Freedom to Go 'n Grow Together in Christ
Testimony of Karen P.
I grew up in a Christian household. My parents went to church, taught us to pray and gave us books of Bible stories. I don't remember not being a Christian. My mother told me that my Sunday School teacher relayed to her my understanding of heaven and Jesus when I was four. Since we attended a Methodist Church, I can't say when I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, but I joined the church, confessing Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was in 6th grade, 7th grade, 9th grade, and on my own when I was 24.
I want to talk about the example of my parents and grandparents. I spent several extended periods with one grandmother. She was poor all her life. Widowed with three children in 1929, she eventually lost the ranch she and my grandfather had homesteaded. She moved into the nearest town and worked nights as a practical nurse. My memories of her include daily visits to her neighbors who were crippled. She went to visit and to help with cooking and cleaning. She also visited long-term patients in the hospital, taking flowers in small vases. She also visited her husband's aunt regularly. I remember being bored out of my mind with visits to Aunt Dorothy, who always called me Sharon, but Grandma insisted that we visit her. In her final days in a nursing home, suffering from Alzheimer's, she went around and took care of the other patients, probably thinking she was still working in a hospital.
My other grandparents lived far off, but I knew they went to church. My other grandmother shared her favorite psalms with me as she braided my hair on their rare visits. When my grandmother was stricken with cancer, my grandfather cared for her. My mom put me in charge of our household for the summer (I was 14) and moved to Indianapolis from Minneapolis to help her father-in-law take care of her mother-in-law, including watching her die and enter into Jesus' arms.
My mom was always involved in church work, whether it was a rummage sale, delivering food for people in crisis, or visiting old teachers. She made almond roca every Christmas and we would deliver the small boxes to people. She devoted her life to her family and the church. She also developed Alzheimer's. My dad spent his retirement taking care of her, only resorting to putting her in a nursing home when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
When I think of Matthew 25, the sheep and goats passage,
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
I think of my parents and grandparents. As much as I can, I try to live out their example of walking with God and following His commandments.