Family Reunions

Do you remember growing up when you couldn’t wait to go to your Granny or Nannie’s so you could play with your cousins?

Do you remember begging your mama “please can cousin so and so come home with us?”

Can you remember football games in the front yard between cousins and neighbors?

Can you remember your dad having softball games with his cousins, brothers and neighbors?

Do you remember family reunions where more than a handful showed up?

Family reunions with pickin and singing took place?

I do.

I remember and my heartbreaks because technology and politics has robbed so many people of what truly matters.

Family

Have you ever felt like you must have been or are the worst parent in all time?

All of us have. The truth is, all of us have been bad parents at times, but at the same time we have given everything we have for our children.

I think back to my grandparents, I do not remember them ever once stressing over whether or not they were able to give me, my brother or all my cousins name brand gifts.

Never once did they try to attend every program, game or event we were in. The truth is we loved them without any of the fanfare.

We adored them for who they were, not for the financial things they gave us.My memories of my grandparents have no gifts, only love and heritage.

Family love and support were more important than anything else. Oh, how I long for those days again.

Nannie’s House

Nannie Jackson always had an apron tied around her waist. The apron was always the one she had made herself with two broad pockets in the front. One pocket always held her handkerchief, the other usually contained safety pins, a few clothes pins and a pocket knife. 

Her work room was the kitchen. I can still picture her rolling out dough and making pies.

I didn’t realize until she had already moved to live with Jesus that some of God’s  greatest ministry work had been done in that small simple country kitchen and home.  

Nannie didn’t hold any positions or titles at the United Methodist church she was a member of. She did not attend or participate in local social fund raisers or charity events.

She didn’t visit the sick in the hospitals or nursing homes. She was a poor widow woman who didn’t own a car, she didn’t even know how to  drive. She lived off of a small social security check that just barely covered her basic needs. She made her own clothes and was smart at being thrifty and resourceful.

Nannie’s only self indulgence was snuff. She dipped snuff. Similar to chewing tobacco, but dustier. I don’t know anyone personally who still does it now, but back in the 40’s it was popular to do! Yikes!

I do not remember her ever cussing, complaining about being poor or talking about how unhappy she was because she didn’t have fancy dresses, shoes or jewelry. What I do remember is how I and my baby brother felt when we were at her home. She always made us and all of our cousins feel loved and cherished beyond measure.  She invested unconditional love and attention in each of us. She cooked us our favorite food with joy and delight and she was never too busy to teach us about loving and sharing.

She always said a blessing over every meal. After lunch was her Bible time everyday, during this time we were to be quiet and listen as she read her Bible study and devotion. No exceptions. When bedtime came it was prayer time. We didn’t pray out loud. Each of us prayed silently, when one of us had finished we would say “Amen” out loud, but remain quiet until everyone had finished with an “Amen.”

Jesus called Simon Peter and his brother Andrew to come be “fishers of men” in Matthew 4:18-22.  Not everyone is called to be a Billy Graham, Beth Moore or Jentzen Franklin. I believe my Nannie’s calling was to be an example of faithfulness to God and a giver of love to those close to her. By doing so, she planted seeds of faith and prayers of protection in the lives of her family. 

Mark Mobley has a quote I love “The most important small group that you will ever be a part of is the one you sit at the dinner table with every night.”

Who gathers around your table? Being “fishers of men” should begin around our table.

No Idea

“I don’t want or need anything from you,” Cassie yelled, “You are pathetic to me!”

Beth realized with great heartache, her daughter Cassie had no idea who she really was. The anger and resentment that so easily spewed from her daughters mouth was all the confirmation Beth needed.

Cassie saw Beth as old, weak and out of touch with the real world. Beth feared for Cassie. Her greatest fear was that Cassie would make the same mistakes she had. Love blindly, believe without boundaries and then be abandoned and left to suffer the brutal consequences of her naive and foolish choices.

Beth’s words of warning and advice to Cassie were as futile as trying to drain water out of the pacific ocean one bucket at a time. Cassie had closed her mind and heart. She had decided she never wanted to be anything like her mother. She did not want or need her mother’s advice.

Cassie has no idea that the very things she despises her mother for believing in is what gave her the strength to survive. It doesn’t make Beth weak, but strong. Beth’s faith in God has carried her through more than loss love. It has sustained her through the death of her only sibling, her father, the terror of losing her own child, serious health issues and much, much more. She wishes Cassie could know how much she loves her.

The chapters of Beth’s life were not easy reading. How do you explain living in constant fear. How can your children understand how you really did do better for them? Why does it take so long for us to realize it?