By Michelle Rabon
Originally Published in Be Still Magazine, Issue 8
My sweet Granny’s hands are frail, her skin pale and worn with time. Her eyes are full of patience, and her hair is white with years of wisdom. The heart within her chest beats with the rhythm of salvation, and the blood within her veins pumps with the sounds of grace. She carries our family’s faith legacy beautifully at the age of ninety-one. I can look at her hands and see every meal she cooked for us, desserts made, blankets crocheted, hugs given, and hands held. They tell of her devoted years as a mom of three, grandmother of seven, and great-grandmother of ten, each one of us loved with great joy. Granny’s words have always been laced with love, truth, prayer, and the Word of God. This beautiful woman has experienced a life well-loved and full of grace.
Like the rest of us, however, in her eyes I see the hurts that have settled in, the losses she has faced in burying her husband, her oldest daughter, and her sisters. Then there are those hurts that come in life that she has likely never shared, the waiting places, the hardships, and the seasons of God shaping her to the woman who now lays in bed unable to care for herself.
Granny has never wavered before my eyes—strength and honor have been her clothing. Her life is a devoted life. In her early months of sickness, I read the worn pages of her Bible to her when she could no longer hold it in her hands. I sat on the edge of her bed and read Psalm 23 and watched her aged mouth move with the words of Scripture that gave her hope. The God of the universe has sustained her, and He too, will sustain me.
We think a life of devotion is extravagant, with significant successes to our name. An obedient and fruitful life of service to God to us looks like packed churches, altars filled, wonderfully written Bible studies and books, but to God, I think it looks like the hands of my grandmother. Worn not from extravagant actions but from devotion to the ones God gave her to shepherd and love. The precious hearts that He placed within her home to share Jesus with by simply being her.
Devotion to the Father looked like changing diapers, making meals, and cleaning toilets. It looked like faithfully loving her husband through fifty-seven years of marriage. Obedience looked like faithfully teaching Sunday school each week to children who needed to hear the gospel. It is serving without recognition or acknowledgment. Courage looks like trusting God when you bury your oldest daughter after her battle with cancer and keeping your family together under the weight of life.
In Matthew 26, Mary of Bethany anoints the feet of Jesus with her treasured perfume. The sacrifice was scorned by those who watched the waste poured out over Him. But Mary saw the value in the One she loved more than life. Her heart was devoted to the One who redeemed her, an act of love found in a simple action. Jesus says this of her, “Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her” (Matthew 26:13). It will be told because of her devotion.
Mary of Bethany sat quietly at Jesus’ feet. She absorbed His words and teachings—her devotion was pure and beautiful. There were no crowds to her name, no long lists of accomplishments, but God said she would be known for her simple act of love. This small hidden treasure she carried was a symbol of her great love for God.
Proverbs 31:30 (AMP) says, “Charm and grace are deceptive, and [superficial] beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord [reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect], she shall be praised.” Our lives of devotion and obedience should be recognized in the small places, in our love for God, and gratitude for what He has done for us.
My granny may not have anointed the feet of Jesus with sacred perfume, but she gave what she had as a sacrifice for Him. Her acts of love and devotion will be told as a memorial to her for generations to come. The testimony of a life well-loved is a witness to each of us in our daily reach for grand obedience. As we sit at desks writing books, serving in Sunday school classes, women’s ministry platforms, or rocking little ones to sleep each night, our lives are a witness of devotion.
God isn’t looking for grand; He is looking for obedient. He sees the hidden mundane of our days and whispers, “I am here—will you be devoted to me in this place?” Will we still be devoted when our faithfulness goes unseen by the world around us, unnoticed by everyone but the people we physically touch with our hands? If there are no books written about our lives, or social media to display our acts, will we still act in obedience to Jesus who paid it all for us?
So until He calls her home, I will hold her fragile hands and see devotion. I pray that one day the same will be said of me, that my devotion to my Savior will be told in my memory, from the small moments of kissing my children goodnight to my greatest accolades.