Image courtesy oKriss Szkurlatowski

By Lisa Cherry

We stood around her bedside as participants in a holy scene.  As I watched my grandmother’s sleeping figure breathing her very last shallow breaths, my mind whirled with fleeting memories.  Some of them to the distant past of little girl romps on the prize laden twin bed in her back bedroom.  Some of them to the scenes of the past few days when her 95 year old body took a sudden turn into weakness.  I could see her just 24 hours prior as she rallied her strength for one more good tease for her assembled great grandkids.  I heard her voice in my ear as she attempted to give each one of us one more quality moment.  “I will give anyone a dollar out of my purse if you can solve my puzzle game,” she called into the sitting room from her bed.  “Kalyn, what color did you say the bridesmaids’ dresses would be?  I’m not sure I am going to be able to get there next week…… I love you too, honey.”

And now she was gone.  Her 95 years of pilgrimage to her King were completed.  She finished them in her sleep.

Her bedroom was filled with Gaither Homecoming videos, family photographs and trinkets.  But as I stood my post on the upper corner of her bed, my eyes caught sight of something I hadn’t noticed all day.  There under the mound of medical supplies and blankets sat her trusty companion, her typewriter, with its old manual keys.  Suddenly I saw a glimmer of our lives intertwined.  And now I sit here in my own house with tears flowing attempting to capture something on my own keyboard about the depth of her life…..

We called her Ging-gi, a nickname she had picked out for herself when I was a baby.  Ging-gi was never famous.  Her words never went to print or even as far as an internet blog.  But nevertheless she left her mark of love on countless lives.  From her, I learned the true meaning of the word “grit.”  She was tenacious.  Vigorous.  Passionate.  And some would say stubborn.  She never wanted to assume the limelight.  In fact, she hated when anyone would even attempt to give her any public recognition or praise.  But something deep inside her radiated “life.”  She found a way of drawing life from the simplest things.  A Beanie Baby collection.  A stack of old Audubon Society magazines with the pretty bird pictures on every page.  A bowl of Hershey’s miniatures or her famous pound cake.

Life was a little slower when you visited Ging-gi’s house.  It seemed the world was a little less complicated and maybe just a little less scary.  Perhaps it was because her mindsets and ideas flowed from a simpler time when Christian parenting was more the rule than the exception.  Or maybe it was just because she represented to me the safe grandma world where I could do no wrong.

As I stood by her bed, I was uncharacteristically quiet. Beautiful words of prayer and praise and comfort flowed from family members all around.  I was halfway miserable because my words seemed stopped up instead of flowing.  Until one phrase birthed forth from my lips. I knew it had come forth from my spirit connecting to my Father’s heart.  “Faithful.  She was a faithful woman serving a faithful God.”  And then my world was right again.  Maybe those words don’t read with any significant power.  But when I heard them in my heart I could almost sense my Daddy God reaching out His hand to His daughter Wanda and saying, “Well done my good and faithful servant.  You may enter into your rest.”

And at that moment I sensed a new mantle had come upon my life.  A passing of the baton.  A changing of seasons.  An unfolding of legacy.

My race and my grandmother’s look so different and yet so similar.  She was a Servant; I am a Servant.  She was a daughter; I am a daughter.  She was a grandma and now (oh no!) I am the grandma!  Those parts I knew.  But other parts I had never understood before.  I guess my mind reasoned that she just used her typewriter because her eyes had left her blind and her handwriting had become so shaky.  I had failed to recognize her calling and gifting.  My grandmother was a writer.  A poet.  A scribe for her King.  Pouring His love into those notecards and diaries and stories.  And even into her book which she “published” by loading a stack of her typewritten pages into a little satchel suitcase.  Grandma, it is your heritage, your legacy that I am living now!!  A piece of you in me!

The words of Psalm 71:18 ring in my heart. “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”  Ging-gi, you did.

My aunt Sharon called me this morning. “Lisa, did you know the last thing Ging-gi did before she fell sick on Friday? I was sitting with her reading aloud your new book, Kalyn’s Secret. We had just read page 120 which says: ‘Love (agape) can best be understood as a spiritual force—a force of the kingdom of light that drives back the forces of darkness and gives the ultimate sacrifice.’  Can you see it, Lisa?  That is where she fell asleep.  That is where she rested her life.  She lived that life of Love.”

