Tag Archives: Granny Nola

Guest blog: Missing my Granny

By NATASHA JACKSON             

 

I didn’t realize until the other day that I am still grieving the loss of my Granny Nola. Of course I cried when she died. I cried a lot. And I cried at her funeral. But I had a lot of peace about her going because I wasn’t the one taking care of her when she got really sick. I was in Fiji. And I wrote her a “good-bye on this earth” letter while I was there and my mom read it to her. I didn’t see her at her absolute worst. And I’m so thankful that I didn’t.

But a few weeks ago, I went to a senior assisted living center in Warrensburg and played and sang piano for the sweet old folks. To me, I did horribly. My voice was cracking the whole time because I was getting so emotional. When I played the hymn, “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross,” there was an elderly woman in the front row who started singing along to my poor piano skills. She sang so loudly and clearly. When I looked up at her, she had her eyes closed and was smiling so big. It really touched my heart. When I started to play and sing “Amazing Grace,” my emotions took over and I broke down. I had to stop playing. I was sobbing in front of 30 or so very elderly people. I felt so ridiculous. I mean, who breaks down like that in front of people they don’t even know?

I felt so rude. I had come to bless these people with my musical gifts, and I couldn’t even get through it. Of course I had to tell them what was up. I told them that my great-grandma had passed away and we shared a very unique bond over the Gospel and old hymns. No one understands that side of me better than my Granny Nola did.

The night before her funeral, I had a dream that she was whole, beautiful, and healthy. She was singing “In The Garden,” one of our most favorite old hymns. She loved roses. And she loved Jesus. Granny was so ready to go and be with Him where she could walk and talk with Him. She expressed to me several times how ready she was to go Home. The first verse and chorus:

“I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses; And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses. And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.”

Granny is with Jesus. Experiencing joy incomparable to anything anyone on earth has experienced. Instead of mourning that she is gone, we should be rejoicing that she is there. And I do. But I miss her.

My Granny got me the most thoughtful present I have ever received. For my birthday one year, she gave me a book that had something like 9 or 10 CD’s in it, and they were all instrumental hymns.

At the assisted living center, I had to stop playing hymns and switched to contemporary worship songs. I apologized for my breakdown, and they were all more than understanding. I thought that I was going there to bless these people. But really, it was the other way around. I was blessed, because being there with them helped my heart continue to heal and go through the grieving process.

I thought I was done hurting about my Granny being gone. But apparently I wasn’t, and being at that center was exactly what my heart needed to heal. When I was finished, I went up and talked to the lady who had sung along when I played the old hymns. Her name was Virginia. She asked how old my grandmother was when she passed. “84, almost 85” I said. With a big smile and a tear in her eye, she proudly stated, “I’m 85.” She also played the cello when she was my age. She was delighted to hear that I had and asked me to come and play for her sometime. I told her I would come and help her to relive some memories. Her smile couldn’t have been any wider.

I sensed Granny’s spirit in that place. Not because it was a home for “old people,” but because it was a place where the Lord was worshiped and they loved their old hymns. Just like Granny and me.

Journal Note: Here’s Alan Jackson performing “In The Garden.”

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Filed under Family, Guest Blog, Inspiration, Old Time Religion

Kianna: ‘Follow your heart’

GUEST POST by Natasha Jackson

My sister, Kishia, just had her baby on Wednesday. It was an INCREDIBLE day. Here’s my letter to the sweet little princess … my precious niece. (Letter originally appeared on my blog, “Sweet Hour of Prayer.”)

Kianna,
 
If anyone in the family could describe me in one word, they’d probably say I’m a “butterfly.” I’m not known for staying in one place for too long. I go where the wind goes. And what is that wind? That’s the Lord, hopefully, that I’m following! I feel like about 98 percent of the time my decisions are based on God’s leading. I gotta leave some room for error. I’m human.

But my personality, too, is very much of a butterfly. I love going from place to place to learn new things, and teach people things. My goal is to show the love of Christ to anyone God puts in my path. Sometimes, I don’t do the best job of that ‑ but I sure do try. Sometimes I miss it, even though I don’t mean to.
 
With that being said, I haven’t been known to be around the family as much as most. Generally when family get-together’s happen, I’m off on a mission trip or women’s retreat that I’m either leading or attending. I haven’t given much attention over the past few years to family. Part of that is because I live further away than any of the others in our family. But I’ve decided over the past year or so to not let the miles be an excuse anymore.
 
Just two months ago, your Great-Great-Grandma Nola went to go be with Jesus. We all wanted so much for you to meet her. But I’m sure that you two already knew each other. If people have guardian angels, I’m sure that she is yours. Just like all of us, she loved you so much before you were born. Even when she couldn’t remember anything because she was so sick, she remembered you.

The pain of Granny Nola leaving this world is still very fresh. But, Kianna, you have helped ease that pain. When I saw your face just moments after you were born, something in my heart changed. As I held you, I wanted nothing more than to make you smile. I can’t wait to get to know you.
 
So this is my promise to you, Sweet Princess: I will be there for you. I have had some great examples as to how to be a really good aunt. And I plan on even surpassing those examples! I don’t know where the wind is going to blow me next. I don’t know what God has in store for me in my next season of life. I might be miles away from you, but I won’t let that keep me from you. And I promise to be there for your mommy and daddy, too. I haven’t done the best job at that either. But that’s going to change.
 
You are already the sweetest little girl. I can’t wait to see how you change the world ‑ because you’ll change it just by being yourself! Don’t try to be anyone else, because you are incredible. I can tell you from many, many examples and stories in my own life that you should feel free to follow your dreams. No dreams are silly. So go with it.

Follow your heart.

I can’t wait to see what you teach all of us. And I can’t wait to tell you about the adventures I’ve had in my life.
 
You are truly the most beautiful little girl that I have ever seen. And I can’t wait to see you grow into a stunning little lady!

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Filed under Family, Guest Blog, Kianna Allene Brown