96 Years of Grace

Last week, one of the sweetest ladies I've ever met went home to be with Jesus. Madeline went to my church. She was 96. That fact alone already makes her life impressive....I would love to live that long. But living a long time doesn't make your life a success. HOW you live your life is what makes it remarkable.

The first time I met Madeline, she was just coming out of a major surgery. Cal and I went to visit her in the hospital. I went in expecting to meet an old lady, weak from the anesthesia, and she would most likely be asleep. Nope. There she sat, upright, chipper as a spring bird, with a big ol' smile on her face. Madeline proceeded to tell us about her long life, how her husband had died years ago, and of their travels together. She had uprooted herself from her home to live in Virginia with her granddaughter, Erin. I asked how it felt to leave behind all of her possessions, her home, her memories, and she set me straight. She said the only real important things in life are the people that love you and living to please God. She was coming to Virginia to be with family. She wanted to be around her life-filled great-grandchildren. This was just the next step in her great adventure.

Madeline became involved in our church. She was there every Sunday, and always made time to give me a hug. She joined a small group, she attended our modern worship service. I will never stop laughing about the time she wore a basket on her head to our women's tea. (She won a prize for best hat, by the way!) Madeline became a grandmother to everyone. Her funeral was the most enjoyable one I've ever been to. Full of love, stories, praise to God, JOY. Nothing about her funeral was sad because she would not have wanted it that way. Everyone that spoke talked about her grace. She was kind, gentle, respected others, a lady. Additionally, she did not back down from what she believed.

In the short few years I knew her, she taught me that possessions, money, success, and fame are not the point to life. I get so hung up on how many people read my blog, or how many weddings I can get before I'll be self-employed. I worry about being able to find the perfect song for the next time I sing. How pretty will my house look (when we finally get a house!)...will my home office be as cute as the ones I see on the internet...will enough people see how cute it is? Living a graceful life, forgiving others, being there for them, going out of your way to ensure someone has a good day, THAT stuff matters. In addition to that, I have my faith, which is the foundation for everything I do.

What will they say about you? She lived a life filled with grace and dignity. She helped others. She was JOY to us all. Oh, what a beautiful way to live life.