“Walk with God now, and then for eternity….” these are the words my mom inscribed in a Bible for me as a child. I don’t know where she heard it spoken that way, or if she came up with it on her own. However, the beautiful simplicity and seamless walk of the Believer moving from this life into the next sums up her life beautifully.
Since her childhood, and until her passing, her greatest love was always Jesus Christ. I can confidently say she was crazy in love with dad, head-over-heals for her children, and adored her grandchildren beyond belief. In fact, my mom was my best friend, and I still feel ‘lost’ without her.
However, her love for Jesus was as much a part of every cell in her body as was her own DNA–there was no Jeannie without her beloved Jesus. My mom absolutely craved His presence, and truly never lost her child-like faith. I think of Jesus’ words admonishing his disciples to allow the children to come to Him.
I believe that Jesus was also talking about people, like mom, who are humble to their core in His presence. Mom’s heart went out to anyone hurting and in need, but she never wanted any attention on herself. I believe in life it is extremely rare to feel that another person is ‘listening,’ and cares, really cares, about another’s pain.
Mom was one of those rare gems. I look now at her journals, and they are filled with the prayer requests that she was constantly working on, even up to the weekend of her untimely passing. Despite being a prayer warrior, she was cloaked with humility, and wanted only God glorified for His mighty works.
I know people could see these wonderful traits; realizing what an authentic, rare woman of God she was. What people did not know is that she, like so many silent sufferers, battled depression. She was faced with many adversities, and by no means had always had an easy life.
However, her adoration for Jesus was grounded in WHO He was, not in life’s circumstances. So in 2006, when Alisa invited mom to the very first meeting of the Granola Bar Devotional, mom was so very excited for this opportunity to discuss God’s word (she would end up always taking 2-3 Bibles with her at each meeting!); however, she was also a very private soul.
Since the purpose of the devotionals is for contributors to share a piece of themselves in written form (at whatever level a person is comfortable), she felt this was an obstacle for her. Though it may not have been evident to anyone present, writing in this way placed her immensely outside of her ‘comfort zone.’
She was so excited for the ministry, but did not think she would be able to write anything for people to read. This extreme discomfort was due to the fact that she didn’t want to ever write a devotional that would seem pretentious, or in any way misinterpret God’s word. Through a beautiful transformation, though, I saw mom’s confidence in what she was writing absolutely flourish.
She made wonderful friendships and was always excited to share with me the latest devotionals and growth of this ministry. She developed many special bonds that will endure forever, Alisa being at the top of this list. And despite mom’s natural tendency to be way too hard on herself, she wrote devotionals that were tender and cherished, and she developed her unique voice.
She realized that if any of her writings helped even one person, she was absolutely willing to step outside of her comfort zone. Mom’s beautiful devotionals are one of the most precious pieces of her legacy for her family and friends. I know that these continue to reach people whom she has never met, and only Jesus truly knows all those who have been touched by my mom’s writings (including the anonymous writings that even I don’t know are hers).
I do know that one day in Heaven, mom will meet these people. My mom was absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime woman–there is not a day that goes by in which I don’t yearn for her presence, and I feel such honor in being her daughter. But I realize that we all have something that is once-in-a-lifetime within us and God wants us to share that with everyone!
This is the simple and profound beauty of the Granola Bar Devotional Ministry. God will use any of us, no matter how big or small we feel we are–we all have beautiful stories to tell. Thank you Mama for being obedient to God’s calling, even when it would have been easier to stay in your comfort zone! We will meet again soon and I love you forever.
“Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.”
-Psalm 96:3 (NIV)
“Father, help me to walk this life with You. I want to give myself wholeheartedly to Your care and will. Show me how I can leave a legacy of faith for others that leads to You….”
Juan De La Garza
Tammi Slavin, Laura Campise, and James De La Garza
Jeannie De La Garza