As a kid, I always had fun at Nana’s house. It wasn’t perfect, but there are lots of good memories. She had big trees in her front yard that would leave big leaves everywhere come autumn. I remember her pulling out her big leaf-eating elephant (it was really some sort of leaf vacuum) and we’d scurry around “feeding” it all the leaves we could find (a fun way to rake the yard).
Nana would take each of us grands out for a “day with Nana.” She treasured this one-on-one time and it made us feel special. I remember getting to go to a botanical garden with her and a petting zoo all in one day. I even got to ride a carousel (one of my favorite activities).
We would sleep in the trundle bed in her office whenever we stayed at her house. And she would come in and sing us to sleep at night. I can still hear her sing, “I Love You, a Bushel and a Peck.”
As my teenage years went by, I wasn’t particularly close to my Nana. But when I got married and was commuting to work every day, I started calling her once a week on my way home from work. Those weekly, 90-minute phone conversations tethered our hearts together in a unique way.
My sweetest memory of Nana is that when we talked on the phone, she would always recite the Scripture she was memorizing. Then, she would ask me what I was reading or memorizing. I remember being caught off guard when she first asked because I had no Scripture that I was memorizing. But it encouraged me to memorize Scripture all the more. She helped me realize that you need God’s Words with you all the time, hidden in your heart. This was the memory that came to mind this past weekend as we laid her to rest.
Losing a loved one is always difficult. There is a sweetness about losing someone who loves the Lord because we will be reunited. But even sweeter: she is no longer in pain, no longer fighting sin, no longer without rest. She is with her Savior, worshiping in holiness.
The Lord often uses hard things in life to encourage us. While it’s hard losing Nana, I still sometimes have an urge to call her whenever I’m getting in the car, I’m encouraged that she’s with the Lord. I’m encouraged that all things happen in God’s timing. I’m encouraged to hold all my loved ones dear and trust them to God’s all-sufficient care. And, I’m encouraged that one day, I will stand alongside her again in glory.