I am privileged to have been born into a family who cares deeply for each other . We aren't a perfect family by any means, but there is love and it has been the underpining of my life. Next to my relationship with Jesus Christ, my family's love for me has been my security and has helped to make me all that I am. This love came from not only my immediate family, but from my large extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins and my beloved maternal grandmother. I am the oldest of 6 children (one now deceased). During my growing up years, I had a tendency to take this love for granted. In fact, there were times during my teenage years when I openly rebelled at the strict guidelines and rules I was made to follow. Looking back, I know those boundaries were put in place for my protection and best interests, but at the time I had my share of having pity parties and feeling sorry for myself!
Now that the fall season is upon us and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I've been thinking about our family get-togethers when I was growing up. How we loved to visit my grandmother at her home in Fayetteville, AR. The majority of my extended family lived in the Springdale-Fayertteville area. We lived in Joplin, MO located in the SW corner of the state, not far from the state borders of Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Fayetteville was 87 miles from Joplin, so we could drive there in about an hour and a half. I remember being so excited when I thought about seeing all the relatives and sharing a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with the whole family. Afterward, there was a lot of catching up and visiting to do. We usually stayed one or two nights before traveling back to Joplin. I enjoyed those visits and the times I spent just talking and sharing with my grandmother. She always encouraged me in my endeavors (whatever those happened to be at the time!) and was interested in hearing about my life at school, my friends and all other aspects of my life. She was a godly woman who loved the Lord and the joy of that love for Him shone in her face. She was content with life and had such trust in Jesus that I never saw her worried or fearful.
One time an intruder broke into her home with the obvious intent to do her harm, but instead of panicing she calmly began to quote Bible scriptures to him! He left and she later heard he had attacked an older lady not far from where she lived. I'm sure she was unnerved, to say the least, but God protected her and kept her from harm. She died in 1984 and I miss her very much; I think of her often and wish she was here, but I take comfort in knowing I'll see her again. In my own personal relationship with Jesus, I have taken examples from her own life and applied them to mine. We each have to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12), but I'm thankful for the women in my family who modeled this for me. I will do other family profiles from time to time, but as I had my grandma on my heart and mind today, I thought I would start with her. Here is an old photo of her opening presents many Christmases ago:
My grandmother, Mary Pennington McCurley