in honor



anniv.jpgFebruary 25. It went down in my history two years ago as a sad day. A day that death came and robbed the world of a truly beautiful and precious woman.Gramma. It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since she left. It seems longer than that, yet the pain of her sudden departure is still so fresh that whenever I sit down to pen my most precious memories of her, it is through a haze of emotion, my thoughts smeared with tears.

There’s the memories of the times I managed to claim the coveted seat next to Gramma at church, being little enough that my lace-frilled ankles hardly extended past the edge of my chair, and softly paging through her big, worn, blue Bible that took up my entire lap and then some.

The taste of her summer staple—cucumber salad, is still a pungent memory to my taste buds. Not to mention her amazing strawberry shortcakes.

anniv-2.jpgThere are so many sweet things that come to my mind when I remember her, and the beauty of her smiling face will never be erased from my mind.

She was one of those people who managed to touch my life without even trying to. She laughed when I laughed, cried when I cried. She supported me through every phase of my life. There were times I was making foolish choices and wrong decisions, yet she never stood in my way; instead she loved me and prayed for me, and hugged me when I came through—a little wiser with a praying and perceptive Gramma to thank. How I appreciated her.

As the years took their toll and her health began to fail in a major way, I watched Gramma grow stronger. She was a tenacious woman. She loved the unlovable, reached the unreachable, and lived a life of constant giving. I’ll never forget the times I stayed with her when she was sick, helping her pay bills, listening to her favorite program with her—Unshackled (produced by Pacific Garden Mission), and listening to her talk. I had so much to learn from her.

Scripture tells us that God will make all things new, and that our mortal bodies will put on immortality, and that there will be no pain or suffering in heaven. It thrills me to think of Gramma dancing around heaven, no longer leashed to an oxygen tank, no longer struggling for breath; having a new body and singing with a voice as strong and clear as the angels. But when I get there, I hope Gramma still has those smile lines on her face. They added so much charm to her beauty here on earth, that I want them to be on her radiant face next time I kiss her cheek.


by Martha Stoltzfus


Your eyes never opened to behold the glorious splendor of a sunrise, or the marvelous beauty of a sunset.  You never smelled the freshness of Spring, the fragrance of a rose, or the crispness of Autumn.  You never tasted the sweetness of an apple, or the crunchiness of fresh harvested wheat.  You never heard the relaxing night sounds, the hum of a tractor, or the neighing of a horse.  You never felt the pleasure of sand between your toes, the joy of holding a child’s hand, or walking through the rain.  You were never able to experience the joys of family life, the encouragement of friends, the thrills and challenges of travelling to distant lands, or the excitement of telling a soul who’s never heard about the glory of our Savior.  You never had to go through sickness, pain, or grief.  You never had to endure trying or difficult times.  You never heard a sermon preached, or had to study to preach one yourself.  You never laughed and played with me when I was young, teased me when I got older, or confided in me your deepest secrets.  Though you never experienced this life, and its joys, sorrows, challenges, successes, and failures, you are enjoying the richest pleasures of heaven, and the joy of resting in Jesus’ bosom.

When you were born 22 years ago, it was love at first sight.  As I held your tiny hand in mine, I could not understand why you did not grasp my finger, wiggle your little toes, or open your beautiful eyes.  I did not know why Jesus had taken you to be with Him.  I wanted to see you smile, get your first tooth, take your first step, hear you coo and laugh, and run and play with me.  Now, all I could do is hold your cold body, and wonder.  You were so sweet, innocent, and pure.  And God chose you to be with Him eternally.  Some day, my brother, I am coming too, and we will embrace for the first time.  Jesus will wipe away the tears from our eyes.  Then we will go and worship at His feet as we cast our crowns before Him.  We will sing together, share each other’s secrets, and walk hand in hand together on the streets of gold.  Maybe our mansions will even be next to each other.  My precious brother, though are not here on this earth, your spirit lives on, and I will always remember you, and hold you close to my heart.

I love you!