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Raise up children in the way they should go

In a few days, my family will remember the birthday of my grandmother Bertie Terrell Lee. We’ll recollect her smiling face beneath the white knitted cap she wore when the weather dipped into the 40s and see in our mind’s eye the hundreds of potted plants that once dotted her yard. The memory of Maw Maw’s delicious black skillet biscuits — the ones she left the imprint of three fingers to flatten the dough, so flaky yet only an inch tall –– will make our mouths water. The sweetness of her preserved mayhaw jelly mixed with rich, creamy butter will bring longing sighs.

My grandmother’s legacy includes great homemaking know-how. But more importantly, I remember Maw Maw’s Christian faith and how she relied heavily on her daily conversations with her Lord and Savior. She observed strict periods each day alone in her room, head bowed and her Bible resting on her knees. As a small child, I happened upon her time and again before my mother ushered me away, explaining Maw Maw would be out directly and I must not disturb her. My mom explained about prayer, talking and listening to God who loved me so much and cared about me.

Mom also made sure I and my siblings went to church, attended Sunday school, and took part in Vacation Bible School each summer. She fielded all my queries regarding the mysteries of faith in a Heavenly Father and trust in a Savior who died for my sins. Although I came to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus “just as I am,” I had a godly model in Mom pointing me to the throne of mercy.

In her final months of this life, Mom’s prayer journey reminded me more and more of early memories of Maw Maw’s prayer time. Her Bible rested on her lap — her hands folded on top. When we visited by phone in her last week, she moved between reminiscing about life in her past and wondering about her life to come. She moved easily between talking with me and praying with Jesus.

Because of the faithfulness of my grandmother and my mother, I lived in a Christian home and learned the joy of trusting in a Savior who loves me almost beyond belief. They lived for Christ and I watched them cross into His care at the moment of their deaths. I’m not sure I ever told them how valuable it was to be trained by such godly women in the way I should go. The choice was always mine, to accept the love and sacrifice of Jesus for a sinner such as I, but their examples encouraged me along that path. “How marvelous! How wonderful!”

And now, it is one of the greatest joys of my life to pray for my children and grands every day — Bible open, hands folded on top, talking and listening. As I offer my “Amen,” I smile knowing with assurance that they both prayed for me. What a legacy, and what an opportunity to faithfully pass along to those I love, just as the author of Proverbs adjures us to do: Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. I live that fulfillment of the Word –– hopefully a life worth imitating, too.

Article Written by Jim Edminson, Editor

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