By Christy K.
I work in a local funeral home serving families during the most difficult times in their lives. I hear a lot of regrets, a lot of accolades and a lot of funeral sermons. One that really stands out to me was for a woman that I never knew, but I wish I had.
The pastor spoke of the qualities the woman embodied throughout her life, which was a long life peppered with trials and tears, just like you. And me. This woman had grit – the defining characteristic of a person standing up to challenges with courage and resolve.
As for me, I grew up with a brother two years older than me who made me tough in facing my fears, wrestling, and taking and throwing elbows in playing alley basketball. Having Tim as my big brother helped me to see things through his eyes, to think on my feet and keep my emotions in check. These qualities helped me throughout my life – in high school sports and later in my work life. I became an office manager at a very young age and managed – guess who – men! The ability to stand firm in what I knew to be right and maybe even courageous helped me navigate the divorce my husband wanted after 14 years of marriage, to protect my daughters and hold on to Jesus through that storm. It was grit!
The woman honored at the funeral home also embodied grace as she showed throughout her life her relationship with Jesus. Not only did she receive God’s grace because of what Jesus did for her, but she was a grace extender as well. Even during her most trying times when her grit was on full display, grace was also on full display. I pray this can be said of me as well!
Lastly, the pastor said that this woman never missed an opportunity to show gratitude. Gratitude for God’s saving grace and her relationship with Christ, gratitude for the life she had with her husband and children and grandchildren, and gratitude to those with whom she shared life. She appreciated the day-to-day things like sunshine, flowers and blue skies. She appreciated cashiers and servers. She appreciated acts of kindness – giving and receiving them. Living a life filled with gratitude pushes frustration, anger and bitterness out because there’s just no room for them!
After the funeral service, I got an opportunity to talk with the pastor and told her how her sermon really moved me, especially the idea of grit, grace, and gratitude, and I asked her if I could use those words in my writing. She thanked me and said of course, “if this lady could teach us anything – it would be about grit, grace, and gratitude.”
These qualities are made possible by an active relationship with Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. Jesus was the perfect example of grit, grace, and gratitude. The Apostle Paul, another great example of these qualities, said in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
Our lives are tough. We have grit. We have received grace and we must freely extend it. And through it all, we show our gratitude to our loving Father who gives us strength, courage, and grace to withstand it all and show others Him who saves.