Updated: Sep 28, 2022
Life sometimes seems to me like an arrangement of puzzle pieces. I used to wish I had been given different pieces, or even a different puzzle, but now I’m thankful for every moment God has given me. God is creating a picture from my life that is so amazing only He could have put it together. My grandmother was one of the first pieces of that puzzle.
Living in English Bay, British Columbia, with my grandmother until I was about four, was one of the highlights of my life. My first home away from home was a tide pool. I loved bringing back treasures for my grandmother to admire. She must have been incredibly patient to have starfish and other critters deposited in her bathtub. Rather than just throw the critters away, Grandmother would take them back to the ocean and free them for me to find another day.
Grandmother grew up in Eastern Europe, where ladies were not taught to cook or clean. That was for the maids. Grandmother knew how to sew, embroider, and paint...not helpful talents when she tried to establish a home in Canada. I must admit the curtains and cushions were beautifully embroidered. Grandmother's living room looked like a jungle of giant plants...so not surprisingly, I now have an addiction to giant plants.
I was a skinny child with a chubby face. My skinniness must have been an enormous embarrassment for my grandmother. In her culture and her mind, if you were chubby it proved you had enough wealth to buy food. In order to fatten me up, Grandmother gave me an addiction to chocolate. I was not a big eater so she would cut a sandwich into tiny pieces and reward me with a piece of chocolate for each piece I ate.
I can still smell her garlicky chicken soups and the pungent smell of mothballs in her closets. I remember thinking sleeping on her bed was probably what it felt like sleeping on a cloud. She piled huge feather duvets under me and on top of me. It was pure amazingness.
Grandmother’s clothes were hand-made and artistically embroidered, right down to the matching handbags and hats. She sewed clothes like you would see in exclusive shops today.
I remember being given colored pencils and a bowl of flowers and told to draw what I saw. When Grandmother looked at my pictures, she would look at me sternly and admonish me to really look at the flowers. I think she forgot I was only four. When the picture was finally acceptable, I remember my Grandmother’s words of praise. The verse, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver,” (Proverbs 25:11) makes sense to me when I think of my grandmother’s smiling approval. I love how her face lit up when she smiled.
My grandmother moved to San Diego when I was a teenager. It was so far from Canada... I only visited a few times. When she was in the hospital, dying of cancer, I sent a letter telling her about Heaven. I wanted to inspire her to want to be there. I was sad to hear of her death, not knowing what she decided about God. A friend suggested I ask God to show me if she was in Heaven. I thought that was kind of an absurd thing to ask God but my motto is "nothing ventured, nothing gained". So, without much faith that there would ever be an answer, I asked God to please show me where my grandmother would spend eternity.
Shortly after that prayer my mother called from San Diego and told me she thought my grandmother was in a better place. My mother was not a Christian at that time. I told her that Grandmother was NOT in a better place unless she asked Jesus to forgive her sins and be her Savior. My mother said that some men from some gospel business thing had come to the hospital and visited, and after they left Grandmother seemed to be at peace. What a miracle. That was the answer I prayed for.
I rejoice that one day you will meet my grandmother. You will love her. She may give you chocolates and garlicky chicken soup and ask if you would like your heavenly garments embroidered.
God is creating a beautiful masterpiece from your life. The puzzle pieces are being dropped into place now. You can't see the whole picture yet, but because I know God is sooo amazing I know your life's final picture will be breathtakingly beautiful. You can trust God. He loves you. Don't fret when you go through dark times. They are needed to add beauty and contrast to the final picture. Blessings, Beloved of God.