They say he is going to have heart surgery soon. That each day is a blessing, and that every day without the surgery is another day he risks death.
Wow. I guess I have been processing the information, and it has taken time to understand my own feelings enough to write about them.
This news about my grandfather is not sudden. The deterioration of a heart valve has happened over time. Everyone knew that eventually it would need drastic measures, and so here we are.....
A life that in one sense is hanging by a thread, but in another, very real sense, one of the most secure lives I know. My daughter asked me if I was scared....and I had to think about it. What do I feel about the grandfather who has been my pastor most of my life, the man who did "creep-mousy" with each of us, the man who taught me in school, the man who married us, the man who has faithfully stood in the gap?
A person's relationship with family, especially one in which there was constant contact, is always a crazy quilt of emotion and memory. But as I lay in the dark after my daughter had gone to sleep, I continued to think of her question. Was I scared?
I'm a nurse. I understand the risks associated. We all know that there is tremendous risk and that we could have to say good-bye to this one. But there is something else that I know. There is no one else more ready to leave this world and finally go home to the Lord he has served so faithfully.
You see, I know his heart. I have seen it so many times through the years. As a teacher of many foolish and rebellious kids, I saw his tears as he begged us to spend time in the Word of God. At the time, in our ignorance, we little understood his passion. I can see his frustration as he tried to get into the thick skull of his oldest granddaughter and lead her in the way that was right. I am quite sure he wanted to shake me, but I didn't "get it".
His unwavering patriotism has always been the standard we were to follow. He taught us to stand straight and proud in the presence of the flag of the country he had served. His stories of those who had given their lives in that service will forever remain in our minds and our hearts.
He stood behind a pulpit in a church that to most would not have been worth the time, but to him was a God-given, life-time ministry. The tin ceilings and walls held a congregation of few, often less than a dozen. For nearly forty years he ministered here without complaint. While he no longer ministers in that church on a full-time basis, he continues to meet whatever needs arise, as he is able.
That church was the family I grew up in.
In his burden for the state in which he lived, he has actively participated in outreach, not only to his own town, but in towns all across the state. Hundreds of miles they might put on in a Sunday afternoon, to be able to hold a service for those in a town without someone who could faithfully share the Light.
Always, he has offered missionaries the opportunity to share their work with a congregation that, while having little to contribute financially, would hold up these servants faithfully. My grandparents passion for missions has been a guiding light for all of us, and all of us have been involved in missions in one way or another throughout the years.
Today both he and my grandmother are actively involved in serving within their local church, filling the pulpit in others and daily ministering to the lost and newly saved within their community. To them, the Great Commission was not simply a verse to memorize..........it was an invitation to total life surrender.
When I look back at the girl I was, I am ashamed. I had the heart of God's servant in front of me everyday, and I failed to grasp the significance. This was not just my grandfather, this was the man God had given to lead us toward Himself. He handpicked this one to stand in that gap. Thank-you, Lord for this legacy of faithfulness.
As I look at my feelings regarding the man I call Grampy Lloyd, I cry. Not because I fear for him, but because I fear for me....that I have not gleaned all that I might have, from his years of walking the way ahead of me.
Every day is a gift. A diagnosis of poor health does not change this or make it more so. Today, I thank the Lord for this legacy and for the chance I have had to learn from some of the greatest servants the Lord has on this earth. I cannot wait until we all get to meet in the home of the Greatest Servant of all time.
My oldest two children recently told me that they wanted Proverbs 3:5,6 as their life verses.
"Trust in the Lord will all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
My heart was full as I listened to them quote the verses that I had heard so many times from the mouths of their great-grandparents. For it was these very verses that had been chosen by both in their youth, and had been their guide through these many years. If my children carry that forward in their lives in the same way, there is nothing else I would ask. May we, and they, be as faithful as those who have gone before.
I get it now, Grampy. Thank-you.