God willing, I will celebrate my 67th birthday this Wednesday, February 19th, nine years to the day after I wrote my first post for Transitions by the Book. For those of you who have been on this journey with me since the beginning, you may even remember it.
I had been working on sorting some old Bibles and books that were in my office area at home and I came upon a New Testament Bible that my paternal grandmother gave to me on my 10th birthday in 1963. Back then, as a ten year old, I certainly didn’t appreciate her gift. After all, I wanted toys or games and there wasn’t much I could do with a small New Testament Bible that included the Psalms as well.
I remember being frustrated and never cared much for the gift. And, during that season of life, my brothers and I didn’t really enjoy traveling to my paternal grandparent’s home. Grandpa was someone we didn’t see very often and he seemed to keep pretty much to himself – he was pretty quiet. Grandma cooked quite a bit and when Grandpa brought stuff in from his huge garden, Grandma would can and freeze and put up preserves and jellies to her heart’s content.
She was also very religious. There was no question that her life revolved around prayer, reading the Bible and serving the Lord in any way she could. My own father and mother were not committed church goers at that time and I daresay that my father had lost, or possibly even renounced, his faith somewhere along the path. I often wonder whether in his last moments, he accepted Christ as Lord and Savior or whether he died without being saved… I guess I won’t know until I enter heaven and find out whether he is there or not. I sure hope so…
Grandma, however, was a Bible thumping Fundamental Baptist who couldn’t have been more committed to her faith. I never, back in those days, understood her devotion to God and that was probably exacerbated by my Dad’s lack of belief. Mom did what she could to educate us in the faith but it was difficult without Dad playing a role in our spiritual development.
It was with all these memories that I finally decided to give Grandma some grace and accept, without reservation, her gift to me as a ten year old. So, it was on my 58th birthday that I wrote my first post – remembering and appreciating that small pocket New Testament given to me 48 years earlier. Since then, I have often recalled the verse that she inscribed inside the front cover of that Bible.
So, in honor of Grandma, I have used that same verse each year since I started writing my posts. Tonight is no exception. From the title tonight, you can see that this series of writings has gone far beyond what I ever imagined. This is my 1526th post during the past nine years – with approximately 1.5 million words about the life in the Toussaint family and how God meets us in our everyday lives.
I wrote my first 49 posts without a break when Al, a dear Jewish friend of mine, reminded me that every 50 years was a year of Jubilee and that maybe I could skip a night. I will be forever grateful for his grace in mentioning that to me. I needed permission to skip a night. Then, for quite a while, I wrote 5 or 6 nights a week. And, for the past number of years, I have written twice a week… with no end in sight as long as I feel called to continue.
Thank you for being loyal readers and for joining me on this spiritual journey of growth and learning more about our Savior. I hope you will be a part of the TBTB family for years to come. And please feel free to comment – I try to answer every one…
So, for tonight’s verse, I once again remind you of the verse my grandmother chose – she was the one who saw something in me 57 years ago. We are told, in Hebrews 13:20-21, “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
My encouragement this evening is that there is someone who believes in each of us and this verse affirms that Jesus makes our accomplishments possible. My prayer is that God will continue to work in each of us and give us the gifts that we need to accomplish His will for our lives. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace – and thanks again for the great gift, Grandma!