"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." Prov 3:5-6
Sometimes the verse was embossed, sometimes scrawled in her swirly penmanship, and other times simply referenced after her signature. Love, Grandma - Proverbs 3:5-6. Regardless of how, it was in every birthday card during my childhood years. Not just in MINE, but in those of my siblings as well. Did our Grandma know any other scriptures? Did she think this was my favorite? Certainly it must be hers. Could it possibly be the only verse in her bible?
Through the years, it bore the brunt of a joke or two as we opened her mail, knowing full well it would be staring at us from somewhere on the cardstock. Rarely was it accompanied by a present, nor was it attached to the often warm relationships of grandparents to their grandchildren. These two lived in the sunshine state 20+ hours away and communication between them and my parents was stained by a history of hurts. Proverbs 3:5-6 was admittedly assigned some 'resentment by association' during those early years.
Adolescence came with its standard insecurities. However, the small parochial school I attended seemed to bring more than my share of rejection. Confusion and hurt drove me to test authority, challenge my parents, and break any boundaries my young mind didn't like or comprehend...lean not on your own understanding.
High school piled on dating disappointments as I pursued guys who didn't follow Jesus. Regret and shame were consequences of chasing after my own desires...in all your ways, acknowledge Him.
College brought anxiety, fear, and struggle over future life decisions. God word whispered to my soul...Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Grandma continued her contact and offered to host me the summer before my senior year. I saw the chance for this cold Wisconsin girl to tan on the Florida coast. She and Grandpa saw the chance to fill me with scripture, devotion, and prayer. We survived 10 weeks of messy roller coaster days. They laid one small block after another onto the foundation of my faith through their loud but authentic care for my spirit - and their boisterous hymn singing! I became wiser, grew in character, and softened in our relationship.
It seems that many small stones carefully placed over time can build a monument. Somewhere along the journey, those beautiful Proverbs carved their way into my memory. Over and over again, God's wisdom guided my heart. Jesus drew me to seek Him more deeply, and the Holy Spirit strengthened me through Christian community, word, and the sacraments. I had been trained up in the knowledge of my Savior through the mentors who spoke into my life and led by their example. What a blessing to receive the gift of forgiveness thru the cross of Christ, recognize my restoration to The Creator, and anticipate a certain future secured by the empty tomb!
Grandpa went on to future paradise and I'm certain is enjoying the music of Heaven. Grandma is still here, walking healthy and strong with her Lord at 95! I never did tell her how I used to feel about Proverbs 3:5-6.
It seems a little childish to me now, though, perhaps that's the beauty of it.
Song Reflection: I am trusting Thee, Lord Jesus, Trusting only Thee. Trusting Thee for full salvation, Great and free.
I am trusting Thee to guide me; Thou alone shall lead. Every day and hour supplying all my need. Lutheran Service Book #729
Prayer: Gracious God, I praise you for Your faithful Word - alive, active and applicable to me in every season. Thank You for the wisdom of those You've placed in my life to bless and grow me up. Continue to hide Your truths in my memory and cover over me so I will not depart from Your ways. In Your name I pray, Amen.