As a young girl my grandmother instilled faith in Christ in my life. Each morning I wake up to a picture of her by my bedside and a plaque she gave me for my christening with a poem reminding me to always reflect the love of Christ. She gave me my first Bible and I always remember her quoting John 3:16 to me as “for God so loved Kristen [swapped for world] that He gave His only begotten son that if Kristen [swapped for whosoever] believed in Him she should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Long before my intellectual questions about Christianity were answered she instilled a personal touch to Christ that was not easily forgotten. She had such a passion for Christ and a desire to see the places of Scripture that even as a kindergartner I desperately begged her to take me with her to Israel so that I could walk where Jesus walked. Although my faith waiver-ed over the years and at times I seriously doubted the reliability of the Bible and the credibility of Christianity, she was my lighthouse through the storm. I adored her and wanted to be just like her in every way, so I was her shadow at every moment possible, ushering at church at her side long before I understood what we were doing, an elder at our church at 16, sitting proudly beside her hanging on her every word and trying to appear just as mature and in control, even teaching youth group at that young age while chairing a committee at our church. She believed I could do it, so I had no doubt I would succeed. I wanted to be everything she was even to the point of watching intently as she would handle her bills each month before going back to her secretary and creating an imaginary monthly budget as an elementary student so that I could be just like her.
When God finally opened the door for her to visit Israel, rather than being sad or resentful my grandfather was no longer around to go with her, she lovingly took me and we shared the most amazing adventure of my life. She was the reason for the birth of my passion for archaeology and apologetics, and the fulfillment of my lifelong dream to walk where Jesus walked. When I changed my major to Religion and then started a Masters in Apologetics she was so proud of me and that only fueled my desire to be the best and do more for the Lord. But I have to admit the most precious gift she gave me was at the end of her life. Even in the last few years, when her health was failing and her heart yearning for heaven to be reunited with her love, she still had a heart for the Gospel. After a lifetime of trying to convince her cousin-in-law of who Jesus is, in his 90’s she shared the Gospel with him for probably the millionth time and only months before his passing, he accepted Christ as his Lord, falling passionately in love with this Savior he had avoided all his life. While not living a life of ease, my grandmother was the most loving woman I will ever know. She cared for everyone she knew and desperately wanted them to know Jesus. In the end she longed for her heavenly home and when others were looking forward to the material beauty of heaven, her heart was only for her Savior and the ones she had loved and missed for so long.
I love Jesus and I my heart longs to be face to face with my Savior. I love apologetics,I long to take as many people with me to heaven as possible and I look forward to nothing as much as being reunited with those I love. I owe this all to the woman who lived a life of abundant grace and love for Christ. While not a formal minister to the gospel, she literally was the hands and feet of Jesus to me and countless others. I miss you terribly Grammy, I know I will see you again one day and I am so thankful to you Lord Jesus for giving me such a wonderful example of your love, one that showed me Christ’s love in a way that was more powerful than any apologetic argument I could ever hope to make. I will fight the good fight, I will finish the race, because I look forward to the reward of being in the presence of my Savior and family in heaven one day. The strongest apologetic argument in all the world for Christ’s love and sacrifice is a life changed and the love of a disciple of Jesus. Never forget that you could make the difference in someone’s eternity as my beautiful grandmother did for mine. I love you Grammy stay outta trouble while we’re apart!