My Grandma Carmichael turned 80 years young on December 30th. Basically, she is a young whippersnapper compared to Eric's surviving grandparents and my other grandmas. Because it is her birthday, I would like to point out the tremendous impact she has had in my life.
First of all, Grandma is the person who sat with me in her pastor's office as he led me in the Sinner's Prayer, inviting Jesus to be my Lord and Savior, which happened when I was twelve. She was there becuase she, along with Grandpa Carmichael, introduced me to living a life for God: they prayed before every meal, they had devotionals in the morning and any conversation on any topic would, invariably, lead us back to the question of "What does the Bible say about it?". It wasn't because they were "Bible thumpers," hammering anyone at any opportunity. They lived for God and considered the Bible as a reference manual for all decision making and all opinion making, so it naturally showed up in conversations. It was quite a different way of thinking of things, yet it somehow made sense. I have to say that the ten minutes I spent in the pastor's office, with Grandma joyfully watching, has had the biggest impact of my life. Without God, I wouldn't have the life I have now and I would not be the person I am today.
She is also a testament to how to make it through tough times. She grew up during The Great Depression, she suffered through a bad first marriage and endured criticism for divorcing her first husband, even though she was biblically justified. She saw her only son do self destructive things and was only able see me, her only grand-daughter a few times during my life as a result of her son's divorce. Her faith in God never wavered during her trials and she is still quite a prayer warrior, encouraging me to do the same.
Lately, I have also seen how she pulls herself out of pity party when she starts to think about all the "might have beens", "if onlys", and "I'm all alone nows" by focusing on how God has blessed her with a wonderful second marriage to a godly man who truly loved her son, a wonderful family who has helped her through tough times, and good friends who make sure she is still alive and well. She has been a widow five years now and is starting to slow down, just a bit.
She also taught me how to lose at card games, mainly by making me experience it so often :-).
Thanks, Grandma C. for all the blessings you have given me!