I just returned from a week at LeaderShape - filled with tips and training for our future leaders. It was quite a week, but maybe I'll get to that later.

For now, I want to follow up on the post my sister so kindly shared with us on Thursday. I have to admit, it feels a strange holiday to celebrate without the mothers I love.

My last memory about my grandma happens to be at her funeral. With eight children and too many grandchildren to count, the sanctuary at little St. Paul's Lutheran church was filled to the brim. Though certainly a full house, her touch reached way beyond her own fold. I remember the well known phrase that "Avonell would never turn someone away... there was always more room at the dining room table."

So, her gentle, steady spirit was celebrated that day and I remember sitting in the uncomfortable, wooden pews with all the cousins and writing notes to one another about how we would sure miss grandma. We wrote notes about the dresses she made (one of which I was wearing), about the things she would say, and about memories we held dear. This at the ripe age of about 10.

I remember actually going to the hospital with my parents to see her and when we arrived, she had already passed. My grandpa sat in the room with wet cheeks and asked if I'd like to kiss her to say goodbye. It's all a blur now, but still very real at once.

Yes, what a woman indeed. She inspired and motivated her children to not only love, but to love as Christ loves. I'm sure I'll never know just how she accomplished what she did with the so little that she had. What I am reminded of now is in a song called "Find us Faithful" where the words plead,

"May all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire in our devotion light the way
May the footsteps that we leave, lead them to believe
and the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful."

I am so fully convinced that if any legacy points back to a person, it is not so bold. A true and lasting legacy is one that points beyond oneself at the eternal. This - yes THIS - is what made my grandmother (and other women in my life) so brilliant. It is the way their lives point beyond the temporary that has me captivated and hoping my life leaves the same.

So, sister, this is where we start. Our journey must begin and end with Avonell's passion for Christ. I can't believe she would want it any other way.