85 years ago this coming Sunday, a baby girl was born who changed the course of history.
She was a sweet girl from a humble farming family in rural North Carolina with two brothers and two sisters. She had little and worked hard. Married at just 15, she brought four children into the world. She left behind everything she knew and loved and followed her husband as his job took him all through Central America for many years.
Finally they happily retired back in their beloved North Carolina. During her retirement, seven grandchildren and a dozen great grandchildren were added to her numbers. She cared tirelessly for her dying husband of over 50 years. She married again, her next door neighbor and old friend who lost his wife the same year. She never stopped humbly serving and loving others until her dying day.
Doesn't seem like a world changer?
She was my grandma.
She never had a big career. She didn't go to college and didn't even finish high school until she was 40. By most worldly standards, she was unremarkable.
Except that she wasn't.
That humble farm girl from North Carolina lived out her days loving and serving her husband and children, steadily, gracefully pointing them to Christ with her words--and more importantly, with her actions. Her genuine Christianity confused her unbelieving husband, but eventually, her gentle example and the reality of his mortality won him over. My dad, the most oppositional of her children to Christianity, came along too. I don't know how many hours she spent crying out to God on his behalf, but I am thankful for every minute she spent pleading with the Lord for his soul.
The grandbabies came along, and in the midst of changing our diapers and reading books and singing songs ("I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck..."), she pointed us to Jesus too.
And now we're raising her great-grandbabies (who she was so very proud of!), changing their diapers, reading them books, and singing them songs, and by God's mercy, pointing them to Jesus just as she did us and our parents.
It's been almost a year since I stood at Grandma's bedside, holding her hand as she left her earthly temple, worn and used for her Master's service, and exchanged it for immortality. There are moments now when the sense of loss and homesickness for my Grandma are just as raw and painful as they were last May.
This year will be the first February 23 in my life I can't wish her a happy birthday. I'm sure I'll miss it far more than she does. I expect in Heaven, worshipping at the throne of the Christ who bought her salvation with His own life, she is celebrating more than her own birth 85 years ago.
But me? I'm awfully glad she was born--and even more glad that, by God's mercy, Grandma lived in such a way that, though most people won't ever know her name, did truly change the world.