Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sweeping Away the Past

by Gina Welborn

My maternal grandmother is 92 years old. A couple years back, hubby and I drove the kids from Virginia to South Dakota to celebrate her birthday. Amazing thing is Grandma wasn’t/isn’t the oldest living sibling in her family.

Grandma with my mom, me, and my three girls (l to r)—Niley, Jerah, and Rhyinn.

When I think back to my childhood, Grandma’s house was my favorite place to visit. Because my dad was in the army, our trips to visit my mother’s side of the family were usually limited to once or twice a year. But my mom managed to make those trips as long as possible. At Grandma’s house, we have second breakfasts even before I’d ever heard of them from the hobbits. Between 9:30 and 10:30, either a relative (okay, usually a relative) or a friend would stop in for coffee and a sweet. Grandma made the most amazing cookies. To me, they tasted like cookie donuts—flakey, crunchy, sugary sweet.

Grandma ironed our t-shirts. She had the coolest board games. Her basement was the creepiest place I ever was in. Curtains covered her built-in shelves. What was behind them? I have no idea. I was too scared to look. Knowing Grandma, I’m sure she had canned goods, old books, and childhood momentos.

When I was in junior high, Grandma took a Greyhound bus all the way from South Dakota down to southwestern Oklahoma. Yes, I thought that was the coolest thing. She stayed with us for a week. Maybe two. My mom decided since I was a terrible sweeper, she would have Grandma give me lessons. And Grandma did. She never made me feel stupid or lazy. I look back on everything Grandma did for me (and my sisters) and realize how much she lived her love.

The morning Grandma was to leave to return home, she came in to give us all kisses. I wish I could remember what prompted my actions, but instead of acknowledging her, I just laid there. Like a snotty little 13-yr-old. I probably was angry at my mom and dad for something. Who knows. I remember Grandma crying and my mom consoling her. She hadn’t done anything wrong to me. Yet I rejected the love she’d offered.
I wish I could sweep away that moment from my memory, from my mom’s, from Grandma’s. I don’t want to be a person like that.

A.W. Tozer wrote that “We have not truly repented until our repentance has become a wound. Until that would has captured us, defeated us, taken the moral fight out of us, self-defense from us, and wounded us near death.”

I don’t know about you, but sometime I don’t really want to be that broken over my sin because, let’s face it, I’m not really that broken. I’m content to sweep my sin under the rug and forget it. But as I remember now how my selfishness hurt my Grandma, I fall on my knees in shame. In brokenness. In repentance. I don’t want to sweep under the rug anything. I don’t want to any skeletons in my closet. I don’t want to live in fear of someone discovering those things that bring me shame.

So I’m learning to pray, as Tozer did, “Oh, my God, wound me; wound me with the wound of contrition so I’ll never get over it, so we always will carry around with me the knowledge that I’ve been a sinner.” Only I can’t stop praying there. Nor should you. Because in Christ, we are made new. We’re saints. We’re holy, blameless, and beyond reproach.

And I rejoice in the memories of walking to church with my grandma, of sitting next to her and singing hymns, and holding her hand as we prayed. Grandma gave me a heritage that began with loving Jesus. One day my prayer is that my children will look at my life and say, “My mom loved Jesus.”

Grandma and Niley

Serious Question: Do you have a favorite rug you don't want to look under?

Fun Question: It's April Fool's Day - what does that mean to you?

Gina Welborn worked in news radio writing copy until she had the epiphany that the news of the day was rather depressing, so she took up writing romances because they always end happily. Gina is a 2009 ACFW GENESIS historical romance finalist and a 2007 RWA GOLDEN HEART® inspirational finalist. As a member of RWA and ACFW, she is an active contest judge and coordinator. Her manuscripts have also finaled in the Daphne du Maurier, Duel on the Delta, Dixie, and Maggie contests. Oklahoma-girl Gina now lives in Richmond, Virginia with her youth-pastor husband and their five Okie-Hokie children. Gina is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Her debut novella, "Sugarplum Hearts," part of the HIGHLAND CROSSINGS, is a February 2012 Barbour Publishing release. Her second novella, "All Ye Faithful," releases this fall as part of A CASCADES CHRISTMAS.


  1. Goodness. I have SEVERAL rugs that won't bear inspection. Most of them have to do with stupid things that I have done or said (often rather minor things that the person involved has probably long forgotten), but they come up over and over to my remembrance.

    Thank God that He is more forgiving than I am.

    Godly grandparents are a true blessing. Thanks for letting us know about your delightful Grandma.

    One of my greatest Grandma memories is of mine making us waffles for breakfast. She'd always melt the butter and heat the syrup for us.

    It was divine! :)

  2. And so does your description of that breakfast, DeAnna. Mmmm-mmmm-great!

    Yeah, I have several rugs too. I can blame it on youth, stupidity and stubbornness. What I need to do is lift the rug and sweep out from under it, then beat the rug clean. Let my sins fall away and accept the Grace offered.

    Thanks for this post, Gina. It puts a whole new spin on Spring Cleaning.

    I'm curious though... how long did it take to apologize to your Grandma?

  3. I don't have that many rugs, but yes, let's say I don't lift them much unless somebody trips over them, LOL.

    That's not quite true. The rug inside the front door gets moved and swept under every week.

    Thanks for the post, Gina and Anita. What a blessing to have godly relatives like your Grandma.

    I hope my children say I loved Jesus, too.

  4. What a great story, Gina. I'm sorry it took me so long to get online today.

    Grandmas are special and I appreciate your thoughts on letting our failure guide us but not control us. Great photos!

  5. i've got a couple of rugs I don't want to look under. i like Anita's thoughts of spring cleaning though...Lord knows I need it.

    i was an overly emotional teen and did many cringe-worthy things that "wound" me as I think of them now. i've rectified most, but not all.

    i too, hope that my little one will someday grow up to say, "My mom loved Jesus."

    thanks for sharing about your Grandmother and the heritage she's passed on to her family. it is such a blessing.


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