Posted by: jmdenham | May 13, 2012

My Grandmother Lorine

Mother’s Day Week, Day 7 (albeit a day late).  So this week, I have had the wonderful gift of thanking and telling the story of women who have been incredibly meaningful in my life- Cyndi Pardee, Jacqui Denham, Glenda McDonald, Nugget Skates, Norma Hoch, Luci Bell, and now my maternal grandmother, Lorine Goldy, who from now on I will call Grandma.

I don’t know how much I can express to you about this lady without running out of appropriate words.  My Grandma was a very spiritual lady- she read Scripture out loud every morning out loud.  I cannot begin to tell you how formative this was for me, even though my brothers and I were not raised in one congregation or faith tradition.  To this day, the fact that she read Scripture every morning has been the shape of faith for me.  I try to read every morning because I associate that activity with being faithful.  It also provided the ground for me to see how faith mattered outside of church, for Scripture was the present reality of God, day in and day out.  Thus, I learned very early that Scripture was like hearing the voice of God, and further, that one does not have to have an deeply theological understanding of Scripture for it to become a shaping influence on our lives, for us as humans to yearn for it like the deer pants for water.  Simply from reading Scripture out loud and faithfully every day everywhere.

But my grandmother was way more than  that.  She brought smiles to others faces.  Her singing was often known as more hair raisingly strained than melodic, and certainly she never had a problem joking about her voice.  But in all of the unmelody there was never anything but praise.  She loved to sing, loved to sing the classics, not because she was good at it, but because she truly loved God.  But we loved to laugh at her when she sung.

And she was a hoot at church.  She was an extrovert who loved people.  One of the things she loved to do is have monthly potlucks for which she would put together birthday celebrations.  One time she made musical insruments out of old toilet paper rolls, and had the people celebrating birthdays play them to an old tune.  She was hilarious, and would not mind making a fool of herself.  She loved to laugh, loved to play, was self effacing, and thoroughly enjoyed fellowship- good Christian fellowship and laughs was worth being a fool for.

It was my Grandma that encouraged me to move towards ministry.  She affirmed my gifts, encouraged me to keep going, loved hearing my lessons from classes when I came back from Pepperdine.  It was her encouragement that got me to Pepperdine Lectureships one year, where I saw Pepperdine, fell in love with the school, and saw people of faith learning and loving Scripture.  When I went to Pepperdine, she longed to hear me preach and I could not help but be in tears as I preached my first Sunday night at college worship, got it taped, and brought it home for my bedridden grandmother who would die just a month later.  She got to watch her grandson preach, and I could not hold back my tears and joy.

She walked alongside of me in faith.  She placed faith and God in her life in remarkable ways, and thus created life wherever she went.  Thus, she became my partner in life, and my partner in faith.  It must be said that I was her oldest grandchild, and that came along with a special relationship that could only transform my life.  She was my partner as I developed and reached into a life of caring and ministering to others.  She became my best friend during difficult times and I learned from her how difficult times were to be managed and experienced.   Through an honest faith, and honest life, and a life of laughs.  With that, life was truly blessed.

Unfortunately, she could not make it past that Christmas season in my junior year of college.  She went into home hospice care at our house, and died shortly before Christmas.  It was a difficult loss.  It was a brutally difficult time before she died, traumatic to see her completely lose control of her body and lose the consciousness that made her life so vibrant.

But let me tell you this.  Her memory lives on so powerfully in me and in my life.  My ministry is a gift I continually give back to her.  My ministry to families and children is an honor to her.  The glue I have become for my family is a testimony to her.  I laugh because she laughed, and I cry as she cried.  I help as she helped, I love as she loved.  My Grandma laid down her life for me, and up from her memory she has borne fruit for the kingdom of God.  Praise God for my Grandma!

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Responses

  1. These are beautiful words James. What precious memories that you have carried with you. Grandma is smiling down on you and she is very proud.


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