This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
. All of these people have been there for me and then some. I thank you. This is a long list of people and I wish I could thank all of them personally. But most of all, I like to thank God, for He has saved me and given me the strength to carry on this Christian walk. Without Him, I would not be here to write this book. God is still a God of miracles. May He richly bless all of you. Sincerely,
Gail N. Gerald
Gail N. Gerald
Esther Raines was a pious woman of who lived most of her 80 years serving the Lord. She was a hard-working woman who also dedicated her life to the service of others, whether cooking meals for the elderly, reading to the children at the local library, or singing in the church choir. Many in the church have always commented that the Heavens opened up whenever she sang. Mrs. Raines, or Mama Raines, as she is known in the community. But to me, she is Grandma Raines. I'm Alisha Raines Walters. I'm 25 years old and I am currently studying Chemistry at George Mason University. My dream has always been to be a Forensic Scientist like on "CSI", but I have found out that life is not as simple as it looks on TV. Crimes aren't solved in 60 minutes or as in the case of the Dollhouse Murders, an entire season. Sometimes, I wish it were with all the long hours in the field, the homework assignments, the dedication, and all of the tragedy that goes along with it. In those moments, I think of my Grandma Raines with her melodies, her laughter, and her stories. I remember when my brothers and I were children she would tell us stories of Jesus and how He healed the sick, raised the dead, and fed five loaves of bread and some fish to thousands with a lot left over. There were times when I wish Jesus would do a miracle right then and there. But whenever we would ask a question, Grandma Esther would say, "God is an all-time God. Wait on Him. Don'tgive up. Keep on believing and He will come through." I am one of three children, triplets to be exact. My brothers, Alden and Allen, were born just after I was. I would make fun of how I was the big sister and that I should be just. But it all in fun, just brother and sister stuff. We were as close as siblings can be. As I am telling my story, I think about Grandma Raines directing us to the living room every Christmas. Alden, Allen, and I would gather around Grandma Raines sitting on the rug of our hardwood floor as Grandma Raines would open up her Bible to Matthew Chapters 1 and 2. She would tell us of the Birth of My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She would tell us of Jesus being born in a manger surrounded by animals because there was no room in the inn. She would also tell us of the Magi following the star to see the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes; they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I remember once Allen asked her what does it have to do with Christmas. She told us that Jesus was born on December 25 and those things we should value such as giving, family, and of being humble are lessons that we should learn about all of the stories about Jesus Christ. This same Baby is the One who died on the cross for all of us, and rose on the third day so that we could be in Heaven with Him. Alden asked how long will we be in Heaven with Jesus. Grandma Esther said forever. Then I asked her how long is that. She explained to us that we should think of a second lasting an hour and the clock slowly changing hands. But think of it that having to occur all day long, all month long, all year long, and that is what forever feels like. We were all amazed at how long we could spend eternity with Someone who would do that for us! I remember telling Grandma I want to spend eternity with Jesus and my brothers said, "Me too, me too." She re-
iterated about Jesus' death on the cross and His resurrection and asked us if we truly believed with all our heart and all our might if we believed that Jesus rose from the dead. Puzzled, all three of us mumbled that we did. Then she told us that if we confess that Jesus is Lord AND believed with all our heart that Jesus rose from the dead, as we have told her, then we will be saved. Alden asked if that was in the Bible? She smiled and told us that it was. She thumbed through the Bible and showed us the verses about how one can be saved. We were amazed at how easy it was. How do we call on Jesus, Grandma Raines? She turned to Romans 10 in her huge, brown leather, Bible. She quickly turned to that chapter and directed us closer so that we could all read. She pointed out the exact verse. "Here it is, Romans 10:9-10, "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord", and believe in your in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Then verse 10 says, "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." "It is right here in this book. That is why folks call it the Good Book. God cannot lie. God makes no mistakes. Every word in this book is the truth." We all looked at each other and nodded our heads. Alden asked Grandma Raines this question, which I wished I could have asked. But I was so surprised that he even asked. Looking back, I was so surprised by my reaction. "Why did Jesus die on the cross for us?" Alden was always the talkative one. He was the one who should have had my job. At least it would have been easier for me. Grandma Esther, as I sometimes called her, just smiled and flipped back a few pages. She turned to Romans 3:23, which said, "All of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God.". Allen himself wanted to know what sin was and what was the glory of God. The look on her face was that was amazement, cheerfulness, and pride. She called our mom, who was in the kitchen fixing dinner. "Carolyn, turn down the stove and take a little break. I will be there to help you. There's something I have to tell you first." Mama asked her, "What's going on, Mama? I am glad you told me to take a break. I COULD use some help in the kitchen." Mama smiled at us and asked us if we were bothering Grandma Raines. "Child, no. I