It was true!  Gingi-gi’s faith in her Faithful God was inside of me.  When I penned those words, they overflowed from her pilgrimage influence on my life.  That is the legacy I want for my daughters and sons.

It is my race now without grandma’s presence.  And when I get to the end of my days with my family gathered around, I hope those same words can rise up in my grandchildren’s hearts.  Faithful.  She was a faithful woman serving a Faithful God.  Thank you, Ging-gi.  Your words and your life will never be forgotten.  Frontline Moms, we will declare His power to the next generation.


About frontlinemama

I am a mom who is passionate about equipping moms and parents to help their children through the challenging times we live in today.

24 responses »

  1. […] Ging-Gi and Grandad did … and now, decades later, so do […]

  2. […] Grandad, who revered sound doctrine and held fast to a belief of God’s inerrant Word…or Ging-Gi, who continued her faithful witness until her dying day…or Mom Renshaw, whose Lord instilled a […]

  3. sharon icenogle(the cook in the kitchen) is how wanda would put it says:

    what a true blessing it was to know wanda, a kind, caring,we had many chats together, some serious, some just to say hello, and some to say funny i found a ratt on my steamtable today, she said you did!where did that come from, with a serious look upon her face, then we would just laugh. she was great with the pranks,she started it all and we played along, lots of memories, she was loved by us all at big muddy, very much missed, sharon

  4. gay patton says:

    Lisa, Thank you for the poignant thoughts about your grandmother. Wanda is dear to my heart. The photo of the typewriter spoke volumes more about my memories of her than a photo of her would have, and brushed up my most tender thoughts of her. I have been and remain inspired by Wanda, as well as your family.

  5. Diane says:

    I feel like i was blessed to know Wanda. She was a nice lady. I felt as if she was my grandmother too. She had so much love for everyone. She will be missed so very much. She even loved my grand daughter Chelsey. I feel as i have been blessed by a beautiful woman. She loved to joke around. God has a very special angel now with him. I hope one day i will see her in heaven. She is glad now that she is with her husband and God. Love diane

  6. Donna Massey says:


    I do not know you , but I know Sharon and I knew your grandmother. Thank you for
    such a beautiful tribute!!

    I cannot attend the service, but thanks to you I feel as if I already have!!

    Many blessings!!
    Donna Massey

  7. Lynne says:

    Lisa, thanks for giving us a glimpse into your grandmother’s life. It’s thrilling to see the heritage and anointing that came through Ging-gi displayed in your life, and now in your children and grandchildren. God sets us in families for His purposes.

  8. lucas cherry says:

    Wow mom! That was amazing. The best blog I’ve read

  9. Toppe says:

    Lisa, how wonderfully warm and exacting your words about your beautiful Grandmother are.
    Ging-Gi was not a name (altho I knew about it) that we–Barb Bitter and I used. The first time we met Wanda was up in Orion. She met me at the door and grabbed my arm and said “I am the Manager” and the Manager she was. What a fun loving wonderful woman. She and I slept in the living room—she in her chair and me on the couch. The first night when I crawled into bed, I jumped right out—something was in there. Of course the Manager couldnt imagine what was wrong–ha ha. My bed was full of Beany Babies. Well, she just couldnt imagine how they got in there with such a straight face. From that night on we had a “special” relationship that will never be again. The tears are flowing here also. I know your Ging-Gi is smiling down at you for all those sweet words. Thank you

  10. Lisa Rebelsky says:

    Indeed a mantle has been transferred and I honor it.

  11. Dorothy says:

    Wow, what a lovely testimony of your grandmother’s faithfulness.

  12. Jacqui Trammell says:

    What a blessing Lisa. This post was very precious. You have always been such a blessing to me and my family. Thank you for serving our King so faithfully.

  13. Chaz Corzine says:

    Amen and AMEN!!!!! A truly unique, wonderful, amazing and Godly woman. I can only imagine the Homecoming and celebration she is experiencing!!!

  14. Tara says:

    Wow! What words of wisdom and blessing. Ging-gi truly was all of these things and more. And Mom, you are already doing such a great job living her legacy. Thanks for doing it for me and my children!

  15. nathan cherry says:

    Wow… This is beautiful

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