Grandma’s Bible Classes: Katia’s Story

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HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Katia’s blog Redeemed Aspie. It was originally published on March 7, 2014.

….And when the soldiers came, the brave little girl took the Bible and ran out to the garden and hid it under some cabbages… On Grandma S’s flannelgraph board was a picture of a little girl hiding a Bible under some cabbages. Grandma S was teaching her weekly Bible class, and this week we were learning about early Christians who were persecuted for their faith. I forget the rest of the story, but as a plant loving youngster, the idea of hiding a Bible under cabbages intrigued me. At the conclusion of class when we drew pictures and snacked, I drew a picture of the girl hiding a Bible under the cabbages and Grandma S wrote on the picture what it was.

Grandma S, my maternal grandmother, moved to Indiana from Ohio to live with us when I was 7. She needed a way to way to stay busy and loved her Lord and grandchildren. Holding a weekly Bible class for her four grandchildren enabled her to stay busy and show her love for both Lord and grandchildren.

Using a flannelgraph, drawings, or books with large illustrations, Grandma S taught us all the Bible stories Christian children learn — David and Goliath, Elijah, the Christmas story, the Easter story, Jesus’ parables etc. She also taught stories about missionaries, early Christians, Christian concepts, and the stories behind Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July.

Grandma S was a quiet, sober, simple, independent woman. Yet using her simple media, she held her four grandchildren (and later two friends of those grandchildren) spellbound as she gave her lessons. Even though I secretly disliked formal religious services, I don’t remember being bored with Grandma S’s stories. At the time of Grandma S’s Bible classes, we were attending a homechurch with no children’s Sunday School.

Grandma S’s Bible classes filled that void.

Each Bible class began and ended with prayer. Often Grandma let one of us children do the praying. Next up: singing. Each of us children got to choose a song. Because I loved animals, I usually chose “The Birds Upon the Treetops”

“The birds upon the treetops;

Sing their songs.

The angels chant the chorus,

All day long.

So why shouldn’t I?

Why shouldn’t you?

Praise Him too.

After we sang, Grandma S gave her Bible lesson. At the conclusion of class, Grandma gave us a snack and drawing materials. As we enjoyed the snack, we drew pictures of what we learned or other thing that interested us. Grandma posted each new picture on her refrigerator and kept all of our pictures in the folders she kept for her grandchildren.

Sometimes Grandma would give us a word and have us try to get as many words from it as possible. Today all four of her grandchildren love books and are good writers.

Grandma S’s Bible classes were something I took for granted. Only now as an adult do I see their value and treasure the few memories I have of them. Only now do I see the hard work and love Grandma S put into each class. Only now do I see her wisdom in letting us draw what we wanted after class, even when what we drew had nothing to do with what she had taught.

Grandma was a woman of God and understood the importance of letting a child voice what he had just learned or experienced in order to understand it.

And only now do I see the great blessing of learning those Bible truths from my grandmother in her quiet, simple way. Had I been in a loud Sunday school that used the latest technological media and involved complicated crafts and lots of people, I would not have learned those truths so thoroughly and treasure the memories so much.

Grandma S’s Bible classes ended the year I turned 14 when my older brother got a job and she got sick. Before the year was gone, Grandma S fell asleep in her Lord in the spot where she’d given so many Bible classes with Mom and I at her side.

I’ve written this in the room where Grandma S gave her Bible classes and fell asleep in Jesus. As I think of her, the day a trumpet sounds and we are reunited at the feet of Jesus in the rapture cannot come soon enough.

Crosspost: The Strongest Woman I Know

Crosspost: The Strongest Woman I Know

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Kierstyn King’s blog Bridging the Gap It was originally published on May 7, 2013.

I had intended to spend the day painting my dragon (Archangel) for my Horde army that I need to pick up the rest of on Thursday. But while in the shower, thinking about the meaning of life (as you do, and then quickly do that thing we call “washing” 2 minutes before the water turns cold) I realized that a large reason that I’m not bat-shit crazy, and the reason I attribute to my marriage being awesome and not abusive, is because my grandmother on my dad’s side was my rock.

I struggle and have always struggled with feeling worthless, like I’m nothing more than a broom with a brain and octopus arms for doing my mother’s bidding (or now, cleaning my apartment like there’s no tomorrow). I wonder, sometimes, why I’m not with some asshole of a guy, someone who is manipulative and mean, I wonder why my story is different. Why am I with this guy who’s been nothing but a catalyst of/for freedom and acceptance of me in all my nuances and idiosyncrasies. Who loves me for my intelligence and heart (as well as my boobs)?

I think, it’s because of her. My parents did a lot of lip service to self-worth and not settling for people who don’t treat you right, but they proceeded to treat me horribly. My Gramme?

She is the strongest person I’ve ever known. She was the second-youngest in a huge family, and the “all bad” child in the eyes of her mother (even though, like me, she spent her life slaving away for her family), she was neglected and abused and the most loving, accepting person I’ve ever met. She was brave and unafraid of anything, she was my original escape plan. She was the one, who, by her unconditional love and acceptance instilled in me this sense of I-deserve-to-be-treated-well-by-my-friends (family I was kinda screwed with, but my circle, I deserved to create to feel safe in).

She was the type of person who wouldn’t sit quiet if her kids were wrong, if her grandkids were hurt she would fight for them. She was my defender. I knew that if things got bad enough, I could run to her and trust her to protect me (not that I would have, but she was that kind of safe place).

When she died I was devastated. I’ve grown up around death – my first funeral was at 6 months old. My great-grandparents have passed, my uncle, two siblings, friends…my Gramme is the only one that still affects me. I still cry and get choked up when I talk and think about her (so I usually try not too, because there’s a huge gaping hole where she should be). Sometimes, 5 years later, I still do a double-take on the street because I see her dopple-ganger. If I were spiritual, I’d take it as a sign that she’s looking at me (instead of just some random elderly lady with the same haircut).

When I think about how she’d feel about me, I feel so so secure in that she’d still love me – that I could still tell her anything and she’d keep it between us, that she’d be supportive, that she’d be proud, she’d tell me I’m brave, and she would understand.

My gramme is the reason that I am so strong. She’s where I got my stubbornness from, she’s where I got my I-will-protect-the-shit-out-of-the-people-I-love-screw-you-if-you-hurt-them impulse, she is why I value acceptance and completely unconditional love.

She is why I am so lucky. Because without her just loving me? I would have been so different. She taught me, without either of us realizing it, that I am worth loving because I am me – that people who don’t accept me for me are not worth my time. And that’s why my marriage looks the way it does, that’s why I’m lucky, that’s why I built a circle of friends who genuinely cared about me, a circle that my family couldn’t penetrate.

I am lucky because as a child, I had a tether – and when all hell broke loose, when the shit hit the fan, when the abuse left crushing and devastating imprints on my soul – I knew that someone loved me unconditionally and that was right.

That’s why my story is different. That’s why my marriage is actually healthy – the healthiest relationship I’ve ever had.