was telling these children all about getting saved and they wanted to know. Isn't that good?" Mama's face radiated pure joy at what she was told. "Children, I love you so much. This is the best news I have heard all day. Amen. " Allen asked her, "Mama, why are you smiling?". "Ald, do you believe?" Then Alden answered, "I do, mama." Then I shouted, "Me too, Mama." Her face became even more radiant. Mama was so pretty when she was happy. Mama has short, thick, wavy-curly hair. She was of average height and curvaceous. She had a slender nose, full lips, high cheekbones, and beautiful dark chocolate brown skin. She loved us and we loved her, too. I was so happy to see her happy after all she has been through. When we were six, our father was killed by a drunk driver while on his way home. He died instantly. He was only 30 years old. She paused for a minute and looked at us. She sighed as she watched our faces, "All of you look just like your father. I miss him so much." Grandma Esther gave Mama these words of comfort, "We all do sweetheart. He is with Jesus, baby." At the time, they didn't seem like words of comfort. I just wish that my daddy was home. I remember
Daddy was tall, handsome, with coarse black hair, a trimmed beard, brown eyes, a broad nose and even broader shoulders, and full lips covering white teeth. I also remember the times Mama couldn't wait to hug him as he came home. I was angry a lot of times and I wondered why Grandma wasn't so angry, but I guess she was. (I was also afraid to ask.) Then I wondered how Grandma Joseph was doing, so did Grandma Esther. She and Grandma Josephine (we just called her Joseph for short) were practically raised together as young girls. In fact, our parents were practically raised together. They were the best of friends, then as time went by, they became high school sweethearts. It was like they were one person almost. I was lucky to have seen people love another like that. Then the phone rang. It was Grandma Josephine. She called and said that she will right there to help with dinner. Grandma Esther asked how she was. She said it was alright. Then there seemed to be a pause. "Joseph.." Grandma Joseph interrupted Grandma Esther. "I will be fine, I'm on my way." Grandma smiled and cheerfully said, "Alright then, come on." Then she gave a little smile and everything seemed well, but I could tell something was wrong. I can only imagine how Grandma Joseph was feeling. Right now, I can only still imagine how grandma Joseph was feeling losing a child. "That kind of pain should not be wished on anyone.", she told me once. I then hugged her and tears streamed down her face. Back to the story, I remember Mama holding her head down. She looked like she about to cry, too. Grandma Esther breathed a little sigh as well. She sorrowfully said, "Poor Jo." Then Mama came over to her and said, "I know, Mama. I know." Then I heard a swishing sound. Alden yelled OUT LOUD, "Mama!" "Thank you, Baby!" Then Mama ran back to the kitchen. The rice pot was boiling. Thankfully that was all that happened in the kitchen. "Now where was I?", Grandma said sighing. "Sin was when we a person does something wrong. It is something God hates. It is breaking the law." "What law?" "There was a time when the world truly was perfect. Nobody was doing wrong. There was nobody committing murder, stealing, or do anything else that hurts people. That was how God intended. But we have failed him. " Allen asked, "How?" Grandma asked, "You have heard about Adam and Eve and the apple?" "Yes.", we answered. "Well, the devil, who disguised himself as a snake, lied to Eve. He told her that if she were to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge that she would not die, but God told her and Adam, not to eat of the tree. But she did eat and gave the apple to her husband, Adam. That is how sin entered the world. It entered because of disobedience. So sin is disobeying God. Ever since then, we have had so much trouble in the world. It is all in the news, in papers, in school. It is so sad. All of that could have been prevented. That is what sin is all about." Allen asked impatiently, "But you didn't answer what law?" I angrily answered, "Allen, let Grandma answer..." Grandma calmly answered, "That is alright, Lisha." "There were Ten Commandments that God wrote on two tablets. On those tablets, we were to worship God only. We are to not lie, steal, sleep with another person outside of marriage, kill, or take his name in vain. But people were still doing wrong. Some were obedient, some were not. But John 3:16 said, "That God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." Jesus was the Baby in the manger, and we He grew up he preached to various people, and healed many others. He too had the power to forgive sins. He was the
same Jesus who suffered for us. He was beaten, mocked, spat on, and falsely accused. He was found not guilty but many of the people still wanted him to be punished. A murderer was let go by the people and He took the murderer's place. He died on the cross for us so that we might live with Him forever. His blood was shed for us. He was that hope for a sinful world. Then on the third day, he rose from His grave. To many, that would be hard to believe, but it is true." Then there was a knock on the door. It was Grandma Joseph. She is plump, stout, woman with salt and pepper hair. She was a short, brown skinned woman, much like Grandma Esther. She came with our aunt Penny, who was a taller, dark-brown skinned woman with high cheekbones, wavy black hair, and thin lips. Aunt Penny was incredibly funny, but she was warned by Grandma Esther to be careful what to say in front of us kids. She laughed, "Esther, you know me better than that." We all laughed and we were in anticipation of Aunt Penny and her stories. Grandma Joseph asked, "Where's Lyn?" Mama came out of the kitchen and hugged Aunt Penny and Grandma Joseph. "Lyn, I came by to help you fix some food. Girl, it smells good in there. What are you fixing?", Grandma Jo asked in anticipation. Mama gleefully answered, "Um, let's see. How does turkey, apple