In Memory of Nannie

I read in the local paper that Catholic missionaries are visiting each home in the parish over the next three weeks.  Attendance at Church each Sunday is dwindling.  It is twenty years since the last mission.

I remember there being a mission in our parish every few years when I was growing up.  People were encouraged in their faith by the visiting speakers.  It was an opportunity to renew one’s faith in God.

My daughter had a remembrance dinner for her Nannie, my husband’s late mother, recently.  She died two years ago around this time at the ripe age of ninety four.  Shann was telling me that Nannie, who was a widow and her sons had left home, kept a missionary every time there was a mission in her parish in Lurgan.  I never knew this about Nannie.

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Next week Brendan and I are going on a mission to Slovakia.  Brendan has travelled to many nations.  She now has missionaries in her own family.  Who knows what blessing has come to her family because of her hospitality to the man of God.  She received her reward on the earth and in heaven.

I am reminded of the story of the widow from Zarephath who let Elijah the prophet stay with her when there was a famine in the land.  She was going to make her last meal when Elijah passed by.  He asked her to give him water and food and she did.  He said to her,

“For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’ ”
She went away and did as Elijah had told her.
So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.
For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.”  1 Kings 17 v 14 – 16.

Later the widow’s son died.  Elijah brought him back to life.  So Elijah worked two miracles for the widow because she let him stay with her.

Nannie was very generous with her widow’s pension.  Her source of provision never ran out.  Money seemed to turn up for her.  There was always a welcome in her home for the poor person.  Nannie would admit herself she was not perfect.  But she believed in what The Word of God says, ” pure religion is to look after the widow and the poor.”

When we would visit she always wanted us to pray for her before we left.  She had an overcoming spirit even though she had many sorrows in her life.  She was widowed since she was thirty years old.   She always sent our children money to help them at university.  She gave money to Brendan when he travelled.  Only God knows her sacrifices.  Our children are blessed because of their Nannie.

“but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

She is with the great cloud of witnesses looking on.

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An Inherited Brooch Brings Back Memories.

I was wearing a brooch on my coat lapel today.  It belonged to my husband’s mother.  I liked it because it was in the shape of a tree.  It caught my son’s eye as we were out for a walk.  He said “Is that the olive tree with all the branches around your table.”  He was referring to a scripture that described our young children sitting around our table.
Blessed is every one that fears the Lord; that walks in his ways.
For you will eat the labour of thine hands: happy will you be, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife shall be as a fruitful vine within your house: your children like olive plants round about thy table.
Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed imagethat feareth the Lord. (‭Psalms‬ ‭128‬:‭1-4‬ KJV)

We used to sing this Psalm often.  Abraham said “Let me count the number of leaves on it.”  He counted fourteen, the number of children we have.  I was excited and could not wait to tell Brendan.  I showed the brooch to him and he was pleasantly surprised as well.  He counted the number of leaves.  Yes there were fourteen.  But he looked again and counted six white leaves and eight green leaves.  We have six girls and eight boys in our family.

The brooch is inexpensive but it is priceless now.  It is prophetic.  Nannie had this brooch for many years.  I bet she never expected her son would have fourteen children.  I am wearing it in memory of her and all our children The Lord gave us.

Children are a blessing from The Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127

We moved house recently.  Brendan has been working to get our home ready for visiting family and grandchildren.  We push ourselves to get one more job done, even though our bodies ache.  We take a break and start again.  We have a big house and it is a bit  lonely with just the two of us, after years of activity and bustle.  Our hearts ache as well when we remember our loved ones far away.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget I will not forget you.”  (‭Isaiah‬ ‭49‬:‭15‬ NIV)

Abraham returned from university yesterday; the first of the birds flying home to Ireland for Christmas.  Three more arrive on Friday.   I am blessed today as God reminds us of all our children we reared down through the years, in this little brooch.  They are returning home.  He has not forgotten us.

Lift up your eyes and look around; all your children gather and come to you. As surely as I live,” declares the Lord, “you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭49‬:‭18‬ NIV)

I will wear my brooch and think of God’s love and faithfulness to us.  Yes his promise to me will come true.  My children will return.

I received an e mail from a friend in Canada. She reminded me of Proverbs 13 v 12,

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭13‬:‭12‬ NIV)

When I was suffering from cancer I had lost all hope in the future or my dreams and prophesies coming true. But God intervened. He had mercy on me and for his Name’s sake he healed me. Today my hopes and dreams are coming true. The brooch resembling a tree is an encouragement to me that my longings are being fulfilled, and that God is restoring my life.

There is life after cancer. I am staying alive.