I have always been fond of Little House on The Prairie. I love the books as well as the television series. The books varied from the series; however, it was always the appeal of a simple lifestyle that appealed to me. In the deepest part of my heart, the yearning for simplicity has always prevailed. Simple living did not mean that heartache and disappointment were nonexistent; however, it seemed to me that in living simply, peace was found in abundance. Isn’t that what our souls yearns for the most? Peace. The ability to walk through stormy weather and know all will be well. Peace. The ability, when all things around us are falling apart, to hold together. Peace. The unexplainable feeling when you know something is terribly wrong, but you aren’t shaken by it. Peace. Complete rest for our souls. Peace. The unshakeable comfort.
Living simply doesn’t mean that you are simple minded. Living simply means that you get unnecessary, overwhelming distractions out of the way and enjoy the day and all it has for you. Throw off things that hinder peace in your life. Say “no” to things that do not bring peace. Rid yourselves of unnecessary obligations that create worry and stress. Make the choice to rid yourself of things that are not helpful to you or what is helpful others. Lysa Terkeurst says, “Wisdom makes a decision today that will still be good for tomorrow.” By doing this, we are allowing God a big opportunity to show up and show out.
From my earliest recollection of her, she exemplified peace. She sang “There will be peace in the valley”. Peace was there. All around. From the positioning of their quaint house perched atop a knoll, to the rolling pasture complete with livestock, to the smell of bacon frying in the early morning hours, to the multitude of African violets in a magnificent array of blooms…always- every aspect of her life spoke peace. Peace did not allude her. Peace was hers. It belonged to her in every sense of the word. She was not wealthy by the worlds standards but she was blessed with a wealth of dear precious ones who loved her and loved her deeply. I was one of the fortunate ones to know her. I knew her well. From the time I was 3 months old until I was 15, she was my care giver. She was, to me, another grandmother. Although I had biological grandparents and she had biological grandchildren. She adopted me and I adopted her. She was as close to me as my own and I as close to her as her own.
One of the most fascinating things about her was that she was born in 1903 and her precious husband in 1900. Keeping up with their ages was always fun for me and easy. He was as old as the current year and she was 3 years less. She began taking care of me when she was 65 years old. By the age of 2, she had taught me many things about God’s word through her singing as well as scripture. Every day she would stand me in a chair and we would recite, John 3:16. Every day at nap time, she would rock me and sing to me, mostly hymns, but sometimes lullabies. One of her favorite Hymns was, “Revive Us Again”. She loved the chorus and most days she would even sing the chorus as she watered and tended her African violets. Maybe that’s the reason for their ever present display of beauty. The chorus is, “Hallelujah! Thine the glory. Hallelujah! Amen. Hallelujah! Thine the glory. Revive us again.” One day when I was about 3, I was at home singing, as I often did. My mom was listening and heard me singing the chorus but I using a heavy “r” at the end of Hallelujah. She asked, “Why are you singing it that way?” I replied, “That’s the way Mamaw Gillespie sings it.” She said, “Hallelujah doesn’t have an r at the end.” The next day, I walked straight into Mamaw’s house and told her, “My Mama said you were singing the song wrong. Hallelujah doesn’t have an “r” at the end.” I can’t recall her response but I can tell you it didn’t change the way she sang the song. Not one bit. Not ever. Why? It didn’t matter to her. Her heart was so full of love for the Lord and what He had done for her. She didn’t care. All that mattered to her was that she was singing to Him and asking on a daily basis that He revive her and give her “peace in the valley” or “peace like a river.” Her songs were prayers for her soul. She didn’t have to have the words perfect. Her heart was inclined, or leaned into, God and that’s all that really mattered. You see she just chose to be there in the moment. Her life was moment by moment. Day by day. I would venture to say she probably sang, “Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.”
Her life was a series of wise choices day after day. She knew her place and she knew what she was best suited to do. She chose to say “no” to things that would hinder her from being the best caregiver day after day, year after year. She was a woman who exuded confidence in her ability to care for her babies. That is what she did best. To say I’m lucky to have had her in my life would be an understatement. Blessed doesn’t even seem accurate. I am simply overwhelmed with gratitude and thankfulness that I was hers and she was mine.
***This post was originally written on another blog I started several years ago and failed to keep it going. Two people reminded me in the past two days about this and oddly enough, it’s just what I needed to be reminded of today.***