Life has a way of turning on a dime, doesn’t it? All week I’ve been meaning to begin this little article for our Sunday publication but somehow kid’s events, work, and a driver’s test scheduled in Marshall kept me from getting it done. (Marshall is not convenient, but he did pass!) I did, however, take the time to start a new Bible study and was sure my article would focus on Genesis 1. But as I said, life has a way of turning on a dime. Early Thursday I was startled awake when Josh’s phone began to ring. We all know a phone ringing before the rooster crows is usually sad news, and it was. My mother-in-law had called to deliver the news of Josh’s sweet Grandma Ossefoort passing away during the night – just shy of her 96th birthday. As my day went on I knew I had to get this little message written so I could get it turned into the office on time, but all I had on my mind were sweet memories of Grandma O.
The first time I met this little gem of a woman was at a Christmas party when Josh and I were dating. She was busy in the kitchen making her famous chicken and there were swarms of people I had never met. The size of the crowd was a bit intimidating and it had everything to do with the nine children she had raised. I could tell each person meant the world to her just by the beaming smile on her face. Her welcome made me feel very special, but over the years I learned it was nothing out of the ordinary rather, just the way Grandma O treated everyone. As the years continued Josh and I were married and soon lived a short block away from her. Some of Kaylie’s first words were ‘Bamma O and our children were spoiled and loved with every encounter. From time-to-time she would watch them for an hour or two, each Sunday she hosted after church coffee for crowds of people, and she worked every day serving lunch at the elementary school until she officially “retired” at the ripe age of 85. After her retirement, she had a little more time to relax but you knew to call before you visited to make sure she was home. She stayed busy visiting and helping friends around town and serving coffee to the “old folks” at the nursing home – many who were younger than her. Grandma O was a very simple and humble woman who never had much, but trusted there would be enough. She worked hard her whole life, found great joy in serving others, and loved well. In turn, she was loved well by many and she will be missed.
As I said, the topic of my article this week changed from my original thoughts and ponderings. It was supposed to be based on Genesis 1 where we find the story of Creation and my focus would have been on the gift of rest after a good, honest week’s work. The timing could not have been any better – after all, it is Labor Day weekend. But instead, God’s reminder of Grandma O’s servant heart among her daily work seemed to speak louder to me today. (Her apple bars she made each fall come to mind as well. ☺) I’m reminded of several scriptures as I reminisce of her beautiful, kind heart, but perhaps Philippians 2:1-4 fits her life the best. “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”
May it be so of us too, as we go about our daily tasks and routines that the humble and gentle love of our Savior would pour from us as we look to serve those around us with a true servant’s heart.