Words of life

She got a promotion to heaven this week. She was not my biological grandmother. All of my grandparents died young and I never got a chance to know them. So Gramma, aka Mariam Smith, “adopted” my sisters and I as her own. The moment she decided we were hers, she poured into our lives — from when we had long skinny black legs and puffy ponytails to the day each of us walked down the aisle to the time we were handing over a new baby for her to hold. My sisters and I have always been amazed and baffled by how she loved us so much. She shaped us, she fed us, she showed us what it looks like to be a good wife and mother, she taught us about life and love and how Jesus never fails.

Now that she’s gone I feel almost lost without her comfort and wisdom. She’d often call me up (or email me) after reading a blog I wrote and preach me a little sermon. I’m so glad I saved her letters and comments.

Gramma had many, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was connected to this little section of the blogosphere just because I was here. And if she met you she’d adopt you, too. No matter who you are or who you’ve been, she’d gather you under her wings and bake you a pie. You would feel loved and valued, you’d have no say in the matter.

Her words that I share here were for me and Brandon, but perhaps you might take some encouragement from them as well. And get a glimpse of her beautiful heart.

On marriage

And again I say PRAY. For the other half of you. You are so Blessed to have each other. Prayer and Praise will PREVAIL. Love you both. Gramma

You know Jeneil I believe actions speak louder than words,You can say I love you until the cows come home but it is what you do to prove or show your love. Hope I have not been too preachie but helpful cuz you know I love you and Brandon. Love, Gramma

Dear Jeneil, I just read your blog and wanted to comment to you and Brandon privately. My four children all know and will tell you they were well loved by their Mother and Father,but they always knew that their father put their mother first and vice versa… We never had Date night because we enjoyed staying home an being with our children,but we did thing to show how special we thought each other was…

On food

Hi Jeneil,How are you doing?Have you eaten the pie yet? I hope it was alright.It is not the best I can do,I was a little short  of my crust so I called it apple pie crumb.I will do better next time:) Love you much,Gramma

Dear Jeneil and Brandon, I LOVED making the food for you and will make it anytime. I was thinking next of baking a chicken and stuffing. It takes such a little effort and I loved knowing my grandchildren are enjoying it. Let me know okay? Love you much, Gramma

Hi, Let me know if you want me to cook something for you I will be glad to. It will include chocolate cake with lots of frosting. 🙂 Love you much, Gramma

On parenting

Baby steps,baby steps how gigantic they are to us.

Go Rhema and Hope.

Love, Gramma

This walk (or run )with Autism has made you and Brandon wiser.Isn’t it funny how we think some things are so important at the time and later we look back and say what was the problem?I could tell you a lot of stories of things I put such emphasis on and later could not for the life of me remember why.

Keep on keeping on Jeneil and Brandon Rhema is teaching you a lot. Love, Gramma Smith

Her comment in response to a story I told about a pair of women who sort of implied that Rhema was not smart. It still makes me laugh!:

Good for you.I wish I had been there I would have said all of those things for you and then smacked them.:-)Love, Gramma Smith

Happy birthday RhemaLove. Because God does not have deadlines for his Blessed children (and aren’t they all Blessed,)Love and kisses from GreatGramma and Grampa Smith


Praise GOD from whom all blessing flow. I know God has a PERFECT PLAN for our precious Greatgrandaughter. When the praises go up Healing comes down.

Hang in there Jeneil and Brandon, I am so proud of you and your parenting. Try to get some rest. Love,Gramma

You are not making the decisions your faith is.God knows all that Rhema is dealing with and has her in his hands.I know your and Brandon’s parental instincts kick in( and Thank God they do) but you have always given over to God and he has given you two the wisdom to do what is right and safe for Rhema and Hope.

I will pray and pray for all of you but know in my 76 year old heart and wisdom he has it all under control. Love you much,Gramma

I cannot tell you how my heart and eyes filled up reading your beautiful words.You are such a good mother and an excellent author.I love all of you so much and I know that God is reaching and teaching you and Brandon so much through Rhema’s life. We know she is and will be blessed so many times and in so many ways.Do we really appreciate our children’s accomplishments or do we take them for granted? God is teaching you and I to appreciate them. Love to you all and give me a call when you can I really enjoy talking to you.I do not have too much communication with the world now so a telephone conversation with love ones is appreciated. Love, Gramma

When I lived in Germany, she sent me this:

Hi Jeneil, Just to let you know I am praying for you and counting the days until you come home. Love you, Gramma

Hi Gramma, Just to let you know I am forever thankful for you and counting the days until I see you again. Love you, Jeneil

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. ~Ps. 116:15

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. ~Ps. 116:15

8 thoughts on “Words of life

  1. Wow what a gift God gave to you in Mother Smith and what a gift you gave back by writing this wonderful piece about her and her unwavering faith. I am sure she is looking down from heaven and proud once again at the amazing words.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful spirit you have shared with us from your excerpts. Grammas are so special.

  3. dearest Jeneil. Again you have brought tears to my eyes! What a lovely, loving and faithful Grandma you were given. She was another of the gifts the Lord provided because He knows all you need to be the exceptional Christian woman that you are. When I struggle to accomplish just a little and have a relatively easy life to manage, I look at you and I am inspired. Truly Inspired! The Lord is glorified in you. I will pray for your comfort as you process the grief of being separated from someone so very important to you.

  4. By the end of reading her words, I felt like I knew Gramma and was tearing up at the sight of her picture. Her beauty matched her words. A tribute that truly honored her.

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