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And We Rise Up and Call Her Blessed

     What can a little lady only one generation from Sweden do to impact the world?  More than what most of us can imagine.

     My Gramma Hanson married a young man not long off the boat from Norway in 1910.  She moved with him to a small farm in Wisconsin to begin making a life together off the land.  And the children began coming . . . a total of 12, six boys and six girls, plus a 13th who died in infancy.  The oldest was born in 1911, the youngest in 1934.   Six years later, in 1940, her first grandchild (me) came along.  So she was surrounded by children her entire life.  

     She was an extraordinary cook—usually working at her old wood cookstove—but most of the food came from the huge vegetable garden she cultivated each year and from the chickens, pigs, and beef they raised.

     Each child and grandchild was special to her.  No, she didn’t have time to sit down and play board games with us.  She was not athletic nor particularly artistic.  But I remember many times when she sat me on a stool to help her clean the eggs she had gathered to send to market.  She creatively used the time she had to get to know each child.

    More importantly, she was one of the most godly women I have ever known.  We all knew that, although she loved us, her first love was Jesus.  And we also knew that before we left the farm for home, Gramma would come out to the car, stick her head in the window and ask each one of us kids, “You do love Jesus, don’t you, Shirley?  Don’t forget to live for Him.”  Her eyes would tear up and her voice get wavery.  This was not just a perfunctory question that was part of a routine.  Gramma would continue looking at us until we answered.  She really wanted to make sure that her grandchildren were right with God.

    What was the impact of her prayers and her concern?  Of her 12 children,  11 went to Bible School.  Three went into “fulltime” ministry, but all were active in their churches.  Of the 45 grandchildren, two of the 45 have died, but almost all of us are serving the Lord.  We became college professors, high school teachers, nurses, business leaders, newspaper reporters, farmers, computer engineers, a professional pilot, artists, inventors,  musicians and a television producer.

     Her emphases on moral and ethical living, and above all, serving God, have impacted her descendants, now down to the third and fourth generations.

     What can a little Swedish lady do for the world?  She can raise up an army of productive, God-fearing descendants who know that they will not only have to answer to God for the way they lived—but also to Gramma Hanson.  And we rise up and call her blessed!

Copyright © 2008-2015 Shirley Shedd

Reader Comments...
2009-10-03 07:20:58
"Mrs. Shedd - Thank you for such a wonderful article about your Grandmother! It is an encouragement to me to continue in the task the Lord has set before me as a mom of many! Thank you for sharing so eloquently!
Many Blessings,

        - Karen

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