I can look back over my life of nearly 75 years now and count on one hand the number of Godly women that have impacted my life so dramatically as Grandma Maxine Smith. I loved her dearly, and she loved me. It seems that God always sent me exactly who I needed when I needed them and Grandma Maxine came into my life at a time when God was restoring the things I never dreamt would be restored – the love and affection of a Grandma, for instance. You see, all my Grandmas had gone to heaven and God must have known how much I still needed one, so He sent me Grandma Maxine to fill a huge hole in my heart and fill it she did, right along with Grandma Irwin, my natural Grandma who had gone to be with Jesus many years before, and with Vestal Goodman, another of my adopted Grandmas. Vestal held us all together when we were being torn apart in our great time of testing back in the ‘80’s. She was a great woman of God, and she loved us unconditionally.
As I began our broadcast ministry here at Morningside, I remember how “right with the world” I felt as my wife sat with me on the platform, and I looked out over the audience and saw Grandma Maxine smiling back at me. When I realized she wasn’t comfortable sitting in a regular chair, it was my pleasure to get her a recliner and place it right on the front row! That’s where Grandma Maxine was ‘stationed’ until she could no longer manage it.
Grandma Maxine filled my life with love, support and encouragement and even better than that, showered my children with love and affection. When somebody loves your children and grandchildren, they hold a special place in your heart that only those with such an intense common bond can understand. And my children loved her. She was always ready to give them as much time and attention as they needed and wanted. She was selfless and let everybody know how very special they were. When my kids were teenagers and Lori and I sometimes couldn’t quite “connect” with them, they would go sit on Grandma Maxine’s sofa and get some ‘therapy.’ It was amazing to see how much they loved her and felt safe and secure with her.
This may sound strange, but in my mind’s eye I can imagine Grandma Maxine, Grandma Irwin and Vestal having a great time together in heaven and cheering us all on who remain down here on this earth with all its challenges and the gravity that no longer weighs her down. I can see them walking along those streets of gold together and sharing some of their old stories and laughing – so much laughter!
And you know what? When I get to heaven, I’m going to take Grandma Maxine by the hand and we will go get Grandma Irwin and Vestal and have ourselves a party! And we will laugh for eternity in the joy of the presence of our wonderful Jesus.