grandma was…

There are things in families that don’t often get talked about, especially difficult and sad things. But those difficult and sad things should be acknowledged and remembered because they show the strength and resilience of our bloodline. This is a History and Picture of the Strength in our family bloodline.

My Grandma was born during the era of the Great Depression. I can’t imagine her parents were overjoyed to have “another mouth to feed” at that time, but I know they loved their youngest baby girl. Growing up in that time in history could have left her with a deficit of character and made her miserly, watching every single penny and never doing anything nice for herself or others. But was she? Nope, Grandma Lena had a generous spirit and often gave to many causes that were near and dear to her. She supported the ALS fight after the loss of her dear neighbor Ron and always supported any grandchild or great grandchild that came to her for any fundraising needs. Not only that, but she was often generous in the buying of gifts. I can recall specifically hutches that she bought for each of her three granddaughters, which she graciously allowed each to pick out based on their particular style. Not only that but she also bought appliances and offered cash gifts to family members to assist with travel or other needs. Another gifting point was to her church. She faithfully offered her tithe but also gave above and beyond to many needs of her church, even leaving her church a generous gift in her passing. Of course, I can’t withhold mention of the many meals she purchased, including the “dinners she got paid for” through her video lottery winnings, lol! 😉 She was always there to help out and was generous with the gifts she had been given. Wow, What a Woman!

Beyond generosity to others, my Grandma also was generous to herself. She and my Grandpa took many a trip to Vegas and other locations and enjoyed spending their hard-earned money. They spoiled themselves in ways that they appreciated, new farm equipment, new cars, etc. After Grandpa’s passing, my Grandma continued to travel and enjoy life. Towards the end, her travels didn’t take her much past the Grand Falls Casino, but she still enjoyed herself there. She lived life and enjoyed the fruit gained and grown over years of labor. I take note of this and learn from her to not just exist to work and pay bills, but rather to work and while paying the bills find a way to treat yourself and Enjoy the Journey. My Grandma knew how to Stop and Enjoy!

My Adorable Grandma Lena – on one of her Many Trips to Oregon – all the way from Minnesota!!

One of the most inspiring facets about my Grandma’s life was her Overflowing Joy & Love. One could take a cursory look at her life and say, “Sure, she had it all so why wouldn’t she be joyful?” However, we must take a deeper look at her history to truly appreciate the joy & love she exuded.

My mom grew up as an only child, but she was actually was one of 6, yes SIX, children born to her parents. Ooof – sorry if that is hard to read, but it is one of those difficult things in life that are worth looking at to see the Victory. My Grandma had a child that was stillborn before my mom was born, then after my mom, she had four more children that all died. The shortest lived for one day and the longest lived for 8 months. Losing a child is one of the most difficult things that life can hand a person and she didn’t lose just one child, she lost 5.

What?!? That doesn’t even make sense and to think of her walking through that pain and loss all while working and farming completely boggles the mind. The overarching inspiration to me through this difficulty is that she did NOT become bitter from those losses. I, for one, would allow every permission to anyone to be a bitter, sad, broken individual after suffering the loss of five babies. But, was she? NOPE, not my Grandma!

Instead, she was a joy filled, laughing, loving lady that LOVED to be around babies and could not hold in the Joy she felt about being a Mom, Grandma, Great Grandma and a Great Great Grandma. She longed to hold her grandbabies and smiled from ear to ear whenever she was able to dote on them.

My Sweet Grandma with 2 of her Great Great Granddaughters

That truly does not compute. How can a woman who lost so much be filled with overwhelming joy and love? One Answer – Jesus. She loved God and knew God loved her. She found much comfort in the scriptures and in prayer over the years. Her favorite verse was telling of the source of her strength and resulting deep joy:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

She knew she was loved, even though she suffered much. She knew she was loved even more than she suffered and my family is deeply comforted knowing she is healed, whole, happy, radiant, and reunited with our Grandpa and her babies in the perfection of Heaven.

