A Rich History

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Today we honored a man who has provided such a rich history for our extended family. A husband, father, grandpa, uncle, brother and friend…a man who touched many lives. And yet this man, deserving of honor and praise, wanted those attending his funeral to know that it wasn’t about him, but about Him.

His greatest wish in leaving instructions about his service was that the message be about the God that offered immeasurable grace to him. The God that poured out His blessings on my extended family. My grandpa wanted everyone to know his Savior. THAT was what is most important about today.

The message shared was filled with hope. Hope in the eternal life offered by trusting in Jesus. My grandpa was able to see God’s hand throughout his life and while it wasn’t always easy…he trusted God.

What an amazing legacy he left us.

The committal ceremony was at the cemetery across from the church my grandparents were married in. We had an opportunity to go into that church after the ceremony and see where they had exchanged nuptials a little over 67 years ago.

My great uncle Al, who grew up in the church, told us a few stories about the history of the building. Re-built in the early 30’s after a fire destroyed it, the church that stands today looks just like the church before the fire. They rebuilt it exactly the same!

The walls were lined with huge stained glass windows. Windows that apparently cost $66 back in 1932. Cheap in todays standards, but in the Depression it was a lot of money.

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The original organ was destroyed in the fire and a new one was placed in the balcony. It was HUGE and apparently made beautiful music.

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Al told the story of when the church was on fire all the farmers from around the area were called and they worked to save as much as they could before the fire destroyed it all. The pews were screwed to the floor and somehow in the fight to save them, these men ripped the pews out of the ground without unscrewing them! They also worked to save the alter before the rest was lost.

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The wall behind the alter was destroyed but then rebuilt. The stunning beauty of all of that woodwork was amazing.

Apparently earlier that day a couple had exchanged marriage vows, just like my grandparents did 67 years ago.

I felt very aware of the juxtaposition of one new life full of hope and promise just beginning and another life lived so well, ending. 

67 years ago I would guess that my grandparents exchanged vows filled with excitement and hope. Promising to love one another until death would part them, they stepped out in faith and trusted God with their new life together.

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They would face heartache yes, but also experienced years filled with the blessing of family and God was with them through it all. My grandpa loved his community and worked to serve others. He volunteered on different boards and committees. He gave generously in so many ways. He sought to share the blessings God had given him. He had a true servants heart.

Some of those very things that are a part of my natural makeup come from him. What a rich history he left me.

I am so fortunate to have been raised in a Christian home. The legacy of faith passed along from generation to generation will make an impact that even I can’t fully appreciate right now. Just like the beauty in the walls of an old church, we each have a story to tell.

I think that is one reason I love to write and tell stories, the good and the bad. When I share all that God has done in my life, I am establishing that rich history. There have been fires at times, situations that felt overwhelming. But as I look back at all the ways God has been with us, I can see how He made beauty out of ashes.

Yes today we remembered my grandpa and celebrated his life, but even more so we praised the God that offered grace to each one of us by sending His Son. My grandpa wanted everyone to know that peace. To experience the full life that can be found in a life lived with God. I am honored to have had him as my grandpa and grateful that his faith will live on in my life and my family.

A rich history indeed.

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