A devotional by Jessica Brodie
When I think of the word “devoted,” my Gram immediately comes to mind.
A child of the Depression, she learned to make do in a tough world. She moved with her entire family to Miami from Brooklyn, New York, when she was thirteen, and by the time she came of age, World War II was in full swing. She met and married her husband, my grandfather, at age nineteen, and raised three kids in the suburbs while working as a bookkeeper and keeping house.
I loved him dearly, but I imagine my Gramps wasn’t an easy man to be married to—and yet my Gram was always there by his side, devoted, in spite of his temper and other quirks best left to time.
When her children grew up and left home, Gram continued to be a devoted wife, but also a woman devoted to many others in her life. Her widowed mom began a battle with Alzheimer’s, and so my great-grandmother moved in with them, and Gram became her full-time caregiver until my great-grandmother’s death. Shortly after her passing, my Great-Aunt Ethel took ill. Again, Gram didn’t hesitate—Aunt Ethel moved right into the vacant spare bedroom, and there she remained, happy and well loved until her death.
Over the years, Gram took in a host of people in need—my cousin Vikki and Vikki’s young son when they fell on hard times; her childhood friend Annie when Annie’s family no longer had enough space; eventually my Gramps himself, between cancer and a long and difficult battle with dementia. Even a litter of alley-kittens (in spite of Gram’s horrible cat allergy!) became her “flock.”
In her care and devotion for others, Gram embodied love. She embodied Jesus.
Gram’s love and devotion brings to mind for me the Apostle Paul’s reminder to the early church to “be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10 NIV).
Devotion is a big word. Essentially, it means “all-in.” It’s a sacrifice of self, a sacrifice much like Jesus made for us on the cross: one that sometimes saps our strength and our pocketbooks, our time and our energy. It means giving relentlessly, radically, fully.
It’s the kind of love embodied by my Gram, who gave of her body, her soul, her time, her heart, her home, her finances—everything she had to care for those under her watch.
Be devoted, as God is, was, and has always been to us—a nonstop, all-in, all-consuming, total love. For in loving others, we love God. And we model God’s love for us.
I pray I can follow in my Gram’s footsteps in my devotion to those in my world—family, friends, neighbors, and those in need.
Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach.
She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism.
Learn more about her fiction and read her blog at http://jessicabrodie.com/shiningthelight.