I wanted to archive the notes that I took in anticipation for speaking at my Grandmother’s (Nanny) funeral in 2010. Estelle Ingram was a very special lady and as I reflect on these words I am reminded even more of that truth. Below are my thoughts on her life that I used to share on the day of her funeral.
Over the last few days I have had many people reach out to our family expressing their condolences for our loss. One thing that continues to resonate with me is that our loss here on earth is heaven’s gain. And on December 23rd, heaven gained in a big way.
I am reminded of the words in the song “You hold me now” that say, “No weeping, no hurt or pain, no suffering, you hold me now, you hold me now.” And that is the great news today. As my grandmother stepped into eternity, she met Jesus face to face. There was no more suffering, there was no more pain. From now on she is held in the arms of her Savior.
Before I share a few moments that I had with my grandmother that will last with me forever, I do want to say a few words to my mom, my aunts and uncle, their spouses, and my entire family who have loved and supported Nanny in these last few years as her health declined. I say to you all what I’m sure she would say if she were here and that is she loves you. She would want you to know how thankful she is for the way you all cared for her. She would recall John 15:13 where Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends”. That is exactly what you all did day after day, month after month; you laid aside your life for hers. Thank you for all you’ve done, thank you for loving her the way did.
In our lives we all have those special people that leave lasting impressions on us and my grandmother was no exception. Her infectious smile, her love for other people and her commitment to prayer are each testaments to her great life. She also had those little qualities that we all cherish. From her morning ritual of cookies and coffee for breakfast, to her way of keeping us all up to date on one another’s life and to those phone calls just when you needed them.
God had this way of using my grandmother in my life. When I was down or needed a pick me up, our paths would cross at just the right time. I can recall numerous times where she and I would be in the car together on our way to church or back to her house and God would speak to me through my grandmother. Our conversations would often go like this:
“Matthew, I want you to pray for this person. They really need prayer right now. Would you pray for them with me?”
“I will Nanny, thank you for letting me know. Let’s pray.”
Here was a lady who did not have much according to earthly standards, but one thing she did have was a heart for others. After our time together, I would sit in my car and cry out to God thanking Him for using her to speak to me. Thanking God for her unselfishness and for her heart.
My last moments with my grandmother were special and ones that I will treasure always. It was just three of us in the room, you know…God, me and her. I rubbed her forehead and told her that I loved her. She could barely open her eyes at this point but as she did, I told her to just rest. I told her that I was going to pray. I thanked Jesus for my grandmother and the time he allowed me to spend with her. I thanked Him for the influence that she had on my life and on others. I asked Jesus to comfort my grandmother and take away her pain. And true to His Word, Jesus took away her pain just 5 hours later.
Thank you all for being here today to honor my grandmother. She was a great lady and her legacy will live on within us all.