Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. Proverbs 8:34 NIV
Slide. Shuffle. Slide. Shuffle. You always know when my grandmother is coming. The walker drags across the floor before her, and her feet will follow – slow and steady. Slow and steady doesn’t just describe her walk; it describes her life. Frances Chapman King was born January 19, 1915, in the midst of The First World War. She has seen more in her lifetime than many of us can fathom. She remembers a time when life was slower. It had to be. The recent invention of the automobile hadn’t made it her way. She traveled by horse and buggy or by foot.
She grew up in a home that honored the Sabbath. Her daddy didn’t want a lot of playing and foolishness on Sundays, but “the boys would just slip out to the pasture and play where he couldn’t hear them,” she remembered. They rode the buggy to church. Behind the church the horses were tied and given food. While they ate, sparrows came to share in their good fortune. “Thousands of sparrows would be sitting in the church yard,” Grandmother told me, “And to this day whenever I hear a flock of birds outside, it takes me back to that old country church.”
The Great Depression didn’t seem to touch her family as much as others. Since they grew most of their own food and didn’t own a car, they weren’t affected by food and gas shortages. Instead, they helped others by selling extra eggs and tomatoes at the grocery store. Neighbors could buy milk at their house, as well. Five cents for a quart of buttermilk and ten cents for a quart of sweet milk.
Grandmother didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing until after she married. But to hear her talk about it, it wasn’t a big deal. She fondly recalls how they got the electricity. The electric company called for people to sign up to get power, but you had to agree to buy something that required power, as well. Both my grandmother and my great aunt Mary each bought a Frigidaire.
Each wrinkle tells a story, and her soft brown eyes have seen much. Much to laugh about and much to cry about. And even though her eyesight has left, she can still see. She sees through each hurting soul that gets near her. “Tell Grandmother about it,” she’ll say getting right to the heart of the matter.
Today is my grandmother’s 94th birthday. God is not done with her, yet. After ninety-four years, my grandmother still loves God with a passion. She gets up every day and prays, “Use me, Lord. Let me be useful to somebody today.” And He always grants her request. Whether it’s a grandchild calling for one of her age-old recipes, a person who needs help paying their telephone bill, or another elderly friend who she offers encouragement; God still uses her. Friends, she is not at the end of her life. With a lot of faith and wrinkles, she is just getting started.
Let me point out, Moses was eighty years old when God asked him to go to Pharaoh and request the release of the Israelites. Do you think Moses thought he had already fulfilled his plan for the Lord? He was just getting started.
How about Noah? The Bible says, Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.(Genesis 6:9 NIV) Noah was walking with God and probably thought he had already lived out God’s plan for him when God called him to build the ark. Noah was six hundred when the floods came! God didn’t tell him to order a big boat from the local boat builder; he told Noah to build it with his own hands. Can you imagine a six hundred year old man building a boat? Talk about arthritis!
Wherever you are in your life, God can use you – if you are willing. As a tribute to the faith of a ninety-four year old lover of the Lord, won’t you join me today as we say, “Use me, Lord”?
**If you’d like to leave a birthday wish for my grandmother, leave one in the comments or email it to me. I’ll be sure to read them to her. Thank you!