Can you imagine living to be 109 years old? This month my family gathered for the funeral of my amazing grandmother, Lela Putney, who lived (and I do mean LIVED) to be three days shy of 109. At the service, standing behind the rose-draped casket, I described her by personalizing Proverbs 31, “The Woman Who Fears the Lord.” My Uncle Charlie said to me, “Those verses nailed who she was.”
Titus 2 says that we should learn from older, wiser women, so allow me to share some pearls I learned from her extraordinary life:
• Nag the Lord: This was her signature phrase. Whenever anyone had a problem, Grandma would say, “I’m nagging the Lord about you.” She was a relentless prayer warrior. On her refrigerator was a magnet that read, “Don’t tell God how big your problems are. Tell your problems how BIG your God is.” She lived this out. Her trust in God made her fearless … and let me tell you, a fearless woman who puts her trust in Jesus is a formidable force. None of us ever messed with Grandma!
• Worry is a sin: If Grandma ever heard me say, “I’m worried about …,” she would interrupt me with, “Worry is a sin. Don’t you trust God?” Her mother and aunts were hand-wringing worriers, who would fret endlessly over even such a small thing as the purchase of a dress. And, they all died relatively young of strokes. She determined not to be like that and lived out Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” I call that her Longevity Verse.
• Love your husband: My grandfather travelled extensively for his job. While he was away, she told her five children that they could do all the things that Grandfather disliked; like going on picnics. He said that as a farm boy, he had eaten all the ants he ever cared to in a lifetime. However, when he was home, she made it clear that they were to seek ways to bless him. As a little girl, my mother learned how to make pies that were the delight of her father. Grandma taught her children how to love their future families by modeling the priority of loving and caring for your mate.
• If you want friends, find a way to serve: She had to move many times in her life and subsequently, there are people all over the country who adored Grandma. I tried to figure out how she gained such a nationwide fan club, and here is her secret: She found a way to contribute wherever she went. Whether it was serving at the schools of her five children, or singing in the church choir, or promoting the careers of college girls with music aspirations, there was Grandma. She was interested and interesting and always ready to pitch in and help.
I like to envision her in Heaven, free from the bondage of age, back in full voice, basking in the presence of her Savior and family and friends who went before her. I am blessed by her legacy and pray her life will inspire you today.
Who are the women who inspire you? And, are you conscious of living a life that will inspire generations to come?