Do you know the Real Jesus? Do you know the Jesus that offers this type of Comfort and Strength? If you have met Him, you would share in the gifts of Uncompromising Peace, Fullness of Joy and Completely Unconditional Love that a relationship with Him offers. Nothing in life compares to that, not even the love of an awesome Grandma!

Now, I am not saying my Grandma was perfect, only one dude pulled that off 😉 but she was perfectly imperfect and our family and others can learn so many lessons from her nearly 91 years of love. The Legacy she left behind is this:

  1. Family First – friends are well and good and necessary, but family is a First Priority, always.
  2. Don’t let hardships make you bitter, let them make you better. Grow from them, learn wisdom from them and turn those bitter things to good.
  3. Work Hard and Live Life to its Fullest! Enjoy the fruits of your labor, don’t work yourself into the grave.
  4. Give Generously. If you’re not giving, you are not just withholding blessing from others, you are withholding it from yourself, as well.
  5. Laugh Loud and Long and help others laugh with you. There was not one conversation I had with my Grandma, including the Sunday before she passed, that we didn’t laugh together. Goodness what I wouldn’t give to hear that laugh again!
  6. LOVE – LOVE – LOVE. The overarching theme of my Grandma’s life was LOVE. Grandma was loved because she loved, period. If you are lonely and feeling unloved, give some love away and watch it bounce back & multiply.

While my family no longer has the smiling, vivacious presence of our loving Grandma present with us, we do have so many memories of her to bring us smiles. Every time we are sad and missing her we take a moment to pause, give thanks for her life, then think of a memory of her smiling, laughing, loving or joking. We pause and allow that memory to fill that sad space with a remnant of her joy and love. We let the grief out (Oh so many tears!) and let the love in. While we are definitely still grieving I know that soon, each of us, in our own time, when she crosses our minds, won’t be able to do anything but SMILE! Nothing is a greater gift to our Sweet & Sassy Grandma Lena than those smiles!

Grandma Lena – Smiling as Big as Ever – just weeks before her trip to Heaven.

So, I ask again, are you missing a mother this year? You may be missing one who has passed and if so, I am so sorry for your loss. You may also be missing one that is still here – but estranged from you in any variety of ways. For that too, I am truly sorry. However, if you are missing a mother that is still here with us, might I boldly suggest you ask yourself why? Is there forgiveness you need to offer her? Has she fallen short in ways that have made you push her away? I encourage you to walk in forgiveness with her. That doesn’t necessarily mean you run headlong into a divisive and damaging relationship, but it means take your worries, hurts and unforgiveness to God. He will comfort you and will heal your heart. Let Him take that heartache away and be King of that relationship. You’d be amazed at how your life can and will change if you offer forgiveness to not just your mother but to anyone in your life that has hurt you. That forgiveness will lift a weight off your shoulders and allow previously dammed streams of life to flow within you and the other person.

Here is a Handy TipYou don’t even have to TELL them you forgive them. God will work on your heart and theirs when you release both of you from the burden you are carrying against them. If you are to share with them, Holy Spirit will let you know and lead you through it.

Here is another Handy TipEveryone is a Child of God. So even your mother, or brother or whoever has hurt you is ultimately a Child trying to do their best to walk through this life. Sometimes it really helps to recognize God as our Daddy and all of us as His Children. This is not to excuse bad behavior but rather to shift our perspective and soften our hearts.

To my Beloved Daughter or Son of the Most High King, I pray that you would deeply KNOW the love of your Heavenly Father and that you would sit in His lap to receive all the good things He has for you, including His forgiveness but most of all His Love. He loves you more than you could truly ever, ever, ever imagine! If you don’t know this love or this Jesus, invite Him into your heart today. He will fill all the empty spots and pour Peace, Comfort, Joy and Overwhelming Love over you in Abundant and Unfathomable Measure.

Blessings and So Much Love to you today, my friend!

Grandma and me on her 90th Birthday. What a Smiling Beauty!