Grandma’s Prayers, Grandma’s Hands
On Friday night, I had a huge revelation. Allow me to explain the back story. When I get an idea in my mind I’m like a dog with a bone until I figure everything about the subject out. Just recently I heard the popular minister Joseph Prince speak of the importance of partaking in the Lord’s Supper.
If you are not familiar with this terminology, the Lord’s Supper is also called Holy Sacrament or the Eucharist. It is a ceremony done in church where members eat and drink a small portion of bread and wine as a symbolic remembrance of Jesus’s last supper with his disciples and his blood and bodily sacrifice during the crucifixion.
Prince said that that many individuals have been healed of all manner of sickness, mental woes, and other maladies in their lives by partaking of the Holy Sacrament at home and often.
With intense curiosity about his claim, I started thinking of my own experience with taking the Lord’s Supper at church. I haven’t been a regular church attendee in years, but I remembered that when I did partake in Holy Sacrament, it was a very special time that only occurred once a month, and it was taken very seriously.
Even as a child there was no laughing or playing when we partook of the bread and wine- yes, I’m Methodist by affiliation so even at 4 years old I drank wine not grape juice. I remembered that the older I got and the more understanding I had, I used this special occurrence to pray those heavy prayers during Sacrament Sunday. Those prayers that I felt would be better heard at the alter while I drank and ate the blessed wine and bread. Since it only occurred once a month on the first Sunday, I often asked God for protection throughout the remainder of the month as well.
Even as a child I would get up from the alter feeling renewed after the prayers and the Holy Sacrament. In my childlike faith, I could have been experiencing the Holy Spirit. I can name many answered prayers from those precious moments at the alter.
I came to an agreement with Jospeh Prince’s revelation and I also came to a powerful personal revelation of my own after thinking about my personal experience with taking Holy Sacrament.
When I was a child I was taken to church by my Grandmother. My sister, my two cousins, and I would all pile into my grandparents’ fancy 1990 Dynasty. As children, we would watch in amazement as we would leave the pavement of the city and drive for twenty minutes to the little white wooden church in the country with dirt roads and a silent holy hush about itself.
I can still see the light of early morning gleaming through the trees as the day seemed to roll by lazily. Time moved differently there and in my earliest childhood I respected that magical place and esteemed it as wonderland.
I attended church nearly every Sunday from the ages of 4 to 21 with my grandmother. The only difference was we would drive her instead of her and my grandfather picking us up in our teens and early twenties.
Sometimes I LOVED the little church. So often in my early years would I fall asleep with my head on my grandmother’s lap to the soft sweet singing of the sermonic hymn, “It was there by faith, I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day….”
I loved the drag of the hymns, the leather mysteries of the church’s bibles, the old pastor with the most appropriate name, Rev. Sheppard, who for years I thought was actually God himself. I loved my Sunday School teacher Mrs. Marble and her husband Mr. Marble who were like second grandparents, but most of all I LOVED my grandmother or Gramma as we called her.
I liked being at church with her and watching the expensive rings she wore weigh down her fingers. I liked the comfort of my head in her lap when I got sleepy. I liked her reassuring arm on my shoulder as we stood to sing hymns. I liked when she would give me a roll of Certs candy to occupy my busy little hands. I liked how she would dig into her dated white purse with a mirror attached to the interior to present me with silver coins for offering. I enjoyed watching her write in beautiful cursive on her tithe envelope as she gave faithfully.
For a long period of time, my parents didn’t attend church. My parents never asked our grandmother to take me and my sister to church, she actually begged my mother to take us. As much as I loved church as a child, by my teenage years I started to despise it.
All the little things I loved about the experience were stained by the mouths of rude adults who hurt me. By my mid-teens, I dropped out of Sunday School and by my late teens my attendance was really spotty.
Sometimes I would go. Others I wouldn’t. But even when I wouldn’t go to church, my grandmother would never argue with me. She’d just ask with wide eyes magnified behind large glasses why I didn’t show up.
