My maternal grandmother was the strongest woman I’ve ever known. She had to bury five of her children, care for her husband who suffered two debilitating strokes and finally put him in the ground as well. She always maintained a positive attitude even though her heart was breaking.
She grew up on the plains of Montana in a typical pioneering family. They used buffalo chips to get a fire started, washed their clothes in a nearby stream, cut wood and worked hard for everything they had. Eventually she married a farmer, who hated farming. Instead he would hire others to tend to the land and cows as he worked for the power company constructing lines that would carry electricity to the rural communities. She never complained about having to feed seven children and a group of farm hands. She’d rise at the crack of dawn, punch down and knead the bread dough for the noon meal, and set it into pans for baking. She’d then head for the barn to milk the cows.
Her hair was as white as snow. I think it must’ve turned white early in her life. Grandma braided it each morning and tied it on top of her head. Her eyes were as blue as the sky and her face looked like a road map, with deeply weathered skin. In spite of all the trials in her life, she kept that pioneer spirit of perseverance.
I’ve been told by my husband that I worry too much. I often look ahead and wonder how we’ll be able to pay the bills each month. I fret over aches and pains that send my mind into a tizzy – thinking I may be suffering from a terminal disease. I worry that my kids are alright (even though they’re all grown and have families of their own.) I often find myself insecure and lacking self confidence – even though I’ve spent a lifetime encouraging others to be courageous.
Worry is really a waste of energy and time. The things we worry about, we have no control over. Looking back at the things that have caused me the most angst in my life, proves to me that I wasn’t in charge of any of it. God has always been there to lift me when I’ve fallen. He’s given me courage I didn’t know I had. He’s provided for every need throughout my life, even when I didn’t know if we’d have enough to get by for the days ahead.
When I became an adult, I asked my grandma what kept her going through all her difficulties. She told me she never really thought about it, she just did it. God gave her the necessary strength to survive through trial after trial. She also said when things got really bad, she would go out into the woods and just soak in God’s creation and thank Him for another day.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”