Life Lessons I Learned From my Grandma: When the Journey Begins to End

Life is full of trying and difficult times.  That is true for all of us, even when we are trying our best to follow God and do His work.  When we experience difficult times, it is easy for us to become frustrated and think that God has abandoned us.  We may believe that when we are following God He should protect us and prevent bad things from happening to us.  When difficult times arise, we sometimes feel like God is letting us down and that He has turned His back on us.  When we feel this way, we can sometimes get mad at God and think that He is not keeping up His end of the bargain.  We get so frustrated during these trying times that we may even find it difficult to reach out to God.  Sometimes our faith wavers, and we feel as if we are alone.  

What we all need to remember during these difficult times is that God can and will give us peace over every situation that we encounter in this life.  We just have to continue to make God the focus of our lives.  God never promised us that our lives would be perfect, but He did promise us that He would guide us through the storms and He would give us peace to endure the valleys of life.  I have seen many people face struggles in life and still maintain their peace and continue to have faith that God has everything under control.  I have been blessed to get to witness this first hand by watching my grandma live her life.  She has encounter many difficult times in her life, but she continues to face those trying times with a smile on her face and a strength that can only be attributed to her faith in God. I have often watched her and thought to myself, “How does she do it?”  I have often wondered if I had the strength that she possesses.  I am not sure of the answer, but I certainly have learned through her where the answer can be found.

Once again, my grandma is facing a struggle in her life, and once again she is facing it with a smile on her face, a good sense of humor, and an unwavering faith in God.  I am trying to face this struggle along with her with the same faith that she has always had and honestly, I find myself struggling.  I am trying very hard to have faith and realize that God has a plan.  I know deep down that He does, but I have to be honest, there are times that I forget just how much He has everything under control.  I have been keeping this latest struggle very quiet for the last few weeks.  After seeing my grandma last night and thinking about it this morning, I have begun to realize that in keeping my struggle to myself, I am not allowing the gifts and words of encouragement that God has blessed others with to comfort me during this difficult time.  I have seen what God can do for people, and I have seen what sharing our struggles with others can do for all of us.  My grandma would be the first to say that we should share our stories with others in hopes that our journey can bring peace to others and show the miraculous workings of God.  So, I believe the time has come to let everyone know what is going on.  

My grandma, whom you all know I love very much and has been a huge influence in my life, is nearing the end of her time on this earth.  On March 20, 2016, she was diagnosed with kidney cancer that has spread to her bones and lungs.  I know that she is 90 years old and she has lived a very good life, but the reality of her impending death still hits me very hard sometimes.  I truly cannot imagine her not being in this world.  I know that she is going to be blissfully happy in Heaven and that she will spend eternity with God and will be reunited with so many of her loved ones, and I know that she and I will always be connected, but I know that our earthly relationship is coming to an end.  

Soon I will not be able to see her any more and I will not be able to call her on the phone to have one of our epic talks that makes us both repeatedly laugh out loud.  I know that I will not be able to see her smile and enjoy her wonderful sense of humor, or hear all of her stories one more time and honestly that makes me very sad.  I have tried to be strong and have faith and I am doing that, but I have mistakenly thought that having faith and being strong meant that I should not be sad about my grandma’s nearing death.  I am learning, be it rather slowly, that there is strength in showing emotion and in mourning the ending of something that has meant more to me than I can adequately express.

With all of that being said, I ask that you pray for my grandma.  Pray that God comforts her and brings her peace as she lives her final days on this earth.  I ask that you pray for my aunt and my mom as they lead their mother on her final journey, and I ask that you pray for me as I see the ending of my grandma’s life unfold.  Death is never the end of anything.  Yes, it is sad, but we all have to have hope and faith that there is more to life than we experience on earth, and I am 100 percent confident that there is more on the other side and that Heaven does exist and it is full of all the people we have loved here on this earth.  

It is like my grandma always says, “God will never leave us or forsake us.”  We may think that He has forgotten us, but He is with all of us all the time.  When I look back over the years and I reflect on all my grandma has meant to me, it fills me with such pride to know that I am her grandson and that her blood is flowing through me.  I am so honored to have gotten to share her stories with all of you, and I am so happy that many of you have come to know her through me.  On a recent visit with my grandma, I tried to put into words what she meant to me, and I found that my words were inadequate.  

The best way for me to explain it to all of you is to tell you what I said to her.  I told her that she has been the joy of my life and that she has given me everything.  She has taught me to have faith and to have hope.  She has taught me that God always has a plan and she has shown me how God can give us the peace to face anything in life.  I continued by saying, “When God comes to get you, I want you to go with Him and not worry about me.  I will be fine and I will continue to tell your story, and people will never forget the miracles that God has done for you.  I will see to that.”  Then I said, “One day, you will look into the distance and you will see me coming and when you do, I want you to run as fast as you can to greet me because seeing you run toward me will be worth the trip.”  My grandma always felt like she was not a strong person, but I am here to tell all of you that she is the strongest person I have ever known, and I hope some of her strength has been passed down to me.  That is my sincere prayer.  If I can be half the person my grandma has been, then I would consider my life a huge success.  

The end of this life is the beginning of something more joyful than we can ever imagine, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that my grandma will soon be basking in the greatness of that wonderful place.  I know she will be there to guide me as I continue to walk the rest of my path without her physical presence, and I know that she and I will always be connected and have a special bond that death can never take away.  When I think about that and let it sink in, it fills my heart with peace and PEACE MATTERS.