Birthday-cakeDo you ever think about why you are the way you are? What has shaped you into the person you have become? Was it people, experiences, goals?

One of the major forces in shaping me as a person was my Grandma. Her birthday is this week. She would have been 76, but she went home to Jesus a few summers ago. Seems like yesterday and forever ago all at the same time.

It is impossible to recount all the things she taught me. We spent lots of time together from when I was tiny all the way up to when she passed away a month after I got married. Simply put – she was my friend.

We made cookies. We went sledding. We shopped. We played house. We watched movies. We rode bikes. We talked. We had adventures. We went to shows. We played dress up. We wrapped Christmas gifts.

She was always there for me.

I realize as I get older, she modeled for me how to build a home. Not to decorate a house – she frankly wasn’t that awesome at that. Instead, she created a home with her very self and everyone wanted to be there. She wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but she was a master at loving people.

There were countless ways she did this, but I’ll share 3 of them with you today:

  1. She was always there. As I recall, my grandma didn’t have a lot of hobbies. There were little things she did and enjoyed, but people were her priority. As a kid, she was always around. There wasn’t a significant sporting event that she missed. She celebrated every birthday and cheered each accomplishment. In college, I received a fairly significant award. She drove 3 hours for the 10 minute presentation just so someone would be there for me. As I got older, her door was always unlocked for whenever I was driving by. It never mattered that she had already put her pjs on. I was welcome.
  2. She always noticed. My grandma made the same family meal more times than anyone can count. Whenever Grandpa asked her why she never made anything different, her answer was the same: “Because the kids like it.” But that didn’t stop her from noticing when we got excited about something new. My brother went through a strawberry pie phase, so grandma ditched the traditional birthday cake and made him strawberry pie. She noticed far more than food. She noticed things that others missed because she paid attention to the ones she loved. She even noticed when I had fallen in love with Justin – before he even knew!
  3. She always had room. Grandma never had any qualms about pulling up another chair. Over the years she and Grandpa “adopted” several young men into their lives. In a few cases, those boys became their family. Justin was one of those boys. She showed me that there is always space to care about one more person. She did this so genuinely that her funeral visitation line was a 3+ hour wait at times. That evening we witnessed her legacy lined up the aisle of the church and out the door of the sanctuary as people waited to see her family.

As you look around your life, who has shown you how to live? Who do you find yourself copying? I certainly want to find myself copying my Grandma. She lived life well.

Thank you, Grandma, for loving me generously. Happy Birthday!

Leave a comment below about someone who has shown you how to live life well.