On May 14, my mother’s mother, my grandmother, “Stara Mama,” passed away 5500 miles away in Slovenia. The following morning, my dad’s mother, my other grandmother, “Grandma,” passed away 650 miles away in Illinois.
Only a few days prior, I reflected on the fact that I only had grandmothers and no grandfathers. Now, all my grandparents have departed from this earth, and my both of grandmothers’ deaths were quick and rather unexpected.
Their deaths — along with the praises they received from others — got me thinking about what it looks like to live a life that honors God. Stara Mama was the mother of six, grandmother of 19, and great grandmother of 11. Grandma was a mother of 13, grandmother of 22, and great grandmother of 14. (Impressive numbers — I know.)
Through their deaths, these two grandmothers of mine have made me realize the importance of being a strong, faithful, supportive, and loving wife, mother, grandmother, and overall woman. Though I am still a single 21-year-old who is far from getting married and starting a family of my own, I am inspired by my grandmothers’ example to continue following in the footsteps of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Ever since choosing to follow Christ, I have often had the false impression that the kingdom of God is only built through “radical” and extreme measures — such as becoming a missionary or evangelizing with every stranger you meet.
Hearing the ways in which others honored the lives of my grandmothers reminded me once again that it is through ordinary, everyday actions as much as radical ones that the kingdom of Heaven is built.
It is through the words and actions of faithful mothers and grandmothers, through the families they create and the love they pour out day after day that builds the kingdom of Heaven. Where would we be without mothers and grandmothers like Stara Mama and Grandma?
To further share my thoughts with you all on this subject, here is an excerpt from a recent journal entry of mine:
- I’ve been wondering for many years now what it looks like to be a godly woman and to build God’s kingdom, and through the death of my two grandmothers, I’ve realized that raising a family that learns to love and serve the Lord is a way to build God’s kingdom. Both of my grandmothers were steadfast in their faith, raised godly men and women through their words and actions, and have taught me the wonderful importance of godly motherhood. It has inspired me to do the same — or rather, it has made me realize the beauty and importance of being a mom. Our culture, it seems, loves to praise the modern woman who puts a career over children, but I’ve come to realize that family is infinitely more valuable.
Sometimes I think about how different my life is compared to the lives of my grandmothers. We lived in different worlds. They were family-oriented women who lived in small towns and I’m still a young adult hoping to stay single for a while and live in a big city. They experienced wars and international conflict and occupation and communism. I grew up in the digital age and am a social media native.
Because both of my grandmothers lived far away from me while I was growing up, I was never all that close with either of them. Stara Mama and I only lived in the same country for nine months of my life and could hardly speak to each other even when we did. Grandma and I lived in different states and I only saw her during Christmas and summer. But even when I was around, our large family made little room for personal connection, and her lack of hearing made this even more difficult.
Despite all these earthly limitations, I’m grateful for the moments we had together. I’m grateful for the weekend I spent at Stara Mama’s, just her and I, in October 2018. I learned a little bit of Slovenian by then so communication wasn’t as troublesome as it could have been. I’m also grateful for all the card games I got to play with Grandma, whether it was at her kitchen table or later at the nursing home she resided in.
Now, as their souls rest, I look forward to seeing them again in Heaven, when we are all reunited with our Savior. What a glorious day that will be! There will be no language barrier between Stara Mama and I; Grandma’s hearing will be restored; all will be made new.
I hope to see you there.
Grace and peace,