A Long Line of Love

Truly, there is no greater joy than knowing your children and their children are walking with the Lord. I am happy today to give you a glimpse into the heart of my daughter Jennifer.

Grace, peace, and happy Tuesday!
Donna


I’ve had six grandmothers in my life, well actually four great-grandmothers and two grandmothers, who have all been remarkable in their own way. They have all had a kind of rich character that I can only hope to have someday. 

To me, my Mema was the embodiment of loving-kindness. She enveloped you in warmth and safety, which smelled a lot like yeast rolls and felt a lot like a swig of Coke from an ice-cold glass bottle. To me, my GG was hardworking, steady, and gave out orange gum drops like she gave her love – freely. To me, my Joey was fun and eccentric and liked to laugh at herself as much as anyone or anything else. To me, my Ma was a caregiver in the truest sense, always wanting everyone to feel well taken care of; making sure we all had full bellies and a prize to unwrap come Christmastime. To me, my Juju was squishy love that pulled you in and wanted you to feel important, always asking questions and wanting to know more. To me, my Grandmother is care and concern, unashamed pride, faithful and reliable, always there for us – always just a walk across the pasture to comfort, no matter how far away we might live now. 

My parents are wonderful mashups of all of these ladies. They have all their best qualities. Like their parents and grandparents before them, my mom and dad have lived life and these qualities have been formed in them. 

Now, all of these have had their faults to be sure, but somehow when I look back and from a distance, that verse about love covering a multitude of sins seems pretty perfect. 

Also, as I grow older I realize more and more that my grandmothers and my parents (and my grandfathers too) weren’t just born that way. Life happened to them. They were shaped and molded and thank the Lord, for the most part, it seems that they allowed Him to do the shaping and molding. 

Right now, I’m half way around the world from three of my children. Something about being that far away gives you time to think and be concerned. Even on a normal day, I spend a lot of time concerned with the things that might happen to my kids, wondering how things might affect them. I find myself being a lot like Nemo’s dad Marlin in that Disney classic. The part where he promises Nemo’s mom that he would never let anything happen to Nemo seems to ring true. But then I find myself remembering Marlin’s friend Dory and her wise words, “if you never let anything happen to him, then nothing would ever happen to him.” 

I think about these things on a normal day when I have all of my kids close. During these days when I’m far away, though, I am tempted to think about them even more. The truth is, however, that life will happen. My children will experience their fair share of hurt, heartache, and sadness, but hopefully, also their share of joy, contentment, happiness, and love. Life will, hopefully, happen to them. 

When we return from the other side of the world, Lord willing, we’ll be bringing home another brother. All of our worlds will tilt, again. Life will happen. And I’m praying that as the world tilts this time, and as it surely will over the course of life, the words my kids have heard all of their lives sink in ever more deeply. I pray that in the tilting, words and truth will be able to filter in deeply like sand through a sieve. Words and truth that tell them there’s only One who loves them more than Mama and Daddy; that they ought to put others above themselves; that we all mess up; that when we mess up He is faithful and just and willing to forgive; and that in the end, no matter what, it’s worth it because all things will be restored and all things will be made right – those words, not my words, I pray find a place to grow. 

I’m praying these things because whether it’s from this side of the world or that, there’s so much I can’t control, so much that can happen to them. I want to pray for safety and I do, but then I am reminded of a quote that I used to have hanging in my classroom when I was a school teacher. “Boats are safe in the harbor, but that’s not what boats are made for.” Things will happen. They will be molded and shaped. They were made for it. 

Lord, let them remember that you alone can be trusted to mold and shape. Let them be made into remarkable people with flaws who are looked at by others with eyes of love. Let them have the faithful qualities of their grandmothers (and grandfathers) before them. Let them remember that they are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who are cheering them on! And above all let them know that You are for them! 

Truly remarkable grandparents weren’t just born that way. 

1 Peter 4:8

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 

Romans 3:23

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Revelation 21:4-6

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also, he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.

2 Timothy 1:5-7

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Romans 8:31

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

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a book cover for Jennifer Ellis’s A Long Line of Love

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