Monday, August 19, 2013

Lucky in Love and In Family

The gospel the other day was about how God wanted the world to be a place of peace.  But, he foresaw a time when fathers would be at war with sons, daughters at war with mothers and daughter-in-laws at war with mother-in-laws.  As I listened to those words I reflected on the relationship I am blessed to have with my husbands family.  I have never had a time where I warred with my in-laws.  Quite the contrary.  They are my other family that God chose me to be a part of.

I am lucky for that and grateful beyond words.  This family lost a great lady last Friday.  Mary Rachel Hoskins was not just a grandmother-in-law, she was truly an inspiration to each of us.  In the short time I was allowed to know her, I grew stronger in my faith and started to form a picture of how I want to be when I am older.

I want my children to honor me and respect me.  I want them to worry about me and love me unconditionally.  I want them to pray to God for me.  I want them to stay close together and love each other with the same fierce love I have for them.  I want them to model my faith, so that one day, when I pass on they will be confident that I am in a better place and will find comfort in that.  I want them to see me the same way Mamaw's children see her.   

Mamaw raised her 12 {!} children in a one room house with no indoor plumbing.  I am at a near breaking point when my dishwasher breaks!  She did all of this with no complaining.  All of her children tell loving stories of how they grew up.  Not one of them talk about what they didn't have.  They all talk about how much they had and all of the love they grew up knowing.  That amazes me.  That inspires me.  That teaches me lessons I have only ever seen in the bible or in the saint stories from my youth.  Mostly, it makes me want to be a better mom.  Mamaw epitomizes the Beatles lyric... All you Need is Love.  She always gave love.
Mamaw had 23 grandchildren, 33 great grandchildren and 6 great-great grandchildren.  She knew every one of them.  Each time another Hoskins baby was brought to her for a snuggle she would look at that baby like she had never seen a more beautiful creature.  She loved holding hands.  Watching her have a child on her lap and talking in her soft, gentle voice was truly a sight to behold.  Each child would quietly calm in her prescence.  It is hard to articulate how hard it will be to not see one of our babies on her lap or in her arms.  Grandchildren are the way God shows you that you continue to live on here on earth.  If you have been an exceptional Grandparent that legacy will be one that shines forth to all around.     
People say that you shouldn't make saints out of sinners.  That every human being has faults but I can tell you that during the time of my reflection on this great lady, I have not found one.  Mamaw was one of a kind.  She was this glorious definition of how to live the life you are blessed with.  She oozed grace and kindness.  She listened much more than she talked.  She was an amazing cook and reigned in her kitchen like a true Queen Mother.  She never ate first... in fact, she never put herself out front at all.  She was content to sit back and let others take front row.  Mamaw put effort in all that she did.  From raising 12 kids and overseeing the fruit {62!} of all that hardwork.  She did it for the glory of God.
Mamaw was sick for the longest time.  The sweet woman suffered.  You would never know it.  She never told you her aches and pains.  She would shoo away any talk of concerns you had for her.  Her body was covered in bruises, battered to a pulp.  Even as her body was shutting down her unconditional love and kindness was at its peak.  Her last year was spent in a hospital.  You would think this would change her spirit or her didn't.  She went from holding court in her house, to holding court around her hospital bed.  I hope during this time she felt the boundless love each one of us had for her.  
Everyone she met was touched by her grace.  Everyone who knew her talked about that. Life without mamaw means a life without such amazing inspiration.  It means my kids will have to tell stories of their amazing mamaw instead of getting to experience them.  It means there will be an unfillable void in my amazing family I inherited by marriage.  Yes, the world is a little sadder without her in it.  But, I know I am comforted that I got to be one of the lucky ones to know her.  I am comforted mostly, that one day she will be greeting me at the pearly gates.  I can't help but hope she will have a big ol plate of fried dressing and cornbread.  Even angels have to eat!   

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