“JESUS WITH SKIN ON” (Grandparents Raising Kids)

Today this picture of my grandparents, Rev. & Mrs. B.D. Smith, popped up in my Memories on Facebook. I’ve never loved two people more than I loved my grandparents! This week was the anniversary of my grandmother’s entrance into heaven and my Papa’s birthday is this month as well, so I’ll take any excuse to honor their incredible existence. They were the best of the best! They were both parents and grandparents to me most of my life. I was so blessed to have a front row seat in the humble and blessed life they lived.

These two phenomenal human beings were the voice of God and the voice of reason in my life at every crucial turn. My grandfather knew His mantle (legacy) of ministry was being passed on to me before I ever did. One of my sweetest memories was the moment he expressed to me, a few months before he passed, that he felt I would be the one that carried on his anointing.  He felt he knew that I was chosen and fit for the task. I couldn’t grasp it at the moment, but God gave us that sweet moment, an Elijah to Elisha moment, before he passed. He said, “Forget about what I’m telling you, until God tells you, but I know it like I know my own name. You’re the one that will carry on the work I’ve started. God’s hand is on you. I could be wrong, but I’ve never been when I felt God speak this strong. When God speaks to you, just remember your Papa told you and I may be already rejoicing in Heaven by then.”

The call of God on my life is why I think God allowed adversity and pain to land me in their care. I learned to pray every night at 9pm when their knees hit the floor to intercede for every child, grandchild and friend they had, as well as the lost world. The gift of pastoring was learned when at any given hour they allowed their lives to be interrupted to run to the emergency room, visit a stranger in the hospital that called for prayer or perform an impromptu wedding in the living room when people wanted to be married, often under tough circumstances. When anyone arrived at my grandparent’s home, they were never condemned, but loved and cared for. My evangelism lessons came from trips to the mall that took countless hours of waiting while my grandfather or grandmother ministered to broken souls and led many of them to the knowledge of Christ in the middle of the Village Mall. My passion for souls was ignited as I watched my grandfather use his talent to play the harmonica to draw a crowd in the parking lot of the Midway Plaza Shopping Center, while waiting on me to get my hair done. As the people gathered and listened to his skilled musicianship, they were mesmerized  by the sweet fragrance of Jesus on his life. The music drew them in, but the Spirit that flowed from my granddad’s heart caused them to stay for the sweet message of the Father’s love that followed.

My gift for cooking and mothering came from watching my grandmother’s excellence with her culinary skills draw the crowds. It was comfort food at its finest. As everyone knew we would have lunch around 1 pm on Sundays and 5pm every night… promptly. While you were at my grandmother’s table, you shared in the stories, the chuckles, and the love that so freely flowed from her table. Everyone was welcome. If there was a shortage in food, she would get up and make more or forego her meal, so that someone else could feast. There were hundreds of lives that found hope and healing at her table by the simple acts of love and the labor of cooking for hours, food that would feed the soul.

Two incredible people on a mission to love and build a family connection with everyone they met. I was so privileged to be part of their existence and I am forever blessed to have them as a big part of my story. As I have gotten older, I have realized, through snide comments made, that a lot of people resented the love we shared. That really breaks my heart. How could anyone resent a love so pure that was available to them as well.  My sweet grandparents loved anyone who came into their world and they loved the broken with a little more intensity. I was wounded and bleeding inside, when they took the starring role of nurturers in my life.  There is no way I would have ever survived my life, if God hadn’t put these two angels on assignment in my life and place them next door to my home. What we shared was priceless, a rare find! Everyone may not have understood the work of God that was going on in our togetherness, but they did.

My life was constantly encouraged and God gave me His finest nurturing through these two people so that I could learn to soar over the pain! Never was I given the excuse or permission to be a victim, but they always had breath in their lungs and strength in their spirits to speak words of life that caused me to overcome. Our exchange was seldom money or anything material…it was all the great work of love and legacy being passed on. I’m glad I caught the torch when it was passed, I’m sure many others carry a portion of their fire in their souls too.

For these and a million other reasons, I live trying to share that same kind of God-like love with everyone I meet. I am sure I have failed in comparison to them , but hopefully with age and grace, I will become more like who they were…JESUS WITH SKIN ON! Never looking for applause or the spotlight, just for opportunities to share God’s powerful love with those who need it most. Sometimes, we ask God to come to us and later we realize He did. He came in those people that humbled themselves and served others above themselves.

Copyright 11/7/2015 All rights reserved by owner & publisher of Free Tips From Red Lips.

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