Our Loss, Heaven’s Gain

Virginia Gilstrap Tweedy Durr, Born December 19, 1930, went home to her Lord May 14, 2014.

Grandma

Some called her Sister Tweedy. Some called her Sister Durr. Some called her Mom. I called her Grandma. I can’t remember a time that I didn’t know and love her – my memories of her extend back to when I was a tiny tot.

I can still hear her gentle and genuine laughter as my brother and I tumbled across the floor in wrestle-play. She would say, “Well, goodness, doesn’t that hurt, honey?” then shake her head and laugh again when I went back for more. Her legacy of laughter is my rich heritage.

I can still see her soft and radiant face full of reverent affection as she opened her heart to Jesus in loving worship and confident petition. I would keep my eyes open and watch in fascination as she spoke to God like she was talking to a friend. Her legacy of prayer is my rich heritage.

I can still envision her small and slender frame as she walked next to the love of her life, her soft hand tucked into his strong arm. Her deep joy, abiding love, and genuine respect for Grandpa were evident in all she did. Her legacy of holy matrimony is my rich heritage.

Grandma was a unique blend and balance of all the finest character traits and qualities, which found their roots in her soul day by day as she followed her Savior. A story told by author Elizabeth George finds its personification in my grandmother:

Elizabeth relates the content of an article she once read, titled The Bell Sheep. The piece explained that when a shepherd noticed a certain sheep that willingly followed and stayed near him, he hung a bell around the neck of that sheep. The flock would then follow the “bell sheep”, and thus they stayed near the shepherd.

Grandma loved the Lord her God with all her heart, soul, and strength. The words which He commanded her were in her heart, and she taught them diligently to her children, grandchildren, and everyone around her. She talked about them when she sat in her house, when she walked by the way, when she lay down, and when she rose up (Deut. 6:5-7). She was, indeed, a bell sheep. Her legacy of following the Shepherd is my rich heritage.

Not long after we had our first child, my husband and I took her to meet my grandma. Our baby girl was only six months old, but I wanted her to know the woman who was weaving a godly legacy that is now her rich heritage.

Grandma & Shelby

Grandma, Peanut, & Me

The classiest of ladies, she was the epitome of dignity and grace. She had the boldness of a lion, the gentleness of a dove, and the face of an angel. I will endeavor always by the grace of God to honor her legacy. Some called her Sister Tweedy. Some called her Sister Durr. Some called her Mom. But I was blessed to call her Grandma.

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The Shepherd, Bell Sheep, and Lamb

I recently began reading Raising a Daughter After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George. She begins the book by defining a bell sheep: “When a shepherd noticed a sheep who willingly followed him and stayed near him, he hung a bell around the neck of that sheep so the flock would follow the bell sheep…who, in turn, was following the shepherd.” She then says, “A mom should be the bell sheep for her daughter!

 

And how are we as mothers to become the bell sheep for our children? We “shall love the Lord our God with all our hearts, with all our soul, and with all our strength. And these words which He commands us…shall be in our heart. We shall teach them diligently to our children, and shall talk of them when we sit in our house, when we walk by the way, and when we lie down, and when we rise up,” Deuteronomy 6:5-7.

 

As I read, my heart cried out, “Oh, God, let me be Your bell sheep for my daughter! I will – I do! – love You with everything in me, Your words are in my heart, and my delight is in talking about You! May my consistent and diligent teaching help my little girl become a woman after Your own heart!”

 

As I poured out my heart before God, He showed me how my mother had been the bell sheep that led and trained me to become one for my daughter, and now, she and I are living as unified partners in this high calling of training up a child. I realized how great the love of the Good Shepherd is for my daughter…He has surrounded my baby with bell sheep!

 

MomGrandma1

 

This year, I will spend Mother’s Day enjoying my own gift of motherhood, as well as celebrating my mama, the one who diligently taught me the Word of God. Through her, I was introduced to the One I love with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I pray that as a mother, I can teach as diligently, love as wholly, live as sacrificially, and raise a child after God’s own heart as well as she has.

 

Three Generations

 

 

Unwrapping the Gifts

 

922. A good, Good Shepherd Who loves my little one even more than I do

 

932. Hugs that heal sorrow, laughter that follows tears, and love that never fails

 

959. Clocks

 

923. The honor of being a Mother

 

Of All the Rights of Women

 

911. Not having to worry about the words our little Peanut-Parrot hears her parents say

 

969. Peanut loves her new house

 

995. Sharing in the sacrament of Communion with fellow Christ-followers

 

Please tell me, what gifts have you unwrapped this week?