What I felled to mention is that after church my grandmother would invite us all over for Sunday dinner. Her and my grandfather (or Granddiddy as we still call him) would financially back big Sunday dinners topped off with the delicious desserts that were too expense to enjoy at home. Their sizable home would be filled with grandchildren, warmth, and laughter for many years after church service.
Life After Death
After my grandmother died when I was 21, I completely stopped going to church. The few times I went after her death, I would spot her empty space and have flashbacks of all the love we shared on the front pew and I could barely make it through the service. I could hardly look at the alter where she first lead me at 4 years old to the Lord’s table for Holy Sacrament, because that was the place her coffin had rested.
After her untimely passing, my sister and I noticed a drastic shift in our lives financially, career-wise, mentally, and spiritually. We easily blamed the depression on the fact that of all the grandchildren we were closest to her, but nothing could account for the other negative shifts that lasted for about three dark years before either of us gained freedom.
So last Friday as I pondered the importance of Holy Sacrament I realized something major. The unnatural shift that took place in my life after my grandmother’s passing had everything to do with the lack of covering.
My grandmother took us to church as children and then as teens and young adults her presence gently commanded that it was the right thing to continue. In church, we were covered by her prayers, her guidance, other elders, the covering and healing of the Holy Sacrament, the blessing of tithing, and many other positive things associated with attending church.
After my grandmother’s death, both my sister and I stopped attending church regularly and lost all the good things associated with being a member. For the first time in our lives, we were utterly unprotected by our Grandmother’s love that brought us to church in the first place.
My grandmother understood that we needed the anchor of the Lord and she gave it to us. Not only did she foresee our need for the Lord at a young age, she saw things in me that I didn’t see about myself.
She brought me my first Children’s bible which I still have. She saw my musical ability to play the piano by ear and brought me a huge Casio keyboard. She also was one of the first to recognize my ability to write relatively well and bought me a beautiful book to place all my early writings inside.
She relieved our parents the burden of physically feeding us sometimes twice a week. And every Sunday, rain or shine, she made sure that I was fed the word of God, protected by her prayers, received the healing and restoration powers of the Lord’s Supper, and learned the blessing and abundance brought on by bringing my tithes into the storehouse though her own example.
I just wrote a review of Calvin Richardson’s book Do You, Without Them and he too expressed how his grandmother lifted him often with her words, causing him to realize at a young age that he was a very talented and capable singer. He attests that to this day he draws confidence from her loving encouragement.
Months before my grandmother died she repeatedly said I was beautiful. This is something I NEVER believed about myself, but she said it so much I started to believe it too. I also had no idea, but right before her departure she told my mother and sister to especially look out for me. As I type, my keyboard is stained with tears. Not because I miss her, it has been nearly ten years and that part NEVER quite goes away- I cry because of the love.
Such love, such heavenly insight into areas of my life I never knew about myself. My Grandmother covered me spiritually, physically, and financially way before I was old enough to understand the need. She covered my gifts when I wasn’t aware I even had them… and she raised my confidence at a time I desperately needed it.
I wonder right now, how many of us are alive and functioning because the prayers of our grandmother. The love, the foresight, the peace they give is a blessing you don’t even realize until it is gone.
I believe that there is something special about grandmothers/grandfather and their love somehow exceeds that of a parent. I’m so thankful that I had a chance to experience that brand of pure love in the land of the living. I know that outside of my Grandfather (who is still living and my VERY best friend) no one will love me like that again.
No love is greater and no foresight more accurate, than the pourings from Grandma’s hands….
Grandma’s hands use to clap in church on Sunday morning…Grandma’s hands use to hand me a piece of candy….Grandma’s hand use to catch me everytime I fell….but I don’t have Grandma no more, so when I go to heaven, I’ll look for Grandma’s hands.
– Grandma’s Hands (Bill Withers)