If you live in Oklahoma or even keep up with the world of sports you will likely recall Oklahoma City Thunder player Kevin Durant upon accepting the NBA’s MVP award last season redirecting the attention to his mother as “the real MVP.” It was a touching tribute honoring the one who sacrificed greatly to raise and shape him into the man he is.
His speech was replayed across the networks, YouTube and social media millions of times over I think because we long for more “heroes” like he and his mom. Those who are honored first for their character, commitment, love and sacrifice over their abilities, achievements or attractiveness. It’s the same reason my nearly-ninety year old grandmother is My Real MVP.
For the past ten years my “Nanny” has cared for my “Grandaddy” with Alzheimers. It has not been easy and it has taken a toll on her health. But when she said “I do” sixty-nine years ago, she said I do “for better, for worse, for sickness and in health…until death do us part.”
Not only did she uphold her promise to him, but together they were a beautiful picture of what God intended marriage to be as a pointer to Christ’s great love for His bride – the church. My grandparents lived for the good of one another above themselves. And my grandmother – especially in this last decade – has shown what it means to die to self and to keep giving and serving and loving, even when her needs aren’t met.
With her inability to continue caring for him alone, he recently moved to a nursing home. I find it interesting that although the burden was lifted, her health actually rapdily declined. It seems as if Oneness in marriage is even more than we possibly see. Her life entwined and connected with his gave purpose and identity, even though enduring through it was hard and stressful. Her life, lived for another, gave her life.
Early this morning life’s curtain closed on her life.
But even in these last months and weeks the same woman I’ve always known was still there – still putting others first. In a recent phone conversation, she wanted to know about my sick daughter. She wanted to tell me how Granddaddy was doing. She wanted to encourage me that death is part of life, that she has lived for nearly ninety years (just 3 weeks shy) and if God took her soon it would be His plan to keep her from suffering.
As I listened, the verse about Moses that I mentioned in a recent post came to mind:
“Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated.”Deut. 34:7
That is her! Vigor, not because of much physical strength left at the end, but because God has been strong for her. Because He has faithfully carried her for all these years – for better, for worse. Because He has upheld her when she was weary or lonely. Because He has promised good even when all she could temporarily see was not. Because He first loved her, she could give that love to others and has. Now with undimmed eyes she has met King Jesus!
I didn’t want her to go, but how thankful I am for all the years and memories. And what a blessing for my children to have known for all this time their great-grandmother’s spunky personality and love…
Her legacy and testimony will live on. Her love for the Lord, commitment, love and servanthood to my grandfather, her family, friends, church and community, makes her the kind of woman I aspire to always be. She is my real MVP.
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