Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Legacy of Love

Today is my beloved paternal grandfather's birthday. He passed away last February at the age of 96.

I wrote a tribute to my grandfather and read it at his funeral. I'm sharing it again today to celebrate his wonderful life.


If I had to choose one word to describe my grandfather (Poppy) it would be, “LOVE.” He loved God, he loved people, and he loved life.

Some of my favorite memories of him are the times he laughed hysterically while watching cartoons. I remember watching Tom and Jerry with him and he laughed so hard that he nearly fell out of his chair. That was amazing to see an old man laugh harder than I did as a little girl. He loved to laugh and he laughed hard and often. He truly lived life to the fullest.

Growing up, I spent a great deal of time with him and my grandmother because I lived right next door to them for several years. One of my favorite things to do as a little girl was to sit with Poppy and swing with him while one of his many cats that he liked to call, “Sweetie Pie”
sat in his lap.

I will always remember the camping trips I took with my grandparents. Poppy loved his camper, he loved to fish, and he loved the outdoors. Some of my greatest memories are all the times we spent outside in his garden and on his property.

I learned what true joy is by hanging out with Poppy. He was always content while living a laid-back life in Epworth, Georgia. He was a country boy at heart.

Poppy knew the art of enjoying the simple things in life. I can hear him now making a soft whistling sound just like he did as he tinkered on his tractor and worked in his garden. He just had this amazing aura of happiness about him.

Poppy had a major sweet tooth. Some of his favorite treats were Circus Candy Peanuts and Moon Pies. He loved to eat a slice of cake or pie after every meal and sometimes he even ate his dessert before the main course.

And oh how he loved his family. He was truly the best father and grandfather a person could have. He raised three wonderful children. And I know Jeff, Sabrina, and Christina agree that he brought tremendous joy into our childhoods.

I will always remember the laughter, and the fun times with Poppy. But what is most important to me is how Poppy’s life permanently impacted my heart. I learned from him that life is a gift—a beautiful gift from our Heavenly Father. I watched my grandfather live the life that God intends for every person to live.

There is a scripture verse that comes to my mind when I think of Poppy. Deuteronomy 5:33 says, “Walk in all the way that the Lord has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.”

Poppy could have had a tragic life. His earthly father passed away on his 11th birthday and left him fatherless. But he chose the high road and he let His Father in Heaven fill the void in his heart after losing a parent at such a young age.

Poppy surely prospered in his life on this earth. He had a rich marriage with my grandmother for 72 years. He stayed committed to her and loved her through the good times and through the hard times.

He was a man of courage and a man of honor. He loved and enjoyed his family and friends so very much. 

He lived a long, fulfilling life because he attained an intimate love relationship with Christ. He lived out the greatest commandments in the Bible very well.

Poppy’s life is the perfect example of a life fully surrendered to Christ. He lived a blessed life throughout his journey on Earth because he loved God with his whole heart, mind, and soul. And he certainly loved his neighbor as himself in countless ways. He was an amazing man because he tapped into the true Source of Life.

His life was beautiful and filled with joy because of that. An intimate relationship with Christ is what God longs for every person to enter into. 

He wants us to be so head over heels in love with Jesus that no circumstance or loss can rob us of our joy.

My prayer for each one of us is that we will let the life that my grandfather lived be a standard we will reach for and that we will let Jesus fill the void in our heart in the same way Poppy turned to God when he lost his daddy as a child.

I will close with some words that my grandfather wrote to me in a letter. His words hold the key to a happy life.

Poppy wrote these words that will stay with me forever, “I pray that you will always love Jesus with all your heart. This is what life is all about.”

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