This is my Grandma Schipma, Marcie. I love this photo of her looking at my son Isaiah, because I feel like that is how she looked at all of us. Like she treasured us. She makes me think of love and generosity and hospitality and home.
Generosity. When we rode our bikes to her house, she always had chocolate chip cookies in the freezer, ready for company. When we got sick, she had Cool Whip containers of homemade chicken soup thawed out and ready to take to us. (It is still the one thing that sounds good to eat when I’m sick). She seemed quiet and shy, but the thing people always say about her is that she was so positive. She never had a negative word to say about anybody.
Hospitality. The last time my little family saw Grandma, we visited her room at Saratoga Grove retirement home around Christmas. She hosted us so well – she had cookies, little toys for the boys, and candy. She was 96. She still played the piano every day and accompanied the Saratoga worship services. She told us that her purpose at Saratoga was to get to know new people who didn’t have a group of friends yet and make them feel welcome. She gathered our family well. We got together for coffee on Sundays with all the aunts, uncles and cousins, and my cousins are still some of my very best friends.
Love. Last week, we watched the Mr. Roger’s movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and Tom Hanks’ character asks the columnist, “Who loved you into being?” and then pauses and looks into the camera. It doesn’t take much to make me cry, so of course my eyes filled right up with tears as I considered the answer. My first thought was my mom and dad, and then Grandma. She died a few months ago, and I miss her. But then I thought of all my aunts and uncles and cousins who are also part of Grandma Schipma’s family, and they loved me into being too. I felt treasured by all of them and I still do, at 44 years old. I didn’t know this was a rare and beautiful thing. I thought we were just another regular family. Life has taught me that it is rare and beautiful.
At Grandma’s interment, each of her 5 kids, 20 grandchildren and most of her 58 great-grandchildren put a purple rose on her casket. As I watched those roses pile higher and cover more and more of her casket, the weight of that image settled in my heart. All of these precious people I love. All raised by and under the example of Marcie Schipma. She prayed for all of us every day by name.
Home. People my age talk a lot about finding their calling and purpose, and I can’t think of a more purposeful calling than creating a peaceful loving home. The fun Christ-centered home she made created five more loving homes by her five kids, which created 20 loving homes by her grandchildren, and someday 58 more by her great-grandchildren. It’s quite a legacy.
I thought of her again this week when I heard the song The Blessing by Cody Carnes, Elevation Worship, and Kari Jobe:
May his favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
Your family and your children
And their children and their children
His favor has been upon Grandma and her children and their children, and their children. I feel God’s favor to me the same way I felt it from Grandma: cherished and cheered on. It is harder to feel in the hardest of times, but God’s favor and goodness is still evident. So this photo illustrates how I felt around Grandma. That is how I want people to feel around me – cherished and cheered on.
Cherish. Happy Mother’s Day! Post if you have a photo of your Mom or Grandma looking at you or one of your kids this way. 😊