pie, sweet pototo pie, rice and gravy, collard greens, and macaroni and cheese sound?" "That sounds good...real good. How about corn bread, dressing, ham, and some cake?", laughed Grandma Joseph. Aunt Penny told them to go ahead that they needed to speak to Grandma Esther. "Esther, what's the matter?" Grandma seemed a little worried about something...or rather someone. She told us to take the coats to her bedroom and lay them on her bed. "Ok, Grandma", we answered. But I could tell something was wrong. After we quickly put the coats on her bed, she and Aunt Penny were talking about Grandma Joseph. I couldn't hear everything, but I assumed that it was about the phone call. So I didn't ask, though I certainly wanted to. "Oh Hi, children. How was school?" We answered that everything was okay, even for Allen. (haha) "That's good", she said as she smiled at us. "I got you some presents, I put them under the tree." If any three kids were any happier to see presents from Aunt Penny, or anybody else, under that Christmas tree, we wouldn't know of them. Grandma Esther said in a nervous voice, "Children, won't you go into the children and ask your mama if she needs anymore help." We said that we will, but mama did not need our help. So we each looked for something to eat in the frigerator and grabbed us whatever we could find that didn't have anything to do with Christmas dinner. "Children, what are you three doing?" "Mama we are hungry." "Get yourselves something from off the table", Mom said as she was cooking, along with a VERY gleeful Aunt Joseph. "She seems to be doing alright", Grandma said. "She's doing a little better. But there is nothing like losing a child." Aunt Penny said as she sighed. She spoke in a rather sad tone. She sighed again and came into the kitchen and offered to help out. "YES! This is going to be a good dinner!" After I finished eating I walked back into the living room and Grandma Esther was praying for Grandma Joseph. After her death, Grandma sensed that something was wrong with Grandma Joseph, so she prayed about it. I watched Grandma pray, so I said nothing, then my brothers came in. Then Mom came behind us and whispered, "Let Grandma finish praying and then you can go in and talk to her. Go back
in to the kitchen." Apparently Grandma Raines didn't feel that all was well with Grandma Joseph. She felt that maybe all was TOO well with Grandma Joseph and she prayed about it. Grandma Raines was a "praying woman". She prayed about everyone and everything. She even prayed for a safe trip for us. I remember she told me that "God has a reason for everything." And that "We live in God's time, God doesn't live on our time. Sometimes we just don't understand everything. There are times when I have questions for God. " I wonder if her prayer had something to do with Daddy's death. Maybe she had questions for God about his death why we all had to suffer. Maybe she felt that Grandma Joseph hasn't expressed herself the way a grieving mother would. I don't know. All I know is that she had a burden on her heart. After she finished praying, I wanted to ask her something myself. "Grandma, are you worried about something?" She told me that, "Whatever we are worried about, God can take care of it, and I believe that He will." She seemed less worried, so I believed too. Then both went back into the kitchen. Those are the things I remember about Grandma Raines. I remember those things about her. That pious woman of 80 who was, and still is, faithful to the Lord. I even took the time to call her. The phone rang. She answered, "Hello?" "Grandma, this is Lisha." Grandma was so happy to hear my voice. "Lisha it is wonderful to hear your voice." Smiling, I told her that "It is nice to hear your voice, too. I was thinking about you and the stories you used to tell us." She said as she was laughing, "God bless you, child. Train up a child in the way they should go, and they will never depart. I am so glad you and your brothers never departed from the Word." "You sound well. " She responded, "I'm doing well. I am so glad you called. I was a little tired, though. A woman's work is never done..." she said as she laughed. "No one should ever be too busy to do God's work." "Amen, Grandma Raines." After a brief pause, "I am so glad that you called. Don't ever hesitate to call, you here me, Lisha? " "Yes, ma'am. I won't hesitate to call." I paused for a second, as I was about to forget to say, "Thank you, Grandma." Grandma Raines lovingly said, "No need to thank me, just keep on walking that narrow path. That is all the thanks I need." I told her, "I love you, Grandma." She responede in kind, "I love you, baby, now take care. Say hello to your brothers. Tell them don't get too busy to talk to old Grandma." With a slight laugh, I said, "I won't." "Do take care, ' hear? I responded, "I hear you, grandma." Then she said, "Alright, bye bye." "Goodbye, Grandma." After I hung up, I am reminded of all of the people who have helped me along the way, starting with Grandma Raines for one. Grandma Raines has been a constant in my life. As I am reminded of the stories that she told me, I recall all of the prayers that have been prayed by her and the prayers that have been answered. As all of the blessings in my life have ran through my mind, I thank God for all that I have had. "God, thank you for my Grandma Esther. She has been, and still is, a blessing. Thank you that I am one of Yours. Jesus died on the cross for me and saved me, my brothers, and my family. Without you, I would not have had the strength to overcome the obstacles I have faced in life. I ask that you will help me with my job whenever I face the worst of humanity, the suffering of families, the difficulties of life,
and of my studies. Help me to continue to walk that narrow road and to keep moving forward. Help me to be mindful of those who have come before me so that I will make them proud, like my Grandma Raines. Lord, bless Grandma Raines. In Jesus' name, Amen." "Well done, good and faithful servant...." --- Matthew 25:19-23
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.