“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)
We all remember great times at Grandma’s house, right? Summer days playing in the garden; the aroma of freshly baked cookies wafting from a kitchen window; playing so long and hard that we would eat any and every thing placed before us at supper – even beans and boiled okra – all washed down, of course, with a glass of sweet iced tea and topped off with Grandma’s should-have-been-famous apple pie.
Even quiet time at Grandma’s house, when we dared not slam the screen door for fear of waking her from her mid afternoon nap, seemed somehow special, almost reverent.
My sister and I would tiptoe through the living room on our way to the porch, Grapico float in one hand and chocolate oatmeal cookie in the other, hoping to catch a glimpse of the rolling store that made weekly rounds on Linthicum Street, where our grandmother lived with her husband, Papa Jim. On the inevitable occasion when a giggle would escape us before we could make it out the door, we would hear Grandma’s “shhhh” from the bedroom, and then a giggle of her own.
Nothing could compare to a good grandma!
She was my hero when I was a child, and even though she died over forty years ago, I still rely on her wisdom to guide me through life’s difficulties. Even more important, I rely on a vivid memory of her to remind me how much fun relationship with God can be.
You see, Grandma Myrt loved God with a kind of contagious passion that my young brain didn’t fully understand, but that my heart somehow knew was the key to everything good in life. She would awaken in the morning with a song and a prayer of thanksgiving on her breath before her feet even hit the floor. She looked forward to each and every day, and I couldn’t help but look forward, too.
And Sunday mornings! Oh my, the joy in that house left no room for grumpiness or worry or even a sleepy morning frown. No siree, sister, Grandma Myrt was going to the house of her Lord, and she couldn’t wait to get there.
She would don her finest dress, her favorite purple feathered hat, dust a little Cody powder on her face, and off she would march to Tarrant Rock Methodist Church, my little legs working as hard as they could to keep up with her. She was so excited, I didn’t want to miss a thing!
It was all about what I like to think of as her great love affair with God. You know that rush you get when you’re going to get to be with someone you love more than you can even express? You’re so happy to spend time with them you almost feel giddy? That was Grandma Myrt and God.
1 Peter 1:8-9 best describes it: “Though you have not seen him, you love him, and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him, and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy…” (NIV)
Sometimes, lessons we learn when we are young fall by the wayside as we get older. Circumstances, disappointments, and sometimes even laziness can make us forget. But when a lesson is lived every single day in front of our very eyes, it creates an indelible impression upon our hearts that even the hardest of lives cannot eradicate.
It would take volumes for me to tell you how many times Grandma Myrt’s pure joy in her relationship with God has
influenced my actions, attitudes, and outlook. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think of her example to me and get a smile of my own when I remember – because she taught me – that I am a child of God!
Find out more about Grandma Myrt’s legacy in Peggy Hayes’ book, God and Grandma.
You can read more about Peggy Hayes here.
Peggy has a new book! Check out this captivating post she has written about, A Place to Call Home.
Psalm 34:13 “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” (NASB)
When Deborah and Jim Martin’s four year old son, Alex, started telling them about his new friend, Maggie, they gently reminded him about their family’s Christian principle of always telling the truth. You see, Maggie was an old woman, and she lived in their attic! Needless to say, the child’s parents didn’t believe him, and trouble brewed when he insisted his new friend was real.
A Place To Call Home is a sweet, funny story about one family’s handling of a dubious situation. While the setting is real (a home in which my family lived), the story is a mere figment of my overactive imagination.
But how many times have your own children told you something that you were certain was untrue? It can be disconcerting, to say the least. Most of us quickly try to “nip it in the bud,” so our children never get the idea it’s okay to lie.
But what is truth? Maggie was certainly real to four year old Alex, and “Bill” was real to my younger brother when he was five. Bill had a specific identity, with a last name (Derby) and a police badge. Bill Derby went everywhere my brother did for two years. I observed many worried glances between my parents.
My own son frequently saw an old man in a black sweater and a hat. It went on long enough for me to get a little worried. And then one day, he pointed out the man to me. My eyes followed my young son’s outstretched arm, all the way to a man in a black sweater and hat. Then I worried for a different reason!
It can be difficult to convince a child that his “friend” is not real, especially when the child tearfully insists on the value of the friendship – and therein may reside a reason to let the lie “lie.” But a useful, short verse you can teach them is found in Zechariah 8:16: “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another…” (ESV)
Most imaginary friends don’t last beyond a temporary need that the child has for companionship. While prolonged or repeated lying should definitely be addressed, it’s okay to relax and let the child’s imagination develop. As in A Place To Call Home, truth will prevail.